A Eulogy for Shit
by Christian Riley

Not knowing what it was I had stood knee deep in, for the span of my entire life, I was confounded the day I left this earth for better pastures. For that was also the day when my better half, a man dressed in white, wearing a strawberry sombrero and holding a bible (his name was Bob, of course), looked me square in the eyes, and told me all about Shit:

“The cattle had cropped blades; each and every one of them,” he began, with a wry smile. “Then they dug into the hard soil with skilled hooves, wrenched free virile roots, and transformed these provisions—by way of ravenous appetites, and a posse of gluttonous stomachs—into the fibrous mounds of rancid shit that fall with a sullen thump onto the vast, sun-baked land.”

I stirred a dead hand in response to his words.

“Left alone in the cruel desert heat amongst anemic sage and ocotillo cacti, this shit comes to shit, which in turn comes to more shit as the day lingers on. And as the setting sun evaporates into the orange horizon, a rise of steam lifts from these simmering mounds, pronouncing loudly to certain surrounding vermin, the presence of such beautiful, aromatic pavilions.” I blinked my lifeless eyes. “Yet to others, it is cause for alarm.”

Of all things, Bob stuck a cigarette into his mouth, ignited it with a flame dancing from his fingertip, then took a long drag—my better half.

“Pounded by the pouring rains,” he continued, “stampeded into oblivion by passing bovines, the shit separates violently. Then it loses its identity, some would say, as it eventually dries, and is scattered by a warm southern breeze." He exhaled a cloud of grey smoke then, as if to punctuate his words.

“Destined to ride the furrows of time over canyons, meadows, arroyos, or rivers of mud, broken bits of this diluted waste storm down these countless gutters, however natural or unwholesome they might be… But eventually, all the shit gathers at the bottom of the hill.”

Bob sat down, crossed his legs, stared a hole into my cooling body. “And as from a collective reasoning, the shit stacks amongst itself once again, pieces of digested root and grass matter as they are. Home at last, they must think, after such a long and arduous journey.

“But truth be told, these fragments of shit have never known the complexities of digestion, as one would assume. Although they certainly own an odor congruent with the malfeasance expected of their kind, common knowledge alone defines ‘digestion’ as a simple transformation of energy from one form of matter unto another; and so on and so forth, for all of eternity, as this blasted, stinking world turns!” His sombrero seemed intent on chaffing me. “Don't you see? Their journey is far from over.”

Bob stood, brooding, and like a buzzard, he paced circles around my rotting carcass.

“Whose side are you on, anyways?” I asked.

“And now,” he continued, “as if to mock the deliverance of a life it stands against, not with; polluting, not fertilizing; broiling and boiling in roils of itself, creating an enormous expanse of dreaded land upon the magnificent Blue Sea, one is dying to ask the question: Is this truly the holiest of all Shits?”

“What in God’s name are you talking about, man?” Suddenly nervous, I threw a quick glance to the sky above.

Bob walked up to me then, placed his bible onto my chest and turned away. “Fear not, compadre—our blessings have been received.”

Was he angry, my better half? I remember feeling somewhat contrite just then, clueless to the raving thoughts of a piece of my own mind. What had I been thinking my whole life? What had I been doing? And then it struck me, as I watched Bob canter over to a brown mule, sombrero tottering back and forth with each step: He wasn’t talking about shit at all.

Or was he?

The sound of a great bell clanged from the heavens. Light shone down through the clouds, and at once, I noticed my surroundings. My waiting corpse had been sitting in a bottomless ocean of fecal matter, swaying with an indeterminate current, side to side. This layer of filth owned every horizon, stretching far beyond the scope of my dead vision, and released an odor that crippled my own cadaverous stink.

But the ladders fell from above nonetheless; golden rungs glimmering in soft white. The ladders fell, and with them, the last of my concerns leapt from my body, into the brackish scum: gone forever, flushed down a toilet of madness, thank you God! And when this purge was completed, as my shaking hands reached up for that ladder, a final thought whispered forth from my cracked lips…

Recumbent at last.

With over fifty story acceptances in less than two years, as well as a recent Honorable Mention at L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future Contest, Chris sees no end to his writing addiction. His stories have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Underground Voices, Cover of Darkness, Bete Noire, The Absent Willow Review, Residential Aliens, and Bards and Sages Quarterly. You can reach him at chakalives@gmail.com, or at his blog, frombehindthebluedoor.wordpress.com.