The gilded sign above the hotel read, “Welcome Guests” but if you ask me, the sentiment was wasted. None of us were happy to be back in this dump. The last time I was here, the air conditioner was busted, the roof leaked, and I caught a Tarantula. Not only did my suit case get wet, but now every time I try to sleep I’m afraid I’m going to wake up to something from Arachnophobia crawling around on my face. Welcome indeed.
The bus rolled into the parking lot at 5 a.m. We left after our last game, traveling all night, riding in our minor league limo for eight hours. The sun was trying to break through the sky but I wasn’t in the mood for my day to start yet so I put my sun glasses on. Eyes hurting, head disconnected, I stepped off the bus with the complete confidence I looked as bad as I felt. My hair was reminiscent of Doc Brown and my collared shirt, the one team policy requires I wear to appear professional, looked like I just took it out of my wallet.
As tired as I was, the worst part was the terrible taste in my mouth.
One of the guys on board, a gentlemen forbidden by team rule to eat beans, ate beans. I can’t say it was his fault. The meal we had before leaving the last town was Chipotle burritos, and in the excitement of getting the trendy Mexican meal, we lost track of our bus trip diet laws. We filled our tummies, he downed his beans, and onto the bus we went oblivious to the storm that was brewing.
Now, he-who-shall-not-eat-beans is no ordinary gas passer. Other guys on the team pass gas, but this young man, well, lets just say his toots are on par with the stuff Godzilla uses to blast Japan. And he sits right behind me.
Usually, the veteran traveler can detect the early warning signs of a Fartzilla attack. Fartzilla’s face will tense up and turn a slight red. He’ll twist in his seat, squirming for the right angle. Then, a wicked smile will curl across his lips and he’ll sigh with delight—Fartzilla enjoys the power he wields.
I am sure all the warning signs were there, but I was asleep. It’s rare for me to sleep on the bus. I can never get comfortable in those unforgiving coach chairs. When I do nod off, it’s only a matter of time before I drool on myself or feel my head smack against the window thanks to some bump in the road. Tonight however, fate smiled on me and I was peacefully snoozing, my head careened back, mouth wide open, sucking air like your Grandpa does when he falls asleep after Matlock.
Silently, Fartzilla took this opportunity to perch atop the seats and angle his cannon over my head. Onlookers were remarkably quiet, containing their giddy, kindergarten laughter as Fartzilla bombed my open mouth with a chemical weapons grade gas attack, point blank. Mouth gaping, I sucked it in and before I could exhale, I woke up gagging and choking. I know this because someone took video of it on their cell phone. God bless technology.
Fartzilla bellowed with delight as I dry heaved. The aroma spread fast and soon the whole bus was full of the stink and everyone could smell it, though I was the only one who could taste it. Cries of anger and disgust echoed from the rest of the team. Those who were also woken from sleep cried, “Holy mother of god, who did that!” “Dirk, you all right man? You’re pale as a ghost! Do you need your inhaler?” Muffled shouts continued from heads covered with shirt collars.
As the radioactivity died down, the boys made a trip back to “thank” Fartzilla for making the bus smell like a sewer by punching him. This turned out to be a bad idea. The blows to his stomach made him tense up and…
The second volley sounded like a log going into a leaf chipper or a long clap of thunder. Its hard for me to recall exactly what happened, at point blank I was stunned and went temporarily blind. I am still trying to get the smell out of my clothes. The muffled cries resumed, “O my gosh, did you just tear your pants?” Thus began the cycle of gas and violence. Suffice to say, I didn’t get much sleep.
Thank goodness we made it to the hotel. Now I just had to lumber into my room and hope for a spider free night. Maybe the smell would act as a repellent?
When I got to my room, I did so in anxious anticipation of fresh, cool, oxygen. I was unsettled to find the air conditioner was still broken. My dreams of hibernating under a thick, fart resistant, tarantula-proof, shell of blankets were dashed. This was not the fairy tale ending to my less then ideal bus trip. I was going to have to choose: sleeping defenseless to avoid the heat, sleeping in fart encrusted clothes to avoid Tarantulas, or sleeping under fresh smelling blankets and sweating to death.
I don’t remember anything about this when I signed my contract.