My Online Prose Portfolio

"Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But always for money."
Louis Untermeyer


On Passing Gas

“Lori, do women fart?” my blind date asked me.

I looked at him. What the hell kind of question was that? I tried to think of something intelligent to say, and said, “What?”

“Do women fart?” Brad repeated patiently. “You know, a minor expulsion of air from the – ”

“Yes, I know what it is,” I snapped. I couldn’t believe he was asking me this. For a blind date, the evening had been going surprisingly well. Brad seemed like a nice, normal guy. Until now.

“Well?”

I had to tell him something. Maybe then he’s shut up. “Of course we do. Don’t be stupid.”

He paused, a thoughtful expression on his face. He asked, “Then why doesn’t anybody hear them?”

This was ridiculous. Here we were, sitting in a nice restaurant, and he asking about my bowels. Ironic, I guess.

“When we guys fart,” Brad continued, “we don’t care what kind of sound it makes. Hell, we don’t even care who hears it.”

“Because you’re guys. You’re not supposed to care.”

“Why not?”

“Cause men are pigs!”

“Oink, oink,” Braid said dryly.

I laughed, despite myself.

“Anyway, you didn’t answer my question. Why do women fart so quietly?”

The waitress saved me by setting a large bowl of corn chips and smaller bowl of salsa on our table. She asked for drinks, and I ordered an iced tea and Brad asked for a Coke. She left and Brad looked at me expectantly. No more stalling. “Well, we kind of feel the, um- it coming, and we sort of, well, pinch it off. So it makes no noise. There. Happy now?”

Brad leaned back in the booth, his finger tapping against his chin. “How do you pinch it off?”

“I don’t know, Brad. I can’t describe it. We just do. Okay? Can we drop this now?”

The waitress delivered our drinks and asked for our orders. I requested a burrito and enchilada combo platter, and Brad got tacos. “Could I also have a double side order of refried beans?” he asked.

The waitress nodded, looked at me worriedly, and left.

“Do they smell?”

That was it. Enough. I wasn’t going to answer this one. I munched on a corn chip instead.

“Did you hear me?” Brad pressed. “Do women’s farts smell?”

He wasn’t going to give this up, I realized with dismay. “I don’t know, Brad. I can’t speak for all the women in the world.”

“Okay, then what about your farts?”

“I can’t believe you’re asking me this.”

He frowned. “Is something the matter?”

It finally hit me. Talking about this was the same as talking to him about the weather. I made a mental note to kill Angie, who had set me up with Brad. “He’s a really nice guy,” she had told me. “You’ll like him.” Yeah, right.

“I don’t consider this very good dinner conversation, okay? Now can we please change the subject?”

He shrugged. “It’s just something I think about, that’s all.”

We sat in silence until the waitress delivered our plates. Warning bells clanged in my head when I saw Brad’s heaping plate of refried beans.

“I’m going to test your theory,” Brad announced. “I’ll eat all these beans, wait for one to come, and then try to pinch it off.”

I watched in morbid fascination as Brad eagerly shoveled beans into his mouth. What had I done to deserve this? Was Angie playing a cruel joke on me? Did she know that Brad was wacko?

Brad finished his beans and sighed. “Okay. Shouldn’t be too long now.”

“Can’t wait,” I mumbled miserably.

“I feel something! A little burbling in my stomach. This may be it.”

I threw my fork to the table. I couldn’t eat. My appetite was gone.

“Here it comes!” He raised himself from the booth, his face pinched in concentration. God help me, but I was listening for it.

I didn’t have to listen hard. The fart exploded like a cannon blast, turning every person’s head in the restaurant. I buried my face in my napkin and prayed for a quick death.

“Damn!” Brad exclaimed. “Wasn’t very quiet, was it? Have to try harder next time.” He seemed happily oblivious to the hostile stares of the other patrons.

There was a bright side. It didn’t smell too bad. The shotgun blast he fired off in the car on the way to my house, though, had me rolling down the window and gasping for fresh air. Just as I was closing my door on Brad and the awful night, I heard him yell, “Finally! A quiet one!”

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