A Healthy Dump Might Un-Pinch Your Face

“There are just some things you aren’t supposed to talk about,” Zoe said. “Rude topics that make people feel uncomfortable, you know? No one cares about what happens when someone else goes to the bathroom.”

“No shit,” Myrtle’s best friend said to his fingernails, before assuming a serious expression and refocusing on Zoe.

Myrtle burst into laughter. Then she had to take a few quick breaths to settle down. Her stomach harbored a time bomb that could turn Roman’s hilarity into dangerous business.

Zoe glared at Myrtle. “See? That’s what I’m talking about. You and Roman are incapable of having a conversation without bodily functions in it. People don’t like that. They just don’t. Your behavior comes with consequences. Have you thought about how I feel when someone who knows we’re friends laughs at you? It hurts me, Myrtle. It does.”

Roman must’ve felt the heat rising in Myrtle’s temper, because he took a few steps forward and stood between his best friend and Zoe.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Zoe said to Roman, when he suggested that she should leave. “Myrtle hasn’t completely lost her mind. I’m sure an upset stomach doesn’t make anyone crazy.”

“It’s okay, Roman.” Myrtle’s voice came out soft and cool, and she was grateful for that. “Zoe’s right.” She nudged him aside, until she was able to get face to face with the other girl.

Zoe smiled. “I knew you had sense, Myrtle. I knew you would see things the way—”

“Shut up.” Myrtle’s words spread, red and tight, over Zoe’s face. “Stop saying my name. Stop jabbering about things you don’t understand. Stop telling me to be ashamed.”

“I didn’t say that. I just meant that there are other ways.” Zoe crossed her arms. “You used to be normal, Myrtle. And now, now you are always trying to get attention in the wrong way. Other people have stomach troubles. I’m sure yours aren’t…”

Myrtle grinned, showing her teeth until the other girl lost the end of her sentence. Zoe was an insensitive piece of human garbage, but she was neither stupid nor blind. “Walk away.” Her hands were trembling, yearning for the sharp song of a slap.

“You’re crazy,” Zoe said, backing away.

The slap-craving hand grabbed the front of Zoe’s t-shirt. “Not crazy,” Myrtle said. “I’m suffocating in the little box of your expectations. I can’t go another day pretending that being human, that being sick, that being me is a disgusting secret I must keep from your sensibilities. If me being me makes you feel uncomfortable, then you walk away.” Letting go of Zoe’s t-shirt, Myrtle added, “By the way, a healthy dump might un-pinch your face. It always leaves me feeling a deep sense of cleansing.”

Roman began to laugh. Myrtle joined him with a series of controlled giggles.

***
for she who came bearing a giant pine cone and a twisted stick…

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Process Note: Last year, while I was trying to learn about Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), I came across a blog written by a young woman who lived with a severe form of IBD. I can’t remember the exact name of the blog, but the title included “Poo”. All her entries were about the adventures of a person with a very limited diet, and who had to use the bathroom dozens of times a day. She filled her posts with hilarities… even the sad ones.

A reader, who called herself “Just a Friend”, left a comment suggesting that what the blogger shared was shaming family and friends; that although Just a Friend “felt sorry” for the blogger, the latter had no right to do what she was doing. I read the words over and over, asking myself, Is this self-centered heap of dung serious?

Living with acute stomach and intestinal issues is a fulltime job. In fact, going through life with any illness that reshapes one’s entire lifestyle is hard, hard, hard and harder. Humor helps the brain deal with the terrible things it cannot control… Empathy can be soothing… Pity rots… Acknowledging that illness as a natural thing that happens to people keeps everyone’s guts from getting ripped out.

IBS Art CompetitionI found this powerful image here, but believe it might be part of an exposition titled “Experience of Illness”. I have not been able to find the artist. If the piece belongs to you, please let me know and I’ll give you credit (or remove it, if that’s your desire).

As Deliciously Geeky as Me

My Piano Man and I had a fantastic day at BookCon 2015. We’ve been sharing this kind of bookish experience for years, but I’m always surprised by what it means. I think many of us often go through life believing that we’ll never find another person whose tastes, wants and needs are as deliciously geeky as our own.

We left the house relatively early, after packing a bag with grapes, cherries, nuts, yogurt… and my medications *cough*. Because Lady Luck has a crush on my Piano Man—I’m sure of it—we got to stand under yummy shade as we waited for The Javits Center to open its doors.
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One of our first missions was to check out the length of a particular line (we wanted to get an autographed book for a friend). You can see most of the autograph lines… The picture was taken more than two hours before the authors arrived.
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Yes, I nearly died of fictitious shock…
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Aside from the ridiculous amount of swag we got to take home, my day was brightened by the presence of author Kay Williams. I’ve never read any of her work; but dear goodness, my Wicked Luvs, this lady has spirit. I want to be her when I grow up: hair gloriously white, a smile on my lips, a pen in my hand, and a vibe of joy surrounding people waiting for a book. The image of her sharing with her readers brings a warm grin to my face every time.
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If the covering of that roll of parchment had been red, my Piano Man and all of BookCon’s security guards might not have been able to remove the thing from my mad-writer’s hands.
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I was ecstatic after receiving my Certified Geek button. Now, the world knows!
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And because people who don’t share the yum are certainly the slime of at least 2.5 galaxies, here is a post BookCon giveaway:
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To enter the giveaway
, tell me what part of this post (if any) made you smile, and why?
• The Matryoshka Murders, by Kay Williams
• Garlic, an Edible Biography, by Robin Cherry
• Winter Turning (Wings of Fire, Book 7), by by Tui T. Sutherland
• The Girl Next Door, by Selene Castrovilla
• The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss, by Max Wirestone
• Black Widow: Forever Red (sampler), by Margaret Stohl
• Pop Sonnets: Shakespearean Spins on Your Favorite Songs, by Erik Didriksen
• Practicing Peace in Times of War, by Pema Chödrön

– Enter before June 9th, 11:59 EDT; the winners will be announced the next day.
– There will be three winners, selected via Random.Org.
– One title per winner (please choose a first, second and third title).
– Most of the books are advanced readers copies (ARCs); three of them are signed by the authors; two of the autographed books were signed to me (so you can tell people that you beat me silly and have a book to prove it *I’m keeping my Piano Man’s copies, so I can tell people that I beat him silly and have his books to prove it… bad to the bone, I tell you*); Black Widow: Forever Red is a sampler—the complete book won’t be out until this fall.
– Open worldwide, excluding any place where prohibited by law.
– Canadian winners, before claiming a prize, you must be ready to use your 3rd grade math.
* Best of luck, my Wicked Luvs.

This is the entire booty. So yes, there will be other giveaways in the future…
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