Did someone write STOOPID across my forehead when I was sleeping?"
"It wasn't me, I swear. So, are you coming?"
"No Paul, I'm referring to your invitation. You've got to think I'm a Kentucky Fried Idiot to show up for another dinner at your house. Without a gun."
"Awwww, man! Don't be like that. It wasn't that bad."
"For three days, I could have laid on my stomach and shit into a martin box. Three. Whole. Days. Yeah, it was that bad."
"So you're still pissed."
"Pissed? Pissed?? Now, why would I be pissed? Every time I even look at red beans and andoullie sausage, my sphincter threatens to rebel. I spent three days stapled to the toilet seat, Paul. Three days of volcanic, canned-chili-through-a-leaf-blower shits. My ass was literally chapped. I prolapsed my anus on the second day and had to tuck it back in myself. Do you know what it's like to perch on the toilet like a cat and hold your innards in with one hand while you direct fire by sound? It's messy, Paul. Very messy."
*sounds of stifled giggles*
"Hey man, I'm sorry. Really." Insincerity oozes through the phone receiver.
"Do you have any idea what undigested rice looks like when it passes out the other end? No? It looks like tapeworms, Paul. That's very disconcerting to a dog trainer. I even started wearing shoes again."
"Hey man, it wasn't my idea. Old Coot did it. And I promise I won't pull anything this time."
"Then Old Coot has an ass-whipping coming. I don't care if he's a senior citizen with one arm. I'll circle to his left and throw lots of right hooks. He won't stand a chance."
"You'll never get close enough. He's so paranoid that he sleeps with one eye open. He keeps that Detective's Special in an ankle holster, and you know how quick he is."
"You're right. So maybe no ass-whipping then. I'll just pour dish detergent in his windshield washer reservoir or something. But that still leaves you."
You ain't got a chance of whipping my ass!"
"Don't be so sure. But I'll get you back one way or another, and when you least expect it. I've got those suture kits the vet gave me for stitching up the dogs. You'll pass out one day and wake up with your fucking earlobes sewn to the mattress."
"Dude, are you coming or not? It's gonna be a good fight."
"Paul, that was a joke. I can't believe you fell for it. Do you actually believe I'd whack off a dog as a reward?"
"Dog masturbator," he repeats. Doggedly.
"If I actually had whacked off the dog, he'd be begging you for a hand job after every retrieve. That oughta tell you something."
"ARE YOU COMING OR NOT???"
"ALL RIGHT DAMMIT, I'LL COME TO YOUR FREAKING PAY-PER-VIEW FIGHT! ASSHOLE!"
Thus goes the story of how, against my better judgment, I agreed to show up at Paul's for the Mike Tyson-Razor Ruddick rematch. I fully intended to stiff him on my share of the fee, though. I have my principles.
On the night in question, I showed up at Paul's to find everyone already there. Long-Suffering Wife greeted me at the door and kissed my cheek.
"Come on in, DT. We're having gumbo."
I went by Dog Trainer in those days. I warily stepped across the threshold, looking for tripwires. Paul greeted me at the kitchen door with a full bowl of gumbo.
"Hey brother, make yourself at home! Grab yourself a brew and the gumbo's on the table."
"You eat it first."
"Jesus Christ! Paranoid bastard." He rolls his eyes and eats a few spoonfuls. "Satisfied?"
"Nope. Now eat a few spoons right out of the pot."
"Goddamn! I told you I wasn't going to pull anything!"
"Goodnight, Paul." I turn to leave.
"Okay, okay, okay." He eats a few spoonfuls from the pot. "Satisfied now?"
"I will be if you get me an unopened beer from the fridge and give me that bowl you're holding."
I take my un-tampered-with gumbo and beverage and settle into a recliner a safe distance away from Old Coot and Paul. I still don't trust the bastards. After a few fights on the undercard, I'd had a few brews and another couple of bowls of Long-Suffering Wife's famous chicken and sausage gumbo – all opened and dipped by Yours Truly, of course. I stopped drinking beer after a six pack or so and started drinking tea.
Halfway through the main event, Tyson is beating Ruddick like he stole something, and I feel my guts rumble. I clench my butt cheeks and look around to see if anyone is watching. No one is.
Again with the gut rumbling. There's some magma down deep in those bowels, and it's beginning to rise to the surface. I break out in a cold sweat and try to keep my expression neutral as I start to mentally retrace every step since I entered Paul's house. Then it hits me.
The tea. The fucking tea. They knew I'd cut myself off after six beers, and the gumbo is spicy. The tea was already made. I surreptitiously look around the den. Not a fucking tea glass in sight besides mine.
June 28, 1991. Mark that date down, folks. The day Ambulance Driver fell for the same gag. Twice.
Manfully retaining my composure, I casually get up and saunter to the bathroom. Slowly. Behind me, someone stifles a giggle.
I barely get the door closed and get my pants down before I evacuate my bowels in a virtual torrent of shit. It was one of those feet-straight-out, all-over-body-spasm, water-splashes-out-of-the-toilet dumps, people. I must have been in total body tetany for five minutes. I could feel myself mummifying as my body purged itself of all fluids. My anus was the Old Faithful of feces.
After it was over with and I felt like I could break contact with the seat without triggering another spasm, I reached for the toilet paper.
There was none. Not even the little cardboard tube.
Okay, don't panic. They just forgot to replace the roll. Look under the sink.
Nada. Not a single roll. Not even a scrap of facial tissue, makeup sponge, printed douche directions…nothing.
Okay, NOW it's time to panic.
I feverishly scan the bathroom for anything absorbent and foldable. Not only are there no paper products, there are no washcloths, no hand towels, not even a loofah. I whimper just a little bit.
Bastards. They got me good. I'm going to have to sacrifice my shorts.
I fight back tears and cast my gaze around the bathroom, steeling myself for what is to come, and then inspiration strikes. I smile beatifically, duck-walk across the bathroom and Do What I Have To Do.
I flushed the toilet afterwards, opened the door and moseyed back into the den. I said my goodbyes and ignored the guffaws of Paul, Old Coot and just about everyone else in the room. Everyone refused to shake my hand. Long-Suffering Wife hugged my neck before I left. I strongly suspect she wasn't in on the joke.
Fast forward a few days and the phone rings at the office.
"Chauvin Kennels," I answer.
"&*^%*$# son-of-a ^&%*$#!"
"Well hello, Paul! And how are you this lovely Sunday afternoon?"
"You kiss your mother with that mouth, boy?"
"Put your wife on the phone, Paul. Wipe the slobber off the mouthpiece first." I hear the receiver bounce off of something, and a stream of profanity is cut off abruptly by the slam of a door.
"Hey DT, how are you?" Long-Suffering Wife inquires. She's trying not to giggle loudly enough for Paul to hear.
"Thinner, LSW. How's the hubby?"
"You heard him. He's really pissed. How did you do it?"
"You should tell him that the next time he gives someone a boxful of laxative and hides all the toilet paper, that he should remember to lock his closet door first."
LSW says something else.
"You were running late this morning, so he just grabbed a shirt and put in on as he was running out the door?"
"Yep. He looped a tie over his neck, threw on a jacket and we went straight to church."
"When did he notice?"
*openly chortling now. maybe a snort or two as well*
"Later, in the fellowship hall. He took off his jacket when he got hot. You know how much he sweats."
"Even better," I grin evilly.
"The best part was, the shit had dried on his shirt so it didn't smell. When he got to sweating, though…" LSW dissolved into a fit of laughter. I can barely make out the rest of what she says.
"What's that? Oh, someone else noticed the smell first. And they pointed it out to Paul. Who noticed?"
"I'll bet that was an interesting conversation."
"It was. You got him back good, I'll say that."
"My pleasure, LSW. By the way, you want to be careful when you go back into that closet. There are three more shirts in there just like that one."