I dedicate this story collection, as I think I will always first and foremost dedicate my work, to my cousin Todd C.

Roesing, whose life could only have been taken by truth of the cliché “the good die young.” Rest in peace my cousin, my friend. I also dedicate this to the victims of that bitch Hurricane Katrina.

Table Of Contents

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23.

Shit Carrier Shit On The Road Shit In The Trench Shit At The Game Shit Over Vomit Omelet Fortified Shit Shit At The Station Shit In The Woods Shit In The Basement Shit In The Trenches Shit At The Airport Shit In The Air Russian Shit Shit In The Morning Shit On The Tractor Shit On The Bus Shitsmear Jones Shit On The Dishes Shit In The Void Shit On The Stair Shit On The Path Shit-Too-Soon The Goon Shit On The Trail

Shit Carrier
The City of Portland, Maine, came up with a new and controversial idea one day: taking the responsibility of cleaning up after the city's dogs. After all, it was well known how many fines were unjustly served annually due to the droppings of the population of feral dogs. The idea was that the city would hire a man—no, a crew—no, a department— no, just one man!--to clean up all of the droppings. His pay would be almost that of the mayor's secretary, so one step from nothing. The first to apply would have the position. Then came along his grandmother, or so the story went, one of the city's first female employees outside secretarial work. She did her job with pride and cheer until one day she was bitten by one of the city's many wild, snarling dogs. To her surprise, it did not kill her. Little did she know, it had both doomed her to die when she gave birth to his father, and also it would place a curse on her family to have bad luck with fecal matter. Many years later, her grandson would write about it.

Shit On The Road
He spotted the car of punk kids, even as his windshield was covered with bird—seagull, pigeon, hawk, and even eagle—droppings. He knew they from the lighted cigar he saw one of them holding out his window. And what a stupid idea. The car was moving. He decided he would increase his speed at the very moment he turned his foot to lead and pressed the accelerator all the way. His intention was to put a scare in the arrogant, stony bastards. Once he pulled up next to them, leveling his speed with theirs, he hollered inaudible words while looking at the punk driver, who now held the cigar, which was hand-rolled and obviously illegal. The kid smiled, soon laughed. Soon the punk in the back seat on the side closest him rolled down his window. Before he knew what was happening, the punk kid's ass was staring at him, resting dutifully on glass. Things went on this way for a moment. He saw the brown start to seep out of the crevice of reddened cheeks. His first instinct was to stop, but even as he did he realized he had done so. Too late. He watched in horror, the screech of his tires forming a background, as a splash of brown splattered his windshield joining the grotesque collage of white there already

1

Shit In The Trench
When he was much younger, a boy in fact, he'd dug a trench mostly by himself for his father. It took weeks to do; a pickaxe, shovel, and glass of water now and then his only aids. One day, at the end he had started from—the only finished piece—he found at the bottom of the trench a bush of berries. His father had warned him about unfamiliar fruit. Nevertheless, being one to shirk such precautions, he ate a handful in gulp. Fifteen minutes later a whole ripped in his pants with a hardened, poisonous berry turd. The rest came as liquid. His father was ashamed, but tried a berry himself as he picked up his son's slack and watched him suffer.

2

Shit At The Game
The phrase “little league world series” was the most sacred combination in his vocabulary. It being his first year on the team, he was unaware how futile such a notion was. His team stood a chance at winning the local championship, and it was on the night they were poised on the brink of it which was his most embarrassing. How many times had his mother warned him of his family's history with chocolate, to go easy on it? He wasn't sure, but he'd felt victorious walking out of his house to the ballpark with three full brownies. He took his position behind home plate at the bottom of the seventh that night with confidence and pride. A member of the crowd first noticed the brown stain accompanying sweat on the seat of his white uniform pants. Soon, the crowd was laughing. A man from the other team's crowd screamed, “That pussy's scared shitless!” From that day on he never played baseball or ate chocolate in public again.

3

Shit Over Vomit Omelet
One of the fraternity's resident drunks decided at quarter-past midnight that he should serve breakfast. To whom it did not matter. He readied eggs, bacon, and bread for toast. Soon one of the fraternity tight-asses came and kicked him out of the kitchen since he was yet unable to kick the drunk out of the fraternity. To his amazement he found two hot plates at the corner of the concrete driveway. He snuck back inside, got the food, a pan, and commenced to use the hot plates with an extension cord to carry out his original plan... One of the people he served, a girl who shouldn't have been drinking, who didn't quite know where she was or what she was doing, wandered onto the grass, pulled down her pants, and dropped a petite load on the green surface in the exact spot the drunk had tossed a failed omelet. A few hours later the tight-ass stumbled out of the building so drunk he could barely see in the direction of the now-cold hot plates and regular plates with bits of food. He stopped, wobbled for a moment, and looked at the leavings. He felt the urge to puke, and decided it would be best to stretch out and sleep on the lawn once done with that. He zig-zagged onto the grass, as the girl before had, and soon stepped on the mixture of shit and omelet. Slipped forward violently in such a fashion that his face landed in the shit omelet. Just before impact he began to vomit which made for his contribution to the vile testament to man's three worst enemies. The drunk wrote all this in graffiti on the day he was finally expelled from the premises.

Originally published in Zygote In My Coffee #52.

4

Shit At The Station
At South Station in Boston, where he was held up for three hours en route to San Francisco, he rushed into one of the two men's rooms in the circular place and forgot to latch the door of the stall. He noticed this when it was unreachable and he was becoming relieved by the second. Soon the grubbiest homeless man he had seen in his life marched into the stall like he owned it, turned out to be legally blind (not seeing him) and proceeded to pour rum in a near-empty cup from McDonald's. The man stumbled in his direction, as he decided what to do, and did something stranger and dirtier: pulled down his pants and launched an evil air biscuit into the other's face. As the traveler gasped, let his own bowels loosen, and readied himself to speak in protest, the grubby man let loose into his bare lap. He screamed the only word he could think of, the most appropriate, “Shit! Shit! Shit!....” repeatedly, startling the homeless man enough to run off, protectively gripping his mixed drink on the way.

5

Shit In The Woods
He'd been up all night, drinking dandruff-tasting coffee, furiously smoking his menthol cigarettes, and finishing a novel. Bleary-eyed, taking a breather, he noticed the first light of day, and went to the porch attached to the first floor to greet it. “Hello, sun,” he said madly. He could not remember the last time he'd slept – the novel had consumed him so fully. But he knew this was the fourth sun he'd welcomed in the dank, woodsy rural clearing of his house since he had set pen to page. “I will sleep you away today,” he said confidently. The cigarette firmly between his lips, he placed his hand on the cold door handle, and felt a sensation which had recently become foreign to him: his bowels were moving. He rushed inside, excited at the event, and grabbed a roll of toilet paper. He also rushed out the back door. Forty yards into the forest, he nodded to himself saying, “This'll do,” and planted the roll firmly on a stump. He got into a squat stance, joyfully loosened his flannel pajama pants, and made them drop with his boxer shorts. He took a final, laxative pull from his cigarette and tossed it into a nearby shallow puddle. Grunting and heaving minutes later, the flies and gnats and various airborne pests biting his ass, he let go the first glorious load. Two more followed before he felt satisfied. He craned his neck to look, and was prideful of the goose-like sculpture of poop he'd effortlessly laid. “Even my shit is artistic,” he said aloud, and chuckled. While wiping, he felt instantly sick. He suddenly stood flagpole straight with a look of mixed awe, suspicion, and agony on his face. He stood frozen that way for about thirty seconds until it happened. He felt as if he was puking. But the dry, tinder-box feeling in his mouth and the warmth coming into his hand and washing away the paper held so delicately there told a different story. Seven minutes later, as the diarrhea still coursed out of him and he stood trying not to breath the stench, he screamed, loud enough to wake the neighbors miles away, “Shit!” When it finally stopped, an incalculable time later, he swore the plumber's torture would be his next artistic feat and slept away the greeting of two sun risings.

Originally published in Zygote In My Coffee #45.

6

Shit In The Basement
His new neighbors seemed strange, but he'd never been one let differences distance him from people. He invited them over his second day in the neighborhood, and they came over on the third. The woman, whose pale complexion clashed violently with her pretty blonde hair—he felt it should rightfully have been black, dark black—had brought over a cake for dessert. He had served his two scrawny neighbors large steaks from Georgia and potatoes from Maine—spoils of his travels outside New Jersey, his new home. Once they were all done eating, none of them felt up to eating cake. It was decided the cake would go in his refrigerator; that he would eat it at his convenience. The neighbors left and he felt somewhat guilty for thinking them strange at first. It had been an evening of interesting-enough conversation, after all. In hindsight he couldn't understand his previous line of thinking. The next night he came home after a frustrating day at work—his new job already felt like his old one in a million ways—through which he'd dreamed of the luscious cake. Immediately he cut himself a piece, devoured it, and couldn't resist another bigger one right after. It left a pleasant feeling on his tongue; he licked his fork happily, greedily. He felt much better about the rest of the day, about his future. It began to rain a few minutes later as darkness fell and he was eating ice cream, drinking milk. Lightning struck, and it was while putting the milk away he realized the power had just been pummeled. A second later he heard a fuse in the basement pop. Being a man of action, he snapped his back straight and proceeded to the basement entrance, not bothering with a flashlight, and reached the bottom of the stairs just fine. He noted two inches of water as he stepped onto the concrete. Just before he reached the fuse box, he felt something running from near his right rear cheek down the back of the same leg. The feeling was foreign, and he wasn't at first sure what the stuff was. His insides then kicked out and the smell from his ass was undeniable. Soon it was flowing like a river, but he was stoic enough to deal with that shit. He was trying to replace the fuse regardless, seeing his housing as more important than his current hygienic condition. He noticed the water around his ankles had actually proceeded in the time of the diarrhea's shock. It now was around his knees, threatening to bob him like a shitty fish lure. A second wave of shit hit while the water, as if ordained by otherworldly force, increased in depth spreading the shit that was formerly confined to his pants around in the water. He swam through the brown water. His best memory of getting out was screaming the only sensible word for the 7

situation, among other curses his mother wouldn't have approved of.

Originally published in Zygote In My Coffee #51.

8

Shit In The Trenches
In World War One's French theater, many years before, something happened which left a terrible impact on him. One asshole got the bright idea that digging a latrine in one of the trenches they were stationed in was a bright idea. A few other assholes, even a few more, followed suit. It may have been that all the latrines were dug by the first; he never found confirmation, nor identification of ownership. The area was hit with torrential rain and soon the trenches, on all sides, began to fill with water. The American trenches seemed to fill the fastest. He resented the responsible parties—far more than he had originally for their stupidity—as he dodged mines of brownish gore and, before he reached the end, waded through polluted water. The lesson he learned, he later reckoned and later still passed onto his grandson, was that a man ought to watch whose shit he gets near.

9

Shit At The Airport
It was the most wrong thing that ever happened to him. Carrying his luggage toward the plane terminal he felt the familiar, queeziness-inducing squish under his right foot. He stopped suddenly, looked down. He was horrified momentarily at the sight and size of the turd. He looked around, he hollered for security who were on lunch break. Seeing that no one had noticed, and the only ones who had were laughing, he moved on like nothing was wrong. It would be a long ride to Russia, his only companion the smell now practically glued to his shoe.

10

Shit In The Air
It was his first trip to Japan and, as always, he ignored all warnings. He ate lots of starch, drank strong coffee and made it a point, for some reason, to smoke a fresh cigar before boarding his plane. Three hours into the flight from Portland he had to use the bathroom and proceeded to. Over an hour later he still occupied one of only two toilets on the vessel. An Air Marshall was knocking on the door, talking at him, bordering a holler. The Marshall said, “Sir, I need to ask you to come out of there. What are you— hey! Open up in there!” He was gasping hard in effort. His digestive system was indecisive—there seemed to be too much and too little inside at the same time. He couldn't speak; he could hardly breath. Eventually the Marshall, with the help of his partner, broke in to to find him passed out atop a giant, oddly firm pile of shit—and the stench caused the partner to puke which caused the passenger to re-awaken to his undesirable situation.

Russian Shit
He had never been to Russia before, but after that day he never wanted to go again. The hotel was good and cheap for most purposes. Except one—there was no indoor plumbing, and no one could tell him why. There was a network of outhouses. By midnight he had to go, and the only lighting he had was a Zippo. He made his way to the outhouses with relative ease. He stumbled, being drunk from grainy vodka, into the first one which didn't reek ten feet off. He would have shuddering moments of memory for the rest of his life at what happened next; he slipped on a wet spot and went headlong into a deep, terrible feculent container. He wasn't rescued from the horror until the next morning by a grounds keeper about to be the first to do his business who found him in half-light rambling madness, who tried to speak feeble English after trying all the eastern languages. He was in such shock that he wouldn't remember anything important. In his memory he would hear only the slushy sound of the mass of shit. Every time that memory came to him he would get the feeling that only those who've vomited themselves dry know.

11

Shit In The Morning
The sex of the night before, which had been drunken and weirdly professional and perfectionist and at times revolutionary, had put him in a deep sleep. He didn't awake until ten in the morning. He remembered she had fed him some sort of food, that he had loved it nearly as much as the sex. He wondered about it as he stumbled out of bed to the bathroom. He wondered where she was. He sat on the toilet and soon learned something about the food: it was not easy on his aging bowels. He was in agony, wishing for a drink as he bore the internal assault. His eyes bulged and he was heaving; his breath grew shorter, longer, evershorter, then longer again as he struggled with the foreign delicacies and their sideeffects. He wondered where she was.

Originally Published In Zygote In My Coffee #54.

12

Shit On The Tractor
All day for seventeen he rode his new post-retirement passion, his tractor. So much that his body felt fused to the engine itself. It was intense, to put it mildly. On the eighteenth day his wife convinced him to come into their house for dinner, but was appalled at what she saw as he stepped from the tractor. On the seat there lay the remnants of his last meal, and the seat of his pants was rotting, ugly, spreading its ugliness to his crotch as fast as the world turns. She caught wind of an unthinkable stench. She told him, “Get back on the tractor.” “You just got me off,” he argued. “No, I convinced you to forfeit operation of the tractor. Now I want you to get back on.” Outsmarted as always (this was why loved her), clueless as to her motive, he again boarded his tractor and went on his fearless, insensitive way.

13

Shit On The Bus
It was a long way to Reno, and he was glad to hear that the restroom on the Greyhound was there for his convenience. The other bus line he had traveled on did not provide this luxury, but he had no intention of taking advantage without extreme necessity. After a thirty minute layover in Washington, Indiana, he cursed his bowels for their movement. Why had they not given warning just fifteen minutes before, when he was stationary and did not have to comprehend the horrendous smell of the unkempt, cramped, and repeatedly abused can? As he stood to pull his pants to, buckle his belt, and make use of some leftbehind cologne, fate answered his question. Suddenly, as if in slow-motion, he felt the steady rhythm of the bus's locomotion come to a halt. Rather than what was really happening (a terrible, deadly fender-bender), he would have sworn the forward wall of the compartment was speeding toward his face—a horrific situation, even if he had been cured of his claustrophobia. Before the shock set in, and before he knew of his broken nose and now-quitemangled face, he gasped in horror at what he knew was coming next. The emergency medical technician who had the stomach to perform mouthto-mouth resuscitation on him was given the We're-All-Equal-Now Award by the Center for Secular Humanism and Its Necessary Dogma, located in the Washing-ATon Laundromat just outside of Philip, Morris (formerly Virginia).

Originally published in Zygote In My Coffee #50.

14

Shitsmear Jones
“I don't know,” was his favorite response to any question whether he did, didn't, or never had known. He wasn't fond of providing information of any kind to any person and one day one of his professors became so frustrated by this that he said, “Whatever, Shitsmear.” Jones didn't respond. His peers decided that if one looked at it just right, that was exactly what one saw in Jones: a shitsmear, an annoyance with a dash of arrogance. From that point on, every time he gave his standard response the interrogator would say, “Whatever, Shitsmear Jones.” Finally he broke down and told someone what they wanted to know—what was his real first name? At home he realized what a mistake it had been—risking and insulting his own pride that way—and he became enraged. Instead of his customary grocery bag, the next day Jones brought a backpack to class. At ten-minute-break he stayed in his seat whereas he usually rushed out into the hall to eavesdrop and learn a thousand new things he later “wouldn't know.” The professor and his class returned. The stench jumped at them immediately. Jones was nowhere in sight. Twenty-six desks, including the professor's, each had a letter written in brown—the whole thing formed a shitty missive. Jones taught them to use their words more carefully—one never knows what kind of shit might come of them.

15

Shit On The Dishes
Washing dishes in a tiny Italian restaurant had not been his ideal when he'd originally gone looking for a job, his first, but he supposed it paid enough when all things were considered. In contradiction to his job description he also was in charge of setting tables, washing windows, and re-arranging chairs. He didn't mind, it paid well enough. One night he took a salad plate from a dirty stack, made it clean. When he went for another he saw a mouse, but the mouse didn't see him. He rejoiced in successfully grabbing the mouse, but the mouse's response couldn't have been worse: it shit its guts out on his hand. The plates as well. He later reflected, in retelling the story, on how the kitchen manager had bragged of having never witnessed the presence of a rodent in his kitchen.

16

Shit In The Void
He marched across his heated dooryard in broad daylight. All things honest, he didn't care it was daytime. He had a shit to take, a load to drop, and a score to settle. He would do it all today and nothing on earth would stop him. No sir, no way. He owed the void, masked though it was as a deep trench, for taking his father. He would pay it back, and the void would take it and like it. Shortly after his father's disappearance he realized how the void had taken on a personality in his mind, and this worried him and caused him to take more pride in what he was about to do. He squatted at the edge the fault. Let his first bit go. It went well. He lighted a cigarette as the second fell. Went well. A gust of wind so strong it moved trashcans came and threw him atop the shit somewhere in the depths of the void. He too was lost.

17

Shit On The Stair
He hated that kid. The one next door. The baby. The baby of the chick next door, he hated it. He often wished it out of existence. One day all doubt of his righteousness was destroyed when he found a diaper—loaded—on the stairs. That wasn't all of it. There were also smears on the stairs and the wall. If the baby hadn't been his son he wouldn't have ignored it.

Originally published in Zygote In My Coffee #55.

18

Shit On The Path
Since moving to the trailer park, which didn't seem to have one completely sealed septic system, he'd walked a mile or so everyday on what he thought of as a bike path. His fourteenth such walk was his worst and last. He tossed a cigarette off the side. Soon, to his amazement, a raccoon appeared in front of him with the butt clenched between its vicious teeth. He stopped and stared at the coon. It lunged at him, and he jumped back—soon tripping over his own leg and becoming helpless as the raccoon pounced. A moment later the coon walked off triumphant, two proportional turds left behind on a Grateful Dead t-shirt.

19

Shit-Too-Soon The Goon
It wasn't his name, and you had to have a real pair on you to address him as “STS” or “Shit-Too-Soon.” Depending on who you were, he was Mister Ackavellanovi or he was Frankie A. But if you'd known him since childhood, since before he was made, since before he'd proven himself as one of The Family's fiercest warriors, you might call him that and live. It stemmed from a time when he was seventeen and his grandfather had told him and his cousin Mikie to shit on Terry Parlanchance's head. He hadn't meant this literally, but his grandsons were eager to impress him, being wrapped up in silverscreen mob images. The plan was for Frankie to stand on the roof of Terry's three-story, flat-roofed building, bend his ass over the front, drop the cornmeal-laden shit they had both amassed in their bowels, and get out of sight. Mikie stood across the street watching for Henry, who, it was thought, now only had a crew of two or three devoted followers. “He's comin' down the stairs,” Mikie whisper-hollered far above from across the street. Frankie pulled down his pants and rested his uppermost-thighs on the edge of the walls so that this crack was poised and ready. Up the street a man walked out of a bar and dropped a beer bottle, smashing it, which had been the planned signal. Mikie was about to holler up to Frankie when the building's door opened, which made him think the man up the street's noise would work anyway. Frankie dropped three handsome turds as Henry walked out and quickly turned back as someone called to him, only by chance noting the splattering shit on the sidewalk and some on the steps. He pulled out his Ruger... “Jeezus Fuck, Frankie, what kinda goon shits too soon?” “I heard the signal!” “And you shit too soon! You're shit-too-soon the dumbest fuckin' goon!” “Fuck that,” Frankie said. It was the same thing he said more than thirty years later as Mikie lay on his deathbed, cancer eating him alive after his life of doctor-hating, chain-smoking, heavy drinking, and constant stress. “Shit-too-soon, you made it,” Mikie whispered. “Fuck that,” said Frankie as he feigned kicking the respirator. 20

Mikie shit then, and he thought it would be his last. When the scare was over and the nurses had rushed on Frankie and had been waved off by both cousins, Mikie told Frankie that he thought the still-fresh shit was his last. Frankie said, “Guess you shit too soon, you dumb goon.”

21

Shit On The Trail
First it was bear. Then moose. Next it was deer. And as he rounded the fourth bend in the nature trail he witnessed two teenagers, one on a four-wheeler, one dealing with the chain, tow away his outhouse leaving a mass of human waste, cigarette butts, and other undesirable material.

22

ABOUT THE AUTHOR P. H. Madore writes every day. He gets angry when he doesn't accomplish any writing. He is the head and founding editor of DISPATCH Literary Journal (http://litdispatch.net). He thanks Brian Fugett of ZYGOTE IN MY COFFEE (http://zygoteinmycoffee.com) for encouraging him along this lesser-traveled, humorous path. He would also like to thank you, dear reader, for putting up with his shit.

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