Wednesday, June 10, 2009

COLUMN: Bandits

I was getting a little scared about this week's column. A whole week had just passed without anything particularly interesting, amusing, and/or column-worthy going down in Shaneland. Inspiration was at an all-time low. Good thing, then, that this weekend I came under attack from bandits.

I spent my Saturday night the same way I have for the past 7 years: moonlighting in the District of Rock Island behind the turntables and CD players of 2nd Ave. That was where I found myself last Saturday, standing in the booth at 2 a.m. before a sea of writhing bodies. It was so packed, I had to have my own security guy up in the booth with me. I'd like you to think that he's there to fend off my groupies and/or prevent attacks from lesser-talented, bitter and jealous rival DJ's -- but really he's mostly just there to make sure caps are on straight and free-range groping is kept to a tasteful minimum.

That's when the bandit struck.

Now, this is a family newspaper, so bear with, because I have to choose my words here verrrry carefully. Hmm, how to best put it politely...? Okay, so, we can agree that human beings are mammals, right? And when our mammalian biology dictates that the byproducts of our consumption creates a mixture of gases in our digestive tract, it creates a scientific, all-natural, and family-friendly need to release those gases in a manoever we can best describe as a "tooter." Science goes on to tell us that the aforementioned necessity for tooting is oft exascerbated by dietary choices, such as, say, beans.

Let us now imagine a human being who has been raised for 21+ years on nothing but beans his or her entire lifetime. Beans for breakfast. Beans for lunch. Beans for dinner. Oh, and perhaps an in-between snack of lentils, onions, rotting cabbage, and the occasional roadside animal carcass. This person, whoever he or she was, was clearly in attendance at the Ave. on Saturday night.

It hit me like a sneak attack. I stand before you now to tell you that, in all honesty, I have never smelled anything worse in my life, not ever. Words cannot describe the pungency, if pungency is even a word. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm not here to gross you all out, but I'm pretty sure I could TASTE it. And just when my olfactory nerve regained its composure, it hit AGAIN. And again and again, with disturbing regularity. Trapped in my DJ booth, all I could do was hunt for my assailant.

Suspect #1 was my friendly security guard. He was clearly within nose-shot and didn't seem to be reacting to this terrorist attack in any way. But what was I to do? Recommend a good gastro-enterologist to this guy? This was a burly dude who could clearly kill me without breaking a sweat, and I was in no hurry to call him out as a closet tooter. After all, there exists a school of thought that says he who smelt it dealt it, and were I the dealer in this scenario, I would not be DJing - I would be SEEKING IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION.

Eventually, I couldn't take it any longer. I leaned over to my co-worker and, with tact and grace, politely inquired as to whether or not a large animal may or may not have been decomposing in his large intestine.

"Dude," he replied, "It's not me. I'd gladly own up to it if it was." Mmm hmm.

That leaves Suspect #2: any one of the fifty folks shaking their groove thangs in the vicinity of the DJ booth. Now, I'm no expert when it comes to dating, but I'm pretty sure that one of the key rules is, when trying to woo a member of the opposite sex, one should make a valiant effort to keep one's flatulence to oneself.

No one looked suspicious, and my comrade-in-arms was pleading his innocence non-stop. Apart from breathing through my mouth, there was nothing I could do but suffer and continue bringin' da noise while the stinky bandit kept bringin' da funk. I went home and spent the remainder of the morning resuscitating my sinuses.

The next day, my girlfriend stopped by in the morning with a basket of cookies on her way to church (umm, cough) and was about to leave when she suddenly stormed back into my apartment. "SOMEONE HIT MY CAR!"

Upon inspection, no one hit her car. Someone did, however, attempt to burgle it. Both exterior door handles had been pried off with -- I dunno, some kind of door-handle-prying-off implement. The cops showed up and dusted the car for prints while I reveled in my front row view of CSI: Rock Island.

"No prints," the officer eventually said, "But what IS this stuff all over the windows?"

I hadn't noticed - a Hardy Boy I am not - but on both side windows, almost where you could imagine the perpetrator leaning to gain door-handle-prying-off leverage, were some gross smears.

"It's greasy," the cop said after inspecting it. "Kinda like Vaseline."

"It's greasy," I said after inspecting it. "Eww."

Happily, our newly-found and apparantly overly-lubricated friend didn't get into the car. The bad news is that they got away. Clearly, I must have a new arch-nemesis hell-bent on new and exciting ways to totally gross me out. I beg of you, Quad Cities, if you're perchance at the grocery store and happen upon a comparison shopper in the bean aisle who may or may not be coated in Vaseline, do the right thing and unmask the Stinky Greasy Bandit once and for all. A grateful nation will thank you.

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