I keep slipping into this fantasy, where I'm moving my bowels furiously in some public place. It's not a sexual fantasy - my brain doesn't wiggle for that type of release. Instead, I think it's a reflection of the surfeit of anxiety I bear, and my wild desire to unburden it. So, as I recede further and further into the mechanics of my own body, it seems like the most liberating thing I can do is shit myself, preferably somewhere near a historical landmark.
Do you remember that game you used to play, on long car rides? The one where you'd stick your finger outside the window and try to "jump" telephone poles, road posts, and highway signs with it. You'd just focus on the quick repetition of scenery, and imagine yourself hurtling over it in perfect time. My public defecation fantasy plays out in an almost identical manner. As I pass bodegas, libraries, walk-down basement apartments with good cover, I project myself squatting, shitting, relaxing, and even laughing. I wonder what it would be like riding between subway cars, crouched down just low enough to pique the curiosity of some, but not all, of the other commuters, fouling New York City's insides at thundering speeds.
Today I pictured myself creeping along the subway platform, away from everyone else, toward the mouth of the tunnel. Once there, in the shadows, I was relieving myself, becoming purely physical for a moment. Then I saw myself tearing out the pages of the Russian novel I'm currently reading. Pulling each one jagged from the cloth binding, and cleaning myself with them.
In my fantasy, some of the ink slipped from the rough, stiff pages, and stained the cracks inside my fingertips and who knows where else? The whole time I was generating this fantasy, there was a parallel voice admonishing me. "This is insane. This is surely the kind of thing people on the verge of a complete breakdown think about, and the kind of thing people who have already experienced a breakdown actually do." I thanked God for that second voice.
Yes, but after shitting and scolding myself, both voices merged and created an epilogue in my mind. I considered how funny it would be to take this Russian novel - a book more satisfying than anything I've written to date - and wipe my ass with it. And how funny that smeared phrases from it would mark my body for the rest of the day. And what would be the fate of my own writing? Worse?
I caught myself turning all of these dark ideas around, using my skull as a bingo cage, and I laughed. I laughed to myself, keeping it inside, preventing it from escaping in front of dozens of strangers sitting beside me on the train. Because I know that freeing my laughter would unequivocally prove my insanity.