Jason Kornblatt strikes again, this time with gas. -CL
I walked to the bank last Tuesday - a rare occasion for me, which occurs only with the perfect alignment of certain events. Not only must I actually have money to deposit and bills to pay, but also there must be a total lack of anything else to do. And, of course, the sultry, hawk-nosed, raven-haired and nightingale-voiced cashier, Sheryl, must be working.
I had been taken with Sheryl ever since that first time I came into the Green Acres branch of the HSBC. She had explained to me, patiently, the benefits of opening a checking account with a savings account and a second, "Super back-up" savings account. Of course, I took everything; even the personalized, Scoobie-Doo checks she displayed in alluring slow-motion with her conspicuously ring-free hand.
The next time I came in (to pay a bounced check), Sheryl was there to admonish me with a head-tilt and a wagging finger. It made me think of sex. I was hot and unable to leave her cashier's window for fear of public embarrassment.
Sheryl seemed amused by me for the first few months, though when my inability to speak to her in complete sentences persisted, she seemed to lose interest. On a subsequent bank trip, I tried smoking pot, to calm down. This just made me paranoid and red-eyed and Sheryl didn't seem to get the jokes that made me giggle.
I tried other solutions. But nothing worked. Imagining her naked was out of the question and my street-bought Pheromone cologne seemed to make some of the other customers gag. Eventually, I was forced to realize that Sheryl and I had settled into nothing more than acquaintances. I pretty much stopped banking altogether. I started using my ATM card and tried to forget.
That was in July. By January, I had almost erased her from my mind. However, with Valentine's day fast approaching, I began to think more and more of Sheryl. Was she dating? Had she sold anymore Scooby Doo checks? Eventually, I decided I loved her. And before I let all my old hopes and dreams go down the drain, I would make my stand. I would make it today! On Valentine's day.
I entered the bank with purpose. Once inside, I approached the center-island where a kindly looking, elderly lady was filling out some forms, perhaps trying to obtain a loan to pay for some type of plastic surgery. She was fairly shriveled and vacant looking, smelling faintly of beets, and did not at all show any sign of what she was about to do.
Craning my neck to look for Sheryl, I grabbed a pen from the island, nearly snapping the beaded chain, which valiantly attempts to prevent theft of company writing utensils. It wouldn't have been my first time. As I bent over at the waist to begin filling out my deposit slip, I paused, considerably surprised to hear a loud, painfully long and somewhat spluttery release of air. My eyebrows arched. I took stock of myself. It wasn't from me which these discordant sounds emitted, of that I was certain. Yet if not me, then who? It became clear to me that the old lady next to me had farted.
As I looked to my right, I saw the culprit trying to remain totally oblivious, as if she were just another horse in the field, wondering why the rest of us weren't going on and lazily chewing our hay.
My eyes met Sheryl's as I tried not to laugh. Amazingly, I could sense from the way her eyes shot away from mine in horror that she thought it was me who had perfumed the store. And She wasn't the only one. The customers glanced quickly and giggled. The security guard's hand twitched nervously over his gun. Even the old lady seemed now to be eyeing me suspiciously, covering her tracks and blaming me as I before have blamed a conveniently placed dog.
Now, I like old people. Don't misunderstand. They're cute and cuddly and it's fun to wheel them around in hospitals. But imagine how I felt as I took my deposit slip up to the normally attractive Sheryl, whose cheeks were now puffed out and crimson, as she held her breath against the gaseous onslaught of the remains of stewed beets she believed had until recently belonged solely to me. I don't even like beets! Sheryl should have been able to sense that.
And yet how could I clear my name? It's quite rude to say, "Hey, y'know that farting, loss of bowels sound? That wasn't me. That was the almost dead lady over there." I tried to make small talk instead, but all Sheryl would do was nod or shake her head, even when I asked her where I could get a good sandwich.
I began to feel guilty, almost as if I had actually done it. I looked at the old lady, pleadingly. She ignored me and held her nose. I was torn. Should I act? But, I mean, the decrepit beet eater looked like she could go at any time. What if this was her last fart ever? Let her go down remembered for the good things I say. You don't want people reminiscing her at a funeral, whispering, "ah, Elizabeth. She was a great lady. And gassy, too." I'm young. I can always start a new life in another town, or another country.
Any chance with Sheryl was gone. I could see that now. As I walked away from the bank, my eyes fixed on the bleak future, I began to see the old, untied balloon's philosophy. `Just let them go. For tomorrow we die.'