December 17, 2014

“I was helpin’ a friend of mine,” Farmer Orville said yesterday as he drove his pickup toward town, taking me to the pharmacy, “he’s been laid up for some time, had his arm removed and all. He calls me up: ‘Orville? It’s Frank. I wouldn’t bother you none but the toilet backed up and I cain’t fix it—bum arm, you know.’”

Orville wheezed out a laugh, veering the truck off the road than back again.

“So I went over there. And he wasn’t kidding. Man oh man, stuff was everywhere. I have smelled worse. Guys’d void their bowels in Korean foxholes, lest they lose their heads standin’ up. Did I mention my friend also recently had a colostomy? Don’t worry, I washed my hands before I got you.”

I’ll spare you the next fifteen minutes of graphic description—Orville likes his blood and guts—not because you might be offended but because your imagination is doing a far better job than I could. A floor full of stuff.

My friend Maureen tells me her baby boy can crap sitting up in his baby seat, the stuff rising up over the diaper, on up his back, then gravity bringing it all back, like a chocolate fountain. I occasionally hold that boy, ever alert for volcanic sounds which might force me to take cover.

This afternoon, I’m enjoying Day 11 of the Worst Sickness in History Which Has Reduced Me to a Puling Infantile Eccentric Mope of a Man (PIEMOAN) Thanks to more drugs (oh vicodin, I sing thy praises), I was able to drive and do a couple errands—my first drive since two weeks ago.

First on the list was getting cat litter for Scout the Cat. You want to see stuff, don’t clean a cat’s litter box for a few days and watch her response. There are things inside cats not listed in poison manuals.

So I’m in the pet store when my Genelungs start the wheezing which will be followed by mass expectoration, and I spot this clerk and I point to my mouth and whisper, “Kleenex!”

The kid is on it. He runs to a roll of paper toweling and tears me off a generous foot and runs to (oooh nooooo) me (ooooh noooo), alas, one second late and I vomit a river of snot into my hands and snot is leaking out my nose and between my fingers, and I am mortified, but the kid shoves the toweling over the mess and leads me to a restroom, where I scrape snot, wipe snot, smudge snot, erase snot, wash off snot.

I mean stuff.

I walk back for my kitty litter, and the kid salutes me, and I thank him profusely, and he smiles and says, “No problem.” Normally I want to kill service people who say no problem. This kid understood subtext.

Then I go to the library. They don’t have a restroom so I have to be vigilant. The nearest restroom is in Macy’s. They don’t like snot blowers in Macy’s. They like snoots, not snots. And I get to the library checkout line with my new Dave Robicheaux novel and a couple videos, and you know what happens, and I throw down my stuff and I run into Macy’s with my hands over my mouth and nose and . . . God bless you. (What happened? It’{s not} for me to say.

Yesterday, on the ride home, Orville pointed to the defunct ice cream store on Route 3, causing him to veer his truck off the road. “I have half a mind to buy that. I owned that, you and me would be havin’ a cone right now. I do not like that frozen yogurt, crap runs right through me. That house two doors on down? That’s my friend’s place—the one arm guy?

“Did I mention I cleaned up his stuff?”

About Eugene Jones Baldwin

I am a writer: non-fiction, fiction, journalism (Alton Telegraph), essays (The Genehouse Chronicles) and have a website: I've published a couple dozen short stories and had eleven plays produced. Current projects: "Brother of the Stones" (available on Kindle), a book of short stories; "The Faithful Husband of the Rain, short stories"; "A Black Soldier's Letters Home, WWII,;" "There is No Color in Justice," a commentary on racism; "Ratkillers," a new play. I am an avocational archaeologist and I take parts of my collection of several thousand Indian artifacts (personal finds) to schools, nature centers, libraries etc. and talk about the 20,000 year history of The First people in Illinois. (See link to website) I'm also a playwright (eleven plays produced), musician, historian (authority on the Underground Railroad in Illinois, the Tuskegee Airmen) and teacher.
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