Do I poop here in my home or do I wait until I get to the sandwich shop? Like all great adventures, this one started with a choice.
After just moving to a new area I needed to find work. I filled out applications all over town and the one place that felt like taking our relationship to the next level was a sandwich shop a quarter mile from my home. They invited me in for an interview. It was a great job possibility considering the circumstances. Not too many hours a week, an easy walk from my home and free sandwiches.
Up until this point in my job history I worked as a Blockbuster cashier, a Movie Concessions person, a wedding videographer and Catering company lackey. You’ll notice none of those jobs included the perk of free sandwiches. I was moving up in the world. I had a good feeling.
I also had to poop.
Rather than poop in my house and risk losing the free sandwiches by being late to the job interview I started walking the 10 blocks. The plan was simple, get there early (on time) use the sandwich shop’s bathroom, crush the interview and maybe grab a sandwich for the road.
To the outside viewer the walk there appeared uneventful. The weather was typical of a lovely October Tacoma day and all downhill. What the outside viewer couldn’t see and what I either didn’t notice or chose to subconsciously ignore, was the inner workings of my belly.
I made my choice. And I chose poorly. Unbeknownst to me, the poo that I thought was leisurely sitting on the bench was now on deck and taking a few practice swings. So, I quickened my pace.
I burst through the doors of the shop that manufactures sandwiches and made a beeline to the room that has man toilets. Halfway to the porcelain throne I heard, “Are you William?”
The voice came from behind the counter. The lady who graciously took my application a week prior was standing there now with very little to do.
“Yes I am,” I said, momentarily forgetting my situation.
“When can you start?” she asked.
“You mean working?”
“Umm… tomorrow I guess.”
“Okay, great. Be here at 2pm, where khaki pants.” She paused only to reach under the counter and pull out two green polo shirts. “Wear one of these. See you tomorrow.”
“Thanks,” I said reaching out to shake the hand of my new employer. “See you tomorrow.” With my new uniform in hand I turned and walked out the door and headed home. I was stoked and slightly surprised. Not that I got the job, I’m awesome and have sandwich artist written all over me. I was shocked that she chose to call that an interview. I didn’t expect a polygraph test or anything, but a few questions at least. She didn’t even check my references.
I was not under any delusions that this was the greatest job in the world or anything. I had just moved across the country to a new town and even though I was staying with a lovely family, I was taking my first steps towards independence. It was a small victory, but it was a victory and it felt good.
I was halfway home when the poo interpreted my thoughts of victory and independence. So excited was I by the thought of getting paid by the hour to make other people’s foot long sandwiches that I forgot to void my bowels.
I turned back and saw the sandwich shop, barely in view. I looked forward and saw about where my house was. A few quick calculations later I determined that the best option was to get to my house. It was closer. Added to that, what would my new employer think if she saw me comeback there just to use the bathroom.
I made a second choice. And again, I chose poorly.
While walking from my home to the sandwich shop I had had the luxury of walking downhill. What I failed to account for in my calculations was that hills also go up.
I was not ten steps into my decision when regret washed over me. The poo was now out of the batter’s box and at the plate. One false move and I might hit a triple.
I kept my legs together and only moved them below the knees. I was literally inching forward. Four blocks in eight minutes must be a record somewhere for someone.
When I reached the front of the place that was now my home I looked at it as if through new eyes. It was a beautiful three story house with a lovely porch, full finished basement, six bedrooms and three bathrooms. I loved and still love that house. In that moment though I cursed it and wished with every fiber of my soul that it would burn to the ground. Why? Because what I never noticed about this house was that in order to get to one of those three bathrooms I needed to first conquer the porch. And in order to conquer the porch I needed to first walk up 10 steps.
I can do this. Steps are easy. I do steps all the time. Steps are just like regular walking.
With the delicacy of a bomb disposal unit I took to the first step, but before my foot touched stone, it happened. Forget the single. Forget even the triple. It was an over the fence grandslam.
For those that don’t follow metaphor: I shit my pants. The time for delicacy and inching forward was over. I sprinted and lept up the stairs. The poo having escaped now made a run for it down my leg. In one swift motion I opened the door with my left hand and with my right I grabbed the base of my pant leg so poo wouldn’t see the light of day.
Once inside, I sprang into action. Step one: wipe my ass. I ran to my room bent over still holding the pant leg shut, looking not unlike Dr. Frankenstein’s assistant. In my bathroom I felt like I could finally breathe. I kicked off my shoes and socks and dropped trough to examine the damage. I’ll spare you the details but it was unpleasant; so unpleasant that I couldn’t just toss them into the washing machine in their current condition.
I started the shower and gave my pants and boxers a good first draft cleaning to knock the big pieces off. Realizing that I too dripped unpleasantness on me, I fully disrobed and hopped in the shower as well.
With my body clean and my lower clothes getting there, it was on to step two: hide the evidence. I skipped fresh boxers and hopped right into a pair of sweats and threw on a hoodie. I gathered my soiled boxers, pants and socks and started off towards the washing machine. But then I wondered how it would appear if I washed load made up only of a pair of boxers, pants and socks. I added several articles of clean clothes so that the load would appear more normal and not arouse any suspicions.
Some of you may suppose that that’s being overly paranoid. That might be so, but you don’t know the mindset I was in, you weren’t there; there exist a terror that one only know when one has shat oneself.
I put the now totally normal looking load of clothes into the washing machine and added an ample amount of detergent. With this I was onto the third and final step 3: act normal.
My bathroom looked normal. There was not a trace of unpleasantness in the tub. I put on a fresh clean pair of clothes and then made my way downstairs to act as if nothing happened. Ever. In my whole life.
Then I saw two things at the exact same moment. First, I saw, through the front window, a car pull up that contained every member of the family I was living with. It hadn’t occurred to me until just then how lucky I was that not one of them were home. Second, I saw, sitting in the middle of the foyer floor, a giant pile of shit.
I don’t remember what happened next, only that cleaning products from under the sink were involved, that I flushed the paper towels in the downstairs toilet and that I made it to the couch all before the family traversed the 30 feet from the street to the house.
Anything is possible kids, so long as you believe.
What a day. I couldn’t wait to tell my surrogate family the good news. I couldn’t wait to tell them that I got a job, that I would get free sandwiches and that I would be generous but fair with these sandwiches. But before I could say any of this, before I could celebrate that I was slowly but assuredly growing up, Christin, the eldest daughter of the family that invited me into their home to live with them simply asked “What smells like shit?”
*William Turbyfill was born in Lickskillet, Alabama. He enjoys Doctor Who and the idea of Ben Affleck as Batman and he once met the Queen of England. He thinks she enjoyed it.