I am going to introduce you to Roy. Roy is sitting on a luxurious, leather couch. He is wearing a green sweatshirt with a faded sports logo on the chest. A drop of cum stains the edge of the sweatshirt, just above his left buttcheek. Roy is talking to his therapist.
“I get these dreams where I’m—I’m all over the place, doc. I’ll be at home, at work, in the bathroom, in Michigan. Sometimes I’ll even be in Rome or China or someplace. I ain’t ever even been to Rome, doc. I’m in these places all over the place and, every time, there’s that baby, dancing rings around my head. Everywhere I go, the damn baby’s always there.”
Roy is talking to his therapist because his dog died and there’s no one left to talk to anymore. He’d buy another dog, but he no longer wants to feel sexual desire for a different species. He’s tired of that. He’s not tired of the sexual desire, so much as he is tired of the guilt that follows it.
He wants to screw dogs because, when he was seven years old, he saw a nun’s vagina. He doesn’t know that this is why he feels guilty, but it is. The nun, her body, her habit, her biblical knowledge, her vagina, and the hypnotic pattern of her pubic hair are all deeply submerged in the soil of Roy’s subconscious. Even if Roy did know that seeing the nun’s vagina is the reason he likes the way his penis feels inside of a canine’s sex-hole, he wouldn’t know why that event with the nun would have caused him to be aroused by domesticated beasts.
“And then I wake up, and I see her. I know she can’t be there but, whenever I wake up, there she is.”
“You mean your wife?”
“Yeah, my dead wife. Every night it’s the same. I go to bed. Go to sleep. Dream about the dancing baby. Then I wake up and there’s my wife. Her body lying next to me. Her breath will be slow and getting slower on every exhale. Her eyes looking at my forehead but not seeing it, not seeing me, not seeing anything in this world.
And then her breath’ll stop and the light falls out of her eyes. Then poof.”
“Do you mean she disappears?”
“Yeah, doc. Just gone. One moment she’s there. Then the last whiff of air runs out of her throat. Then she’s gone. Like she wasn’t there at all.”
“Which she wasn’t.”
“Yeah, I know that. But it feels like she is. It feels like she’s right there next to me and I can feel the warmth of her tits and smell the rosemary from that soap she uses. Or used to.”
“And then what do you do?”
“I donno. Roll over. Try to go back to sleep.”
“And do you?”
“Do I go back to sleep?”
That was Roy. We are leaving Roy now.
Now, we are going to visit Frank, a man whose connection to Roy is known by no one, save for you and me.
“And what happens in the dream, Frank?”
Frank is staring into the hole of the toilet in his sixty-dollar-a-night motel room’s bathroom. He thinks he is talking to his colleague, Reagan.
Reagan is Frank’s imaginary acquaintance whom he believes resides inside of whatever toilet bowl is closest.
Of course, Frank is talking to himself. But in another way, he’s not.
If someone were to walk into the bathroom as Frank is talking with Reagan, they’d see one man, Frank, looking into the bowl of a toilet that hasn’t been flushed for forty-three hours. They’d see him talking. He’d be asking questions, seemingly to the shit-and-piss-and-puke-filled water in the toilet, then they’d hear him answer his own questions, albeit in a different voice.
This is what it would look like to someone who walked into Frank’s motel room’s bathroom.
But Frank doesn’t experience it like that. Frank is Frank. And Frank has spent the last thirteen years repressing certain aspects of himself of which he is afraid. He was once able to successfully bury these qualities by maintaining a regular, nearly constant, state of inebriation.
Now, however, the booze and drugs only serve to bring those repressed qualities to the surface of Frank’s consciousness. Those hidden parts of himself have been quiet for too long. Because he is so afraid of those qualities and the memories that come with them, he pretends that those qualities are not himself. Those qualities, and the voice through which they speak, he calls Reagan.
Reagan is Frank and Frank is Reagan, but Frank doesn’t see it this way. Frank perceives Reagan to be an entity wholly apart from himself.
Frank doesn’t like Reagan. He doesn’t trust Reagan, but there’s no one else to talk to. And sometimes Frank needs to talk to someone, even if it’s an imaginary asshole who lives inside of toilets.
That is why we now find Frank staring into a toilet bowl full of his own refuse, talking to the person he believes to exist just beyond the shadow of the toilet bowl’s hole.
“In these dreams, I’m there, but not in this body. I’m in a baby’s body. And the baby is dancing and I can’t control it. I’m just stuck inside of its soft baby skull, watching it dance around this man who is always weeping.”
“Mm hm?” says Reagan.
“Yeah. I see the man crying and I know he’s crying because I’m a baby and he doesn’t know me and I’m dancing around him. ‘Why is this baby here again? Why won’t it speak to me and explain itself? Surely if he can dance, he can speak?’ This is what I imagine the man is thinking. He cries a lot. He cries like someone who hasn’t allowed himself to cry for years because when he was a kid he saw a nun’s vagina and the nun told him to shut his dirty sinner’s mouth. The nun told him he had to be a man and men don’t cry, now do they? ‘No, mamn, they don’t.’ That’s what I imagine he told the nun I see in his past.”
“You don’t care, do you, Reagan?”
“That’s alright. I don’t know why you would care.”
Frank pauses. A nerve explodes inside of him and his mouth bursts open, “WELL MAYBE YOU SHOULD CARE BECAUSE YOU’RE A TURD THAT LIVES IN TOILETS, REAGAN. Maybe you should care. Maybe you should—but you don’t—youdontcareyou—you you you you—you SHIT!”
Frank realizes the severity of his outburst. He waits for Reagan to respond. Reagan doesn’t say anything.
“Reagan?” Frank pauses. Then he feels fear.
“Mm?” Reagan replies.
“Reagan, don’t leave me. I know you think I hate you, and I do, but Reagan—Reagan, I need you. And I think you need me, too.”