Some matters should not be discussed in polite company. Should be withheld and never telled. Should be withholden and never tolden. But since Mrs. Hillbilly Mom doesn't pal around with polite company, you're in for a real treat. If you have a weak stomach, perhaps you should disgorge that 72-ounce steak you just ate with your hands in three-and-a-half minutes. It's always better to schedule your refunding, rather than have your tasty tidbits all flowing down your chin like Niagara Falls when you're on the edge of your ergonomic chair reading about indelicate episodes of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's life.
I don't mean to tell tales out of school, but this incident occurred at the teacher lunch table. I can hardly tell it AT school, because, well, I'm WORKING when I'm at school. Except when I'm at lunch. And this week I was STILL working, because I had lunch duty every day.
Yesterday I warmed up my leftover slice of Dominos weekday special, and headed off to the cafeteria. The only person at the table was my end-hall traveling colleague, Jewels. For some reason she commandeered the chair beside me this year, even though in years previous that was the rightful turf of my relative, the Tomato-Squirter. For some reason, nobody desires to sit at my right hand, to split up the long-running lunchpanionship of me and Czar Gab.
I put down my plate, and noticed that Jewels had left an empty chair between us. Well. I guess we're breaking up after four days shy of a semester. I sat down. My stomach revolted. It stopped just short of hopping out my throat and making a run for it, sans suitcase, in the manner of its famous cardiac cousin escaping the Heartburn Hotel in an antacid commercial. Seriously. I could have punched my own nose for giving my stomach that idea.
The smell was indescribable. But let me try. It was like, when you take a pair of teenage male feet that have spent 12 hours in high-top leather last-year's basketball shoes at a sports camp in Missi-freakin-ssippi in July, and roll them in the workout clothes that were stashed in a vinyl duffel bag all week, and jam them between the butt cheeks of a modest buddy who didn't like to shower during camp, and let him ride home to Missouri wedged amongst luggage on the leather third seat of a black Chevy Tahoe, then remove those feet from their sordid butt-burrito at the exact moment a spraying skunk walks by, which startles you into dropping them on a maggot-ridden, jellied warthog carcass, and you rescue them and put them beside an overflowing Diaper Genie stored in a chicken house. Not that any of us have ever done that, of course.
I stopped breathing through my nose in order to keep my chuck from upping. Czar Gab pulled out the chair on my right. He looked askance at me. I tried to point to the left with my eyebrows, toward Jewels. Czar Gab is not one to recognize subtle cues. Tomato-Squirter pulled out the left chair, between me and Jewels. She immediately had an involuntary nose-twitch. Like Samantha Stevens on Bewitched, without the cute tinkling noise. I mouthed, "What IS that?" Apparently Tomato-Squirter needed it spelled out for her by a questionable sign-language interpreter at a Nelson Mandela memorial.
Oh, how we all wished we were riding around with Jerry and Elaine's big wall of hair in the valet BO car.
The minute Jewels left the table, the latest she's ever stayed, we commenced to gagging.
"WHAT was on her plate?"
"Some kind of fish."
"Was it dead?"
"It wasn't alive."
"I tried to warn you."
"I talked about it to my kids later in the day. They said, 'You think THAT'S bad! You should have sat in the room where she cooked it!'"
"I told my husband about it last night."
"I thought it was Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. I thought, 'Mrs. HM didn't smell that rank last time I sat by her.'"
Huh. Thanks, Czar Gab, for that. For immediately blaming a stench on me. We were leery today. Couldn't quite see what she had. But we didn't smell it. Jewels left the table earlier. Of course our recently disinfected tongues started wagging. I had to abandon my post momentarily for a little visit to the facilities. I hurried back. Because I had duty, you see. And even though I didn't walk around or actually do any dutying, my companions would have looked accusingly at me the next day if I did not come back.
I leaned over to share a new discovery with Tomato-Squirter just as the bell rang to end lunch. She's a lingerer. Funny how she did not seem to appreciate my information overload.
"Hey, I know where Jewels went when she left here just now! And let me tell you, that odor from her lunch could not compare to the miasma I just encountered. You know that fish yesterday...I think it just swam its way out!"