The Drunkest Man In Illinois presents: "Watershit Down"
Posted 06/16/2008 by cal
We recommend finishing your lunch before reading.
Let me tell you about the worst pain I’ve ever felt. It was right around the time of the Iraq invasion. I had been popping Vicodin for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner because of a tooth problem I was having, and one of the side effects is constipation. This, accompanied by the fact that my diet consisted of McDonald’s cheeseburgers and breakfast slams from Denny’s, prevented me from shitting for nine days. That’s right, NINE days.
On the afternoon of the ninth day, I stopped at a coffee shop downtown and had an espresso shot and ordered a twenty-ounce coffee before I boarded the El to head up north. Eight or so minutes into the train ride I nearly fell out of my seat from sudden, excruciating pain. I was doubled over and people were looking at me like I was crazy. I had to take a shit the likes of which I didn’t even think existed before this moment. I had a few more stops to endure and I stared at the floor and concentrated with all my effort away from the pain and malicious urge. The train rolled to a stop and I looked up and out the window to see how much further I had to go and I was taunted by huge letters that stated “You are on the Brown Line.” The guy sitting next to me exited but not before leaving his newspaper on the seat. I picked it up in a futile attempt to use it as a tool to focus on instead of the aforementioned pain and urge. I flipped it over to the front page and read the banner headline: “Shock and Awe Imminent.” A second diabolical taunt.
My brain was swimming in adrenaline, full panic mode. I was rubbernecking back and forth, positive that somebody, or everybody, was aware that I was about to have explosive, apocalyptic diarrhea. My mind was racing with a furious, manic intensity and consequently the train seemed like it wasn’t moving at all. When you are in such a state there is no such thing as increments of time. There is only NOW. NOW I am sitting on the train attempting to prevent what would be the most embarrassing moment of my life from happening.
My stop arrived and NOW I was standing and moving. I had mentally mapped out my route—straight down Diversey to Clark Street, take a left, take another left into the Century Mall, get on the escalator, then the stairs, arrive at the Century Cinemas on the fourth floor, make my way to their bathrooms, explode. The problem was it was a full half a mile away. There were a couple of bars that I knew were only half the distance but it was Friday and they would be full of people and they only had one toilet each and if anybody was using it I wouldn’t make it. The key was to keep moving; if I stopped before I was in position, it would be all over. I would have to bear this cross a full four blocks and four flights until I received my respite.
In the interest of brevity I won’t recap the treacherous journey from the Brown Line stop at Diversey to the Century other than to say all I kept thinking about was those guys Hillary and Norgay that climbed Mount Everest. People on the street must have thought I was a nut because I was engaged in a sort of half sprint/walk half waddle while staring at the ground and muttering “Hillary…Norgay…” to myself. I would also like to say that I think of myself as an optimist at best, a realist at worst but never a pessimist. With that in mind I put the odds of dumping nine days of breakfast sausage in my pants at seventy percent.
But that didn’t happen. I pushed the doors to the Century open and made my way to the escalator. Soon I was on the steps and then in the lobby of the cinema and amidst its pretentious, snooty clientèle. I bolted past some nerdy employee who had to be about 19. He eyeballed me the whole way to the bathroom as I was moving like I was on a mission. If nobody on the train or street knew what my problems and objectives were, this kid did. But I didn’t care. I swung the door to the bathroom open and found the first stall. To my surprise I dropped the paper on the floor. I hadn’t even realized I was carrying it.
Some time later I stood up because the bowl was full. I couldn’t believe it---the bowl was FULL. The shit had risen well above the water plain and looked like the mountain Richard Dreyfuss is obsessed with in Close Encounters. It was the most horrific sight I have ever laid my eyes upon and the stench was beyond unholy. I hit the flush but the toilet just whimpered and nothing happened---it wasn’t going anywhere. There was nothing I could do so I just left it and went to the next stall to resume my business.
And resume I did. After reading most of the paper I realized this bowl was also full. In one session I had completely filled two bowls, a spectacular feat. More importantly, the pain was almost gone. I tried to flush this bowl too but it also wouldn’t take. I went to the third stall to let the pain completely dissolve and finish reading the paper.
At this point a movie must have let out because people started to come into the bathroom. The layout is set up with the stalls on your left after you enter and the wash basins on the right. The urinals are on the far right wall after the basins. So it is natural to go to the stalls instead of the urinals simply because they are closer. The first guy walked in and entered the first stall:
He then went into the second stall:
“Holy fuck! What’s going on?!?”
He decided to use the urinal.
When he was washing his hands another guy entered and repeated the same process:
He must have given the first guy a look because the first guy said:
“Hey, don’t look at me, man; I had nothing to do with that!”
After they left I got out of the third stall and began to wash my hands. A third guy walked in and after opening each stall door let out an audible gasp. He rushed to the basin and began to dry heave. I could barely contain my laughter. The guy stormed out. On my way out I ripped the "Shock and Awe" off the cover of the paper and used my gum to post it on the wall right above the first stall. Hell’s art gallery.
The first thing I saw upon exiting the bathroom was the dry heaver chewing out the 19-year-old kid. The kid looked right at me and the look on his face screamed, “There’s the culprit!” I gave him a wink and a smile.
I went to the concession stand to get some water because I feared dehydration. As I was in line I saw what appeared to be the manager approach the kid. They shared a few words and the manager went to the bathroom. I then went to get a program which explained the current films. Maybe I’d see one. As I was looking through it the manager re-emerged from the bathroom and approached the kid. I could hear him say, “You better go get Larry.”
As I waited in line for a ticket I could see Larry, the manager and the kid standing outside the bathroom door which now had an “Out of Order” sign on it. The three of them seemed to be arguing. Or rather the manager seemed to be arguing and Larry and the kid seemed to be pleading. They continued that way as I made my way into a movie.
Ninety minutes later I emerged from the theater with a spring in my step. Making my way through the lobby I could see the “Out of Order” sign was still there. The door opened and the manager held it as Larry and the kid walked out carrying mops and buckets. They had on those painter’s masks that go over your mouth and nose and were wearing those yellow rubber gloves that go up to your elbow. The kid motioned toward me and said something to the other two. As I began to descend on the escalator the three of them made their way to the balcony and watched me with strange looks in their eyes. They were looks of disdain mixed with a sort of awed curiosity. I smiled and made my way back out onto Clark Street.