Home Birth

“I’ve been holding it in for six days,” Monica said, flipping her highlighted hair.

Meryl smirked, raising her gorgeous eyebrows. “I haven’t gone in seven days.”

“Well,” said Meghan, biting her plump, glossy lower lip. “I haven’t used the toilet in fourteen days.”

The girls shrieked and hugged Meghan, congratulating her.

“Hey, guys?” Janet slurred, sitting on the sofa on the other side of the basement. She removed her retainer and sucked in her spit. “I’m a little worried that, like, maybe it’s not good for you to avoid bowel movements for so long.”

Monica rolled her eyes. She’d protested inviting Janet to the sleepover all week. She’d told Meryl and Meghan that Janet was a drip, and she tried starting a rumor that the bones on Janet’s left and right sides were swapped due to a genetic disorder. But Meghan’s mother was friends with Janet’s mother, and Meghan insisted they had to invite Janet, and it would be fine because while the Three Ms discussed bras and boys, Janet would sit in the corner reading a book, and they could ignore her as if she were a cat.

“You know my mom is a gastroenterologist,” Janet said. “She’s taught me a lot about bowel health, and ideally we should all be going at least once per day.”

Meryl scoffed. “That’s old fashioned,” she said. “All the models in Paris are holding it in. It keeps you pure and clean. Pushing it out is nasty.”

“The poop goes away,” Monica said. “It’s a myth that you have to get it out. Your body re-absorbs it all, and the nutrients are great for your skin. All the actresses in LA hold it in.”

“You glow like a star,” Meryl said. “Boys notice, and they like you more. Maybe you ought to try it sometime, Janet.”

Monica laughed. “I bet Janet goes number two all the time.”

“It feels good to be regular,” Janet said. “I have a warm bowl of oatmeal every morning, and a small box of raisins after school. All that fiber keeps me healthy.”

Meryl rolled her eyes. “Oh, it’s definitely having an effect on you…”

Monica laughed. “Everyone knows that keeping your stool inside means no smell, no mess. It’s proper and lady-like to squeeze your cheeks and hold it in. Day three was tough, but after that it’s easy. I sit down to pee and don’t even remember there’s another type of going to the bathroom.”

“I think this is bad for you,” Janet said. “Maybe just try a little push, and I bet a whole lot would come out. And you’d feel really good. I promise.”

Meryl said, “You don’t know what you’re talking about. My grades have improved because all these extra nutrients are going to my brain. And Greg Gimble has been writing me notes about how beautiful I look in my purple jacket.”

“Isn’t life better when you pinch it in?” Monica said to Meghan. “Right, Meghan? Meghan?”

The girls turned to Meghan, who’d been quiet for a few minutes. She lay on the carpet beside the bowl of popcorn, staring up into the ceiling. Her face looked pale and wet, her neck and arms tinted yellow.

“She looks angelic,” Monica said.

“Divine,” added Meryl.

Janet put her hand on Meghan’s chest. “Her heart is racing and this rash is growing.”

“The nutrients are being re-absorbed,” Monica said.

“She’s in sepsis,” Janet said. “Harmful fecal bacteria is attacking her.” Meghan’s teeth clacked together violently. “This is an emergency. We have to get her impacted stool out.”

“Don’t you dare,” Meryl said. “Meghan has worked hard to get to this point and she deserves to have all that inside her. You can’t steal it from her just because you’re jealous.”

“I don’t want this,” Janet said.

Fat beads of sweat rained down Meghan’s forehead and neck. Her eyes turned gray and they rolled back into her head as her breathing slowed.

“She’s going to die,” Janet said.

Monica rolled her eyes, but then she leaned over Meghan, held her hand over her plump lips, and felt the shallow breaths. She swallowed hard and looked at Meryl.

“My dad is an OBGYN,” Janet said. “He’s shown me the basics of childbirth and I can apply the techniques to Meghan’s impacted fecal lump. Help me carry her to the bathtub. Now!”

Monica and Meryl startled to action, lifting Meghan and hauling her into the bathroom while Janet filled the tub with warm water. They pulled Meghan’s pink pajama pants off and sat her down. Janet knelt between Meghan’s legs and leaned her head in, peering with one eye into Meghan’s anus. “She’s dilated,” Janet said. She pressed on Meghan’s bloated stomach. “It’s hard and dry like a baseball. Bring me your makeup kits.”

Monica and Meryl fetched their bedazzled zip-up purple bags, dumping out the lotions, creams, and lip glosses; all of it reeking of strawberries; all of it slimy and slippery. Janet squeezed gobs of goo onto Meghan’s anus, trying to coax the brown clump out. But even after applying the eleventh lip gloss, the mass would not budge. “I can see it through the hole,” Janet said. “It’s got to be fourteen pounds. There is no way this can come out without tearing Meghan in half.” Janet took a breath. “We have to do a cesarean.”

Monica and Meryl’s eyes widened. They did not know what to say or do. They looked to Janet, desperate for guidance.

“Get me earrings and those thongs you all are obsessed with,” Janet said.

The girls returned with the items, and followed Janet’s lead in stretching the thongs across Meghan’s bulging belly to indicate straight lines. They watched through squinted eyes as Janet used the sharp back of an earring to slice open Meghan’s skin and immediately the hard brown orb emerged, crawling into the air like a sunrise.

Monica wrapped the dense turd in a blanket while Meryl held Meghan’s stomach flaps together as Janet stitched them with birthday cake-flavored dental floss.

By the time Janet finished the stitches, Meghan opened her eyes. The color returned to her face, and her breathing calmed. “I feel so much better. What happened?”

Monica, Meryl, and Janet smiled at each other, then Monica leaned over to hand Meghan the swaddled mound of excrement.

Meghan gasped, holding her creation. She smiled down at it. She sniffed it. “No smell.”

Janet nodded. “It’s so old and dehydrated, it’s like wood or a brick. Odorless and solid. Won’t smear your fingers.” She pet the turd, then showed the other girls her clean hand.

A tear dripped from Meghan’s eye onto her feces. “I know what I’m naming her,” she said. “Janet. For the girl who saved my life.”

“I’m so jealous,” Monica said. “I want my own.” She sat on the toilet and pushed out a seven-pound briquette of dry stool, gasping in ecstatic air after it passed.

Meryl curled into the fetal position on the floor and birthed her own fat, hard potato.

Janet helped stitch the girls’ torn anuses, and cared for the Three Ms as they recovered beside each other on the basement floor in front of the television.

Monica looked over from her big piece of scat to Janet. “You are hereby an official member of our group,” she said. “We want you at every sleepover.”

Janet smiled, but she didn’t say what she was thinking. These girls were disgusting, and she’d seen too much of their bleeding anuses to ever view them as equals. She enjoyed watching Mean Girls with them that evening, but she knew she didn’t fit in with them, and for the first time, she enjoyed the feeling. Janet smiled at the girls and their bundled dung while looking forward to the future, when she’d politely decline any invitations to their nasty sleepovers.