So I'm pulling a long day, up at 3.30am to get to the airport, pull a full day working in a different country, and head back to the airport for 6pm, just to get back to my bed late, late at night. A looong day. And there's nothing to eat the whole day but 'road food'.
Even the freaking business lunch that I've been looking forward to is in a low rent cafeteria due to refurbishments at the client's site.
I hold it together through the day, the occasional grumble silenced by fastidious willpower and an air of professional courtesy, but things are going badly for my guts by the time I'm waving goodbye and getting into the airport taxi.
Now I'm used to taxis where you sit in the back separated by a screen, but this is more of a private hire situation, and I'm up at the front with the driver. I'm actually irritated that I'm still holding back this storm of gas that's been building through meeting after meeting with no opportunity for release, but for propriety's sake I don't let rip next to the poor cabbie.
Turns out manners are a one way street. We've been driving about five minutes, and this terrible smell hits my nose. The cabbie has ripped one, I can't believe it.
My eyes are watering, and he just carries on talking about the weather like it hasn't even happened. I figure he's probably embarrassed so I don't say anything. But a couple of minutes later, another one. Bam. It's [censored] disgusting, I have to close my mouth because the air's thick enough you can basically taste it. But then I'm just breathing through my nose, which is helping nobody. It actually feels like it's burning me. My throat is closing up.
Above all, it seems so deeply unfair. I'm here maintaining some class, holding back a fart that could jumpstart a second universe, but I'm still breathing the same s***-gas as if I wasn't, courtesy of my filthy cabbie.
I think, [censored] it, if this guy goes in for round three I am releasing my demons and letting him take the blame.
We're five minutes out, and he parks another air biscuit. [censored] you, I think, and I do the deed.
It's perfectly executed. A silent release of a full day of pressure, every fart has been banked since 9am, and I'm cashing them all in with interest. It's a silent rush of hot air, compressed into ten seconds of pure release. I'm almost surprised you don't hear my rusty knothole slam shut when it finally ends. Mission accomplished. The perfect undercover fart.
I know what you're thinking. How did this go wrong? Didn't gamble and lose? Didn't let out a loud, incriminating trumpet? Didn't puke, or pee, knock his coffee into his lap or set off the passenger airbags? Nope. It all went according to plan. For a moment, I was proud of myself.
Then the smell hits. I have [censored] outdone myself. It's a devastating riposte to what has come before. It hits all the usual notes and adds a hint of burning rubber for effect. It's a spectacular crescendo of wrongful aromas. I can recognize every awful thing I've eaten all day in the mix. It's a fart so carefully matured it could have come with tasting notes, and they would have been one word in length: Don't.
Now let me tell you how this was a [censored] up.
The electric window slowly slides down next to me, and the cold air hits my face. The cabbie turns to me, with actual tears in his eyes, and says:
"I am so, so sorry."
"Uh... what for?" I ask innocently.
"That fart," he replies eyes wide open, as if it should be obvious. "I mean, Jeez, everybody farts, we're only human. But that... I'm just so sorry."
He leaves the windows down all the way into the airport, and gives me a discount on the fare.
All the red-eye way home, all I can think is "I stink so bad, I have made a cabbie apologize".