I could still smell the foamy dogshit in my Jeep, blended with a trace of 409 all-purpose cleaner. There was no way Bill got it all; that fucking dog rode on his knees, its ass aimed in my direction, the shit pouring down into the Jeep’s middle console, filling cupholders, slipping into the rubber folds of the gear shift, an area not even my mechanic could reach without dismembering the whole interior.
When it happened, earlier that morning, I remained calm, as calm as possible: I clenched the steering wheel, covered my mouth and rolled down the window. It was the fifth time in as many weeks that the dog lost its load in my car, and each time Bill would blame me for not getting the dog to the park quicker.
Even before the dog became incontinent we’d cover the passenger seat in towels before a trip to the park, on account of the ungainly boil on Lucy’s hindquarters that constantly leaked and smelled like a used coffin. The seat’s fabric would soak up the revolting smell and mete it out onto whoever rode shotgun. With the top down it was hardly noticeable. But with the top up—especially in the ninety-degree heat—it was like sharing a microwave oven with a disease.
Getting shat all over was a profoundly apt metaphor for my current state of life. The only bonus was that Bill—in spite of blaming me for it—would always hook me up with an extra Suboxone for free. Or an extra Xanax, if they were in season.
I rolled down both windows. Fortunately the Jeep’s back window tore off during one of my trips to the ER the previous summer and I still hadn’t replaced it, thereby permitting a nice draft of fresh, morning air through the two front windows and out the back. This lasted from the Mass Pike onramp in Newton Corner to the Brighton tolls, where, as usual, the morning rush hour traffic was backed up and I slowed down to five mph. Without the airflow another wave of shit/all-purpose cleaner rose up in the Jeep. I tasted it in my throat and gagged.
I inched along, stop and go, all the way to the expressway exits, where I split off for South Boston. Not only was I on the verge of vomiting, my bladder was about to erupt as well; again, another regular part of my morning routine. I was usually in such a hurry to leave Bill’s house each morning (because I had to go home and get ready for work and because being there was like being trapped in a serial killer’s basement) that I often left without peeing, after drinking two large coffees at the park. By the time I reached exit 24A (South Station), like clockwork, I was gripping my penis, my hand a sort of tourniquet, cutting off the flow of blood and stemming the rising tide of urine through my urethra. Within three blocks of my condo my foot would start tapping and I would sway to and fro; if I hit a red light I would pray to God. By the time I parked I would lean out of the driver’s seat and pee on the sidewalk. Sometimes I wouldn’t even make it and just soil the right leg of my sweatpants.
Most people wake up in the morning and go for a jog or make coffee and read the newspaper. My morning ritual for the last twelve months was:
-- Wake up before 6:00, frantically drive to Waltham by 6:30.
-- Get yelled at or get the silent treatment from a crazy pedophile.
-- Pay $15 for a drug that no longer got me remotely high, only prevented me from getting sick.
-- Have a dying dog shit all over my car.
-- Stand outside, rain or shine, for one hour.
-- Drive home in rush hour traffic.
-- Pee down my leg.
-- Shower and go to work.
On the bright side, my Crohn’s was well behaved. My appetite wasn’t as fierce as it was earlier in the year, and I didn’t make it to the gym as much, but the number of bowel movements was still low and my weight was still high, somewhere north of 180 pounds.
I didn’t take into account that narcotics—especially opiates and benzos—make you constipated and bloated.
So there’s that.