Reggie knelt before the tub, looking down the drain.
Inside, something terrible was happening. Hour after hour, it built its power, and the smell wafting up was some horrific concoction of rotten eggs, hot garbage, and month-old vomit. Reggie gagged a little as another whiff wafted to him.
Having tried cleaning the drain out already, Reggie was on his last option short of going to the store for an industrial-strength de-clogger. He took the baking soda and shook the whole box into the drain. It took time, getting it all in there. A low process of shaking, waiting, shaking, waiting, and shaking some more. But it was eventually all in, and Reggie took a look.
The white powder covered the sides, and he could see the top of it down there. He nodded to himself.
Reaching beside his leg, he lifted the bottle of vinegar. It was a four-litre affair, clear, and as he uncapped it, pungent. Better than the smell of the drain, now muted by the baking soda, but still palpable.
Leaning forward again, Reggie tipped the vinegar in. The reaction was instant, a fizzing that spouted out of the drain and out to the surrounding tub. Reggie smiled, continuing to pour until the jug was half-empty.
After a few minutes, the fizzing subsided. He upended the jug again, pouring more in, and the fizzing began once more, bubbling out of the drain and eating away at whatever beast was growing inside.
Finishing the jug, Reggie waited once more for the fizzing to die away. When it had, he looked in. It was clear inside, and ran the water for a few minutes to wash everything away.
Finally stopping the tap, he reached over and waved his hand, wafting the air up to his nose. Much better smell. Not perfect, but better.
Looking beside him, Reggie opened the second box of baking soda and started to shake.