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Tuesday, 22 April
Airborne Toxic Events

Eventually, every "comedy" writer finds himself here. It's embarrassing, but it happens to all of us. And here I am, like it or not. It's when, inevitably, you discover that you are writing about farts.

You all remember the Sedaris piece "Sassy Ass Blasts," right? Or Augusten Burroughs' "I Had Gas And Then I Drank Everything"? Even Woody Allen couldn't resist the siren call of flatulence, and that's why he made "Curse of the Jade Scorpion." (I assume that's what the movie is about, given that everyone immediately ran out of the theaters when it began to play.)

The other night, the wife and I were out at the Bar That Shall Not Be Named. Hang in here with me for a little bit while I set the scene.

We were there with some other regulars with whom we have become friendly. Friendly enough to get invited to parties to, you know, but not friendly enough to, say, swap partners. (Although one of them did relate an eye-popping story about taking two barflies home to have a fumbling threesome. Yay!) Anyway. We were all just hanging out shooting the shit, when . . . she came in.

Our bar, our precious bar, has been invaded. Her name is M., and she apparently hails from Baltimore. From what I understand, she comes from serious money. From what is also painfully clear, M. has not used this money to buy a personality, or interesting anecdotes, or a non-torturous mode of social interaction, or an ability to pick up on public cues that signal one's unwelcomeness into a personal conversation.

M. of course takes every chance she gets to intrude into our otherwise wonderfully sense-free bar talk. She also seems to have a crush on poor B., an affectless fellow who likes to drink whiskey with beer chasers and who otherwise resembles nothing so much as Droopy Dawg. On this evening, B. found himself next to M. at the bar, and then spent the next hour or so facing 180 degrees away from M. in a futile attempt to avoid her relentlessly inept advances. "I love olives," went one gambit. Nobody said anything for a while. B. tried valiantly to fold himself into his jacket, but only managed to tweak his sacrum.

M. is fireproof, you see. She is one of those people that you can actually be openly rude to, and she will blithely ignore your every futile attempt to signal your impatience with her inane prattle. More than once, she has interrupted a conversation to say something awesome such as "Say, I have feet!" or "How about magazines, you know?" and I have simply and wordlessly gotten up to go out and have a cigarette. And when I come back, she's still saying something like "And that's how I sucked off Morley Safer!" to a bar full of haunted souls helplessly staring into their drinks, mentally trying to force their way into an alternate M.-free universe.

She's so terrible that even the bartenders have commented on the M. phenomenon. In fact--I'm not making this up--W., tonight's bartender texted me just a few hours ago to tell me that she was there and that her chatter "would make your head explode." E. is another bartender at this place. Recently, he was heard to suggest to W. that he "fall on the grenade" and take her home, drunkenly fuck her, and then prodigiously shit the bed. It's this sort of hard-headed pragmatism that makes America great.

HOW DID WE GET HERE? Wasn't I writing about farts?

Oh, yes.

Back to the other night. We were all sitting around chatting, occasionally with loud, sense-free verbal blares from M., when all of a sudden . . . the odor. It crept into my nose like a clumsy thief coshing in a front door. I looked around the people surrounding me, studying their faces in that stupid way you do whenever you detect a fart, as if somebody would wear their shining fart-face proudly, or give you a gleeful thumbs-up, or could be found busily putting on a pin saying "I Totally Just Farted."

Ugh, I thought. Well, whatever. Nobody else gave any hint that they had noticed, as you do in polite company. I let it go by, and then found myself drawn into a lengthy dissertation about how M. enjoys having Scotch eggs shoved up her ass.

Time passed. And then it happened again. Another ghastly miasma enveloped our small group, and this time it was so woe-filled and dreadful that it was impossible to ignore; a few of us leaned in to one another and hissed, "Jesus fucking Christ, what the fuck is that?" E., for reasons still unclear to me, thrust his face at me and whispered, "Dude, was that you?"

HEY! First of all, are you kidding? I'm a smoker, for Christ's sake. I take all of my horrible smells outside. (Short story on my recent attempt to quit: I failed spectacularly.) Second of all . . . what? I don't have a history of gastrointestinal misbehavior, sir! "You fuck wild pigs," I informed him.

So what did this have to do with M.? Nothing, probably. It occurred to me later that she was as likely a suspect as anyone, but it wasn't as if I had proof.

And that's when I formed a diabolical plan. I don't want to reveal all the details, but I'm going to be eating a lot of sausage and drinking quantities of pickle brine. And I will visit our lovely bar as usual, and let things take their course.

Someone is about to become the bulldog.

Note: Comments are closed on old entries.


On behalf of Baltimore, I'm very sorry.

Comment number: 017279   Posted by: jwer on April 23, 2008 07:44 AM from IP:

I'm still in awe of the bartender's willingness to sacrifice his wang for the opportunity to take a dump on her sheets the following morning. The combo is deliciously evil and would no doubt be effective. On the other hand, if it didn't work and she continued to show up, imagine his disappointment as he realizes that all his screwing and shitting were for nothing.

Comment number: 017281   Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' on April 24, 2008 07:20 AM from IP:

How old is M.? The M. I know is about 65, boisterous, and completely unshuttupable. Annoying as hell, but colourful, I have to admit.

Comment number: 017282   Posted by: Jane on April 24, 2008 12:57 PM from IP:

How old is M.? The M. I know is about 65, boisterous, and completely unshuttupable. Annoying as hell, but colourful, I have to admit.

Comment number: 017283   Posted by: Jane on April 24, 2008 01:00 PM from IP:

Sausage and pickle brine, eh? I guess that might work. I've long harbored a fantasy about ingesting some concoction that would give me horrible, sewage-smelling gas, and then standing next to smokers in bars. BROPPPP! They would be enveloped in a disgusting, eye-watering miasma. "Dude! Do you have to do that here?" And I'd say, "No, but I enjoy it and if you have suffer because of it, then that's just too bad." Of course, my emissions would likely not be so pungent that smokers' clothes would reek of it after they left the bar, or so pungent that it would set off their asthma. But my point would still be made. However, I doubt the sausage and pickle brine would be as effective as my current plan: the latest celebu-tard fragrance.

Comment number: 017292   Posted by: AndrewPDX on April 28, 2008 05:47 PM from IP:

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