The Date

“Literally everything about this is illegal, Johnny,” Christine said.

“I know!” I grunted, “Now give me a hand.”

Up until that night, I had never tried to lift a forklift off of its side.  It fucking sucks. My desire to impress Christine came to a screaming halt the second she got it stuck in a pile of thick, gloppy mud and decided that the best thing to do was pull a hard right turn on the steering wheel, turning it over onto its damn side.

She really deserved that bloody scrape on her forehead.  In the end, she could still walk and talk, so I didn’t feel so bad thinking such a nasty thing about her.

But I didn’t start out so bitter when the evening started.  After getting my ass handed to me at wrestling practice, I rushed home.  It was only an hour before it was time to meet up with Christine. Shower, brush teeth, time to do my hair.  Yeah, that’s right, I spent an extra few minutes on my hair. She was a babe, though.

If I was honest with myself, I didn’t deserve her.  I was in the 125lb weight class. So first of all, I’m a shrimp.  Second of all, I only won my spot on the varsity team this week for the meet against Flushing High on merits of a fluke.  Ethan Lawrence could beat me 99 times out of a 100. Just happened to be my lucky week, I guess. I was a JV kind of guy. Pretty much always have been.  Third of all, Christine was way out of my league.

I’ve had what those in the medical community call a colostomy.  When I was young, my large intestines stopped working. All the shit that normally goes out of an ass got stuck inside me.

As a six year old, I could not have imagined that this kind of pain actually inflicted itself upon human beings.  The doctors called it an ileus. Sounded more to me like the name of a spaceship, but they said they could cure the pain, so it was an ileus.

They connected part of my large intestines to a disgusting pink hole that poked itself out the front of my belly.  The shit would proceed out of the hole into a bag which adhered to my skin around the hole. I would have to change the bag when it got filled.  And when gas went into it without the shit, I would have to “burp” the bag and let my extra methane-y farts out into the air before it popped.

At first, the colostomy was in place to give the rest of my gut some time to heal, except that it never did heal.  It started to rot inside of me. Necrosis they said. Again, more like the name of a wizard who waged war on King Arthur and his round table, but they were the geniuses, not me.

“Listen, Johnny Boy,” Dr. Prewett leaned over and sympathised in a southern drawl, “we thought that colostomy would be able to go away after a while.  I’m sorry to say that it isn’t going to after all.” I could see his nose hairs blow in the wind of hot exhalation. His combover was so long, it was almost tickling his chin.  “You’re going to be alright though. There’s all kinds of things you can do to be a normal boy. You can still be cool. You can even play sports with the right equipment, but you’ll have to be real careful, you understand me, son?”

Yeah, I understood.  And so as a 17 year-old man, there I was with a bag of shit hanging from my stomach at all times of day.  You can imagine how cool people thought it was when they started finding out some time between my freshman and sophomore year.  I was able to hide it until then, but once word got out, I started getting random text messages from unknown numbers saying, “Hey Shitbag.  Do u have a bag of shit on your chest?” or “It’s really cool that you have shit on you all the time. Do you sprinkle it on your popcorn?” or the very clever, “U’re a Shitbag. LMAO.”  People started sniffing the air mockingly and making puke noises when I would pass them in the hall.

I hated my colostomy.  I obviously never went to pool parties.  I never took off my shirt. I was able to put off gym class in my early years at Romeo High School.  And I absolutely never told anyone about my secret shitbag. My problem was that the colostomy never went away.  It was as much a part of me as my arm, my nose, or my balls.

And no one wants to be friends with people who have horrifying appendages.  I know that for a fact.

Cheto was a great friend until Sophomore year.  For a long time, he would complain about how something smelled like poop every time we’d hang out.  

“You smell that, hermano?” he’d say, “It’s like a sewage plant.”

“I don’t know, man.  Might just be the old pipes in the house.”  And then we’d unpause the game and keep blowing up zombies on my Zenith 19 inch screen sitting between the empty water bottles, doritos crumbs, and stack of books on my dresser.  

Maybe he learned the truth and was a good enough guy or maybe he was just too embarrassed for me, but those comments stopped a few years into our friendship.  He even held his piece when my GI tract would make it’s wet gurgling sound, as it always inevitably did when my bowels moved through its unnatural path.

But once I started getting those texts messages, Cheto kind of dropped off the earth.  He’d always have some excuse not to hang out. That is until he stopped even answering my texts, and I’d mysteriously not see him on my walk to class when I knew for certain that the shortest route between his first and second period was the same one I used.

After that, my walks home got lonely.

And that’s when Christine entered my life.  Well, not just Christine, but also the group of olympic athlete jocks that got her drunk or stoned every weekend and promised not to take advantage of her.  Ethan Lawrence, Greg Rails, and Marco Palioni, who was her boyfriend most of the time. Word is, he didn’t always keep that weekend promise.

Something about this group kept everyone on eggshells anytime they were around.  I mean, they were alphas proving their strength through wedgies, swirlies, and winning touchdown passes.  And the rest of us runts bowed to their all-powerful high school popularity authority.

They walked around like a bunch of Socs trampling on the Greasers.  Marco being the lead Soc, of course. He’d start a fight with anyone, and he’d do it for fun.  I swear, it was like Bob Sheldon and Cherry Valance before Ralph Macchio’s character cut out Bob’s intestines.  Maybe if Bob had lived, he would have had a colostomy, too.

Anyway, the four of them were walking behind me one day after school, and I could hear them harassing Christine about her blonde hair, big boobs, and great Dick-Sucking-Lips.  “You’re a fuckin’ bimbo, Christine! Everyone’s tried on those DSL’s.” shouted Greg. She laughed along with them and shoved Greg playfully.

“Guys, stop!” Marco shouted, “That’s my girl you’re talking about.”  He paused and smiled. “You’re forgetting all about how great her ass is, too!”

And the crowd went wild.

Ethan dropped to his knees, hand on his heart, and roared out a laugh like a hyena.  Greg pointed at him and giggled a sleazy Scooby-Doo guffaw. Christine rolled her eyes with a wide grin and flushed cheeks.  Marco, cool as a cat, lit up a cigarette while bouncing one eyebrow.

This went on all the way down Tilson St. until I got over to N Fremont.  They gabbed about this and that. The home game coming up on Friday against Utica, Mr. Ellison’s shitty ass essay due Monday, and that dyke bitch, Holly Smith, who towel-whipped Christine in the locker room after an innocent joke about Holly’s thick jungle bush.

But like an icy cold front coming in, I heard their boisterous conversations shrink to whispers.  Why’d they get so quiet all of the sudden?

I kept my head down and picked up my pace a little.  Not too much to let these dogs smell fear, but enough to put some more distance between us.

It wasn’t far enough, however.  I felt a rock hit the back of my neck.  Well, not quite as hard as a rock. And it wasn’t sharp either, but it crunched like a paper sack.  It didn’t really hurt, but the shock scared me enough that my knees stopped moving and I fell forward on to my palms.  Scrapes sent shivers up my arms, so I immediately about-faced, sitting my butt on to the sidewalk.

The hyena laughter began again, and they were sprinting up to meet me.

“You’re Johnny, right?” Christine asked.

“Yeah, why?  What’d you throw at me?”

But Marco was already leaning over to pick it up.  I was right, a paper lunch sack with something inside.

“Hey Shitbag.  We got something for you.”  Behind him, Ethan was holding up his phone in a common recording-a-video-with-my-phone stance, smiling in silence.  Marco floated over to me slowly, eyes locked on mine. “You think you can come in to my school polluting the air with that bag of feces under your shirt?  What’s it made out of anyway? Can’t be plastic or else it would hide the smell better.”

“Oh hell naw,” Greg muttered nodding his head with a crazed look on his face.

I stayed quiet, averting my gaze from Marco’s.

“Well, here’s payback for shitting all over my halls, you bitch-tit asshole.”  Marco turned the bag over, and unloaded brown and yellow dog excrement all over my face and hair.

Christine was the first one to laugh.  “Oh my god! Shit for a Shitbag!”

“Eat it!  Eat it!”

“That’s what you get, Shitbag!”

“Fuckin’ bitch!”

“You like it, don’t you, Shitbag?”

“Let me see the asshole on your belly!”

“Stupid piece o’ shit!”

Getting home was the worst part.  I didn’t want my parents to see me like this, so I sprinted upstairs after coming in through the backdoor.  My mom started shouting something to me about the PTA meeting, but I kept running straight to the bathroom. I couldn’t even look in the mirror. 

Shit for a Shitbag.

I stood in a cold shower until my hands and feet were numb.  Then I put a washcloth up to my face to start cleaning off the stains, but I put it back down when I realized that I needed to let them stay on for a little bit longer.  I deserved stuff like this. If I was cool, then Christine and her titans wouldn’t have done this to me. I wasn’t funny. Not very smart. Not really unique in any way, except for the stoma on my abdomen.  It looked like a worm’s mouth turned inside out. So the shit stains stayed on for a while before I finally washed them off. Shit for a Shitbag.

After drying off, I laid on my bed, threw on my headphones and let the Dark Side of the Moon blast the memory away:

There is no pain you are receding.

A distant ship smoke on the horizon.

You are only coming through in waves.

Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying.

When I was a child I had a fever.

My hands felt just like two balloons.

Now I’ve got that feeling once again

I can’t explain.  You would not understand.

This is not how I am.

I have become comfortably numb.

The next day in class, I found out that Ethan’s video of me went viral around the school.  I’m not sure why, but that afternoon, I talked to the wrestling coach and asked if I could come on the team even though the season had already started two weeks ago.  

“Yeah, sure,” he said, “but you’ll be JV until you can beat the Varsity counterpart for your weight class.  How much do you weigh anyway? 130? 135?”

“122, actually.”

“That’ll put you in the 125 weight class.  Our current Varsity wrestler is Ethan Lawrence for that one.”

“I know.”

The next month or so passed and Ethan beat my ass every day at practice, and during the challenge matches for Varsity on Thursdays.  He’d mutter Shitbag or Eat shit under his breath every few minutes we wrestled.  He’d laugh or wink at me when the coach wasn’t looking.  Once he even feinted an attempt to stick a finger up my rectum, saying it was okay because his finger wasn’t going to get dirty anyway.

It’s hard to explain how this felt.  I’m not sure I understood it myself. It was satisfying.

With each insult, I felt more like things were how they were supposed to be.  It was confirmation of what I already knew to be true. Getting pummeled regularly was kind of cathartic.  Like the stoics, I wanted to align my lifestyle with the natural truths all around me. And the natural truth was that Shitbags eat shit.

With the special athletic colostomy plug my mom got me, I think she thought I was finally breaking out of my shell and trying something social.  I didn’t really care what she thought, as long as I could keep my digested food off of the mat.

But this week with Ethan, things went a little differently.  

Challenge matches for Varsity came up, and per usual, he put me in some pretty painful holds.  Far-side cradle. Chicken wing. Cross-face.

However, at the start of the third and final round, his single leg takedown was a little sloppy when he hooked his lead leg around mine.  His rear leg was exposed, and his head was awkwardly positioned being tucked in my abdomen.

Right into the stoma.

I grabbed his rear leg and dropped to my side.  I had trapped both his legs on either side of his body and when I landed, his back was to the mat with both ankles spread eagle, angled toward his head, held down by my arm and leg holds, ass sticking straight up in the air.

They call this one the spladle, you son of a bitch.

He was pinned almost instantly.  It didn’t matter that I was losing by 12 points.  I won.

Ethan jumped up immediately and pushed me.

“Get off me, you piece o’ shit!”

The coach broke it up and we went our separate ways.  Ethan didn’t even make a joke in the locker room that day.

The next morning Christine stopped me in the hallway.

“Hey, Johnny.”

I was confused, “Uh…hi, Christine.”  I looked both ways to see if there was someone about to jump out and give the punchline of this joke.

“So you really beat Ethan yesterday?  You’re gonna wrestle Varsity this weekend?”

“…Ye…Yeah.  Why?”

“Well, it’s impressive.  That’s why. Do you want to go out with me tonight?”

I was more than nervous at this point.  Anxious. “What? Aren’t you with Marco Palioni?”

“Ugh.  No. That bastard and I are over.  For good this time. Besides that, Ethan’s always been a little bitch anyway, and when you beat him, I told him I was going to go out with you, and he got really pissed.  That’s fine. None of those assholes get to tell me what to do. So can I pick you up tonight at 8?”

“I… uh…”

“You what?  Don’t you know who just asked you out on a date?  You better say yes before I change my mind.”

“Christine… last time we talked, you threw dogshit on my head.”

“Oh that?  Gawd, can’t you take a joke?  Anyway, that wasn’t me. That was Marco the asshole.”

“Yeah, but…”

“But nothing.  Besides, I’ve grown a lot since then anyway.”  Her eyes looked to the left when she said it and she bit her lower lip.

“Oh…okay… yeah.”

She pranced away without another word.  Her skirt hugged her buttcheeks, swaying back and forth with each step.

And so after spending those few extra minutes on my hair, I took out my cologne and gave a good spray on my neck and upper chest.  Then one more spray on my crotch, just in case. If it went that direction, I could probably keep my shirt on and everything would be cool, but I had to be prepared.

I waited nervously in the front room looking out the window to make sure she stopped at the right place.  My mom came in and asked where I was going.

“Out,”  I paused, “Uh…sorry…  I didn’t mean that to be so abrupt.  I’m going out with a friend.”

“Oh?  With Cheto?  I haven’t seen him in a while.”

“No.”

“With who then?”

“Well… it’s with someone from school.  Christine.”

Her eyebrows raised, “A girl?”

“Yeah.  It’s no big deal,” I spat out awkwardly.

She jawed her mouth open to speak, but then caught herself, got down off her tip toes, and said “What are you guys going to do?”

“Geez, Mom.  I don’t know.  We’re gonna go out.”

She stood there calculating in her head and a smile on her face, “Well, have a good time.  Be safe.”

“Okay, I will, Mom.”

“I love you, baby.”

“Mom, come on,” I rolled my eyes, “I love you, too… just… it’s no big deal.”

“Okay, if you say so.  Have fun.” She walked out of the room with a little more skip in her step than normal.

Christine came to the door at 8:45.  She was dressed in a bikini with a white tank top and short jean shorts hanging below her hips overtop of it.  Her long blonde hair was straightened, decorating her shoulders.

“Well, pick your jaw up off the floor and let’s go,” she said.

I got into her ‘17 Chevy Impala and couldn’t manage to think of anything to say.  It was fine though, because she didn’t say anything either. She just turned on some Rihanna and got to driving.

40mph, 50mph, 60mph, all in a residential zone.

“Hey, Christine.  Don’t you think you’re going kinda fast?”

She laughed, “Don’t you think you should live a little?”

“Yeah, but there’s kids and stuff.”

“Stop worrying.  They’ll get out of the way.  It’s late anyway, and their parents wouldn’t let them out even if they begged.  It’s bedtime.”

I looked out the window and kept the rest of the argument to myself.

After four of Rihanna’s greatest hits, we pulled into a dirt drive and went for another quarter mile or so before stopping in front of a large farmhouse.

“Where are we?”

“Come on.”  Christine opened the door and started walking toward the front door even before I had my seatbelt off.  She was inside before I could get to the porch.

The lights were all off and she was cascading her shadows on the adjacent bookshelf.  She was holding a pillowcase in one hand (God only knows where she was storing that thing in her skimpy outfit) and grabbing trinkets off a glass display case, putting them inside her makeshift bag.

“Christine.  What are you doing?”

“Sssshhh!” she yell-whispered, “I saw him at the bar, but that was an hour ago, and I’m only 90% sure he’s still gone.”

“Saw who at the bar?” My heart began racing.

“You wouldn’t know him anyway.  Now get over here and help me. More workers make the job merrier.”

“Christine.  What exactly am I helping you do?”

“Ugh,” she sighed, clearly exasperated, “Fuckin’ idiot.  You take the good stuff and put it in the bag. It’s not rocket science.”

“What?  Come on, Christine.  This isn’t ours.”

She stopped mid-swipe and looked me in the eyes.  She shifted her weight impatiently to the other leg, “Fine.  If you help me out, I’ll show you my boobs.”

Shit.  One of my many weaknesses.  The only boobs I’d seen up until then were on my Macbook alone in my room.

“Alright, take it easy.” Unsteady, I walked into the kitchen and started grabbing gold coasters in the dark like Billy the goddamn Kid.

We continued to steal for another 10 minutes before she whispered, “Okay.  Sack’s full. Let’s go put it in the car.” I rushed outside, ready to leave this nightmare and get my prize.

She loaded up and turned around to find me standing there with a look of eagerness.

“Not yet,” she grinned, “There’s more to do.”  In her hand was a spray paint can. She jogged over to the right side of the porch and immediately started writing a 3 foot tall message.

LEAVE MY ASS ALONE!  #PERVERT

What the hell have I gotten myself into?

She dropped the spray paint can and started walking toward the barn which was 100 feet off of the house, began opening the giant sliding door, and slipped inside like a ghost.

“Christine,” again yell-whispering, “Wait!  Where are you going?” I entered after her.

“Fuck yeah!” I heard her say in the dark.  A rumble of a motor turning over. A piercing beep.  Finally, the electronic whir of a forklift being driven out of the barn.  She sped past me zig-zagging. She was screaming shrills of elation now. The silence be damned, I guess.

She steered the metal beast onto a path that lead immediately into the adjoining woods.  I ran after her. I don’t know why. Maybe to talk some sense into her. Probably more like I was too scared to stand there by myself on some innocent pervert’s dirt drive.

Not a quarter mile into the joyride, I saw her turn the damn thing over on to its side.

She crawled out of it, relatively unharmed, just a scrape on her forehead, “Literally everything about this is illegal, Johnny.”  Fires of insanity burned brightly in her eyes.

We tried to pick it up, but it must have been a few thousand pounds.  After a few minutes of trying to no avail, she said, “Fuck it. Let’s just go.”

“Christine, what the fuck do -”

“Now just hold it right the fuck there!”  A dusky voice with a southern accent shouted from a short distance.  A man in a truckers hat with a scuzzy beard stepped forward. He was easy to see in the full moon’s light.  Grease stains covered his white wifebeater. And in his hands was a very large shotgun.

“Who the hell are you?  And what have you done to my property?”  He said stalking forward and closing the distance.

“I… I…” I stammered.

“Alright,” Christine shrugged, “Just put the gun down, and I’ll take you inside and make this right.”

He paused, “Hell, you’re the girl from Larry’s place.  What the fuck are you doing here?”

By that time, he was close enough for me to smell the Jim Beam on his breath.  Well, it may have just been soaked into his shirt. Or maybe it was just his scent.

The moment of surprise passed without either Christine or I saying anything.

“You’re both trespassing on private property and I have every right to shoot you dead on the spot.  Now, was it you, you little bitch, who done turned my forklift over and wrote that shit on my house?”  The gun was pointed at Christine, but he careened it over to me, “Or was it this little shit bag?”

Piss colored my jeans.  Oh shit!  Oh shit! Oh SHIT!  This is what you get, you stupid fucker, for thinking you had a shot with Christine Tits McGee.  This is payback for polluting Marco’s air in the halls of his school. Shit for a Shitbag… Billy the goddamn Kid?  Yeah fuckin’ right, you stupid son of a bitch. Eat shit. My finger’s not gonna get dirty anyway. You’re in the spladle now, asshole.  Whatchu gonna do about it? Just what the fuck you gonn’ do about it? …Shoot you dead on the spot… There is no pain you are receding.  The distant ship smoke on the horizon. I have become comfortably numb….

“…It… it was her,”  I sputtered with the strength of a mouse.

BLAMO!

Christine didn’t even scream.  She just put her hands to her belly to start plugging up all the holes from the buck shot.  Blood and shit were swelling out. Not swelling, but pouring out. Pouring like the wave of blood at the elevators in Kubrick’s version of the Shining.  She coughed up red sputum and dropped to her knees. I could see now that it wasn’t a bunch of tiny holes, it was one large canyon which ripped open her abdomen.  Her intestines riled around like coiling rattle snakes vomiting up blood past their sharp venomous fangs.

In a reaction of desperation, I ran left off the path into the thick foliage.

BLAMO!  BLAMO! “Get back here, Shitbag!”

I wound my way out into the open air of the farm and over to Christine’s car.  Keys in the ignition (you fuckin’ idiot, Christine). VROOOOM. And I was gone.

I guess I always wondered what it would be like to be the cool guy.  The Big Man on Campus. The B.M.O.C. The hip fuckin’ guy who always knew what to do.  Johnny Goddamn Schlotzko. Mostly, I always wondered what it would be like if, just for once, someone else had a disgusting fucking hole in their belly.

Well, that was one way of doing it.

Cafe Management is run by the administration of The Confabulator Cafe. We keep things running smoothly, post stories by guest authors, and manage other boring back-end tasks.

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