Baldassare Cossa's short stories
THIS IS A TRUE STORY
"The most unsociable man in the world with the most horrendous farts in the world"
There was once a man who was so unsociable that when he hurled insults at those who bid him good day or 'fine evening sir!' they smiled in amusement rather than felt offended. This man, everyone believed, was truly the most unsociable man in the world and nobody ever saw him smile. Not once not for any reason did he ever smile but instead his expression remained fixed in a permanent scowl. Never did his face or eyes brighten with any ounce of happiness or glee for any reason no good news or atmosphere of good spirits could ever evoke a pleasant expression from him.
This man, known as old Starkey, would go to his local bar, or any pub that suited him and for the entire evening stand alone, staring into the mirror at his own reflection glaring angrily at his own cold and bitter eyes, his lips permanently curled downward and his mouth in a slight 'o' that said "don't even think about coming near me". Old Starkey's cheeks were crimson red with high blood pressure, and permanently swollen as if he was blowing a balloon, yet sagged downward like an old sack of potatoes, thanks to the curling of his lips in permanent scowl. Never once did this facial expression change in the decades he was known.
When bid "It's a fine evening tonight!" Starkey would coldly reply, with a wry sideward gaze "and what??? What are you telling me for??? What's it got to do with me or you for that matter? Get to fuck out of my way man! Quit talking to me!" And his victim would return to his friends, smiling and shaking his head exclaiming "nope! I still haven't managed to get him to smile or have a pleasant conversation!" And all would laugh at this unsurprising failure.
Besides his lack of sociability, Starkey was also notorious for dropping the most horrendous farts humanly possible. Farts so stinking they could clear an entire bar everyone running in every direction, both to the toilets and outside through every door, to heave and vomit and flee the stench of his flatulence. When he emitted these farts, his facial expression never changed, nor did the direction of his gaze, nor did his body move. He did not even stick out his arse and tense a little, or grimace, as many of us do when launching a good fart. He certainly did not smile or chuckle as most normal human beings do when evilly dropping a fart in a busy bar. Sometimes he would deliberately take a few steps backwards, towards a group of victims, and silently launch his biochemical weapon, but even then he was still as a statue other than the footsteps he took. As people lamented, roared, complained, choked, coughed and vomit here, there and everywhere all around him old Starkey remained calm and still, permanently gazing into his own eyes, from the reflection in the mirror. Those eyes as bitter and black as coal resting on winter snow.
One evening, Starkey was in a small quiet bar, filled with around seventeen elderly people, all old retiree couples and friends enjoying a quiet drink. Starkey launched a silent and deadly fart. Within minutes, seven of the old people had to hirple and limp to the toilets, where they vomited horrendously, one taking quite ill and requiring an ambulance be called. The other ten rushed as fast as their stiff old legs could take them to the front door of the pub, where outside they vomited and heaved helplessly all over the doorstep and pavement. None could continue their drinks and had to return home for the evening totally emptying the pub. The barman himself had to go out to the back, where he vomited his guts up, and returned in a fury barring Starkey from the pub for life.
Many times Starkey did this in many bars launching his silent farts, clearing the bar, causing many people to vomit. He even did it in the back of his Church, which as you can imagine, caused quite a stir. Starkey's farts were for the most part utterly silent and one young man was amused to have finally heard a fart one evening, such that he bragged to his friends "I heard Starkey fart! I actually heard the fart!" And when asked about Starkey's actions the young man continued "nope, he didn't move, didn't budge an inch, nor show the slightest facial expression". Starkery was finally banned from visiting most bars in his town, for many years, and when he was permitted to return he was soon banned again. Always he caused people to vomit, or even emptied entire pubs sometimes up to 100 people with a single fart. It was said his farts smelled something like a dead rat rotting in a blocked sewer. Others would just say "like a blocked toilet" or "like a dead animal of some kind" or perhaps "rotting meat turned green with decay". There were no words to describe the horror of the stench. But a mix of sulphur and methane, with something rotting terribly, and drain or sewer blockages, along with rotting cabbages and other vegetables, all combined, and one might begin to get a scent of the horror.
It has long been a mystery how Starkey's farts smelled so bad. When asked to divulge his secret, the typical response is "fuck off and mind your own business!" Does he have a special diet? Does he eat specific mixes of foods to ensure horrendous farts? Perhaps mixing strong ales with eggs, heavy meats, maybe even some turnips and carrots? Does he eat stinkbombs, or sulphur tablets? Or perhaps he has some unusual stomach disorder? Nobody knows. But many have tried to emulate his farts, trying every kind of diet and consuming every kind of cocktail some causing themselves to vomit horrendously or even suffer food poisoning after putting bizarre mixes into the blender. One man even added a dead rat and some dog shit, blended it, and ate it as a smoothie. His farts were still not as bad as Starkey's, but his burps and the smell of his diarrhoea and vomiting which he suffered for many weeks in hospital and at home did have an unusual smell.
One evening a middle aged woman had the temerity to greet Starkey good evening, and when she received a torrent of abuse, she had the sheer stupidity of responding with insults in kind. Woe to those who hurl insults at Starkey! For they will know the most horrendous farts in the face! Starkey reminded her that she and her skeletal husband who drank all their welfare money had 5 brats at home all waiting to be fed. Better she spends her money on groceries than booze. He then waited some time, let her and her half dead husband settle down to their drinks, and he manoeuvred backwards, taking careful footsteps, until his arse was some two feet from the right side of her face. She did not notice him for her incessant gossiping but felt the heat wave "like a strong radiator" against her face, and then the sudden overpowering smell which hit the very roof of her nose, the back of her throat, burning the nostrils and the roof of the mouth (for she gasped it in, tasting the aroma as you might taste your dinner) as she received the full force of the draught. The duration of that stinking heatwave lasted some ten seconds a long and horrendous fart, by the end of which she was reeling and cursing in horror. Before three fucks could be uttered from her mouth she was puking and baulking with no self control. Her husband followed suit, as did ten other victims of collateral damage to the assault. The old woman fled to the toilets, coughing and baulking violently, large globs of vomit being spat up onto the floor and down her cardigan. Her husband didn't even make it to the toilet, he vomited all over himself, all over the table, and a third gush all over the floor. Six other people hurled their vomit all over each other and themselves, the floor was awash with stinking pools of emesis. Still old Starkey remained unmoved. He sauntered back to his perch at the bar, leaned his elbows, chin over his drink, and stared back into the mirror glaring angrily at himself, that being his only facial expression. Alas the barman demanded Starkey leave, as did many others, for he could no longer be welcome. But he refused to budge until he finished his pint and warned coldly, with his scowl, that another fart awaits if they push and shove him. Nobody wanted to risk dragging him out of the pub for to suffer one gasp or sniff of his farts was to spend the evening groaning in bed, the horror of the stench never to be forgotten. Starkey took his time, and upon leaving, berated the entire bar with a hurl of verbal abuse and another long fart before he exited. The entire bar had to be closed for the night and aired with all windows open for three days. When the stench did not fully depart a fumigation team was called to remove the remnants.
Such is the legend of old Starkey, who to this day still lives and loiters around bars, getting banned and returning after some time only to do it all over again. For more than 50 years this many has been legendary for his unsociability and his farts. He has never been surpassed. And is both a source of fear and amusement for all citizens of his town to this day. An old character we might say. Few of whom remain in our collectivised world of meaningless consumerism and predictable 'individualism' posing as personality.