Flash Fiction: The Fragrance Therapist 

by LJ Frank


I’m a fragrance existentialist.

I love walking in the woods after a fresh spring rain. The smell of wet earth, wild herbs and flowers and evergreens is a sensual experience. Whatever you’ve heard about the fragrance existentialist, don’t believe it. It’s  an intimate, private sojourn one takes alone. To define it is to lose the essence of the experience.

Living in the moment I take time to inhale the feminine, masculine, sensuous scent that greets me each day. It offsets the competitive struggle of an existence whose meaning is only what I give it.

I have three therapists, specialists in their own fields to help me through my angst of perception and the presented reality. Just as I wonder what I am actually experiencing each day and the obsession of what I detect invading my nostrils. I breathe in the aromas and pungency. My olfactory nerve endings are enveloped and occasionally overwhelmed by the artificial mixed in with the natural.

It was late afternoon when I called, Dr. Tanya Karbushca, a sex-horticultural specialist who was born in Prague and studied at the Sorbonne before moving to this urban environment in the United States. Not that I needed a Fragrance Therapist at the particular moment. She was the only one of my three therapists available. Her specialty was an exotic variant of alternative lifestyles and horticultural therapy – a naturist with knowledge of the effects of  flowers, perfumes, colognes and herbs upon health.

My Freudian therapist was vacationing at a clothes optional white sandy beach on an island off the coast of Mexico reflecting on her lifestyle with an android phone lodged in her hand periodically checking how her stocks were doing. While, my Jungian therapist was staying at beachside resort on the other side of the Gulf also with android phone in hand checking his respective stocks while dining on fish and chips. I know this because they messaged me digital photos of their exclusive experiences. They liked to share. I decided the material, no matter what class of people, has its own scent, so to speak.

I met the Jungian and Freudian therapists at different wine tasting events. We enjoyed red wines throughout the year leading to a friendship which in turn effectuated my calling on them when I had different therapeutic needs or desires.

In Dr. Tanya’s case she and I had originally encountered each other in India a few years ago while we were both exploring the world of karma at the Kama Sutra Love Temples in Khajuraho, India. Our meeting was serendipitous as we both enjoyed red wine, erotic sculpture and the effect of scents on human biology and psychology.

“Hello Dr. Karbushca?”

“Is this J?”


“Please just call me Tanya.”

“Thank you for your time.”

“And thanks for the bottle of Pinot Noir. Where I grew up trading was just as valuable as cash. What is real is your olfactory nerves and the bouquet of a bottle of wine. So how can I help you?”

“This morning I opened a container from Khajuraho containing the remaining contents of dried ginger green tea. As I looked at the empty container I had the distinct impression it served other purposes.”


“As I held it in my hand I noted the inviting scent beckoned my nose to come closer to take a whiff of the dry herb fragrance that remained.”

“What did the fragrance suggest to you?”

“Do you recall outside the Kama Sutra Love Temples in Khajuraho, the nearby flower and herb gardens and the fragrances emanating from them?”

“I do and also being in the market where you purchased some containers of tea.”

“What do you think?”

“Are you familiar with what causes the fragrance we smell from the flowers and scented herbs?”

“I am.”

“Remember, an essential oil from nature can be both exotic and healing while artificial oils and scents can be deadly. And the mixture can confuse our senses.”

“How does one un-confuse one’s senses when so much is artificial?”

“Go to the woods. Shed your clothes. Keep your android with you. Then call me.”