THE CRAP WHISPERER By Margret A. Treiber

I want to tell you that my life is a rock star adventure. It should be. Right now, I should be having the most hard-core, party-on experience of my whole freaking existence. But instead, I’m sitting in the waiting room of this rinky dink urgent care office, waiting for a dumbass, pseudo-medical drone to call me.

I’m not even sick. I just need the cash.

“Sir,” a nurse-esk woman calls me, waving me closer. I stand up. “Mr. Fowler is ready for you now.”

“Great,” I mutter, as I shuffle through the door past her.

She leads me to a dingy, curtained bay with a lopsided gurney in it. An old man sits on the gurney, an expression of anticipation on his face.

“I heard you can fix this,” he says.

“Yeah,” I reply. “Payment is in advance. It’s never pretty, and there are side effects.”

“Side effects? Like what?”

“It will scare the living shit out of you.”

***

It feels like decades ago, but it’s only been a few weeks. I sat on the cellar floor with Howdy and Chuck, in Chuck’s mother’s basement. It was not the most ideal venue, but it was the least worst option. I rented a crappy room where visitors were strictly prohibited. Howdy’s ex tended to show up at his place, and bring the police with her. So the basement was it.

We split a case Natural Light, the spoils of sofa change and four parking lot police calls. It was pure crap, and warm. Chuck’s mother was a born again freak, so he couldn’t put the devil’s poison in her fridge.

Instead, we put four cans in the back of the toilet at a time. Ice cost money, so it was the best we could do.

“You bitches aren’t down there drinkin’?” Chuck’s sister, Hailey slithered down the stairs. “I’m gonna tell Mama.” With her bony hand, she tossed the bleached hair from her face; revealing inch-long, black roots. Her ethereal, childhood, beauty, was quickly transforming into the base, caustic, bling of a bonafide ho-hopper.

“You will not,” Chuck responded. “You gap-kneed, crusty-clitted, trailer-twat.”

“Hey, don’t talk to your sister like that,” Howdy objected.

“She’s just a stupid, wannabe meth-head,” Chuck replied. “You want her? Just get her wasted. You probably can get a hand job for a beer.”

“I’m not stupid,” Hailey objected. “I’m smarter than you. I get straight A’s, and my reading comprehension is flawless. They tested me. I have a perfect memory.”

“A perfect memory of how to suck dick,” Chuck grinned.

“Fuck you, dickbag,” Hailey replied.

“Not with Mom’s dick,” Chuck replied.

“Shut up,” I whispered. “You keep making noise, and she’ll hear us. I don’t want you assholes fucking up my car, like the last time.”

“That was Howdy’s fault,” Chuck said. “He was the one that heaved the tequila.”

“I don’t care who it was, I don’t want to be crammed in my car with you fucks all night.”

“Ha, ha!” Hailey laughed and pointed at Chuck. “You have to be nice to me, or you get no beer.”

“What do you want, Hailey?” I asked.

“Maybe, I want you to be nice to me,” she said.

“I’m already nice to you,” I stated.

“Maybe, I want you to be a special nice to me.”

“No,” I said. “That will never happen.”

“Okay, maybe I just want a beer.”

“Chuck, give her a beer.”

“But we planned for three, not her,” Howdy complained.

“Give her a beer, or none of us will have shit,” I said.

Howdy muttered curse words as he waddled over to the bathroom to get her beer.

“Hurry up fat boy,” Hailey yelled.

Chuck smacked Hailey in the arm. “Shut up,” he hissed.

“Oops,” Hailey giggled.

“What’s goin’ on down there?” The hoarse, cracking voice impacted us from the top of the stairs. It knocked Chuck backwards in shock.

Chuck scrambled to his feet, standing at attention as he replied. “Nothing Ma. We were all just sitting down here talking.”

“About God,” Howdy added.

“You all better be praying for your souls, with all your drinking and sinning. Hailey, baby, are

you down there.”

“Yes, Ma,” Hailey replied.

“Are they behaving down there?”

Hailey winked at me and blew a kiss. I looked away. Then she pointed at herself and at me, and then to the bathroom. I shook my head, and mouthed the word “no”. Hailey frowned.

“No, Ma,” she replied. “They are drinking and sinning.”

“Dammit,” Chuck slammed his hand on the floor.

Howdy moved with the grace of a one-legged chicken, but he was quick. He flapped his arms wide and scooped up the remaining beer. He then hopped out the cellar door, nearly colliding with my car. He barely managed to fling open the door in time to fall into the back seat. His execution was both meticulous and flawless, yet still painfully spastic.

The sound of footsteps on stairs started from above. Chuck sprinted out the basement door, scrambling into my car. I stood up and started out the door. I paused by the entrance, holding up my keys and grinning. Chuck waved at me, urging me out the door. I heard Chuck’s mother’s wheezing as she hobbled down the final step.

I walked over to the car and got into the driver’s seat. “We’re not drinking in here. You better come up with a plan.”

“Just drive,” Chuck yelled.

“You paying for gas?” I asked.

“Go before…” Chuck was interrupted by the car door opening. Hailey jumped into the car.

“Dammit!” Chuck cursed.

“Drive,” Hailey shouted. “She’s right behind me.”

“Great,” I threw the car in drive and started heading towards town. “You’re all paying for gas.”

“Where we going?” Hailey asked.

“You tell me,” I replied. “I’m not your damned driver, so decide quick.”

“Let’s go to Jerry’s,” Howdy suggested.

“Can’t,” Chuck replied. “I still owe Jerry for my tab last month.”

“You don’t even pay rent and you have a tab?” Howdy asked.

“I give Mama my money,” Chuck responded. “Unlike you, I take care of my family.”

“Ooo, snap,” Hailey said.

“I take care of my family,” Howdy stated. “My family, not that bastard my ex pinned on me.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Chuck replied. “He just happens to look like you.”

“All babies look like everybody,” Howdy said. “That means nothing. No DNA test, no child support. That bitch can suck it.”

“Where are we going, already?” I pulled into the 7-11 parking lot. “Decide or I’m dropping you fuckers off at Chuck’s and keeping the beer.”

“You can’t do that,” Howdy complained. “We all paid for the beer.”

“And you’re all wasting my gas.”

“I know where we can go,” Hailey said.

“Where?” Chuck asked. “The crack house?”

“Shut up,” Hailey threw herself back into the seat, out of frustration. “No, there is a secret club in the woods. Only certain people know about it.”

“Certain people who are crackheads, going to buy crack, from the secret crackhouse.” Chuck grinned, apparently amused at himself.

“Shut up!” Hailey screamed. “Do you want to go or not?”

“It depends,” I said. “What kind of club is it?”

“People go there and party. The only thing is, you have to leave something behind when you go. Like you can drink all you want, but you have to leave money or a couple of blunts or something.”

“We don’t have anything to leave,” Howdy said. “I have twenty-seven cents and two smokes until Friday.”

“They don’t know that,” Hailey said. “We go, we party. Next time we have something to bring we go there and leave double. They will never know.”

“Why would we even want to go to your stupid club, if we had our own stuff?” Chuck asked.

“Because we wouldn’t be near Mama,” Hailey answered.

“Oh, yeah,” Chuck nodded. “I get it.”

“Okay, where is this place?” I asked.

“Just go into the res,” Hailey replied. “We have to park in the hook-up circle, then walk the rest of the way.”

“This better not be bullshit,” I said.

“It’s not,” Hailey grinned. “It’s gonna be fun.”

I drove to the reservation and parked in the hook-up circle, tucking the car behind a bush, so the cops wouldn’t come looking for us. The park closed after dark, and even though there were no gates to lock us out, it was still illegal to be there.

Howdy had not released his death grip on the beer yet, so he got to haul the case through the woods on his shoulder. Hailey led us on a ten-minute walk through the woods. We stopped in front of a dilapidated shack.

“Don’t know, Hailey,” Chuck said. “Looks like a crack house.”

I nodded. “It kinda does.”

“Oh, come on,” Hailey stomped passed us and pushed opened the front door. “You coming?”

The three of us looked at each other. Chuck shrugged. “Fuck it,” he said.

Chuck followed behind Hailey. Howdy, and I followed behind them.

“This better not be fucked up,” Howdy said. “I could have stayed home, and watched the shark week marathon.”

The place was just as much of a dive on the inside as it was on the outside. We stepped into a barren room. The plaster was torn from the walls, leaving the bare framing exposed. The floor was littered with empty bottles and cans, and an empty styrofoam cooler laid open on its side. A piece of plywood leaned up against the back wall, with a few milk crates surrounding it. It looked like it served as a makeshift take and chairs. A jar sat on the floor in the opposite corner of the room. It was filled with change, mostly pennies, nothing that looked like it amounted to much. Through the gaps in the lath of the back wall, I could barely make out another room. There was no light, so I couldn’t see any details, but there was definitely another room.

“This place is great!” Chuck mocked enthusiasm. “Look at all the beer and drugs!”

“At least we can drink what we have here, away from your mother’s bitching,” Howdy said.

“True,” Chuck replied. “But this is not the party meth girl promised. Is it?”

Hailey didn’t reply to either of them. She just stared at the wall. “What do you think is in there?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” I answered. “I don’t see any door. Don’t you remember? I thought you were here before.”

“I was,” Hailey replied. “But I was really high, and we stayed in this room.”

“Oh, there’s a big surprise,” Chuck said. “Hailey was high.”

“Shut up, you stupid turd,” Hailey felt around the back wall, even though it looked solid.

“Maybe there is a backdoor outside,” Howdy suggested.

“Or maybe there is a secret door here,” Hailey moved the plywood sheet, revealing a small opening covered with a makeshift curtain over it. It was half the height of a standard door, and two-thirds as wide. Hailey slipped through.

Chuck popped through behind her. Howdy wiggled through, his extra mass offering a slight bit of resistance. I followed, stepping through to the bizarre scene.

The place smelled odd, not bad or good, just off. The walls were covered in unfamiliar red-brown symbols, like something out of a fantasy RPG. A table was positioned in the middle of the room. There was a lit candle in the center of the table, a book and some loose pages sat in front of the candle. A pipe and matches sat next to it.

Hailey’s eyes got huge as she noticed the pipe on the table. In a flash, she grabbed the pipe and the matches.

“No. Hailey, don’t!” I reached for her, but I was too late.

She lit the pipe and inhaled deeply. A sweet, spicy, scent wafted through the room. It smelled like warm contentment.

“Oh,” she grinned. “This is some good shit. I can see everything. I can see the magic. Look at the walls.”

“Gimme some,” Chuck grabbed the pipe and smoked. “She’s right, it’s good.”

Chuck handed the pipe to Howdy, who immediately caved to the peer pressure. “Whoa, you have to try this. The walls are glowing.”

I took the pipe but did not smoke it. “I’ll wait to see what it does to all of you. What do the papers say?”

Hailey picked up the top page and started reading.

“Šulak,” she read out loud. “Šulak lurker of the most private.” Hailey giggled. “He’s lurking in your privates.”

“I think glowing wall letters got brighter,” Howdy said.

“Yeah, yeah,” Chuck said. “They did. Read more.”

“Don’t read more,” I said. “Let me see that.” I reached for the pages, but Hailey stepped back, out of my reach.”

Hailey grabbed the book and thumbed through it. Then she started reading again. “Šulak lurker of the most private, lend us your might. Grant us the power to strike. Give our mightiest, your strength to do your will unto your enemies. Make him swift, stealthy, and deadly.”

“Whoa,” Howdy’s mouth dropped open. “It’s beautiful.”

Chuck pointed at one of the symbols. “It’s moving.”

I grabbed one of the pages from Hailey. There was a drawing of a priest leading a service. He stood in front of an altar. Another person was positioned next to him, smoking a very large pipe. A supernatural looking black form circled the altar, poised to collide with the person smoking the pipe.

“This may be a really bad idea,” I said. “We should go.”

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Chuck asked. “This place is a trip.”

“Yeah,” Hailey agreed. “Like a private rave party. We just need music.” Hailey pulled out her phone. “Anyone got a speaker?”

Howdy pulled out a speaker shaped like a little bomb. Hailey took it and plugged it into the headphone jack on her phone. The room filled with dubstep. Hailey swayed around, humming to the music, reading from the texts. She took the pipe from me and smoked it again. The three passed the pipe around rocking back and forth to the music. Hailey started reading the pages again, but this time she sang them to the melody of music.

“Šulak, Šulak the hitter. Mighty striker, make our warrior’s hand an extension of your power.” She hummed a few bars and continued. “Šulak, we are poised to serve you and carry out your deeds as you see fit. Please take our strongest, our most powerful and add him to your might.”

Chuck looked over her shoulder and started joining her in song. He was off key, but it sounded more like a harmony than discordance. Howdy joined in, laughing and moving to the music. The three of them undulated in sync. They sang and lifted their arms towards the ceiling. They were still laughing and appeared to be having a good time.

On the other hand, I was not having a good time. I was starting to feel claustrophobic, and the smell of the room was becoming overpowering. It reeked like burning wood and roadkill. I tried to wave the odor away. “Haven’t you ever seen a horror film?” I yelled. “Why are you doing this?”

“Because it feels so good,” Hailey swirled around and danced. The other two kept singing. “You should try it.” She exhaled smoke into my face, I inhaled a little before I could stop her.

“No,” I objected. “Someone needs to have some sense, here.”

“Come on,” Hailey held out her hand. “Join us.”

“Screw this,” I cursed. “Now I know you’re all screwing with me. I’m waiting in the car. See you when you’re done fucking around.”

Just before I ducked out of the opening to the main room, the plywood slid over it. I tried to move it aside, but it felt like it was nailed in place. I tried to smash, but it wasn’t budging. Meanwhile, the dumbasses were singing louder. Either this was some kind of prank or Hailey’s attempted shotgun succeeded in getting me buzzed. I was feeling a sense of euphoria, despite all the indications that we were in danger.

“You know; we’re trapped in here now.” I got no response. The three suddenly fell silent. I turned around to see all three on their knees with their heads thrown back, chanting silently. “Are you fucking kidding me? This joke is over!”

But the joke wasn’t over because it wasn’t a joke at all. Now I saw it. The supernatural, black, form from the picture flew laps around the room. It paused and loomed over the three losers. It circled the trio as if it was scrutinizing them. Suddenly, it turned its attention to me.

“No, man.” I held up my arms. “I have nothing to do with this junk. They just dragged me along to this bullshit. I’m not trying to screw with you.”

Then it was millimeters from my face. It tilted its misty head from side to side, and then circled me. It wrapped its body around me, smothering me in its smoky essence. I gasped for air, unintentionally inhaling the misty form. It was harsh and rough on my throat, causing me to wheeze and cough. Once I caught my breath, I looked up. Now, I could see the glowing walls and the magic the others were talking about. “Wow.” I spun around absorbing the view. The room transformed from a dilapidated shack to some kind of stone temple. A window opened to a view of a massive primeval city. The black, smoky thing was gone.

Chuck, Howdy, and Hailey were still kneeling on the floor, silently chanting. Their lips moved, but their eyes were shut tight. They rocked back and forth, not in unison, but to the same rhythm.

“You were the mightiest,” a voice stated from behind me.

“Mighty?” I spun around to see the priest from the drawing.

“Yes, of all of those of your era, who have come to this sacred place, Šulak chose you to be his living avatar.”

“I’m not mighty,” I replied. “I’m just not a douchebag like these guys.”

“Šulak appreciates that. He has never been one to trifle with douchebags. You have earned the prize. Šulak is ready to complete the transfer now.”

“Transfer?”

“Yes,” the man replied. “You have been prepared by the ritual of the mist. By smoking the magic herb from the pipe, your body and mind have been opened to receive the power and might of Šulak. He will complete the transfer now.”

“Wait, I…” Before I could explain that I didn’t want the prize, I felt a rush, a burning, like a shock running throughout my body. “Whoa.”

“Release all that you are to Šulak,” the priest said. “He now controls what you are and will be. You will be rewarded in the next life with all your hearts desires.”

“Huh?” The sensation intensified, but it wasn’t painful. I felt like a battery in a rapid charger.

“What?” the priest seemed disturbed. “Did you not smoke the pipe?”

I couldn’t answer. I was too busy being charged. I heard a growling and what may have been cursing, then suddenly I was back in the shack. I looked around. The glowing symbols were gone. The three musketeers were passed out on the floor.

“Great,” I muttered. “At least we got a good trip out of this shit.” I inspected the little door and was able to move the plywood. I checked the time, several hours had passed. After confirming the car was still where we left it, I returned to the room. Hailey was lying on her side, clutching her head. Chuck was sitting up, moaning, with his head between his knees. Howdy was still laid out.

“You assholes gave me a contact buzz,” I kicked Chuck in the side of his ass. “I had a shitty trip.”

Hailey sat up. “It was awesome. I want more.” She stood up and reached for the pipe. It was gone, as were the candle, the book, and all the loose pages. In fact, all painted symbols were no longer on the walls.

“What did you do to it?” She asked.

“I didn’t touch it,” I replied. “You all were the ones screwing with the crap. I just got the weird trip to the past. Thanks for that.”

“I went there, too,” Hailey said. “Šulak thought I was too flighty.” Hailey laughed. “That priest jerk is a dick.”

“Yeah, he is. He said I was not worthy of the gift.” Chuck stood up and looked over at Howdy. “Is he still breathing?”

I walked over to Howdy and sat him up. He started coughing as he regained consciousness.

“Yeah, he’s alive,” I said. “We should get out of here.”

The four of us scurried out of the opening and out of the shack. We piled in the car and I started through town to Chuck and Hailey’s house.

It was starting to feel warm inside the car. I checked the gages and they looked fine. I cranked on the AC.

“Stop freezing us up,” Hailey whined.

“It’s hot in here,” I stated.

“No, it’s not,” Chuck replied.

“Wait,” Howdy yelled. “I need to take a leak. Pull into Burger Empire.”

“Fine,” I pulled into the parking lot. All three of the jumped out of the car, leaving me alone in the car. “Screw this.” I got out of the car and followed them inside.

Howdy was standing by the door of the men’s room looking aggravated.

“What happened?” I asked.

“Chuck cockblocked me,” he replied. “That bastard.”

“There’s more than one urinal, dumbass.”

“Oh, yeah,” Howdy replied.

I pushed the door open. A rush of hot air engulfed me. Howdy darted past me and took his place in front of a urinal.

“How can you stand it?” I asked. “It’s hot as hell in here.” I stepped forward, next to Chuck. Before I had the chance to relieve myself, I started to feel it. The heat intensified, then there was the pressure. It felt like my skin was going to split open from the inside. I reeled against the pain, trying to gain control over it, without success.

The pressure intensified. I couldn’t scream. I couldn’t even breath. Then suddenly, like someone popping a balloon, the pressure just burst. It was gone. Chuck looked at me and screamed. Howdy was frozen, his mouth opened wide. It took a moment to get hold of myself. I was shaky, but the pain was gone. I stood there, drenched in sweat, feeling completely spent. Chuck and Howdy didn’t fare as well. Their lower bodies were covered in their own piss and crap.

“What the hell was that?” Chuck yelled.

“I don’t know,” I said. “It got really hot in here, and I felt sick. Why’d you shit yourself?”

“Because you turned into a scary fucking monster,” Chuck replied.

“What the hell?” I asked. “What about you?” I pushed Howdy in the shoulder. He squealed.

“You turned into a freakin monster, man.” Chuck backed away from me.

I rolled my eyes and focused back on taking a leak. “You two are crazy. You better clean up before anyone sees you.”

Chuck and Howdy went over to the sink and began washing up. Chuck kept looking at me, giving me the stink eye. Howdy completely avoided eye contact.

“Oh, come-on,” I said. “You gotta be kidding.”

Chuck put his wet pants back on. “You’re just wrong, man.”

“I didn’t do anything, you freak.”

Chuck left the men’s room, shaking his head and mumbling. Howdy followed suit, putting his pants on as he exited. They stormed out of Burger Empire, out to the parking lot. I could hear Hailey outside, by the car, cackling.

“What happened to you?” she asked. “Why are your pants wet?”

“Ask your boyfriend,” Chuck answered.

“I am not her boyfriend,” I stated as I followed behind them.

“Dude,” Chuck said. “You turned into a black, misty monster with glowing eyes.”

“Bullshit,” I replied.

“It misted out of your body and became you, but a monster. Ask Howdy. He saw it.”

“You did,” Howdy added. “I saw it.”

“Wait,” Hailey grinned. “Šulak chose you?”

“What?” Chuck asked. “What the hell are you talking about crackhead?”

“The ritual,” Hailey answered. “To choose Šulak’s mortal host. But you didn’t smoke up with us.”

“You’re making that up,” Chuck stated. “You couldn’t know that.”

“I read the stupid book,” Hailey replied. “I know what it said.”

“Wait,” I said. “You knew what was going to happen, and you still smoked that crap. Why?”

“I thought it was bullshit,” Hailey answered. “And I really wanted to get high.”

“Great, so now I’m the idiot stuck with this.”

“It shouldn’t have worked,” Hailey said. “You didn’t smoke. Šulak can only take possession of a body that smoked from the pipe.”

“You blew smoke at me,” I said. “It got me buzzed.”

“Yeah,” she explained. “But you didn’t smoke from the pipe. You have to smoke the pipe, to host Šulak.”

“Well, obviously he didn’t take possession of me because I’m talking to you.”

“He thought you smoked it, but you didn’t, and now you have only a part of him in you.” Hailey giggled and threw her head back, apparently very proud of her deductive abilities.

“What does Šulak even do?” I asked.

“I’ll tell you what he does,” Howdy said. “He scares the shit out of people.”

“Yeah, because someone would go out of their way to possess someone to make people shit themselves.”

“Hailey has all the answers,” Chuck said. “What is this freak about?”

Hailey shrugged. “Dunno, let’s go home and check Wikipedia.”

“Just look it up on your phone,” Chuck said.

“I don’t got it here,” Hailey replied. “Mama tracks me, so I leave it home.”

“Look it up, Howdy,” Chuck demanded.

“It’s off,” he replied. “Gotta pay the bill.”

“Why don’t you just look it up, Chuck?” Hailey asked.

“Because Mama watches my data usage,” Chuck answered. “She sees that shit, and I’m at church every Sunday for the rest of my life.”

“You’re all lame.” I shook my head. “I’ll look it up.” I pulled out my phone and ran the search for Šulak.

Hailey was correct about one thing, there was a Wikipedia article on him. I clicked the link, but before I could even read it, Hailey grabbed the phone from my hand. She started to laugh.

“He’s Babylonian,” she said. “Ha! He’s a bathroom demon.”

“What?” I snagged my phone back.

“He gives people strokes and stuff when they’re crapping.” Hailey was clearly amused by this.

I read the article. “She’s right. Šulak attacks people when they are most vulnerable, in the bathroom. Still, makes no sense. I didn’t actually hurt these guys.”

“Yeah, but Šulak didn’t possess you all the way,” Hailey answered. “I bet you only have part of his power.”

“So what?” I asked. “Instead of killing people, I just make them shit themselves?”

“Pretty much,” Hailey said.

“Then why isn’t it happening now?” I asked.

“Because you’re not in the bathroom,” Howdy said. “Bathroom demon. Even I heard that.”

“Shit!” I cursed.

“Exactly,” Chuck replied. “You are possessed by a potty demon.”

“It’s the Doodie Avenger,” Howdy said.

“The Turd Terror,” Chuck replied.

“The BM Bandit,” Howdy added.

“The Poopinator.” Chuck countered.

“No,” Hailey smirked. “He’s the Crap Whisperer.” Her grin grew wider. “I have an idea. Let’s go to The Beef Factory.”

***

“No way,” I yelled over the booming base. “I’m not doing it.”

Hailey grabbed my arm and yanked me towards the door. “Do it. We need to test it.”

Chuck handed me some latex gloves. “Snag their wallets after they shit themselves.”

“Why do you even have these?” I asked. “Never mind, I don’t want to know. You people suck.” I walked towards the men’s room. The place was packed, so no doubt the bathroom was going to be a disaster.

I braced myself for the worse. I didn’t want to roll anyone. This whole situation sucked. I stepped inside…

…and nothing happened.

I walked back out.

“Well?” Hailey asked.

“Nothing.”

“What do you mean nothing?” Chuck asked.

“I went in and nothing happened.”

“I know,” Hailey reached into her pocket and pulled out a pack of smoked. She pulled out a roach and handed it to me. “Smoke this. Maybe you need to be high to do it. You were lit the last time”

“Here?” I asked.

“Nobody’s looking,” she replied.

“I can’t believe you held out on us,” Howdy complained.

“It’s a tiny clip, shut up.” She handed me a lighter. “Smoke up, homeboy.”

“Fine,” I lit up and took a long toke.

“How you feel?” she asked.

“A little buzzed,” I replied.

“Good, now go.” She spun me around and shoved me towards the bathroom.

As soon as I got within feet of the door, the sweltering started. By the time I pushed the door open, I already felt the sensation of my skin tightening. The bathroom was full. The stalls had no doors but still were full of men doing things to other men. The urinals were all in use; a few guys waited around for their turn to pee.

At first, no one even noticed me. That changed when I released the demon. This time it was easier. I went with it. Instead of fighting the pressure, I let it flow through me. The men’s room filled with cries of terror. Then it subsided to whimpering.

I took in the aftermath of the shitsplosion. All eyes were on me; the eyes of angry men, who were now stewing in their own shit. There was no way I could lift a wallet now, never mind walk out without an ass beating. I should have known better than to listen to one of Hailey’s ideas.

“Woo hoo!” echoed a voice from one of the stalls. All eyes turned towards it.

A small, old, man sat on the pot. He had a smile on his face a mile wide and was giving me the thumbs up.

“I haven’t been able to crap right for months,” he announced. “I was about to go for surgery this week. Tonight was my last party, before pre-op tomorrow. You just saved my life.”

“Huh?”

“Ted says you saved his life.” A large man in leather and poo slapped me on the back.

“Drinks for the freaky guy!” another soiled man yelled.

The bathroom erupted in cheers. The excrement-covered crowd rushed from the bathroom, all shouting orders to the bartender.

“That guy saved Ted,” another dude announced. “He used some weird mojo on him, and saved his life.”

The bar exploded in applause and laughter. Soon free drinks were flowing my way without pause. In no time, the four of us were hammered.

It turned out that Ted was one of the club’s owners. They told me that his age and medical condition made surgery really risky, but they were unable to clear some blockage any other way. They all thought he was a goner until I showed up.

I would never need to pay for drinks again.

***

“So I just have to be buzzed and walk into a bathroom,” I said. The sun was rising. The four of us were nursing hangovers in the car.

“Yup,” Hailey answered.

“We probably could make some coin with this,” Howdy said.

“Yup,” Chuck replied.

“Tomorrow,” I said. “I’m making some business cards.”

“Yup,” Howdy nodded.

***

I left Mr. Fowler laughing on the commode. I shoved the two-hundred-dollar payment into my pocket and strolled out the grimy, automatic doors.

Howdy and Chuck were exchanging arm punches in the parking lot. Hailey was toking it up in a non-smoking zone.

“Did he pay you?” Hailey asked.

I held up the wad of cash.

Hailey threw her head back and squealed. “Let’s go party up.”

I grinned. “Let’s do it.” Maybe being Šulak the Crap Whisperer wasn’t such a bad thing.