Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Seventeenth One: Mt. Saint Helens

We’ve all been there.

You’re in a public place. Or semi-public. It doesn’t really matter. The point is that there are people around and you cannot do certain things. You should not be investigating any mucus-based blockage in your nostrils. Touching your genitals, even if it’s a simple readjustment matter concerning comfort, is verboten. And by no means should you loosen the control valve when it comes digestive gaseous buildup.

You just don’t do it.

So there I am, trapped in the workplace, on the one day when everybody on the planet reported to the office for some ungodly reason. And here it comes, a gas bubble the size of Tucson working its way through my system. Great.

I really don’t know how this happened. I didn’t recall having anything particularly toxic during lunch. I’m sure it was something from the company cafeteria. We rarely have time to actually leave the building because upper management toys with our lives at any given opportunity (hate them, by the way), so I’m sure I schlepped my way through one of the industrial bread lines for nourishment.

Anyway, it’s mid-afternoon, and the grumblings begin. At first I ignore the signs, assuming that I can just discreetly belch here and there and life will be good. But then things quickly start expanding like I have a leaf blower up my ass.

Oh dear.

Now, most folks would just quietly slip off to the restroom and set themselves free. I’m not really able to do that. I can pee on cue in front of anybody. No problem there. But when it comes to products from the other recycling portal, I slam shut. I don’t know what may have happened in my childhood that led to this issue, but I simply can’t toot in a general admission arena. Even in a facility expressly designed for such relief.

Can’t do it.

So I suffer through the afternoon, alternating between bouts of severe pressure and those misleading moments where you think the gas has been routed somewhere else in your body and you just might survive. The body is a wonderland of chutes and ladders.

Finally, it’s the end of the day. People are heading out in droves, laughing and chatting, happy to be free for the next few hours. I curse every one of them as they clatter by me, willing them to move faster. Because I’m fully aware that the mere act of movement could lead to personal tragedy, and I want the witness pool cut down to nothing.

When it’s down to just me and the cleaning staff left on the entire floor, I make my move. I race to the exit stairwell, purposely avoiding the elevators so there are fewer potential workmates that want to talk about politics. This is an old and decrepit stairwell, people don’t use this thing unless there are no other options. Surely I’m safe.

I throw open the door to said stairwell, and make an assessment. Even with the voracious rumblings from my intestines, I can tell that you could hear a pin drop from the upper floors. There is no one else in the entire building using this flight of stairs.


I launch myself forward, conquering flight after flight. Stupidly, I have parked on the lowest level of the parking garage. But I think I can make it. I just need to be quick about it.

Two floors from my destination, the gas bubble can no longer be denied. He wants out, and he wants out NOW. I weigh my options, and decide that surely, in a deserted stairwell, the risk is minimal. I send the signal to launch.

And right at that moment, I hear doors on every level above me slam open, and hundreds of people are pouring into the stairwell. What in gay hell? How can this be happening?

I send a secondary signal to abort the launch. But it’s tough going, there’s a lot of union employees complaining about the change in plans and they are not happy and want to talk to their union steward before complying. Damn them. I’m sweating and moaning and can’t breathe.

Cramping, I’m just one floor away from freedom. Sadly, this stairwell is a twisty one, where you have six steps, then a right turn, six more steps, another right turn. You get the picture.

And it’s on one of these turns, leaping through the air, that I lose all bodily control.

It’s ground zero.

In another place and time, I would have been quite proud of the enormous power unleashed out of my ass at that moment. But it was not the right time. Nor the right place.

The noise of the thunderclap shot upward, bouncing off the concrete walls and intensifying during the journey. I’m sure that ears were bleeding by the time my ass product worked its way to the upper levels.

There is total silence after my rolling thunder dissipates, everyone slamming to a halt as they process what they have just heard.

Then a lone country voice: “Well, gawd damn."

I throw myself over the stair railing and plummet to the bottom level. I rip the door open and race to my car, tires squealing as I floor it to get out of this hell.

I call in sick for the next three weeks. I have plastic surgery to disguise my face, arrange to have my name legally changed, and I petition the government to allow me asylum on an island that no one has discovered yet.

Fiber kills, people. Believe it.


  1. OMG, you have one up on Mt. Saint Helens. As Don Cornelius from Soul Train would say "... and you can bet your last money, it's gonna be a stone gas, honey!

  2. rofl have I taught you nothing? GAS-X

    put it in your mouth, throw back a bottle of water, and you're good to go in 2.8 seconds


    still rofl