I thought I was dying.
That's the only excuse for my execrable behavior during The Incident. ("Execrable" being the operative keyword in this tale of bowels and gorgeous men.)
I have IBS, which stands for Irresistible Beauty Syndrome (street-name Irritable Bowel Syndrome). The night before The Incident, my entire GI tract was in such pain that I took the Deadly Pill. It was red, reminiscent of Satan. It would either allay the inflammation and spasming in my gut or have these side effects: hysterical blindness, Woodstock flashbacks (even though I was never there), peyote-style hallucinations, rampaging fevers, involuntary truth-telling, bowel obstruction and death with no chance of entry into Heaven, rather an infinite stay in Purgatory with Bill Clinton or permanent residence on a cot in the seventh ring of Hell between Dante and Charlie Sheen.
I awoke that post-pill morning with what had to be a bowel obstruction, causing excruciating pain across the wilderness of my abdomen that was certainly a harbinger of my premature death.
Yes, certainly I would've gone down in the annals (so to speak) of history as a great talent snuffed out too soon a la Marilyn, James, Valentino, Jimi, Janice -- but I still had children to raise and couldn't let my Place In History win the day.
Our kids were too young to leave home alone or take to the ER with us so I made the colossal mistake of telling my husband to call 911 so I could take an ambulance to the hospital and he could follow after he found a sitter for the girls.
I lay in a fetal ball on the bed wearing nothing but my husband's tighty whities, one of his undershirts, no make-up with hair that looked like a tumbleweed off the set of The Unforgiven and bare feet that hadn't seen a pedicure since 1982.
The pain continued to mount when our doorbell finally rang.
Thank God! Medics to the rescue, soon I'd be pain free, soon I'd...
Oh, shit. What fresh hell is this?
For into my bedroom strode not one, not two, but three insanely hot paramedics.
To a man they were six foot three, weighing in at a lusciously muscled 200 even, with blue, green and possibly amethyst eyes. My pain was blinding, but perhaps even more blinding was the sure knowledge that I had never looked quite so repulsive in my entire life -- not even that time I vomited down the front of my cat suit when I had one too many test tube shooters at Peanuts in West Hollywood during a drag show circa 1986.
This is when Henry said, "My wife might have a bowel obstruction as she hasn't been able to poop and is in terrible pain emanating from her large intestine."
Sweet Mother of God.
How I wanted to freeze the moment, rush in and shower, shave, apply hair and make-up and possibly some nipple tassels, but unfortunately we don't live in the Sixth Dimension.
Instead, the three paramedics backed away from me as if I were a geyser set to explode and asked if I could walk myself out to the paramedic truck?
In the words of Colonel Kurtz, "The horror. The horror."
I somehow managed, hunched over and grimacing like a gargoyle, to lurch out to the truck and crawl inside. I'm fairly certain the paramedics tossed a coin to see who would be stuck sitting in the back of the truck with me and the loser climbed in, making sure to keep a safe distance from my hind quarters, a look of mild revulsion affixed to his patrician features.
What the hell? Hadn't he seen worse than this? Surely there were instances he had to help people in more repulsive fixes than mine? There had to have been some Real Housewife out there somewhere who suffered from a periscoping vagina?
I decided -- pain or no pain -- to sit up, run some fingers through my matted hair, and, at the very least, cross my legs delicately at the ankle -- even if it felt like I was giving birth to Balrog triplets.
And that's when it happened.
A fart with the supernova velocity and resonance of the Hella Supertone Air Horn unexpectedly erupted from me. Astronauts on the International Space Station took note. Every paramedic and firefighter in the greater Los Angeles area donned gas masks and ran for cover.
And I will never forget the look on the face of my traveling companion. It was the one Shelley DuVall gave Jack Nicholson when he stuck his deranged face through the hole in the door he'd made with an axe in The Shining.
Suddenly my body was entirely pain free. I wish I could say the same for my shuddering soul.
You may think that you have now reached the portion of the story detailing my execrable behavior. I'm sad to report you have not.
Two weeks later, to the day and to the hour of The Incident, I heard the sound of wailing sirens pulling up to the curb in front of our house.
As fate would have it, I'd never looked so fantastic. Oh sweet Synchronicity! I'd just finished my make-up, was having an inexplicable Good Hair Day and was tricked out in my best jeans, a good bra, a low neckline and heels!
I realized the paramedics were coming for our 90-year old, next door neighbor, Eugenia who had a medic truck in front of her house bi-monthly.
I'd like to say that I dashed outside, finishing my lipstick application as I ran, in order to make sure Eugenia was alright. That wasn't the case.
At the forefront of my mind was the desire to demonstrate to those gorgeous paramedics that I was so much more than a spastic colon.
That my legacy would be greater than an explosive fart.
That my tombstone would not read: "Here Lies Shannon, The Paramedic Repulser."
Instead, three short, chubby, bald paramedics were loading Eugenia into the truck when I appeared, my face quickly crestfallen and the words, "But where are the hot paramedics?" involuntarily bursting from my lips (I believe it was the Involuntary Truth Telling side effect from that damned red pill!).
I am a bad person. A very, very bad person. Which makes me think I should do 100 hours of community service... at Fire Station 39. Where the hot paramedics live.