People at work always asked Kayla how on earth she stayed so skinny.
“Kayla, just how on earth do you stay so skinny?”
And Kayla would shyly tuck a strand of mouse-brown hair behind one ear, and look down and mutter something about portion control and 30 minutes of cardio every day and having a healthy attitude about food.
But the real answer was that she threw up everything that she ate.
One day she threw up something that she hadn’t eaten. It was alive. It was male; it had a little penis. It spoke fluent English.
“What in the hell?” Kayla demanded, standing there staring at the thing swimming in the toilet water. “I mean, seriously. What in the hell?”
She had asked the question rhetorically, addressing the universe in general, because she didn’t believe in God and there were no other patrons in the ladies’ room. Not that God or any other patrons could have probably answered Kayla’s question.
But the thing in the toilet did!
“Hello, Kayla,” he said, beginning to swim a masterly sidestroke right there in the commode. “I understand that you are probably a little bit confused.”
Kayla stomped one foot, apoplectic, wanting very badly to flee the stall but riveted, wanting to know what would happen next.
“Kayla, you are lonely. You haven’t a boyfriend. You are shy. You have self-image problems. You reek of desperation, and sometimes of stomach acid. No boys want to be with you.”
Kayla gazed at the little swimming thing with the little penis, now performing a sort of backstroke in place, as there was not much room to maneuver in the toilet bowl.
“So Kayla, when no one else will love you, you have to love yourself. You’ve been told this before, haven’t you, Kayla? You’ve been told this by Dr. Phil, you’ve been told this by your sympathetic girlfriends, all of whom have boyfriends and some even husbands; your girlfriends who try in vain to set you up with their single male friends who are invariably Dorky or Pervy or Geeky or Sleazy, like a bunch of unappealing dwarfs. Am I right, Kayla?”
Kayla found herself marveling at the thing’s correct usage of “whom,” and wondered how it knew such things–grammar as well as wisdom about human nature–before she sadly nodded yes.
“Well, Kayla, you were so lonely that you manifested something (something male, to boot–see? not too shabby, when you factor in my proportions, eh?) to love you. I emerged from deep within you, Kayla. … Speaking of emerging, can I please climb out of the toilet now?”
Kayla grew flustered, having been slowly lulled and even somewhat seduced by the thing’s eloquence and savoir faire. “Oh, of course!” she stammered, rushing out to the sink to grab a bunch of paper towels. The thing heaved itself up onto the toilet seat, and Kayla wrapped a paper towel around its shoulders and said, “Here, allow me!” and the thing said, “Why, certainly!”
Kayla sat on the edge of the toilet seat beside the thing, which was shaped sort of like a human but with tapered octopus-like limbs that helped it glide through the water with the greatest of ease, and slink up walls and across surfaces sort of like a snail. It glistened, viscous and shimmering like jello. It was green.
As Kayla dried the thing off, he laid one octopus-like “arm” across her thigh. Kayla had been wearing a skirt, so the thing touched her bare skin. Kayla shivered with pleasure.
Just then, the ladies’ room door swung open. It was Tammy Beth and Deborah, two of Kayla’s co-workers. Kayla had left the stall door open.
“Nothing! It’s nothing! You didn’t see a thing!” Kayla screamed as she scooped up her new boyfriend in a clump of paper towels, ran out of the stall between Tammy Beth and Deborah, burst through the ladies’ room door, and kept running, to her Toyota Camry. She slung the thing into the passenger seat, buckled him up, and started the ignition.
“Where to?” the thing asked, oddly unflappable, accepting its fate and indeed its very existence and origins, with commendable equanimity.
Kayla thought frantically. “They’ll never understand us here. We don’t ‘fit’ into their ‘conventional’ notions of sit-com/romance novel/Hallmark card/shopping-mall/hamburger American idea of ‘love.’ Their stupid little peabrains will never ‘get’ it.”
“And so?” the thing inquired delicately, wondering what hamburgers have to do with anyone’s notion of love.
“That’s right–we are making a run for the border.” Kayla stomped her foot down hard on the accelerator.
Leaving from Virginia, of course it actually took numerous tanks of gas to reach Mexico, which annoyed Kayla, because she’d wanted it to be all dramatic like it is in the movies–the outlaw duo decides to make a break for the border, and seemingly half an hour later, they’re there, no running out of gas, no pee breaks. But this is real life, not the movies. This is real life where you go to the restroom for your usual insecurity-fueled bulimic lunchtime episode, and you barf up the love of your life. And in real life there have to be pee breaks.
But they did eventually make it to Mexico. It was fairly anti-climactic–Kayla’s parents were fine with the plan, probably mostly because Kayla was pretty vague on the details and dimensions of her new husband. And at work, they hired a chubby girl to replace Kayla, and Tammy Beth and Deborah got to feel smug because they were both thinner than the new girl.
Because everyone in Mexico is so dirt-poor, Kayla was able to buy a mansion overlooking the sea, using only the change she had in her pocket. She and her new paramour ate tacos and drank margaritas lying on chaise longues and wearing matching straw hats. They grew a bit snooty toward their servants, but otherwise remained fairly down-to-earth.
One day, Kayla leaned forward on her chaise longue, doubled over with stomach pains. “Ohhh no, I’m going to barf…” she said.
“Well, just make sure that whatever you throw up has a smaller penis than mine, or I’ll be jealous, ha ha,” the thing said, a bit insensitively.
Kayla cupped her hands around her mouth and felt a torrent rise in her throat. When she opened her hands, she saw–she had thrown up a baby!
“Aww, now we have a baby!” she exclaimed. “Our happiness is complete!”
“Cheers!” said the thing, whose octopus-like “arm” was coiled around the stem of a rather tacky margarita glass shaped like a cactus. “Here here! Hip hip hooray!”
Kayla joined in the toast, and instinctively pulled down her blouse to press the slobbery little goo-coated baby to her breast.
“Well,” said the thing, who was feeling perfectly content in his life now, and thus in fine form, “you did what I said; you barfed something up that has a smaller penis than I do.” The baby was male. “Ha ha!”
“Ha ha!” said Kayla.
“Ha ha!” said the baby.