Blood Brothers

I ate shit once. I literally had a piece of a turd in my mouth and I chewed and swallowed it.

Brian and I were upstairs in my room. We could hear our parents laughing and talking downstairs; I shut the door as Brian positioned himself by the window. He had just returned from the bathroom with a big wad of toilet paper. I had a glass of water ready. He looked at me with eyes wide, waiting for me.

“Well?” I said. “Let’s get this over with.”

Brian handed me the wad. It was slightly warm in my hands. I slowly unwrapped the paper, not wanting to see that first peek of brown, but there it was: Brian’s turd. It was a good one, firm – I had been afraid it was going to be a runny one that I would have to eat with a spoon – but this looked almost like a candy bar.

A few months ago Brian bet me that I couldn’t do more pushups than he could. The loser had to drink the other guy’s urine. Not a whole cup, but not a sip either, a good 2-ounce gulp.

I won with 31 pushups. That was more than I had ever done before, but I had pushed myself – there was no way I was going to drink his piss.
But looking back, I wonder if Brian had lost on purpose and had planned this all along.

I had thought about saving a cup of my morning urine, which tends to be darker and smellier than my regular urine, but I didn’t want to be mean and actually made a point of drinking a few glasses of water before hand in order to dilute the urine.

I hoped Brian appreciated that and had done the equivalent for me. There was certainly nothing out-of-the-ordinary about the turd in my hand – other than, of course, that I was holding a turd in my hand.
There was less odor than I had expected, just a slight sour smell.
I sat and stared at it for a while and then held it closer to my mouth and opened my lips a bit.
“Hold on,” Brian said, “We can be civilized gentlemen about this.”

He reached into his bookbag and pulled out a paper plate and a plastic knife and fork and handed them to me.
“Are these clean?” I asked, half-joking.
“Are you kidding?” Brian laughed. “What does it matter?”
I pulled at the toilet paper and rolled the turd onto the plate on the carpet. It nearly rolled off and I had to tilt the plate to hold it still.

A few weeks after Brian had drunk my urine he wanted to try again. He had said he had been doing lots of pushups every morning and he felt good. But he didn’t know that I had also been doing pushups and I had always had a bigger chest and arms than he had anyway. I was cocky and I suggested he eat my shit this time. He looked excited and agreed.

He wanted to do it right then and there, and although I didn’t feel quite as confident as I could have or should have, I agreed.

We got down next to each other and started. We had learned from the first competition that we had to do them in unison, otherwise it was too easy to lose count, so we performed syncronized pushups for the first 26.

Then Brian held himself and paused. I realized only later that he was gaming me, wanting to make me think he was getting weak. So we took a 10-second break and then continued, slower and slower with each push-up until we got to 38. My arms were burning, but I knew I had a few more in me.

Brian was just grinning and panting. neither of us could speak. We did another, and then one more, and then one more after that. I was getting really weak. I wasn’t thinking of the consequences of the bet, i just didn’t want to lose.

But after the 41st, I couldn’t push myself off the floor. Brian pushed himself up one last time and then nearly collapsed down again. I had struggled with the last few push-ups, and I was surprised that I wasn’t strong enough to continue, but my arms were paralyzed. Brian started laughing. I rolled over and whispered, “Oh, shit.”

“So… no mustard?”
“Now you’re stalling. Go on, then.”

I avoided Brian at school, although we had a number of classes together. A few times he cornered me and said things such as, “Hungry?” or, “How about I make you dinner tonight?” After a few weeks like that I thought I might be in the clear. I’m all for honor and respecting agreements and contracts, but I had no interest in eating shit, and frankly I began to resent Brian for not giving up on the issue. Finally, Brian said if I didn’t do it, he was going to tell our friends about it, and of course it would spread through the school like a cyclone. But, he promised, he would say nothing to anyone if I would simply take one bite like I had agreed. He and his parents were coming over to my house that Friday, and I felt I had no choice but to agree.

“How much is fair?”
“A third of that.” Brian said, pointing. “A t’ird of a turd!” he laughed.
“No way. This much.” I sliced off the end of the turd.
“Nu-uh. An inch, at least.”
“That’s an inch!”
“Let’s measure.” Brian found a ruler on my desk and put it near the slice.
“Don’t touch it!” I said and we both giggled.
The slice I had cut was just over a 1/4 of an inch.
“Try again.”
I sliced again, using the ruler as a guide, and got a mini-hockey puck-shaped slice of turd.

I began slicing the puck but Brian stopped me. “What are you doing?”
“I’m making little pills out of it so I can swallow them without tasting.”
“No way. Eating means chewing, not just swallowing. If that’s what we meant we would have bet that would have to ‘swallow’ my shit. I’ve let you delay this for a long time, and let you off with only having to eat that tiny slice. You have to put the whole thing in your mouth, chew it and swallow it. You can’t spit it out. When you’re done you can have a glass of water.”
“What if I puke?”
“I guess that’s all right. I mean, you won’t have to eat it again, if that’s what you mean.”
That is what I meant.

I stared for a while longer and was getting ready to do it when Brian rolled his eyes and shouted, “Oh, for crying out loud!”
At that moment I stabbed the fork into the slice of turd and stuffed it in my mouth. I only had to chew a few times to get it soft. I swallowed and got most of it down, but there were still little bits in my teeth and on my gums. With normal food I would just lick my teeth clean, but I didn’t want to do that.

Brian was overjoyed. He stared at my mouth and I opened it. He nearly fell over laughing. I picked up the glass and took a gulp. I swished once and was going to swallow, but I understood that I had fulfilled my obligation and did not have to continue, so I ran to the bathroom with a mouthful of dirty water and spat in the toilet. I filled the glass and rinsed and spat a few more times. Frantically I took my toothbrush and covered it in paste and brushed like my life depended on it. Brian had followed me in, still staring and still laughing.

After brushing for a while I calmed down. I felt I could still smell the shit a bit in my nose, but couldn’t taste it in my mouth.
I knew it was excessive, but I got a big gulp of mouthwash and started swishing and gargling. Brian got bored waiting for me and left.
Finally I returned to my room and he looked up at me and then made a face.
“What did it taste like?”
“Why don’t you try some yourself?”
“Come on. Remember how I described your piss?”
“Yeah. It wasn’t like that. It wasn’t salty at all. It tasted kind of sour, sort of like the taste of puke, but not as bad, actually. And it was chalky, like mud. You ever eat mud?”
“Long time ago. I don’t remember it one way or the other. Did you get that corn I left you?”
“Yeah, and those pennies.”

We laughed and made some more jokes about it. I was going to say something like: ‘Well I guess this makes us blood brothers, or shit brothers anyway.” But I didn’t. We were both handling ourselves pretty well, but I still resented him making me go through with it. If he had backed out of drinking my urine I wouldn’t have pressed him. Also, Brian’s excitement troubled me. It was an outrageous moment, so of course he was laughing and staring, but he seemed just a bit too enthralled with the idea of me consuming his feces. And lastly, where could this go from here? Sucking each others’ blood? Or sucking something else? I had to stop hanging out with Brian.

For the rest of the school year I tried to keep my distance. Every now and then he would make a joke, like asking to borrow a toothbrush, but changing his mind when he saw me, or making cracks about me having bad breath. The other kids laughed, but didn’t seem to understand what he was saying. I felt a little bad for him. I had probably been his best friend, and then abandoned him.

A few years later we were seniors in high school. By then we had each found new circles of friends. His were definitely more ‘artistic’ (ie. weird) than mine, but there was overlap and we still bumped into each other, although never had a real conversation until one time just before graduation.

We were both at a party at a mutual friend’s house. I was going off to college. I didn’t know exactly what Brian was doing, but I knew I might never see him again, and decided I didn’t have to make a point of avoiding him anymore.

I called out his name and he turned, surprised, and wary. “What’s up?”
“You know, I think I’ve finally gotten over that… thing.”
He knew what I was talking about. I could tell he was going to start making a joke, pretending he didn’t know what I meant, but he saw I was being serious and stopped.
“We were just having fun, you know. Just being stupid kids.”
“You know, I never should have made you do it. I was mad because I… drank… your piss, when I lost the bet the first time…”
“I didn’t make you!” I whispered.
“No. I know. Like I said, I shouldn’t have made you do it. It just seemed funny at the time, you know? I never told anybody.”
“I appreciate that.”

We chatted about plans and ‘the future’ for a while, and then some girls wanted to talk to us so we turned to say goodbye.
“You know,” Brian said. “Your breath smells like shit.”
I punched him, and then we were friends again.