by Ross Deatrick
“Ow!” Betty is reclined in a black chair in a grimy tattoo shop, looking at the ceiling and listening to the buzzing sound of the needle poking her skin. The artist, who is an amateur, is tracing an outline of the sun on Betty’s chest, above her right breast.
“Just say if you need a break.” The tattooer says.
“It’s not going to get infected is it? Thats my only concern.”
“I’m using a brand new needle,” He continues tracing. Her skin is turning red like the real sun. “Don’t worry.”
“Okay, I need a break. Please?” She says wincing.
“Sure.” He takes his foot off the pedal that powers the motor of the tattoo machine. Betty sits up and runs to the restroom.
Later that night she is in her bathroom looking at her finished tattoo in the mirror not knowing how to feel about it. Her parents have left on a two week vacation to Hawaii and she is home alone for the first time. Now that she is eighteen they are treating her like an adult.
Two days later she is at a house party that one of her classmates is throwing. Showing up without an invite, she is naked, dancing on the white kitchen table and pouring bourbon on herself. Alcohol is running down her chest into her unhealed tattoo. Looking infected, the sun on her chest is resembling the place where the sun doesn’t shine. An electronic dance song is playing loud throughout the house.
Its the summer after senior year and for the last four years she has been ridiculed by her classmates. She had hoped to start over with a clean slate her freshman year after her parents and her moved to a different state when her dad took a new job, but she was not fortunate enough to be able to erase the past.
An unfamiliar guy, who she does not recognize from school, has made his way over to the kitchen table and is standing behind her, he looks significantly older than anyone else there. “Looking good,” he yells, “what’s your name?” She ignores his question and keeps dancing as more drops of bourbon trundle down her chest. He stays put. He is eye level with her butt. He starts chanting, “Twerk, twerk, twerk,” and others join him. He claps his hands while holding a cup of beer and its sloshing around spilling on the floor. She stops dancing and grips her stomach. She puts her hands on her knees and he smacks her on the butt. “Don’t stop now,” he yells.
Just then, Betty releases the worst diarrhea of the century and liquid feces splatters against the guy’s face, the whole party stops and the music cuts off. She quickly hops off the table and runs out of the kitchen. The crowd of people split apart making a path for her. People are howling with laughter, some are screaming and many are covering their mouths fleeing the kitchen. The guy who was the direct target is vomiting all over the once-white-now-brown table.
Music begins playing again and the pulsing drums of “Black Betty” by Ram Jam begins echoing through the house. People start singing along and replace the word “black” in the song with the word “bowel”. Half way through the song Betty comes running through the party fully clothed keeping her head down. She sprints out the door in the kitchen. Completely shit-faced, the hapless pervert who had stood behind her is unconscious on the floor. As she is sprinting from the house to her car she can hear everyones voices singing along to the song. Betty gets in the car and anxiously speeds home.
She suffers from incontinence. Living with it since a child, her parents figured she would eventually grow out of it. Never actually buying Betty real medicine they had her taking Imodium daily. They always had plenty of money to spend on themselves but when it came to Betty’s needs she was shit out of luck. Most kids wet the bed but Betty would go #2 in her sleep. Even after taking Imodium she would still have accidents. A large number of these times were during school, in the middle of class, where she would try to hold it. Most recently was a month ago during one of her finals.
Now home, she goes to the bathroom and scrambles to find her Imodium. Swinging open the cabinet door she grabs her pill bottle, rattling out six little blue pills and pops them all at once. Running the faucet, she puts her mouth to the water and washes them down.
She draws herself a bath and rests there for awhile. This has been her ritual since she was a little girl, she enjoyed the solitude and if she needed to go to the bathroom she was already in there. The next day the alcohol had worn off and she woke up without an accident. Pleased, she got her Imodium and took six more. After eating a light breakfast of peanut butter toast she checked Facebook, only to see that many people had posted about her incident last night. Multiple statuses documented the mess she had made. Even a couple of pictures were posted of her, full frontal view with the bottle tilted over her head and her tattoo showing. Her tattoo looked horrible. She pulled her shirt down a little at the collar to look at it. It was gross. The tattoo was starting to scar over on the lines protruding from the circle of the sun. Ashamed, she began weeping in front of the computer with her head in her hands.
No wanting to take anymore embarrassment, she decided to make today the last day of it. Going to the medicine cabinet once again for the Imodium she rattles out another handful of blue pills and puts them into her mouth, crunching them between her teeth. Gagging at the taste she pours more in her hand and grinds them up in her mouth. She swallows what she can using the water from the sink. Then, running to the kitchen, she grabs her fathers Jack Daniels out of the liquor cabinet and takes a big gulp, washing what was left in her mouth down the hatch.
Twenty minutes pass and the bottle is finished. On top of being drunk she is starting to feel high from all the pills. Stumbling through the living room and bumping into the couch she hurls bluish-brown vomit all over the carpet. Breathing heavily, she walks to the bathroom and tries to kneel in front of the toilet but kneels too far forward smacking her shins on the seat and falls to the ground with her head bouncing off the side of the tub. She lays there dazed but still awake. After a few minutes of laying on her side she rolls to her stomach and pushes herself up, grabbing the lip of the tub to sit up right. She turns her back against it and kneels down in front of the toilet. With her face safely in the bowl she vomits once more. Scared of dry heaving, she flushes the toilet so it will refill with fresh water to put in her stomach, also to take away the stench. She is dehydrated and continues drinking from the commode.
She inhales a few deep breath’s and a sharp pain cuts deep in her stomach. She starts to panic and the only way she knows of to relax is by getting in the tub, so she turns around and twists the faucet handles. Plugging the drain to let the tub fill, she stands up and starts taking off her clothes carefully. Once undressed, she turns off the water just in time before it overflows.
She slowly starts lowering herself in the water. On the way down her hands slip and she plops into the tub, some splashing over the sides. Her head and mouth are barely staying above water level. Laying with her back against the wall of the tub and her hands gripping her stomach, she closes her eyes and passes out from the pain. Unconscious, she slides gently underneath the water, inch by inch till she is submerged. Water starts filling her lungs as she continues breathing but severe intoxication has inhibited any brain function that could tell her to wake up.
With her eyes still closed, the body’s muscles relax and the air bubbles coming up under the water cease as she has her final bowel movement. Fecal matter and urine disperse throughout the volume of the tub. She lies still in a pond of her own waste.