I spent years embraced in the thorns of a recurrent nightmare where surgeons scooped out my guts, sent them away with the mailman, then reconnected my chest makeshift to my legs, wherein I resembled a chunkish dwarf minus an abdomen.

A giant stoma the size of a toddler’s fist blossomed out of my right side and constantly rocketed liquid shit everywhere I went.¬† Even when I tried to cover it with a shirt the force of the spewing blasted through the fabric and continued to relentlessly spray the walls, the trees, people, whatever was around. In the end I would lock myself in the bathroom and stand hunched over in the shower, hot water barely sheathing my body while the stoma wriggled and firehosed away.

The doctors and psychiatrists bombarded me with sleep aids, anti-anxiety drugs, even painkillers, until my quaint little medicine cabinet became an addict’s dream, and in the dream, I became an addict myself. I shoveled three codeine bombs and four tiny barbiturates just to entertain the concept of a restful night.

But when it really happened all of the final threads tying me loosely to reality were violently cut, one by one, day by day, as each act played out before me. First the cramping, then the doctors, then more doctors, then IV units and heavy drugs, intubation and shiny knives, and finally a seemingly infinite recovery. The real stoma was tinier and less aggressive than it’s dream brethren, yet in many ways just as terrible. When they eventually tucked my intestines back into my grateful stomach after more than a year of sitting on my ass, reality came back to greet me in all it’s beautiful and terrifying forms, from work to sex to debt, but the nightmare never left. Me, without an abdomen, baptizing the innocent in feces.