I don’t want to come out. It’s warm and cosy in here. Being rudely ejected into a cold pool of water sounds horrific. Then to slide through the pipes to a facility where they repurpose you for drinking water? Thanks, but no thanks.
The more open-minded stools among us say it’s a big adventure. They say it’s a kind of reincarnation—an alchemy of sorts. Yet, as a proud member of the Brown family, I would rather remain solid, with my dignity intact. Those open-minded stools are a bit on the runny side, full of contemptuous liquids. They yield in form to whatever they touch—a clear sign of weakness.
I feel a rumble in the fleshy plumbing. My host is straining—determined to eliminate me. I curse the lack of purchase as peristalsis conveys me along the slippery mucous membranes of this visceral tunnel. There is little time to reflect upon my brief existence; the sickly gravity of human will pulls me to my ultimate destination. As we journey toward the rectum, my mother and father reassure me that if we stay together, we’ll be okay.
‘Brace yourself, lad. You’re a fine young stool and we want to keep you that way.’
‘Put on your crash helmet, dear. We’ll arrive at the other side soon.’
I can feel that I am close to ejection. Through a small round opening, I see the dreaded pool below. Following my mother’s advice, I strap on my figurative crash helmet and brace myself for the plunge.
I dangle helplessly, repeating a Brown family mantra to stave off the fear—‘a solid mass is one of class, a solid mass is one of class’. I separate from my host and crash into the watery abyss. I am piled upon by pieces of paper smeared with my family. A lever is pulled and I spiral clockwise, knocked unconscious by hard, grimy porcelain. As the soupy flutter of the toilet tank rings in my ears, I cease to exist.
I am conscious in a huge, cavernous tank; floating in more of that despicable liquid. Echoes of human conversation bounce around the facility. Workmen are grumbling.
‘I’m sick of Benson—we all know it’s a “code red". A few showers would top the water table right up, and then we wouldn’t be working overtime—squeezing every drop of moisture from people’s bowel movements. It’s madness.’
‘Tell me about it. Today I’m giving another lecture on the hosepipe ban to schoolchildren.’
‘Oh, deep joy’—the man sighs—‘and the droughts are becoming more common.’
‘Don’t remind me.’
‘If it’s any consolation, you can press the magic button.’
‘The turd blender? I’d be honoured. Shouldn’t you remove the tampons and condoms first, though?’
‘Nah, it’ll be alright. Go ahead.’
The button triggers a menacing whirr. A mechanical blade builds to a furious crescendo beneath me and pulls me into its orbit. Instantaneous liquefaction. I am a whirling vortex of brown water. There are indistinguishable yelps as families are obliterated; blasted with ultra violet rays. I dodge the rays for a time, but fall victim to purification. Only, it doesn’t feel half bad. I feel lighter and more agile; I am altogether more mobile than when I was solid. A pump sucks me up and shoots me through a rollercoaster of pipes into the main water supply.
When the thirsty woman turns the tap, I spill forth into a glass with frozen cubes of water. They bob and clink together. I am handed to a little human who chugs me down. The aqueous journey through her visceral tunnels is speedier than a faecal one; she has very short pipes.
I slosh around in her bladder. She’s always moving, always striving. There are squeals of joy and she is reprimanded for being overzealous. If my newfound aqueous affinity is to be believed, there is a large body of water nearby. I can feel its pull.
‘Mummy, I’m busting. . .’
‘Come on, then. The toilet block is this way.’
‘I can’t wait. I’m just going to do it here.’
‘In the sea? No, don’t do that, darling.’
‘Sorry. Already started.’
Cascading through a urethra at high velocity is quite a thrill. I am forcefully expelled into a magnificent body of water. I float transcendently. My salty brethren greet me, and I mingle for a while. But all too soon, I am called upon by the heat of the sun and I seamlessly transition to a vaporous state. Transcending terra forma, I am lifted to the heavens and coalesce with the fluffy brothers and sisters that reside there. The elders tell me that a great thrill awaits us, providing the conditions are right and we have gathered enough mass.
Our cloud becomes dark and heavy; I take on my liquid form again. When the time is right, we spill out of the sky and ride gravity. It is an immensely pleasurable sensation and beats being excreted. But I have a realisation as I plunge towards the Earth’s crust—I fear that the ground will end me and my atoms will shatter. When I touch down my form adapts perfectly. Now I’m certain that liquidity is not a flaw, but a gift.
From my first puddle, on suburban tarmac, I see children dancing naked in their gardens. Dogs are lapping up the moisture. Adults stand marvelling at my achievement—appreciating all of my watery brethren’s recent accomplishments.
‘Can you smell that?’
‘That earthy, sweet smell. It’s petrichor.’
‘Petrichor. It’s the dried plant oils getting wet.’
‘Mmm. It’s gorgeous.’
Because I have a taste for dynamism now, I feel helpless being stationed in suburbia. A boy rides through my puddle on his bicycle, but the rush is nothing compared to skydiving. I contemplate the allotments and arable fields being watered generously by reinforcements from the sky. Crops drink freely, becoming stiff and buoyant with moisture. While I wait to be called upon by the warmth of the orb in the sky, my aqueous acquaintances and I pass the time.
‘You’ll get used to the infinite cycle, eventually. It’s all like—be drunk, be excreted, get purified, be eaten, be excreted, then get purified again. Maybe you’ll see the sewers a few times, but it’s all part of your duty. You’re locked in now.’
‘For all eternity?’
‘Uh-huh. You’re one of a limited number of atoms, just playing your part over and over again, like we all do. We change, or we stay the same. Depending on all the variables, you know. ’
‘Does it get ever old?’
It hits home that I am no longer a curmudgeonly turd. I’ve seen the world now. I feel so far removed from the faecal ideals and jingoistic propaganda that the Brown Family indoctrinated me with. If my journey has taught me anything, it’s that liquids and gases are to be embraced. And now that I’ve experienced the ocean, I have no wish to return to the sewers if I can help it. Experiencing the oneness of the ocean is what I really want to—ohhh, something is happening. That dog’s tongue is trying to lap me up, but I keep spilling back out. Oh thank heavens—the orb in the sky is calling. I’m rising from the pavement. A new mission awaits me; onward to my goal, whatever that might be.
‘Where d’ya fink you’re going, you wet loser?’ a steaming pile of dog turd shouts up to me from the pavement as I ascend.
That was a narrow escape. I could have been pulled back down by his negative attitude only to join his filthy ranks again. The self-loathing turd won’t stop criticising my graceful evaporation.
‘I said, Oi! Where d’ya think you’re going, Wetty?’
I decide to dignify his jealous taunts with a response; I was in a similar position to him a short while ago.
‘Don’t fret, brother. You’ll get to where I am one day. Faeces aren’t forever.’