Let me get right to it: Joanna used to sh*t places.
I only use the past tense because I haven't seen her in ages and I'm not positive she's still attending to this particular impulse. Joanna was my best friend through most of high school. We used to go up to my room and crawl out of my window, onto the roof to smoke cigarettes.
One night, we were smoking on the roof, and I got a little cold. I went back inside for less than a minute just to grab a sweatshirt. When I crawled back out onto my roof, Joanna was squatting and taking a sh*t.
"Joanna, what the f*ck?" I said.
"Hell yeah!" She said, laughing.
"I'm not exactly down with this, Joanna," I said.
Later that week, my father was in my bedroom talking to me about calculus when he looked out the window.
"Some disgusting animal took a dump on the roof," he said, sneering, with his cigar stuffed into the corner of his mouth.
"It was Joanna," I said.
"Huh. That's pretty odd," Dad said through his cigar, still staring at Joanna's sh*t.
This was, I thought, an isolated incident. It wouldn't happen again, I told myself. Maybe she thought it would be funny. I didn't really know. But I pretended it didn't actually happen. And it was okay for a while, until the incident with the grill.
In my back yard, we had a big, brick grill. It was the kind in which you could grill fifteen burgers at once. My family hadn't really used the grill for quite some time, but it was still a grill. It was in this grill that Joanna took her second inappropriate shit. She came into the house where I was playing cards and whispered into my ear.
"I pooped in your grill!" She said.
I turned my face to hers. There was a huge, proud smile on her face.
pooped? In my grill?" I said.
She grabbed my hand and pulled me outside to the grill. Happily, she pointed at her shit while a sense of accomplishment spread across her face.
"Yes. You pooped in my grill. I can see that now," I said.
Once again, I pushed my personal feelings regarding Joanna's poop practices out of my mind and ignored the situation.
Over the next few months, Joanna shit in inappropriate places with a rapidly increasing frequency. She took dumps in playgrounds, in other people's yards like a dog, in her bathroom sink, in a red plastic beer cup, and on the hood of a stranger's car. I didn't know what to do or say. Whenever Joanna got that look in her eyes, that shit-look, I just sort of turned off. Stopped paying attention. This-isn't-happening mode.
Then, one day, I went over to Joanna's house.
"I have to show you something," she said.
She took me to her bedroom, and pulled a pizza box out from under her bed.
"Open it," she instructed.
I knew that whatever I was going to find was likely scatological in nature, and frankly, I didn't want to see what was inside this pizza box. But I opened it, because I looked up at Joanna, with that excited, proud look on her face, and it broke my heart. She was so happy with whatever was in the box, and she wanted to share that happiness with me. And here I was, hesitant to allow my friend to share her happiness. So I opened the box.
In one half of the box, there was pepperoni pizza. In the other half, there was shit. I sat there for a moment, staring at Joanna's poop. Then my heart broke for a different reason. It was clear to me at that point that Joanna was almost certainly mentally ill.
"Joanna, why?" I asked.
"I had to go," she explained.
"Why in the pizza box?" I asked.
I don't know," she said. Then her smile disappeared. She looked concerned. There was silence, unbearable silence, for a minute or two. Then I gave in.
"That's, um. That's really funny, Joanna." I said.
She instantly regained her happiness and started gathering her stuff so we could go out. I watched her for a little while.
"Joanna, why do you still have the pizza box?"
"What do you mean?" She asked.
"You've already, uh, used it. Why have you been keeping it under your bed?" I asked.
"There's still pizza left," she said, matter-of-factly.
I didn't say anything. I couldn't. She was going to eat the pizza. It had been sitting in a closed box with her shit for at least a few hours, if not days.
I couldn't allow it. I picked up the box, took it out to her garage, and threw it in the garbage can. Joanna got mad at me for tossing her "perfectly good pizza."
"You could always take it out of the trash if you still want it," I said.
Joanna stared straight into my eyes, slowly curling her lip up in disgust.
"Take food out of the trash? That's revolting!" She said.