John W Partington
suspend disbelief - have an adventure

A Theft in a Small Town

I can’t fart in a thong. I know that women aren’t supposed to flutter in public, especially not at a funeral, but I have gas. Last night was Taco Tuesday, and now I’m paying the price. It’s not that I can’t toot, but I didn’t want visible panty lines ruining the cut of my dress at my mom’s funeral. I wore a thong, and now my blow-hole is sealed with satin fabric. I wince as my stomach churns.

“Jessica, you okay?” Peter whispers to me, mistaking my gas pain as sorrow. I love my mom and am heart-stricken to see her depart, but I really have to pass gas.

“I’ll be fine,” I whisper back. “It’s a lot to take in right now.” I’m not even listening to what the priest is saying. I’m more interested in making sure my children don’t cause a scene. Chet is behaving very well, for Chet. He’s hunting earthworms in a freshly dug grave at the other end of the small graveyard. Normally it wouldn’t be allowed, but now is not the time to scream at my son to behave.

Ariel is standing a bit behind me and holding my hand. Her head is right at waist level. If I flutter, she’ll know right away. She’ll take it to the face, and it’s more than I can expect for her to keep the event to herself. She has a stunned look on her face. Granny Silver was her favourite grandparent and the last elder on my side of the family.

Peter’s parents are still alive, but quite frankly, are real jerks. They do all the family things: send a cheque on birthdays and Christmas, and visit twice a year. I could understand that if they lived on the other side of the country, or even four or five hours away by car. But they live in the next town over, on the other side of the big city. It’s less than an hour on the weekend, without traffic. When Chet was four, he stepped on their dog’s tail. It was a calamity, and I was told Chet was too much of a handful for proper visits. The dog has long since died, but we’re still not encouraged to visit.

Bree sighs with a deep yawn and then continues drooling out the side of her mouth. She’s strapped into the baby harness that Peter is wearing across his chest. She shakes as a whole-body hiccup contorts her frame. Then she smiles ever so sweetly.

“Did she just fart?” I whisper to Peter.

“You can’t smell it?” he asks back. I’ve got cover. If I squeak out a toot, nobody will notice over the baby’s gas. I clench up and try to release a silent bomb.

The priest pauses right at that moment, that moment of no return. What sounds like air escaping from a latex balloon squeals over the silent graves. Everybody stops listening to the sermon and looks at me. I do the only thing I can.

“Excuse you,” I turn to Peter. His eyes narrow, but he can see the plea in my face.

“Excuse me,” he repeats. “Taco Tuesday. We didn’t make the best dietary decisions given the events of the next morning.”

“Thank you,” I murmur.

“You owe me,” he mutters back.

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