The Secret

1

If you were to look at a picture of my family and me, you would think that we are a perfectly happy family. And we are happy. But it’s still just an act. I am plenty miserable.

I work with feet. I hate feet. They stink and they are usually connected to an asshole. Plus, as a nature of the work that I do, no one respects me. But it’s not their fault. You see, it is physically impossible to respect someone that works with feet. It’s true. Look it up, I’ll wait. See? What did I tell you. Podiatrists don’t even get any respect and they’re doctors.

But I think the bigger problem is that I don’t respect myself. I mean, really, how could I? I work with feet.

But my life looks great from the outside. I have a beautiful and loving wife. An adorable and healthy baby boy. I even have a fucking Golden Retriever, for Christ’s sake. At first glance, I am the image of a happy man. But dig deeper and you will find nothing but disdain. Dig just a little deeper than that and you’ll find, well, I don’t think you’re ready for that yet.

Most people in my life think I’m just this happy, go lucky schmuck who can find humor in everything. But really I joke about everything because it is too painful not to. Because the reality of the situation is too much for me to handle, so I have to act like it’s all a big joke.

My wife wants to take a picture a day. Of course that means she wants a good picture everyday. Which of course means that she never stops taking pictures in order to get a good one.

And we’re poor. Oh, I haven’t mentioned that yet? Well we are. But I grew up with money and it makes me feel like a real piece of shit to have squandered a life time’s worth of opportunity in less than 30 years. But what’s worse than being poor? Being poor and having to act like you aren’t. Because pride is a bitch that won’t just let me be my true, unsuccessful self.  So everytime someone asks me how work is going, I say, “Great! Business is really good.”, But in my head I’m thinking “I hope that place is burning down as we speak.”

I guess the bottom line is this: I am not a well balanced man. No, I have problems. As I’m sure you do. Because we all do.  But my problem is me. I don’t respect me, I don’t like me and I definitely don’t trust me.

2

I don’t remember a moment when I decided to start doing it. I think it was more organic than that. But I will never forget the first time I did it. It felt so good. God, it felt so natural. Like I was finally being myself, for the first time ever. The cloak was lifted and there I was. I was majestic and misunderstood and powerful. It felt good because it was bad. It felt good because I knew I was playing with fire, I knew that the whole thing could blow up in my face at any time. And I almost wanted it to. But it was a lot more fun to try and get away with it. I was building a house of cards while throwing matches at it. I was alive.

3

Perhaps I should explain something first, I never had any resentment towards the people that I did it to. In fact, many of my victims are my friends and even family members. People I love. But still, there’s this impulse. This urge that starts in my belly and moves down. Until it is a physical and biological manifestation of my refusal to follow the rules. Not because I dislike the rules themselves, but because I dislike the fact that the rules exist in the first place.

Or maybe it’s because misery likes company. I don’t know. That seems a little too cliche. And I guess the reason isn’t what’s important anyways. The only thing that is important is that I do it. And I love it.

4

The first time was at a play date. A play date. Ugh. My wife, son and I were invited over to a friend of a friend’s house. You see, they had also just had a baby and everyone thought it would just be the cutest thing ever if we all hung out with our babies. Now, you can probably already guess that this was not my idea of a good time. But I had to go. These people are good, decent people and our mutual friend (a good and decent person) expected us to go. So I went and I pretended like I was just a pig in shit. “Good! Business is going really well.” They showed us around their beautiful and immaculate home. The highlight of the tour was the nursery they had put together for their baby. It was perfect. There was a gliding chair for rocking the baby, but gliders don’t pinch baby fingers. There was a bin of freshly washed reusable diapers because they don’t want to be responsible to filling the landfills with shit rags. The crib was freshly painted to match the freshly painted walls and there was a family portrait of the three of them and their dog standing in an aspen grove. The picture had been timed perfectly at sunrise in the fall and the aspens looked like a painting. Their faces showed happiness so effortlessly. They looked perfect. They were perfect. There as a lot of love in that house. And these people were being very nice.

But at one point in the evening, when dinner was finished and we were all sitting there, I looked around the table. And everyone had the exact same look on their face. It was this painted on smile. Our smiles were perfect, we were all complimenting the chef and showing our gratitude for the delicious meal when I started to feel something gathering in my belly. It was tangible. It started to drop and I could feel the smile coming off my face. This sense of deviance had taken over. I politely took the napkin from my lap and excused myself from the table. At the time, I didn’t know where I was going or what I would do when I got there. I just knew it was going to be horrible. I knew it was going to be inexcusable and I knew that if I got caught, the house of cards would burn.

5

It might have been the house’s natural flow that led me into the nursery. They had done such an incredible job of making the entire home flow, and the nursery was so relaxing and alluring that I slipped in and swung the door shut behind me.Perhaps I could relieve my belly issues here, I thought, this seems like a nice place for me to re-group. I slid the crib away from the wall and stared at the bare ground that was previously covered by it. Even it was clean. Someone had recently moved the crib and vacuumed under it. You could see the vacuum pattern. It was a perfect pattern. Staring at it, the feeling in my belly rumbled. The pressure continued to drop and I couldn’t hold it anymore. I dropped my pants, squatted over the bare ground with the perfect vacuum pattern and released the pressure. It was amazing. I had never felt anything like it. The smile on my face was growing so fast that it started to hurt. I didn’t wipe. I didn’t need to. It was the perfect shit. It sat in a perfect pile, one turd on top of the other. Golden brown and immaculate. I took a moment to take it all in. I tilted my head, observing my perfection sitting in their nursery and took in a long whiff. It smelled grainy, natural and strong. Calmly and slowly, I moved the crib back into place, covering my gem on the floor. As I left the room, I saw the dog. He was onto me. But I think he was proud of me, he was on my side.

6

I returned to the table and placed the napkin back into my lap. The smile on my face was now genuine and I jumped right back into the conversation, “Game of Thrones was amazing last week!”. We sat around playing Catch Phrase and Scrabble. I did not want to leave. My wife kept making comments about being tired and about the baby’s bed time. I ignored her. I wanted to enjoy this for a while longer. I was sitting well within the scene of the crime. No on was even aware of the crime, no one would have believed it if I had told them. And even if I had, what would they do? How would they react? What would our mutual friend think? What would my wife think? Was I sticking around in order to find out? Did I even care? I couldn’t blame it on the dog, he couldn’t poop under the crib. It was obviously a human. A human with perfect turds.

7

Now, it works like clockwork. I go over to someone’s house for a get together of some sort. We go through our dance of pretending to give a shit about each other. “Great! Business is really good. Do you watch Game of Thrones?”At some point, some one says something, or looks a certain way, or intones something that makes my stomach tighten. I pretend for as long as I can. The smile starts to fade from my face and I excuse myself. Sometimes I’ll leave it between their mattresses, sometimes under their couch or a couch cushion, sometimes I’ll leave it in the top tank of the toilet so that every time the toilet re-fills, it is filled with my poop water. It has become an art. I will figure out which room is their favorite, which room do they spend the most time in. And that is the room I choose. I couple of weeks ago I started carrying a little bottle of glitter and I started sprinkling the glitter on top. I’m not sure why, but I really like doing that now.  Kind of like a calling card. I don’t know.

This had been a work of fiction. If you told someone about it, they wouldn’t believe you anyways. So don’t even try. 

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I. Earned Sleep

This is a fictional story that I am currently writing. I will publish it piece by piece, roughly chapter by chapter. Though, I think this will be more of a short story than a novel with chapters. I have no title for it yet. Obviously, this is a work in progress. Anyways, I hope you enjoy it.

I. Earned Sleep

Earned sleep is experienced when an individual has been tried, has passed these trials and is feeling exhausted and content with the actions that have allowed for such a rest.  This is not the sleep that Kevin was enjoying on that morning, or night, or whenever it was.  Neither of them knew because neither of them had a watch, or a cell phone, or any other sort of digital device to tell them what time it was.  They had seen no clock on the bus  and by the time they had been picked up hitching they were both too drunk to think to look at the clock.  Kevin’s only gauge of time now was in how cold and dark the air was.  He could not see his breath, but he blamed that on the darkness rather than the lack of cold in the air.  The stars were almost fully screened beneath what Kevin assumed to be mostly pollution.  He heard cars passing by above, some shook the bridge more than others.  He wondered how many of them were police cars on their way to throw these two American college students into a Mexican prison.  Or maybe they were banditos coming to rob the foolish gringos.  If they showed up at the same time, maybe the cops and the banditos would have to fight each other for the spoils of whatever belongings Kevin and Dave might have.  Strangely, the thought of getting robbed comforted Kevin.  Not the thought of having a knife or a gun in his face, but the thought of the robber’s face as he went through their bags and realized what he had stolen.  Between the two of them, Dave and Kevin had four pairs of shorts, three T-shirts, two and a half pairs of sandals, a fishing line attached to a block of wood, a pot, a pan, a backpacking stove, enough rice to survive for the next two days, four bottles of cheap tequila, a pathetic excuse for a bag of weed, a piece of moist cardboard containing two partially soaked rolling papers, a sleeve of matches and two passports.  That was all.  So Kevin felt comforted knowing that they could set up camp wherever they wanted, no one will want to steal from them because they had nothing to steal.  And it was thinking of the robber’s face that comforted Kevin’s eyes shut.

No, this was not earned sleep.  Kevin and Dave had been tried, had failed these trials and as a result Kevin was feeling discontent in his rest.  It is not that lying on a beach is uncomfortable.  In fact the opposite is true, especially on a beach such as this one.  It held the type of sand that rolls through the toes with ease but still seemed to be thick just with its sheer volume.  The problem was that they were sleeping on a beach directly beneath a highway.  The more direct concern was that sleeping on beaches in Mexico is illegal, especially when those sleeping appear to have money.  The Cabo San Lucas Police Department seemed eager to bust young and rebellious American youths such as Kevin and Dave.  While Dave breathed directly into the sand with long and deep air, Kevin had realized how obvious their situation would be as soon as an officer even attempted at a conversation.  Kevin’s mind worked over how the conversation would transpire.

Something in Spanish”, the officer would say.

“Hola” Kevin would respond with a deliberate effort to not enunciate the harsh “h” sound.

“?Spanish being spoken very quickly? ?Something about a van?”

A long void would fill this point in the conversation until, finally, the only word that fell from Kevin’s mouth would be, “Hola”.

The officer would be forced into seeing that these were two American boys who had obviously wandered off with a roll of mommy and daddy’s stack.

A deeper, less friendly sounding tone of Spanish” he would say as he reaches toward Kevin.

“?Hola?”

But it was not a police officer who awoke Kevin that morning.  When the police wake a criminal, it is with a probe or a swat, not with a lick and a sniff.  Still, Kevin was certain that it was the K-9 unit that had tracked them across the Baja peninsula and had finally brought them to justice on this beach somewhere between Todos Santos and Cabo San Lucas.