In 2000, I was working at the International Machine Tool show in Chicago.

We spent several weeks assembling our displays, the machine tools/robots take a lot of putting together. Anyway, it’s a sucession of 12-16 hour days, one after another, and the company feeds us in the AMTDA cafeteria. Mostly it was chicken. Chicken in gravy, chicken in one sauce or another, chicken in garlic butter. I’m fairly confident that the chicken was laquered before cooking, because no matter how much liquid surrounded it, the chicken always ended up dry inside.

After seven or eight days of dry, nasty chicken, I began to have some serious gas. Chicken farts are bad enough, but there was also broccoli, peppers, various cheeses, asparagus, cabbage.

Anyway, as this was during setup and not the show, I managed to keep most of the gas in areas where it was innocuous enough. Fart next to a diesel forklift, and nobody notices.

Opening day of the show, I’m there early. The show proper doesn’t open till ten, but I’m there at six, getting my parking place and setting up my demos. From the entrance of McCormack place to the main floor, is an escalator which ascends three normal floors. I’m standing on the escalator, and feel a powerful urge to rip, and glancing back over my shoulder to see nobody is following me up the escalator at this early hour, I cut loose.

The fart has a clear, oboe like quality to it’s tone, and it draws out loud and long, like a note carried on a musical instruement for the length of a large man’s lung capacity. It’s powerful too; I can feel it flutter the back of my Khakis. It finally wavers off near the end, and just as it does, (which must easily have been ten seconds) I hear (at WAIST level)

“JESUS CHRIST!!!”

I whirl to see that a guy in a WHEELCHAIR has followed me onto the escalator, his arms stretched forward hanging into the handrails, his wheelchair wheel perched precariously on the edge of the step. His face is scant inches from the Motherlode of Aroma. My casual glance over my shoulder didn’t catch his presence, and I never let a more potent (dry) fart in my lifetime. He maintains his death grip on the escalator handrails, because the slightest relaxation of his grip will send him plummeting backwards down a three story escalator. Meanwhile, he’s wrenching his head from side to side, trying to escape the onslaught of evil which now surrounds his head.

Nobody else on the escalator. Nobody else in the lobby. A perfectly good, functional elevator not ten feet from where the escalator departs. Why did this dipshit park it so close to my nether regions? They aren’t particularly pretty to look at.

One way or another, I debarked posthaste, and left him to flounder in the cloud of evil I left behind me. When i knew I was far enough away, I looked back to see a security guard walk by, sniff, and give the wheelchair bound guy a wide berth.