XXX This is not the one about the lamp planted half in a sheetrock wall as I was leaving for the last time.
It's not the one about the ex- who turned into a twinkle ding-dong, yogurt weaving, burlap and birkenstock freak that performed an exorcism on me with her alien worshiper friends, either.
This is the one about cat shit. I believe I once sent this to Rich "anonymously" in its eX-Rated form in the middle of a semi-conscious drunken state. Sorry to have sent that to you Senor Roboto.
Kara was a nurse that hung out at a bar where I worked. We were attracted to each other instantly, but the one thing that stood between us ever hooking up was big.
The night she broke up with my brother we slept together after she helped me close the bar. It was insane, fantastic. She was the wildest partner I'd ever had, ever dreamt of, and when the sun came up we still hadn't closed our eyes for more than a minute.
We dated for a few months; I even met her folks in the mountains. They were fantastic hippies living in a wood heated post modern log cabin with sheer concrete walls and an honest-to-God mountain spring welling up in their master bath. Meeting her parents made me ask her to marry me but, I told her, the catch was we'd need to wait four years because I had it in my head that's how long it would take for me to become a millionaire. I wish she'd have called me on that right then and there and just said, "You are a stupid douchebag. Four years? What the hell?"
I didn't even love her. I loved her parents. I'd been in love with someone else since high school but that had taken a turn away from ever happening, i.e. she got tired of waiting for me and married someone else.
Kara's and my romance cooled. She started dating a guy known to have HERPES!!! and I lost interest.
Then one night we wound up in front of her new house leaning against the hood of her VW and the next thing I know we're on her couch and about to pass out. I'd never been to the new place, so when I woke up in the wee hours needing to, um, well...wee, I stumbled to what I'd earlier guessed was either a coat closet or powder room.
I reached for a light, flipped the switch up, but nothing happened. By the light of a hall night light I could make out the shine of porcelain on the sink. Leaning into the sink I stepped across the threshhold onto what felt like a small pile of sand. Another step, more sand. What the? The sand was clinging to my feet and I reached down to wipe it off and could tell it was more like gravel.
"A plant must have spilled." I said out loud and took another step.
My third step landed my right foot onto a soft pile that squished up between my toes like river mud. Squishing the small pile broke the protective layer of air dessicated cat shit, the hardened turd case that traps smells inside. Instantly a toxic waft shot into my nostrils, infecting my brain with noxious outgassing cat crap. I stepped back, windmilling off balance. Instinct made me want to run but in the small space I could only do the kind of dance you'd imagine a hamster might do on a hot pancake griddle.
Each step landed my feet in more cat shit, and every step that missed a clot of excrement landed in stale cat litter or on hardened pee clumps, eventually clotting giant waffles of shit/piss/kitty litter to my feet like Hellish flip-flops in that dream where I'm faced with two choices: 1) kill my mother with an axe, or 2) save my mother by eating a bowl of fresh, steaming cat shit.
I stumbled from the room, disoriented, wearing fifteen pounds of disease on my feet, carrying a still painfully full bladder. Each step across her linoleum kitchen floor broadcast cat litter granules and clods of shit. I opened her back door and peed off the stoop onto her garbage cans, afraid to look at my feet. In hindsight, I would have been better off pissing on my feet to clean them.
In her kitchen I managed to unspool enough paper towels to rake my feet, removing the worst with my fingers protected by many layers of paper. Cat crap makes me gag, so all the while I'm standing on one foot, hopping, raking and retching, not quite but almost puking. Each little hop scatters more debris around the room until I have only a tiny space in front of the sink where I can safely step and hop. Finally I ease myself up onto her sink counter and wash my feet in the sink, at one point using her dish scrubber on the soles of my feet. I have to be careful not to cut my feet on empty cat food tins.
I tiptoed my way out of the house, gathering my clothing, dodging a trail that looked like a drunken golem had beaten through the living room into the kitchen. Closing the door I noticed half a dozen cats lounging around the couch where I'd been sleeping and another two or three sniffing the bombs that had dropped from my feet, staring at me, no doubt upset at how I'd invaded the sanctity of the one room in the house Kara had given fully to their needs.
Cut to four years later: Kara returns from an extended gig in San Francisco wondering if the offer still stands. She sees the wedding band on my finger and says she guesses that means "no." We catch up and say so long, and as she leaves, I can't help but smell cat litter and shit riding the air trailing her goodbye.