The Poo Fairy


“So what do you write about on your blog, anyway?” my dining companion asked. “Is it like a diary?”

“More of a notebook,” I said, taking a sip of beer. “Things I think are funny, and things I don’t want to forget. For instance, until yesterday, I had totally forgotten about the old guy who used to come into my back yard every morning when I was in high school to take a shit.”

She leaned forward, put her head down on the table, and shook silently with laughter for a minute. I know this doesn’t sound like appropriate table conversation, but only a few minutes before, I’d said that if there was going to be a breakfast cereal called Fiber One, then it stood to reason that there should be a Fiber Two, to which she said that it probably wasn’t a good idea to put both “fiber” and “number two” in the name. I wished I’d thought of that line myself, but at least I knew she didn’t mind the conversation getting slightly scatological.

But I had totally forgotten about the morning visitor my mom calls the Poo Fairy, and now that I’ve had a chance to interview her and refresh myself on some of the details, maybe I’d better write it down in case I forget again. Judging from the reaction I got the other day, it’s probably worth sharing.

One Monday morning in my senior year of high school, I was awoken by the sound of my mother screaming bloody murder from downstairs. Well, what she was frantically screaming was actually my name and something about looking out the window, which I groggily turned over and did. I was just in time to see an old man ambling out of the back yard toward the alley leading to the street. I was confused. I’d obviously missed something. I stumbled downstairs to find my mother hyperventilating.

What I’d missed was that, while my mother had been sitting at the dining-room table having her morning coffee and looking out the back window, this old guy had come wandering into the yard, dropped his pants, and taken a shit on the lawn. Then, he pulled out some toilet paper, wiped, and went on his way.

Apparently this wasn’t the first time either. Over the weekend, my neighbor and landlord, who lived in the other half of our duplex and shared our back yard, had spotted a couple of souvenirs left by a visitor. It might have been a dog, except that dogs normally don’t leave used toilet paper behind. But because this was the first day of the workweek, it was the first time my mother had happened to be in the right place and the right time to see a very wrong thing. She phoned in a police report and left for work. I left for school, still confused.

The next day, I set my alarm to wake up early in case the guy showed up again. Sure enough, just as my mom had described, I saw an old man come ambling in, drop his drawers, drop a deuce, wipe, and nonchalantly wander off again. I couldn’t believe it. I mowed this lawn. I didn’t want to be hitting this shitpile with the lawnmower.

Meanwhile, my neighbor had also taken up a position of vigilance and witnessed the act, having slept in the spare room at the back of his house and woken up early. This time, he was the one who called the police, who were amazed to find out that this drive-by lawn fertilization had actually happened and that my mother hadn’t made the whole thing up. (I find it interesting that my mother was apparently known to local law enforcement authorities as a local crank given to wild flights of fantasy, although she gets offended at this suggestion and insists that she had simply gotten a police officer on the phone whom she knew from her work at the local licence bureau and who had thought that she was playing a joke on him.)

So, on Wednesday, the cops staked out the joint and nailed the guy in the act. It turned out that the old man had Alzheimers or some kind of senile dementia. He wasn’t supposed to be wandering around, but each morning before his wife woke up, he’d slipped out of their house in the north end of Brockville, walked two or three kilometers downtown to the Tim Hortons at the foot of the William St. railway overpass to sit and have a coffee, and then, with the coffee having a laxative effect, ventured over to the inviting, private-looking alleyway leading to my back yard to relieve himself.1 He cleaned himself up with a roll of toilet paper that he’d had the strange foresight to bring with him, proving that he still had at least some command of his mental faculties. Then he wandered home again. When the police called his wife, she had no idea that he’d even been out of the house and promised to keep a closer eye on him. So that was the end of that. I don’t know if she slapped him with a newspaper and rubbed his nose in a pile of his own feces or what (my original plan), but he never came around again.2

This was almost fifteen years ago, and the old guy was in his seventies then. He’s probably dead now. If so, I wonder if he was completely senile at the end, or if he was lucid enough to consider that this strange memory is what he left his fellow townsfolk to remember him by. Well, he left us something else to remember him by too, but I didn’t want to keep it.

1. Despite living about two blocks from the downtown high school, I went to the one uptown, which means that if I was late and missed the bus, I would have taken the reverse route this guy did, at nearly the same time. So it’s theoretically possible that I may have at one time unknowingly passed him while he was on his way to shit in my yard.
2. Slapping someone with a copy of the Brockville Recorder and Times and rubbing his face in a pile of feces is actually pretty redundant. Take my word for it as a longtime reader.

5 Responses to “The Poo Fairy”

  1. 1 marlene

    My mom likes to buy the Recorder and Times when Riverfest is on. I know what you mean.

    When we were living in downtown Vancouver there were a lot of homeless people around and it quite often smelled like shit, piss, or puke as you’d walk down the street. One morning I went out the back door of my building to take out my garbage and I narrowly avoided stepping in a fresh puddle of pee. I was really ticked off. The worst thing was that it never got cleaned up and it dried so every time you went out the back door it smelled like stale piss. Every once in a while the pisser would return and do it again so the rain would wash away the smell and then it would be back.

    Another time when I was walking to work I saw a homeless man taking a dump against a fence. Unfortunately I was behind the fence so I could see. I don’t know if he thought the fence was more like a wall and people couldn’t see, but I wasn’t impressed by this either.

    Scott also told me about how someone had shit in our stairwell.

    By the time we were about to move from Vancouver I was quite sick of all the gross things that were happening.

  2. Only a couple of weeks ago, my friend Sascha saw a girl in a subway station urinating against a column like a dog. Sascha finds riding the subway almost unbearable at the best of times, so that didn’t help.

  3. 3 Gloria

    This is one of my favourite stories you’ve told in a while, because it involves poo as well as crapping on the Brockville Recorder (which I sometimes read as part of work). The thematic unity is very satisfying.

  4. 4 Scott

    I’m just happy every time I check your site and it says “Poo Fairy” near the top.

  5. 5 Mike

    Was the old man circumcised ? I wounder ?

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