[Originally published in Bizarre UK magazine.]
I bought a bunch of pee. No shit. I actually paid money for pee. I got it at predatorpee.com. They sell piss. And I had to have a bottle. I’m not sure why, I’ve got it on tap for free right here. Although my pee is boring. I’m so over my pee. Theirs is from predators. GRRR! It’s tough piss. I think maybe I was overcome with the same yearning for the unusual that must have overcome those seventeenth century men who filled their “wonder cabinets” with all kinds of bizarre nonsense. I assumed a peculiar pride would come over me if I owned a bottle of a dangerous animal’s urine.
I wasn’t sure, however, what kind of piss to get. They sell all kinds of piss. Should I get fox piss? I like foxes. Fantastic li’l fellas. Or what about bobcat pee? They’re kinda cute too. Coyote piss? Oh, and they have mighty mountain lion piss! Ah, wolf piss? Ah-ROOOO! Such a difficult decision. And one that I never dreamed I’d be forced to make. Fortunately the people at predatorpee.com thought of this dilemma in advance and offer a pee sampler, a little bottle of each. So I ordered the sampler and about a week later I had five little bottles, each containing the pee of a different predator.
Beyond a center stage position in my wonder cabinet, though, I discovered that predator pee actually has a use: hunters use it.
“They use it to do two things,” Ken Johnson, owner of predatorpee.com said to me over the phone. “One, they use it to lure animals. So for example they would be using something like a deer urine and put it around where they’re going to be hunting. Deer would come in to check it out and see if there’s another deer in the area or something like that. And then they use different types of urine, say the fox urine or some of the other urines, they use as a cover scent. They actually put it on their clothes to camouflage the human scent. The whole thing about urine is to outwit the animal one way or another. When it comes to the urines there’s a lot of history there because it was used by primitive folks because they had to get close to their game because they didn’t have high powered weapons or anything.”
“How the hell did you get into the pee business anyway?” I asked.
“I was in marketing and I had a client who was a hunter—actually a Maine Master Guide and he had developed some products for hunting—“
“Wait,” I said interrupting him, “a Master Guide? Is that like a black belt, or something?”
“Well yes, they’re like a black belt of guides. They’re the guys that take the hunters out. In Maine here it’s quite a tradition, the guided hunt.”
“Does the Master Guide wear like a flannel wizard outfit or anything to differentiate himself from the other hunters?”
“No, they’re pretty rough, basic guys,” he said. “So he had come up with some formulas he was using and he asked me to help him bring them to market.”
Which he did. Ken eventually bought the company from the Master Guide, who, as Ken said, preferred playing Rambo in the bush to running a pee company. Which may have been a mistake because the pee company has gone on to be very successful. Especially after Ken realized that piss wasn’t just for hunters.
“The big change for us,” he said, “was when we discovered, quite by accident, that there was another whole market outside the hunting arena. The hunting season in most areas is concentrated in the fall months, but we started getting orders from stores for the fox urine and the coyote urine way outside of the hunting season. And so like good marketers on top of their game, we said, ‘What’s going on?’ We went out and found out our customers were using it to deter animals from their garden, for example. Coyote is a natural predator for deer, so people had discovered that coyote urine could be very effective in keeping deer out of their garden. And then others found that the canine urine, because of a dog’s territorial instincts, dogs would mark over the spot that you squirted with urine. So they were using it as a pet training tool.”
Indeed the first thing you see at predatorpee.com is a banner that says, “Trains pets where to go!” There’s a picture of a dopey looking golden retriever puppy saying (which I can’t help reading in baby voice), “Teach me where to go!” This was an interesting piece of information for me because dogs crap in front of my house all day long. I affectionately call the patch of grass “Doo Doo Depot.” The signs I’ve put up, though, have never effectively deterred the neighborhood curs from crapping there. So I actually had a use for my predator pee beyond a curio in my cabinet—more on that in a moment—but its place upon the shelf would not be left vacant because I also bought a bottle of butterfly pee.
Yes, butterfly pee. When I was whizzing through the on-line checkout, a window popped up offering me a bottle of butterfly pee. I didn’t even know butterflies peed. Does that mean they fart too? I mean that really changes everything doesn’t it? It throws a lot of what I learned in childhood into question. Do you unicorns shit? Do rainbows get diseases?
“In the wild,” the site read, “butterflies find their greatest source of sodium, essential minerals and vitamins from wild animal urine puddles and urine-soaked leaves. Now you can bring this natural butterfly attractant to your garden with Butterfly Pee, pure urine from the wild.”
Ewww! What a filthy little animal. They drink pee! I mean, I’ve drank my own pee before, but that’s different. I look like I’d drink my own pee. Butterflies are the nearest Nature has come to creating pure beauty. They’re the offspring of angels and rainbows. But they drink pee? Disgusting. I’m not getting one of those dirty little brutes tattooed on my ankle any time soon, I’ll tell you that right now. I’m going with the dolphin. That was my original idea anyway.
But I ordered a bottle anyway. The 12-ounce jumbo size bottle. It’s butterfly pee, right? How bad could it be? Probably smells like flowers and tastes like champagne. I convinced myself that I was ordering a bottle of Ambrosia. Delightful. I even entertained the idea of splashing some of it under my arms and going to a bar to see if chicks were attracted to the scent.
The day it came, I stood in my kitchen and read the directions on the back of the bottle, “Pour a shallow pool of Butterfly Pee into a colorful dish and place on the ground, stump, or fencepost in a place that gets a lot of direct sunlight. The butterflies will find it quite soon. Replenish as needed.” Fair enough. So I opened the bottle and poured some of the pee into a little bowl. It looked like human pee, golden and amber, if not a little more concentrated. Then all of a sudden my nostrils were filled with the most noxious, pungent, foul aroma I had ever smelt. “Holy shit!” I said. And because I was still under the impression that butterfly pee was going to smell like the Nectar of the Gods it took me a second to realize that it was the source.
“WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT SMELL?” Tania, my wife, yelled from another room. The stuff was filling the house.
“IT’S FUCKING BUTTERFLY PEE!” I yelled as I ran out the front door with the bowl of liquid filth in my hands.
At the nearest patch of sunlight, I bent over and placed the bowl on the ground and, while doing so, I practically put my face in the piss and thus got another huge whiff of it. I stood up coughing and gagging, my eyes watering.
“Are you okay?” Tania asked.
“No,” I whined. I wasn’t physically hurt, but I was mentally scarred. How could the Creator suffer such a blasphemy upon His earth? What kind of cruel joke is He playing upon us when the most beautiful, wonderful creatures in the world produce the foulest, most vile smell in all of Nature? Ugh, it’s so gross. It smells like ammonia and horse shit. Lots and lots of ammonia and lots of horseshit. And maybe a dash of human dung. Actually, it’s the other way around: it smells like a lot of ammonia and a lot of human dung with just a dash of horseshit. And a dead baby in a Dumpster full of hot trash. Just horrible. It was so bad that Tania and I had to leave the house for the day. Not only was the house consumed by the odor, but so was the whole front yard.
Naturally, I had to ask Ken, “What the hell?”
“Well, actually,” Ken said, “if you read the description a little further, you’ll realize that it is not the pee of butterflies. It is actually wild animal urine. And for butterflies in the wild that is one of their favorite foods. They get many of the nutrients, particularly minerals, from urine, so in the wild if an animal pees a puddle on the ground, butterflies will gravitate to that area to get the nutrients.”
Okay, so the pee in the bottle that nearly knocked me on my ass didn’t come out of a butterfly. That’s good. I was beginning to imagine they had this laboratory with a bunch of butterflies all pinned to a wall being force fed water all day long with teeny, tiny li’l catheters rammed up their teeny, tiny li’l butterfly cocks with tubes that drain their pee into giant 55 gallon drums. So there’s still a chance butterflies don’t pee. Or fart. Or poop. Hell, they might not even have cocks. Thank God. However, they do drink another animal’s pee, which to me is grosser than if they drank their own pee. Like I said, I’ve drank my own pee a few times, but I would never drink someone else’s pee, let alone something that came out of a mountain lion’s cock. Disgusting li’l beasts. Flying filth.
The bowl of butterfly pee in my garden has yet to attract a single butterfly. That I’ve seen anyway. I’m assuming it’s because they’re migratory and they’re probably still in Mexico drinking Chupacabra piss or something. The predator pee, on the other hand, did work with fabulous results.
As Ken said, wherever you sprinkle the predator pee, that’s where the dogs will do their business. They’re programmed to piss on piss. Vis a vis. So the question was, where did I want to relocate Doo Doo Depot to? I mean, really, I’d just be transferring the problem to a fellow neighbor and that’s not very nice. The answer came soon enough.
One day, quite out of the blue, I received information from a neighbor that the lady across the street from us was conspiring to have us evicted from our apartment. Apparently she was upset with all the “partying” and had drawn up a petition of sorts and presented it to my landlady requesting that I be evicted. I had lived in that apartment for five years and never seen this woman once, let alone knew that she considered me a nuisance. I do entertain on occasion, but it’s not a bacchanalia over here. The whistle blower neighbor told me not to worry about it. He said the author of the petition was a certified nutcase and my landlady had defended me and refused to evict. That was good news, and I didn’t worry about it, but still it’s a very odd feeling to learn that a complete stranger is waging a secret war against you. “Well,” I thought, “if it’s war she wants, war she gets.”
“Does anyone use it for pranks or revenge?” I asked Ken.
“That’s quite a common use,” he said. “They always ask, ‘What’s the smelliest one you got?’ This particular individual had had a dispute with his attorney and apparently his attorney was going to be getting a bottle… perhaps not fully closed. We’ve had numerous people having problems with their neighbors and wanting to deal with that. Other people, particularly in rural communities, there will be one spot downtown, like a Dunkin’ Donuts or some shop where the kids hang out at night. Well that was another use: someone wanted one of the urines to sprinkle around the area where the kids tend to congregate to kind of encourage them to congregate somewhere else. There are a lot of uses.”
I went with the coyote piss first. I marched across the street and picked a spot in the corner of the petition lady’s front yard where it met the sidewalk and unloaded the contents of the bottle. I walked back to my side of the street and sat down on our porch to watch. Sure enough, within minutes a woman walking her dog was halted mid-stride as the leash went taut. She turned around to find her dog sniffing the hell out of the spot I had sprayed with the coyote pee. The dog finally lifted its leg, took a long squirt and they were off.
I clapped my hands and squealed with glee.
For the rest of the afternoon it seemed that every time I looked out the window a dog was pissing on her lawn and all over her flowers. “It works!” A couple days later, right in the middle of the sidewalk and next to the coyote piss spot, I saw the biggest pile of dog crap I have ever seen in my life. I’m not kidding. It was beyond poop. Poop, or crap, can be kind of cute, but this was just a big, black pile of excrement. Utterly revolting. No one would clean it up. It sat there for hours. Unbelievably, later that day I noticed that some poor soul actually stepped in it. “How could you not see that thing?” I wondered. I mean I could see it from across the street. It was like a mountain. It cast a shadow. And judging by the smear, whoever stepped in it slid about 12 inches. I felt kind of bad, but then I envisioned the crazy woman herself stepping in the pile and I felt better. Ah, revenge.
“Where do you get all the pee from?” I asked. I wanted to make sure the supply wasn’t going to be running out.
“We get it from various places,” he said. “From farms, game farms, zoos, various places where there are animals in captivity. It’s collected in a non-intrusive way. You know, they pee in their cages, and it’s collected in floor drains, and it’s filtered and bottled, so it’s not anything that harms the animal in any way. And it’s a renewable resource, and animals tend to pee a lot.”
“Sure, sure,” I said. “Let me ask you, though: how much money is in the pee business?” I got a cat that pees a lot.
“Well, it’s enough to put several children through college.”
“Really?” I said. I wonder if there’s any money in crap? “So what do you tell people you do?”
“I’m in the pee business,” he said flatly. “Having raised three daughters, it’s usually more difficult when they’re asked the question what their dad does, especially in some formal setting like when you’re taking them around to visit colleges. They want to crawl under the table.”
They wouldn’t be crawling around under the table if you sprayed some fox piss down there.