A few years ago, my wife and I were invited to a wedding in Big Bear, a cluster of mountains two hours outside L.A. There’s snow in the winter and decent skiing. In the autumn, the turning leaves almost transport you to Connecticut (I’ve never been, but I have Google.) But regardless of the season, the best part of Big Bear is escaping the L.A. smog.
The brown, yellow gunk covers the city like a dirty blanket. My wife and I couldn’t wait to take in a lungful of clean mountain air. As we got halfway up, the euphoria nearly sent me driving off the cliff. I couldn’t help but smile. This was how a person was meant to breathe, deeply, without fear.
As we pulled into the tiny resort, Jess kissed my cheek.
“It’s so pretty,” she said.
She’d booked us one of the cottages. They looked like dollhouses for adults – a little pink porch, pink roof, and all sorts of flowers. They were cramped, but cute, lining the winding trails leading to the altar.
My wife had gone to school with the bride. Neither of us had met the groom, but if history was any guide, he’d be a hippie just like her.
Normally, my weak constitution for stink keeps me from attending events with more than two or three of the Patchouli clan, but this wedding was outdoors, high above the sea. No funk could possibly survive.
Little did I know that in forty minutes, the entire reception would have the farts.
Not little squeakers or booming belches. No, these were long, arduous, silent toots, which literally and figuratively took the wind out of you.
The first twinge struck just as the best man gave his toast. I fled to the bathroom. A pretty lady hurried out and I nearly collapsed in what she’d left behind. It wasn’t the worst I’d ever smelt, but it had density.
I couldn’t leave though. My fart was already here. It lasted so long I actually got bored. It’s a miracle I didn’t shit my pants, because my butthole stayed open longer than Macaulay Culkin’s mouth in Home Alone.
Later, I found my wife walking by the pond. She looked gorgeous and happy, tiptoeing the edge of the water. She’d been dreaming of of this getaway for months. We’d been struggling financially and this was our only chance at a vacation. I didn’t want to ruin it by telling her about my stomach issues, so I shut my mouth and walked into a wall of stink.
“Jesus! Jess, is that you?”
“I’m sorry. I just can’t stop farting.”
My eyes widened. “I can’t stop either.” It was like backpacking across Europe and finally running into another American. No longer lost and alone.
“That’s why I came here to the pond,” she said. “I couldn’t be around anyone.”
“What do you think it is?”
“I don’t know. Something we ate?”
I knew the culprit. It was the couscous, maybe the roasted Brussels sprouts.
“Do you think other people are…?” she asked.
I looked back at the party, the grimaces, crinkled noses, a few blissful smirks. All while the bride and groom shared their first dance.
“What do we do?” Jess laughed. “Are we just going to sit in farts all night?”
“I don’t know. I guess.”
“Then I’m getting drunk.”
And we did. We even stole a bottle of wine after the reception and headed for the pool. Jess turned on the timer and jumped in the hot tub with her dress. The jets were going full blast. I could hardly see her face through the steam.
“Get in,” she said.
I didn’t want to ruin my only suit, so I told her I’d be right back and headed to the dollhouse to get my trunks.
I accidentally passed out when I was changing.
Thirty minutes later, I woke, realized what I’d done. I ran through the forest picturing my wife dead, eaten by a bear or hacked up by some deranged mountain man.
Instead, I found her still in the hot tub. She was alive and the bubbles had stopped.
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