Good Fortune

Two hours ago I was selling a painting. I didn’t make much more than what the materials cost, but it felt good.

Now I am cleaning shit off a toilet seat, and not the underside of the toilet seat either.

Nobody likes to clean shit, but there is at least something enduring about anonymous shit. Unfortunately this time I know the asshole this shit came from.

She sits in the shop for hours at a time.

I have seen her here every day since I started this job. Every day I smile and make her coffee and every day she takes her coffee away without a glance at the tip jar. Today I scrub the rot from her bowels off the top of this toilet seat. I suppose she saved up her tips for this one grand gesture.

Her family would put her in a home before cleaning up the waste from her aged and loose intestines. Here, I am making just a sliver over minimum wage doing the repugnant job.

I am fucking depressed.

Pucker up Harvey, you’re the potty trained one. That poor old bag can’t even get her shit into the toilet. Yeah, you’re the lucky one Harvey.

That would have worked better in an English accent.

Earlier life smelled like roses. Now my nose is rammed right up against a pile of old-lady shit. Her feces spread on porcelain looks alarming. I’d recommend her to see a doctor if I wasn’t wishing for her death so badly.

I used be able to do work like this no problem: Gloves, bleach, wipe, done.

I used to be able to tell myself I am paying my dues. But, at this point, I could have served a term for manslaughter and been back on the streets. Debt to society–paid.

How many assholes will I have to clean?

This shit is weighing on my shoulders and when that weight smells like a dead rat buried in cow dung it is time to do something about it.

I make the bowl spotless, remove the gloves and throw them and the paper towel in the trash and tie the bag up. On the way out of the store I notice her sitting with a newspaper.

I cannot believe she is still here after making that mess. She must have balls like a whale.

Fuck her!

I drop the bag next to the old hag, open it and toss in some dirty napkins. Before tying it back up I make sure that fucker has time to breathe.

Does she recognize the smell of her insides? Can she feel the venom darts shooting from my eye sockets?

She looks at me as I pick the bag up. It brushes her arm. I swing the sack of hag feces as hard as I can right across her saggy face. Her skin contorts like a crumpled ball of paper. The bag rips opens. The soiled paper and shit remnants fly all over the café, into customers’ cups, on their laps. She is blinded from the corn she ate last night. Shit is smeared all over her face and her head looks like a ball of used toilet paper. Her insides are on her outside. Finally, a shit shower for all the people who overpay for their coffee to have their asses wiped.

This seems right.

I imagine a voice over a loudspeaker:

“Ladies and gentlemen please remain where you are and stay calm. Someone will be right out to remove any unwanted material from your coffee and body. A second person will be out to wipe you and your mug down, followed by a third to refill your cup, comb your hair, and do your makeup if needed. Please remember you are more important than most other people, and you shall be treated that way.”

Unfortunately it did not rain shit on these assholes. But as I reach the dumpster outside I cannot stop smiling.

I drop the bag in the bin, take off my apron and do the same with it, and keep walking.

The fecal encrusted boulders on my shoulders roll right off my back. They are someone else’s problem. I do not need this shit.

There is only one asshole I have to worry about now. Sure money might get tight, but at least I have plenty of stolen toilet paper to keep one thing always taken care of.

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About Brett Butler

if my dick were a gun is a collection of short stories by Brett Butler. He is also an award-winning filmmaker/screenwriter and co-creator of the Toronto based entertainment production company SubProd. View all posts by Brett Butler

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