The girl at work is lactose intolerant, a condition I’ve always interpreted as milk products giving the afflicted the shits. It’s just an assumption. I’ve never asked nor bothered to Google it. I suppose the symptoms could just as easily be cramps and bloating rather than diarrhea, but that’s where my mind goes.
We’ve never gone into the details or particulars of her gastrointestinal distresses, but she did mention how she buys lactose free milk and how long it lasts. She said it lasts in her refrigerator for months. Both of us working in the sciences, I said maybe it’s because the lactose (sugar) isn’t there to nourish the bacteria like in regular milk. She agreed that could be the case.
I’m a cheapskate. I like milk but never use enough that when I buy a whole gallon (the best bargain) at least a quart goes rancid before I have to throw it out.
She explained the lactose free milk is expensive but guaranteed it lasts a lot longer so, while I was at the store that night, I decided to give it a try, even though it was around four bucks for a half gallon.
For this experiment, I bought a fresh pack of Oreos too. I got home, poured the milk in a coffee cup and began dipping. The result with the cookies was delightful, though the milk left after dipping – the straight stuff – had a bit of a strong aftertaste. Still, I was overall pleased.
It was a few hours later when I was awoken by my stomach. I knew the pang very well, so I went to the toilet and waited.
Within a few minutes, the spray came.
I remained bent over but leaned forward enough to be able to look behind and into the bowl, peering for any clues to the culprit of that evening’s upset.
The liquid must have been clear because all I could see was bits of black matter, both floating and sunken.
I’d just been awoken and wasn’t wearing my reading glasses so I had to turn around and lean in to get a closer look.
I was on my knees, peeking into the wishing well. That’s when the smell hit me. The distinctive smell of Oreos, their odor unmolested even after hours of nocturnal digestion.
I wiped and went back to bed, considering the irony of being intolerant to milk that’s made specifically for those who are intolerant to milk. And I had an extra hard time falling back asleep knowing I paid around four bucks for a half gallon of milk that was only gonna give me the shits.
But, thinking about it now, maybe it was just a bad batch of cookies. As I said, I’m a fucking cheapskate as well as a bit of an amateur sleuth, so I’ll probably try some more of the milk – this time without the cookies – to put an end to the mystery and maybe save a few bucks by not pouring it down the drain.
And just as me and the girl have never discussed the particulars of her digestive distresses, I probably need to come up with a plan for avoiding the explanation of how this little experiment turned out, should the subject ever arise.