The following tale is based on a true fart story that occurred in an undergrad meteorology air pollution lecture at a major public university. To protect the suspects and witnesses, names have been changed to the fictional characters from The Great Snownado Miracle.
On a warm April morning, Dr. Ed Malarkey droned monotonously as he scribbled semi-legibly on the chalkboard with his back turned to the undergrad students. The meteorology juniors in his 8 AM Air Pollution lecture had very little interest in plume dispersion theory that early. Only Erin Wallace, the straight-A student of the bunch, sat awake in the lecture hall as she typed feverishly on her laptop. Dr. Malarkey seemed to not notice the lack of attention, and the caffeine fueled professor took a big swig from his coffee mug and pressed on with his lecture.
“EeeeeerrrrrRRRRRRRRR!” came a noise interrupting his lecture.
“Question?!” An excited Dr. Malarkey asked as he turned toward his awoken class. The students remained silent as they glanced around at each other in disgust.
“Order in the classroom!” shouted Fuller Glass as he banged a gavel against the teaching podium in the same lecture hall from that morning. The president of the University of Central Kansas chapter of the American Meteorological Society had heard more than enough bickering and was ready to solve the mystery.
“All 5 of us were in that classroom.” continued Fuller. “We’re going to interrogate each of us one by one until we determine who farted. Then and only then we will return to our regularly scheduled meeting agenda. Got it?”
“Fine,” the other 4 meteorology juniors huffed in unison.
“I’d like to call M.T. to the stand,” Fuller said pointing at his twin brother. M.T. stood up moved to the TA’s desk next to the podium.
“Yeah, rear up here!” chimed Samantha Royle.
“This is so pointless,” said M.T. “We’re never going to figure out who farted.”
“That’s what someone who farted would say!” exclaimed Brian.
“I can prove it wasn’t me!” M.T. shouted defensively. “That fart was a low rise squeaker. My farts sound more like trombone blasts.”
“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard,” retorted Brian.
“He’s right, though,” Fuller replied to Brian. “I know for a fact that my brother’s farts don’t sound like the one we heard. You’re dismissed from the stand, M.T.”
“Thanks for sticking up for me Fuller,” M.T. said, “But I think you should go to the stand next.”
“Yeah!” Brian emphatically agreed, “You’re the one organizing this witch hunt. It’s probably been you all along.”
“I’m just trying to put an end to our arguing,” Fuller retorted.
“Get to the stand you gasser trespasser!” Samantha Royle blurted.
“Fine then,” Fuller stated as he moved away from the podium. “I can prove it wasn’t me. Most of us were asleep when the fart happened, right? As soon as the squeak was released, Dr. Malarkey perked up and asked ‘Question!?’ Who was the only one awake for that lecture? Who’s the only one that asks questions in Air Pollution? Who’s the only one completely silent right now?
“Erin!” gasped M.T., Brian, and Samantha Royle as they turned toward Erin sitting behind them still typing away on her laptop.
“Guys, I’m trying to work on our Air Pollution project,” Erin Wallace replied.
“Scooter your tooter up here, miss!” Samantha Royle exclaimed.
“Fine,” said Erin as she carried her laptop to the front of the lecture hall. “For your information, I’m building a plume dispersion model.”
“Big whoop,” said Fuller. “What does that have to do with the fart?”
“This is no ordinary plume dispersion model,” Erin boasted proudly. “It’s a fart reconnaissance utility.”
“Whoa!” the other students gasped as they leaned in toward her laptop.
“I haven’t completed the modeling yet,” Erin continued. “But based on the timing of everyone’s reactions, as well as the breeze coming from the window and the looping temperature profile, I can determine that the fart originated from the front of the classroom.”
“Brian and Samantha Royle were sitting up front!” M.T. exclaimed.
The UCK AMS chapter all turned their heads toward Brian. “It wasn’t me, you guys!”
“Well we all know Samantha Royle isn’t capable of producing such unspeakable sounds,” Fuller stated.
“Yeah, Brian,” argued Samantha Royle pointing at the TA desk. “Get your derriere in that chairriere.”
“You guys are making a huge mistake,” Brian said as he took the stand. “I can prove it.”
“Whatever, Brain. We all know you’re full of hot air,” said Fuller.
“You seriously expect us to believe that the beautiful Samantha Royle caused my eyes to burn like a World War I foxhole full of mustard gas?’ M.T. retorted.
“I gotta side with Samantha,” Erin added. “We females are above such vile atrocities.”
“Oh yeah,” Brian replied. “If Samantha Royle is so innocent, then explain to me why she first smelt it.”
A stunned silence fell over the AMS meeting.
“Oh my God,” Fuller sighed as he turned toward Samantha Royle. “The answer was in front of us all along.”
“You smelt it you dealt it!” said M.T. as he wiped away a tear running down his face. “We should’ve known that a good for nothing Missourian was the culprit.”
“I’m sorry Samantha Royle,” Brian said, “I knew all along it was you. I tried to protect you, but you just had to keep pushing me.”
“I swear it wasn’t me!” Samantha Royle cried.
“Get your martyr farter to the stand,” commanded Fuller.
“We’re gonna noose your caboose,” M.T. snarled.
“I promise guys. I didn’t do it.” Samantha Royle sniffled as she moved toward the front. “I don’t know what to tell you.”
“Say nothing more!” Erin exclaimed as she gazed up from her laptop again with a smile. “Samantha is innocent.”
“Oh thank God,” sighed Samantha Royle.
“Well who did it then?” Brian retorted.
“I owe you one, Brian,” Erin continued as the others gave her confused looks. “Because you reminded me that Samantha first smelt it, I was able to trace the fart to the source of who dealt it.”
“So surely it was dealt by the one who smelt,” Fuller argued.
“Au contraire, it was a different derriere,” Erin replied. “Yes, Samantha Royle first smelt the fart at 08:35:12 local time. I sat 2 feet behind her and didn’t smell the fart until 08:35:15. Brian, on the other hand, sat 4 feet to right of Samantha, smelt the fart approximately one second before me at 08:35:14. With the crossbreeze in the classroom blowing from front to back, I would’ve smelt a fart from Samantha well before Brian. Instead my model concludes that the plume epicenter was even further toward the front of the lecture hall, more specifically, at the chalk board.
The students gasped in horror. Fuller began to stammer, “You mean…you mean..it was-”
A slow clap interrupted the meeting from the back of the lecture hall.
“Very good, Erin.” Dr. Malarkey smirked as he walked toward the stunned students up front. “I had a feeling you’d figure it out.”
“How could you do such a thing, Dr. Malarkey!” cried Samantha Royle.
“How?” reiterated Dr. Malarkey. “About a half gallon of coffee each morning is how.”
“WHY would you do such a thing?” asked M.T.
“Why?” the professor continued, “I had to find some way to get you kids to give a damn about plume dispersion. I even asked if y’all had questions about it. Thankfully my strategy worked here in this meeting. You’ve learned more about air pollution from investigating my fart than you have from all my lectures combined. If you don’t want me rippin’ ass, pay attention in my class.
The meteorology juniors continued their stunned silence as Dr. Malarkey exited the lecture hall.
“Okay,” Fuller finally said, “Thank you for your cooperation everyone. I guess we can move on to our regularly scheduled meeting agenda. For the first item, there’s a slight risk of severe weather to our west on Thursday. Do we skip Air Pollution to head out early on our storm chase?”
“Aye!” the students exclaimed unanimously.