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The Day I Should Have Waited

I would love to be able to say that the next few minutes you’ll spend reading this will be the most worthwhile time you’ve spent this year, but if I’m being honest, I could also very easily say that it could be the biggest waste of time.

And, as much as I’d love to entertain you with an extraordinary post on writing and/or the creative process, I can’t. This afternoon, something happened to me that I can’t seem to shake off. I’m hoping that by sharing it here, I will finally be able to leave it in the past and move on.

You’ve been warned.

You see, it all started this afternoon at the bank. I was needing to make a deposit. I pull into the parking lot and noticed that the ATM line was super long. So, for once, I decided to go into the bank.

As I walked in I notice there was only one teller working, but I wasn’t too worried about that, since there were only two other people in line ahead of me.

I took my place at the back of the line. An older woman (maybe 60s) was in front. Behind her was an older man. Though I can only see the back of him, I can tell he is a mature man, well into adulthood. His dirty jeans were held up by faded belt. He was wearing a flannel and an orange vest (kind of like Marty McFly’s vest in Back to the Future).

As I stood in my place patiently, I suddenly caught a whiff of something that resembled rotting cheese. My nose crinkled as I looked around to see if any one else was bothered by this and noticed that the woman in front was being called up to the teller, leaving the man and myself alone in line. The smell dissipates with her departure and I thought Could that woman have passed gas?

And then, I was hit with it. A stink so thick that it wrapped around my body like a wool coat dipped in molasses. What the hell? I looked to the man in front of me and watched as he adjusted his pants. Could this man have unleashed a stench so vile that I struggled to stand straight?

I subtly coughed into my hand, waving the air in front of my face trying to grasp a small wisp of fresh air. The man looked slightly over his shoulder at me and chuckled.

Seriously? You’re going let loose the most noxious gas since the dawn of chemical warfare and laugh about it?

As offended as I was, on many different levels, nothing prepared me for what happened next. As we stood in line, waiting for our turn (which at that point couldn’t come fast enough), I heard the man grunt under his breath. My eyes widened as I saw him lift one hip up, bringing his leg just a little higher than the other, and froze as I heard the smallest pffft ripple from underneath his worn jeans.

I tried to not laugh (as I was completely disgusted), but I just couldn’t help myself. I mean, who does that? In public? To a stranger?!

And then, the assault came.

With a wall of funk thicker than the mold in a forgotten jar of pasta sauce left in the fridge, I found myself struggling to hold my breath without breathing in too deeply, knowing that it was imperative for survival. I took a step back from the man, though it’s very possible that the stench itself had literally pushed me back. With a limited air supply, I couldn’t hold my breath any longer, and at that moment realized that I needed air.

I didn’t want to, but I’d be damned if I would let that man’s gas destroy me. I closed my eyes and inhaled.

I knew it would be bad.

What I didn’t know  was that I would be immediately taken to the eighth level of hell. A foul cocktail of bleu cheese wrapped in raw fish served with a side of gangrenous flesh, the man’s fart was quite possibly the worst thing I’d ever encountered. Ever.

My God, man! What did you eat!?

My eyes watered. I staggered a few more feet back. I felt queasy…a little dizzy. Was this how it was going to end? 

Through my blurry vision, I noticed that the man had been called up to the teller and was leaving promptly. Using the velvet rope between the posts as my guide, I found the strength to feel my way back up to the front of the line. The “silent but deadly” lingered.

Just then I felt the presence of someone else. I turned to look. A young guy wearing a college sweatshirt was standing behind me.

“My God,” he said, bringing his sweatshirt up to cover his nose and mouth, giving me an offended look.

I was about to protest, to tell him it wasn’t me, that it was that man over there….

But, the man had left. He was gone. The teller was calling me next.

So, I did the only thing I could do. I took the blame. I shrugged my shoulders, gave a sheepish smile, and walked up to the teller.

I think I’ll wait for the ATM from now on.

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