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The Gas House Gang or the Flatulent Phone Call

Story ID:6948
Written by:Charles Dishno (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Story
Location:Dillon Montana United States
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OurEcho Preface This post deals with a mature theme or contains explicit language. While the post is not extremely violent or pornographic, it does contain language or explore a subject matter that may offend some readers. If you do not wish to view posts that deal with mature themes, please exit this post.
Another memory of growing up in Bly, Oregon.

The Gas House Gang or the Flatulent Phone Call
By Chuck Dishno

I was a born and raised in the small town of Bly, Oregon. I lived there from 1934 until I left for college in the fall of 1955.

Bly was a typical small town with not a lot for kids to do after school but one place most of them congregated was Tikannen’s Variety Store and soda fountain. It had a long soda fountain where you could get a Cherry Phosphate for a nickel.

Some of the kids rode the bus to school so they missed out on the gathering each afternoon. Bly only had about 60 kids in the combined junior high and high school grades so there were only about a dozen or maybe a few more who would gather at Tikannen’s. Money was hard to come by then and it wasn’t uncommon to see 3 kids on one nickel drink, much to the chagrin of Mrs. Tikannen. The most popular drink was a cherry phosphate which was a cherry flavored drink with a drop of phosphoric acid in it. Who says us kids weren’t on drugs those days.

After we had blown our nickel, we would go and sit on a couple of benches in front of the store and watch the girls walk by.

One day we were sitting there and someone said they had read about the college craze of seeing how many people could be crammed into a phone booth. One of the kids thought we should try it too.

We thought we had a distinct advantage since we were had to be much smaller than those college guys. We had the motive and the opportunity since there was a small phone booth was right in front of us.

I don’t remember how we picked the first one in but I’m sure we saved the smaller ones for the last. Someone supervise the “loading” and soon the booth was full right to the light at the top. Remember these were the old fashioned phone booths with the bi-fold door that hinged in at the center.

Once we had the booth loaded, someone closed the door and it sealed pretty tight.

All went well and we were proud of our accomplishment when all heck broke loose. I should point out that most of the boys were of Southern extraction from hard working logger families.

These Southerners, especially the ones from Weyerhaeuser, Camp 6, main diet consisted of beans and greens with lots of fat pork thrown in.

It didn’t take long, with all the laughter, for one of the boys to let go with a noxious cloud of gas. This explosion caused more laughter and more gas from several more participants.

It wasn’t long before claustrophobia began to take effect and it was rapidly becoming panic city in there. Since the door folded in at the center, it looked like we were goners.

The guys on the outside were trying to get the door open when salvation arrived by way of a phone call.

The man who owned the grocery store across the street knew the phone number of the telephone in the booth and he dialed the number. That combined with the pushing from the outside gave us all the strength we needed and the door opened.

What a relief…not only from the claustrophobic experience but from certain death form “beans and greens” gas.

I don't remember if we ever tried to repeat the game again but I’m sure we did. I even think some of the girls tried it but they were much more polite and genteel than those “gas house boys” of Bly.