Being her friend, I went and visited her at St. Michael's, where she was laying on her stomach on a bed in Room 309.
“So, how’re you feeling, Brit?” I asked.
“How the fuck do you think I’m feeling?” she asked back.
Hospitals are weird places. There's all those beeping sounds, and doctors getting called over the loudspeaker and the smell of whatever that cleaning shit is they use. I wondered how long I had to stay.
Brittany started crying. It made the whole bed quake.
“Jimmy broke up with me,” she wailed.
A sound, I don't know if it was a fart or a snore, came from whoever was in the other bed, hidden behind a light blue curtain.
“There's a whole bunch of guys wanna fuck you, Brit,” I said. “You don't need that asshole.”
I apologized right away for using that word. If nothing else, this bleach incident would change our vocabulary.
“Who's gonna want me like this?” she said.
“You know what I mean. With my ass all burned up and scarred.”
“But it's gonna be fine. You're in a hospital. They'll fix you up better than before.” I had no fucking idea what I was talking about, but I didn't know what else to say.
There was another sound from the other bed, another snore/fart.
“Look at it,” said Brittany. She spoke so quietly I wasn't sure I was hearing her right.
“Look at it,” louder and clearer this time, like she was giving an order. “Look at my asshole.”
To the best of my recollection, that's the only time anybody ever said those words to me, before or since. I really didn't want to look, but when your best friend's lying there in the hospital like that, you're pretty much obligated to do whatever they ask, within reason.
“Okay, but won't the doctors get pissed?” I asked.
“Good luck finding one. They show up for a grand total of, like, two minutes a day.”
“How about the nurses?”
“Just look at the fucking thing!” she yelled. “Look at it and tell me anybody's gonna wanna fuck me again!”
What choice did I have? I peeled back the sheet that covered her. She was wearing one of those stupid hospital gowns that opens in the back, and her butt was exposed except for a white cloth laying over it. So far so good. She always did have a nice ass. Not that I'm a lesbian or anything. I'm just saying.
Next, I took off the cloth, and there it was.
I used muscles I didn't know I had to keep from puking all over it.
Even with her face in the pillow, Brit could read me like a book.
“That bad?” she moaned. “Be honest. Am I fucked up for life now?”
“I don't know what you're talking about,” I said, laying the cloth back over her ass.
“I'm talking about being fucked up for life!”
From the other side of the curtain came a voice that sounded like someone was gargling with cement.
“Oh, would you shut the fuck up, you dumb fucking cunt?” it said.
One thing you should know about me is that I'm not the most loyal friend in the world. Truth be told, I've let every one of Brittany's boyfriends fuck me at some point during their relationship. But what that lady said was just not cool, especially under the circumstances.
I got up and threw back the curtain, ready to give her all the shit she deserved.
She was sitting up in her bed, waiting for me with a huge grin on her face. I don't care how bad Brittany's asshole looked, this lady's whole body looked a million times worse. The puke I'd been holding in came out, big time. The weird thing was, she loved it. Every time another orangey chunk of breakfast burrito came up and splashed on the linoleum floor, the lady would clap her hands and laugh like crazy, laugh like it was the funniest fucking thing she ever saw in her life.
You’re probably wondering if there’s a moral to this story, and if you are, well, welcome to the club. I don’t know. Maybe it’s as simple as this: No matter how desperate you are, think twice before putting any weird shit from under the sink on your ass.
That would be the moral.
Johnny Wolowitz is a writer and musician living in Orange County, New York.