That Time I Farted And Happily Allowed A Helpless Child To Shoulder The Blame
All-I-could-gorge Ponderosa had been the play. My stubby, gluttonous fingers had probed every single one of that buffet’s orifices. Fellow patrons had witnessed a free lesson on no-prisoners-style binge eating.
I was remorseless, but not eager to publicize my sweat-inducing bender to the entire office. Ample Windex and a scouring pad had effectively removed nearly all the barbecue sauce and other assorted evidence that’d been caked on my face. That afternoon I sought undisturbed unproductively; I knew I’d be teetering in and out of nap purgatory.
One tiny step after another I waddled my bloated self back into the building. Intestinal pressure had begun mounting sharply as soon as I’d stepped inside. I instinctively clenched everything. There was no telling what state of matter I was dealing with here.
With a quick breath, I bit down on my bottom lip. I stopped moving and, intently focused, did a quick self-audit, engaging and releasing like I was feathering out a clutch pedal. A bead of sweat formed on my brow. Some relief followed. I was 95% confident that this looming danger was merely gas, likely dank and dense but a non-underpants-ruining fart nevertheless.
I’d have held it back, but my scrupulous self-appraisal had jarred it loose. I’d passed a point of no return as I ambled through Reception, entirely vacant sans a job candidate and a child. In true crop-dusting form, I did not break stride. I released this barometric-pressure-altering bowel blast and just kept moving. No eye contact was needed; I knew my silent, almost-soupy disaster would introduce itself soon.
I was back at my desk when aftershocks began reverberating throughout the cubicle field. Workers started taking excursions over to experience the awfulness and aimlessly speculate. Descriptors like “septic field” and “zoo dumpster” were freely exchanged. This witch-hunt was on.
Poised, the job candidate didn’t flinch, but amidst the bustle the child had perked up; his disproportionate head was whipping around, trying to keep pace with his lack of attention span. The father, a mid-level data processor, returned, saw his confused son, and instantly connected the apparent dots.
Dad, already unlikable around the office, saw this abhorrence as a direct reflection of himself. Coworkers would undoubtedly remember that the fart-y apple doesn’t fall far from the garbage tree.
Panicking, the child frantically tried to shift the brunt of his father’s aggravation at this un-suppressible musk, though I’d sensed a history to this repertoire of suspected mistrust and denial. A contemporary parallel to “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” was unfolding within earshot, a rambling feud amidst a funk that lingered like a hot pepper that you just couldn’t wash down.
The rift between the two festered. Trust in their relationship had been again depleted. Today would surely serve as fodder for future arguments.
Any intervention would have implied my involvement; I simply stayed in my cubicle, diligently sweeping mines and eavesdropping on this anger fiesta. Some men just want to watch the world burn.