Five years from now:
Before I hear the knock, my hand is in his guts. Blood climbs my elbow, but the guy doesn’t notice. Just lays there as his pancreas then his small intestine then is large intestine wiggle around awkwardly like a highschool dance.
His appendix groans. It is inflated so much that a whoopee cushion would be jealous if it could be. He farts as my hand makes it way along the jejunum. I can’t exactly pick out the smell. “Excuse me,” someone says behind me.
I’m too engrossed to correct them. It wasn’t me. It was him. But neither of us are talking.
The first bump. There it is. We were right in our speculations. Imaging was accurate. It is always accurate. Fuck.
The second. Misery does like company, I say to myself. I wonder if he thinks the same.
The third. The fourth. Fifth. Sixth. Seven. Eight. Nine. That’s enough. Never have I need to stop counting before. Never have I gotten to such a high number.
Another fart. The smell solidifies. Chili. Vegetarian chili with fresh tomatoes and red pepper spices. Probably Pumpernickels. You’d think he would have listened to the fasting directive. No luck. Not that it mattered much, though.
I wonder what kind of man this was. I know nothing about him beyond the very limited medical knowledge. Allergies? Penicillin. Blood type? B+. I can spew facts about him the same way an Ikea furniture could describe a rolling leather chair.
But I also know something he did not know, not yet at least: nine and counting. It is something no one else could ever know about him.
I’m sorry for it.
He farts again and now I know something else: he really does like his chili. Digestive tracks don’t lie. Maybe that will be my recommendation. Sit outside, have the sun beat on your face, and grab the biggest bowl and the widest spoon and eat yourself all the chili you can and then eat some more.
I remove my hand, close him up, and wash my hands. A bit of offal sticks to my glove. It looks like rotten tomato.
Ten years from now:
“Get off your desk, Kacper. You’re practically making love to it.”
I’m sorry. I’m just trying to get some work done.
“You’re always working.”
I know, but I like it. I got this real exciting story that …
“I don’t care about your story Kacper. Few people do. Your sales haven’t gone up in ages.”
I know, but with this story, everything will change. I’ll sell. People will read. And I’ll be publishing like crazy.
“I’ve heard it again and again. Nothing changes. You just get tired and disappointed and go back to the desk and sink a little more into it each day.”
But this story is new, it’s never been written before. Let me just get this one sentence down.
“No, Kacper. Please.”
“Do I really have to ask?”
“Put that pen down right now.”
“Kacper, that desk will be there tomorrow.”
But this idea won’t be. It’ll change and I won’t be writing it as it is, as it is now, as it maybe should be for it is pure here without having to ruin it with a night’s sleep.
“Kacper, stop. Come to bed with me.”
I’m not tired.
“That’s not the point.”
Then what is?
“Certainly not you.”
What do you mean?
“You’re the writer, figure it out.”
I’m not sure – my mind is elsewhere.
“Of course it is. What day is it, Kacper?”
The tenth or the eleventh.
“No, it’s the twelfth.”
“Yes, our anniversary.”
Exactly. I’m trying to write a love story for you one day. The epitaph and all. To my lovely love or something like that.
“I don’t care about that pagentry. I care about now. Come.”
“But nothing. Take a hint from the desk and get hard.”
“It isn’t that difficult.”
I get it.
“Good, now… what are you doing?”
Just scribbling an idea. You said something brilliant there. Cutting edge stuff.
“Kacper. Stop immediately.”
But this is good writing. You’re helping. You’re inspiring.
“What the fuck, Kacper. If you don’t stop writing right this instant I’m going to leave you.”
“I am Kacper. I’m frustrated.”
“But not like I am. You’re frustrated because it’s not working out no matter how much you write or how good it sounds or how bad it sounds too. You’ve tried both. And I’ve been here supporting you all the time. But I need support too, Kacper. I need someone to love me as much as I love them. In your case, as much as you love writing.”
I love you.
“Then come to bed.”
But the stories won’t write themselves.
“And maybe they shouldn’t, Kacper.”
“Maybe a better idea will take its place tomorrow, you know?”
“Good. Now come here with me. It’s cold.”