When I was a kid, I used to think there was a little man in my stomach who was responsible for handling all of the poop. Day after day, there he was, at the bottom of my stomach, surrounded by vats of bubbling acid, endlessly shoveling poop down a little hole that led to my intestines. Sometimes the hole would get stuffed up and he’d have to jump on the poop to force it through.
I wondered, during quiet moments, what his personal life must be like. It sounds like he’d be a pretty sad character, really. But, you know, I find that jobs like that are often a calling. Maybe, when he was a boy, he looked up at the stars and thought to himself: “I want to work as a poop man in Nacho’s stomach.”
I imagined him, at night, putting down his shovel and going home to his family. Maybe he found something in the poop – like, say, a baby tooth or a Lego or something – and brought it home to his adoring wife. I swallowed two teeth when I was growing up, and they’re probably still down there, serving as barstools in the poop man’s garage where he brews his own poop beer and entertains his friends – all the guys who work the bellows in my lungs.
These are all probably pretty burly guys. They’d probably laugh at me if they ever saw what I looked like on the outside. That’s why I try to drown them in vodka.
Anyway, I gave poop man a name. Tommy the poop man. Besides a private life with a family and artifacts stolen from the pit of my stomach that, mysteriously, never appeared in my poo (seriously – are those baby teeth still in me somewhere? Slowly dissolving into cancerous stomach tumors?), I assumed that Tommy the poop man had hobbies and interests. The ongoing pursuit of his life, just like when he was a boy dreaming of shoveling poop. He had friends, he made beer, he loved his wife, and maybe he took the occasional vacation to somewhere local. I don’t know what else he could aspire to, but I’m sure there was something. Who really knows the inner thoughts of a poop man?
I was pretty sure that he belonged to a union – Poop Shovellers Local 312! – and was proud of his work but, sometimes, there must have been disagreements. We’ll never know the true nature of these disagreements, but you know how you have the occasional runs for no reason? You’re not sick or anything, and you’ve been eating right, but you get that liquid poop going on. Clearly a union dispute. The natural art that goes into being a poop man is absent and everything in the stomach just drains down that hole after cooking too long in the giant acid vats, each of which is controlled by solipsistic, authoritarian winged donkeys with sharp teeth.
What could the disputes be about? As a kid, I didn’t even presume to wonder. Respect your elders and all. Tommy the poop man was a grown man, with grown up responsibilities, and if he had to fight the man (and, here, I’m talking about Rutiger, who lives in my brain and is an angry android who desires only to be more human just so, paradoxically, he can learn how to command troops and wipe out humanity), then so be it. Maybe there’s some sort of currency among the people who run my body? What would a poop man earn, realistically? Or maybe Tommy was upset about the hours. Or maybe he wanted me to stop eating macaroni and cheese. But Rutiger the brain android doesn’t really care about that. He considers it outright insurrection and, if he could, he would eliminate people like Tommy the poop man. These commoners who, somehow, dictate the direction the entire body will take. It’s maddening sometimes. Rutiger gets a quiet thrill during flu season. Oh, Tommy, you horrible poop man. Just you wait. 24 hours madly shoveling infected liquid poop. And not even a day off afterwards!
Tommy, I’m sure, misses his family during those episodes. It must be very hard, actually. Late at night, the body cranked up to 101 degrees, Rutiger is just shouting incoherently and weeping, and here we go again! Another load of flu poop!
Shovel, Tommy, shovel!