Love and a Troubled Colon

Have you ever fallen for a dimwit? That is to say, have you ever overlooked social awkwardness, an oversized noggin, a nervous condition, or digestive problems because this person, though full of quirks, is nice to you, nicer than the rest of the world, and that just makes you happy?

My hand is raised high in the air right now. If yours is too, then you might identify with Robert Gipe’s very short story “Troubled Colon.” It was published in the Fall 2010 issue of Appalachian Heritage.




Small Intestine to Colon

Colon in Felt

My boyfriend, Willett, is in the bathroom. He has a troubled colon. I’m in love with a boy with a troubled colon. I say this in my mind to the stringy-headed girl up in the check-cashing booth at the grocery store in Willett’s town in Tennessee. I don’t say it out loud. I say it in my mind. What I say out loud is:

“Can I use this phone?”

And that girl says “yis” through her no se and turns and walks away like she can’t bear to watch me using her phone. But it’s not her phone. It’s the store’s phone. Her phone says “dial 1-800-hateful.”

I call my aunt June and say, “What are you doing?” She says, “nothing,” and I say, “This boy is strange. He talks all the time, and he ate too many hot peppers at the Chinese and he’s been in the bathroom a half hour.” My aunt June says, “Is he okay?” And I say, “I guess,” and I turn around and my boyfriend, Willett, is coming up the dog food aisle with toilet paper stuck on his shoe. I hear that girl in the check-cashing booth snort, and I know I better stay on the phone or I will have to whip her stringy-headed Tennessee ass right in the middle of her snotty Tennessee store.


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