Wednesday, Apr. 09, 2003
If they only knew of the kinds of bombs we drop in our own shopping malls and movie theaters; of gassing innocent midnight diners in some low-rent, deep-fried beer trough, choking on the noxious fumes produced by a can of chilie, a box of Spanish-flavored insta-rice, all nuked in a plastic deli container saturated with sharp cheddar ooze, fermented in the digestive track of some unhealthy chubby sonuvabitch.
Those Uncle Sam-hating Arabs just might leave us the fuck alone until that greenhouse cloud of human methane has us all asphixiated in our homes. It's already begun. I was there.
The house wasn't full, but a respectable crowd turned out for a five-dollar reprint of one of those "Valley of the Dolls" movies. I don't remember which one. Does it matter? Titties bobbled here and there, up and down. Flacid dicks dangled after them. The sex - interspersed with scenes of dialogue and melodrama so unbelievably cheesy as to make the film all the more spectacular - was disappointingly timid, the juggs, mere catcher's mits of twenty-something liberation. The high standards set by Russ Meyer had been thuroughly disgraced.
I watched with passing interest as these two amateur would-be lesbians could no longer restrain their cunalingal curiosity. However, codes of decency of the day restricted their adventurous inclinations to mild tongue wrestling. Once or twice the alpha chick grazed the other's softly lit butt cheeks with her breath. What was the point? A mid-70s Playboy layout at best. Penthouse maybe, if it involved two women. I had more urgent matters on my mind that prevented any aroused appreciation.
In polite company, it had been hours since I'd broke wind. Now, in the middle of a tenderly emotional lesbian moment, I looked around at my fellow audience members, taking note of the potential collateral damage. That gas bubble had grown so enormous inside my lower intestine I was afraid it would force my bladder if I stood up and walked out. The gang of couples I'd arrived with had spread around. Some in the back row. Some in the mid section. Single but confident, I sat up front, fifth row, close enough to see the dancing film grain without going cross-eyed. I was alone in a colony of strangers. The poor bastards had no idea.
I waited until the beauty of the on-screen moment had them all distracted before I relaxed. For a good ten seconds a steady hot breeze escaped from under me carrying with it the deadly fragrance of unprocessed enzimes and dairy cultures and bacteria. I had unleashed a silent biological weapon upon a crowd of all too American 'murikens. The outcome was subtle, yet measureable.
I watched with horrific guilt as the fourth row, from the aisle to six seats in, began shifting their weight back and forth, discretely searching for a pocket of air that yet held oxygen in it. The woman on the end turned to the man next to her. Would she accuse him? His bloated gut seemed like a typical HazMat factory. Helpless, he inhaled his clammy palms, desperate to relieve his accosted olefactories. The woman turned her attention back to the screen suffering with indignant pride.
My countrymen of this region spared me the indignity of having to excuse myself of such a terroristic act. Oregonians in particular are noted for their reluctance to demand accountability of the common citizenry. The expectations of individual civic responsibility are limited to separating the paper from the plastic from the glass from the tin. Public displays of bad behavior are more often ignored than corrected, regarded as political acts of personal expressionism. God bless us.
As soon as the credits began to roll, I headed straight for the men's room and emptied a steady stream of relief. Among the crowded refugees, there was no mention of lesbian sex or noxious fumes. I had escaped a criminal, though not unpunished.
In the pit of my stomach I carried that weight of guilt across the street to a late-night bar & grill. The conversation between the three couples and myself dragged for an hour over college music tastes, movies, drug use and drinking habits. I sat quietly, anticipating the subtlest hint at a return chemical attack. There would be one, and only one chance to spare my company of seared nasal passages and eventually affected brain cells. After that, it was either holding out until something ruptured, or forever living with a dangerous reputation among decent aquaintences.
Plan A was enacted during a casual lull when my leaving the table appeared neither rude nor conspicuous. I arrived in front of the stained porcelin column with time to relax, prepare and make certain not another obedient consumer would suffer for another's indulgence in deplorable dietary habits. The bombing was eminate. I calmly waited for it....
What could I do? I'd fallen for a false alarm, using my one and only excusable visit to the men's room. Any more would disturb the social etiquette with an unspoken awareness that I was dealing with issues unmentionable during occasions of eating and drinking. I hopped on my toes, landing heavily on my heels, hoping to jolt the gas bubble into position for expulsion. Still nothing. The enemy had detected my preparedness and went into retreat. The filthy goddamn fuckers were going to make me carry this battle back into civilization, forcing the very circumstances I'd fought to avoid.
Shortly after I returned to the table the tab was sorted out with stacks of one dollar bills. The house rules gave everyone a fair spin of a roulette wheel mounted in the bar. If the spin was a lucky one, the entire bill was waived. I followed my company through the bar taking notice of more potential collateral damage, those innocent bystanders who would be killed or maimed by the ravages of warfare. I could force the bomb in here. Why not? These regular shit-kicking drunks might not even notice and my friends and neighbors would live happily ever after, never remotely aware of the terrible experience spared them that night.
It was no matter to me that none of us was lucky at the roulette wheel. I drank only water and stole jalepeno poppers off of discarded plates. What was of great immediate importance was that we all escape to the open air. The solution to polution is dilution. If the evil axis of Del-Monte, Rice-A-Roni and Tillamook Dairy were to lay seige, then the folk of our fair City of Roses would survive only in the streets. But how could I possibly explain this to my company without condemning myself as the vehicle of delivery?
I was forced to choose my sacrifice during those extended farewell remarks exchanged in the middle of the dining floor. No one seemed capable of breaking up the party and heading for the door. The politics of courtesy held us all captive as total devistation rapidly approached. The bubble in my lower half felt like a gaseous grapefruit ready to make shrapnel out of my escape hatch. There was no time to run. The only thing I could do was shift into position to prevent making skidmarks.
All Holy silent Hell was unleashed.
I stood unmoving, crying on the inside for the destroyed innocense of an evening spent in good humor with good company. Smiles faded all around into nervous looks of controlled panic as someone said "we should get out of here."
The entire company marched from the dining floor through the front door and regrouped on the sidewalk. I had no idea what havoc I had just wreaked upon all those unsuspecting souls, both in my company and idly sipping beers and cocktails in the lounge. Standing together in the brisk night air, no one had the presence of mind to acknowledge the fucking gigantic white elephant that was still sitting inside. They were in shock from its awesomeness.
Finally someone came right out and said it. "That was the worst fucking smell I have ever encountered in my life!" We all agreed, with some relief in sharing our mutual disgust. I, however, never caught as much as a whiff of the hazardous stench. I could only imagine how horrible it must have been, though not nearly as horrible as being wrongly accused of such Nazism. My attorney gave me the evil eye, then laid the blame on his girlfriend. Not so much laid the blame, as dumped a heaping bucket of blame on her head. She screamed and yelled. She huffed and puffed. What else could I do but play along, even though she and I both knew the truth?
She, at least, was on the right arm of the Alpha male. To future social gatherings she would unquestionably be invited. I, on the other hand, was the odd man out. I didn't even have the bennefit of a woman's disposition to offset such an offensive faux pas. I let the blame stick on the girlfriend. She wore it better than I could have.
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