The Man Who Smelled Too Much

William Nowell got a windfall and got off the streets. The only problem were his neighbors—and his foul odor.
  1. If only he'd taken a bath. Barefoot and miserable, the defendant, William Nowell, watched the jurors laughing and chatting as they filed out of the courtroom. Like they were at a cocktail party, he thought. Never mind that his life had just come apart. He started to cry. The verdict was in. He'd been evicted for smelling bad.

    Nowell does smell. Even he admits it. But precisely how bad is a matter of debate. In August, it became a matter of legal debate, when the owners of the luxury loft building Nowell lived in took him to court in an effort to kick him out of the very apartment they'd let him into.

    Nowell had been living on the streets for the past two decades, and he looks it. He owns one outfit, which he wears every single day: too-big, ragged black sweatpants wadded up into a ball at the waist, and black hoodie sweatshirt. No socks. No shoes. Fierce blue eyes peek out from beneath a large, scruffy dreadlock of hair, which clings to the back of his head like some crazy animal...

The complete text of “The Man Who Smelled Too Much” is not in the Byliner library, but we love it so much we included an excerpt and a link to the full story on

Originally published in LA Weekly, November 2012

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