Ainslie Paton romance author

Hoodwinked Hearts and the Infamous Fart Scene

It’s a rite of passage for a romance author to write that first meaningful look, that first tentative kiss, that first lusty sex scene, and that first fart.

Here’s mine from Hoodwinked Hearts:

The plan was to snatch the statue from the bedroom of an antiquities dealer, going in through the double doors of a Juliet balcony off the bedroom. Like all of the professor’s raids, it was simple and clean. Move swiftly, stay silent, be unexpected. In, out and away. The problem was the discovery that Palazuzum was indeed the king of evil winds.

It was an inconvenience that the antiquities dealer was in his bed rather than in another city where he was supposed to be. But the real problem was the man’s farts and the eye-watering stench that dated them.

He and Aria were three stories up, standing on the balcony in full view of the sleeping dealer should he wake. Cleve had eased open one of the double doors and could see Palazuzum, as expected, standing on the dresser under a glass dome, much like the demon was a cheese. The dome would be alarmed with a pressure sensor. Cleve would have to skirt the bed, disable the alarm, pocket the figurine and exit the way he’d come without waking the dealer.

It was no big deal. He’d done similar things before, more complicated things.

It should have taken no longer than two minutes.

The first fart came when he was just inside the room. It was symphonic. He hit the floor, crouching by a padded club chair because a fart like that could wake a dead man. He held his breath, watched the bed, readied himself to dive for the window. The dealer snoozed on. It was a miracle. Outside on the balcony, Aria had slammed her hand over her mouth to stop from laughing. He shot her a warning glare and readied himself to move, but then the smell came.

It was biblical in its intensity, rising up from the curled shape on the bed, through layers of bedclothes, the smell of eons of rotten fruit and crumbling cities, acrid cat-pissed swamp water and steaming fresh manure, baking in the sun. Cleve gagged, biting off the sound but involuntarily shrinking further against the chair because that was the kind of smell you should’ve been able to see. It had such presence it should waft like a dark cloud, or the smoke of an ancient curse. It was the kind of smell that could knock a large man over. He didn’t dare look at Aria, but he heard her muffled cough.

He gave it a second or two and rose to a low crouch. He only made it to the foot of the bed before the second fart sounded, a series of wet, sloppy toots. He hit the floor again as the dealer rolled over to his back and the soft snores that had signaled he was still asleep halted. The smell was a few degrees less vile this time, but it was still enough to asphyxiate a dog.

Cleve waited on his hands and knees. He’d been inside the bedroom far too long already. Palazuzum was still well out of reach and the likelihood of the dealer’s own eruptions waking him was ripe. He should abort. Everything the professor had taught him said the stakes were now too high, the chance of being caught too certain. No amount of sweet-talking was going to work in his favor if he was discovered wearing cat burglar black in the dealer’s bedroom, and the professor abhorred violence—it was for amateurs and thugs.

But the girl of his dreams was waiting on the balcony and she’d not only voluntarily risked the wrath of her father by speaking to Cleve for the first time outside of “pass the salt” and “get out of my way,” she’d scrambled across rooftops with him, and now she waited to see what he’d do. He couldn’t let her down.

When the dealer’s snuffling became even snores again, he crawled forward. The third fart, a fart to end all previously recorded farts in living memory, came as Cleve put his hand to the base of the statue’s alarmed stand. This fart was a clarion trumpet blast. It was reveille calling the ancient dead to wake and roam the earth bringing pestilence and inspiring TV production runners. He froze, and since he was positioned not far from the end of the bed, roughly between the open legs of the dealer, the smell was a direct hit. Rotting flesh and carbonated bile—his eyes went to water and he rammed his arm over his mouth to muffle his cough while he went facedown on the floor, his short life flashing before his eyes.

The death of the grandmother who’d raised him, the months of shoplifting and drifting, working odd jobs and sleeping in his car before he decided the only way out of his misery was by pretending to be someone bigger, better than he was, using the only asset he had: his gift of gab. That led to three months of living in a Walmart overnight, and a permanent job talking pensioners out of their weekly allowance for a local gang who cut him in on the proceeds of their scam. He’d played the perfect down-on-his-luck orphaned earnest student raising money door-to-door for his education, because he was the perfect orphaned earnest student, but he was also smarter than the thugs who started the scam and had enough morality to despise how good he was at tricking people who didn’t deserve to be fleeced out of their grocery money.

He’d fled the scene of that crime with a bag of money, enough to stake him in a regular poker game with a bunch of persistently drunk college jocks he systematically conned out of clothing, watches, laptops and passwords. What he didn’t pawn, he used to remake himself in their image.

He’d already spent a few months going to school at Harvard before the professor had cottoned on to the fact he wasn’t a Kennedy’s shoelace, let alone scholastically or financially able to attend the school, but since any deal was preferable to being locked up, he became the professor’s apprentice in thievery.

And now he was going to jail without ever having put his hand to the naked scalp of Aria’s head, never having held her serpent beringed fingers or kissed her black lips. And that was the worst thing that had ever happened to him.

Except the fart king was snoring again, long-drawn, airy in-breaths followed by choppy, snorting out-breaths, a silent pause and then the rhythm started up again. Cleve came up on his hands and knees and peered over the bunched bedclothes at the sleeping man. There was no visible miasma of the farts from gut hell, just the slightly open-mouthed dealer lost to REM sleep.

It could almost make a criminal believe in God.

Hello, what are you thinking?

%d bloggers like this: