What happened next... well, I'm going to blame it on the fact that I was scared. And I had just flown or fallen or something through about eighty years worth of Time. Or maybe it was the beans. I farted. I farted loud enough that it echoed around the small closet, bounced off all four walls and finally escaped through the open door. At least that's what it did in my mind's eye.
I thought, What a miserable life he's had, having to hide his religion, his name, just to get a job as a driver-and he is a good driver, no question of it, a far better one than I will ever be.Part of me wanted to get up and apologize to him right there and say, You go and be a driver in Delhi. You never did anything to hurt me. Forgive me, brother. I turned to the other side, farted, and went back to sleep.
She was dry. She was lying on something soft. She was wrapped in quilts. There was a star of light drifting above her, and a smell like a herb garden. Taggle was a long warmth stretched out at one side, his chin in her hand, his tail curled over her neck. She thought they might be in heaven. Taggle farted. Plain Kate coughed and sneezed. And then she really was awake.
Remember when only a few people had mobile phones. Generally regarded as an object of derision, you would occasionally see business types clutching those ridiculous grey bricks to their faces and mutter to yourself 'what a prick.' Nowadays, an eyebrow hardly even flutters when we see a ten-year-old child happily texting away. You probably wouldn't notice anyway; you'd be too busy downloading an app that could definitively pinpoint who it was that had just farted in your tube carriage.
We had a teacher, named Mr. Brown, and he was writing something on the board once - he was writing something on the board, and he farted. And you would have thought kids had seen the face of God. Kids weren't even laughing; they were just sitting there screaming, just screaming. Kids had to get carted out; kids were screaming. Kids had to get carted out, and they were going to the nurses' office. Kids are crying in the hallway. 'Oh, this is our 9/11.' And it was. It was their 9/11 'cause they never thought anything like that could ever happen.
Yes, an actual full-sized camel. If you find that confusing, just think how the criosphinx must have felt. Where did the camel come from, you ask? I may have mentioned Walt's collection of amulets. Two of them summoned disgusting camels. I'd met them before, so I was less than excited when a ton of dromedary flesh flew across my line of sight, plowed into the sphinx, and collapsed on top of it. The sphinx growled in outrage as it tried to free itself. The camel grunted and farted. 'Hindenburg, ' I said. Only one camel could possibly fart that badly. 'Walt, why in the world-?' 'Sorry!' he yelled. 'Wrong amulet!' The technique worked, at any rate. The camel wasn't much of a fighter, but it was quite heavy and clumsy. The criosphinx snarled and clawed at the floor, trying unsuccessfully to push the camel off; but Hindenburg just splayed his legs, made alarmed honking sounds, and let loose gas. I moved to Walt's side and tried to get my bearings.