Austin ran to beat his Dad to the front door after it rang. He bounced on his feet excitedly and grinned up at his Dad. Austin looked like a Mini-Me version of his father, same spiky blond hair, gangly limbs and ears that stuck out just a little far. His Dad opened the door, revealing Austin’s best friend Matt, Matt’s parents, and Rudy and her Mom. He submitted to hugs and pats from the parents, who all complimented his new eyeglasses.
“They make you look really smart,” said Matt’s Mom.
“Yeah, I think so, too,” said Austin. “I mean, thank you.” Why did his Dad give him a funny look? He had a feeling he’d hear more about this later. Not now, though. “Race to my room!” he declared and tore up the stairs with Matt and Rudy behind him.
Once they reached his room, Austin closed the door and grabbed his PlayStation. “Matt, I challenge you to beat me in Star Wars level 5” he said in a deep voice.
“Bring it on!” said Matt, settling into the bottom bunk bed. Matt’s curly dark hair and tanned skin contrasted with both Austin and Rudy, whose red hair matched the many freckles on her fair skin. Austin sat in between Matt and Rudy and turned on the game. Soon the boys were engrossed in their intergalactic battle and didn’t notice an inquisitive nose nudging open the door. Austin’s terrier mix, McGee, burst in and jumped on the bed, wagging her tail furiously and licking Rudy in the face. She stepped all over the game console as she greeted both Austin and Matt.
“McGee!” said Austin, pushing her away. “Darn it,” he said as he looked at the screen. “McGee ruined everything. It re-set to start a new game.”
“I was totally winning anyway,” said Matt, cracking his knuckles. “I’m going to be an astronaut someday. That’s probably why I’m so good at space games.”
“No, I was ahead,” argued Austin, though he knew he was way behind. “Anyway, they’ll never let you be an astronaut. You would fart and belch so much you would stink up the spaceship. The other astronauts would pass out!” He reached his hands up to his throat and made gagging sounds while he bugged his eyes out and staggered to the ground.
Rudy was already on the ground playing with McGee. She joined in, mock gasping, “It stinks in here! I can’t breathe!”
Matt jumped off the bed and stood unsteadily with the joystick held up to his mouth. “Mayday! Mayday! We’re going to crash the ship. An alien life force has died in somebody’s butt and the smell is killing us! Final…..transmission……” he croaked as he collapsed in a heap on the floor.
All three kids started laughing and McGee sneaked in to lick their necks, which caused more squealing and giggling. Finally they were all exhausted and gathered themselves to go back downstairs.
“Dad, can I borrow your timer? Austin tugged at his Dad’s shirt. His Dad was engrossed in the March Madness basketball playoffs. Matt’s Dad ad Rudy’s parents and some other adults were there, too, for the party.
“Huh? You’re five years old. What do you need a timer for?”
“Me and Matt are gonna race in the backyard. Rudy’s the judge so she needs a timer,” said Austin.
“It’s Matt and I, not Me and Matt,” said Austin’s Dad as he dug a stopwatch out of a kitchen drawer. “Be careful not to trip on the concrete. Here,” he said as he handed Austin a roll of black electrical tape. “You can use this to mark the finish line.”
The three children ran outside and around the corner where the adults couldn’t see them. Austin showed Rudy how to work the stopwatch, while Matt ripped off strips of tape and pushed them onto Rudy’s white sundress in an attempt to make her look like an official. Austin’s terrier mix, McGee, jumped excitedly among them, ready to participate.
Rudy brushed her curly red hair out of her face, help the stopwatch in front of her, and pushed down the top button as she shouted, “Go!”
Austin and Matt both bent forward and farted loudly. McGee jumped up and licked Austin’s face. “Get away,” said Austin as he pushed McGee out of his face. They stood up and turned around to Rudy.
“Well?” said Matt. “Who won?”
“You farted longer,” declared Rudy, pointing at Matt.
“Yes!” said Matt as he pumped his fist in the air.
“Who was louder? And smellier?” said Austin.
“You didn’t say I had to pay attention to who was louder,” said Rudy, her lip starting to tremble.
“Duh, it’s part of being best farter. Which one smelled worst?” demanded Austin.
“It smells good out here,” protested Rudy. For the first time, the boys noticed they were near the side garden, standing next to a bunch of flowers. It smelled like his Mom’s perfume.
“Okay, let’s go to my room and do it there,” said Austin, leading the way back inside.
As they marched through the sliding glass door, Austin’s Mom looked up and said, “Does anyone want a snack?”
“Yes!” Matt, Austin and Rudy chorused and went over to the coffee table in front of the couch. They bypassed the raw vegetables and grabbed little puff pastry sandwiches. They thanked Austin’s Mom and shoved the food in their mouths McGee quietly raised up and snagged a piece of broccoli, and stole away to the corner to eat it.
“So who won?” asked Austin’s Dad, muting the television since Kentucky was so far ahead that he could afford to shift focus to the kids.
Matt raised his hand in answer, but all three were still eating so nobody said anything. Austin gulped down his last bite and said “No, he didn’t. Rudy didn’t understand all of the rules so we have to do it again.”
“Rudy, what have you done to your dress?” Rudy’s Mom inquired.
“She’s our line judge,” said Austin. “Come on, we have to finish upstairs,” he said and gestured to Rudy and Matt to follow. McGee bounded after them to the upstairs bedrooms.
Austin closed his bedroom door behind them and instructed Rudy, “The winner is the loudest, longest and smelliest fart, OK?”
Rudy nodded seriously and they all assumed the pre-race positions, Matt and Austin ready to bend over when Rudy gave the signal. Suddenly Matt stood up straight and crinkled up his face. “Gross! Austin, you cheated. You weren’t supposed to fart until Rudy told us to!
“I didn’t do anything,” said Autin, then as he inhaled, he said “EWW! Rudy!”
“It wasn’t me!” said Rudy. “Stop saying that!”
McGee jumped up on Austin and wagged his tail furiously. “Oh, McGee, you’re disgusting,” said Austin. “No fair!” He yanked open the door and they all ran downstairs to join their parents in the living room.
“So who’s the final winner?” asked Austin’s Dad.
“McGee,” answered Austin. “Sometimes humans just can’t compete with dogs.”