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  • Writer's pictureNic Roads

#18: Show me the meaning... of poop emojis.

Hey there,

So, as I mentioned last month, I got reconstructive knee surgery a couple of days ago. As I write this, I'm lying in bed, high as a kite on morphine and a bunch of other pills, so my apologies if this monthly missive of mine ends up being a little shorter than usual, and likely less polished. My brain's only firing on one, maybe two cylinders right now. And those cylinders come from a 1971 AMC Gremlin, tops. Typing is a little hard. My mind keeps wandering off to ponder totally random things, like how much I hate Christmas socks, the oddly fascinating shape of roasted cashews, and whether the scant, lonely hairs jutting from the top of my big toes are abnormally long.

An interesting thing that nobody told me about surgery is that the painkillers they give you constipate the heck out of you. I wish somebody had said something beforehand; I probably wouldn't have wolfed down a massive amount of Chinese food the night before my surgery if I'd known I'd be stuck with decomposing BBQ pork, tofu, duck, and szechuan noodle mush in my gut for three days straight. I've been eating modestly since my surgery, but as far as I can tell, it ain't going nowhere. I'd be afraid to see an X-ray of myself right now. It'd probably look like somebody dipped an elongated human skeleton in a vat of extra-chunky brownie dough.

To put it plainly, I'd be nervous to pop a pimple right now.

As I write this, I haven't donated any bowel compost to Mother Gaia in about 72 hours. Actually, that's a lie. I managed to squeeze out the tiniest little tinkerturd about an hour ago, about the size of an eight-dot lego brick. Still, I was pretty pleased with myself. I briefly considered snapping a photo and sending it to my wife who's off at the pharmacy refilling my prescriptions, because... I dunno, why not? We're married. Relationships are all about sharing small victories with each other, right? Still though... I kind of smell like warm butt and despair right now, and my wife is the one who'll likely be stuck giving me a sponge bath later, so I don't want to piss her off. We own a super hard exfoliating lufa that feels like it was made out of elderly nail clippings, but also a velvety-soft baby-blue lufa from a fancy shi-shi store somewhere. Let's just say that I'm really hoping she makes the merciful choice there.

Anyway, instead of going for spontaneous BM photorealism, I decided to text my wife a poop emoji. Although my marital instincts are often flawed, I think I chose wisely, this time. I've already accidentally overdosed on my morphine pills once in the last couple of days (it was a delightful afternoon, though). It probably wouldn't take much of a screwup on my behalf to push my wife over the edge and have her grind my remaining capsules into my morning smoothie. We own a very powerful blender, along with a decent amount of life insurance. So I'm going to play it safe with humoristic poop pics.


Confession time: I'm not much of an emoji user. I've never texted a single emoji - ever - until now, so I figured why not dive right in and break the ice with an adorable smiling pile of human waste? I found it oddly satisfying (the emoji, not the actual poop, which was a bit of a let down, tbh). You can communicate so much emotion with one little cartoon image! Then again, apparently there are all these hidden meanings to emojis that people have to learn before they start using them. My parents are notoriously terrible at this. I think they just see them as meaningless little decorative icons you can whimsically sprinkle into your messages without really pondering their deeper significance. But let me tell you... when your mom sends you a text message containing a medley of cute animals, smiley faces, but also eggplant emojis, it leaves you feeling pretty confused.

If you ever want to look up the meanings of specific emojis, check out emojipedia. Yes, it'll tell you what the eggplant is all about. Hint: it's not something you should ever text your children.

So, all things considered, my surgery went pretty well. My wife accompanied me, and we had enough time to kill in the morning before I was wheeled away on the stretcher to watch the pilot of Reacher on Amazon Prime. Pretty good show, if you ask me. Nice to finally see a version of Lee Child's central character that actually looks like what he's supposed to look like, as per the books. Tom Cruise just never cut it for me in that role, to be honest. I mean, he was fine, and the movies are worth watching, but if you've read the books, you know that Jack Reacher is supposed to look like a walking, talking, oversized brick shithouse built around the dented frame of cold-war era stainless steel refrigerator which happens to be packed with high-grade explosives and tank shrapnel. Cruise... well, although I like him just fine as an actor, he just doesn't exactly look the part. In fact, I find that these days, Tom Cruise mostly looks like a pouty, overworked Uber driver with undiagnosed IBS more than a badass vigilante special ops investigator.

Oops, there I go again. Down a roundabout rabbit hole. That's what happens with opioids. You get distracted as easily as a cocker spaniel spotting a squirrel. If you were to ask me what my astrological symbol is right now, I'm likely to sing a profanity-laced lullaby, start doodling what my rear end's birthmark would look like if it were made into a national flag, then ask you for your favorite meat pudding recipe. Then, as you tried to answer, I would fumble to remember the lyrics to the theme song for Three's Company in my head, but with a backdrop of flying unicorns, talking poppy-seed bagels, and psychedelic rainbows.

Although it wasn't general anaesthesia, I remember nothing that happened after they gave me the IV sedative, which I specifically requested as being on the heavy side (I think the exact words I said to the anesthesiologist were: Knock me out like you just found me in bed with your mother.) I barely recall getting the nerve block, and I have absolutely no memory of submitting to the spinal injection. I woke up a few hours later in the recovery room, freezing cold, and in a ton of pain, way more than I expected, but as far as I could tell, all my body parts (shoulders included) appeared to be where they were supposed to be, which was a big relief.

Although... I do feel a little light in the kidney area...

They had to keep me at the hospital a while longer than expected because I was having some weird side effects to the anesthesia. I was throwing up like it was prom night after double-fisting a pair of 3am meatball subs, extra cheese, ten minutes after doing one too many keg stands. Also, the surgeon told me that my knee was way more mangled on the inside than he had expected, so recovery would be longer. But all in all, the worst is past. Unfortunately, I can't put any weight on my right leg for six weeks, and I expect I have several months of tedious physiotherapy ahead of me, but it should all be uphill from here on out.

Actually, uphill is the wrong word. I'm supposed to avoid hills for a while.


Right now, my trusty old bed is both my best friend and my worst enemy. It's my nest, and my prison cell. I'm barely moving from it these days, so I'm pretty glad I set it up ahead of time with a few strategic items to make my long hours here more bearable and productive. I've already mentioned my Lapgear Lap Desk in the past; I still love it and use it all the time (especially these days), but I also tagged on an Amazon Basics rolling cart, which I keep right beside my bed, stocked with meds, snacks, drinks, emergency zombie supplies (just kidding), and other essentials. It's super easy to wheel around, and having it probably means my wife won't get so annoyed with me for leaving random stuff (slippers, backpacks, nunchuks) on the floor beside the bed. So it's totally win-win.

I also ordered a Restorology Leg Pillow to help elevate my injured knee during recovery. It's so comfortable and ergonomic to use while sitting or lying in bed that I'm pretty sure I'll keep using it even after I'm all healed up. It also makes a nice, firm stand to use in bed if you're watching a movie on your laptop. And yes, I'm sure it has some other, more titillating bedroom uses, but I'm not going to get into that, today. Cool? Cool.

Sheesh. I'm trying to heal from a weird lower body injury, not get a new one.


Writing-wise, I should have some fresher updates next month. Right now I'm taking it pretty easy, focusing on getting better over the next couple of weeks, so I'm trying not to think too much about work. Still, the audiobook first draft for Better Dead than Red is fully recorded, coming in at about five and a half hours runtime. I wrapped the review process just before my surgery, so it's going in for a few revisions as we speak, but it should be ready soon. Likewise, Zillionaire has been formatted and proofread. It's back with our designer for a handful of typesetting revisions, but it's crawling ahead nicely, and I'm expecting a spring release.

A huge thank you to everybody who read and/or reviewed Better Dead than Red, by the way! Thanks to you, my latest book hit the number 1 category for new releases in a couple of Amazon zombie categories for several days in a row this past month, something that I definitely didn't expect so early in my humble writing career. Thank you so much!



Have you heard the news that The Walking Dead is getting yet another spinoff? That's right: Isle of the Dead will be a brand new series expanding TWD's universe, featuring Maggie and Negan's developing adventures. Will they argue? Sure. Will they kill each other? Maybe. Will they hook up? Gah. Who cares? Just slay some zombies, already!

They do have pretty fun chemistry, though. ;)

Tag on the upcoming Tales of the Walking Dead, not to mention the upcoming Rick Grimes movies, the Carol & Daryl spinoff, and whatever they're planning for Fear the Walking Dead and Walking Dead: Worlds Beyond, it makes for a pretty impressive zompoc universe. Keep 'em coming, I say.

Still, there are so many stories in different locales that could be told in this universe. If you were to design a new Walking Dead spinoff, where would you want it to be set?



When a deadly virus sweeps the country, Vivian sets out for California in hopes of seeing the daughter she gave up for adoption. Then her car breaks down and she’s faced with a choice: give up or accept a ride from redneck brothers, Angus and Axl. Vivian knows getting in the car with strangers is a risk, but with time running out, she’s willing to do whatever it takes to reach her daughter.

The virus is spreading, and by the time the group makes it to California, most of the population has already been wiped out. When the dead start coming back, Vivian and the others realize that no electricity or running water are the least of their concerns. Now Vivian must learn how to be a mom under the most frightening circumstances, cope with Angus's aggressive mood swings, and sort out her growing attraction to his brooding younger brother, Axl.

While searching for a safe place to go, the group meets a pompous billionaire who may be the answer to all their problems. Trusting him means going into the middle of the Mojave Desert and possibly risking their lives, but with the streets overrun and nowhere else to turn, he might be their only chance for survival...




That's all for me this month. Thanks for reading! I probably won't remember writing any of this disjointed nonsense by tomorrow. Hopefully, by next month I'll have a few extra marbles in working order!

Be great,


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