It’s the Saturday night before Valentine’s Day and the Bistro is packed with couples who couldn’t get a reservation for Monday’s cupidinal shakedown party. All the tables are two tops. It’s loud. It’s crazy. Smelling revenue, Fluvio has ’em packed in like sardines.

I’m standing in the small space between two tables telling a couple the specials when I feel a rumbling deep in my stomach. Damn. I knew I shouldn’t have had that farro and red bean soup at the start of shift.

As I’m mindlessly reciting the specials I feel a bolus of gas materialize at the entrance of my large intestine. It can’t seem to decide if it wants to travel north or south. After teasing me for a minute it plunges downward.

Uh oh.

I feel a sharp pain in my gut. I wince in pain. If you’ve ever had bad gas you can relate.

“Waiter, which Chardonnay is the most oakey in flavor?” my customer asks innocently.

“Try the special Chardonnay from California. I think you’ll like it,” I reply in a strained voice. I’m grateful the ambient noise is overwhelming the tectonic sounds of activity in my GI tract.

“Hmmmm,” she says gazing at the wine list.

The gas cloud has worked its way through the small intestine. Things are going from bad to worse.

“What about the Italian chardonnay?” she asks.

“Not oakey,” I grunt. I can’t speak in complete sentences now.

“Just give me a sec,” she says scanning the extensive list.

I have to fart – NOW.

I run through my options. I could make a break for the door – but that would be rude. I could just let it fly but in cramped quarters that could be disastrous. I try and remember if the Yuppie behind me ever stiffed me on the tip.

“Ok, we’ll have the Sauvignon Blanc,” the customer pronounces.

“Very good madam,” I acknowledge. I grab the wine list from her hand and make a beeline for the door.

I barely make it outside when nature takes it course. The resultant explosion is so loud it startles a man walking across the street. He looks over at me. I try and look casual.

When the pedestrian rounds the corner I dive back inside the restaurant with an evident look of relief on my face. I run over to the computer, enter the order, and duck into the kitchen.

I grab a box of baking soda off the shelf and mix some into a glass of water. Poor man’s Alka Seltzer.

“Feeling all right?” Louis, our token gay waiter, asks.

“Oh man, I have some bad gas. I thought I was gonna fart at the table.”

“I hate when that happens,” he replies sympathetically.

“That would deep six a tip for sure,” I continue.

“It’s not like you can pass it off on someone else,” Louis muses.

“Right,” I say, greedily drinking my homespun medication.

Then out of nowhere Louis says, “You know I’ve this recurrent fantasy that I’m wearing an adult diaper, Depends or something, and I just pee in my pants while taking a table’s order.”

I laugh so hard sodium bicarbonate spews out my nose.

“Just pee.”

Convulsed with laughter I steady myself on the counter. “That’s so fucked up,” I exclaim.

Egged on by my response Louis adopts a bad French accent, “And how would madam like her steak cooked? Oh! Pardon moi for a second.”

He stares up at the ceiling for a minute.

“Ah,” he exhales.

I’m on the floor in hysterics.

“Ok Madam, would you like the steak rare or medium rare?”

Louis’ adolescent age regressive Monty Phytonesque toilet humor is priceless sometimes.

“I’m glad you didn’t go number two,” I remark, my laughter subsiding.

Louis grabs his pants and starts adjusting them like he’s uncomfortable. “Oh man! Mommy! I made something for you!”

We’re laughing so hard Fluvio comes in the kitchen to shut us up.

“What’s so funny?” he asks.

We tell him.

Fluvio smiles, shakes his head, and runs away. Louis and I go back to work.

If the customers ever knew what we talked about – they would never stop throwing up.

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