Some time ago I saw an ad for help wanted at a pig farm.
“Gee,” I said, “I like animals and have worked on plenty of farms, plus the money looks right. Imma be a pig farmer.” Sure as shooting, I’m a pig farmer now. However, I feel that I may have made a grave misunderestimation of the situation.
On my first day the Boss Man said, “We’re going to start you out pressure washing one of the barns. We have shower caps, rain hats, coats, hip waders, gloves, and aprons. I never wear any of that stuff, but you can if you want.”
Retard Power: ACTIVATED
No, It actually happens quite often.
“How bad could it be?” says I, and grabbed an apron.
“Dude. You are sooooo fucked,” says the universe, and collapsed in a puddle of hysterical laughter.
Boss Man led me down a dim, creepy corridor. An idle thought flickered through my mind; Could this be an omen? Nah. Omens are silly superstitions. I marched cheerfully on.
Abandon All Hope
A half mile later I was ushered into the most remote barn in the facility. He gave me a quick demonstration of the pressure wand, and left me to my piggie fate.
The pig pens are built on platforms above a sluice. It’s a sewer for the hogs called the Pit. Every now and again they have to be cleaned out, which is where the pressure wand comes in. It liquefies all of the waste that has accumulated under the platforms and can be flushed into a catchment pond.
Anybody from California can tell you that liquefaction comes with some unpleasant side-effects.
The first and most startling side-effect was the rats and mice that boiled up from the Pit when I pulled the trigger.
We will eat your face while you sleep.
I did not scream like a girl. It only sounded girlie because the Doppler Effect kicked in when I ran. And really, it was hardly a scream at all. I would call it an extended shriek.
The second side-effect was the smell.
Eau de Putresence
When the offal liquefies, it releases an unholy stenchified miasma. It hangs in the air like an oil slick, so thick and vile you can actually taste it. My eyes watered, my throat itched and burned, and only an iron grip on my gag-reflex prevented me from adding my own waste to the Pit.
The miasma is sentient. Some portion of it had attached to me like a lamprey. I became Peanuts’ Pig Pen brought to life, ambling about in my own personal cloud of filth.
I did not have breakfast that day. Or lunch. Or supper.
And finally, we have the third side-effect. This is where things get interesting.
Dante did not mention this circle of hell. What a jerk.
When you fire off a jet of high pressure water in a confined space, you get some significant blowback. Try to wash out your bathtub with the spray attachment on your garden hose.
The wand used in the Pit is rather more powerful than that. Random fountains of slurry erupt from between the slats in the pens and rocket into the air, showering down on the poor bastard standing behind the wand.
“Dear God!” I screamed. “It’s in my mouth!” I let my jaw hang slack, slobbering and drooling and spitting for fear of swallowing anything.
In minutes my face was splattered and streaked, pig shit oozed down my neck and under my collar, my coveralls were saturated from the waist down, my feet squished in my rubber boots, and my hands looked like I was wearing black, elbow-length gloves.
For eight hours I worked in a rainstorm of porcine diarrhea.
Because of certain health concerns, there are bio-containment procedures in place to prevent spreading disease. We all shower before and after each shift.
The shower I used at the end of my shift had five different varieties of body wash and two of shampoo. I used them all with no result.
When I got home I grabbed a bottle of Pinesol and took another shower. Pig stench laughs in the face of Pinesole. Other things that do not work include Chlorine Bleach, peroxide, Scrubbing Bubbles, Spic and Span, Comet, Apple Cider Vinegar, peroxide with baking soda, mouth wash, Windex, two additional flavors of body wash, Irish Spring, and some sort of Peach scrubby stuff.
My shaving kit.
In desperation I decided to go steal some gasoline from the lawn mower. I grabbed a towel to go to the garage when I saw a bottle of Lysol stashed in a corner of the linen closet.
Back in the shower it was. The Lysol stung like a bitch where I had scrubbed my skin raw. I finally staggered out of the bathroom, stoned out of my gourd on household cleaners.
But, I had won. The stench was gone, and all I could smell was the sweet perfume of victory.