Bandolero: Series 01, Episode 10

Note to Readers:

Today I got my shipment of a mystery fragrance – Chandler Burr Untitled: S01E10.  This is surely one of the finest yet in the Untitled series.  And – if the immediacy of my reaction is any indication – this may be the best one yet.


Windmills.  Objects in camera may be larger than they appear.

Objects in camera may be larger than they appear.

I was driving our rented Mini Cooper, which was white this time, across southern Spain.  Because it was a calculation universe, and not under the usual constraints, certain aspects were clearly being fixed.

Like the windmills.   The old ones were so ratty.  That’s the part I never liked about Don Quixote.  Not sure why it bothered me, but ratty things like the old blades of old windmills just make me want to fix them.  And if you want to fix stuff, then you aren’t really on vacation.

In the future, there would be some really slick windmills in Spain.   Woosh.   Woosh.   Woosh.  Giant tripods intent on saving the planet, no matter how much the peoples who invented them didn’t want them in their own backyards.  C’est la beauté.  As the French trappers of my own little universe would say, a long time ago, with statistical certainty.

My wife was sleeping in the back of the Mini.  Before she went to sleep, she told me not to pick up any hitchhikers.  But what about a guy who’s just walking along highway E10 with Jean-Claude Ellena’s perfumer’s carousel?  He’s not asking for a ride.  He just looks like he needs one.  Sometimes you just have to listen to the spirit of the law, and not the letter.

You’d be surprised at what kinds of treasures you can carry in the back of a Mini Cooper.

“Hey.  You need a ride?”

“Are you sure you have room?  I don’t want to wake the lady up.”

“No problem.  It’s my wife.  She’s out like a light.  And I can’t bear to see those oils getting zapped by the Spanish sun.  It’s wicked hot already.  Here – let me pop the back hatch.  There should be just enough room for your gizmo in there.”

“Cool.  Awesome!  It totally fits.”

“Great.  Let’s roll.”


“So where’re you going?”

“Wherever you’re going.”

“How do you know that’s where you’re going?”

“It’s cool.  It’s kind of a surprise.”

“Seriously.  OK.  I guess you’re going to Granada.”

“Far out!  I always wanted to go there.  See how it works?”

“You’ve got a lot of faith in the universe.  Even if it’s just a calculation.”

“Totally.  It’s the only way to be.”

“So how do you like the Romantic period?”

“Oh, man – it’s just awesome.  I’m meeting some amazing people.”

“Ha!  Tell me about it!  Although the whole driving around thing and the giant windmills are a bit weird.  It’s kind of like reverse-image steampunk.”

“Wow.  That would be a cool fragrance!”

“Man.  You’ll have to excuse me, but you’re blowing my mind just a bit.  Can I ask your name?”

“Sure, but it’s better without names.  I’m trying to get beyond names.  I think there’s something good there.  So I’m trying to forget my name.”

“Oh, man.  It’s like you’re taking the one last tether to ‘reality’ in Spirited Away, and just cutting it.  Good for you!”

“That’s a friggin’ great movie.”

“Oh, yeah.”

“Hey!  Check out the sunflowers!”

In some dreams, you see the world, and never leave Kansas.

In some dreams, you see the world, and never leave Kansas.

“Isn’t this place amazing?  I was here before, in the real world, but I just didn’t have the right fragrance.  It took me a while to figure out the problem.”

“I’ll bet it was somebody else’s fragrance.  It wasn’t right for you – was it?”

“You got it.  Trying to fit somebody else’s fragrance into your own dreams just doesn’t work.”

“Try this, man.”

“Sure!  Hey, thanks!  That’s very cool.”

“No problem.  Ha!  I like the way you sniff the sprayer first.  I do that, too.”

“Yeah.  My normal friends make fun of the way I sniff everything like a dog.  Whoa!  Holy Toledo.  No pun intended.  This stuff smells amazing!”

Sometimes a fragrance smells like a road where you don't want to ever know its name.

Sometimes a fragrance smells like a road where you never want to know its name.

“See, dude?  That’s what the Romantic Period should smell like.  Not like something out of a book.  It should smell like YOU’RE really there.  Bigger than life is OK.  But it should be YOUR life.  And it needs to make you feel ALIVE!”

“Damn.  I’m starting to get it.  That other fragrance was ‘little R romantic’ – a personal recollection of a different time and place.  A microcosm of Andalusia.  A story within a story.  This fragrance is about something bigger.  To me, it’s about living in a world that centers on the Mediterranean.  It’s old.  It’s new.  It’s filled with things like beaches, and hills with olive trees, and a sun that never sets in my mind.”

“See?  There’s a time and a place for every fragrance, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the fragrance being right for the place, and everything to do with the place being right for the fragrance.  How could you know if this place was right for a fragrance?  You’d never been here.  But now you can come back, ’cause you realize where the fragrance leads.”

“Kid – you are blowing my mind.”

“That’s good, man.  Really good.  I wanted to do that.”

“I think part of my mistake was thinking that the Romantic Period had certain colors.  You know – those psycho-olfacto-colors that we associate with fragrances.  I didn’t realize that it’s way beyond just certain colors, or the number or level of them.  It’s pretty hard to describe, actually.  I’m kind of amazed that I care.”

“Totally.  Sometimes I think that fragrance is a type of madness.  But I’d never want to be anything but mad, if that’s the case.”

Rocky cliffs: check.  Cold rough seas and tempest tossed: optional.

Rocky cliffs: check. Windswept moors: close.  Cold rough seas and tempest tossed: optional.


“OK – I guess this is where we part ways.”

“Only temporarily, man.  I’m serious.  It’s all connected.  You’ll see.  You never know when stuff comes back together.”

“I’ll take your word for that.  I’d sure like to think so.”

“Say hi to your wife for me.”

“Will do.  Kinda surprised she slept the whole way.”

“Hope she had some good dreams.”


“Wow.  We’re here.”

“The Alhambra.  And this time, there’s no rush.”

“What happened on the way?  No trouble?”

“None at all.  I picked up some guy who needed a ride.”

“I told you no hitchhiker!”

“He wasn’t a real hitchhiker – just some young guy with a perfumer’s organ, walking along the road.  I thought his car must have broken down.  It was so hot – no way I was going to let him walk.  He even gave me this great fragrance.  You’ve got to smell it.  It smells like Spain.  At least it does to me.”

“I had a dream that you picked up perfumer hitchhiker.  She was beautiful French woman.”

“Seriously.  Wow.  No way – this was some young guy.  Pork-chop sideburns and a bandana.  Kinda familiar, actually.  Scruffy, but cool.”

“In my dream, Tanaka-san was riding in back with luggage.  But instead of saying ‘SO sexy!’ over and over like real Tanaka-san, he is saying ‘SO romantic’, over and over.”

“Ha!  Really!  Now that’s a change.”

“After Granada, let’s go to beach.  I’d like to go to beach restaurant.”

“Me too.”

If you live a fragrance and never realize it, were you ever really alive?

If you live the story a fragrance tells and never realize it, were you ever fully alive?


I was driving our rented Mini Cooper, which was white this time, but also reflecting the slowly setting sun, back across southern Spain, when a notion hit me.  Even when we recognize a fragrance, we can never remember it exactly the way that we remembered it before.  And that’s a good thing.  The difference in how we remember a fragrance, is not just a proof of time’s passage.  It is a measure of how much world was out there to change during that time.  Of how much world was out there – to change us.

C’est la beauté.

Don Quixote SentadoIMG_2963

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