Wilhelm Homberg’s Excreta

Posted on Aug 3, 2016

Here is a scatological story I wrote. Shawn Syms has published it in the Winnipeg Review:

Wilhelm Homberg’s Excreta

By Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer

(Wilhelm Homberg’s pyrophorus was originally discovered in the process of trying to make an oil that would transmute mercury to silver)

The four young men I hired for the job are magnificent. I supply Gonesse bread, bought each Wednesday and Saturday at market, and wrapped in dampened linen in between to keep the loaves soft. The men may eat nothing else. This is the finest white bread in all Paris—in all the world, I might add. And for drinking, let water not pass their lips. Only champagne. This is the recipe upon which I harvest the finest pyrophorus. I have forgotten the names of my boys, but I have the curve of their torsos to memory. It is true that two of them look alike, and I sometimes mix them up. But when I watch them take exercise each day, I know them. I know the way their muscles undulate. By God, they are strong! And they are singular in their expulsion, too—oh, yes, I witness my boys excrete.

(Keep reading it here.)