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The Fart King · 17 October 2008

I probably remember more stories about Brook Moore (names have been changed to protect the innocent) than about anybody else from my childhood. As I already mentioned, we used to walk or ride our bikes to school together. We got into trouble together. And whenever I had somebody spend the night, it would always be Brook. He and I were the classic best friends. But to everybody else at Slater Elementary School, Brook was The Fart King.


To any boy under the age of fifty or so, being known as The King of anything is an awesome feeling. To be The Fart King is the ultimate! Boys and girls would bow in his presence to show their deference to The King. And, of course, because we all knew that farts rise. Most of the time.


Brook’s control of his farting was uncanny. Not only did he have the “pull my finger” trick down to an art form, he could literally fart on command. I believe he discovered that one day at football practice. We were in rows laying on our backs doing leg lifts and pounding our stomachs. With each thumping of his hand on his stomach, Brook let out a squeaker. I do not remember who was in the line of fire, but I think his helmet melted. Brook and I were in tears; we were laughing so hard. From that day forward, Brook just had to pound his stomach a couple times and out came the laughing gas.


Brook’s emissions truly were laughing gas. Or at least they had that effect. People would fall to the floor, grimace and groan, then laugh whenever Brook farted. It was like clockwork. Fart, grimace, groan, laugh. The proper girls did not have quite the same reaction. They just scrunched up their noses, went, “ew,” half-smiled, then either tried to wave it away or ran. Then we would laugh. Always.


We laughed especially hard when the girls ran away, because no matter where they would go, Brook could make the stink follow. He had that much control. That is why our friends liked to know where Brook was. Especially, after having beans at dinner. We knew we were pretty safe right near him except when he had no control of how much gas he had – like the day after chili night. On those days and others, even the teachers showed that they knew Brook was The Fart King.


When we were in the sixth grade, we had Miss Donahue for our teacher. She wore combat boots and most of the kids were afraid of her. By springtime, we had gotten to know and love Miss Donahue because she certainly knew and loved us. Even if she still showed that gruff exterior most of the time. On one particular day, we found out just how well Miss Donahue knew Brook.


Brook must have had chili the night before. He was passing gas like there was no tomorrow. Unfortunately, that day in class was a fairly quiet day. Not much moving around. Lots of silent reading and working on our own. Luckily, most of Brook’s farts that day were not too potent. Everybody could just wave them away.


Miss Donahue knew something was up that day. People would snicker and heads would hit the desks as people passed out from the gas or tried to keep from laughing. But Brook must have steered the farts away from the Miss Donahue. She gave us all her familiar suspicious look (one eyebrow raised and a sideward glance) at the little noises we made. But nobody got into trouble. I think that she just wanted to know why we were all so restless.


Now in Miss Donahue’s class, we did not get to sit in the same seats all day. We moved depending on what subject we were studying. When the jig was finally up, I happened to be sitting in the toxic zone – right behind Brook.


Everybody knew that I was a goner. When Brook farted all day he did not eventually get rid of it all. Instead, he had at least one huge explosion. Since the explosion had not yet happened, everybody knew it must happen soon because the end of the day was near. And so was my doom. Since Brook and I were closest to the drinking fountain in our room, I kept getting condolence pats on the back whenever somebody got a drink.


The room was silent when it finally happened. Brook let loose an SBD – Silent But Deadly. Almost as soon as the SBD was released, Brook was at the fountain. He was giggling as he drank; he had left me to die in my seat. Fortunately, I caught a faint whiff before I took a full breath. I immediately held my breath and raced for the drinking fountain before I passed out or died laughing. We were allowed only two people at the fountain at a time – a drinker and a waiter. I knew I had done a cowardly thing taking my spot as the waiter while others were left to their fates. Brook could only laugh into the water as heads slumped onto desks and bodies fell writhing to the floor. Miss Donahue had finally figured out what was going on that day but it was too late. Her last word before she fell to the floor gasping, came out loud and clear. It was a revelation and an accusation, “Moore!”

© 2008 Michael T. Miyoshi

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From Long Walks Home or Pee on Poo, Potty on the Shoe, unpublished.

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