Another prompt from Flash Frenzy
Some photographs capture history: the protester in Tienanmen Square; the men atop Everest. And some are beat too soon.
Bartholomew Grime had few ambitions beyond being huge. At three he used dumbbells; at ten he could dead lift his parents on a shovel; by fifteen he had broken world records for the clean and jerk.
His desire began to outweigh good sense; he started ingesting a cocktail of substances. He ignored the warnings, even when a doctor described his pancreas as being Jurassic and was banned from all competitive sports. And while his astonishing feats still generated some traction, he began to fade from view.
Then a wealthy Russian invited him to take part in the Ultimate Strength Challenge, and Barty knew this was his time. And the last test was one he was certain he, alone, could meet. As a grand finale, the contestants had to light a beacon with a giant flame-topped caber. This, it was reckoned would be beyond most, the friction alone rendering it nigh on impossible.
Barty did everything to win. Knowledgeable people said he might kill himself but that was, he announced, a fair price for his own sort of immortality.
Barty sailed into the final and now only he could complete the challenge. In the photo that survives we see Barty just before he lights the caber. He succeeds but where is the evidence?
Precisely as the first red glow was detected, Barty farted; and not an ordinary release of gas, but rather a putrescent outpouring that comprised the most volatile combination of inflammable substances ever known.
Colin Lubtink, the judge behind Barty vaporised first; onlookers, some 100 metres away had seconds before disappearing; Barty, powered by his own gas shot past the lighted tip and, in flames, exploded into the beacon, formally bringing to an end the show.
Barty’s fame would have rested there, a footnote in history save for his meticulous notes which revealed exactly what he had taken. Scientists repeated the combinations and the most potent propulsion was invented. Man could fly to Mars in a week. Barty’s fart changed history but no one was able to record it.