This is from my brief anthology of expired Craigslist “Rants and Raves” posts. The event in question did not happen, at least not exactly like this.
To the woman behind me in line at King Soopers (Boulder)
Last night, at about 10 p.m. at the Table Mesa store, you were in line behind me. I think it was register 9. I was dressed in a short-sleeve plain blue button-down shirt, olive-green shorts, and Tevas, and was sporting a tan and a spiky blond haircut that belied my 41 years on the planet. In short, I looked good for my or any age. Hot, even. But I was about to trash whatever grand impressions you had to have formed at a glance in a most miserable and incontrovertible way.Shortly after I had unloaded my purchases (a six-pack of 3.2% Budweiser beer, a jar of pickled eggs, some frozen crab cakes and several heads of cabbage) onto the conveyor belt, I was struck by the urge to release an unknown but not-insubstantial quantity of flatulence. The sensations of heat I was experiencing told me that this fart-to-be would be of the silent variety, as the temperature and volume of expelled flatus is — for reasons never explained to me — inversely correlated. And a corollary of the fact that loud farts very rarely stink is that those that to not register on the human auditory scale are typically off-the-charts noisome and rank. Nevertheless, I was confident that this eructation would be limited in scope and that the gases would disperse too quickly for you or the clerk to appreciate.
Oh, I was wrong. So wrong. I knew this within two seconds of birthing that hissing monster into the store.
I don’t know what I ate yesterday afternoon, but in any case, all three of us who were present at register 9 last evening paid a heavy price. It’s possible that the clerk honestly didn’t notice, as she kept up her stream of desultory chatter as she rang up my items with nary a wince. This, however, was not your fate. I had stupidly kept my hindquarters aimed in your direction as I committed this act of low-grade colonic terrorism, and there is no question that you were as overwhelmed with the atrocious small, a perplexing and toxic hybrid of maple-walnut ice cream, bacon bits, and vaginal secretions. I can only account for one of the three, but the human GI tract is a curious synthesizer.
Understanding that whatever smell I perceived was only one-tenth as awful as that inhaled by those nearby, I was immediately awash in piercing shame and embarrassment. To my thinking, what I had just done was no less rude than had I leaped onto the register, dropped my shorts, spread my cheeks inches from your face, and let fly with a flamboyant tuba blast of sharticles that, unfettered by clothing, would have peppered your pretty face with a coarse later of faecal matter to accompany the unholy stench. It was, as you know, just that bad.
To your credit, however, you did not react. When I chanced a glance backward as I made my way toward my pair of plastic sacks, you were calmly looking down into your canvas bag (oh, it figured that you would be environmentally conscious when I had just turned the establishment into a temporary Superfund site) and fetching your own purchases. When I departed, making every effort to give the appearance of a controlled saunter, you were still conscious, a situation I can only attribute to divine intervention.
All this, and to think I had been preparing to lightly hit on you. Such notions could not have been put to rest with greater force or finality, and moreover, I am so, so sorry.