Ben Morrison blogs with an abundance of humor about Crohn's disease.See all posts »
Commander Bowel: A Race Against Time
Follow along with the adventures of Maxwell and his alter ego, Commander Bowel, as they battle the menacing Crohn.
Hammerton Hall certainly was old. Once housing Hammerton Junior High’s most promising theatrical endeavors, Hammerton Hall was now mainly used for the detention Maxwell now sat at. Tapping his pen rhythmically against his desk admiring the drapery, Maxwell wondered how the kids who got detention all the time could deal with all this sitting, and all this drapery.
Three days earlier, Maxwell’s master plan had been discovered, putting him in Hammerton Hall. Since finding out The Crohn made most food gave him painful poops, Maxwell enacted a plan to ensure he controlled all the food around him, the most suspicious of which being Hammerton Junior High School Lunch. Although he had been eating tater-tams, cranberry pie, and frozen potato biscuits for years, Maxwell finally read the ingredients and it made his gut grumble.
“Sodamessatrioxyzan? Dilithiumsemicromabride? I shouldn't be eating things I can't pronounce. I need to make my own menu,” he said.
And so the sneak-out-cook-out was born.
Every day after fourth period, Maxwell assumed his alter-ego Commander Bowel and wound his way down the spiral-staircase in Hammerton Hall, slipping out of school and zig-zagging the whole way home to ward off trackers.
Once home, he would make his "tried and true brew" of chicken broth and mushrooms, so named cause he had tried eating most everything else and it was true: they all made him poop. Sneaking back into school through the alley by the track, Maxwell managed the sneak-out-cook-out for a couple of months until Mr. Mancini caught him trying to climb the risers when Commander Bowel didn't get him back on time. He was quickly given detention for two weeks and the stomach pain so returned.
Detention wasn't all that bad, he supposed. He got lots of time to think about new recipes involving chicken broth and mushrooms, and he sat right behind Karen Bishop, who always smelled like lavender and chocolate.
"If I could eat normal food, I'd probably invite her over for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches", he thought, seeing The Crohn, dressed like a janitor, wink at him from across the hall. "Although I don't know if she'd like being on a date with me and The Crohn at the same time."
And then he felt the poop move inside of him.
Feeling that familiar feeling was something Maxwell didn't think he'd ever get used to. Like an alien making a break for his behind, large portions of semi-digested food would pile up in his stomach like a traffic jam in front of a tunnel, and in an instant, would all make a break for his colon.
When this happened, Maxwell knew that if he didn't find a toilet soon wherever he happened to be would become his toilet. This would be especially bad sitting behind Karen Bishop.
Raising his hand, Maxwell asked Mr. Mancini if he could go to the bathroom, but he was denied as there was only 10 minutes left in detention and he could wait until after it ended. Sitting next to Mr. Mancini, The Crohn helped him grade papers and held her bony hands up showing him 10 fingers. He gave Maxwell a thumbs up and he knew it was time to do something.
Maxwell tapped Karen Bishop on the shoulder and she spun around.
"Tell Mr. Mancini I have a family emergency!" he said, running for the door, doubling back to say one last thing to her "And you smell like lavender and chocolate and we should eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches sometime."
Karen looked both confused and beautiful as the fecal-freight-train made another big move in Maxwell's tunnel.
Grabbing his book bag, he sprinted for the door as Mr. Mancini rose from his desk spilling papers everywhere. "Maxwell Morrison you come back here…"
It was too late. Maxwell, as it turned out, was pretty quick.
Careening from door to door, Maxwell discovered that every bathroom in Hammerton High was locked. From the chemistry department to home economics, all the bathrooms had been shut and Maxwell was running out of options.
Having snuck in through the alley next to the track many times, he knew the woods on the other side would offer him some privacy.
Pilfering a roll of Absorbies quilted paper towels, he began his dash. Sprinting as fast as his purple trainers could take him, he wound his way out the alley, the track sprawling before him. Quickly he fell to one knee, a spasm of posterior pain causing him to momentarily double over. This was going to happen one way or another he thought, and rising as Commander Bowel he knew it was time to run.
And run he did. Pretending the ground was molten jelly, Commander Bowel only allowed his feet to touch for the quickest of moments.
Hitting the paved rubber of the track itself he took flight, joining a race already in progress. Harry Flynn ran to his left and Jerry Jordan ran to his right, both looking at Commander Bowel in disbelief as he wildly sprinted wearing a full book bag. Keeping pace with the sprinters, Commander Bowel kept his eyes firmly locked on the woods on the other end of the track and ran for his life.
Glancing back monetarily, he saw The Crohn racing behind him wearing running shorts and a number on her shirt. The number was 67. Putting on even more heat, Commander Bowel focused the universe's energy on his feet and ran faster than anyone Coach Carlson, watching from the sidelines, had ever seen.
Breaking away from Jerry and Harry, Commander Bowel opened up a commanding lead, and had he actually been running in the race, would have won handily. But as he was not competing for anything other than his pride, he hit the curve in the track and just kept on going.
"Who is that kid!?" Coach Carlson yelled. "And why did he just dust two of my best runners!?"
The assistant coach could offer no more than a shrug.
Finally making it to the edge of the woods, Commander Bowel looked back and saw The Crohn still on the track leaning over completely out of breath. Skinny hands on skinny knees, she looked up at him and smiled. Max had made it, for now.
Moving far enough into the woods, he knew he was alone Maxwell returned to the scene and dug a small hole in the dirt with a stone shaped like a shovel. And then, squatting over it like a frightened animal, he let the traffic jam go with a splash and a stench he was not expecting.
"At least this didn't happen In front of Karen Bishop" he thought, only then remembering asking her out for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches like a crazy person.
"Actually that might have been just as embarrassing" he thought, wiping his beleaguered bottom with Absorbies.
"Commander Bowel is good at fighting The Crohn, but he's gonna have to get a lot better at talking to girls."
Stay tuned for further adventures of Commander Bowel. In the meantime, order Pain in the Butt, Ben Morrison's one-man-show about the lighter side of Crohn's Disease at paininthebutt.tv and check out Ben's other Crohn's column at CrohnsAdvocate.com.