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News & Features » January 2020 » “The Shit Machine” (or “ShitMo”) by Nkosi Ife Bandele

“The Shit Machine” (or “ShitMo”) by Nkosi Ife Bandele

Are you a parent going through the Terrible Twos? Did you live through them and survive? Terrible Twosdays is a place to commiserate over the unending shenanigans of your Darling Children (as the online parenting communities say). Nonfiction stories will be considered, so long as names have been changed to protect the guilty. Inspired by our best-selling gift book for parents, Go the Fuck to Sleep, Terrible Twosdays joins the roster of our other online short fiction series. Unlike Mondays Are Murder and Thursdaze, we’re looking for stories with a light and mischievous feel, all about the day-to-day challenges of parenting. As with our other flash fiction series, stories must not exceed 750 words.

This week, a father discovers the trials of diaper changing . . .

The Shit Machine (or “ShitMo”)

by Nkosi Ife Bandele

None of the men in my wife’s family ever changed a diaper. Not one. Not ever. I can’t say that I recall witnessing my dad (during his brief stay with our family), or my grandpas, my uncles, or even my male cousins, ever change a diaper either. Never once.

Considering what eager playmates the men in our families can be, bouncing babies on knees, flinging them all over, it’s messed up that when it comes time for booty duty they hold the babies at arm’s length, their faces twisted, while handing them to the women, any available woman.

That’s why when my wife routinely passes me our stinky butt baby boy, hard eyeballing me the whole time (in effect daring me to object), I just take it. Given the history, it’s the least I can do.

My son’s the problem. He shits all day long, like, seriously, at least three serious loads daily, and I mean stink bombs, too!

In her attempt to even the historical score, my wife not only insists on my doing all the butt wiping, but she feeds the little motherfucker organic superfoods that encourage regularity. 

Butternut squash and parsnips, papaya flesh, all kinds of puree shit.

Yeah, sure, cool for her, she gets “mommy of the year” award, but what do I get? To deal with stink butt! 

That’s what I used call him, too, whenever I changed him when he was a baby, “Stink Butt.” When I was really pissed, I called him “The Shit Machine” or “ShitMo!” He was just a baby, so he didn’t know what the fuck I was saying. He would just lie there, happy as a motherfucker, grinning ear to ear, arms and legs flailing.

Who you smiling at, Stinky Butt?

He used to take his show on the road, too. I swear, every single motherfucking time we got on the subway, after I meticulously prepped and checked him and changed him before we left, the moment we got on that train, I mean, sometimes one stop in, and the little motherfucker was, like, Le Pew!

And have you ever tried to change a poopy diaper on the subway? The looks! Oh, yeah, and get this, now while the progressive woman, like my wife, insists that as a man you share in all the child-rearing, don’t try to do anything, let alone change a diaper, with a “mother” watching. If she doesn’t outright tell you that you’re doing it wrong, her frowns and shaking of her head are enough to make you realize what a dumbass you are.

Hold up the legs!
Wipe down!
Wipe away from the baby!
Lay the baby down and wipe down! Spread his legs open!

One time when I tried the latter, ShitMo hit me with a pee shot, right between the eyes, and the observing mother that time was like, that’s what you get, you know you’re supposed to turn him away!

Now ShitMo’s a toddler, and, surprise, he refuses to potty train! Of course his mom, who’s a Columbia educated child psychologist, (did I mention that?), says “we” should be patient, whenever he’s ready.

Still regular as a motherfucker, and still happy about it, but now with consciousness, the little motherfucker has developed a sense of irony.

He knows the deal with mom, so no matter what they may be doing together, reading a book, doing a puzzle—or for that matter, no matter what I’m doing, serious shit of my own even—he politely excuses himself from mom, approaches me, and I’m not kidding, (I kid you not), directly points to his ass. If he happens to catch me frown (and, despite all that I’ve said, I do try to conceal my genuine displeasure), he offers a sheepish smile, which of course embarrasses me, so I call him “doo-doo butt,” and feign outrage about his not being potty trained, and he laughs and seems fine with it all.


NKOSI IFE BANDELE tells stories. He writes for periodicals, stage, TV, and film. His latest novel, Scott Free, chronicles the life of Scotty Snow, a New York City aspiring filmmaker who via $99 Greyhound Special shoots for the stars in Hollywood but lands down and out in San Francisco, literally on his knees scrubbing the toilets at a vintage residence hotel. Hence, the nickname “Scott Tissues.” Scott Free is Nkosi’s third novel following his debut novel, The Ape is Dead!, 2016, and his second novel, The Beast, 2017, all of which are published by Crimson Cloak Publishing. His short fiction include his hilarious “Fuckity, Fuck Fuck, Fuck,” “Fuckity Fuck Fuck Fuck Part 2: Shit, Shit, Shit, Shit, Shit,” and “Itty Bitty Titty Committee.” These are also published by Akashic, and can be accessed here. He has been published under the pen names Easy Boheme, Eshu Bandele, and skoo d foo, da bom! His website, including his blog THAT N-WORD’S CRAZY!, is eshubandele.com. Visit his Facebook Fan Page here and his Amazon Books Author Profile Page here. He’s also on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.


Do you have a story you’d like us to consider for online publication in the Terrible Twosdays flash fiction series? Here are the submission terms and guidelines:

—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your story should focus on the challenges of parenting. Ideally, stories should be about children aged 0 to 5, but any age (up to early teens) is acceptable. Stories may be fiction or nonfiction.
—Include the child’s age at the time of the story next to your byline.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—E-mail your submission to info@akashicbooks.com. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.

Posted: Jan 21, 2020

Category: Original Fiction, Terrible Twosdays | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,