It was the last stretch of road between Wyoming and Utah, when I decided to drive through Wendy’s to grab a quick bite to eat. After three hours in the car, my daughters, Brighton and Halle, and Brighton’s boyfriend, Preston, were all tired. I thought some yummy food and caffeine would be a great option for the remainder of the drive. I enthusiastically ordered a Spicy Chicken Combo and a Diet Coke. I carefully propped the salty french fries between my legs for easy access and gleefully gobbled up the savory sandwich, unaware of the total mayhem it would eventually unleash upon my unassuming sphincter muscles. I put on my glasses and turned up my tunes so I could enjoy the remaining hour and a half drive. I pulled into a gas station and insisted the kids use the nasty public restrooms. The sinister spicy chicken hadn’t released it’s unholy revolt upon my stomach yet, so in my moment of ignorant foolishness, I remained comfortably seated, patiently waiting for the privacy of my own bathroom.
I was fifteen miles into my drive when it happened. It started subtly at first, like a slight gurgling sensation in my lower abdomen. I thought nothing of it, assuming my intestines were going about their typical business. Little did I know, my insides were trying to send a warning about the horror that was about to overtake every mental and physical process in my body.
Around mile twenty, it happened again, but this time it was followed by searing pain as if the angry spicy chicken had declared war on my intestines. I glanced around the car and fought to restrain the groan trying to escape my lips. It was a good thing the music was blaring because I quickly began to panic; something was going horribly wrong and I needed to get to a rest-stop bathroom before it got any worse. Every muscle began to shake as I resisted the urge to explode and willed any control over my body I could muster.
By mile 30, I was reeling with the awareness that my worst fear was upon me; the wild-clucking Satan chicken was burning hot inside, and the ooze collided against my anal sphincter like a torrential tidal wave. I barely held back the force and I was somehow able to close the hatch just in time, but that relentless digested chicken beat against it like Orcs breaking down the doors of Helm’s Deep. I knew I wouldn’t be able to even shift in my seat without risking a breach. I flew down the dark winding freeway, clenching my cheeks and chanting silent prayers, while beads of sweat dripped down my face and onto my shirt. Suddenly, I saw an exit only six miles away and although I wanted to drive faster, I slowed with complete concentration. When I reached the exit, I yanked my wheel and traveled down the escape route, only to miss the quick turn off. To my horror, I had to pass it and re-enter the freeway.
“Mom! What are you doing? Do you have to pee?!” I mumbled something about ‘not only pee’ and pressed the peddle to the metal until I saw the next available exit. I knew the day of reckoning would be quickly upon me, with or without access to a shiny-clean, white thrown. Nothing else mattered more than expelling this ungodly presence from my bowels. With mere seconds remaining, I turned left and I felt the war cry within, and the battle began. I turned right, left, right, left, left – frantically looking for any place I could semi-modestly find relief. The kids yelled to me that they were willing to knock on someone’s door to use their restroom, but I was in some sort of dream state and I could barely hear them. I knew there was no time for such pleasantries. I heard roaring laughter and their animated opinions about me finding sweet, sweet relief on the side of the road, in front of someone’s house. I simply couldn’t care about their mom-embarrassment issues, because I was absolutely preoccupied with my impending volcanic eruption.
And then it happened. My seat warmed, and I completely lost all control. I burst out of my car and ran to the side of the road. It took less than .5 seconds to undo my pants and squat, and I was immediately grateful for my years of camping in the wilderness. I glanced over at the unassuming, darling white house, and sent good juju to them for sharing their front yard with me. The moonlight shone upon my face from above, as if it were a gift from God, himself. Almost immediately, the floodgates of Hell were opened and the damned, liquified chicken soul cried as it burned through my sphincter and onto the weeded patch of dirt. I had never felt such simultaneous relief and anguish in my life. I can only relate it to giving birth; completely surrendering to the process of uninhibited release.
I quickly looked down and realized there was NO WAY I’d be pulling my soiled underwear back onto my body. Faster than David Copperfield’s magic hands, I violently tore off my pants and underwear, and kicked off my shoes, took my underwear off, and put my right leg back in my pants. “Mom! They are looking out of their front window!” And she was right, I could easily see them because I was fifteen feet from their front door. I am sure it was a rare occasion when anyone parked in front of their remote house with their lights on at 9:00 pm. I panicked and began trying to shove my left leg into the inside-out pant leg. I tripped and stumbled into my car that was ringing with gut-splitting laughter, realizing as I drove away that I had left one Chaco sandal behind in my pile of excrement, just like Cinderella running from the handsome prince, except my escape was not quite as magical.
The rancid smell permeated the car, and I realized my underwear was riding hostage, rolled up on my lap, and without thinking too much, I flung the remains into a nearby canal with my left arm, half laughing and half crying as we made our escape. We winded through the quiet town and eventually found my way back to the freeway. I frantically squirted hand sanitizer on my hands and sprayed perfume throughout the car. Preston restrained wheezes of laughter as he sweetly commented how much he “enjoyed the smell of the perfume” and “felt really bad for me” – and I vowed to make him my son-in-law, right then and there.
I wish I could say this was the only time I had to swerve off the freeway last night, but this experience was only the first of five times before I got home. I became faster and faster at taking care of business, and my kids laughed harder and harder with each shocking chicken attack. And so, I leave a word of warning with you; do not, I repeat, do NOT eat a Wendy’s spicy chicken sandwich, especially if you are going on a road trip without access to a lot of bathrooms. Before last night, I couldn’t have imagined conducting myself in such a stinky manner, but 2020 has been a crap show from the very beginning; and the only place that God-forsaken spicy chicken belongs, is in the clucking barn from which it came.