Alright, I’ll be honest. I debated a long time about whether I’d write this particular blog post. I’m a bit of a peculiar sort, so I have to be careful about what I put out there on the web. You never know, if I’ll run for president someday. Maybe something I said here will come back to haunt me. (and this is one that I think might be particularly evil.)
I mentioned this post idea to both my editor and a close writer friend of mine, and they said I should do it… so blame Ducky and Zachry for this one.
Let me start this off by setting up a bit of background.
About a week ago, I was working on my latest story, and because I was feeling particularly inspired, I was up fairly late at my keyboard. Being late, and with a beer or two already under the belt, I was hammering out a background scene where I wanted some character development for two of my characters.
The one character in particular has an odd pet. Being the captain of a Colonial Transport, he can afford to have a spider monkey as an animal companion. Alright, maybe that’s not too odd, but this pet is one of his quirks and I wanted to include it in a scene (that is also a clue for those of you who have read Dust of the Deep).
As I was blocking out this particular scene in my mind and I needed to do something to make this monkey offensive enough that nobody liked it except the owner (like a pissy little dachshund that hides in a handbag and barks at everyone, but smarter and more obnoxious).
Now a lot of people know that monkeys can be really vile, and they do have some pretty nasty behaviors … we do not need to discuss the origin of the word ‘shit-slinging‘ here for you all to get the idea. But anyway, the first bad habit of monkeys that leapt to mind, was a little too gross (even for me), so I dodged that.
Being the kind of guy I am, and always wanting to make sure I maintain scientific accuracy in what I write, I dove in and hit google. I opened a browser window and typed in my question:
“Do monkeys fart?”
And that’s where my brain went sideways. Completely. (HOLY CRAP … What have I done?!?)
Now wait. That was a legitimate question. I know some birds can’t burp, so there is no guarantee that monkeys can pass gas.
I never thought to narrow my question down, because the internet not only answered the question instantly, but in a hundred ways I DID NOT NEED TO KNOW.
It turns out that monkeys do indeed fart.
I should have thought about what I had typed into my browser window before I hit enter, but unfortunately by the time I realized what I had done. I was doomed.
Yes, I now know that they fart. And that they use farting like a language. “Oh my God, here is someone I don’t know, so I will kick out this horrifying gaseous message.” Or, “Oh baby you’re cute, want to smell my pretend poop?” Or, “If you won’t shut that yapping dachshund up, I will.”
Sometime around midnight, I realized I was STILL reading about monkey farts. AND I COULD NOT STOP MYSELF.
But wait there’s more.
Do other animals fart? (Yes, I googled that too)
Humans do. (Obviously… there’s even a word for humans who can play music that way … flatulosity)
Dogs Do. (Yeah, I have dogs, so I know they usually brag about it when they do)
There are several species of fish that pass gas. (That was strange to think about… Imagine a Jacuzzi. In a swamp?”
Did you know that even some millipedes do it, too? (It sounds like a dog whistle, and smells like sulfuric acid and leaves, if you are interested… really)
TWO HOURS LATER I finally managed to pull my head out of… Nevermind.
But the one thing that bothered me most when I regained my senses, was that I had discovered that someone, somewhere, had been paid to study this very question.
And they created a database with analysis of the gas… and audio files. (No, I will not share the link for the database, and you can thank me later for that… I lost too many hours chasing that around the swamp).
If you go down that path, you do it on your own. I am NOW a recovering flatulophile, and you have been warned. The Bog of Eternal Stench will haunt you for a lot longer than the smell of a monkey fart.
The following day, and less under the influence of beer, I did finish the rest of the scene. If it makes it past the editing phase, you can find it in Scatter the Winds.
(Crap, now maybe I have to change the name of this story.)
And just because…
I don’t know if this is doctored, but well… that damn dachshund just wouldn’t shut up!
(But all of us who have dogs, know the Dachshund was probably laughing. “Is that the best you got, monkey?“)