From the series: Splatting Shit Against the Wall – Old or Rejected Writing Otherwise Collecting Dust
Boog releases the pressure through his cotton briefs and the caning of a Victorian dinner chair. This passing of morning wind is his cockerel’s crow, announcing to the house his stirring, just as his obnoxious and overdrawn evening yawns had announced another day’s passing. The sulfurous beast, containing a night’s worth of nocturnal digestion, is loud and weepy and more sweet smelling than tart. Anaerobic fermentation general produces methane, a product of simple hydrogen and carbon – a colorless and odorless gas. So the sulfury sweetness of this exhaust he can only explain to a generous use of sweet rather than dill relish in his egg salad. He has a habit of being practical by making large batches, so there is plenty left from yesterday, which he decides he’ll have on toast, making it feel more like breakfast even though it is fast approaching afternoon.
But first, his medicine. Boog leans forward and pops open the pill vial for this day of the week. The compartments are all empty leading up the one with a big W on the lid, so it must be Wednesday. He spills the assorted pills on the desk and separates them roughly by shape. There’s the round ones for pain. An oblong one for blood pressure. And perfect capsules of alpha-glucosidase inhibitors for blood sugar and another one for cholesterol. And the yellowish jellied one is fish oil. He keeps the multivitamin for last cause he forgot to buy the coated ones, so that one might stick on the way day.
With a glass of pulpy orange juice, he gobbles the medicines by groups. He’ll switch from the juice to Coca-Cola after noon. He just likes getting a dose of fruit in while it’s still technically morning.
The pills all go down smooth so he turns on the monitor. Chrome is still open to his favorite news site with the disclaimer, “New content available. Click here to refresh,” so he does.
Boog scrolls through the latest White House scandals and celebrity intrigues and where to find the best french fries by state, looking for something else to scrape away his morning mental goo.
He scrolls further and finds it, miraculously, in Health and Fitness. This is not one of Boog’s most frequent hangouts so he, along with the data sets and algorithms that monitor him, are a bit shocked to find him window shopping there.
The article is titled “Teens and Their Digital Addictions.” Boog clicks on it, which opens with an image of black-nailed fingers in droopy sleeves that are frayed and too long. These hands hold a smartphone. Even in this fog of his 11 a.m. waking, Boog makes the connection – kids and their stupid gadgets.
The first paragraph details the story of a 13 year-old girl and how a normal interest in social media descended into an isolation that led to an attempted suicide. It is a true nightmare tale to any parent dumb enough to ignore their own contributions to their child’s struggles and resentments.
Boogs stops at this intro to reflect on how kids today are so goddamned weak and sheltered. How they can’t pull themselves away from their video games and smartphones and Facebook. They’re stupid and lazy with no real social skills whatsoever. In Boog’s day, kids went outside and interacted. They played Army. And baseball. They were forced to socialize, not like today. These thoughts appease him so, without finishing the article, he clicks on the butterfly to go back home and find something else.
As the page reloads, a shadow flirts through the window. He turns in the antique frame that so precariously handles his girth. The old walnut joints groan, as if begging for mercy. His physician says he’s morbidly obese but Boog has looked into it and found that morbid obesity has a rather loose definition. It can be regarded as a few pounds more than where he’s at so he’s decided the doc might be a bit of a quack. Consequently, Boog regards himself as only borderline morbidly obese. And so long as Dr. Graves keeps prescribing the pills and stays off his case about the Cokes and smokes, they’re all good.
He sees out the window that it was old Miss Taylor whose shadow had disrupted him. She’s out there power walking like a wind-up robot on RedBull. She’s wearing hot pink FILA’s and black shorts with a matching line of fluorescent pink around the edges. Her skin is tan but reminds Boog of wilting fruit. She wears some different athletic getup every day, all of which he’s decided she’s too old and should be too modest for.
“Jesus Christ,” he thinks. “Why can’t people just act their age and grow old gracefully.”
Then he remembers the time he and his daughter had argued about him being so fat and lazy. How he spends 15 minutes finding the closest parking spot instead of parking further away and just walking and getting in the store within just a minute or two. Then she’d pointed to Miss Taylor as an example of what he could be too. Given that she is at least 20 years Boog’s senior, she argued there’s no reason for his utter sloth. But he doesn’t allow this reflection and its criticism to pain him. He’s cut down to a quarter pack a day and stuck with that. And, in making that big batch of egg salad, he’d gotten a bit winded from all the chopping and mixing and twisting of lids. The mayo jar had been especially resistant. He’d at least exerted that effort of preparing egg salad when he could have just bought some at the grocery. So he settled on his daughter not knowing or caring anything about him or his feats.
He turns away from the window and decides to shower before brunch. He drops his briefs to reveal an ass made to look like a waffle from the spaces in the woven seat. If he could see it, he might rethink his late brunch and consider the difference between Belgian waffles and regular waffles, like Eggo’s. But the waffle iron he’d bought didn’t get hot enough to crisp the edges and keep it from sticking. The plates parted to nothing but a perfectly halved, pasty mess. He had high hopes for spraying it with Pam, but it was no solution – the promise of confectionary or pastry delight from the hot, honeycombed plates, lost. So he decided to just throw the whole damned thing away just go with pancakes in place of waffles whenever he gets the itch.
The medicine chest reflected a hairy Baby Huey before stripping from the dullish white briefs. In gay culture, he’d be known as a bear, a metaphor accentuated not only by his girth but also his hibernative life. But he doesn’t understand homoxexuals so chooses to see himself as a lion instead, especially in yawning out those gaping roars in the evening to signal a day’s end.
He twists on the hot and stands in the stream. It occurs to Boog it might be a day well spent posting obvious and obnoxious comments on some websites. He has particular endearments for railing against saggy pants and liberals and Chaz Bono. So he lathers up, considering all the things with which he disagrees. But, unfortunately, deliberation over his hates and fears and prejudices no longer bring sensation to his genitals. They remain as flaccid as felt, which he attributes to all the medications. He is warm and soggy and soapy when he feels the pressure again. From the moistness of the fold, the pungent spirit squeals a high pitch that ping-pongs around the perfectly squared porcelain tiles. At this visceral exhale, Boog’s squashy glutes flutter like chaps straddling a stallion in stride. He releases another and this time it is sweet to his ears and as well as his nose so he decides he’s really accomplished something before the noon episode of Judge Faith has even ended.