Princess by Gardner Mounce

“Am I a commoner?”

“Yes.”

“Why am I a commoner?”

“The difference between princesses and commoners is the way you look and the way you feel.”

“You don’t know how I feel.”

“I’m a princess because of how I look and how I feel.”

“You’re naked. Are all princesses naked?”

“Sometimes.”

I checked the timer: seven minutes left. There was an 11×17 framed photograph of Princess in the bathroom. It was high above the toilet. The eyes looked straight ahead, judging everything. All over the house there were photos of her.

A little saline leaked out of Princess’s butt hole. I checked the instructions her mom had written. It said to add air to the enema
using the syringe, so I did.

“Does that not hurt?” I said.

“What?”

“Nevermind.”

“Could you get me another snack?”

“As soon as you’re on the toilet I can.” To drain, the instructions said.

“How do my parents know you?”

“Through Mrs. Cantner.”

“Did you babysit for her?”

“Yep.”

“Are you the babysitter that let the twins draw all over their painting?”

“I didn’t let them.” I was in the other room for five minutes. Jesus Christ. It wasn’t like it was a Picasso. It was just a pre-framed Hobby Lobby one. Some guys fishing. Big deal.

“Why did you let them?”

More saline leaked out and formed a dark pool on the beach towel beneath her. I added air. “I didn’t let them. I had to take out the trash and when I came back they had done it. I wouldn’t have let them. Does this thing always leak like this?”

“Was it your first time babysitting?”

“No. I’ve babysat for over a hundred years. I’m the best in the world.”

“So that’s why my mom got you to babysit for me!”

Mrs. Cantner had tried to blacklist me from the St. Michael’s league of bitchy moms at the worst possible time, but my mom, one of St. Michael’s bitchiest, begged Princess’s mom on my behalf for a second chance. Plus, Princess’s mom was desperate. No one else wants to give a kid an enema.

“Yep.”

Five minutes left, then I would put Princess on the toilet to drain, her mom would be home in an hour, and I’d have all my money. I repeated the mantra I’d been saying all week: Panama City; hotel; Kevin; Panama City; hotel; Kevin.

Saline streamed down her butt cheek. I added air.

A sound like bubble gum popping inside a mouth emitted from inside her butt. Saline and the rest rushed down her butt cheek onto the towel. My first thought was to check the instructions, but then I was scooping her up, dodging the streaming enema, the streaming butt hole, setting her on the toilet seat. She inspected herself, her mouth tight and serious, like a car mechanic would his own car.

“Are you okay?”

“How much time was left?” she said. She was so calm about it.

“Five minutes,” I said.

“Ugh. That means we have to do it again.”

“Wait, let me check. It might have been less.”

I balled up the beach towel–the saline had formed a dark circle on the yoga mat beneath it–and took it to the laundry room.

“You should call my mom,” she called. “We might have to do it again.”

I checked myself in the laundry room. My clothes were wrecked.

Panama City; hotel; Kevin; Panama City; hotel; Kevin.

Screw it. I dialed the number.

“Hey, Mrs. Shotley. So, I was doing Catherine’s enema and the bubble–popped? There was just a couple minutes left. Um. Let me check my phone. Two minutes and two seconds left. Okay. The cabinet.”

I opened the cabinet to look for the spare enema tube, but instead I found a hundred dollar bill.

“Found it. Yeah. I can do it. I know you went out on a limb for me. I can do it. K. Bye.”

“Do we have to do it again?” Princess called.

I put the money under my foot in my shoe. I don’t know why, but that seemed safest.

“No,” I said. “She said it’s fine.”

Then I walked straight out of the front door and left Princess to drain. I shouldn’t have left, but I did, and I walked the three miles straight to Kevin’s house.