Saturday, December 24, 2016

Tauy Creek Digest #31: $#!+ Storm

We all knew this was coming. We all knew those pipes couldn't handle the pressure as our diets grew and grew and our bowel movements grew and grew. Some cities upgraded their pipes but most didn't and when the Reckoning arrived, no one knew what to do.

Pipes burst and the waste from the plants designed to hold and treat our left-behinds poured into the sky and fell to the earth like rain. Some was just released into water bodies, turning the blue or green or off-clear into a dark and gritty brown. I was fortunate. I heard the rattle from the toilet as I was urinating and was able to dodge out of the way as my toilet exploded and the fecal matter flooded my bathroom and flooded over the rest of my apartment. Climbing down the fire escape, I saw other tenants racing down or even jumping out of windows. I ran into my neighbor, Lauren, who lived two floors under me, as I raced down the escape.

"I don't know what I hate more," Lauren shouted at me. "The thought of being covered with all this or that the smell will linger in my nose until I die."

"I'm lucky to still be here. I was in the bathroom," I said.

"Where are we supposed to go?"

"There's nowhere we can go. Maybe an empty field in the Middle of Nowhere, Nebraska but the world is going to be flooded soon and we're all going to die. Or be really smelly from now on," I said, narrowly avoiding some wastewater bubbling up from underground.

As we ran into the street, it began pouring from the storm drains and bubbling from the manholes. "Why is it doing that?" Lauren cried. "Those should be two different systems."

"Logic no longer applies. It's like a couple months ago when those sharks got caught in that waterspout in Florida and began raining down on people inland. People said it would never happen but it did and we paid dearly for our mistake."

"Why didn't we listen to the warnings?" Lauren pleaded. We were suddenly separated by a wall of waste crashing down between us.

I didn't wait around to see if she was all right. I got up and began running. I don't know why or where to but thought that was the best idea. Brown, viscous water oozed from the sewers and from underneath doors to houses and businesses. No place was safe from our homemade Hell. I heard a commotion coming from my right. I glanced and saw a bunch of people standing at a school directing me to go over there. I had nothing to lose, so I did.

"Most of the rooms are far away from the bathrooms," a man said. "We should be safe here if we just stay in those rooms."

A couple hundred people were in the school and we all split off into separate classrooms, away from the restrooms. The smell still permeated the air but it wasn't as bad as it could be. We waited out the initial storm until everything was just slow-moving slime meandering across the world, finding the path of least resistance.

"When should we leave?" a woman in the room I was in asked softly.

Everyone gave her a questioning look and shrugged their shoulders.

"I have to go the bathroom," a man said.

"Now that you mention it..." another spoke.

"How can you even think about going to the bathroom at a time like this?" a woman, obviously distraught, gruffly spat.

"We've been here for hours. It's only natural."

"I was in the bathroom when it happened," I said.

Everyone gasped in horror.

"Someone should go out and see what's going on. It's not dark yet. Maybe we can return home," another woman said.

"I'll go," a man stood up.

A couple other people--a man and a woman--stood. "We'll go."

"Same," I said as I stood.

We ventured out into the near twilight. The streets were covered in the brown waste, it pooled in some spots along the curbs or in potholes. Some of the trees dripped with the stuff and I couldn't tell if the grass was covered in mud or the other stuff. Everything was stained, skidmarks everywhere.

The air reeked. I could feel every nasal receptor getting destroyed by the scent. As we walked down the street, taking in our surroundings, we noticed some people had already started cleaning up. It gave me hope that people had already started. It had been a rough day and some rough days were still ahead but we were alive and not covered in fecal matter. Some people weren't so lucky.