Wake up. No cars on the roads. No paper to wipe my ass.
I drink coffee. Drink some more. Pour it down my throat until it scalds my insides and is coming out the other end in a continuous stream. I wonder why I can’t just recirculate this fluid, from dick to mouth – strip out that last bit of caffeine, harvest the last bit of the drug I crave.
Later, Omar yells across the street, “Hi, doing okay? Need anything?”
“Ass paper. You have ass paper?” Omar shakes his head, but I can tell. I can tell that his ass is clean. If I could, I’d go over there to pull down his pants and check the cleanliness of his brown ass.
Go back inside. Drink more coffee. In the wave of caffeine, it comes to me: the idea. I hit print on the computer and out come my stories. All of them. Hundreds of little slices of creepy madness and self-reverential inner congratulations. Take them to the bathroom. Pull down my pants. You may not believe it, but I, Trent Lewin, require a larger than normal throne in order to accommodate the total elongation of my stuff. There I sit, doing my business, and when I’m finished, I crinkle up the pages of the first short story I ever wrote. It’s prickly. Ungentle. But, in a surprisingly effective manner, it wipes my ass totally clean.
“Umba!” I cry into my phone.
“Yes. It is Umba from Strasburg. How are you, Trenty?”
“Fucked. Truly fucked. I haven’t eaten fried chicken in five days. Haven’t pissed in a urinal in a week. Haven’t even shopped for trinkets. It’s a mess, Umba. The end of times.”
“Yes, Trenty. Here in Strasburg, the strip clubs are closed. Trenty – the strip clubs are closed!”
“It’s all such a disaster. I just figured out something, though,” I tell him. “I wiped my ass with one of my stories. When the words are on the page, it actually does a great job. It’s actually quite nice.”
A pause. “Trenty, your stories are good toilet paper?”
“Fuck yeah. Fuck yeah, Umba!”
I spend the rest of the day eating so that I have to take several shits. Each time, another page of another story touches my privates, probing deep as it does a work it was never intended for – but maybe should have been. Trent Lewin, writer of shit. It has a ring to it.
At 4:35, I start on the whiskey. Pour it down my throat in massive gulps until it comes out the other end in a continuous stream. I wonder why I can’t recirculate it from dick to mouth, harvest that last bit of golden alcohol, the wondrous fluid that liberates my senses.
On the computer, I’m typing my next ass-offering. Here I sit, words on the page, slits on the dick, whiskey in the mouth and fumes on my brain. Creating words suitable for use as ass paper, like this is my destiny and all it takes is a global disaster to reveal it. Jiggle the loose folds of my lower flesh, take me to task for every bit of my self-circumcision, but don’t ever tell me that I’m not creative – and when you run out of ass paper yourself, now I’ve told you what to do about it. Print me. Lick me. Crumple me up and apply hard, it won’t hurt. You might even like it.
Fall asleep on desk.
Next morning dawns. Go online in a fog. There in front of me, a Trent Lewin blurb in a foreign language.
“What the fuck.”
I keep clicking. It’s some Chinese website. A writer. His name is Chung-Cha. But Chung-Cha is clearly an idiot and a twat, because he left my name in a story that he’s translated, and that story happens to be mine.
“Google,” I say to computer, “translate this motherfucker.”
It’s a whole story. A Trent Lewin joint. Every single word exactly as I wrote it. “Oh Chung-Cha. Oh buddy, you’ve got my attention now.” More clicks. More stories. More Trent Lewin joints. Dozens of them, blazing away in a foreign language that but for my slave Google I would have been ignorant of.
I look at his traffic. It’s huge. His followers, likes, comments. Innumerable. I make Google translate those comments. And they’re like: “Chung-Cha, you are simply the essence of writing”, and “There is only one real writer in this age: Chung-Cha”, and “Bow all you mortals before the words of our lord, Chung-Cha”, and “If Chung-Cha were here, I would suck on the ends of each of his fingers until I had tasted the purest and fullest magic of his wordsmithery”.
Chung-Cha is a writing god in China. But Chung-Cha is just Trent Lewin.
I write him an email. “Oh Chung-Cha, buddy. You are in for a world of shititude. Hope you have a good lawyer. If I could, I would fly over there and suck on the ends of each of your fingers, so that I knew what it felt like to be in the presence of a thieving fucknoodle. Instead, let me castrate you virtually. Get naked with you ungently, but in a digital sense. Take this, motherfucker!”
No reply. Chung-Cha is clearly active. He is responding to his thousands of fans, leaving comments everywhere. But he doesn’t answer me.
Days pass. The stature of Chung-Cha rises, as I wipe my ass with my own stories. Check my website – whole days go by without a single click. Without even an iota of attention. Here I am, jamming my words into the ether, but a white, borderline inbred Canadian living in a land of snow and beer is the wrong vessel for the words that I’m writing – no, I have to be an effeminate, fashion-savvy Chinese man in Dongguan if anyone’s going to pay attention to me.
A day later, the incredible happens. An announcement on the page of Chung-Cha: he’s been offered a deal to publish a book of short stories.
I run outside. Omar’s across the street. “No one cares about your fucking lawn, Omar!” I scream at him. “No one’s out walking! No one’s driving around wondering whose lawn they should imitate. No one gives a fuck anymore, Omar! Go back in your house and piss on your couch. Or stick your ear in a blender. I don’t care, just stop working on your lawn!”
He’s wearing gardening gloves. Eyes are wide. “You okay, man?” Looks at his lawn. Shrugs. “Yeah I know. It’s no use. None at all.”
“Then why are you still doing this?”
Why are you still doing this. Hey you, why are you still doing this. Why are you still doing anything. What’s the point of you doing what you’re doing, as I previously went through the exercise of doing this.
I go back inside, spent. The whiskey bottles are empty. The coffee cans are gone. There’s nothing left.
“Chung-Cha.” I type a comment into his latest brilliant story, so many likes and comments that it’s impossible to keep up with them. “My name is Trentle Win. I’m from Canada. And I came across your website by accident. Honestly, I did. I had to ask my slave Google to translate your content, but I’m glad I did. Because you are amazing. You are the most talented writer I have ever read in my entire life. I have no idea how you think up these things, or where they come from. I wish I could meet you. Get together, you know? Maybe give you a hug. Nothing sexual. Okay, maybe a little sexual. But I want to know you. Suck on the parts of you that will tell me how to write like you. To create in that way.”
I send the response into the ether. Twenty-eight minutes later, Chung-Cha likes my comment. But there’s no response. No greeting. No invitation. Nothing.
I write a new story. It’s fucking garbage. Two thousand words of amoral, self-serving, affected crapitude. I hit publish and it’s out there. But there’s no response. No greeting. No invitation. Nothing.
Three hours later, the new story is on Chung-Sha’s website. Everyone declares that it’s the greatest thing ever written.
I fall asleep on the desk.
Morning dawns. Here we go again, another rotation around our common axis. Another cycle of dark and light, warm and cool.
I open the door and go outside. It’s sunny. Bright. Across the road, Omar is on his lawn, working. He’s wearing gardening gloves. A baseball cap.
I go across the street. Steps I shouldn’t take. Omar looks up, “Don’t come closer, man.”
“I have to, Omar. I just have to.”
“No, man, no!”
He jumps back, but I’m on him. “It’s okay, buddy,” I say. Put my arms around him. Feel his body. His movements. A heartbeat. The heat of his breath. Here he is, a full human being. Just a person. But my arms around him are basically the best thing I can possibly imagine, something I remember doing once, in a different life, when it didn’t mean anything at all – but now, it’s everything. It’s mine. It’s his. It’s ours.
“This is nice,” he says, getting into it. “Really nice.”
“Thanks man.” I squeeze him tighter. “Hey.”
“You think I can check your ass?”
“Your ass. Can I check it? Something I’ve been curious about.”
“You’ve been curious about my ass?”
And that’s what it’s come down to. How I service my ass. How I think about Omar’s ass. All nature, all civilization, has come down to this, and I have to say: if you think you need to dwell a bit on your own behind, don’t hesitate to print out this story. Crumple it up (but don’t make a ball). Slap the thing around a bit. Then apply liberally where you need it – I promise you that it’ll remind you of the good old days, when you were perfect, we were together, and I was the god of an entire world, the one created by my own words.