Due to a finely-honed reflexive stupidity, I got to the Dallas Love airport about four hours before my flight was due to leave. In a semi-successful attempt at keeping my back from going out on me, I got up every half-hour or so and strolled around the vicinity.
I'd expected more culture shock from Texas, but my only real shock was a white woman wearing a concert T-shirt for a band called Lady Antebellum. I had to wonder how pro-slavery she was, exactly. I tried to assume cluelessness, but you never fucking know, do you? Walking around in front of God and everyone in that shirt -- there were black families right there where they could see her, but she seemed completely at ease. Everyone who thinks we're out from under the shadow of slavery, raise your hands and slap your stupid fucking self right in your stupid fucking face...
Not that it was any of my business, right? Lady fucking Antebellum, I shit you not.
Anyway, during one of these perambulations I felt something uncoil deep within me. During my trip, I'd been on an exceptionally light diet, and, to be delicate, I had no reason to expect an event of the magnitude implied by the heavy, curiously muscular sensations I was experiencing.
A trip to the men's room was in order, but the first one I ran across had a line for the stalls snaking ten feet through a dense cloud of shit-vapor. It was not an acceptable option; there were serious time constraints being brought to bear on my situation. The next bathroom was in a similar state.
The third was tucked under an escalator. Two stalls, one occupied by a pair of pale, scaly cowboy boots with pointed tips. As I hustled as fast as was compatible with dignity, an older black man POPPED out of a supply closet in front of me with a roll of toilet paper in his hand.
"Just a minute! Just a minute!" he said, and blocked my way to the stall. He went in, and the turd inside me squirmed, preparing itself for a show of force. He carefully took the half-full roll of toilet paper off the holder, unwrapped a new roll, installed it...
It was a tense moment for some of us, especially me.
... put the roll of toilet paper on the spindle, put in in place, and took the time to fold a point on the loose end of the paper. "There you go, boss," he said, and grinned at me.
I thought about that Lady Antebellum T-shirt.
When I got into the stall, I quickly dropped my trousers and sat down, only to find that because this was a handicapped stall, the toilet seat was about four inches higher than usual. Between the shift in angle and the extremely dense, clay-like texture of the issue at hand, my game was thrown completely off. It was like trying to force Plasticine through a pastry tube.
From the stall next door came a sharply punctuated, almost percussive hissing noise. Have you ever filled a cup of soda from a dispenser, and hit the button sharply to dispense just a little soda into a nearly-full cup? It was that noise exactly, followed instantly by the sound of a rattlesnake as the heels and toes of the cowboy boots vibrated against the floor in a tattoo that spoke plainly of deep internal discomfort, of ravaged valves and swollen, tender tubes.
Lifting my feet from the floor and balancing on my ass so as to achieve a functional angle, I speculated on the boots. Snakeskin? I've seen albino boas with that kind of patterning before. Maybe some kind of lizard?
As the turd emerged, slick and weighty, it seemed to do so with its own motive power; I had a distinct impression that I was passing a moray eel. It uncoiled endlessly; I'd eaten a bowl of oatmeal here, a meal-replacement beverage there, nothing that would produce a monster like this.
The man in the stall next door hissed and rattled, hissed and rattled. I had to admire his composure; a lesser man would surely have cried out against the clap or his prostate or whatever it was that held him in such a subtly expressive state of agony.
When the eel had dropped from my body, I looked down in curiosity. It was smooth, unbroken, a bowl-filling coil of glistening black. The trace it left on the paper was green.
Blood. This was a blood-turd.
How much blood was that?
Does this make me a cannibal?
When my friends had asked me how I had been, I told them I had thrown up tremendous quantities of blood. See, by using that phrase? They didn't actually think I meant as much blood as I did, so when they asked me if I needed to go to the hospital and I said no, they took me at my word.
"Tremendous quantities of blood." My policy of complete honesty is remarkably deceptive at times. Looking down at the moray, I had to consider that if I'd known I'd lost that much blood, I'd have let them take me to the hospital. Which I would have regretted, especially considering I got through things fine.
Still. That was a lot of blood. A lot.
The staccato rattle from next door was interrupted by the soft shuffle of footsteps outside the stalls, and the piss-hiss was punctuated by a series of soft puffs; I'm a former janitor, and I know what a spray can sounds like.
As the scent of pine drifted under the door, the man from the supply closet sighed, "Whoo-eee," as if he was the only person in the room when he knew damned well he was performing for me, Boots, and Lady fucking Antebellum.
This is a special moment, I said to myself, and filed it for future consideration. This kind of thing does not happen every day, and I had to wonder; was it me, or was it Texas?