I was sittin’ around doin’ nothin’, my normal daily duties, when my pal Screamy came running up screaming, “Hey, Lug, you wanna get rich quick?”
“Scream, my man, that’s an absolutely asinine question, you know I gotta get rich quick ‘cause that’s the only way I’m ever gonna get rich.”
“OK, dude, OK, but listen to this. Would you grab a chance to possibly—and I say possibly because possibly there may be days when your chances aren’t as great as say a day when your chances will come by the bowlsful….”
“Screamy, for God’s god-damn sake, I’m gonna ring your neck like my ole daddy used to ring the necks of them damn devil chickens we ate every Sunday after church if you don’t get on with your get rich quick shit quick….”
“I’m glad you put it ‘get rich quick shit quick’—I knew you were a great PR bullshitter but you still surprise me sometimes.”
“OK, my friend, listen to this. Blarmey’s old man’s getting’ up in years, you know, plus, as the years have passed the old man’s put on more and more weight—he loves his pasta and peppers and sausages and all that nasty shit them Italians eat though Blarmey’s not Italian, they’re Irish as shanty hell, but anyway, you see, the old man weighs about 500 pounds now and he can’t get outta bed, you see, so what happens is, they’ve had to kind’a design his bed where he can just vegetate in bed and not really have to move a muscle, which if he has any muscles left are buried under those tons of fat—I mean he has titties like a grown woman, man; I’ve see ‘em bathin’ him one day when I was over there messin’ with Blarmey’s sister.”
“Eagle Breath! You were messin’ with Eagle Breath?”
“Hell, come on, Luggie, she ain’t bad once you get passed the breath and the cross eyes. ‘Sides, she has a killer body, man, oooh, a luscious rack—I cant’ wait….”
“Down, Screamy, down boy.”
“Thanks. But damn, I like the ladies, Lug, you know that…and damn if I don’t have some good stories for you, but anyway, let me get back to this job Blarmey’s old man’s offerin’.”
“Shoot the shit to me.”
“I like how you’re approaching this because you’re relating in the right direction….”
“God-damn you, Screamy, I’m about to….”
“OK, cool it, now. So here’s the deal. Blarmey’s old man is confined to this custom-made bed twenty-four/seven. He’s got three ‘round-the-clock nurses that handle all the shit that goes on on top of the bed, like feeding him, combing his hair, dig, sponge bathing his old blubbery smelly body—he smells like rancid fat, man, I swear he does—I mean the nurses have to wear masks sometimes….”
”No, man, I’m pullin’ your God-damn leg, Luggie boy, but, anyway, here’s the deal. The old man can’t move a lick, like he can’t roll over or shit like that, see, and that means he can’t get outta bed to do his bodily functioning, dig? So they’ve rigged up a tube thing tied onto his dick that he pisses into and it goes into a big water jug by his bed. The nurses don’t mind emptying the piss tank—so that’s no problem. The problem, and here’s where your job comes in—the problem is, they’ve devised a hole in the bed under his ass—and I mean his ass must be—I’ve never seen it, but it has to be, man, like a land mass, you know, an island unto itself on his enormous fuckin’ body.”
“Jesus, man, it sounds vile as Hell.”
“Hey, I ain’t gonna kid you, kid, it ain’t a bed of roses around this big gob of blubber.”
“So the job is?”
“OK, OK, hold your horses, the job is—you see, the dude has to shit….”
“Hold on, man, let me finish. The dude has to shit, so he just lets go when he has to and it’s cool since he’s stuck with his butt through this hole in his custom-made bed—you know, the urge, so boom, he let’s fly, man—and down into this big stainless steel bedpan of a thing all this shit goes.”
“So the job is hauling out the bedpan and emptying it?”
“Well, yes and no—no, all you have to do on the job is yeah cover the mess with plastic wrap and then slide it out from under the bed and the nurse doesn’t mind taking it and the pisspot and emptying them the big-size toilet in the bathroom there.”
“So far, yes, a vile, nasty job, though why can’t the nurse just reach under the dude and slide the shitpot out….”
“No, man, it’s more complicated than that. You see, the problem is, and this is the crux of the job, after this dude shits, somebody needs to crawl under the bed and wipe his ass clean.”
“Jesus Christ, man; who the hell would wanna do that? Why not Blarmey or Eagle Breath?”
“Oh hell no; besides, they hate the old man; they never even go in his room.”
“So how do you get rich quick off wiping this old sorry bastard’s big fat asshole after he’s dumped a ton into his stainless steel shitpot?”
“Listen to this, my friend, and believe it, too, ‘cause it’s true.”
“Well, you know Blarmey’s old man is rich as sin, with the three bars and the hotel back in the old country, plus Blarmey’s mother’s father was a bar owner big shot, too, so they got plenty of bucks, baby.”
“OK, so Blarmey’s old man’s rich, so what?”
“So what is, they’re offering 500 smackers a pop every time you successfully wipe his ass and refresh the bedpan—you know, put it back under his ass.”
“Five hundred smackers a wipe?”
“Yep, you said it, 500 bucks a wipe…and the nurse told me he sometimes goes 5 or 6 times a day—that’s 3000 smackers a day, baby, 3000 big ones a day! Twenty-one thousand somolians a week, Buster.”
“You gotta be bullshittin’ me. Come on, Screamy, you can’t bullshit the bullshitter, you know that.”
“I ain’t shittin’ you, Lug. They’re willing to pop for 21,000 a week to keep his old ass clean as a whistle.”
“I just can’t believe that! That would be eighty-four thousand dollars a month!”
“Yep. And forget about a year. See what I mean, get rich quick…and god knows how long that old blimp is gonna live—he seems frisky as hell every time I go in to see him—he likes me ‘cause I muled some you know what for him one time and knew at that time about his little side business—hey, I made twenty-thousand doing that mulin’ for him—and he likes me ‘cause I kept my mouth shut.”
“So, there you go, Screamy, it’s the job just for you, buddy.”
“No, man, no, I can’t, I gotta bail down to Florida; the Feds are after me, man; tax bullshit, so I gotta flee town. That’s why I’m given you the opportunity of a lifetime, Lug, old buddy. And you need a job, too. That severance money ain’t gonna last forever. Just think, just wipin’ his old filthy ass for a month will make you eighty-four thousand smackers richer. Then you can quit it and come down to Florida and hang with me on South Beach, baby.”
After Screamy hit the streets, I stared at the address on the piece of paper he’d left me. I read the name over and over “Batista Bonzini”—Mafia, had to be; where else could that old fat fool get enough money to pay a man, and that Blarmey, he wasn’t Irish, they called him that because he was always saying it, “Blarmey this and Blarmey that.” I assumed he was saying “Blarney,” though people called him “Blarmey” so I guess that’s what he wanted to be called, Blarmey Bonzini, Jesus, what a bunch of nutjob friends I have; only idiots like Screamy and Blarmey could come up with wiping a fat man’s ass as a way to fame and fortune. “And just how did you get so rich, Mr. Lug Leger?” “I got rich, Mr. Letterman, by wiping a fat ass’s ass five times a day for 7 years; I thought the fat slob motherfucker was gonna live forever…sorry, I can’t say ‘fat ass’ on teevee? Jesus, I would’a thought motherfucker’d been the word….” Blah, blah, blah.
Still, endurance was one of my challenges; I loved running in marathons and was thinking of getting in supershape to try a triathlon. One of the guys I was working out with in my marathon runners club is a triathlon champ and he thinks he can get me in shape for a triathlon in California later this year; so I think I’m mentally able to endure just about any kind of challenge be it the smell of roses or the smell of human shit. So I stared at that card.
Wasn’t I just too classy to be wiping a man’s ass for a living? Hell, I had published a minor classic, you know one of those books people talk about but have never read (or bought, I might add), but I’m proud of it and I’m proud of my mind and my talents but truth out, I am broke; I have just been fired; and I am living up all the severance money I got, my savings long gone; OK, I’m desperate for money; and my rent’s going up and my landlord is soon going to get all rents in my building up to enormous heights, as high as two thousand smackers a month—so, yes, I kept staring at that name on that card, avoiding the phone number; actually Screamy indicated I could just go to the address and go right to work. Five wipes a day. Well, at least that’s what Screamy averaged after talking to the ‘round-the-clock nurses about it. Besides, they dumped the honey pot and not me. But then I’d imagine having to slide under this special-made bed until my face was directly under this dying man’s enormous cheeks and right into the middle of his filthy brown eye—up close to it, my nose almost touching it—and then having to take the tissue and reach up into that crack and wipe that dirty, filthy asshole clean as a baby’s butt. I must admit I feel like gagging until I vomit thinking about it; yet, five wipes at five hundred bucks a wipe, two thousand five hundred dollars after the first day—shit, I could surely endure that for a week at least; I mean, seven days, seventeen thousand and five a week; but, shit, that’s not enough either.
I got up and made myself a sandwich. As I made the sandwich I started thinking about that old codger’s ass and then I couldn’t eat the sandwich—and it was a great sandwich, too. Dammit.
I went over and over my money all that night. Screamy called about ten and said he was at the airport and headin’ toward Miami in about 15 minutes. He said I could just show up there in the morning and tell the nurse I was there to do the wipe job. “She’s cool,” he said, “in fact, you might get some action out of her; she’s your type.” He couldn’t imagine a nurse going out with him—“Oh, you met your new boyfriend on your job—he’s a doctor? No? He wipes a fat man’s ass? That’s his profession?” Yeah, sure; yet, the nurses have to empty the honey pot and the piss pot, and they have to sponge bath the old cursed bastard—sponge bathe his old genitals—but at least they don’t have to sponge bathe his asshole. God, he wanted to puke again.
He couldn’t sleep that night. The morning kept looming closer—and so did his eminent poverty, too—the morning offered him salvation or….The next morning as he stood before the mirror in his bathroom after he’d showered he was wondering, "Should I wear a suit and tie or will jeans do? "
for The Daily Growler
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