Bitch (short story)

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"Bitch" is a short story written by Roald Dahl, and it is the second appearance of Dahl's character Uncle Oswald.


This story starts with Dahl introducing his Uncle Oswald's diary. He then goes on to the story, which begins in Paris on a Wednesday. At the start of the diary entry, Dahl's fictitious Uncle Oswald was trying a new honey sent by his friend when someone by the name of Henri Biotte called him and told him to go over to the latter's house. Uncle Oswald then introduces Henri Biotte in a flashback, whom he met three years previously in Provence where he went to spend a summer weekend with a lady. Biotte was a fellow guest in Provence like Uncle Oswald.

It is then discovered that Biotte was a Belgian olfactory chemist with an amazing sense of smell. He approached Uncle Oswald with the intention of asking for funding to continue his research and cultivation of the 8th and last smell that humans are supposedly able to sense. Biotte said that humans have a total of 8 types of olfactory nerves and cells, but only 7 of them are used actively, while the last one is dormant due to lack of use. He wanted to cultivate a smell to unlock the last nerve in the hope of using it to control the world. The last smell is the smell related to the sexual psychology of humans.

Biotte then goes on to explain the system of smell to Uncle Oswald.

The flashback ends with Uncle Oswald reaching Biotte's laboratory. Biotte had finally cultivated the wanted smell called Bitch, named by both the author and himself. However, 11 millimeters is produced in a long period of time. After lending him some nose plugs and a face mask, Pierre Lacaille, a boxer that Biotte hired to be a test subject turns up. The desired result of this test is that the male gets aroused by the new smell and unconsciously has sex with the female test subject Simone (Biotte's assistant and girlfriend) without exhaustion and control until the effects wear off. Biotte must also not be able to stop the male from continuing the sexual intercourse as a desired result. The test is successful and the boxer is paid. However, the boxer was not able to recall doing anything for the past 6 minutes and 23 seconds when he was having sex with the female. The effective distance of the smell was also recorded. The smell is ineffective on a female.

The next morning, the author discovered that Simone had sprayed herself with the remaining dose of Bitch and having had Biotte smell her, he erupted into a sexual frenzy that killed him before he could write out the formula of the smell. He had a weak heart, which caused him to die easily. As the formula was not written down, the author was left with only 1 millimeter of the liquid that Biotte had given him the previous day. He decided to make full use of it and humiliate the President of the United States of America.

His plan was to plant a capsule made by his friend Marcel Brossolet around the ribbon of a stalk of flowers meant for Mrs. Elvira Ponsomby. She would be appearing on television with the President regarding a policy statement at a dinner given in his honor by the Daughters of the American Revolution in the ballroom of Waldorf Astoria. The author first bought a bouquet of orchids from a local florist. He then hid his capsule beneath the ribbon holding the flowers together, and delivered it to Mrs. Ponsomby's suite with the claim that it is for the President. During the broadcast, the capsule would burst open and the liquid would flow into Mrs. Ponsomby's bosom. The President would be aroused by the smell and begin having sex with all the females present, leading to his humiliation.

When the author went to Mrs. Ponsomby's suite to deliver the flowers, she decided to wear the flowers on her dress. However, she had to unpin the smaller flower pinned onto her dress. Due to her being incredibly fat with a huge bosom, she had difficulty doing it. After getting the author to remove the smaller flower, they discovered that they did not have another safety pin to attach the orchids. Finally, Mrs. Ponsomby decided to use the safety pin from the first flower and before the author could stop her, she drove it into the stalk of the orchids, bursting the capsule hidden there unintentionally.

"...the two of us were millions of miles up in outer space, flying through the universe in a shower of meteorites all red and gold. I was riding her bareback... "Faster!" I shouted, jabbing long spurs into her flanks. "Go faster!" Faster and still faster she flew, spurting and spinning around the rim of the sky, her mane streaming with sun, and snow waving out of her tail. The sense of power I had was overwhelming. I was unassailable, supreme. I was the Lord of the Universe, scattering the planets and catching the stars in the palm of my hand..."

"Oh, ecstasy and ravishment! Oh, Jericho and Tyre and Sidon! The walls came tumbling down and the firmament disintegrated, and out of the smoke and fire of the explosion, the sitting-room in the Waldorf Towers came swimming slowly back into my consciousness like a rainy day..."[1]

When he woke up, the suite was in a big mess and he was naked. The story ends with Mrs. Ponsomby telling the author "Young man, I don't know who you are, but you've done me a power of good."[1]


It was originally published in the July 1974 issue of Playboy, and appears as part of Dahl's short story collection Switch Bitch.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Bitch" in Switch Bitch collection, ISBN 0-14-004179-6