Catch Chicago writer and editor Mason Johnson live, performing with Daniel Shapiro, at our Nerves of Steel event Tuesday, Dec. 6 at the Hungry Brain in Chi. Details here.
3/8, 2:38 p.m.
I found a bump — a pimple or wart or something — while pooping at 2:30 p.m.: the optimal time to poop. Even though the bump is not on my penis, it is in the general penis vicinity, which is a little worrying.
I think that I will keep this bump a secret.
I’d have investigated the bump more, but I had to get back to my desk before Miranda saw that I was gone. I’ve realized that I take too many washroom breaks. That I pee a lot. I fear Miranda will notice how often I urinate. That, because of my geriatric bladder, she will find me an unsuitable mate. Will not want to fuck me.
Miranda cannot know how often I pee.
3/8, 6:45 p.m.
At home, I stare at the bump amongst my brown, wire-like pubes. It’s a lone bump on an otherwise flat surface. A lonely bump. I worry that it might be too lonely, being the only one of its kind on my lanky, alabaster body, but have no desire for it to multiply.
I am torn.
3/10, 3 p.m.
The bump has grown to three times its initial size; it shadows my pubic hair, reaching for the sky to fly to freedom, but it’s grounded and weighed down. Weighed down by me.
Weighed down like me.
I feel for it.
My belt rubs against it. Shocks of pain emanate through my body. Like a message. Like the bump is trying to say something.
Maybe I should stop wearing belts, but my slacks would look ridiculous. What would Miranda think?
What would Miranda think? Is she pro-belt?
I saw her in the elevator earlier. Stood in the back, debating whether to make small talk or not, but I couldn’t stop wondering if that liquid I was leaning in was urine. Sometimes the delivery boy pees in the elevator. Sometimes I lean in it.
Not on purpose.
I didn’t end up talking to Miranda. I did notice that she’s shaped like a shell-less turtle though. A beautiful, shell-less turtle.
I want to be her shell.
3/16, 10:43 a.m.
And then it was gone. The bump and its voice, whispering in electronic vibrations, the sound of digital watches. Yes, the bump hurt, but the pain spoke to me. The bump told me it loved me, it triumphed through my days with me, the bump complained with me — the weather, the traffic, the assholes, complaining about the asshole who pisses in the elevator. Together the bump and I would imagine punishing this man, tying this man’s penis to the back of a Ford truck, driving off at full speed, his penis still attached, let’s see if he pisses in the elevator now, we’d imagine saying. The bump and I talked about how we would record this, making it into the single most effective piece of advertising in existence, selling Ford trucks like they were hot cakes, the hottest cakes, making millions. Most of all, what was missing after the bump seemed to disappear was that feeling of longing we shared. The lemmings we would send each other, our sighs, pronounced Miranda.
I saw Miranda in the hallway on my way to the washroom. She said hey and I replied by saying, “I wanted to give you everything, but I no longer have it. It has popped out of existence. I am so sorry.”
I didn’t say this with words. Obviously. I said this with my eyes. I have very descriptive eyes.
In a bathroom stall I saw that the entirety of my crotch was covered in goo. Green, like Chicago relish. I put my finger in it — it was viscous. I put my finger in my mouth — it was tasty, like cheap candy, like watermelon Jolly Ranchers. The taste brought the beat of the bump back tenfold, the tap-tap-tapping of the bump on my brain, like fingernails on a wooden table.
I knew what to do.
3/19, 12:36 p.m.
Miranda’s birthday: our boss brought a platter of cookies and made Miranda wear the office sombrero as everyone sang to her.
People introduced themselves to me.
“Hi, when’d you start workin’ here?”
“Two years ago.”
I didn’t have a present for Miranda, per se, but I did have something I wanted her to have inside of her.
As everyone sang, I put my hand down my pants, touching the bump that was now constantly leaking ooze, and rubbed said ooze onto two cookies from the platter.
The moment everyone was done singing, I handed Miranda the cookies.
“Two-cookie minimum for the birthday girl,” I said
She’d have smiled, but she was too touched to show an expression.
She took the plate and bit into a cookie and then, well, she choked.
Her mouth made the shape of an O, but no scream came out. “Somebody help!” one coworker yelled.
“Is there a doctor here?” I imagined another coworker screaming, to make things more dramatic.
We didn’t need a doctor, though. I knew exactly what to do.
Having never been trained in the Heimlich maneuver, I went to the only important training I’ve obtained in my life: my karate training. For my 12th birthday, my uncle Joe had gotten me a month’s worth of lessons. I learned only one thing in that month: how to thrust my fist into someone’s solar plexus, popping their lungs like rubber balloons, forcing every air molecule out of their body.
Finally, I thought. I can use my deadly hands for something good.
I wasn’t going to waste any time, I punched Miranda immediately. Hard. Quickly. In the middle of her chest.
That bitch went down like a ton of bricks.
On the ground she was red cheeked and winded, but alive. She stared up at me, her eyes wet, her two chins miserable, but she was grateful for her savior.
She was grateful for me.
3/20, 10:32 p.m.
HR sent me home for the rest of the week. Said I needed “a rest.” They are rewarding me. I’ve saved the life of a valued employee. They owe me. They said we’d talk come Monday about my future with the company.
This can only mean good things.
I will walk in Monday morning and, for once, I will not rush to my desk, avoiding the gaze of strangers. Instead, the strangers will meet my eyes. They well pat me on the back, one after another. Standing before my cubicle will be Miranda. She will be blushing, her eyes will be looking down at her feet, in her hands will be a box of chocolates. “I wasn’t sure how to say thank you,” she’ll whisper.
“Silly,” I’ll say. “I’m supposed to give you candy, Sugar.”
Yes, I will call her Sugar. It will become my nickname for her, both in and out of the bedroom.
And then I will take her in my arms. I will lean her to the side. I will kiss her.
Then I’ll get a promotion.
My life with Miranda will be wonderful. The bump might be a third wheel, yes, but a good third wheel. Like a tricycle. She may even grow little bumps of her own, scattered around her body like treasures that I’ll search out as if I’m on an Easter egg hunt.
Most of all, we’ll be happy. Together. Perfect.
Miranda, the bump and I.