"Children, behave!" screamed Mrs. McGowan. But she'd already lost control of the class. It all started when Scott Headley turned a stunning shade of red seconds before ripping a loud one during the midst of a threat-induced silence. The entire class probably believed they would remain silent until that pre-holiday break dismissal but no child can resist the siren call of the wind. Like it or not farts is funny.
It wasn't just a fart, mind you, this was an epic, echoing emission that featured an engaging structure similar to a short play. There was a defining beginning, an entertaining middle and a climatic finish. It varied in tone and pitch. It was operatic, covering at least a full octave. Those within a few feet of Scott would later claim that this fart might have had an epilogue as Scott's bowels slowly recovered from the taxing affair.
This was an experience for all the senses. It was long enough in duration to attract the eye and those who had a clear view of Scott could see his large body lifted on a small cushion of air. At least they hoped it was air. Of course there was sound, so much so that the echoes charged through the door, down the hallway and bounced off the single-pane windows at the front of the building. The rumors that the vibration was detected by the U.S. Geological Survey in Ashtabula are probably untrue, but those in the classroom felt its presence.
Mrs. McGowan heard it and went to her grave believing it was not flatus at all but a juvenile sound effect perpetrated for the sole purpose of ruining her holiday. And ruined it was for all she could think about was getting even with those horrible children in Mrs. Schaub's homeroom and maybe getting even with Schaub as well; after all it was her untimely absence that forced that unruly mob on her. McGowan was so angry she quit teaching and became a police officer in the hopes she would be able to shoot children and that's where she met her untimely demise, but that's another story for another time.
Had Mrs. McGowan stayed in the room instead of slamming the door and storming away, she would have realized that it was real. A strange aroma of eggs and bologna wafted through the air giving everybody pause. The smells were so distinct and recognizable the entire class first wondered if they were unrelated to the rectal release...perhaps somebody had opened up a lunch box. Then an odor that seemed to emit from whatever level of hell sweaty socks and dirty diapers are sent to crept into unwary nostrils and almost everybody threw up in their mouths a little.
Only one student was spared the horrifying aroma that seemed as though it would cling to everybody for decades to come. In fact, Chad DeVaughn developed an obsessive compulsive disorder linked to the experience that drives him to shower no less than four times each day. To this day, at 40, Chad can't hold down a job because nobody wants to work with somebody drenched in Old Spice. It's the only cologne strong enough to mask the imaginary smell Chad believes is now embedded in his DNA.
One student, Fred Debord, was spared the smell but, moments after the last nose suffered the consequences of going to school that day, Fred suffered the cruelest fate of all. Fred had allergies. Not the fake allergies so many people claim to have so others fawn over them and ruin entire dinner recipes on their behalf, but actual allergies. Fred suffered from chronic nasal congestion and always had a concretion of boogers preventing public access to his nose. The mucus was so thick and dense that it looked like somebody had packed each nostril tight with yellow Play-Doh. Fred was a mouth breather.
At first he thought it was funny. He might have thought it ironic but as an eighth grader he had only just begun to see that word in context and didn't quite understand its complex meaning. If he really understood irony he might have held his laughter because he would have known that sometimes irony keeps on twisting. This time it twisted right back to him and he got to experience Scott's assault on the last of the senses: taste. Due to the embarrassing nature of public emissions, it's not hard to imagine a fart making somebody cry. It happens everyday. A person might not realize that the gas is there but then they reach for a folder in a meeting and out comes flatus. What do you do? Nobody knows until it happens to them. It's like asking what you would do if you were stranded on a desert island. The possibility seems so remote none of us ever really fathom it. But farts happen a lot more often. Sometimes the farter is reduced to tears while the fartees laugh uncontrollably. Tears of laughter don't count as crying. Even so, farts rarely cause true physical anguish.
Most eighth graders have no idea what mustard gas can do. Those soldiers who survived the attacks in the trenches of World War I never recovered from the horrific images of people writhing in pain as the gas slowly sucked the life out of them. Nobody died the day that Scott broke wind but when the molecules of that heinous compound bonded with the enzymes in Fred's saliva the class was witness to one of the most pitiful displays of human suffering anybody could ever imagine.
One second Fred was laughing, in that wheezy way mouth breathers laugh, enjoying a rare moment of coming out on top. His boogers had saved him. Then his eyes widened and he clamped both hands over his mouth desperately trying to prevent what had already started. Then he gagged. The combination of laughter and revulsion in the classroom turned into horror as Fred heaved and coughed so forcefully it seemed as though he might turn inside out. His compacted boogers oozed from his nostrils like thick worms and tears squirted from his eyes. He fell to the floor, writhing and gagging and crying trying to force the toxic stench from his palate.