As far as I am aware, flatulence has only been the death knell of one relationship of mine.

[Incidentally, it’s still Betty here, covering for JonnyB, who is on holiday. Hello! Again!]

It was the last summer of drama school, weeks of rehearsals, performance and after-show parties topping off three years of sexual tension. All through May, June, July of that year it was hot. It was hot, we were all on heat and frequently we were steaming. It was like Fame (the movie, not the series, obviously) but with extra drugs, and a lot of tequila.

Barney was a boy on his way up. He was talented, too talented for our backwater drama school, and pretty to boot. For hours, we’d been flirting, gently, letting each wave of fluttering flattery wash gently against the shores of lust until we were almost fit to burst. But more than just wanting to rut, we seemed to be able to talk about anything, joke about anything, laugh about anything. Or so I thought.

Cheap red wine makes me fart.

Sorry to be blunt, but it’s a fact that’s going to come in handy quite soon in the story.

The night of our opening night party, we gorged ourselves on the complimentary falafel and red wine and lentil cake feast laid on by our wholesome director, and then we went home and were thoroughly unwholesome with each other.

In the morning, I rose silently, dressed , and, while he slept, stealthily prepared to go and fetch him something yumtious for breakfast. Approaching the door, I bent to pick up my shoes, and expelled, insidiously, a cloud of noious gas the size of Wolverhampton, and almost as foul smelling.

Panicked, I crept to his door, snuck out, leaned against the wall and prayed for the ability to turn back time, or at least the ability to suck air back into my bottom. I closed my eyes, and hoped it had not been as bad as it might, and perhaps he might sleep through. And then I caught the whiff of skunk mass-grave, and heard him wake. And gag.

I sneaked away. To the front door, and gone. I’d left nothing. No note, no message, no sign, just smell.

That night, approaching the theatre, I saw him standing outside, joking with the spearcarriers. I hurried past, head down, said nothing, face burning. All night, the same. He said nothing, and neither did I. And the next day. And the next.

By the weekend, it was almost as if nothing had ever happened.
I was putting the finishing touches to my face when the door of my dressing room opened quietly behind me.
I wouldn’t have known but for the soft squeak of the hinges. Then I remembered that the hinges didn’t squeak. Too late… and the powerful peff of putrified something filled the room.

Just think. We could have been something now, Barney, we could have had it all. We could have been Jude and Sienna, Kenneth and Emma, Tom Cruise and that woman that’s just had his alien baby. Instead we went fart for fart in the enclosed spaces of that provincial town.

We still move in the same circles, of course, and one day we’ll probably board the same lift en route to a big audition. I just hope, for both our sakes, that no one influential is in that lift. No one influential or easily nauseated.