You’re at a dinner party, your first in over a year. The vino flows freely and the conversation is sparkling. You have been witty and charming all evening. Oscar Wilde in a blazer.
“Please, Marcus, darling, eschew with your mouth closed.”
And then…. you feel it. The ram’s horn has sounded deep within the treatment plant of your being. The stomach is growling like the awakened bear. If you choose to ignore the gentlest of warnings, more drastic one’s will follow. The pop and hiss of anal flares will resound. You will be powerless to stop it. And in the rapidly developing situation you run the dangerous risk of the sounds, the cracking of the back porch screen door, being not the warning shot of flatulence, but the straining of the dam. Allowing the sound to resound may be interpreted as permission to burst, flooding the valley.
You beg permission to leave the table, your dignity hangs by a thread. You walk as normally as clenched cheeks will permit. And you do clench tight. A single physical effort holding back nature. Atlas holding up the earth. Once out of the room you move slower as to not disrupt the delicate balance you have made with the poop exportation teamsters. “Please, I just need more time!”
Alas you make it to the toilet. You begin to remove your clothing so they do not become casualties in this unpleasant business. A gentleman, challenged to a duel, removing his gloves. You sit the dress pants off to one side. You hang the blazer on a hook affixed to the back of the door. You do the same with your dress shirt and tie.
You lower yourself to the throne. The last stand of the bowels. The contents of your consumption come rattling down the chute like a herd of unruly cattle. Your indiscretions laid bare in processed waste unfurling like the contents of a sausage grinder. Your butt makes the loud cracking and release valve sputtering to signal its approach, like an old locomotive picking up speed.
You baseline plumbing knowledge tells you that if you do not make a cleansing flush now you are courting danger. You resist, because you are haunted by Emily Post who said that, “More than one flush is a breach of decorum.” Still you continue to let the brown rushing river roar its way through the canyon of your crack. The Brown Derby open for takeout. The great cleansing. Giving birth to Satan.
Alas you are spent, like a rafter lost from their party, caught in the rapids. You are exhausted. You know that even in your state that the battle is only half over. The FEMA of fecal matter must arrive on the scene posthaste. You are now forced to clean this. Push the lever that will take away 24 hours of poor decisions. Begin the wiping.
You hunch over your host’s bidet. The rapid tide of water cleaning the encrusted ruins of your anus. You are thorough, like Hercules diverting the river Alpheus to clean the Augean Stables.
You dress. Then you saturate the small room with aerosol fragrance. The overall affect is of a burned out pine forest, but no matter. You’ve done all you can.
It is now, and only now that you depress the lever and dispose of the evidence.
The evidence does not leave. Like an extortionist it gurgles and rises. Refusing to leave. Seeing opportunity in your desperation. You press the lever again. This time it doesn’t merely gurgle but begins a precipitous rise to the top. Quickly you search for the one weapon that can reverse your fortunes. The plunger.
The plunger is nowhere to be found. They hide it. All people hide it. It is a dirty secret. To quote Emily Post yet again, “If you have skeletons, keep them in your closet. Behind them, keep the plunger.”
Finally, you produce it. Unsheathing it from its confines deep with in the linen closet. Zorro before a battalion of the King’s men. Thor hoisting Mjöllnir above his divine head.
You plunge it into the murky depths and you begin to suction. Your arms are like the pistons of a mighty steamship. You hair comes unmoored from its perfectly coiffed shape. Splashes of poop water stain your shirt and pants.
The water has receded an inch. This gives you the confidence to flush again! Hubris is swiftly punished. To quote the poet, John Lennon, “Instant karma’s gonna get you.” And it does!
You cast aside your weapon like a frightened burglar in a botched robbery. The Johnstown Flood of grey water reaches high tide and comes spilling over the rim. Faster and faster the ocean spreads. You hear the toilet running. It gives no indication of subsiding.
You have a choice. Will you be washed away by your own waste. Drowned like the Pharaoh’s army. Or will you, make it to the distant shore untouched like the children of Israel lead out of bondage.
Your self preservation instincts kick in and you dash out the door. You make a sharp turn out of your benevolent host’s French Doors. You leap across the railing and land on the grass. You take off through the woods surrounding the house. You rode with a friend, so there is no car to retrieve.
An hour later you board a bus for Milwaukee. You can change your name, get a new job, see a doctor for IBS, start over again. You’ve done it before.