Charles did a little poo. There was nothing unusual about that in itself, of course. Like the title of that potty training book had said, “Everybody poops”. Charles’ motivations for this particular little poo though were far from usual.
Charles was not a social man. He was a man that liked his hobbies: Biking around the beautiful parks that surrounded his isolated rural house was one, painting models of fantasy creatures was another. He’d never actually played a tabletop game like Dungeons and Dragons, but he found it so exciting, yet at the same time soothing to take these blank grey figures of minotaurs and elves and breathe life into them through colour, millimetre by painstaking millimetre. That wasn’t Charles’ main hobby though. No, Charles’ main hobby and his real passion was gardening. He’d find that same excitement and that same soothing satisfaction in planting seeds around the edge of his back garden, slowly encouraging and nurturing them into flourishing plants and watching with pride as they bloomed and blossomed.
But as happy as these hobbies made him, Charles yearned for companionship. His wife Audrey had left him for another man some years ago, and many of his good friends had since passed away. He missed them all dearly, but refused to wallow in their loss. The simple fact was that he didn’t have any good friends left, at least none that he saw more than once or twice a year. He was going to change that and he was going to change it today. Now. So Charles did a little poo.
The idea had occurred to him the previous day: He would grow a person! A friend! Just as he grew plants! Why not? The notion made sense to Charles. If a mighty oak tree could grow from a tiny acorn and a towering sunflower could bloom from an even smaller seed, then he couldn’t see any reason at all why a human being couldn’t be grown from a little poo. He could barely contain his excitement as he scooped the little poo up off the newspaper in the living room and practically skipped into the garden.
Charles knew the perfect spot to plant this little poo. He’d had to pull up a dead bush the week before and had yet to replace it with anything, meaning that there was a space of a good few feet along the back wall of the garden. He’d been keeping his bike there in the meantime but he could always just prop that up against the iron barred garden gate instead. It was a perfectly sized area of loam in which to grow his new friend. He took his trowel, which was lodged in the dirt with the handle sticking out, plunged it back into the earth and began to dig.
Once the hole was of adequate size, Charles reached behind him for the little poo he’d left on the grass. He picked it up, carefully placed it into the freshly dug hole and slowly covered it with layer upon layer of soil. It was at this point that a thought hit Charles: What would the little poo need in order to grow into a person? Water? Beer?! Maybe the personality and appearance of the person would change depending on how they were fed. Maybe feeding the little poo with vodka martinis would grow a little James Bond. Maybe Strongbow would grow a chav. Maybe Ouzo would grow someone with no tastebuds whatsoever. Charles had no idea.
Charles went inside and rifled through the cupboards. He wasn’t much of a drinker, so he had barely any alcohol in. He had barely any of anything in actually. Ribena? No… Orange juice? No… Eventually he decided that milk made the most sense. Yes. Milk. Milk for big strong bones. Lots of calcium. Maybe he’d grow a little super human. A bulletproof new friend with bones like titanium. Charles took his two litre bottle of semi-skimmed out of the fridge and into the garden, before pouring a generous amount over the spot where the little poo had been planted. Unable to stop the excited smile from appearing on his face, he headed back inside and went to bed. He was doing it! He was actually going to grow a person! Charles couldn’t wait.
Charles spent the next week or so thinking about nothing else. Audrey, as he’d decided to name his new person, was receiving around-the-clock care. He fed her regularly with milk, cut back other plants that threatened to encroach into her space and even installed a small lamp so that she could be well lit through the night. Anything for his Audrey.
And then Audrey sprouted. She didn’t sprout like a normal plant would have. Why would she? Audrey was after all a person and not a plant. Audrey sprouted with a muddy brown-yellow stem that pushed its way slowly through the surface of the earth. Charles was beside himself when he saw. He hadn’t celebrated like that in years, whooping and dancing and crying tears of joy. She didn’t stop there either and soon after she was nearly a foot tall and 6 inches wide. Still a muddy brown-yellow colour though and with a really strange consistency. The smell was also getting quite strong, Charles had noticed. The smell of his little poo, magnified several times by growth, decomposition and a few litres of stale milk that’d been heated day and night for nearly two weeks by the Sun and the lamp. Charles had been afraid that this might happen, but he didn’t want to admit it. He had to now though. There were no two ways about it: Audrey was composed entirely of faeces.
As Audrey continued to grow, she started to show more and more definition. A face of sorts was the first to form. If Charles squinted, the face didn’t seem all that dissimilar to his own, albeit composed entirely of human waste, which in all fairness seemed perfectly logical. Audrey had of course been grown from Charles’ own little poo. Charles’ DNA. Next she grew 4 limbs, which came out of Audrey’s now 3 foot torso in more or less the places Charles would expect. More or less. She also seemed to have developed at least some kind of internal organ system, as he would watch her faecal chest rise and fall with unmistakeable regularity. She clearly had some sort of lungs and if she had lungs she must have had a brain to tell the lungs to breathe and a heart to keep everything ticking over too.
The udders were a surprise to Charles. He’d be lying to himself if he’d said differently. The hooves too. In all honesty, he’d anticipated that the 4 limbs would have grown fingers and toes, but apparently not. Her face was now unmistakably Charles’, but again much more pungent. Charles didn’t celebrate any more. He worried. He fretted. He wondered what on Earth it was that he and his little Audrey poo had brought into this world.
3 weeks after she was planted, Audrey became conscious. Charles was first made aware of this development when he was awoken in the middle of the night by a blood curdling scream. Although Charles initially shook off the notion that he heard a hint of a cow’s “Moo” mixed into the terrible noise, he quickly realised that it was not just his imagination. Audrey screamed and mooed relentlessly from this moment onwards. A horrible, earth shattering wail that filled Charles with pain and regret. He thought at first that she’d grow out of it, like a teething child, but after trying and failing to drift back to sleep, Charles got up the following morning and decided that enough was enough.
As Charles stepped out into the garden, Audrey looked up towards him. She was no longer growing upwards, but had fallen forwards onto her 4 behooved legs. As Charles looked into the earthy reflection and their eyes met, Audrey screamed even louder and more desperately, reaching an octave to which Charles had not previously been introduced. A single tear started to roll down his wrinkled cheek as he unearthed the trowel and started towards her. Audrey started to panic, thrashing back and forth and scattering little flecks of her body over the garden as she attempted to free herself from the brown-yellow stem that still connected her to the ground.
Charles managed to walk about half way across the garden before the muddy brown-yellow stem was finally unearthed, roots and all. With her freedom abruptly granted, Audrey practically leapt across the turf, charging through Charles’ shins and causing him to topple over face first into the trail she’d left behind. As he scrambled back to his feet, she reached clumsily for the lock on the iron barred garden gate and slid it across, before pushing the gate open, causing his bike to fall to the floor.
“No!” Charles cried, but it was too late. Audrey, his once beloved faecal cow-human hybrid, picked up Charles’ bike, hopped on, balanced her front hooves on the handlebars and peddled out into the World.
Charles never saw Audrey again. He still was not a social person. He no longer tended his garden and preferred to let it grow wildly out of control. Nor did he cycle for obvious reasons. He still had his models though. He still had his models. He could still breathe life into the blank grey figures of minotaurs and elves through colour, millimetre by painstaking millimetre.