It had been like a scene from the X-Files. People in gas masks and rubber gloves descended over her with flashlights cutting through the blackness. She didn’t know how long she’d been sitting in the sewage, in the dark, unable to find her phone. She knew she’d stopped feeling a long time before she got out. Her mind had shut off and it was like she was dead. She didn’t even remember getting out. Suddenly she’d been lying on the grass, the portable toilet pushed to the side. A man had been shouting. She may have passed out. The flashlights roused her. The scary gas mask people grabbed her.
She remembered an ambulance ride. Everything was covered in tarps. She was contaminated. So what else was new?
She was rushed to the ICU at
. There had been a sanitization process, which involved being stripped bare and a harsh spray of water hitting her skin like bullets. She’d been scrubbed down by aliens, still in the X-Files episode. She wanted to scream, the pain being worse than anything she’d ever felt before, but she had no voice left, her throat burned out. Her skin was mottled blue and red. She’d become a mutant. Lakeshore Hospital
She fell asleep in the hospital bed and when she awoke she was hooked up to an I.V. The needle in her hand hurt but it was just one pain among many. Her entire body seemed to be pulsing, radiating pain. The doctors and nurses were very nice. They explained that she had been poisoned by the formaldehyde that was used to keep the toilet clean. Interestingly, the human waste hadn’t harmed her at all. Probably because she was already a piece of shit.
The blue spots were from the chemical dye that was used in the toilet and the red was from a rash: formaldehyde burns. Her throat had also been burned from inhaling the toxin. She hadn’t done herself any favours by throwing up; she’d just aggravated the burns. She wasn’t allowed to talk, not that she had anything to say. The only parts of her body that hadn’t been affected were her face, which she’d been smart enough to always keep away from the sludge and her feet, protected by her sturdy winter boots.
She was being pumped full of antibiotics. Her immune system was drastically compromised but they said she was lucky. Lucky! She’d only been in there for about an hour. Any longer and she would have gotten a serious case of toxic shock. She could have died but no such luck.
Deciding to make things worse, they let her parents visit. Her mother had been hysterical. Her father said nothing. Shauna closed her eyes and tried to ignore them. They were escorted away. In the morning police officers questioned her and she was to write her answers on a pad of paper. It hurt to write. She told them nothing. She didn’t know how she’d gotten inside the porta-potty. She didn’t know how it had been overturned. She didn’t know who’d let her out. That part was true.
“You’re not even gonna go visit her?”
Cerise looked up from her untouched lunch. Her sisters stared at her in disbelief.
“How can I? We’re not friends anymore.”
“I think she thinks you’re friends,” Julie pointed out.
“That’s pretty cold, Cerise.” Simone leaned her head on her hand. “I mean she got seriously sick. Like toxic shock syndrome or something. Even if it did happen because she was locked up in a porta-potty.”
Julie laughed and after a beat Simone joined her, looking guilty.
“It’s not funny you guys!”
“Yeah it is!” Julie giggled. “It would be tragic if she like, died or something but they say she’s gonna pull through, right?”
Cerise sighed heavily. “I guess. So you’re saying it’s not a big deal. So it doesn’t matter if I visit her or not.”
“It’s probably a big deal for her,” said Simone.
“So I should visit her? You’re the one who said I shouldn’t send her mixed messages. I mean, if I don’t wanna be her friend why should I visit her?”
“’Cause she was trapped in a porta-potty!” Julie laughed and Simone once again joined in.
“So you think I should try to be friends with her?”
“I thought you didn’t like her,” said Julie.
“I don’t! But she almost died! And it’s my fault!” Cerise started crying.
“You mean it’s your fault that she’s a spaz because she caught it from you?”
“Not funny, Julie!” Cerise said as she wiped her wet cheeks. “It’s my fault she ended up in that shitty situation!”
“No pun intended, right?” Simone smiled slyly and Julie giggled.
“I’m being serious! It’s ‘cause I was mean to her.”
“What do you mean? What’d you do?” asked Julie.
“You didn’t put her in the porta-potty, did you?” Simone was unable to complete the sentence without giggling.
“No. But she showed up at the same party I was at and I was mean to her.”
“Since when do you even go to parties?” Julie snotted. “I thought you were too scared to miss an episode of Babylon Gallactica to ever go out.”
Cerise sighed and glared at Julie.
“Ok, so she was at the party and you were mean to her,” Simone prompted.
“I bitched her out, like really hardcore. I told her she was like, a loser and I told her to leave and stuff.”
“You told her to leave a party you weren’t even throwing?”
Simone and Julie burst into laughter. Simone tried harder to contain her amusement. “God, poor Shauna. She’s such a reject. Well I told you, you had to be more direct with her. So well done I guess.”
“You guys are such bitches!”
“Says the bitch who told off Shauna Darren, which somehow led her to go surfing in sewage,” grinned Julie.
Cerise glared at her sisters and stood up. “I can’t deal with this.”
“Don’t be such a whiny baby,” counselled Simone. “You’re not the one this happened to so don’t go feeling sorry for yourself.”
“Whatever,” said Cerise as the phone rang. “If it’s for me I’m not here. I don’t wanna talk to the guys.”
“Yeah, ‘cause I’m so sure it’s gonna be for you,” sniped Julie as she picked up the phone and Cerise walked away. “Hello? No sorry, she can’t talk right now. Can I take a message? Aw’right. Bye.”
Julie hung up the phone and Simone looked surprised.
“It was actually for her?”
“Boys don’t call Cerise.”
Julie scrolled through the caller ID memory. “Trebichavsky. Just one of those nerd friends of Jay’s I bet. Whatever.”