Gus (A Short Story)


My poop smiled at me this morning…
Not from the toilet bowl but from the few squares of paper I held, post-wipe. Not all of it was poop. The off-center smile consisted a piece of cotton that managed to hang on. Regardless of the crude happy-face’s make-up the origin was from the lower disposal unit of my body.

I did not contemplate what had occurred. I just continued to wipe as I was not finished. But my day went on — seemingly normal — and carried with it a stain of happiness. It haunted me. The image looking up at me with no issues, no problems. And my mirrored self looking down at this paper, this face, with a complex uncertainty.

…But my day went on.

It was surreal — I think — I’m not sure. It isn’t that I had not seen a smile before but that none of the smiles leading up to this one have had this strong of an effect on me…

It isn’t that I’m a bad person. But then again I don’t seem to do much good either. I just kind of keep to myself and get through each day on my own, as I like. So I guess my life is kind of stale or unfulfilled but I’ve never really been given much reason to change anything or want more. People just kind of glance past me or treat me similar to a lamppost (though I have yet to be stood on).

This smile was the first meaningful (I think) interaction I’ve had in a long time. Even as I sit here huddled over my notebook like a smoker, sitting next to someone actually smoking, there is no greater interaction than: “do you have a lighter?” responded by a simple nod.

It’s a Sunday. Not much is going on. There are people around, there is some traffic. But it’s a Sunday. I’ve been more active than usual, trying to get the morning out of my mind. But because it isn’t my usual routing I don’t really know what to do. I don’t normally stray from my routine. I carry on with similar patterns because they’re comfortable and I like them. I don’t have a reason to change. At least I don’t think I do. The only thing that seems to be changing my life for me is a human emotion on a piece of paper covered in shit!

It doesn’t make sense.

Everything else is the same. I guess my Sunday is different now. I’m not even sure I know where I am. Everything looks familiar but I’m not certain I am where I remember.

Fuck that shit.

It’s ruining everything. I don’t know what’s going on in my head anymore. I don’t even know what I’m wearing or why I dressed this way. Nothing about today has been ordinary after flushing. It’s not even noon! I can’t imagine what else is going to smile at me…

Then this guy, a third of the world away on his phone, decides to say “hello” for no other reason than just wanting to make conversation I guess. I just spoke with him and already I don’t remember what we spoke of. But I suppose I did evoke a conversation as I responded with “‘morning.” I don’t even know why. I must have panicked. And still, just as easily, he went away.

I’m not sure what I’m supposed to feel. I don’t know what my next move is supposed to be nor where I’m supposed to go from here. I’m still working on.. something.

“Do you have a lighter?” Again, different smoker. This time asking about what’s with the pen and paper. He then starts going on about greener grasses and shitty beaches. And I guess it helped. It added some hope and created some semblance of meaning, I think, to what all of me is doing sitting on this stoop across from that brick wall as I look for something beyond me when all I need is right here.

…But of course I’m still wrong. The story isn’t mine. It never was about which hand I used to wipe or what came up where. It’s about a girl.

It’s always about a girl.

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