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Wrong Bathroom

Categories: Creative Writing Prompts Tags: creative writing exercises, creative writing prompts, writing prompt.

You head into the bathroom at work, walk into a stall and close the door. Moments later, as you leave the stall, you notice two people standing there and there’s one major problem: They are of the opposite sex. On the spot, you make up an excuse as to why you are in their bathroom.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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488 Responses to Wrong Bathroom

  1. Chainsaw Dreams says:

    Okay so here’s what I have… It’s pretty bad so I can’t really say enjoy. Anywho…

    Imaginary Ferrets:

    So a thirty ounce soda and a twenty ounce blatter didn’t mix very well, did you know that? I learned that the hard way. I had only five minutes left on my lunch break. That was enough time to get from the third floor break room to the second floor bathroom (it was the only bathroom the janitors clean besides the executive bathrooms for whatever reason).
    I scooped up my trash and deposited it in the nearest trash can before I began my journey up a flight of stairs (or my work out for the day I like to call it). By the time I got there I only had four minutes left.
    I rushed into the bathroom and nearly ran over my boss. My boss?
    I looked up at him (he was a good 6 inches taller) and sure enough it was my boss…
    What was he doing in the girls bathroom?
    I took a look around the bathroom and noticed the weird boy toilets lined against the wall. I looked back up at my boss and he stared down at me. There was a flushing noise and John came out of a stall, tucking in his shirt. When he saw me he jumped.
    “What on heavens are you doing in the mens restroom, Amy?” John asked me. I looked around again. What was I suppose to tell them? I was in a rush to go to the bathroom and so I accidently ran into the guys room? Yeah right. So instead I said the first thing that came to mind.
    “Ferret!” I exclaimed. They gave me a puzzled look.
    “Ferret?” The boss asked.
    Of all things why ferret? I mentally kicked myself. Too late to go back; I had to role with the flow (Which reminded me that I still had to go to the bathroom).
    “Um, yeah,” I said looking around the bathroom, “I’m chasing a ferret. I saw him run in here.” John looked around the bathroom and the boss gave me a skeptical look.
    “I see no ferret.” John said. I shrugged my shoulders.
    “Maybe he ran back out,” I said. “Well then I have to go. Find the ferret. That I was chasing…”
    I turned around and left before they had a chance to say anything else (though I did hear the boss mutter under his breath about imaginary ferrets).
    I returned to my desk.
    I still had to go to the bathroom.
    “All of this because of a stupid soda.”

  2. Miles132 says:

    After a relieving two minutes inside the stall of this bathroom, I knew it was not yet the time to start patting myself on the back for managing to get inside the women’s bathroom. I still had to wash my hands and get back to my desk as soon as possible. Immediately upon pulling up my zipper and opening the stall door to leave, my coworkers Pamela and Lynn stared at me with surprised expressions on their faces.
    “Miles, why in the world are you in this bathroom?” Pamela asked. I have been working at this place for only two weeks, and I am already establishing myself as the “weird guy at work” as I have been at my previous jobs. In order to retain even the least bit of dignity, I knew I had to come up with an intelligent and respectable excuse.
    “Well, Pamela and Lynn,” I charmingly began my tale, “it probably appears that I’m here for some stupid reason like not being able to read the sign outside the door that says ‘women’, but I promise you both that I came here and used this restroom on purpose. You see, in addition to working here, I am also a part-time student at a night school, and because I have an interest in understanding the perspectives of other types of people, I am currently enrolled in a Women’s Studies course. As the only male student in the class, I find it very difficult to emphasize with my professor and classmates whenever an issue in women’s history is brought up in a lecture. Though I participate in class discussions and do very well on my homework assignments and tests, I still cannot fully understand what it is like to be a woman. So I took initiative and made changes to my lifestyle, such as spending at least three hours at a department store browsing through aisles of shirts, practicing screaming at a high pitch, and, as you have just witnessed, using the women’s bathroom. I am well aware that you may find my actions odd, but I am really doing this to understand you people better so that I can be immersed in womanhood and become a better citizen of this diverse world. So why don’t we just forget about the awkwardness and take ten selfies in front of the bathroom mirror?”
    Annoyed and offended by my frequent remarks of women stereotypes, Pamela punched me with so much force that I fell to the ground. Lynn leaned over to me and asked, “You just couldn’t stand the smell of the men’s bathroom, right?”
    “Yes.”

  3. GrahamDowns says:

    I do a monthly writing prompt on my blog, and chose this prompt for July 2014 (See the blog post at http://www.grahamdowns.co.za/2014/07/ever-been-in-wrong-bathroom.html). Here’s my story:

    I pulled up my pants, turned, and pressed down on the toilet handle. The water rushed satisfyingly from the cistern into the bowl. As I placed my hand on the lock, I heard voices. While this would normally not be a problem, I noticed with horror that they were women’s voices!
    Oh crap, I thought (and excuse the pun), I must have turned right instead of left! At four in the afternoon, it had been a long day, and I must not have been thinking clearly.
    I decided that maybe if I kept completely quiet, they wouldn’t notice me.
    “Sarah? Is that you?”
    It was Lucy, one of the sales ladies. She was probably with Marie. They must have arrived back at the office late, after visiting a client.
    “No, it-it’s John,” I stammered, realising that the jig was up and I’d only make a bigger fool of myself if I kept quiet now.
    This time, Marie answered. “John? My word, what are you doing in the ladies’ bathroom? Get out here!”
    Slowly, I turned the lock on the door, pulled it open, and stepped out. I could feel my face hot with embarrassment, certain that I was blushing. The women had their hands on their hips, staring at me expectantly with smirks on their faces, obviously trying hard not to burst out in fits of uncontrollable laughter.
    “Well?” said Lucy.
    Well, indeed. What was I to say? Should I tell the truth, that I’d just been on auto-pilot and entered the wrong door? No, I decided—that would just expose me to more ridicule. I had to think quick.
    “I-I thought there was nobody left in the office,” I said. “There is no toilet paper in the men’s, and I figured there’d be no harm in using some of yours. I’m really sorry!” I was slowly turning towards the exit, wanting to get out of there as quickly as possible (I could wash my hands next door, in the right bathroom), but also not wanting to appear rude by running away.
    “Shoo-wee!” exclaimed Marie. “John, don’t you spray when you finish? What on earth have you been eating?”
    I’m sure my face turned an even deeper shade of red than it already had been. Mumbling an apology, I turned back toward the stall and reached in to grab the can of air-freshener. The women laughed as I lifted it in the air and pressed the nozzle down for three seconds.
    After they had composed themselves, Lucy replied, “What do you mean there’s no toilet paper? I saw Tabs going into both bathrooms at lunch time, with toilet rolls under her arms. She must’ve put paper in there, then. Why do you men use so much paper?”
    I smiled nervously. “Yeah, I’m sorry,” I said. “I guess we do.” I walked closer to the exit, and turned expectantly towards the two, waiting for an indication that I could go.
    “John?” said Lucy. “Aren’t you even going to wash your hands?”

  4. Kerpa says:

    One for the Team
    Why did they have to put the women’s room so much further away from the board room than the men’s? One more step and I was going to piss my pants. Whatevs, I’ll be out of here before that windbag finishes his quarterly report with no one the wiser. This bladder control problem has gotten way out of hand. Maybe I should keep one of those she-wee’s at my desk. Stop picturing yourself pissing into the urinals with a she-wee before you lose your shit and someone hears you in here. Serious thoughts. How am I going to explain those over expenditures for my department?
    Cheryl?” Shit, those two Neanderthals from IT–Dick, appropriately named, and Ben. Why the hell weren’t they still in that meeting?
    “Lost, Cheryl?”–from the lesser asshole of the two. “It seems to me, you’re in the wrong parts,” Dick chimed in, grabbing his crotch on “parts” for emphasis.
    “Lost, no, I’m definitely not lost,” I stammered, flipping my hair over my shoulder while I straightened my posture to regain some dignity. “I am, I am”— finding my inspiration—“protesting the lack of transgender facilities in this company. That’s right. It is simply unconscionable and I won’t stand for it any longer.”
    “Holy shit, Stevens, or should I say Steven,”–by this time Dickwad’s nose was nearly buried in my chest—“I never would have taken you for a trannie. I’ve had wet dreams about you.”
    “Eww, I could report you for that Dick, so back off,”–shoving him away from my chest.
    “I always said she was too technical for a girl,” reported the other fuckface. “She never needs our help. Now it all makes sense.”
    “Assholes,”sang in my head. “No, just—no. You’ve got it all wrong. I’m doing this for, for Paula.”
    “Paula, that chic is hot. What’s she got to do with this?” Shit-for-brains was on the defensive.
    “Well, she needs all the support she can get since the,” clearing my throat now—“procedure.” I cannot believe I am doing this to my best friend.
    “I mean she’s been trying to keep it on the downlow so you have to promise not to breathe a word of this to anyone, but it’s been a very difficult time for her, and I thought I’d show her a little bff support by rallying for trans-gender facilities.”
    “You don’t say. What a waste of a beautiful pussy.”
    “That’s downright poetic of you, Dick. You’re a genuine Shakespearean article.” “Asshole,” in alto this time.
    “How is you being in here showing your support?” Apparently, shithead had one brain cell left, and now he had me.
    I ran the faucet and started washing my hands to buy time. “Well, until such time that all of us can choose to use gender neutral facilities, I plan on occupying this facility. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to present my department’s budget.” And I was out of there free to pee where I pleased.

  5. kittycat4ever says:

    I really enjoyed this one. I’ve done this and could easily see myself as the character. Good Job :)

  6. celloaded says:

    Ah! One could only imagine the relief I felt at finally unleashing the polyphonic spree which had been threatening to escape through my pants and distracting me form work all day long. Feeling significantly less burdened, I sauntered out of the stall, brushing my hands on my pants with my usual air of dignity. That is, until I walked straight into the backs of two women who were hurriedly applying makeup in front of a cracked mirror.
    It was only a matter of time before they saw their noble, grandiose boss walking out of a women’s toilet stall. So, I did the natural thing any self-respecting male would do – I dashed over to the adjacent wall so I could blend in with the tiles. Unfortunately, this only resulted in me drawing more attention to myself, so before I could put Plan B into action (yes, I did have a Plan B), the woman on the right detected the noise my shiny Salvatore Ferragamo shoes had undoubtedly made. She did a double take at the unusual sight of her boss sprawled across a bathroom wall and nudged her friend, who joined her in gaping open mouthedly at me.
    I looked around my wildly before any of them could accuse me of anything unholy. I spotted a shiny, silver box on the wall with a label that read “25 cents”. My first reaction was jealousy. This was ridiculous! Unfair! Blasphemous! I made a quick mental note to bring this up with the senior supervisor in the next meeting. How dare these women think they could get away with a candy machine in their bathroom! We men didn’t have anything remotely interesting… bathrooms were only meant for a quick wee. No wonder women always spent so long in the bathroom – to stock up on their candy! And these women had the audacity to campaign for equal rights in work and all that balderdash when it is in fact men who don’t have equal rights! Forget about the glass ceiling for women – a more pressing issue should be addressed: Why don’t men get candy dispensers in their bathrooms?
    Amidst all my fury and outrage, I realized that my two employees were still staring at me, waiting for an explanation for why I was currently stuck against a wall in the women’s bathroom. On a whim, I pointed to the dispenser and sheepishly said, “I just wanted to pick up some chocolates for my MALE colleagues”. There. That would teach them a lesson. Inwardly fuming, I pulled out a quarter from my pant pocket and primly inserted into the slot, stuffing the candies in my pocket and prancing out of the bathroom without sparing the candies or the two ladies a second glance. Before the bathroom door closed on me, I heard one whisper, “I wonder who he’s gonna give that pad to?”

    • Kerpa says:

      The ending had me laughing. This also reminded me of the time I caused a riot of women in the men’s room at a local bar because my husband came out to the dance floor with gum.” Where did you get that gum?” I wanted to know. Turns out they had a valet in the men’s room who gummed them and handed them a hand towel while the women’s room had no such amenities and was floating in god knows what. I was having none of that and neither were the other 10 ladies I marched into the Men’s with me. Thanks for the memory.

  7. Camdeath says:

    “The urinal in the mens bathroom was shooting water at me, not in an accidental way like some sort of malfunction, but in a deliberate way. It was aiming directly at me. I thought maybe this urinal has a mind of its own. I tried to get it to stop. I played chess with it and let it win, but still the spraying continued. I Sharpied love notes on its porcelain body. “ZH + PP 4EVER”. I made it a tuna sandwich. I cried and begged it for mercy. It continued to spray me. Finally after I was drenched in toilet water I had an epiphany. All my life I felt lost, until I realized I LOVED being sprayed with toilet water. It was the one thing I was missing in my life. Everyone thinks money will make them happy or a girl or a boy or religion or bla bla bla, but for me.. it was toilet water. I even put mascara on just so they urinal could wet my face and streaks of it would run down my cheek. See? Doesn’t it look like I was crying?”

    He laughed then, a hysterical laugh. One which could be interpreted as a laugh of joy or sheer terror, or possibly on strange day such as this, both.

    “Zack, Zack… the mens bathroom has been burned down for weeks. Don’t you remember? Mr. Arleo went mad and set himself on fire in there. The fire was distinguished in time but he and the bathroom were torched.. I think you were possessed by his spirit, he always hated you. Why did you go in there in the first place?”

    seemingly starting to return to his senses a little bit and feeling as uncomfortable as a pair of wet socks, which I was currently sporting, Zack thought about it an said,
    “I guess because nature called, and I answered. But nature didn’t just call, it beckoned, it demanded… and we all know nature is a malicious bitch, full of shrink wrapped shadows..
    “ok, Zack we’re going to get you some help. I’ll call the hospital and get you checked out. You’ve been through a lot. Just sit down, it’ll be ok”
    Zack sat down. One of the girls tended to him while the other called 911.
    “Yes, my friend here is delirious and needs medical attention. I don’t know what’s wrong with him but he might be injured or.. something. Zack Houser. AralCo.”
    the other girl was squatting next to him. “Zack, one thing doesn’t make sense… no part of that story explains why you were in the girls bathroom.”
    His eyes lit up and a grin cut his face.
    “because the urinal requires sacrifice!”
    Zack pulled out a plunger from under his shirt, sharpened to a stake at the end and stabbed the two girls. Blood trailed into the bathroom, where a low rumbling emitted, and all the toilets flushed in simultaneous excitement.

  8. SilhoueX says:

    this is my first posting so constructive criticism please! ^_^

    *Almost done…almost done… almost* I thought to myself, scrawling bathroom humor on the wall. The wall read, “Why are you looking up here? The joke is in your hands!” I chuckled lightly to myself as I finish wiping. My ass now clean, preen and pristine, I casually flushed the toilet amid whistling a satisfied tune. Satisfied from both having dropped the proverbial bomb on “Hiroshima” and from having left my witty mark on the bathroom wall. Immortalizing myself forever! Or rather until the janitor cleaned it off. I did NOT envy the guy to use this after me! It smelled like a 3rd world public gas station bathroom, complete with dysentery. But then, I can hardly blame myself. “All you can eat Taco Tuesday” at Jose Taco Buffet is not merely an advertisement, it is a challenge. As an American I must follow the time honored tradition of attacking every challenge head on!

    As I finished pulling up my pants I noticed something odd out of the corner of my eye. The toilet! Rather than flush the poo was rising! I stared on in horror, praying it didn’t overflow. To my relative joy the flow stopped and the poo slush did not spill over. My generous application of toilet paper had rendered the pipes clogged and the toilet resembling a giant bowl of stinky chili.
    Hastily I secured my pants button and quickly exited the stall. Doing my very best to look normal and not to advertise the fact that I had just utterly destroyed a toilet. I made my way to the sinks not daring to look at anyone for fear they would smell my guilt. Washing my hands I was jarred by a sudden and surprised “Ahhh!” The sound distinctly feminine. I looked up to see big blue eyes, blonde hair…. And boobs! Her BFF stood by her. The look I have them was not one I would normally give to such beautiful women. Though, it was a look not unlike the one I had just given the toilet just moments before.
    The Blonde woman shrieked “What are you doing in here!! You sick perv!”
    Stammering like an idiot I explained sheepishly, “I’m su-su-su-sorry! I’m umm… I’m the umm… the umm… *suddenly struck with an idea* the janitor ma’am. I apologize I came in here to fix a toilet and I forgot my tools. I was just on my way out to go get them.”

    She Contended, “Oh yeah? Then why aren’t you wearing your uniform!?”

    “But I…”
    Her friend chimed in, “Yeah! And why were you just washing your hands like you had just got done?

    “I was just…”

    She continued, “And why is your fly unzipped?!”
    “I umm…”
    She screamed, “GET OUT! GET OUT YOU F%@CKIN PERVERT!”

    Screaming together, “GET OUT! GET OUT! GET OUUUUUUUUUT!!!!”

    Without another word I simply sprinted out of the bathroom. Stopping to gather myself I heard in the bathroom the sound of stall opening. Followed by, “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! WTF!”

  9. EverLasting says:

    Oh poo. Literally. Just as Jake’s writer’s block started to disappear. He stared at the computer screen for a moment, then sighed heavily. His dead-line was in–he looked at my watch–about an hour, and he STILL had a few more sentences to type before he sent the story to his publisher via email! Did he really have time? Jake sighed again, glancing around. Busy day for the Library. Well, you gotta do what you gotta do. He stood, grabbed his laptop, and walked over to the Librarian’s counter. Thankfully, a good friend–and almost girlfriend–was acting as Librarian today. “Hey Judy, mind holding my laptop for me while i, uh, go browse the who-dun-it section?” Jake asked casually. She blushed and nodded. “Sure Jake!” She said. Jake winked, then took the round-about way to the bathroom. As he walked, his mind started to wander. “Boy, Judy sure is something! I think she even likes me! I really should ask her out….but not until my book is published….sure don’t want any distractions.” Jake thought. He finally walked into the men’s bathroom and into the nearest stall. What a day for spicy burritos.

    After a few minutes, the bathroom door opened and Jake heard the odd noise of….oh no. Stiletto heels?! He flushed and opened the stall door….to see two familiar, bewildered faces staring back at him. Great. Jane and Martha, Judy’s BFF’s. they stared at him. “Jake?!” Gasped Martha. “What are you doing in here?!” Yelped Jane. “Um….well….you see….” Jake pulled his shirt over his nose and spoke in a suddenly deep voice. “Umm….I am actually not Jake….I’m Teddy. The new Janitor that was hired last week.” Jake knew how lame this sounded, but his mouth kept babbling. “You see, one of the toilets backed up, and i, Teddy, not Jake, whoever he is, had to unclog it.” He said. The girls bewildered stares turned into ones of disgust and anger. Trying desperately to save himself, he kept his mouth running. “I happened to have just saved your beautiful stiletto heels from disgusting poo water, so your welcome for that, and you may thank me later. Uh, well, have a nice day ladies.” Full of embarrassment, he washed his hands and left.

    Long story short; Jake missed his dead line, was tossed aside by his publisher, was banned from the library, Jane filed a restraining order against him, and Martha and Judy never spoke to him again for a year. AND the burrito gave him diarreah for a week after. Also an anvil fell on his head today.

    —-

    Done. I yawned and stretched, and tapped the print button. Another newspaper funny-comic printed. “Nice work.” My boss said. I grinned. I love my job.

  10. Josie cat says:

    I understand I have a lot of she’s in this but here it is. Please give constructive criticism.

    “Beep, Beep, Beep,…”
    She slaps the alarm clock and drifts back into an uneasy sleep. Five years of loyalty she had given him, Five years wasted. “How could I be so blind?” She asked herself as she sat at her kitchen table eating out of the gallon ice cream tub. “Why did he cheat? Did I do something to drive him to do that?” she now had tears flooding down her face as she curled into bed.

    “Ain’t nothing…” rings her cell phone. It was Jean calling to see where she was. “I’ll be right there, give me five minutes.” She quickly got dressed, washed her face, and brushed her hair, applied deodorant and mascara. She dashed down her apartment hall and a flight of stairs out the doors to the blue Neon waiting for her. She quickly gets into the car and they drive away. Cheater, Cheater was playing on the radio; “chuh” she scoffed. “Would you mind if I turned it to a different station?”
    “No. I don’t mind” replied Jean.
    “Thanks” she pressed the scan button until it fell on an oldies station. They listened silently to the lyrics as they drove to work. Jean didn’t have to ask what was wrong; for Jean listened to her cry over the phone for three hours talking about the breakup. It felt like an eternity, for the both of them, to arrive at their work place.

    “Will you be okay, today?” asked Jean as they exited the Neon.

    “Yes, I’ll be fine. I’ll see you at the 1 o’clock meeting.” She slowly closed the door and took the stairs instead of the elevator. She wanted to wallow in self-pitty a bit longer; besides, she didn’t exercise the previous day. As she climbed the stairs, to the seventh floor, she had a sensation. She exited on the third floor and briskly walked down the hall to the restrooms. She didn’t concern herself with reading the gender signs. She just entered the first restroom she came to, made a beeline to the nearest stall; taking no notice to the two men. Two sets of bewildered eyes met hers as she exited the stall “What? Haven’t you ever urgently needed to go?” She washed her hands and left.

  11. hunjokittybunny says:

    Looking calm I walk over to the sink and start to wash my hands. looking to the side I would automatically assume the two people who have been staring at me was wondering what on earth are you doing in the wrong bath room, so I proceed to talk without them having to say a single word. Man the woman’s bathroom is so backed up. Literally fancies are everywhere. The toilets are like volcanoes erupting every twelve minutes or so. Walking to dry my hands, I would hope they are making nasty faces and believing my story. The boss said they won’t be able to have someone come down and fix all the toilets till tomorrow. I’m glad the same thing isn’t happening in here man. Turns out someone from lower management had been pulling a prank on the women and thought it be funny, well he got fired and now we all have to use the men’s room till tomorrow. I would hope this doesn’t happen again, now the men wont have any privacy so be careful what you say laughing id walk out the door.

    • Josie cat says:

      This excuse is too amusing and creative! If used in a story revising punctuation and tense consistency would make this flow.

      • EverLasting says:

        I’m not sure i understand whats happening here.

        More punctuation and more consistency, like Josie said, and i have a feeling this would be an entertaining story.

  12. Amala says:

    “Why are these two guys always staring at me”,I used to think. Their staring had worsened during the week. I was able to notice their long eyes from a distance gauging me , talking about me, from the corner of my eyes, by acting as if I was looking at something on my computer. “Were they stalking me?”, I thought.
    I’m a neurotic , by nature and their behavior made me more anxious. Today too, they did the same. I tried to console myself saying that everything would eventually become fine. But, my body wouldn’t respond. It was the call of nature because of my panicking.
    The restroom was over-packed, that just like my bladder. Unable, to wait any longer, I decided to use the restroom on the other side. I went inside, used a separate room , and relieved myself. “Something is not right”,something told me.But, my instincts were right, as I came out of the room, I saw the very same men, who had stared at me right there, staring at themselves on the mirror. ‘What at the hell’, I thought. “Have they stalked me, right up to the restroom”. I was shell-shocked and became petrified with fear. One of the guys, turned around and saw me. He too, seemed shocked. ‘Why are you guys stalking me’, I garnered some courage. The other guy too, turned quickly around and gave the same reaction. “I’m telling you, I can pull up this emergency button here and everyone around will know what perverts you are ,coming to a ladies restroom”. The first guy, looked amused. I wondered it was because I didn’t scare him enough. “I have seen you guys staring at me .Why are you following me”, I threatened them. They appeared confused. The second guy spoke, “Ha!!We weren’t looking at you, we were just looking at the release calendar behind you, the time we would send our code releases to the website”. The first guy followed, “I knew you would mistake us, but I had told him that we should have the calendar in our place itself to prevent misunderstandings.” “But why have you followed me to the restroom”, I asked cynically. They both made a head turn to the urinals present there. “Great!!”, I thought. I was the one who was wrong, I had accidentally used the men’s restroom, because of my tension. I sheepishly told them ,“Sorry guys, my bad, and sorry for the misunderstanding.”
    No one would know that it was the most embarrassing day of my life.

  13. Tim says:

    It was early on a Friday for John to be at work already. He was standing over the toilet staggering a little. One final flush before he was going back to work. He watched to make sure the bowl was clean and checked his watch, 5:25am plenty of time to finish his work before the 8am meeting. Just before opening the stall door, he heard some noise in the bathroom. Quietly he stood in the front corner of the stall and peered through the crack. It was two women who walked into the bathroom. Now he was confused. Was he in the right place? How does he get out of this? He decided to wait and hope that he could get out without anyone noticing.
    He pulled his feet up and waited. He couldn’t make out what they were saying, but he did notice that one was Elizabeth from Accounting. The other girl he couldn’t place. He couldn’t figure it out. Why was there so much discussion? We are in a bathroom, but no one was using the bathroom. The voiced got louder and closer. He backed into the corner of the stall, and slowly picked up his feet. He could hear the footsteps slow like a dance moving toward his location. Then the door to his stall slammed. They were right outside, what was going on!
    John’s imagination was running wild. The sounds were confusing, but he came to realize this might be an early morning rendezvous. There was a lot of moaning. I could see their feet intertwined at the bottom of the door. Just then there was an auditable scream, and everything stopped.
    He waited and waited thinking that he could make his move to leave, but the legs were still at the front of the door. It was quiet, and then he noticed a small pool of blood forming at the base of the legs. Just then a lough thud!! John closed his eyes for a second and when he opened them Elizabeth from Accounting was staring right back at him from under the stall door, her cold eyes just looking back at him.
    John didn’t know what to do. So he quietly and slowly opened the stall door avoiding the blood the best that he could. Closing his eyes he stepped over the body. Now he was standing in the bathroom. All he could think was who was the other person, was he in the wrong bathroom, who was going to be next to come in and see, how could he sneak out?

  14. snuzcook says:

    THE GOOD STUFF

    The Cowboy’s Rest tavern in the small town of Medicine Hat had been redecorated back in the 1980s. Those were days of confusion when it came to genders and political correctness, which is why the signs on the restroom doors were reduced to graphic euphemisms. How do you tell the difference between a male cactus and a female cactus after a pitcher of beer and some questionable scallops? I was in no condition to ponder the question. I decided to opt for the one on the right. I seemed to remember that, more often than not, the Ladies’ was on the right.

    I pushed the door a bit harder than I meant to, and stumbled into the first stall. I managed to secure the stall door, and complete the complicated maneuver of peeling down my too-tight britches quickly enough to keep them out of the line of fire.

    I’d had such hopes for the evening. It was my first stand up gig in over a year. I had a new Justin Bieber boyish look that worked really well with my new material. I had been trying out my new stuff at open mikes at campus bars in Ellensburg and Pullman and it had gone over really well. Now I was hitting some small venues to get the kinks out before going back to the clubs where I might earn some real money. Tiny, the owner, served me the scallops with a straight face before my set, and I thanked him. The set went quickly, and it went really well. Frighteningly well. After the set, table after table of weathered old cowboys poured me beers from their pitchers.

    I heard the restroom door open and the shuffle of several pairs of heavy-soled boots. These women must be wearing some really clunky footwear, I thought. I heard a chorus of quick ‘zips’ somewhere in the vicinity of what I had assumed was a row of sinks, followed by some throat clearing, a fart and a trio of quick flushes. The boots shuffled back out the door. There was very little question that I had chosen the wrong door.
    As I sat, my clammy forehead pressed against the painted bricks, waiting for the battle of wills somewhere in the vicinity of my diaphragm to declare a decision, I started to laugh. The ridiculousness of my present situation, the euphoria of my killer performance and unexpected revenge of the seafood—all of it just suddenly seemed incredibly funny.

    “Is that you, Chris?” I recognized the voice of Tiny’s nephew, Steve, coming from a far stall. Steve had been present when I pitched the idea of me performing. “I thought I might find you in here.”

    “Yeah?” This stall-to-stall conversation promised to be the icing on the cake that was my night.

    “I just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed your performance. I knew you would be a big hit.”

    “Thanks. If you don’t mind me asking, how exactly did you know that? You never saw my act.”

    “Oh, easy. You’re the best looking cross dresser we’ve had here in years. You college boys can really do-er up right.”

    “Why do you think, er, how did you know I’m a, uh, cross dresser?”

    “Aw shucks, everyone knows no woman would ever perform here again since that incident back in ’08. We kinda got a reputation. Even now, I hate to think what would happen if the old boys thought you was really a gal here by yourself. They’re still as playful as ever.”

    “Playful, huh?”

    “Boys’ll be boys, you know. I bet you run into that a lot.”

    “Sure, all the time.”

    “Uh, Chris? Just a word to the wise. I would drop the feminine act now you’re off the stage. Bronco Bob was kinda eyeing you and you don’t want him to get too curious, if you know what I mean.”

    I thanked Steve for his advice, managed a convincing hawk and spit as he walked out, then hit the restroom door so hard the arms of the cactus were still quivering as I jumped in my car and left, spitting gravel. Safe with the smooth concrete highway under me, I laughed. I couldn’t afford to buy this kind of material.

  15. Insomnia says:

    Women think a urinal is a quick place to pee, but men know their greater purpose: they signal the male restroom. With no curved porcelain landmarks in the restrooms at work, I prefer taking my business home with me to avoid a mishap. Paranoid, sure, but before today it had never been such a pressing matter.

    By midday my stomach was doing its best rendition of a whale’s mating call. My options were to seek the restroom or throw away a good pair of pants. In my pressing state, I neglected to check the little tag that said men’s or women’s, but I decided the man waxing his mustache in front of the mirror was proof enough.

    This all could have been avoided if they had urinals.

    After my business began, I heard the familiar clip-clop of high heels against tile. I was amused that some girl might have walked into the boy’s bathroom like a middle school joke — and horrified that I might have walked into the girl’s bathroom, which was never a joke. Even in middle school girls gathered to talk about boys and cry and have their period, and as adults boys can be arrested for intruding.

    “Debra, stop,” Clarice cooed, confirming my dread. “You look beautiful.”

    “You’re saying that to make me feel better.” Her words were strained.
    .
    “Deb, I’m not,” Clarice countered, and from the crack between the stall and the door I saw a purple-clad figure sling her arm around the mustached woman.

    “Oh, come on. You heard what Derek said today.” She did a poor imitation of my voice. “‘Givin’ the mustache ‘nother shot, eh Debby?’”

    My stomach sank.

    “He’s a jerk. Don’t listen to him.”

    My phone vibrated in my pocket. “The meeting is a go,” Greg sent.

    “Everyone can see it,” Debra sobbed.

    I silently pleaded with them to leave. I tried to will them out, but they didn’t budge. I was stranded with my ass going numb. I fidgeted, trying to ignore the urgency my phone proclaimed as it vibrated once more.

    “Why would someone say something so awful?”

    And why the hell wouldn’t a company have urinals installed? They’re practically drains — how much can they possibly cost?

    “I know a great place we can go.”

    I couldn’t take it any longer. I burst out of the stall and yanked the faucet handle to drown my racing thoughts. They stared at me. I checked my face in the mirror. I could see how I would look for the meeting while avoiding their gazes.

    I turned. My eyes met theirs. I shoved my hands in my back pockets to dry them. “Deb, I am so sorry. You’re right; I’m a jerk. What I said was an awful thing. I’ll make it up, I promise. And I know, I shouldn’t eavesdrop, but they really need to have urinals installed.” I dashed to the meeting before my thoughts could catch up.
    __________

    My first time posting here. Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed. :) Criticism encouraged.

    • SilhoueX says:

      I like how this played out! :)

    • SilhoueX says:

      *Almost done…almost done… almost* I thought to myself, scrawling bathroom humor on the wall. The wall read, “Why are you looking up here? The joke is in your hands!” I chuckled lightly to myself as I finish wiping. My ass now clean, preen and pristine, I casually flushed the toilet amid whistling a satisfied tune. Satisfied from both having dropped the proverbial bomb on “Hiroshima” and from having left my witty mark on the bathroom wall. Immortalizing myself forever! Or rather until the janitor cleaned it off. I did NOT envy the guy to use this after me! It smelled like a 3rd world public gas station bathroom, complete with dysentery. But then, I can hardly blame myself. “All you can eat Taco Tuesday” at Jose Taco Buffet is not merely an advertisement, it is a challenge. As an American I must follow the time honored tradition of attacking every challenge head on!

      As I finished pulling up my pants I noticed something odd out of the corner of my eye. The toilet! Rather than flush the poo was rising! I stared on in horror, praying it didn’t overflow. To my relative joy the flow stopped and the poo slush did not spill over. My generous application of toilet paper had rendered the pipes clogged and the toilet resembling a giant bowl of stinky chili.
      Hastily I secured my pants button and quickly exited the stall. Doing my very best to look normal and not to advertise the fact that I had just utterly destroyed a toilet. I made my way to the sinks not daring to look at anyone for fear they would smell my guilt. Washing my hands I was jarred by a sudden and surprised “Ahhh!” The sound distinctly feminine. I looked up to see big blue eyes, blonde hair…. And boobs! Her BFF stood by her. The look I have them was not one I would normally give to such beautiful women. Though, it was a look not unlike the one I had just given the toilet just moments before.
      The Blonde woman shrieked “What are you doing in here!! You sick perv!”
      Stammering like an idiot I explained sheepishly, “I’m su-su-su-sorry! I’m umm… I’m the umm… the umm… *suddenly struck with an idea* the janitor ma’am. I apologize I came in here to fix a toilet and I forgot my tools. I was just on my way out to go get them.”

      She Contended, “Oh yeah? Then why aren’t you wearing your uniform!?”

      “But I…”
      Her friend chimed in, “Yeah! And why were you just washing your hands like you had just got done?

      “I was just…”

      She continued, “And why is your fly unzipped?!”
      “I umm…”
      She screamed, “GET OUT! GET OUT YOU F%@CKIN PERVERT!”

      Screaming together, “GET OUT! GET OUT! GET OUUUUUUUUUT!!!!”

      Without another word I simply sprinted out of the bathroom. Stopping to gather myself I heard in the bathroom the sound of stall opening. Followed by, “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! WTF!”

    • kittycat4ever says:

      I love this line, “my stomach was doing its best rendition of a whale’s mating call”. Just such awesome word choice.

    • Kerpa says:

      I could really feel the awkwardness of the situation when Derek came out of the stall. Good job. I posted for the first time here today as well. Seems like a great space.

  16. Sophia K says:

    The workday ends at five o’clock.
    I bit my lip and solemnly glanced at my watch. It was only three o’clock, but I couldn’t wait any longer. My stomach moaned and my bladder ached. I yearned to be back in my small apartment in my nice clean bathroom. When someone in this office leaves their desk and heads for the bathroom, the opposite sex begins to chuckle. It’s as if I worked with six year olds.
    Could I hold it?
    No, I have two more hours of work.
    Could I crawl to the bathroom without being noticed?
    Pfft, yeah, might as well ride my unicorn there.
    Could I ride my unicorn there?
    Okay, maybe I’m the six year old in the office.
    I waited a few seconds, praying to god for an opening. Suddenly, a co-worker on the other side of the office coughed, catching everybody’s attention. I took this blunder as a signal, and quietly but quickly left my desk. I shuffled to the bathroom, awkwardly walking with crossed legs. I shoved the door open and ran to an open stall. The bathroom seemed empty, with all stall doors open.
    I took a couple of deep breaths to rid myself of anxiety and relieved my bladder.
    “Ah…” I moaned, quickly covering my mouth at the sound.
    I sat in silence for a few seconds, letting my body relax in my seat when the door creaked open.
    “I’m telling you, this girl…she’s amazing.” A masculine voice broke the silence. Worry began to rise in my heart.
    “Big boobs?” A man with a deeper voice asked.
    “You know it.”
    The sound of a high five led to silence.
    Oh crap, I’m in the wrong bathroom.
    I quietly ripped off some toilet paper and wiped. The sound of zippers being pulled and urine hitting urinals filled me with dread.
    I stood up and flushed the toilet. I took a few more deep breaths and stood next to the door of my stall. I heard the sound of two flushes and faucets pouring.
    Okay, they’ll be leaving, and then I can sneak out.
    I heard the door open again and prepared to sprint out of the men’s room.
    “Hey John. Tim.” Another man said.
    Fuck. Another guy. It’s okay; I can wait a bit more. I finished most of my work anyway.
    “John, Tim, Allan, hello.” Yet another man greeted.
    “Hey Rick, hey Bill.” The other men responded.
    Shit. Are they throwing a party or something?
    I listened as about a million other men came in and greeted the others.
    Are they even going to use the bathroom?
    “Okay, it’s okay, just say the truth.” I whispered to myself.
    I gracefully opened the door and prepared to explain.
    “Sarah? What are you doing here?” One of the men asked.
    “I-I-I…” I stammered, suddenly forgetting everything.
    “The lady’s room is broken.” I said, dying a little bit more with each word.
    I sprinted out of the room.
    “Yeah, I’m going home. Screw work.”

  17. resullewlar says:

    “Who cares?” I blurted out as I stood there. Two women at the bathroom sink were staring at me not saying anything. I ignored them and went to wash my hands. It wasn’t normal for me to act like this, but at the time I was angry… even though it really was an accident I was in the women’s bathroom in the first place. I got to the sink, got some soap, and began washing. It was a mistake to be so bold. A woman began to speak. “You should be in the men’s bathroom-” one was saying. She was about to continue but I interrupted, “Yeah, I know.” I gave both of them a dirty look. “I’m just gonna dry my hands and I’ll be out of here. Don’t worry.” Luckily for me, the only damned paper towel dispenser was right directly behind the two women. I approached them and said, “Excuse me.” I stupidly rushed this process of getting the paper towels. I quickly went for the towels as they moved away, but one was still close to the dispenser. When I was close to this woman I slipped on the floor. This was an awkward slip. Bad luck. One foot slipped forward, and I moved my left arm up quickly to keep my balance. As I moved up my left arm I hit one of the women in the chin pretty dang hard. She let out a yell of pain, and the other woman actually yelled at me furiously. It seems she thought I did this on purpose. The echoes in the bathroom were deafening. I stood there in sort of a panic, and knew I could very easily be in trouble. I struck a young woman, in a woman’s restroom, I was well above eighteen, and looking at the struck women, I saw she was bleeding out of her mouth. She must have bitten her tongue pretty badly. I decided I could stay and help, or I could run.

    “I’m so sorry!” I said. I slowly approached them, but the unhurt woman yelled, “Get back!” And to my despair, she actually yelled “Help!” I decided to run. I ran to the exit, decided to put on my beanie, and leisurely walked out of the bathroom. To my relief I saw no one in sight. I walked at a steady pace towards my car. I hurried a bit at the end, made it to my car, started the car, and made my way home. I got home scot-free. I haven’t heard anything of the incident since, but I try to avoid the area.

  18. mskruk says:

    Good grief. I hate public restrooms. I especially hate unfamiliar public restrooms. First, there’s always the immediate problem of locating a restroom in a dire situation. (Since I hate to use public facilities, I seem to wait to the last possible moment, when I am forced to find such a facility or pee myself.) Then, there’s the non-standardized methods of identifying which room is for which binary gender. What, exactly, is indicated by a cactus, such as I found in a small Tex-Mex joint on a recent road trip – a nightmare road trips are filled with horrible encounters with public johns. Once I decide that I first must label myself in order to avoid offending some Victorian style prude or Neanderthal in a restroom, and I decipher which symbol matches which binary definition of gender, I am then forced into a small room filled with – more small rooms
    .
    Yes, I believe the American system of building restrooms for public use is a disaster waiting for me to walk through the door and surprise someone. It might just be a plot. Nevertheless, I currently find myself facing just such a situation right now. I managed to locate the public facilities on the far right side of a massive and impressive lobby. I thank my lucky stars the doors are clearly labeled “MEN” and “WOMEN”. Now I have to decide which most closely matches my current presentation. Some days, I look more or less female and life moves on without too much trouble. But some days, I’m off my game. It’s a lot of work to unlearn all the trappings of one gender and relearn the complex social norms of the opposite gender. I get better at it every single day, I like to think. Unfortunately, my appearance doesn’t always reflect whatever aspect I feel I have improved upon that particular day.

    My calf-length skirt says female, but the growing “5 o’clock shadow” on my chin says male. I don’t see a mirror, so checking is out of the question. Dammit. I’m feeling all Amazon today. I’m using the women’s room.

    I enter the room, locate a stall and do my business – to my great relief, I go about it quickly, no stalls from my aging prostate. I wonder, again, if reassignment surgery would help or hurt my prostate issues. There seem to be more questions than answers in this process. I make a mental note to ask my therapist about it next week.

    Distracted by my thoughts on surgery, I exit the stall without thinking about whether or not anyone came in while I was in the stall. I’m muttering to myself as I walk to the sink and check my lipstick.

    “Who the hell are you?” a voice behind me demands. I turn and see two cis gendered females in the restroom. My number one fear in using public restrooms.

    Suddenly, my ovaries kick in and I toss my hair over my shoulder, smile sweetly and say “My name is Bernadette and I’m late for a meeting. Excuse me, please.”

    I walk out that restroom door feeling as if I were just crowned Queen of the Amazons.

  19. AlternateMe says:

    I’m new to this – I tried to post this earlier this morning but it never showed up? I thought I’d try again. I hope that’s OK:

    The Wrong Bathroom

    Twenty more steps. Just act natural. Fifteen more. Don’t look back. Ten. Smile at the bartender. “Hey, Candy. You on tonight?” Nod. Five steps. Slow down. Push open the restroom door, into the stall, slide the lock, and …

    Safe.

    She leaned her head against the stall door and took a deep breath. She reached under her shirt, felt the small box strapped to her stomach. Touched her blouse, felt the camera lens hidden in a button.

    Breathe in. Breathe out.

    “Take it easy, kid.” A voice buzzed through the tiny receiver in her ear. “Don’t pass out.”

    “Fuck off,” she whispered.

    Buzz. “I heard that.”

    Big breath. “I can’t do this.” Her heart beat loudly in her ears, almost drowning out the voice of the douchebag in charge of this nightmare.

    “Yes you can, kid.” He didn’t have to finish the thought. She could do it, because she didn’t have a choice.

    Two days ago, while she was waiting for the bus, two suits came out of nowhere and politely (their word, not hers) suggested she come with them for a little chat.

    Turns out that a little chat was fed talk for being locked in a room while two agents fired questions at her nonstop for hours before they got to the real point: The mayor’s son, whose body they found last week under the expressway ramp? They ID’d the DNA found all over him. It was hers.

    “The murder weapon, the knife? It came from the bar where you work,” Agent One said ominously. “All signs point to you.”

    Shit.

    “We don’t think you killed him,” Agent Two offered. “But we know who did. Help us take him down and this is over for you.”

    She told them they were crazy. They wanted her to get evidence on a murderer? And yet here she was, in the ladies room at the bar, wearing a wire and a camera.

    Another breath. She reached to unlock the stall just as the restroom door opened. Two sets of footsteps. She paused.

    “We’re clean on that hit,” said the first voice. Was that Reilly, the bartender?

    “Who knew the new girl was banging the mayor’s son?” The other voice laughed. “Couldn’t have set that up better if we tried.”

    She opened the stall door slowly and came face to face with Reilly and bar owner, PJ Maloney.

    “Sorry, guys,” she said sheepishly. “Still new here. Came into the mens’ room by mistake.” She added a little louder, “Did you get all that, douchebag?”

    Buzz. “Roger that, kid. We’re outside the door.”

  20. Jay says:

    I’d just finished peeing on the floor when the door opened. I felt like tucking my tail between my legs and running, but I couldn’t. I was trapped, and though embarrassed by what I’d done, I decided to roll with it.

    Two women entered the bathroom. One of them, a tall brunette, immediately looked at me and said, “Ew, gross. who let you in here?”

    I only stared at them. What could I say that they would understand as a meaningful explanation to my intrusion?

    “What are we gonna do, Terry?” The tall brunette said.

    “I dunno,” the even taller brunette said, “but we ought’a call someone, you think?”

    “Probably… but he’s just too cute to go all Jekyll on and get in trouble.”

    I wanted to say thanks, but I believed my silence would keep me out of trouble.

    The tall brunette walked over to me and began to run her hands through my hair. It wasn’t a strange or unwelcome feeling nor was it abnormal, but I still felt like one of them was going to turn me in. Run, I thought, but then the woman squeezed my face between her hands.

    “God, you’re just the cutest wittle thing!” The woman said to me, and then to her friend, “Let’s just leave it for the janitor. No one needs to know.”

    I licked her hands, and then her face.

    “Bar!” I finally said, and then chuffed and wagged my tail. “Bar, bar!”

    Apparently, I was in the clear.

  21. AlternateMe says:

    The Wrong Bathroom

    Twenty more steps. Just act natural. Fifteen more. Don’t look back. Ten. Smile at the bartender. “Hey, Candy. You on tonight?” Nod. Five steps. Slow down. Push open the restroom door, into the stall, slide the lock, and …

    Safe.

    She leaned her head against the stall door and took a deep breath. She reached under her shirt, felt the small box strapped to her stomach. Touched her blouse, felt the camera lens hidden in a button.

    Breathe in. Breathe out.

    “Take it easy, kid.” A voice buzzed through the tiny receiver in her ear. “Don’t pass out.”

    “Fuck off,” she whispered.

    Buzz. “I heard that.”

    Big breath. “I can’t do this.” Her heart beat loudly in her ears, almost drowning out the voice of the douchebag in charge of this nightmare.

    “Yes you can, kid.” He didn’t have to finish the thought. She could do it, because she didn’t have a choice.

    Two days ago, while she was waiting for the bus, two suits came out of nowhere and politely (their word, not hers) suggested she come with them for a little chat.

    Turns out that a little chat was fed talk for being locked in a room while two agents fired questions at her nonstop for hours before they got to the real point: The mayor’s son, whose body they found last week under the expressway ramp? They ID’d the DNA found all over him. It was hers.

    “The murder weapon, the knife? It came from the bar where you work,” Agent One said ominously. “All signs point to you.”

    Shit.

    “We don’t think you killed him,” Agent Two offered. “But we know who did. Help us take him down and this is over for you.”

    She told them they were crazy. They wanted her to get evidence on a murderer? And yet here she was, in the ladies room at the bar, wearing a wire and a camera.

    Another breath. She reached to unlock the stall just as the restroom door opened. Two sets of footsteps. She paused.

    “We’re clean on that hit,” said the first voice. Was that Reilly, the bartender?

    “Who knew the new girl was banging the mayor’s son?” The other voice laughed. “Couldn’t have set that up better if we tried.”

    She opened the stall door slowly and came face to face with Reilly and bar owner, PJ Maloney.

    “Sorry, guys,” she said sheepishly. “Still new here. Came into the mens’ room by mistake.” She added a little louder, “Did you get all that, douchebag?”

    Buzz. “Roger that, kid. We’re outside the door.”

  22. resullewlar says:

    “Who cares?” I blurted out as I stood there. Two women at the bathroom sink were staring at me not saying anything. I ignored their silence and went to wash my hands. It wasn’t normal for me to act like this, but at the time I was angry… even though it really was an accident I was in the women’s bathroom. I didn’t know I made this mistake until I walked out of the stall. I went towards the sink, got some soap and began washing. It was a mistake to be so bold. A woman began to speak. “You should be in the men’s bathroom-” one was saying. She was about to say something else but I interrupted, “Yeah, I know.” I gave both of them a dirty look. “I’m just gonna dry my hands and I’ll be out of here. Don’t worry,” I said. Lucky for me, the only damned paper towel dispenser was right directly behind the two women. I approached them and said, “Excuse me.” I stupidly rushed this process of getting the paper towels. I quickly went for the towels as they moved away, but one was still close to the dispenser. When I was close to this woman I slipped on the floor. This was an awkward slip. Bad luck. One foot slipped forward, and I moved my left arm up quickly to keep my balance. As I moved up my left arm I hit one of the women in the chin. Pretty dang hard. She let out a yell of pain, and the other woman actually started yelling at me furiously. It seems she thought I did this on purpose. The echoes in the bathroom were deafening. I stood there in sort of a panic, and knew I could very easily be in trouble. I struck a woman, in a woman’s restroom, I was well above eighteen, and looking at the struck women, I saw she was bleeding out of her mouth. She must have bitten her tongue pretty badly. I decided I could stay and help, or I could run.

    “I’m so sorry!” I said. I slowly approached them, but she yelled, “Get back!” And to my despair, she actually yelled “Help!” I decided to run. I ran to the exit, decided to put on my beanie, and leisurely walked out to seem innocent. I walked out and to my relief I saw no one in sight. I walked at a steady pace towards my car. I hurried a bit at the end, made it to my car, started the car, and made my way home. I got home scot-free. I haven’t heard anything of the incident since, but I try to avoid the area.

  23. undiscoveredWA says:

    Click, click, click goes the sound of the computer as my fingers dance along the keys as fast as they will go. Just one more paragraph until this essay is done. So close to the deadline that could make or break my career in the reporting business. I look up to the screen and back down to my fingers and my eyes blur.
    The clicking stops as I take a moment to rub my sleep-deprived eyes and then get back to work. But again they blur and this time everything becomes dark around the edges. Another quick break can’t hurt, can it? Rubbing my eyes again and then I take my hands away from my face I lift my head to look at my computer screen only I cannot see anything. Now everything is dark. Completely swallowed whole by the darkness.
    Bathroom break. I fumble for my bottle of eye drops sitting next to mouse due to the frequent need to rewet my eyes after staring at the screen of my computer and get up and stumble my way to the bathroom-still in total darkness- which I have memorized thanks to the food poisoning I had only last week when my boss insisted that I come to work.
    I push open the door and feel my way to the sink when I hear surprised gasps all around me. These were not low manly gasps, no, they were the gasps of women in disbelief and disgust.
    “How dare you!” one of them scolds
    “You ought to look where you’re goin’ sir,” another whispers. So there were two I concluded. Great just great, I can’t see and now I have two skeptical women-and rightly so- wondering what in the hell I was doing by daring to be in the wrong bathroom.
    “Ladies,” I said, “I know you must be wondering why I am here and I have a very simple explanation only it makes me sound as though I am an alcoholic without his constant glass of whiskey.”
    “Let’s hear it then,” sneered the women who had spoken first.
    “I believe I have gone blind.” After saying this, the words hit me and I could not control myself any longer and I broke down in tears.
    “Son, you are a lunatic.” Responded the second woman, which was followed by an eruption of laughter from the two of them.
    “I’m not lying ma’am. Please help me. Please, I don’t know what I would do if this is the truth.”
    Their laughter continued and trailed them as they slammed the door on me leaving me in the darkness.

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is a very intense take, undiscoveredWA. I was drawn into the MC’s distress and confusion, and I can understand why the women don’t believe him.

      I am kind of curious why the girls didn’t know him; it must be a fairly large company, or he is fairly new on the job.

      • undiscoveredWA says:

        Thank you so much for the input. This is only my second post and I am just beginning to really work on my writing.

        I like to put myself in the shoes of my characters and let the story roll so when I thought of the story I felt that the women shouldn’t know who he is so that it would seem even more odd to them. Now that you brought up that I point I imagine that the women work in a company a level up in the building and were on their way to work when they stopped for a bathroom break.

  24. smallPencil says:

    It looked all wrong. Felt wrong. The Feng Shui was off. Then I saw them.

    The one in the rear, a leggy blonde, sucked in a breath. Like a reverse gasp. The one nearer me, a squat Latina in a pant-suit, her hair pulled back, just stared. Her mouth was open ever-so-slightly, as though forgotten.

    I felt the blood rush to my face. I put up my hands. “I swear to God, I walked into the Men’s Room. I have no idea what just happened.”

    “Well,” said the squat one, “leave.”

    “I will. I just…” I walked to the sink and placed my hand under the soap dispenser. “…hygiene, and all.” I forced out a laugh. Two sharp claps. It had the opposite of its intended effect, adding more tension to the room. I dried my hands quick and rushed for the door. Holding it open, I turned around. “Look. Watch. Just stay there a second and you’ll see what I mean.” I left and turned into the Men’s Room. I remembered going into the last stall. I went back. I went in, closed the door, opened it, and stepped out. There was a scream. High-pitched and weak, it was more of an “eek”. It was the blonde.

    The Latina stared again, jaw forgotten. “How did you do that?”

    “I didn’t do anything.”

    With the blonde in tow, she rushed to the stall and looked it all over, as though searching for a hidden door. Then she left the bathroom. Moments later she appeared in the stall. The blonde screamed again (I was finding her to be quite inarticulate).

    “Anomaly,” whispered the Latina.

    Hearing that, I began signing “Anna-Molly”, by Incubus, “ ANNA-MOLLY, ANNA-MOLLY, ANNA-MOLLY. DOO DOO DOO DOO.”

    “Step back,” said the Latina. We did. She closed herself into the stall.

    “A CLOUD HANGS OVER THIS CITY-BY-THE-SEA…”

    She emerged from the stall a second later. “Doesn’t work both ways.”

    “I WATCH THE SHIPS PASS AND WONDER IF SHE MIGHT BE…”

    She put her finger and thumb to her lips. “Hmmm. Follow me.” She lead us out and into the Men’s Room.

    “OUT THERE AND SOBER, AS A WELL FOR LONELINESS…”

    She went into the last stall. It looked as though her body had become insubstantial along the edges, as though viewed with my eyes crossed. With one long, ruby-red painted thumb-nail, she carved a little crescent moon into the side of the stall.

    “PLEASE DO PERSIST GIRL, IT’S TIME WE MET AND MADE A MESS…”

    She turned around and began to walk into me. I flinched, but sung on. Before she ran into me she vanished.

    “I PICTURE YOUR FACE IN THE BACK OF MY EYES…”

    She came back into the room and pointed to the moon carving. “It’s in the Women’s Room, too. This stall exists in both rooms.”

    “A FIRE IN THE ATTIC. A PROOF OF THE PRIZE…”

    The blonde looked at her watch. “It’s 5:00. Time to go home.”

    “ANNA-MOLLY, ANNA-MOLLY, ANNA-MOLLY…”

  25. mustangmare says:

    First time sharing anything I’ve written, but here goes:

    I finished my business in the bathroom stall, still fuming over the new hire. Why had Tammy had to hire my greatest high school enemy? I zipped my pants ferociously and flushed the toilet as hard as I could. One thing was sure- I was not going to let Lindsey ruin my career. I pushed the stall door open.

    My mind froze and I shrunk back. There in front of me were two men at the sinks, washing their hands like this was an everyday occurrence. What were they doing in the ladies’ room?

    I caught one of them looking at me in the mirror, a shocked expression on his face. I was too embarrassed for him too make eye contact, so my eyes darted around the room. That’s when I spotted the urinals. I groaned inwardly. How could I have missed them? Now I was going to have to explain myself.

    I straightened my back and masked confidence as I stepped out of the stall, wishing desperately that I could just disappear. Then inspiration struck. “Excuse me, gentlemen. Where have I landed?” I asked in my best Italian accent.

    The second man looked at me quizzically. “What do you mean? You’ve stepped into the wrong restroom by the looks of it.”

    I tried not the blush, but I couldn’t help it. I spoke quickly to cover up my awkwardness. “It seems my teleportation machine has malfunctioned.” I was inching towards the door, trying not to run. “I just need to know where I am so I can get back home in case machine messes up again and doesn’t revert in 30 seconds. In fact, I need to be by myself because I don’t know if it will take you with me and we wouldn’t want that.”

    I bolted for the door, exhaling only when I was safely on the other side. My only wish now is that I never see those two men again.

  26. margi33 says:

    Warning: this is graphic
    And I apologize for not commenting on others this week… still on vacation and my phone connection is terrible
    _____
    I rub my eyes and glare from the windowed doors of my office building. One of these days I’m going to get myself into trouble working late like this . The city is pitch black and it’s five blocks to the metro. No-name bars flank both sides of the street. Their blinking neon signs seem to magically attract scum.

    As I push the doors open, I realize something. I have to pee. Damn, I should have gone before I walked down five flights of stairs. I know of a public restroom a few buildings away — not safe, but it will have to do.

    I step onto the sidewalk and quicken my pace. The glance of every passerby causes me to hold my breath. Ducking into the entrance of the restroom, I check my back. A sickly yellow pallor fills the small concrete enclosure. A single light bulb clings to the ceiling protected by its wire cage. One toilet stall sits several steps to my left. I hurry inside and thwack the lock into place. The slight sense of security I feel is probably misplaced.

    Hurry, hurry, I think. Almost done….relief is instant but short lived. I hear the exterior door swing and heavy boots thump into the dingy space. Two pair of boots. Shit.

    A man’s voice and the sound of a plastic baggie crinkling fills the space.

    “Bump?” He asks. His voice has a lunatic quality that I can’t explain.

    “Sure I’ll take another bump before we bump, ” another man answers while laughing nervously. Interesting. Two men? In my haste, I must have picked the wrong door.

    I stay very still and hold my breath. Maybe they won’t notice me. Violent snorting breaks my thoughts — cocaine. Could be bad, but at least they are preoccupied.

    “Hell yeah,” the first guy exclaims as he stumbles backward, his feet approaching my stall. Too close for my comfort.

    Another snort — the other guy probably getting his fix. Then long silence. The quiet makes my skin prickle. I carefully peek under the door. What I see makes me jerk my head back in. Wow. The two men, together – embracing is the only way I want to label it in my head, only they are dressed like they stepped off the set of Pulp Fiction.

    I peek again though I don’t want to. The lunatic guy is behind the other, but something’s not right. His hands are around the other man’s throat while the other struggles to free himself. A rhythm of grunts fill the air – one of pleasure, one of pain. Fear fills me. What can I do but wait and hope?

    Slipping off my stilettos a centimeter at a time, I decide to climb onto the toilet seat and hide my presence, but something crashes against the stall door. A head flops under the door’s bottom. A throat, slashed open, is smiling red at me. I stifle a scream as blood puddles on the concrete floor. The pace of my heart explodes.

    I clamber onto the toilet seat and change my plan. Stiletto in each hand, with heels pointed outward, I wait for the door to open. Everyone is right – my life scrolls through my mind like an old-time picture show.

    I will fight and live if it comes to that I decide, like it’s a choice.

    A lunatic voice fills my ears as it sing-songs, “I – can – see – you.” And the boot tips show beneath the door.

    • Marie Therese Knepper says:

      Next chapter, please! I like your style.

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is intense and dramatic; graphic yes, but I was prepared for biological graphic and it caught me off guard. You set up the tension perfectly, and now I’m aching to know how it turned out.

      Great story, Margi!

    • Reaper says:

      Holy crap! I was expecting more graphic and kept thinking, this isn’t that bad. Then I got to your last line and only when I jumped did I realize I had been holding my breath. The MC’s voice is perfect and that it was told in first person made it that much more intense. The ending point implies a very bad end because of the perspective. Your description of the lunatic voice was very nice the first time, then the repeat of it just made it so intense and perfect. Amazingly creepy and perfectly written.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        This isn’t my usual ballywick but the writing is so good, I was drawn into it. The end of your story has so much power to it, I wanted more. I have an idea from the MC’s self thoughts, she’s tougher than the reader realizes. Can’t wait for part two .

  27. Augie says:

    PSD, (Personal Support Detachment), Discharge from active duty desk….

    The Commander signs the request chit ‘approved’ and looks at the young man standing in attention in front of him.

    “Good luck son! Normally I would attempt to convince a warrior with your record to re-enlist. You served your country honorably. Just know when you hit the civilian sector, they don’t think like us. I can take you out of the war, but not the war in you. Well,…. Being 23 years old, there is time to get it out of your system. Thank you for your service!“

    The young warrior responds, “thank you sir”, and walks to the nearest bathroom. Did he need to relieve himself? Yes, the tears were flowing. He missed his brothers fighting overseas and wondered how they were coping.

    He sat, tears flowing, staring at his release document. Just then a woman walks in with her daughter. The small child is wearing her Sunday dress, fit for a funeral.

    The little girl cries….

    “Mommy, this isn’t daddy! This is a flag! I thought we came here to get daddy!”

    The mother held her child. “ Julie, daddy isn’t coming home, but he is here with us as we speak. He will always watch over us!”

    The young warrior walks out of the stall, startling the young mother.

    “What are you doing in here sir? Clearly you are in the wrong bathroom!”

    The warrior wipes his tears, “ Ma’am, I think I’m in the right one today.”

    The warrior kneels in front of the little girl, “What’s your name princess?”

    The mother gives the ‘ok nod’ to her child, “ I’m Julie sir.”

    “Thank you Julie, I have to go now. I’m late for my watch.”

    The Commander looks up from his desk as the 23-year-old returns and snaps to attention.

    “Sir, I need to re-enlist, now!”

    • Marie Therese Knepper says:

      Sweet. Your MC is still tugging at my heart.

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is heartwarming and inspiring, Augie. You’re right, he was in the right bathroom that day.

    • Reaper says:

      Heart breaking Augie. Your description of Julie is going to haunt me for a bit and the affect on your warrior is perfect. It is interesting that you touch on a fact that I came to realize a couple of years back. The way civilians respond to soldiers and soldiers to civilians once they get out is off. There is something about a warrior that separates them forever. They almost fit but just don’t, because they can never be the same as other people. Most of us respect them, love them, even want to help them slide back in to the round hole, but we will always look at them differently. I realized most people that are not warriors don’t seem to understand that, wanting to keep trying to make them part of us instead of meeting them half way and respecting that change. Your story made me realize that while we don’t often get it you guys might have that understanding as part of who you are. Musings aside, this is powerful and a beautiful description of how duty calls to those that will listen.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        A very touching story Augie. I may have the clue why it’s so difficult for the men coming home from the war. At the end of WWII, I was nine and I saw the soldiers coming home especially my older sister’s boyfriend.

        War was different then. A soldier knew his enemy, war exploded before our men. The battle for Iwo, makes that perfectly clear. The marines that landed at Iwo, wrote te story of war. If you haven’t read these book, do so. “Flags Of Our Fathers,” and “The Fly Boys.”

        They’re not easy books to read but they explain the horrors of war better than any books I’ve ever read before, including the stories of the Civil War.

      • Augie says:

        Thanks Reaper. Every once in a while I like to write a piece that shows why humor is so vital to us. Thank you for understanding the difficult transition. Old warriors, proudly wearing their ball caps distinguishing their service can tell you hundreds of stories, but cant seem to remember where they parked the car.

  28. Office Politics

    It wasn’t even noon and already I’d been shot at and blown up. You have got to love the city. At least nobody got hurt. Well, except for the criminals taking hostages at the bank. Unfortunately, I had to break one of their arms. The others will have concussions with varying degrees of severity. They deserved it for making me late. Again. Besides, who the hell robs a bank anymore anyway? Everyone knows that they don’t keep millions on site. All of the money is pretty much just zeroes and ones in a computer these days. I figure the bank has maybe $20,000 in cash. I mean that was more than I was making in a year at this point, but I wouldn’t want to throw away years in federal “make me your bitch” prison for it.
    At least after I had the time to pick up the morning coffee orders that my department always demanded. The office was full of creatures of habit that always got the same thing so I was confident when I picked them up from that place on the corner before sneaking back in to change. I couldn’t make it in the front door because if I had I’d surely have been busted for being late again by my micro-managing fat ass of a boss. So I slid in through one of the slim bathroom windows and dropped down into a stall. As I did my bag containing my regular clothes snags on the window and I damn near hang myself over the shitter. Fortunately I’m not too vulnerable and the only victim is one of the special order coffees that makes a splash in the toilet. Great. Who was going to cry over not getting a coffee? I free myself out of the possibly embarrassing situation. Thank God nobody saw or they would have thought I cracked under the stress of the office. Or even worse, that I was pulling a “Carradine” at work. I can see the headline now, “Employee dressed as superhero dies in office sex game.”
    I finish changing and stuff my heroics gear into my messenger bag/would be noose. Then I glance in the toilet. I’m not fishing the cup out, because I’m not certain the coffee is the only thing that made the water warm and brown. I compose myself and exit the stall only to walk right into Tim and Eric from billing. Their faces are bewildered as they take me in. Eric isn’t even bothering to finish closing his pants, and Tim still has soap bubbles on his hands. Damn it I must have gone in the men’s room window. I really need to slow down.
    Eric breaks the silence first, “This isn’t a bathroom for interns Laura. Even if they’re sneaking in from last night’s costume party.”
    Well at least he was a dumb asshole. Tim on the other hand was drying his hands and giving me a knowing wink. He handed me a new paper towel and told me my “mascara” was running. It was soot from one of the bombs. I offered him a coffee which he accepted, thanking me for the coffee and everything else I do in the office.
    “Oh get a room, I’d like to finish here,” Eric interrupted. “You can leave me one of those coffees on your way out Laura.”
    “Oh sure thing sir, I already left it in the stall.” I smile as I push open the door.

    • lionetravail says:

      Cute story with some great lines. You do have some tense switches, past to present and back, which could be tightened up, but other than that, it’s a fun story.

      “I wouldn’t want to throw away years in some federal “make me your bitch” prison” is hysterical and well put, and the coffee in the toilet part of the scene is awesome.

      Nicely done!

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is a great superhero story, originalalchemist. I like how Eric’s objection isn’t that she’s female, it’s that she’s an intern.

      I can see the MC getting in scrapes with her secret identity, being irrepressible in both personae. That would also lead to some interesting stories…

  29. Observer Tim says:

    Believe it or not, this came to me while writing the first one…
    _____

    VERY WRONG BATHROOM

    I wasn’t entirely sure where I was except that it had a toilet in it, but that was enough. Jeans drop, drawers drop, and then the entire contents of my intestine drop. I’ve never been in that big a rush to get to the bathroom before; what the heck was in a Double Decker Grand Master Burrito With Freakin’ Everything, anyway?

    It took a moment to catch my breath, and a few more before my legs would support me again. You don’t need me to go into the mechanics of wiping; just suffice it to say that I needed more paper than usual. Finally the whole ordeal was over. Properly re-dressed, I stepped out of the stall.

    And froze. I’d been in the ladies’ room once or twice by accident: this wasn’t it. It looked more like the cantina from Star Wars. A ten-foot caterpillar was leaning over the sink washing two pairs of hands. A semi-transparent woman who only existed from the waist up was primping in the mirror, and some kind of gelatinous ooze was running itself back and forth through the roller towel. The only occupants looking at me were the most normal-looking: a couple of goth spinsters whose fangs identified them as sabre-toothed vampires. Or something.

    “What have we here, Matilda? A man?”

    “Indeed, Lucrezia, it does look like a man.”

    “Sorry ladies. I, uh, seem to have come into the wrong washroom.”

    “You certainly have, boy. You most certainly have.” Lucrezia smiled, showing off more sharpened teeth to match her oversized canines.

    “It’s like having a snack delivered just for us.” Matilda revealed similar dentition.

    “Wait! You don’t want to eat me!”

    “Why not, Dearie?”

    “Because I’m a… a… a werewolf! That’s it, I’m a werewolf in human form!” I started edging toward the exit.

    “Ooh, but I love werewolf! It has such a wonderful game taste. Do you hunt in the city or the wilds, Dear?”

    “Uh, the city?”

    “Ooh, all that fresh young urban meat in him! It’s been a while since I tasted urban meat. Transform for us, boy. The fight will make you more savoury.”

    The caterpillar half-turned. “Not in here, you old harridans. I don’t want to have to wash the blood out of my fur again.”

    They turned toward her for just a split second, but it was enough. I bolted past them out the door and into the crowded mall.

    And that’s what brought me to you, officer. Are there two little old ladies following me?

    • Marie Therese Knepper says:

      Still trying to pick my jaw off the floor. Great work!

    • lionetravail says:

      Awesome fun- I can picture the guy out of breath and earnest looking as he ran down the story for a skeptical cop. So easy to visualize, and nicely done. Again. :)

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        What a romp, the best of the best. My favorite part was. “and some kind of gelatinous ooze was running itself back and forth though the roller towel”. Great read for a boring Tuesday afternoon.Prceless.

  30. I..honestly have no idea what I was thinking when I wrote this. Still, I hope you enjoy this piece!

    ======================
    Well. This was embarrassing.

    Recovering quickly, I calmly arched an eyebrow at my fellow colleagues.

    “Is there a problem, gentlemen?”

    “Problem? Of course there’s a problem!” Colby David burst out. “What on earth are you doing in the men’s room?”

    Colby David was the Financial Director’s assistant. Despite his average stature, effeminate features and occasional temper, his sharp mind together with his affinity for numbers and programming made him well sought-after by countless companies and corporations. It was predicted that he would be promoted soon, and no doubt well-deserved.

    An amused expression crossed my face, “Why? Is it closed or something?”

    “No, but…” Colby sputtered, trying to come up with a plausible explanation.

    “No? Did you want some alone time, then?”

    His face turned bright red.

    A chuckle cut him off, and both of us turned to face the source.

    “We simply find it curious,” the dark eyes of Stephen Memphis glinted with laughter.

    Stephen Memphis. Six foot tall with cold, aristocratic features but a genuinely warm and friendly disposition, he was often ribbed for his ‘prince-like’ looks that he took in good nature. Which was why, it was often hard to believe that he was one of the best lawyers in the world. With the title that both media and tabloids had given him – ‘Court Terminator’.

    “And what makes this the men’s room, then?” I questioned, folding my arms.

    “The..facilities?” Colby waved his hand around the room. “The sign on the door?”

    “…I can’t really disagree on the facilities front, somewhat,” I admitted. “But the sign?”

    “We are the ones, as human beings who label things. We categorize things, and organize them so we can make sense of all the chaos and disorganization.”

    “It’s not all bad, but it’s not all good either.”

    Silence.

    Colby looked thoughtful, Stephen contemplative.

    And then Colby broke the silence.

    “So… let’s say, if some things were to be left natural, would that mean more coed stuff?”

    “COLBY JAMES DAVID!”

    • Reaper says:

      Greatest thing in this was your character development. You both told and showed. I laughed out loud at the end. The wording on the first line felt a little off with fellow colleagues because the fellow seemed unnecessary. However, assuming she was an attorney too makes it fit very well into the voice of the story.

      • Thank you very much! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I haven’t been writing awhile, and the moment I saw the prompt I just couldn’t resist.

        Profession-wise, I honestly didn’t know what type of job suited her. At first, I considered writing her as a secretary but it didn’t appeal to me. Hence, I didn’t specify her job here in the prompt.

        Now that I re-read what I wrote though, I agree. She fits as an attorney.

        Again, much thanks!

    • Observer Tim says:

      I love the way everyone is so cool and collected through the whole incident; it reminds me of an old British drawing-room comedy in its style and dialog. Incredible work, theexpressivewriter.

      The only thing that broke the mood for me was ‘coed stuff’, which might have been ‘coeducational situations’ or something equally pretentious…

      • Thank you! It’s been awhile since I wrote, so I’m happy that you and others enjoy it.

        Ah, there’s a reason for the “coed stuff” there actually ^^;; But because of the word limit I didn’t dare go overboard, not to mention make it more complicated, so…

        Anyway, in my mind while I was writing this, Colby’s like a brother to Stephen, and the Main Character and Stephen are dating. Said Main Character is kind of like an elder sister to Colby.

        Basically, a dysfunctional(?) work/office family. Kind of.

    • lionetravail says:

      Nice take- your MC certainly reads as the self-assured, self-confident and self-aware type, and I agree, partner in the firm fits better than peon in the firm. She’s clearly got dominant personality when she asks “Why? Did you need some alone time?”

      This developed nicely, but I would not have known that the MC and Stephen were dating from the story itself, only from your explanation after the fact. I’m not sure it needs it- I’m happier with her a colleague who’s so self-assured that she’s willing to challenge the status quo with 2 male lawyers (including the Court “Terminator”).

      I found the end a little, hmm, flatter maybe?, than the buildup to it… I love the end, where she’s affronted and uses his full name as an exclamation, but what Colby said wasn’t all that fresh a thing to say, at least not to my mind. If she’s used to arguing cases, I’d like her argument that the facilities can theoretically be shared to be more oomphy, and Colby’s last line to be more edge-of-good-taste to really sell this piece.

      Very cool take on this, and I think your MC has a lot of potential as a compelling character in a longer piece :)

      • Thank you! Much agreed. Though, I might be tempted to write a strong-willed employee in a position that’s lower than he/she should have – it would be an interesting challenge.

        Frankly, I agree. Also, I didn’t want to over-complicate the whole thing and this piece was written while I was winding down from my studies.

        Yes, it could have been improved. I’m not quite familiar with the language/lingo/vocabulary lawyers use, but then again, there’s always more room for improvement.

        Again, much thanks for your comment! You’ve certainly given me some things to think about, as do the others.

  31. pinkbamboo says:

    not one who likes the bathroom humor but here goes, swinging it without much thought

    ***
    I folded the toilet paper and wrapped it around my hand before I pushed the flush down. Ugh, I don’t even want to think of how much germs or bacteria was on the handle. I threw the toilet paper into the bowl and watched it disappeared. Straightening my dress, I unlocked the door and walked out.

    Only to see Jon and Alan standing by the sink, washing their hands. I quickly pushed the door close but they had seen me in the mirror. Both of them turned around and I could hear the taps were switched off and their footsteps getting closer to the door.

    What the hell were they doing in the ladies? What was I supposed to do now? How could they .. oh wait .. I glanced around. Where was the sanitary bin that was always in this corner? I turned around in the cubicle and found none. Oh great!

    “Jill?” that was Alan. Shit.

    “Um .. is he gone yet?” I blurted out.

    “Who?” Jon was standing further away.

    I slowly opened the door and looked around. Both men were looking at me and I needed to get out of there before more men decided to use the bathroom.

    “Um.. there was this guy who was following me quite closely. I got scared and ran in here when I turned the corner. Is he gone yet?” I babbled frantically as my eyes looked at the exit.

    Jon frowned as Alan walked out to take a look around. This was so embarrassing, both of them looked genuinely concerned for me. Alan came back in and shook his head.

    “Who was that guy? Does he work here?” Jon asked.

    I shook my head slowly. “I’ve never seen him but since it’s clear now, I can leave”

    “How does he looked like?” Alan crossed his arms across his chest.

    “Umm short with cap. Wore black t shirt or something” I mentioned dismissively.

    “I think we should inform the head of security” Jon turned to Alan.

    “Oh no no, I think it’s alright” I shook my head again.

    “Jill, how did this guy get in the building if he’s not an employee here?” Alan looked serious.

    “If he’s following you around, you might be in danger” Jon added.

    “I think he will stop following me around”

    “What if he starts following other girls around?”

    I just wanted to get back to my desk and these colleagues of mine were being too helpful and concerned over a fake stalker. What should I do?

    “Maybe we ought to go down to the security room and get them to look at the camera. We can identify this intruder” Jon suggested and Alan nodded in agreement.

    Oh no no no .. I stepped in front of them.

    “I don’t think it’s necessary, you guys” I smiled nervously.

    “Jill, cooperate with us”

    “You know what? I think I might be mistaken. I had a very bad cold last night and I took some medication and my vision and my mind probably played a trick on me” I babbled on.

    The two of them looked at me.

    “You sure about that?” Alan asked softly.

    “Yes, yes the more I thought of it. I think I must have imagined something” I tapped my head to show how silly I felt.

    Jon was quiet and then he turned to me.

    “What medication did you take? It shouldn’t affect you that badly”

    I wanted to scream.

    Lying was so exhausting!

    • Reaper says:

      Oh my. This is yet another side of your writing I have not seen before. The humor was great and the thinking on her feet of the MC leading to an evolving web of lies she got caught in was so nicely done.

    • Observer Tim says:

      And that’s the problem with lying…

      Wonderful take, pinkbamboo. I love the way you told a bathroom tale without the bathroom humour.

      If I could venture a suggestion: this tale might be enhanced by putting it in the present tense – it would carry the MC’s emotions and desperation a bit more effectively.

      • pinkbamboo says:

        everytime i see your name, i think of the adjective wise. yes, i do believe now that you mentioned it, the story would have worked better in present tense. i just got so used to past tense. just a quick 20 mins scribble during lunch it was :)

    • lionetravail says:

      Fun take, Pinkbamboo! For a 20 minute effort, it flows amazingly well. But the guys in the bathroom are right, these days- can’t take anything for granted.

      In a fun novel by Matthew Woodring Stover (Heroes Die), a heroic antihero says something to the effect: “It’s much easier to kill someone than lie to them… a lie you have to nurture along, or else it might bite you in the ass.”

    • Marie Therese Knepper says:

      Haha. Wonderful. I like your MC.

  32. kuribo says:

    My head pounded as if a hundred angry tap dancers were putting on the performance of a lifetime inside my skull. The overhead lights of the restroom were overbearing in my hung-over state. I flushed the faded memories of last night’s binge down the toilet. After pulling up my pants, I opened the stall and saw a most peculiar sight. Two well-dressed women were facing my stall. They were not happy to see me in the least. Horror dawned on me slowly as I looked around and noticed the distinct lack of urinals in this “men’s room.”

    “Ladies,” I said, “obviously there’s been a misunderstanding.” Sweat was forming at my brow.

    “There is no misunderstanding,” said the woman on the left. She spoke with a thick, calculating Russian accent. My heart dropped into my stomach with the realization of my situation.

    “We are here for the microfilm. Tell us where it is, or we shoot you on the spot,” the second woman said. To prove their point, each of them drew a silenced 9mm handgun and pointed it at me.

    “The microfilm’s in my back pocket,” I said.

    “ Turn around and face the wall,” said the first one. I did as I was told. I held my hands up in a gesture of submission and turned toward the wall. My heart pounded with the adrenaline that had begun coursing through my bloodstream. The microfilm was indeed in my back pocket. My gun was in my front waistband. No way in hell was I dying in a ladies’ room.

    The woman reached for my back pocket. I made my move, grabbing the arm she used to wield the gun. A quick twist and a cry of pain let me know that I had broken her wrist. Her gun fell to the floor. Using the first woman to shield me, I turned toward the second woman.

    The second assassin was faster than me. As my gun came up, she fired two shots. Both of her shots struck my hostage in the chest. I rocked from the impact, then fired twice in response. I had better aim than she did. She was dead before she hit the floor. I dropped my hostage; she had taken her last breath as well.

    My ears were still ringing from the gunfire in the enclosed area. My hangover shouted at me in protest. I cleaned up as best I could, hiding the two dead murderers in the bathroom stalls. I took out my secure communications phone and called the Agency.

    “I’ve got two dead Red Hand members here,” I said. The Agency asked me for details about the attack, and I quickly provided the answers. They would take care of the mess here. I needed to find some medicine for my headache. After all, I had a microfilm to deliver.

    • Marie Therese Knepper says:

      Thank you for a great story, nicely packaged and expertly wrapped, :)

    • lionetravail says:

      Very nice action! I read it, and could see it on my mind’s film theater! (No popcorn though; need to upgrade my mind’s theater, I think.)

      Great job!

      • EverLasting says:

        I liked the story, and the whole secret-agent thing was a pleasant surprise.

        To make it more realistic maybe the MC should have heard footsteps running towards the restroom after the shootings, like random civilians, racing to see what had happened. A little more detail of the women and the bathroom would have been nice, Though taking into account the word limit, it was pretty good. Personally, i think the hangover was a good touch, but an actual current-time buzz would have been more James Bond like, and a touch funnier.

        Though overall, a great story. Great job!

  33. kuribo says:

    Hangover

    My head pounded as if a hundred angry tap dancers were putting on the performance of a lifetime inside my skull. The overhead lights of the restroom were overbearing in my hung-over state. I flushed the faded memories of last night’s binge down the toilet. After pulling up my pants, I opened the stall and saw a most peculiar sight. Two well-dressed women were facing my stall. They were not happy to see me in the least. Horror dawned on me slowly as I looked around and noticed the distinct lack of urinals in this “men’s room.”

    “Ladies,” I said, “obviously there’s been a misunderstanding.” Sweat was forming at my brow.

    “There is no misunderstanding,” said the woman on the left. She spoke with a thick, calculating Russian accent. My heart dropped into my stomach with the realization of my situation.

    “We are here for the microfilm. Tell us where it is, or we shoot you on the spot,” the second woman said. To prove their point, each of them drew a silenced 9mm handgun and pointed it at me.

    “The microfilm’s in my back pocket,” I said.

    “ Turn around and face the wall,” said the first one. I did as I was told. I held my hands up in a gesture of submission and turned toward the wall. My heart pounded with the adrenaline that had begun coursing through my bloodstream. The microfilm was indeed in my back pocket. My gun was in my front waistband. No way in hell was I dying in a ladies’ room.

    The woman reached for my back pocket. I made my move, grabbing the arm she used to wield the gun. A quick twist and a cry of pain let me know that I had broken her wrist. Her gun fell to the floor. Using the first woman to shield me, I turned toward the second woman.

    The second assassin was faster than me. As my gun came up, she fired two shots. Both of her shots struck my hostage in the chest. I rocked from the impact, then fired twice in response. I had better aim than she did. She was dead before she hit the floor. I dropped my hostage; she had taken her last breath as well.

    My ears were still ringing from the gunfire in the enclosed area. My hangover shouted at me in protest. I cleaned up as best I could, hiding the two dead murderers in the bathroom stalls. I took out my secure communications phone and called the Agency.

    “I’ve got two dead Red Hand members here,” I said. The Agency asked me for details about the attack, and I quickly provided the answers. They would take care of the mess here. I needed to find some medicine for my headache. After all, I had a microfilm to deliver.

  34. lionetravail says:

    “Couldn’t Resist”

    “Now,” the man said furtively into his handheld.

    Only a hiss of static returned.

    Were he prone to demonstrative expressions of strong emotions, his face might have expressed frustration, annoyance. As it was, it remained dispassionate as he fiddled with the settings, to no avail.

    In the bathroom stall, he froze when he heard the door open.

    “And I was telling Sara that I overheard Lee, over in accounting, say that she was ‘totally boinkable’,” a female voice said.

    “Ohmygod,” a second, deeper female voice responded. “That is so inappropriate!”

    “Don’t I know it, Kelly!” the first voice said with a gruff laugh.

    “Of course, she is totally boinkable,” the second voice said.

    “I know! I would so like to get into her pants,” the first voice said.

    “Sheesh, you are soooo bad, Karen!”

    The man in the stall’s handheld beeped at the most inopportune time.

    “Who’s that?” the first voice, Karen, said suspiciously.

    The man hesitated only a moment. “Please don’t be alarmed, I’m coming out,” he said.

    Gasps came as he opened the stall door and exited.

    He saw that one of the women had backed up to the door, while the other one, apparently Karen he concluded, stood belligerently in the middle of the bathroom.

    “Why shouldn’t we call the cops… hey, why are you wearing a ski hat in June?” she said, accusatory anger lapsing into suspicious confusion.

    “Because I need to cover over a physical deformity,” he replied mildly.

    “You bald or something?” Kelly said from the door, curiosity outweighing fear.

    “It is, in fact, my ears,” the man replied.

    Karen, standing close enough, made a rapid move forward and yanked off the ski hat. Her jaw dropped.

    The man raised one eyebrow. “When I was young,” he began, as if by rote, “my head was caught in a mechanical rice-picker…”

    His handheld beeped again, and he thumbed it without looking. As the women stood there, a loud whine began and the man dematerialized before them.

    “Was that…?” began Kelly disbelievingly.

    “Spock,” Karen said firmly.

    “And he was…?”

    “Vulcan, here, and probably on a mission from the Enterprise or something close enough to make no nevermind,” came the calm reply.

    “Waitwaitwait!” cried Kelly. “Are you trying to tell me you actually think Spock, and transporters, and stuff like that is real? I mean, really real, not just TV and movies??”

    “Why not?” Karen shrugged, waving the ski hat in her hand as if to show the tangible reality.

    “Well, but we have to tell someone!” Kelly said. “Maybe get the hat genetically tested for proof or something, right?”

    “Nooooo,” Karen said slowly, considering.

    “But this is HUGE! If it’s all real, we have to, like, break the story or something!”

    “If it is real, and they’re back in time, do you really want to break the Prime Directive for Spock and maybe screw up the whole future?” Karen said.

    Kelly started to say something, but was so flustered she stopped. Karen waited as she tried again, but again couldn’t start something intelligible. Finally, Kelly looked accusingly at Karen.

    “Waitaminute,” she said. “You think he’s…”

    “Totally boinkable,” finished Karen smugly.

    “Ohmygod! You are shameless!”

    Karen just smiled and went to the mirror to check her makeup.

    • lionetravail says:

      Hmm, spacing an issue- the title is the first line “Couldn’t Resist”… then story begins.

    • Augie says:

      Hilarious! I was wondering Hand held beeper? Nicely done!

    • Marie Therese Knepper says:

      Loved it. Never saw Spock coming! Mechanical rice-picker. :D

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Valley girls on sex romp with Spock. Do you think he might crack a smile while doing so? A funny, jaw-dropping tale you’ve woven here. Srange thing though, even thought I’m adorable, no valley grl has ever called me boinkable. SIGH !

      • lionetravail says:

        Thanks guys- I felt impish as I wrote this one, and had to work on holding the reveal back as much as possible: “communicator? No, let’s see… ‘handheld’, yeah, that should mislead…”

        And yes, Kerry, geeky, trek-savvy valley girls who would ‘totes’ get with Spock? I was never surprised to hear (from some) that they play the same games guys do, over what celebrity would they want to do what with, and all that stuff. Though I’m sorry you haven’t gotten the boinkable nudge in the past… something to aspire to, perhaps :)

    • Observer Tim says:

      I almost got it at ski hat; the full reveal was great. The whole story seems just so natural.

      Wonderful job, lionetravail.

  35. Observer Tim says:

    The vicious cramp in my abdomen slowly unwinds as I sit there. I’ve just spent twenty minutes getting reamed out by Ms. Jenkins, my boss’s boss. She doesn’t give a damn if you have to go to the bathroom; in fact, I’m pretty sure she waited until I did before calling me in to the office.

    The release of physical pressure doesn’t help with the release of mental pressure. I feel like a total… waste of time. Apparently my faux-pas had cost our company a large account and I was exactly one mistake away from a pink slip. My only hope was to stay under the radar for a couple of weeks.

    I hear the outer door open but pay no real attention; everybody’s here for the same reason, after all. Two people are whispering an argument; neither sounds familiar. I don’t really want to face anyone right now, but I’ll have to get past them. I “do the paperwork”, then flush and step out.

    I stop dead. Two women are standing there whispering to each other. I don’t know either of them, but they’re both the young pretty types we hire for the clerical pool. They’re both wearing the short skirts and tight blouses that Old Man Paulson likes. They turn as I come out of the stall and I’m staring into four eyes as big as saucers.

    The brunette blurts out, “Mr. James! What are you doing here?”

    “I… I… I must have…” I must have gone into the ladies’ washroom by mistake! A thousand disaster scenarios run through my head, most involving words like “sexual harassment.” I try to step back but am blocked by the urinal.

    Brunette is all indignation. “You shouldn’t even be here! Get out right now or I’ll scream.”

    “No, please. Look, can we just forget this? I made an honest mistake. I’ve been under a lot of stress.” The porcelain of the urinal reflects my cold clammy fear. “Look, we can make a deal! I can help you out, get you a job away from Paulson!” Urinal. “Anything, just don’t…” Urinal?

    I guess they noticed the look of dawning realization on my face. The black-haired one’s face is turning deep red.

    “Bus…ted…”

    “This is the men’s room! What are you two doing in here?” This is it! First the boss takes me apart, now these… women! I’m so furious I could…

    Black-hair bursts into tears. “I knew we shouldn’t come in here!”

    The retort freezes on my lips. I could hurt her like Ms. Jenkins had hurt me. But I won’t; I’d like to think I’m better than that. I decide to try reasonable instead.

    “Look, maybe you should just do what you came here for. No harm, no foul.”

    As they rush into the two stalls I stand guard against other people coming in. For the first time today I can feel a bit of self-worth.

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      A very human story, Tim. Believable, it marks the character of your MC. No knives, no blood shed, yet it carries an important message. This wasn’t an easy prompt yet you turned it into a heart-warmer

    • lionetravail says:

      “Do the paperwork”- heh. Fun story here, with an MC with an apparent reflexive sense of guilt. I love that he strives to take the high road.

      Also, the presence of the urinal intruding into his awareness was handled marvelously- I totally got the sense that it was flashing in his subconscious as his brain was in overdrive, and insisting that he be aware of it.

    • Marie Therese Knepper says:

      I was inwardly screaming at your MC: Hello…URINAL! Fun ride with your MC. What’s he going to do, we all wanted to know :)

    • Reaper says:

      Wonderful twist on the prompt Tim. I admire your MC, because it is a small thing to help with but it is the small things that really matter. You drove that point home here beautifully.

    • Observer Tim says:

      It is my firm belief that working in hell brings out both the weasels and the lions. I would like to think the MC is one of the latter.

    • vaderize03 says:

      I liked the way you gave your MC a choice, and he chose not to take out his insecurities on others.

      Well-written, and well done!

  36. Marie Therese Knepper says:

    Unplugged

    I can’t stop. I feel mentally ill. All I can think of anymore is what I can write next. All this writing is cathartic, which explains the growing rumble in my bowels.

    I look at my forearms as I push away from my 9-5 prison. I could Hulk out, I sniggered; raw power pulsating as my fingers pressed against the edge of my workstation.

    “Bathroom break,” I shout-whispered to Mr. Edwards as I darted past him in the hallway. If he only knew how little time I actually spent writing copy compared to how much time I spend on my blog, he’d fire me for sure. Fate intervened by advantageously planting my cubicle next to his office. He can’t take a breath without me knowing first.

    Cruising towards the ladies room, I raised my eyes and saluted Fate. The brainstorm clapped as I pushed against the door, followed by the roar of the impending shit storm. I just made it to the nearest stall when both my mouth and my rear could no longer manage their respective flood.

    “Ah. Sweet release! I salute you, Fate. Your smile my reward.” The damn having burst, I continued voicing every thought, my diarrhetic soliloquy punctuated by occasional grunts and groans.

    Feeling spent and invigorated, I finished my business after who knows how long. Smiling again at the thought of what a sucker old Edward’s is, I sashayed sprightly through the stall door. Standing in my way were Sal and Jimmy. Sal looked like the wide mouth frog, while poor Jimmy was trying not to barf. Registering the urinals behind them, I realized my gaff.

    Squeezing one last gem from the bowels of my overworked imagination network, I blurted confidently:

    “Writer’s Block.”

    • Augie says:

      Come on! I think we have all experienced ‘both’ of the pains you have highlighted here! Awesome!

    • Augie says:

      ‘Grande scrittura’

      • Marie Therese Knepper says:

        I do feel manic about writing. :)

        • Augie says:

          I’m nervous now! I attempted to say, “Great Writing!” In Italian. I hope it came across that way! I was stationed in Italy for 3 years and who knows what I learned there! (I hated the pizza!)

          • Marie Therese Knepper says:

            Correctamundo. (From the Province of The Fonz)

          • StephanieB says:

            Test post. Sorry to do a test post here. I submitted a prompt result for the first time two days ago but don’t see it anywhere. So I am trying to see if I post correctly. Apologies for the intrusion!

          • When you’re new to posting to the site, your posts go into a folder and need to be approved before they get posted–and I’m the one that has to approve them to confirm the posts aren’t spam (we get a TON of spam). Once I approve the first couple, you won’t have problems anymore and the posts will show up automatically and immediately. Often, if the first posts by a new user are on Friday afternoon or over the weekend or on a day I’m not in the office, I won’t be able to go through the folder until I return.

            Anyway, you are now approved and can post away! Welcome to the Writer’s Digest community.
            Brian
            Online Editor

          • Kerry Charlton says:

            A fun response Marie. Descriptive. I’d never try that myself, but you walked the edge nicely. Manic is a great description of a dedicated writer.

          • Marie Therese Knepper says:

            Kerry, for my own edification, could you clarify what you meant when referring to walking the edge? I’d like to know. Thanks!

    • lionetravail says:

      Quick, succinct, entertaining, and bang on with the prompt. This was, as they say, “tight” writing and a fun story, nicely told.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Marie, when I refer to ‘walking the edge’, i simply mean you’re in a subject that might induce potty mouth. However in your writng, you convey the subject without falling into the commode. Walking the edge betwen crudeness and beautiful writing is difficult to accomplish.

    • Observer Tim says:

      So this whole story was a set-up for that last line.

      EXCELLENT!

      I wish the editor would let me change the font size; that deserved to be bigger.

  37. Amyithist says:

    I stepped into the stall of the ladies room at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Seattle a little after midnight. My head buzzed as I pulled my knife from my back pocket. The blade was long and smooth and caught the glint from the overhead lights like a demented diamond. It sent shivers over my spine.
    I balanced the knife on the toilet paper contraption while I shoved my hands into my leather gloves. The smell of the genuine Black Angus hide brought back the memory of my first kill and the first time I’d put my hands in gloves. I was in my early twenties then; a know-nothing-smart-mouthed-punk of a kid who thought I’d made it big by becoming a hit man for the Angello family. I didn’t know shit then. But I knew shit now.
    Grinning, I grabbed the knife and slid it back into my pocket. At any moment the hooker I’d paid to seduce Senator Cromwell would be bustling into this stall. Poor little whore thought she’d be getting paid tonight. I slid my finger away from the butt of the knife, another chill of anticipatory thrill racing over me.
    As if on queue, the door to the ladies room squeaked open. The sound of her cheap stilettos clicking over the bathroom floor brought me to near ecstasy. In just a few moments, she’d be dead. I took a deep breath as she rapped on the stall door. “It’s Misty,” she whispered.
    I pulled the door back and ushered her inside. As she turned, a goofy, greedy little smirk crossed over her heavily glossed lips. I smiled back as I swiped the blade of the knife across her neck. For just a moment, she didn’t react. Her eyes widened as the realization of what was happening infiltrated her mind. I watched gleefully as she grabbed at the slit, trying futilely to stop the rushing blood.
    Finally, she collapsed against the door. Her eyes were full of terror and she had begun to make these soft gurgling sounds. “Shhh,” I cooed. “It’ll be over soon enough.”
    I grabbed her under the arms and twisted her around to the commode, easing her back on the toilet seat. She slumped, suddenly limp with death. I grinned as I wiped the blade of my knife with a piece of toilet paper. I stuffed the soiled napkin into the trashcan, stuffed my knife back into my pocket, and crawled out from under the gap between the stall door and the immaculate floor.
    As I wriggled my way out toward the rows of sinks, I realized I wasn’t alone. Shit.
    I looked up at the two women gaping down at me. I must have looked frightfully out of place there on the feigned marble floor, dressed completely in black. At first, I considered jumping up and slashing both of their throats. What was two more dead bitches? But the impulse quickly subsided to logic and I forced a smile. “Damn lock is jammed,” I said.
    “W-what are you doing here,” one of them stammered.
    I stood, brushed myself off and hitched a thumb toward the closed door. “I’m part of the maintenance crew,” I said. “I was trying to unlock the door, but it’s stuck good. I’m going to have to go get some tools for this one.”
    They nodded simultaneously and I tipped my Derby politely. As I rushed out into the hallway of the hotel, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment. No doubt Vinny had managed to snap photos of the good ol’ Senator Cromwell banging the hooker I just killed. And no doubt good ol’ Cromwell didn’t want those photos leaked to the public. He’d do just about anything to stop that from happening. Including making evidence against mob boss Peter Angello disappear.
    I hurried out to the black Cadillac parked about a block down the street and climbed inside. Vinny grinned back at me, twisting his camera in his hand. “Boy are we fuckin’ awesome or what,” he gushed.
    I smiled. He was just like me at that age; brimming with gumption and excitement; it made what I had to do a little harder.
    I took the knife out of my back pocket and before Vinny could realize what was happening, I slashed him across the neck.
    Angello’s voice rang inside my head. “No one knows about this, Dolpho. No one. Not even Vinny.” The wink and the look of placid understanding had been all I needed. I was a hit man. I just did what I was told.

    • Augie says:

      WOW! This is a story!

    • lionetravail says:

      Sweet and dark, smooth and bitter- like great dark chocolate. Nice take!

    • Reaper says:

      Such terrible actions told so wonderfully. Why do the poor hookers always get caught in the crossfire? This was scary, dark, and just beautifully written. I liked that I could tell it was a more modern setting because a woman was removed by the mafia character as well. Just great story telling as always and perfect imagery.

    • Marie Therese Knepper says:

      I won’t be able to sleep until I comment. First, great plot. Your MC drew me in almost immediately.
      Those things being said, where was all the blood? She slumped against the door, so there had to be spilled blood, yes? Your MC crawls under the door on an immaculate floor. Again, no blood. I understand there is almost always blood spatter, so how did the MC escape with unstained black clothes? He cleans the knife, but there is no mention of him cleaning anything else.
      Last but not least is the derby. Did he crawl under the door with his derby on?

      • Amyithist says:

        Well, I appreciate the feedback, Marie, but I was attempting to fit as much as I could without going too far over the word limit. I can’t be as “technical” as I’d like to be with it being a mere prompt. Obviously, it it were a novel, those details would be addressed, but I had to pick and choose which details to skim over.

    • Observer Tim says:

      You’ve brought us to a very dark place, Amyithist. It’s good to see things go off without a hitch.

      I was expecting a turnabout twist; the twist of not having one was every bit as surprising. Great work.

  38. eightball2002 says:

    2nd attempt to post — sorry if it duplicates

    Dave tipped the table over in front of him and dove behind it. The unmistakable rat-a-tat-tat of the enemy rifles still ringing in his ears. A quick look around told him all was lost. Death and destruction was everywhere. The beach was littered with fallen comrades. He had to move and move quickly.
    As quietly as he could, Dave slithered to his right looking for anything he could defend himself with, anywhere that he could hide. A small shack appeared out of the corner of his eye. The sergeant scrambled up to his hands and knees and slowly peeked around the edges of his hiding place. No one was looking. Dave shot the few feet to the shack and blasted his way through the front door.
    Frantically, he threw open every door, checked every corner for signs of the enemy. Finding no enemies in the shack, Dave glanced around the room trying to find the best place to hide out until the coast was clear. There was no way he could defend himself against all the soldiers on the beach. He had to hunker down and wait for the coast to clear. Dave slid behind the last door in the row and closed it, making himself as small as he could, hiding in the corner of his little closet.
    A drop of water leaked into a basin just outside of his hiding place, the sound exploding in his head. Wow, his head hurt, his heart was racing and he was sweating bullets. A little water would do him wonders. Surely he had time to get a drink before they found him. Nobody had seen him dart in here.
    Dave snuck out and examined the basin. Finding the knob that controlled the water flow he gave a quick prayer that the water would work, and turned the knob. Water shot into the basin and Dave scooped some up in his hands. Bringing it to his face to drink.
    As soon as the water hit his face the shack he was in started to distort. The basin turned into a sink, the steel walls melted into tile, and a mirror appeared before his eyes. “Damn it!” Dave swore to himself, “Not again.”
    Scooping more water to wash the sweat off his face, Dave barely noticed people enter the room.
    “Told you the waiter ducked in here,” the one on the left huffed at the other woman. “You never believe a word I tell you.”
    The older woman frowned. “Like I am suppose to believe the waiter flips over the table he’s cleaning and rockets himself into the ladies room?”
    Dave turned the water off and glanced around the room. No urinals. Perfect. Could this day get any worse? He had left the war physically over a year ago. Why wouldn’t his mind come home with him?
    “Sorry, ladies. I don’t feel myself today.” Dave could feel his face flush as he apologized and squeezed past the ladies.

  39. Heidrun Searles says:

    “Um.. Uh, Sorry guys, no, no you don’t have to put them away. I’m on my way out, carry on.”
    The two men standing at the urinals looked at each other in shocked disbelief. Their mouth hung open as if they were waiting for bats to come home to Roost. Both had stopped midstream. They were fumbling with their penises, trying unsuccessfully to get them out of view.

    “I just had to go, and the ladies room had a line around the corner. I had to go. Couldn’t”t wait another second, so I did what I had to do.” Mouths shut and flies zipped as I explained myself to them.

    “That’s OK ma’am You were just a surprise, that’s all, just didn’t expect a woman to come out of the stall, if you know what I mean,”

    “Here let me help you with that.” The younger of the two men quickly walked over and held the door to the stall that I was struggling with.

    “Thank you.”
    “No problem”

    I wheeled myself to the row of sinks and washed my hands. The paper towel dispenser was out of my reach as usual “I got it!” Said the older man. He reached over and pulled a couple of towels out for me.

    “Much appreciated.” I remarked as he handed them to me. I wiped my hands and headed for the door.
    Both men tripped over each other in a scramble to the door. The both held it open for me, one swatting at each other for a higher grip. They were acting like two of the men from Friends. I grinned, but held the laughter in.

    “Thank you gentlemen.” I said as I was leaving.
    “No, thank you.” They both replied in unison, for what reason I’ll never know.

  40. Kerry Charlton says:

    ATTENTION ATTENTION

    Please go back into the Zombie prompt and read PeterW, third story down. It’s certainly worth the trip. Kerry

    • RuthieShev says:

      I went back and read it. It sure does pack a punch and is wonderfully written. I have several grown children that are teachers and am sending the link for them to read.

    • Reaper says:

      That was worth going back for and I hope PeterW is reading this to know how amazing his piece was. There are no words that can describe the power and perfection of that piece.

      In addition I add my voice to the idea of Ruthie posting her father story.

  41. rapidbutterly says:

    They stared at her, wide eyed disbelief and amusement danced across their faces. She stood with the stall door open, skirt held waist high, trying to smooth out her panties. She looked up at the two men, or at least she thought there was two of them, that last mojito could have been working its magic on her, turn one man into two.

    Could she really have done it again, step into the wrong restroom? She was becoming notorious for it. She was beyond embarrassment, the way she saw it if she didnt use the wrong restroom, it wasn’t a good night. All she had to do was think of a good story and be on her way.

    Hello gentlemen, I know what you’re thinking, traveling to the mens bathroom is not for the weak of heart. It is a cruel and desolate land that only the few brave dare to venture, a road less saught by others but when your bladder is over taxed by drinks and the line to the ladies room is long and winding like the road to dargon’s hall, one finds themselves more then ready to face the task ahead of them.

    Though the path was arduous I am a better person for it. With my body strengthened and my bladder empty I return from whence I came, to the land of good and plenty, where the air isn’t stale and tainted with pee and the seats are sitable, to rest and take more refreshment.

    Do not grow saddened, good men of this mysterious land, I shall tell stories of you and your realm and maybe other fair maidens and other damsels in distress will find their courage and the ladies line a little too long. I am off now, but know I will journey this way again for the night is still young and there are still drinks to be had. Till we meet again, kind travelers me and my bladder thank you for your hospitality Good day.

    Putting her skirt down with a flourish, she headed for the door. Tripping over her feet she did a 180, facing the two men again. My dear men, take heed for there is an invisible vortex that is intent on devouring us all. With those words of warning she left.

  42. eightball2002 says:

    Dave tipped the table over in front of him and dove behind it. The unmistakable rat-a-tat-tat of the enemy rifles still ringing in his ears. A quick look around told him all was lost. Death and destruction was everywhere. The beach was littered with fallen comrades. He had to move and move quickly.
    As quietly as he could, Dave slithered to his right looking for anything he could defend himself with, anywhere that he could hide. A small shack appeared out of the corner of his eye. The sergeant scrambled up to his hands and knees and slowly peeked around the edges of his hiding place. No one was looking. Dave shot the few feet to the shack and blasted his way through the front door.
    Frantically, he threw open every door, checked every corner for signs of the enemy. Finding no enemies in the shack, Dave glanced around the room trying to find the best place to hide out until the coast was clear. There was no way he could defend himself against all the soldiers on the beach. He had to hunker down and wait for the coast to clear. Dave slid behind the last door in the row and closed it, making himself as small as he could, hiding in the corner of his little closet.
    A drop of water leaked into a basin just outside of his hiding place, the sound exploding in his head. Wow, his head hurt, his heart was racing and he was sweating bullets. A little water would do him wonders. Surely he had time to get a drink before they found him. Nobody had seen him dart in here.
    Dave snuck out and examined the basin. Finding the knob that controlled the water flow he gave a quick prayer that the water would work, and turned the knob. Water shot into the basin and Dave scooped some up in his hands. Bringing it to his face to drink.
    As soon as the water hit his face the shack he was in started to distort. The basin turned into a sink, the steel walls melted into tile, and a mirror appeared before his eyes. “Damn it!” Dave swore to himself, “Not again.”
    Scooping more water to wash the sweat off his face, Dave barely noticed people enter the room.
    “Told you the waiter ducked in here,” the one on the left huffed at the other woman. “You never believe a word I tell you.”
    The older woman frowned. “Like I am suppose to believe the waiter flips over the table he’s cleaning and rockets himself into the ladies room?”
    Dave turned the water off and glanced around the room. No urinals. Perfect. Could this day get any worse? He had left the war physically over a year ago. Why wouldn’t his mind come home with him?
    “Sorry, ladies. I don’t feel myself today.” Dave could feel his face flush as he apologized and squeezed past the ladies.

  43. Augie says:

    The colossal Master Sergeant paces back and forth in front of the men standing in ranks:

    “ Will you survive this as proud men? We will see by the end of the day! For you who are used to being snipers, you will be taken out first. This is close-quarter warfare! You will be given high velocity pistols and SMG’s with suppressors attached. Use your ammunition wisely and remember this rule – one shot one kill!

    You will hear screams if civilians are shot, you will hear explosions if the gas lines are hit. Stay focused and you will survive today. Do not shoot innocent civilians! Once all objectives are clear, report back to me!

    Team one: Augila, Scorp, Issak, rope- line down to the roof. You will be seriously outnumbered! The helicopter is waiting, GO-GO-GO!

    Team two: Hammer, Reaper, Tank, I’m giving you nine men highly skilled in urban warfare. Your gonna need them! Enter through the basement and work upward.

    “Good luck.”

    …….Ten Minutes later……

    Augila’s team hits the roof, “Ok men, slow down. I’m sure they heard the damn Helo. I suggest we sweep one floor at a time. Choose your targets wisely, they pack in teams of two. If you give away your location be ready to fire twice.”

    At that moment, a glowing red projectile swishes across the room. Issak’s chest responds to the impact and there is a large crimson cloud. He is gone! Laser beams track back and forth searching for a new target.

    Scrop crawls to Issak’s body undetected by the lasers and whispers to his brother, “They will pay for this!” Scorp grabs Issak’s gun and spare clips.

    Augila hits the floor rolling. In a clockwise spin he pulls the trigger rapidly six times. Five projectiles make the mark. Scorp takes out the sixth from behind.

    A woman screams as a high-velocity round grazes her shoulder. Augila reacts just as the enemy round passes his neck. The enemy steps out, Augila gives him a center forehead mole. “Never hurt innocent people you idiot!” —splat—

    The only thing that scares a warrior is what he doesn’t know. How are my brothers, how many enemies still stand, where are they, do I have enough ammunition?

    Augila takes the weapon from his last kill and hides in the women’s bathroom attempting to communicate with Scorp. “Scorp, come in, Scorp, can you read me?”

    The bathroom door opens! Augila stands on the toilet seat, gripping his SMG.

    Two exhausted ladies charge in. “You think it’s safe in here?”

    Frantic and breathless, the other says, “I…think…so, those guys are…really… good! I didn’t expect it to be so easy for them! They took down ten and not one civilian!

    The SMG aims over the stall, a rapid pull of the trigger sends the paint ball rounds directly at their heads.

    “Hello Ladies! Thanks for giving me the number count!”

    Their chest lights illuminate. Confirmed kill!

    The Master Sergeant’s voice booms through the PA speakers.

    “All right! Blue team keeps the MAN title! Red team, get your candy-lady ass’s out here on the double.”

    Snipers hold the man title, once again!

  44. A. Lawati says:

    Hastily walking past the janitor on his way to the nearest bathroom, Noe noticed the surprised look on the man’s face. Still unsure on what to make of it, the thought predominant, he failed to notice the lack of urinals. Now standing in the stall he let out a sigh of relief. Noticing he was by himself he got comfortable and let his gasses have their way.
    All done, he zipped up and noticed someone entering the washroom. A little taken aback with the feminine voice, he decided to intervene still inside the stall he said, “Excuse me I think you may have the wrong washroom.”

    The woman, he assumed must be embarrassed at her folly and instead decided to give her a couple of minutes for her to save face before exiting the stall. Hearing the bathroom door open and assuming that she must have left, he exited the booth to find two young women standing with the same janitor by the main door seemingly infuriated.

    Noe said, “I’m sorry, didn’t mean to embarrass you like that.”

    Still no reaction from the women and only the slight smile on the janitor’s face prompted him to look past the women and follow the man’s look. Suddenly Noe felt the colour on his face go pale as he realized his own folly of occupying the ladies washroom.

  45. StephanieB says:

    Conflicted

    It is done. I back away a little and admire my handiwork. Surely no one will notice. I smirk to myself and back out the door. Only to turn and face two women looking rather surprised. Great, witnesses.

    ‘Ah, hi. I guess I’m in the wrong bathroom then?’ I venture a shrug and attempt an awkward smile as I step closer to the first of the women. I feel my face turning red shades so I must seem pretty convincing. I just hope they don’t notice the dust in the corner of the stall. I forgot to tidy that. The woman with the brunette hair seems to recover first.

    ‘Yeah, seems like the wrong bathroom’ she says. She doesn’t appear annoyed and I detect a humorous undertone, her shoulders seem relaxed and she isn’t pulling out mace. The other woman is rapidly recovering from her surprise. I offer my hand to the first one in an apology.

    ‘Well, yeah. Sorry to barge in, I’m new here. My name is Daniel’ I say as if that explains everything and offer her my hand. She looks slowly at my hand, then at me, then at the basin and we share an embarrassed grin. I quickly take the hint, wash my hands and offer the handshake again.

    ‘Daniel’.

    ‘Hi Daniel. I’m Jill’, she shakes the now clean hand. ‘That’s Katie’ she indicates with her free hand to the woman who is now texting the scenario to her cohorts. Great start.

    ‘Hi Katie’ I wave stupidly and she gives me a non-committal nod. Surely she would be impressed that I will soon be rich.
    ‘It was good to meet yo
    u Daniel’ Jill says she as we head towards the exit. Her smile is genuine, her teeth are perfect and her blue eyes hint at curiosity and mischief. She smiles again and I nearly walk into the door.

    ‘Yes, good to meet you’ and I start to offer the handshake again. She takes it without hesitation and smiles again, ‘Likewise, I’m around the corner if you need anything’.

    ‘Sure, thanks Jill’ I say and she turns to walk down a hallway.

    I head in the opposite direction and outside onto the sidewalk. It will be my first and last day here. I answer my phone as it emits its quiet buzz.

    ‘Did you get it done?’ the voice says.

    ‘Yes. I want the money wired now’.

    ‘Good. The money is being transferred as we speak’ and the voice is gone.

    It was easy. I do not understand how a transmitter can locate files through a wall but I’m not going to question. Sure, it’s illegal but CarpaGroup are crooks anyway. Swindlers and investors with shady backgrounds. They don’t need the money. Although it does have one redeeming factor I admit as I think of Jill’s smile.

    It is in this reminisce, I feel the tremble and shake of an explosion. I see glass imploding and then shattering.

    What have I done?

  46. StephanieB says:

    Conflicted

    It is done. I back away a little and admire my handiwork. Surely no one will notice. I smirk to myself and back out the door. Only to turn and face two women looking rather surprised. Great, witnesses.
    ‘Ah, hi. I guess I’m in the wrong bathroom then?’ I venture a shrug and attempt an awkward smile as I step closer to the first of the women. I feel my face turning red shades so I must seem pretty convincing. I just hope they don’t notice the dust in the corner of the stall. I forgot to tidy that. The woman with the brunette hair seems to recover first.
    ‘Yeah, seems like the wrong bathroom’ she says. She doesn’t appear annoyed and I detect a humorous undertone, her shoulders seem relaxed and she isn’t pulling out mace. The other woman is rapidly recovering from her surprise. I offer my hand to the first one in an apology.
    ‘Well, yeah. Sorry to barge in, I’m new here. My name is Daniel’ I say as if that explains everything and offer her my hand. She looks slowly at my hand, then at me, then at the basin and we share an embarrassed grin. I quickly take the hint, wash my hands and offer the handshake again.
    ‘Daniel’.
    ‘Hi Daniel. I’m Jill’, she shakes the now clean hand. ‘That’s Katie’ she indicates with her free hand to the woman who is now texting the scenario to her cohorts. Great start.
    ‘Hi Katie’ I wave stupidly and she gives me a non-committal nod. Surely she would be impressed that I will soon be rich.
    ‘It was good to meet you Daniel’ Jill says she as we head towards the exit. Her smile is genuine, her teeth are perfect and her blue eyes hint at curiosity and mischief. She smiles again and I nearly walk into the door.
    ‘Yes, good to meet you’ and I start to offer the handshake again. She takes it without hesitation and smiles again, ‘Likewise, I’m around the corner if you need anything’.
    ‘Sure, thanks Jill’ I say and she turns to walk down a hallway.

    I head in the opposite direction and outside onto the sidewalk. It will be my first and last day here. I answer my phone as it emits its quiet buzz.
    ‘Did you get it done?’ the voice says.
    ‘Yes. I want the money wired now’.
    ‘Good. The money is being transferred as we speak’ and the voice is gone.
    It was easy. I do not understand how a transmitter can locate files through a wall but I’m not going to question. Sure, it’s illegal but CarpaGroup are crooks anyway. Swindlers and investors with shady backgrounds. They don’t need the money. Although it does have one redeeming factor I admit as I think of Jill’s smile.
    It is in this reminisce, I feel the tremble and shake of an explosion. I see glass imploding and then shattering.

    What have I done?

  47. bowlja says:

    Rainy day and late again. Got in and cranked her up. She was old and beat down but she still had a little life in her.

    About 20 minutes to work and with the mandatory stop at Starbucks I figured I could swing it with only be about 5 minutes late. The rain would be a good excuse.

    Here comes Starbucks. I can see the drive through and no ones there. Luck is with me. I joggle in and place my order. Ahhh.

    I hate this frenetic rushing and keep promising myself that I’m gonna plan better but I know it will never happen.

    I slide on the freeway ramp and head north on the I-5 to the Golden Triangle. I’m sipping away and listening to talk radio. Although I’m not a conservative, for some reason, I enjoy listening to Rush Limbaugh blabber away about the fall of the United States and how humble he is in spite of his obvious genius.

    Sipping and listening. Getting relaxed in spite of my lateness. Ten minute ride and Sorrento Valley Road exit straight ahead. I pull off at my exit down to the end of the ramp. Red light as usual.
    As the light turns green I am suddenly aware that something has changed. A little kid with a chemistry set has moved into my stomach and is working on some kind of science experiment. Maybe some kind of new rocket fuel.

    Whatever it is, my stomach is expanding and I feel like I’m about to give birth.

    Only one mile to go and I push it. Hard.

    Things are getting worse and it seems like I’m not just about to give birth, but may soon be the proud father of about 10 or 20 snake children. My car is beginning to sound about the same as my stomach is feeling.

    As I pull into the parking lot she dies. About 20 yards to go.

    I jump out and leave her there, door open. Running across the lot with my butt cheeks squoze together, doing my best impression of Quasimoto in the Boston Marathon.

    Key card. Out. I realize that the men’s retreat is a long way off. The women’s is just inside the door.

    Decision made.

    I get through the door after a few misses with the damn key card, hunchback my way in, and blast into the women’s bathroom, past the two startled girls who are in there chatting and fixing themselves up.

    The race is on between my pants and my ass. Fortunately my pants win but the next challenge is to try to keep it quiet. Failed at that.

    Embarassed but relieved I make my out.

    “What the hell happened to you?” one of them asks.

    “Venti Mocha” I reply.

    They smile knowingly.

  48. soul says:

    If I Had Forgotten

    I fidget with the too-tight engagement ring on my left hand. My former–my late– doctor had told me to prepare to be alone forever, with my condition.
    “You mustn’t get your hopes up, Ella,” he’d said. But he was wrong. And now he’s dead.

    So absorbed in the ring am I that I don’t look up when I walk into the bathroom after a long, late night’s work. I don’t like to go home. Too many people, too many memories. So I took the late shift. I sit down in a stall, preparing to spend the entirety of my excretion staring at this beautiful ring on my finger. But someone interrupts me.

    “Didn’t you hear?” says my father’s voice. “Dr. Perry has died.” Dad?

    “How sad,” responds my brother’s voice. “He was so good to Ella.” Vincent?

    “Yes, he was, wasn’t he.”

    “It’s a shame he couldn’t save Mom,” says Vincent.

    “Well, he certainly didn’t try very hard, did he,” scoffs Dad. The too-familiar smell of cigarette smoke fills the room, choking the oxygen in its tight-fisted clutches.

    I hear a strange scraping sound, like a match being lit against soft human skin. I realize it’s my own ragged breathing, tearing through my throat. I rip my pants back up my legs, and throw open the door to see my brother and father standing by the sinks, smoking cigarettes together.

    My family has been dead for seven years.

  49. JRSimmang says:

    IF THE FLOOR NEEDS CLEANING

    Cramps.
    Every single time.

    I shimmy around the corner, massaging the stiffness in between the muscles in my forearms. After hours, which is the only way I can work nowadays, the building feels haunted. Perhaps it’s the lingering sense desolation everyone feels at 5 o’clock, knowing they have to return at 8 the next day. It’s dread.

    The carpet needs vacuuming.

    The lights above me flicker, and I reach for my keys to unlock the door to the restroom.

    Once inside, I go straight to where I always go first: the Stalls.

    In my line of work, that’s what we call them. Creative once, I suppose, but now the history of the name had become a smudge in the annals of custodial service. I think it has something to do with “peeing like a racehorse.” I always lock the door behind me.

    My cart has everything I need, and I only grab my spray bottle full of ammonia and washrag. The door squeaks to a shut and I begin spraying all surfaces before my forearm spasms.

    “Dammit.” I drop the bottle and start massaging my arm again.

    “Umm, is someone in here?”

    I clear my throat. “Uh.” Wait, where was I? I retrace my steps. Around the corner. Carpet. Lights. Keys. Sign on door showing an androgynous figure with a dress. Women’s room. I try my best falsetto. “Just a little old lady from the third floor.” What the hell was I thinking.

    “Mrs Parsons?”

    “Oh, you caught me dear.” I had to stop this. My fingers led themselves to the lock.

    “Thank goodness.”

    I hesitate. “Oh?”

    “Yeah.”

    “Why do you say that, my dear?” I sit on the toilet.

    “Mrs Parsons, have you ever killed someone?”

    My voice caught in my throat, and what came out was a sputtering cross-reply that sounded like, “pf-fwa-haw-haw-clmm.”

    “I’ll take that as a no.”

    We were silent for a few moments.

    “Because I killed someone,” she says.

    “I gathered.”

    “But it’s not what you think.”

    “I wasn’t thinking anything.” I shift uncomfortably on the toilet seat and tear off some toilet paper to daub at my sweaty brow. “I was just, um, trying to drop a deuce.” What the hell.

    More silence. “You’re not Mrs Parsons.”

    I sigh relief. “No. I’m not,” my voice dropping back down into its normal register. “I’m Sammy. The Custodian.”

    “Ohthankgod,” she divulges. “Then you can help me clean up Mrs Parsons.”

    I decide it was time to stand up and open the door. On the floor in front of the woman I’ve been speaking with was Mrs Parsons. My forearms starts to twitch again, and I realize that I’m going to have to help bury another old woman.

    -JR Simmang

  50. jhowe says:

    Postscript: This isn’t a story; just an experience that entered my mind while thinking about the prompt.

    I was once in a bar in Atlanta using the urinal in the men’s room. An attractive woman walked in wearing a blue dress. I was intrigued but also concerned about what my wife would think as she was waiting outside. I was finishing up when she walked to the urinal beside me, hiked up her dress and started urinating like a real man, which she was. Out in the bar, my wife had many questions. She had seen the woman walk in the men’s room. It was long ago and I don’t remember how I replied but I do remember seeing the blue dressed man on the dance floor later on, shaking his booty.

    • Cceynowa says:

      The Kinks “Lola” song instantly came to mind.

    • Observer Tim says:

      There are many strange things in the world. This started me wondering about a friend whom I’ve known through the TG process – when did she (originally he) switch to using the ladies’ room by default? I’m pretty sure it was before the surgery.

      Another thing to feel a bit disturbed about…

  51. Cceynowa says:

    Sanity Goes Down the Hole (Friday the 13th, Special)

    Curses are real. Everyone has one, be it an irrational fear of tight places, a less-than-loving mother-in-law, or the never ending debt of a college education. I should be grateful that my curse isn’t one that is constantly present in my life. No, I have what I commonly describe as a manifestation of unequivocal bad luck which festers to a magnificent, unavoidable, head every Friday the 13th.

    Sometime the curse is forgiving, rewarding parking or traffic tickets. I gladly pay these fines and give thanks for nothing worse. Other times, the curse has locked me in an elevator, for 8 hours, with the judges of The National Bean Chili Cook Off, after judging.

    Last time, I barricaded myself in my house in a laughable attempt at immunity. My neighbor felled a tree in the middle of my master bedroom.

    This time, I wanted to be somewhere where I could see bad luck coming. I called in sick to work, wore loose fitting clothing, and tired to get plenty of sleep the night before. I was ready for anything.

    Time of Incident: 7:32 PM
    Date: Friday, June 13, 2014
    Location: Hobston Community Park, Bathroom #6

    I let out a sigh; the day was nearly over. My shoulders were still tense, on alert, waiting for the curse to strike me down. But, I had never made it this long before. I allowed myself the feeling of tentative victory.

    Behind me I heard, “Is that a guy?”

    Turning, penis still in hand, I faced the 932nd Girl Scout Troop, on their first camp out of the summer.

    Their screams reverberated off the cracked mirrors, warped ceiling, and dirty door-less stalls.

    I screamed too, in fear and resignation. The curse! Damn the curse! Panic beat at my temples. Bile rose in my throat. I staggered forward as my knees threatened to collapse.

    I grabbed my hair, pulling hard to make the feelings of uncontrollable helplessness abate. DAMN THE CURSE!

    The events became hazy once the cops arrived. A taser was involved, I’m pretty sure. Something was said about perversion. No one would listen. The Curse is to blame! Not me. I would never, really never, whatever you are saying. No. No, I swear. I don’t know how I was in the girl’s bathroom. Honest, The Curse must of switched the signs. Seriously. No, I’m not crazy.

    I’m not crazy.

    Who wants to bet I suffocate against the padded wall come February 13, 2015?

    • Cceynowa says:

      Very loosely based on the prompt. My apologies in advance.

    • dedewitt says:

      Hahaha. All right, that was pretty inventive. Really funny and a great twist on the prompt. Great job.

    • tz2328 says:

      Nah, you’ll probably be hung on the lowest branch of the tree in your backyard because your neighbors found out they had a sex offender in their midst :0
      Superb!

    • Reaper says:

      Very cool. The story and the possible mental condition of the MC work well here. You keep just this side of melodrama and over the top, which in this case especially I mean as a compliment. I like both of those things when done well and because I can’t tell if your MC really is cursed or nuts and doing it to themself it works. No matter which it is that high strung voice is perfect.

    • lionetravail says:

      Nicely told, and very believable from the MC’s perspective. Who’s to say he’s wrong? (Except for turning around with his penis in hand, of course. That was clearly more on the ‘wrong’ end of the scale :))

    • Observer Tim says:

      No need to apologize, Cceynowa. This is a really fun “just-so” story. I wonder how the MC kept (will keep) his freedom given our current paranoia about the sort of events described.

  52. RuthieShev says:

    First Day Jitters

    I was a shy seventeen-year-old high school graduate from a small town in the Pennsylvania Hills starting my new life in Washington, D.C. Back in 1964 many PA girls were recruited for government agencies because of their well taught secretarial skills. Since work was becoming sparse in our little area, it was a great opportunity for someone who couldn’t afford college.

    I didn’t sleep most of the night fretting about my first day of work. I’m pretty sure I drank 4 or 5 cups of tea before 6 a.m. My stomach’s churning caused me to forego my usual healthy breakfast. On top of all that I changed my outfit several times before coming back to the one I had planned to wear in the first place.

    Now you get the picture that I was a bundle of nerves before I even got to work. Since I was late, I had to run to catch the bus. Add a long walk from the bus stop to my building and the fact that I had to go to the bathroom, and you have a blueprint for disaster.

    I ran in my new work building where I saw lines of people waiting for the elevator and knew in my “condition” I would not make it up five flights of stairs to the office. I saw the restroom signs and made a dash for them. I followed a long haired redhead into the bathroom.

    I saw a free stall and made a dash for it even though it was a handicapped one. Feeling much better, I retreated from the stall and looked for the sink to wash my hands. I was appalled by what I saw. Not only were there urinals all along the wall but there were two well dressed men using them. One older looking gentleman turned around and I think he was as shocked as I was.

    Quickly I tried to think of something to say. I stuttered as I said “III’m the new inspector and I’m sorry but I was told no one was in here right now. That handicap stall is fine. Ummm – I guess I will go inspect the ladies room now”. I ran out of there as fast as my legs would carry me and went in the woman’s restroom to wash my hands

    I thought “At least this day couldn’t get any worse” as I walked up all 5 flights of stairs to calm my nerves. I met with the head secretary first and she was very, very nice. I was beginning to feel relieved knowing I could put that whole restroom fiasco behind me. She took me in to meet my head boss. When he recognized me from the downstairs bathroom, he smiled and said “I think we have met already”. It was then that I passed unceremoniously out on the floor.

    By Ruth Crowell Shevock

    • Reaper says:

      Nicely told. Sill long haired redheaded males… waaaiiit… nope couldn’t have been me. Keep them coming Ruthie.

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is a very cute story, Ruth; at least the MC’s first day on the job will be memorable.

      You did a great job making the voice of this character seem useful. I especially like the way the explanation sounds as much like she’s justifying what came next to herself as to the listener.

  53. RuthieShev says:

    The Mirror Image

    I can relate to this prompt since it actually happened to me. We live in a small town between two Walmarts and each one is almost a mirror image of the other. We usually go to the one in Altoona but about a year ago we were shopping in the Ebensburg Walmart.

    I asked my husband to please finish going through the checkout line since the restrooms were near the register we were using. I had taken my water pill not too long ago and I realized I needed to go to the bathroom immediately. I left him finishing the checkout and hurried as quickly as I could into the nearest bathroom. Since I have one knee replaced and another one that still needs done, I walked as fast as I could with my eyes fixed on the one handicapped bathroom in the back corner.

    I quickly opened the door and went to hang my purse on the hook which always hangs on the back of the door. I remember thinking this Walmart is letting things go….no hook for my purse. Someone must have torn it down and they just didn’t put it back. I actually threw my purse down on the floor beside me because I just couldn’t wait any longer.

    Feeling so much better, I walked out of the little room humming a little broadway tune and went to wash my hands at the sink. I stopped dead in my tracks. Instead of sinks there were urinals on the wall and two Amish men were using them. I was so embarrassed I couldn’t move from the spot where I was standing and I am pretty sure my mouth was wide open. I quickly put my head down and stuttered as I said, “Uh uh, Oh my gosh, I am so sorry but this Walmart is the exact opposite of the one in Altoona. We usually go to that one and the ladies room is on this side. I just didn’t look at the sign before I rushed in. Please accept my apologies.”

    I could almost see the smile on their faces as one of them said, “that’s ok Ma’am we were beginning to wonder if Walmart had put in co-ed bathrooms”. I never even washed my hands but ran out the door and into the ladies room right next door to wash my hands in the proper room.

    When I came out of the ladies room, I went to the checkout where my husband had just finished. He and the lady at the counter were smiling – no let’s be truthful – they were both laughing. I know my husband and his sense of humor. I can just imagine what cryptic remark he told her. I spurted out at him, “why didn’t you come in and get me?” He said, “I was surprised you were in there that long and figured it was too late to “save” you.”

    By Ruth Crowell Shevock

    • RuthieShev says:

      After I wrote this one, I realized I was supposed to write a “job based” one so I wrote another one that was not a true incident like this one. It was however based loosely on my life as a young adult working in DC.

    • Reaper says:

      Ah Ruthie. I begin to miss your stories after a short period of time. This has your voice and the tone is slightly different than what I normally expect from you. Inspite of myself I was smiling all the way through.

      • RuthieShev says:

        thank you very much. You have been so encouraging to me. I have been a “closet writer” for many years raising 7 kids with my husband. Your help makes me less afraid to post my work.

        • Kerry Charlton says:

          Hi Ruthie, I enjoyed both stories, loved the prose but was slightly confused with the top one. What is a Walmart?

          • RuthieShev says:

            Thank you for your nice words. The first story really happened at the store called Walmart, which are all over up here and I thought they were everywhere. The second story was fictional but I went to work in DC at age 17 and I drew from those experiences.

          • Kerry Charlton says:

            I was slightly pulling your leg Ruthie, Walmart is everywhere. It may be in heaven and hell for all I know. You can’t get away from Walmart. I even noticed one in the men’s room at the San Antonio airport..

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is a cute story Ruth, doubly so because it’s true. I can see you’d have a very interesting memoir…

  54. vaderize03 says:

    I settled down on the icy seat and fought the wave of urgent goosebumps that rippled up my legs like an army of ants. It was my first time going in public since the summer, and I wanted to get it over with. I reached down, about to do the deed, when I heard the bathroom door’s indifferent swoosh, followed by the click of heels.

    “Are you going to dump him?”

    I froze. What were girls doing in here?

    “I don’t know,” said another voice. “What do you think?”

    “He’s still pretty hot.”
    “His face, maybe, but what happened is gross.”
    “It’s not his fault.”

    I heard a sigh. “I know, but still-” There was a pause. “How are we supposed to have sex?”
    “Can’t he leave his shirt on?”
    “I guess, but it’s right underneath.” I could almost hear her shudder. “I don’t want it near me.”
    “There’s your answer.”
    “Am I a bad person?”

    Another pause. “Do you love him?”
    “I thought I did.”
    “And now you’re not sure?”
    “He’ll never be the same.”

    I looked down at the bulging pouch of plastic that hung between my legs. My hands shook. Did they know what it was like, living with Crohn’s? Obviously not, and at least one of them didn’t care.

    “How will you do it?”
    “A note. It’ll be easier.”
    “That’s not cool.”
    “It’s better than telling him I can’t stand the smell.”

    That’s not his fault. It took months of trial-and-error before I found the right appliance, and he will too. Just give him a chance. If you really care, then don’t walk away. I unzipped the bag and watched its contents drain into the bowl, and felt my spirits drain with it. I’d lost a girlfriend to the surgery too, but whomever he was, he’d be far better off. This girl was cold, not to mention shallow.

    “Besides,” she continued, “he might not be able to get it up. You can’t blame me for that, right?”

    That did it. What was left of my intestines clenched into ropy knots, straining against the scar that the doctor had left. Any embarrassment I’d felt over accidentally walking into the ladies’ room was gone, replaced by a grim determination to let this chick have it.

    I rose from the bowl, a tower of flesh quivering with righteous anger, and flung open the stall door. My pants were still down, but I didn’t care; the real prize remained carefully hidden. Catching my reflection in the grimy mirror, they whirled around, two twenty-somethings drowning in makeup and overpriced clothes. Their mouths popped open like a pair of hungry goldfish, their eyes drawn to my skinny shanks.
    The shorter one said: “This is the ladies room.”

    So this was Miss Shallow. “I know,” I said.
    “So get out.”

    Her arrogance was refreshing; I couldn’t wait to raise the curtain, to see the look on her face when she got the full view.
    “First,” I said, “a public service announcement.”
    She cocked her head. “Huh?”
    “On behalf of the American Ileostomy Society, I hereby apologize for the death of your sex life.”
    Her eyes narrowed. “Fuck you.”

    “You’re not my type.” I grinned. “I prefer human beings.”
    “Leave, you pervert!”

    “Just one more thing.” With both hands, I grabbed my shirt and yanked it up to my chin. The bag flopped out, obscuring my junk, and they gasped. Short one turned white as a polar bear’s fur, but she couldn’t take her eyes off the wound in my stomach. Beneath the clear plastic pouch, a stubby pink ball bobbed up-and-down like a kid blowing gum; as she stared, a thin string of poop oozed from its center like a grotesque brown tongue, mocking her.

    She raised a wobbly but well-lacquered finger. “What is that?” she asked in a tiny voice

    She might be too young to get the reference, but I couldn’t help myself. “Say hello,” I said. “To my little friend.”

    • tz2328 says:

      Thank you for gracing me with this story :)

    • Reaper says:

      Nice. The story has a lot of heat to it, the descriptions are just amazing. Starting with the ants which is cool but creepy and even as they grow, gross they maintain a beauty that add symmetry to the story. I find it hard to maintain an angry voice while keeping the character so likable but you did an excellent job of that here.

      • vaderize03 says:

        Thanks Reaper!

        I’ve had Crohn’s disease for thirty years, and wanted to convey what a socially embarrassing condition it be. When I was a resident (I’m a physician by profession) I used to take a survival kit with me when I was on call overnight at the hospital, which consisted in part of large quantities of Febreeze. My colleagues were polite about it, but I knew people used to whisper behind my back. It can be very inhibiting, which is the point I was trying to get across.

        I underwent the same surgery as the MC five years, and attempted to capture my fear at the first time I went out with a bag in public after 3 months of recovery. While I have a very loving and supportive wife, not everyone is so lucky. When you’re single with a physical defect, it’s natural to worry if one is ever going to find someone to love them for who they are, and overlook the flaw.

        Glad you liked the descriptions, I’m still trying to polish my descriptive writing. For some reason, I struggle with it a lot more than dialogue.

      • vaderize03 says:

        ….and thanks for the compliment on the MC’s voice. I was aiming for the perfect mixture of self-pity and disdain for the girl.

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is a great story about something we all prefer not to see. I can understand the MC’s anger, which you portrayed beautifully. Excellent job, Vaderize.

  55. moscoboy says:

    From the Inside Out
    The bet was $100 dollars to anyone in our group that would take a legitimate and verifiable bathroom break in the third floor ladies bathroom. We were the four troubadours who raided and plundered and then compared notes in our target rich environment at Jill Bernstein Literary Agency. The sum was paltry, but the knowledge in accomplishing the feat was monumental. Social media would be abuzz with the winner’s bravado.

    Tim Sutton drew the short straw and was on his way to prominence. That evening at the Lion’s Butter Bar Tim described his failure to accomplish his goal. Sherrie Hodges international agent entered the bathroom, as Tim was about to enter a stall and opened her mouth to scream. He had fainted a bladder infection as his ruse. Tim begged for mercy for his condition and was coolly asked to leave otherwise Sherrie would have him reported to the dreaded HR department.

    Todd Butler an Iraqi war veteran was the next lucky contestant to ply his cunning skills. Todd surveiled the target and once assured that the dreaded Sherrie had evacuated her bodily functions absentmindedly entered the bathroom and was greeted by a red-eyed camera that was pointed at the entrance to the women’s restroom. He patted his pockets and performed a sharp 180-degree turn and hotfooted his skinny ass out pronto.

    Back at the Lion’s Butter Bar the quartet traded notes and decided on a tandem assault.
    It was hump day and wide Bill Falco approached the targeted door from the west side. He loitered and counted female heads coming and leaving. When he was sure the restroom was empty he knocked on the opened door and yelled, “Hello, maintenance,” and received no reply. He motioned to Chauncey Capers to storm the target and do his deed.

    Chauncey had the bearing of a tall Jamaican reggae musician in a $2000 dollar Hart Marx suit. He nodded to his minder as he walked in with confidence and drew a ski mask over his corn-rolled hair and sprayed the unblinking red eye inoperable. He went to the far stall and took out his anaconda and let out a healthy stream spraying the seat and the surrounding floor. Mission accomplished he opened the stall door and found a duo of hostile women with cell phone cameras at the ready as his frazzled exterior was transformed into a TMZ mug shot.

    Acquisitions agent Marsha Milieu grabbed him by his silk tie and manhandled the shaken agent against the sink in such a rough manner that the automatic sensor began spraying water. “What’s this Chauncey couldn’t hold it?”

    “Sorry Marsha, it’s the medical ganja.”
    “There,” said Sherrie Hodges, “you thought I was lying. I saw the lot hunched over at the Lion’s Butter Bar. How should we handle this?”

    Marsha said, “Guard the door Sherrie. Chauncey I know you’re single. You’ll have to lick a couple of lioness butter slits or I’ll call security. What’s it going to be bushmaster?”
    “With pleasure.”

  56. Kerry Charlton says:

    A TIME FOR WAR

    Tom Johnson, a middle aged financial analyst working in Washington for the Brooking Institute, had all he could handle and retreated to the men’s room on the fourteenth floor of the Cannon House Office Building. He entered a stall and held his hands to his face and breathed deeply.

    ‘Think about a quiet meadow in Arlington, birds singing their early greeting in the dawn light.’ he thought. His head throbbing now, he reached for an Alka-Seltzer and swung the door open to use the sink.

    Before his eyes, appeared two young women with forties hairdos dressed similiar to Veronica Lake in a film noir black and white.

    “I beg your parden sir, you’re in the wrong bathroom,” the blonde said.

    “I don’t see how,” he said, walking to the door and opening it. “It clearly states, ‘Men’…..” but his eyes clearly read “Ladies’.

    “I’m terribly sorry….”

    “It’s quite all right,” the brunette said, “I’m Delores and this is Nancy. We haven’t noticed you before.”

    “My name’s Tom Johnson, of Brookings Institute. This is our private floor”.

    Nancy, disbelief firmly entrenched, answered,

    “Mr. Johnson you may be in the wrong building. Republic Insurance had had this floor leased since 1940.”

    Tom studied both women,

    “Brooking Institute has been here since 1985.”

    The girls backed away from Tom. Delores finally responded,

    “December 5, 1941 is today’s date, Can we help you find your office?”:

    Tom’s head throbbed in such pain, he staggered to a bench seat in front of a mirror and extended his right hand to Delores.

    “Look at my ring girls”

    “Washington and Lee University, very impressive,” Delores said.

    “Read the date on the side.”

    “!989″ Nancy whispered, “but it can’t be true.”

    “I have no clue either,” Tom said, “but war will happen in two days. Japan will bomb Pearl Harbor on the seventh. You must warn President Roosevelt.”

    He pulled his wallet out, removed his driver’s license and handed it to Nancy. The last thing he remembered was the look on her face and then everything turned black.

    ————————-
    ————————-

    Tom’s eyes opened to the sterile look of an emergency room. His wife’s face entered his vision.

    “Darling,” Susan said, “You’ve been in Walter Reed for two days. You had a slight stroke but the doctors said you’d be fine in a couple of weeks.”

    She kissed his forehead. “Rest honey, I’ll be right here.”

    ‘A dream maybe,’ Tom thought, ‘but it was so real. Is it possible I traveled back?’

    Several weeks later, Tom researched archives of The Washington Post. He found nothing about the girls, only the war news. Then his eyes rested on a small article in December twelth’s issue of the Post, buried back in section one.

    ‘Two secretaries from Republic Insurance Co. were denied access to the White House on December 5th. Delores Black and Nancy Ferguson insisted on seeing the President but were turned away after a brief struggle. The girls were not held for questioning by authorities.’

    The pathway of history, never waivers.

    • Augie says:

      This is great! Reminds me of a movie that came out in 1980, The Final Countdown where a modern aircraft carrier is thrown back in time to 1941 near Hawaii, just hours before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The Captain of the carrier was faced with a decision to engage and change history or not… Great Story Kerry!

      • Jay says:

        Ah, Final Countdown. One of my dad’s favorite movies, so I know it well. Personally, I was thinking of Sliders, haha… and that show isn’t even about time travel.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Thank you Augie. The Final Countdown is a great movie. I’ve seen it two or three times now. Thank you for the read and I’m glad you liked it. Thinking of a sequel with Delores and Nancy, especially if they look like Veronica Lake.

        P.S. Is there any doubt about the San Antonio Spurs? One more win.

    • Jay says:

      Thanks, Kerry. That gave me the chills… the good kind! Well done!

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Thank you Jay, it even chilled me when I wrote and as I typed the very last sentence, I noticed one tear drop fell from my left eye. I had no idea there was that much emotion when I finished the story.

    • Reaper says:

      This is nice Kerry. One of those that leaves me wanting more. Not more at the end, but your exposition voice is so soothing and serene in the middle of a turbulent story. If there were more words I would love to hear a longer version of the adventures of the secretaries.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Thank you Reaper, I promise another story about Delores and Nancy. On another note, Jack Bemporad is in San Antonio this week, the rabbi that teaches at the Vatican. He told me he wuld give all ther research I needed for the Copper Scroll. Isn’t that nice.

        • Reaper says:

          That is just awesome. I look forward to seeing what you do with it.

        • Critique says:

          I googled Jack Bemporad because I’d never heard of him. What a wonderful human being. How lovely that he is going to assist you in your writing of the Copper Scroll!!

          • Kerry Charlton says:

            Thank you Critique I’ve known Jack many years. His son Henry is a Federal Judge and went to school in Dallas with my son. Jack is the most intelligent man I’ve ever met. He is awesome, truly a man of God.

    • jhowe says:

      Good one Kerry. I felt like I just read a good novel in five minutes. I was both disappointed and relieved that the girls were unable to change history.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Thank you jhowe. You know, it would make a book, presidential conspiricy, intrigue, spies, girls could by undercover for the OSS.Lots of stuff. OSS = Office for Strategic Services, [prior to the CIA].

    • dedewitt says:

      Fantastic read. I loved all of it. I’m all for adventure and a little time travel. Great writing, great theme, great plot. Good job!

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Thank you dedewitt. That’s quite a compliment. I wish I had more words to write with. I had a hard time just writing a scene. I want to write ‘Gone With The Wind’ but I can’t do it in the 500.

    • Critique says:

      A weird encounter – I’d be interested in more about Delores and Nancy’s attempt to speak to the President.
      I’ll have to watch “The Final Countdown’.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Thank you Critique. I want to find out also. Was there really a conspiracy?There were commercial ships in the area of Pearl Harbor that intercepted massive communications by the Japanese radio operators several days prior to Dec. 7th. Meanwhile, Roosevelt was supplying Britian with supplies that congress did not vote on. If he hadn’t, England might have fallen. Some day we will know but I’ll write my own thoughts and include the girls in the story.

    • DMelde says:

      Nice writing Kerry. Your writing has really improved over the past few months. This was a great idea for the prompt.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Thanks DMelde. I didn’t want to write potty-mouth stuff. We need some stronger, more imaginative prompts. I’ve struggled with the last three, but my engine’s roaring to go!

    • Augie says:

      Kerry, Im sorry that a few days have gone by before I read part of your quest. The ‘Matson Lines intercepted messages’ would be a good place to start. My grandfather sailed on one of their converted luxury liners: ‘SS Mariposa’. He joined Patton’s 3rd Army in the taking of the Remagan bridge. My hobby is to walk into VFW’s (Veterans of Foreign Wars), and offer to write, ‘Boot Prints in War’ for the first broken man I see sippin away the memories.(Of course my payment is just to hear their wonderful story). Through the years I have written over 100 memoirs for their families so they really ‘get’ the experience these men/women have endured. I trace their every step and bring it alive for their families. You will find research difficult as the military burned many records. I found a another way! Good luck on your quest, and may we all be blessed by the ONE we serve……

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Thank you Augie. What a wonderful thing to do. I had an older friend in Dallas who went to the same church as I did. He talked very little about the war to his family and friends. After a while, I kept working on him to tell me and he did so over several years. He already had his pilots license when WWII broke out. He went through flight training and was a promoted to captain. He pickup up his “Flying Guppy” B24 Liberator. Flew to South America, then to Africa and up to England.

        On his 20th. mission over Germany, they added five more and then another five to reach 30. Then his commander stated, “Keep Flying.’ On his 34th mission, he was shot down over Germany, managed to get eight men out the falling plane and himself, The navigator refused to jump, went down with the plane and died.

        George, his co- pilot and navigator were officers and went to a separate Stalag. In fourteen months they were liberated. George stood six-two and weighed 135 pounds when released.

        I have all his flight records, the names of his crew, and by damn, I’m gonna write about him. He had an old box on his fire place mantle. When I opened his box, The DFC was on top along with a dozen more metals.

        • Augie says:

          I am honestly crying right now. It isn’t what we do, its what they did, for us to continue what we do. I really want to hear his story, I want them all told. I want to be in his combat boots. I ended my fallen fathers memoir with:
          “Let all stories be told, one at a time. Of what you gave for us. GMG2 Jones, Navy Frogman, we will remember your sacrifice”

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is a great time-travel vignette, Kerry. You could have gone anywhere in the later segment; finding the small change buried in the newspaper is certainly the most realistic. If history were that easy to change, somebody would have done it already…

      You captured the juxtaposition of 1940′s and 1980′s views beautifully.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Thank you Tim. That’s high praise coming from a writer who has the talent you possess. One of the few prompts I felt ham-strung from the 500 limitation. There was so much more I wanted to say.

  57. shadowprancer says:

    I’m not in the wrong bathroom. Nonetheless, a man is washing his hands and brushing his hair out of his eyes. Outside, clearly marked, is a stick figure with a skirt, but in this place gender is loosely defined. My friend Katherine’s eyes widen and she whispers to me, “Are we in the wrong bathroom?”

    I laugh, “No, this is CC Slaughters. Gender is optional. If I wanted to walk into the men’s room, I could strut there and pee upright if I could anatomically do it correct.”

    Truly, what is up with the eyebrow raising? Sure, men tend to pee all over the seat, which is never appealing for us ladies who must sit down. However, when you’re on a long road trip and the female bathroom at the gas station is being cleaned or another woman with a small bladder (which let’s face it ladies is about 99% of the female population) has commandeered it for way too long, the men’s bathroom is enticing. And it’s almost always empty. A big plus. And if a woman or a man catches me leaving the man’s bathroom and gives me the eyebrow raise, I just give them a huge smile and an innocent “Hello! Have a nice day.” But in my head, I’m flipping them off and telling them to stop being so old fashioned.

    • Augie says:

      Ohhh, the power of Google! CC Slaughters, I had to look it up! My wife and I chose to settle here for the liberal mindset! Thanks, well done!

    • Reaper says:

      Interesting, nicely angry without being overdone. Also the perfect length for the story and the prompt. I had to look up the place but would not go past the first page. Nice setting for your story.

      • shadowprancer says:

        If you’re ever in Portland, OR, I suggest going to CC Slaughters. It’s not just a gay bar, yes many gay men go there, but they have dance competitions (which is why I go) and it’s a relaxed atmosphere with all sexual orientations, male and female welcome. It’s actually a lot of fun to go, and they have themes, etc.

    • jhowe says:

      Short and sweet. I liked it.

    • Observer Tim says:

      Very clever, shadowprancer. Short, sweet and to the point. You brought the main character’s attitude out perfectly.

  58. Augie says:

    I, HM2 Dorothy Jackson, Will not……I will not….. I will not…. Great! 4000 times! Now for the boots.

    For those that don’t understand military ratings, I am a Hospital Corpsman assigned to a bunch of sissy tough guys. Basically I’m their nurse. Yea, they suck up injuries in front of each other, but the minute they enter my clinic? The WAA-bulance sirens blast!

    I mainly keep busy with prank related crap like super glued body parts, wrapping X-lax in chocolate bar wrappers, or other unusual things. I don’t ask questions. Just laugh and treat them accordingly.

    But, once Augila decided to alter my digital scale, I joined in their boyish games! I don’t know how he did it, but payback is mine!

    It’s weigh-in-day for the military females and instead of displaying numeric weight, the damn LED lights on the scale reads, ‘ONE AT A TIME PLEASE ‘ or ‘TO BE CONTINUED’. Even worse, when they back off the scale it displays, ‘BEEP-BEEP-BEEP!’

    I can see the guys in my mind, laughing hysterically at my embarrassment! Its pay back time!

    The men’s bathroom has three stalls. If you know guys, none of them use the first stall for dirty work. The middle stall is the ‘no way zone’ so no one sits next to you. So yes, the farthest stall gets used for heavy business.

    Here it is, four AM and I just finished polishing boots. Why?

    I timed my prank just right, I thought. Just as I rigged the third bathroom stall, I hear three men enter. Augila’s voice boomed, “ Well Admiral Riles, I am happy you came to visit us!”

    The Admiral responds, “ You men are doing a great job Master Chief, keep up the good work!”

    I panic! “Shit!” The first two stall doors close.

    I slowly open my stall door. There stands Admiral Jennings with a stunned look.

    “ What are you doing in here Petty Officer? This IS the men’s room correct?”

    I pull out my note pad from my back pocket, “Sanitary inspection sir! You can’t use this stall!”

    The Admiral smirks, “nonsense! If it’s clean enough for my men, its good for me!”

    He presses past me and closes the door.

    I run out as all three men shout, “what the hell?”

    My punishment? I had to write:

    I will not put cellophane on toilet bowls 2000 times.

    And

    I will not put ketchup packs under toilet seats 4000 times.

    In addition, I had to wash their uniforms and shine their boots!

    My regret? Augila wasn’t the one that the ketchup packs exploded on!

    Another day!

  59. Critique says:

    Moira’s delicate constitution suffered from digestive troubles whenever she travelled too far from home. So on this trip-of-a-lifetime to Italy she came prepared.

    Regret they say is always from hindsight. Perhaps literally in this case.

    Dining at the popular pizzeria with her two travelling buddies began as a fun experience. The pizzas were so enormous they draped over the sides of their plates. They were mouthwatering delicious. They were starving.

    Sinking her teeth into her third piece, Moira’s eyes widened.

    Nature’s alarm signalled urgently from astern.

    She deposited the pizza slice nonchalantly onto her plate. Keeping a poker face she scanned the packed restaurant for some sign of a ladies bagno.

    A preventive double dose of Dulcolax the previous evening had not been a good idea after all.

    Some fundamental biological urgings are, nonnegotiable.

    In mortal terror she scraped her chair back from the table.

    When her buddies looked up in surprise she fixed a smile on her face. “Just going to the little girl’s room.”

    Desperately clenching her posterior muscles – giving new definition to buns of steel – Moira headed as quickly as she dared down a dim hallway and pushed open the first door with the word ‘bagno’ on it.

    She was situated in the nick of time and paid no mind to the racket that ensued.

    Trembling at the close call she dashed out of the stall and washed her hands. The miasma that corrupted the air had her scrambling for an anonymous exit.

    Her heart skipped a beat when the door opened and she collided with two handsome well dressed Italian men.

    Their eyebrows shot up in surprise until the malodorous air computed.

    “Dio mio.” The taller man put a hand up to his nose.

    “Thees es man’s toilette.” The second man made a coughing gagging sound.

    Moira’s face burned a fiery red on two counts.

    Holding up her hand, she cupped her ear and faked a confused look.

    “What? I’m deaf.” She shouted. “No speako los Italiano. Can’t hear you. Sorry.”

    She tried to sidle past them.

    All three moved as one to squeeze out the narrow doorway. After some awkward manoeuvring Moira managed to slip past the men.

    Back at the table her friends – still working on the huge pizzas – acknowledged her with innocent contented expressions. They were none the wiser.

    Moira couldn’t remember ever enjoying pizza so much.

  60. Jay says:

    Mother Says…

    Mother always told Damien that women were evil. They’re Satan’s children, she would say, they’ll go right for your heart and make you do evil, unclean things. Maybe she was right, but as long as he could remember, he couldn’t stay away from them. Not even a little bit.

    The door to the bathroom opened, and he could hear Cynthia’s soft succulent laughter as she entered. He looked down at the watch secured tight enough to his wrist to cause the skin around it to turn white.

    Right on time, he thought, she never disappoints.

    “Hang on. I just got to work. I’ll call you back later.” She said, and after a moment, she replied to the person on her cell phone, “I love you, too.”

    Who the hell was that, he thought, who the hell does she love?

    Cynthia walked to the stall he was sitting in, and she pulled on the door. She took a deep breath, and sighed. As she moved to the next one, she said, “You know, for months I’ve been trying to open that door, and you’re always in it.”

    He stayed quiet while she talked. He knew he couldn’t say anything, but he wanted to… oh, did he want to. He angled the small mirror near the corner of the stall, and peered up as Cynthia hiked up her dark grey skirt. She dropped a pair of pale blue panties that reflected the fluorescent lights with a soft sateen sheen.

    As the sound of water dripping against water started, she said, “I feel like we’re already best friends. I mean, we always go to the bathroom together, so to speak. Is it the coffee or the drive that gets you? For me, I think it’s a little bit of both. Today, the rain was extra hard while driving, which probly made it worse.”

    Who the hell was that man she was talking to, he thought.

    His face began to burn hot red. He never got that way at work; in fact, he made a special point of not getting angry, but he couldn’t help it. The woman he loved was in love with someone else.

    Cynthia giggled, “I love that you’re so quiet and mysterious. You’re like, the bestest best friend because all you do is listen. I wish my boyfriend was like that.”

    Mother said, “See, she doesn’t love you. You’re just her friend.”

    Shut up, Mother, he thought.

    Mother said, “She only wants your ear, that evil little bitch. See? She’s one of Satan’s children.”

    Shut up, Mother, he thought, I love this one.

    Cynthia said, “We should seriously hang out sometime, but not, like, in the bathroom. We gotta be girlfriends, you and I.”

    Mother said, “See that? What you’re doing? It’s evil and unclean. Now your heart is screwed and soon she’ll make you broken!”

    God damn it! Shut up, mother!

    Cynthia giggled and said, “You’re probably the most impossible woman I ever—wait, what is that?”

    Cynthia quickly crossed her legs and stood. She pulled up her panties and dropped her skirt as he pulled the small mirror back into his side. She stepped out of her stall, and moved in front of his again. She began banging on the door.

    “Come out of there! What the hell was that, you sick bastard.” She screamed and banged on the door some more. “If you don’t come outta there right now, I’ma call the police on you!”

    She doesn’t love me does she? He thought.

    Mother said, “No she doesn’t. See? She broke your heart, made you unclean! You’re not my son anymore!”

    Damien stood, unlatched the door, and tossed it open. Cynthia threw her finger in his face and said, “You sick little weirdo! I knew you were a freak. I’m gonna tell the boss and you’re gonna get fired, you little weirdo!”

    Mother said, “You’re not my son anymore, you unclean little Satan’s child!”

    Damien smacked the sides of his head with his fists and screamed. Cynthia stepped back, and he lunged forward. “Fuck you, bitch!”

    He wrapped his hands around her neck, and pushed her against the porcelain sink. She grabbed his wrists, and fought for air, choking and fighting to extricate his grip.

    “Fuck you! You made my mother hate me!” He screamed as spit foamed at his mouth and ejected from his lips. “My mother was right, you fuckin’ whore!”

    He looked up and his mother nodded her head disapprovingly from inside the mirror.

    Cynthia soon fell limp, and when he dropped her body, he punched the mirror. Once. Twice. Three times. The glass cracked into a spider’s web, and his knuckles bled with the blood of his anger.

    He looked down at Cynthia, whose eyes were blood red, and whose tongue stuck out of her mouth.

    He said as he got down next to Cynthia, “This is your fault, mother!”

    He took Cynthia into his arms, and began to weep. He rocked back and forth and said, “Look what you made me do. Just like all the others, Mother. Why can’t you just be happy for me?”

    Heather, the receptionist, entered the bathroom and screamed. She ran out, and immediately told the man at the cubical just outside what she’d seen.

    Mother said, “You’re going to jail you know, you unclean little brat! Serves you right!”

    “Shut up, Mother!”

    • tz2328 says:

      Dang. I may have to start holding it til I’m safe at home. Breathlessly exciting and sinister.
      You all are schooling me this week.

    • andrayasdgva says:

      Well let just start with, this isn’t my smartest decision . I am a curious person and unfortunately I get in so much trouble it is not funny.So I was walking down the street and got curious about what the inside of the boy bathroom looks like. Taking a few looks around making sure that I won’t get is the key to sneak in the bathroom. I am in looking around the ….. man it is an absolute dump in here. What is the matter with these animals.
      “Hey man hold on I have to use the John.”
      “Okay I will go with you , I have to go .”
      Oh no they are coming , were am I going to hide ? Yes stalls man this is a life savor. Oh my God what is this .It …It … It’s a turd. To late to change stalls now. After they were done taking their wiz, they started talking like a bunch of middle school girls. I was stuck in there for hours, in’till I got an idea .To act like I am blind will be genius and I will for sure get out of here with out being embarrassed. I prepared for this plan for ten minutes ,and for get it they talk like a bunch of high school girls. In three , two , one :
      “Hello ladies nothing like the girls bathroom to chatter in .”
      “Excuse me ma’ma this is the men’s restroom.” said one of the men .
      “OH MY GOD I am so sorry , I am blind please for give me I didn’t mean to.” I said scared and embarrassed like.
      “Here we will dress you like a man using our jackets and baseball caps and escort you done the street.” the other man said.
      And they did just that and I was thankful too. Not only I got out of there unnoticed I didn’t get embarrassed. Score! In your faces suckers…oh never mind I am on Facebook great let me take down my face book picture real quick.Well never mind it seems that ever one in the world know now,great It is about to begin in this house hold. The woman is already yelling at me.
      ” Alexsandra get down her know , so help me !”
      “I am coming! ”
      And this is where I leave you guys.

      • jhowe says:

        Sorry about those posts above. I had a little trouble. At least you know I liked Jay’s story. Your story had some good ideas in it. There were a few mechaical problems but i enjoyed reading it.

      • Augie says:

        andrayasdgva, one of my favorite quotes is from Winston Churchill: Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. There is power in your writing, (not that I am a qualified to judge). If I had any advice at all, it would be to step away from your story, then come back and read it out loud. I can see the spark! keep it coming!

      • Observer Tim says:

        This is an interesting stream of consciousness story, andrayasdgva. I would have preferred a bit more whitespace (like extra line breaks between paragraphs) just for readability.

        It is entertaining, and the main character is quite clever.

    • jhowe says:

      That was great Jay. I would have paid to read that story.

    • jhowe says:

      That was great Jay. I would have paid to read that story.

    • Reaper says:

      Very Norman Bates and nicely done Jay. You have this way with people that snap that is just perfect. You never shy away from the thought patterns but refrain from over analyzing them so it is perfectly believable with incredible flow.

    • Mittens1326 says:

      I loved this line: “He screamed as spit foamed at his mouth and ejected from his lips.” I actually reached up to wipe my face after reading it. Gave me the shivers!!

    • Critique says:

      Yikes. A dark creepy tale that doesn’t stop. Well done Jay.

    • Observer Tim says:

      Wow, Norman Bates in the workplace. This was an intense story, Jay, riveting and very entertaining.

  61. jhowe says:

    The poem I had written on the bathroom stall partition was gone. What the hell happened to it? I took out my Sharpie and started another one. ‘Here I sit all broken hearted, I came to….’

    I heard the door open and stopped writing. Someone came in and I picked up my feet onto the edge of the toilet. Damn it. If I got caught I’d never live it down.

    “Two more hours until lunch; I’m dying for a smoke,” a female voice said.

    Another female voice said, “Can you believe Sandy is sucking up to Tom like that? What a kiss ass.”

    It sounded like Sara and Julie. Damn it all to hell. How did I manage to come to the women’s room? I was going to have to talk with Sandy about being less obvious. The stall door rattled.

    “Sorry, I thought it was empty,” probable Sara said.

    “It is empty,” likely Julie said looking under the stall. “Try it again.”

    “It’s locked.”

    “Climb under then.”

    “You climb under. Do you know how many germs are on this floor?”

    “I’ll go get the maintenance guy.”

    “He’s a lecherous bastard. Get someone else.”

    “Just tell Tom. He’ll know what to do.”

    A third female voice appeared. “What’s going on in here?” It was Sandy. Great.

    “The stall’s locked.”

    “Go get Tom,” Sandy said.

    “You’d like that wouldn’t you?”

    “What’s that supposed to mean?”

    Kissing sounds were made by someone.

    “Oh Tom?” Someone yelled. “Your bitch, I mean your girlfriend needs you.”

    “God damn it Sara,” Sandy said. There was a scuffling sound and all three voices started mingling frantically. It sounded as if blows were landed. Soon I saw bodies on the floor, writhing arms and legs extending into the stall. Language like I’ve never heard was spouted.

    I slid under the stall on the side, stood up and grabbed the nearest woman. “Calm down here,” I said. “What’s the meaning of this?”

    They stopped fighting. “Oh Tom,” Sandy said. “Um, the stall door is locked.”

    “You’re fighting about a locked door?” I said.

    “Well, you see, I’m afraid I caught Sara talking trash behind your back,” Sandy said.

    “You fucking liar!”

    “That’s enough Sara,” I said. “I want you three to get washed up and report to me in my office. Understood?”

    The women nodded. I walked to my office not believing my luck. Manny, the maintenance guy was there. “What are you doing here Manny?” I said.

    “Well boss, it seems I’m in the middle of a Catch 22 situation.”

    “What do you mean?”

    Manny sucked his teeth like he had been doing since he started working here. “I guess I’ll come right out and admit that I stashed a video camera in the ladies room a few months ago.”

    “Manny, that’s deplorable.”

    “It is, ain’t it.”

    “But I suppose we could overlook it this time.”

    “I’m willing to overlook it for, let’s say, five grand?”

    “That sounds, well, feasible I guess… it’s a little unorthodox, but under the circumstances… I’m paying you, right?”

    “That’s a big ten four.”

    The three women walked into the office. “What are you doing here Manny?” Sandy said.

    “That’s none of your concern Sandy. Manny and I were just talking about a few maintenance details.”

    Sandy contemplated with eyes ablaze. Manny said, “I was just leaving anyway. It seems I have a small graffiti issue to take care of. Right boss?”

    “That’s right Manny. I need you to take care of it right away.”

    • lionetravail says:

      had to read it twice, Jhowe, with the twists in it- love it though! Nicely complex in the short prompt format- you’ve got great characters who are believable, a bit of blackmail of the boss, interpersonal relationships, and a close escape which wasn’t (damn that Manny!). Great take- could happen to anyone. (Anyone screwing around at the workplace, with a graffiti fetish, and a blackmailing/ladies toilet videoing scumbag employee, anyway.)

      • Mittens1326 says:

        I read it twice, too. It was like a great movie with a fast-paced, complex plot – you watch the first time just to find out what happens, and then again to appreciate how it all fits together! Great work!

    • I liked the bribe the best, and how he was writing graffiti. Excellent work, jhowe.

    • tz2328 says:

      Very entertaining. I love the fast word play. :)

    • Reaper says:

      The fact that it was the boss writing the graffiti was a nice twist here. The slow beginning led nicely into the well written chaos and fast paced situation that followed.

    • Critique says:

      The childishness of adults shines forth – a twisted tale with everyone backstabbing the each other.
      I found it funny – ‘that’s a big ten four’. hahaha.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        A creepy boss who looks up skirts, three brassy women who fight over anything and a a dumb ass janitor aka black mailer. Wonderful characters in play. Really enjoyed the ‘gutter romp’, jhowe. Keep them coming.

    • dedewitt says:

      I feel like I stepped into a Grand Theft Auto scenario.

      At first I thought this was a kid playing a prank, but now I can see it’s high school in the office. Great twist. Fun dialogue. Great work!

    • Observer Tim says:

      A very twisted tale, jhowe. It says a lot about human nature; I love the fact that nobody is above guilt.

  62. Reaper says:

    Performance Anxiety

    The urge starts as a slow, soft whispering in the back of my head. Normally the cravings begin before a big meeting. I can resist at first for an hour, sometimes a day. Eventually I acquiesce to the master in my brain. When I do I always start in the lady’s restroom.

    I had three hours until the biggest meeting of my professional life when the urge began to claw at the back of my skull. It was a beast that needed to run free. With furtive glances over my shoulders I skulked my way to a stall in the women’s and smoked my first cigarette in months. Smoking takes the edge off the need but it was deep enough I felt compelled to scratch at my inner elbows. When I exited the stall three women were staring at me.

    Samantha was from accounting. Jane was a secretary that insisted on being called an executive assistant. Teddi the owner’s wife, I am not sure what her job title was. They were all a certain kind of lady; the ones that wear skirts just on the safe side of too short with matching tight blouses. Sluts. Being a dapper gentleman I am accustomed to gaining the attention of this species of woman. I quickly made up my mind, taking Teddi’s hand.

    “I came in here to wait for you. I did not expect you to bring… guests.”

    The other two tittered, causing my head to throb. They left us alone though. That would make it easier to feed the urge. I knew the type of woman Teddi was, and so did she. She did not resist my kiss, nor my hands roaming her.

    She gasped as I turned her roughly, pressing her to the counter. That was token resistance. I ascertained the truth from the look in her eyes as I met them in the mirror. Pressing to her ample posterior, pinning her there our soulful gaze informed me she knew I had what she needed.

    There was another inhalation as she saw the flash of metal. It was just what she had always desired in her secret heart, though she would deny it to everyone. She opened her mouth to moan as the beautiful gift twinkled closer to her throat where it belonged.

    A beautiful glittering of ruby adorned her throat first. The reflection in the mirror became three dimensional. Coppery scents and pattering sounds soothed the beast inside as crimson rain washed my hands before cascading onto the porcelain below. The warmth of her gift was perfection as it moisturized my skin. Then it was time to really go to work. I had so little time before the meeting.

    It is not easy to flush a body down a toilet. Even when you dissect it first, you have to be really dedicated. It was the best meeting of my life. I will have to feed the urge Samantha and Jane before the end of the day, moving is annoying.

    • jhowe says:

      You carried me through this flawlessly. It is written so well that I was able to go from one sentence to the next without thinking of mechanics or punctuation or anything other than enjoying the story. Very well done.

      • Reaper says:

        Thank you jhowe. I am always happy to create a world that someone can get lost in, even if only for a moment, and even if it is one most would not want to be lost in.

    • peetaweet says:

      That was like Dexter meets Mad Men. Yikes! Well done sir!

    • Jay says:

      Damn, Reaper. These women… you don’t happen to live in California do you? haha Seriously, though. Great work. My desire for horror wished there was more introspection of the killers ‘urge’, but I enjoyed it a lot! Also, to not spend five hours cutting up and flushing a body down a toilet with a knife that’s concealable takes considerable effort, and the fact that he’s good enough to do it in so little time is probably the most terrifying part of him.

      As for your comment to my toilet humor story, haha… you can totally keep your man card. I’m not one for toilet humor, either, but I’m not above entertaining other people with it. :)

      • lionetravail says:

        This was so slick, the adjective which comes to my mind to describe it (for better or worse) is “sinuous”- it took me through a build up of a sinister guy, defused it by making it look like his ‘itch’ was an evil ciggy, and then ramped back up into serial murder heaven… and did it all in an incredibly smooth fashion. The characters were amazingly developed in this short prompt take, and it had the ‘Reaper Signature’ of creepy, dark, and creepy. (It deserved 2 creepies, sorry.)

        The only issue I had was what Jay brought up- it seemed like you wanted to use the toilet for disposal to fit the prompt, but impossible to get bones down it with just a knife or razor, and time frame. Also, impossible to believe he left no physical evidence to get caught with, particularly with witnesses to him being alone with the victim. This jarred for me a little, but was the only thing here which did. Sinuous!

        • Reaper says:

          Thank you lionetravail. I like the adjective sinuous because it sound ominous even though it is not inherently so. I also love getting two creepies. No apology necessary.

          You are partially correct in the use of the toilet. I abandoned realism for it and in some ways regretted it. I was married to the line not the concept of the toilet. The thing about flushing a body down a toilet and how difficult it is is a line I have had in mind for a long time. Eventually I will use it to start a full length novel but haven’t gotten to it yet. So I was throwing it out there to keep my brain from being insistent about it for a little longer. When I wrote it I was in the voice of an overconfident person, since serial killers are arrogant and often leave clues to prove how smart they are. I actually assumed he was lying about the disposal method but was not very clear on that. So thanks for pointing that out because you are right in this case it is breaking and I should have just left it out and stuck with him thinking about needing to dispose of the witnesses. I appreciate that feedback a lot. I know I’m not perfect and as I am often willing to point out little things like that to others I am happy people are willing to do it for me as well, and that you do it so kindly.

      • Reaper says:

        I don’t, but I did live there for a short period a few years back. Thank you for the kind words. This is definitely one where I was not going for realism in the body disposal. I’m going to mention a little more on that in response to another comment but I’m glad it worked as terrifying for you.

        Toilet humor can be hilarious when wielded sparingly in the hands of someone skilled at it. I mostly avoid it because it tends to get overdone quickly, but I will do the same on occasion. Whew for my man card though.

    • Well… this was sickening but completely captivating. Hats off!

    • tz2328 says:

      Are you serious? Damn.
      Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

    • Smooth transition from cigarettes to sex to murder, and the sick psychopathic tendency to go back to life as if nothing happened. Creepy.

      • Reaper says:

        Thank you Tanya. I almost left out the sex transition but wanted the extra disturbing feel that I find comes from the transition between that and murder. You are very kind.

    • Augie says:

      Reaper, this is great! It might be just me, but I had a tough time tracking ‘was’ from ‘is’ . I wasn’t sure if it was past, or is present. Loved it!

      • Reaper says:

        Thanks Augie. Yeah, some of that was intentional as a form or showing thinking in present tense as opposed to action in past but I probably missed some and could definitely clean it up. Thanks for pointing that out. I’m still experimenting with that transition when I am using it for feel. It doesn’t always work right.

    • Mittens1326 says:

      Holy crap – that was deliciously creepy and dark. I thought we were dealing with a drug addict at the very worst, but whoa… not so much. That was one twisted MC. Sick and terrifying. Glad I didn’t read this in bed with the lights off!

    • RuthieShev says:

      If you are writing a book, I would surely put this scene in. I found myself reading it over more than once. Great job.

      • Reaper says:

        You make me blush Ruthie. This won’t fit in the book I’m currently writing but there are a few on my mind that it could fit into with some slight modification. Man I write too many creepy guys and serial killers. Thank you for the advice and the support.

    • Critique says:

      I thought of Dexter when I read this – I didn’t (want to) watch the show but I know the premise of the series. Well done. Horrifying.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        If ever I read anything that made my skin crawl, this is it. It was so effortless of you to write this as it was for the murder and butchering of her body. Lord ‘O Mighty, you’re on a roll! Remind me not to upset you in any way, you might come through the screen at me. But you will have to deal with ‘Mr.Winchester’ first and I’m a crack shot even if one eye is blurry.

        What a study of powerful writing.Some day, I’ll get the nerve to do it.

        • Reaper says:

          Thank you Kerry. I would say sorry for the skin crawling but it was what I was aiming for on this one. I will try to continue the roll because it makes me smile to read it. I doubt you could upset me unless your tried and you are far too kind for that in my opinion. I won’t do any hellraiser through the screen stuff. Though as worried as I would be about your crack shot with Mr. Winchester from everything you’ve said I would be more terrified of meeting Mrs. Charlton if I came through that screen and attempted any harm to her husband!

          You are a stand out on the power of your writing. The people here all write with power and yours is exceptionally good. Because of that I assume you are not talking about the nerve to write powerfully but to write something of the murder and mayhem variety. I have seen you write dark before, and all I can say is I look forward to reading it if you ever decide to go darker still. No pressure to do so though, because what you write is amazing as it is.

      • Reaper says:

        Thank you Critique. I aimed to horrify with this one. There are some definite Dexter elements to this, especially the unrealistically not getting caught. Though compared to the show the MC is too malicious, and the book series is written much better than this is. I never expected to enjoy either but that writer is amazing.

    • Observer Tim says:

      All possible praise has been given, I can’t think of any more. That said, you’ve written a tight story with a very dark side while not explicitly describing the violence. Excellent as usual, Reaper!

  63. Mittens1326 says:

    I got carried away with this one…. If it counts for anything, this is the first time I’ve gone over the limit. Forgive me!!
    —————————————

    Simon is afraid to raise his hand for the hall pass.

    Last time, the teacher called on him to answer a question he hadn’t heard. His classmates turned to him expectantly and laughed when he asked for the bathroom.

    He knew it was the kind of laughing that meant he had done something wrong.

    But he can’t wait any longer. He is listening to his body, like his mother reminds him to do, and he knows he has waited too long already. So he holds his breath and inches his hand up. He must have timed it right because Mr. Nash retrieves the pass mid-sentence and hands it to him, but he doesn’t speak to him or make eye contact . Simon takes the pass and sits frozen at his desk. He is supposed to make eye contact, especially with adults. He is not sure what to do, but the full feeling in his stomach is getting worse and he worries he will not make it to the bathroom in time. He slides forward so his feet touch the floor and stares at Mr. Nash, waiting for something he is not sure of.

    Mr. Nash still doesn’t address him, though he does jerk his head towards the door. Several of the kids sitting near Simon snicker. Simon glances at them cautiously, still rooted to his seat.

    Emma Penbrook leans across the aisle between their desks and whispers to him. “You can go, Simon.”

    He stands and walks to the hallway. Emma Penbrook does not lie. His mother told him that Emma Penbrook is kind. They have playdates, and his mother and Emma Penbrook’s mother sit and drink tea and sometimes his mother cries and Emma Penbrook’s mother pats her softly while looking at Simon with a strange smile on her face.

    Simon’s body moves down the hall but his eyes do not register his surroundings. His mind is filled with questions, like why the other kids know how and when to ask for the hall pass. There is some secret to the timing. He knows he is missing it, and it frustrates him. Emma Penbrook helps him but he senses that he should know on his own.

    He pushes the bathroom door open and frowns when he does not see the urinals. He enters a stall and struggles to balance the pass as he pushes his pants to the floor and relieves himself, grateful that he didn’t wait too long.

    When he exits the stall he sees Olivia and Lilianna standing at the sink giggling at him.

    He makes eye contact and carefully rolls up his sleeves. “Did you know you should always turn the cold water on first so you don’t burn yourself?” They don’t answer, but they are still making eye contact, which encourages him. “Did you know you should sing the ABCs to make sure you wash long enough to get all the germs off?”

    “Why are you in the girls’ room?” Lilianna asks. He can’t tell if she is using a friendly voice or not. He knows that a friendly voice is a clue that someone is being kind to him, but he can’t tell and he worries that he will guess wrong. He is supposed to look at people’s faces for clues, too. He looks at Lilianna’s face and guesses she is not being kind because her face looks angry. His mother says it’s OK to walk away when people are being unkind. He backs away from Lilianna and takes two paper towels to dry his hands.

    “I’m telling Mr. Nash,” Lilianna yells, and pushes past him, racing out into the hallway. Olivia follows, the door slamming behind her.

    Simon’s eyes blur with tears as he crumples the paper towels and accidentally knocks the hall pass to the floor with a clatter. He is not sure what he did wrong but he knows he will have to go see Ms. Howard and she might call his mother to school to take him home early. He will have to apologize for his behavior. But he is not sure what he should apologize for. He feels his chest tighten and the tears spill down his face.

    He wishes he had never asked for the hall pass. He wishes he was a robot and his body didn’t produce any waste products so he never had to ask for the hall pass at school ever again.

    He picks up the hall pass from the floor and wishes he could throw it against the door with all his strength, but he knows that would be wrong because you are not supposed to throw things, especially not at school or other places where people are concentrating, like the library. So instead he pulls open the bathroom door and walks back to Mr. Nash’s classroom, his footsteps echoing in the empty hallway.

    • lionetravail says:

      This is gorgeous, beautifullly done, and a believable look into the mind of someone who is perfectly characterized as a young boy on the autistic spectrum. If i wore a hat, Mittens, i would take it off to you. Well done!

    • Reaper says:

      This is just perfect. The pace, the tone, the voice. My heart was breaking for your MC. Excellent story told in a perfect way. Just, wow!

    • jhowe says:

      I enjoyed this immensely. Your writing style is very enjoyable to read.

    • Cceynowa says:

      Wow. This is wonderful. Thank you for sharing. You captured (I believe) the inner struggle perfectly. The confusion, the frustration, the desire, and the fear are all there. Beautifully written.

    • The narration is… splendid, in a word. I got completely caught up in this kid’s life. Really feel sad for him. Excellent!!

    • LiveOakLea says:

      Your writing had me engaged totally and feeling Simon’s uncertainty and unhappiness. Every word, scene and character contributed forcefully to your story. As for myself, I haven’t been able to think of a story that would be more than 50 words for this prompt … I’m amazed at your results!

    • Critique says:

      A sensitive well written story. I felt I was in Simon’s head experiencing his frustration and pain.

    • tz2328 says:

      Awww. I’ve been that kid. Nicely written.

    • RuthieShev says:

      I am not a critic so I usually don’t comment on many but there are so many good ones this week and yours was one of the best I read. Great job.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Your writing is so interspective. personal and perfect for the story. I’ve never even tried to write like this. But after reading your’s,I’m going to attempt it. I can do it auto biographical. I’m so happy I stopped to read your writing, it’s marvelous.

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is a very powerful story, Mittens. ASD is hard to write about, but you’ve captured the internal monologue wonderfully.

      There but for the grace of God…

  64. rle says:

    In my continuing quest to find out who I am (or want to become) as a writer, I came up with this piece of crap (no pun intended). I apologize in advance.

    _____________________________________

    Jeff Foxworthy put it best when he said, “the only thing worse than having diarrhea, is trying to have it quietly in a public restroom.” Such was exactly the case for me one fateful February morning not so very long ago.

    It all started innocently on a Sunday. My buddy Al had invited me to join he and some of his friends at his place to watch the Daytona 500. It sounded great but what I hadn’t counted on was eating enough jalapeno nacho dip to burn the rubber off a Goodyear Eagle or drinking enough beer to fuel Jeff Gordon’s car for a twenty-five lap green flag run. Long story short, I woke up on Monday morning with a cramp the likes of nothing I’ve ever experienced before or since.

    If I’d been smart, I would have just called off work, but that wasn’t me. I was the guy who just ‘manned up’ and pushed through the discomfort. In retrospect, I realize what a poor decision that was.

    The drive into work wasn’t that bad and the ride up the elevator to the 37th floor also proved tolerable. It wasn’t until I started down the long corridor toward my office, that my real troubles began. It began to sound as though my stomach had just been given the command to fire the engines. It churned and gurggled like an eight-hundred horsepower Hendrick power plant on the verge of blowing. I had to get to the bathroom, and fast.

    I began trotting down the hall but soon broke into a dead run, passing co-workers like Dale Jr. on the last lap at Talladega.

    I hit the restroom door and dove into the first available stall. Naturally, this had to be the day I wore the pants with the zipper that stuck. As I fumbled with it, the knot in my stomach grew more taut. I was really tight in the center and was about to get extremely loose on exit.

    I finally plopped down on the seat and the old bowels did their thing with an explosion and resulting echo that threatened to shake the paint off the walls.

    “Oh thank you sweet Jesus!” I remembered exclaiming as my stomach relaxed. I sat there for a few moments trying to catch my breath and regain my composure. Feeling confident there wasn’t an encore forthcoming, I finished up and stepped from the stall. As I did, I met the horrified gaze of two of my co-workers, Gina and Susan.

    “I can explain ladies,” I stammered as I felt a cold sweat break out all over me.

    “Yea, I’m sure you can you sick pervert,” Susan scowled, “you can explain it all to security when they get here.”

    Just then, two security guards burst in and took me by the arms. As they led me out, I tried to tell them that I had just transferred from the 28th floor and down there the restrooms were in reverse order, which was true. The two bafoons from Rent-A-Cops-R-Us didn’t want to hear about it.

    I was escorted from the building and an investigation was launched. Eventually, I lost my job over the whole embarassing ordeal.

    These days, I’m woefully unemployed. I spend my days sitting around in my underwear drinking beer and watching daytime talk shows. Al and I get together every Sunday to watch the NASCAR race, but I never touch that damn jalapeno nacho dip.

  65. THE LAST SIEGE OF LORD ROBERT IGGLESBY
    (Disclaimer: The story is heavily… altered, shall we say. Hope someone enjoys this drivel anyways.)

    It was a fine day at the castle of Robert Igglesby, the Lord of Unqualified Jesters, barring the fact that flaming arrows were coming in through the windows, and random people were screaming.

    “Shut the windows!” Geoffrey shouted. “I told you we shouldn’t have put them in!”

    Lord Igglesby rushed to close them. “I couldn’t help it! The trader offered a discount if I gave him free tickets to the joust!”

    “Not that it’s a good show! You know the peasants only enjoy the popcorn!”

    They finally closed them, dulling the shouts outside. Arrows ricocheted off the battlements. A soldier burst in wearing full armor, breathing heavily.

    “Duke Geoffrey!”
    “Great Jerusalem, lad, what is it?!”

    The soldier kept gasping, holding up his finger.
    “What is it?! Have we run out of chickens to hurl down?”

    “No, sire, worse… I ran all across the castle to tell you. A woman’s been discovered in your private garderobe.”

    Geoffrey’s face twisted in abject horror.
    “Lord Richard, come with me! This is of the utmost importance.”

    They both stormed out. Taking the stairs to the top, the battlements surfaced. Soldiers bravely fought back with crossbows and cackling hens, nodding to their commander as he ran along breezily.

    “Keep up the excellent defense!” Robert bellowed. “By feathers, we shall overcome!”

    They hurried to the nearest tower, arrows passing all around them without harm.
    “Rush along, king. I would hate to have you killed,” the soldier warned a bit too half-heartedly.

    “Not a single weapon hit us! Perhaps you would like to replay that in slow motion, with dramatic music.”

    “We haven’t the time,” Geoffrey called back. “I must get to my chambers at once!”
    Suddenly, an arrow lodged itself in Geoffrey’s hand. He gripped his hand, his teeth clenched.

    “Duke Geoffrey, would you like a Band-Aid?” The soldier asked hastily.
    “You idiot! Band-Aids haven’t been invented yet! We must keep going!”

    He somehow managed to hobble into the tower, blood running down his arm.
    “Duke Geoffrey, are you sure you don’t need medical assistance?”

    “No! Just get me down there, or I’ll make a chandelier out of your bones!”
    “But, sir, you can’t do that, I’m Lord Richard’s nephew!”

    He shook his hand. “Seemingly all royalty is related these days. After all, I married my half-sister.”
    “Geoffrey, you need help!” Lord Richard pleaded.

    “It’s a joke,” Geoffrey said, giggling hysterically. “She’s actually my cousin, not too bad.”
    The soldier and Lord Richard exchanged wary glances.

    “I think he’s long gone, sire.”
    “Yes, let’s carry him down and see the situation.”

    They managed to haul him to his chambers. Two soldiers were already there, holding a pale man between them.

    “I demand to know what is going on!”
    They snapped up into a salute. “Lord, we’ve captured this man. He refuses to identify himself.”

    “Man!?” Lord Richard peered back strangely. “I don’t want to know what happened after all.”
    “That was after the wig fell off, sire.”

    Lord Richard bent down to inspect the tattered man. After a few seconds, he stood up in disgust.
    “He’s a spy! He even refuses to look at me!”

    The guards kicked the spy, and he clutched his stomach.
    “All right, all right, I climbed up to unlock the doors, but I was caught!” He replied haggardly.

    “That’s more like it,” Lord Richard retorted. “A rock climber! I’m surprised he made it up here without slipping. What do you suggest we do to him?”

    “The wild boar treatment, perhaps?” one suggested.

    “No, I have a better idea.” Lord Richard glanced down at Geoffrey, who was still clutching his arm and rolling around. “Throw him down, and tell him to tell his commander to withdraw. I want meat for dinner and our supply is almost gone.”

    “Will do, sire,” and the guards promptly picked up the spy and cast him down the chute.

    In the meanwhile, Richard and the soldier picked up Geoffrey and carried him over. His whole arm was bloody and he was starting to gag.

    “Geoffrey, it’s okay to release now.”
    Geoffrey leaned over and puked inside, a solid stream descending down. The guards handed over some bandages to wrap his arm.

    “Let’s all take turns, now,” the soldier announced. The guards laughed, until another soldier walked in halfway through, his face ashen but clearly disturbed.

    “Sorry for interrupting, Lord, but… the chickens are gone.”
    Lord Richard collapsed. “Noooooooooooooo…….”

    (I’m so, so sorry. GH)

  66. Nicole says:

    My bladder felt like it was going to explode.
    Almost four hours earlier, I enjoyed a large lunch topped off with three goblets of root beer. I knew the staff was having a meeting after lunch, but I didn’t imagine the meeting going over one hour. If I knew, I would have gone to the ladies’ room immediately upon my return to the office. My groin started to strain half an hour into the meeting. By the time we adjourned, I was doing a semblance of the ghost dance and wishing I was wearing Depends.
    I burst out of the conference room and flew down the hallway. Not seeing the “MEN” sign on the door, I went charging into the first bathroom I came to. I ripped my slacks off, stooped over the bowl, and let loose.
    “Ahhhh…,” I moaned. Blessed, wonderful relief. I plopped myself down on the seat and put my head in my lap.
    Maybe I was beginning to dream; that’s the only reason I could think of as to why I didn’t hear anyone else enter the room. Howbeit, I dressed quickly and exited the stall to head to the sink.
    The sight that met me shocked me. There were two gentlemen I knew from the finance department using the urinals. In my haste to make it to the toilet, I hadn’t noticed the urinals either. The two men were relieving themselves. When I came out of the stall, they simultaneously turned to look at me.
    My mouth dropped open in a huge gape. I caught the entire scene in a split second: The men looking at me with startled expressions, holding their manhood. Me getting a good look at their manhood. My sudden thought that they were going to tag-rape me for having looked at them in the bathroom.
    I squeezed my eyes shut.
    “Oh m-my G-God,” I stammered. “I – you guys weren’t there when I came in.”
    They stood speechless.
    “I’m so sorry.” My apology sounded futile and meaningless. “I had no idea I was in the mens’ room. I was in a meeting… rushed to the bathroom… didn’t see the sign.”
    My face was flushed and burning. I opened my eyes, but kept them fixed upon the floor. The men didn’t move and they gave no reply.
    I forgot about washing my hands. I only wanted to get out of there. I silently thanked God that those two men worked in a different department. I hurried out of the bathroom and down the hall without looking back. Gathering my things from the conference room, I thought about my cat Cindy waiting for me at home.
    Before leaving the conference room, I peered down the hallway toward the men’s room. There was no sign of the two men and I heard no sound. I ran to the elevator and was beyond elated when I was outside and walking down the street.
    I picked up two frankfurters on my way to the subway.

    • Reaper says:

      I liked the plodding slice of life aspect of this. You had a believable reaction for your MC. The two things that kind of stuck our for me is the flexibility of your MC putting her head in her lap on the toilet. Possible for some but a bit immersion breaking for me. The other is men turning to look when they saw her. Most men will look over their shoulders unless it is a danger situation, otherwise you end up peeing on your buddies leg, which would have been funny but you seemed to have both stop midstream so to speak.

      • lionetravail says:

        I agree with Reaper’s observations about the physical side descriptions of the storyt they were slightly off, in the way he described. Otherwise, it was a fun story, easy to visualize in my head like a movie scene,

        The cat line seemed slightly out of place, but the last line about the two frankfurters was both ironic and perfect for the ending. Nicely done, i very much enjoyed this.

      • Nicole says:

        Thank you, Reaper, for pointing that out to me. You guys help me write better. You guys rock!

    • Observer Tim says:

      This was a great story of embarrassment right up ’till the end. Your last line was a killer with the understated humour.

      Excellent job, Nicole!

  67. Artemis4421 says:

    [I think I've finally "got my game back". Quite long of course, but I feel like I've finally gotten it the way I want it. This is actually part of a story that I am currently writing, so...I hope you enjoy it!]

    Findley watched Connor leave with mixed emotions. Yes he had gotten the answers he wanted, but he was still a bit confused as to why Connor had signed him up for the experiment. It had so many risks, and friends didn’t purposely push each other into danger, did they? Findley couldn’t remember since the scientists had tampered with his memories, but he felt that his conclusion was correct. He glanced down to the pile of clothes that Connor had left on the bed, and he pulled himself up, legs feeling weak.

    His motor skills all seemed to be working so far, so that was a good thing. Findley spotted a door in the wall to his left, and what person wouldn’t be curious? He walked over and opened it, somewhat surprised that it wasn’t locked. If they were keeping him in a room, he surely couldn’t just walk out, could he? But it turned out to simply be a bathroom. Out of forgotten habit, he retrieved the clothes from the bed and closed the bathroom door behind him. Turning on the light and looking in the mirror, his face- which seemed foreign to him now- took on an almost pinkish glow. The walls; the walls were a light pink color.

    Findley suddenly felt a splitting pain in his head, coupled with nausea and déjà vu. ‘Oh no. This is it, this is the end. The scientists messed me up for good and now I’m a goner…’ he thought to himself, holding his head in his hands. He squeezed his eyes shut, clenching his teeth, and reached out to turn on the faucet to splash cold water over his face. With a small cry of defeat, he fell to the floor with a thump, his head hitting the wall before sliding down to the floor. His body was on the bathroom floor, but his mind was elsewhere, bringing back another stolen memory for Findley to once again keep.

    ***

    It was the beginning of 7th grade; the first year in the new middle school building. The bathrooms were quite fancy, and Findley generally had a rule about not using public restrooms unless it was an emergency. So he walked in, acknowledging that this was indeed an emergency. The restrooms had two entrances, with a sign for the designated gender on only one side. Or at least this one did. Findley had assumed that this one was just missing the sign that designated the left side to boys, when the right side had the girls sign beside it-that’s the way it was in the elementary. But he shrugged off the feeling that something was wrong (probably a side effect of his bladder getting ready to explode) as he went into the first stall there was, ignoring the fact that it was a stall. He had to pee so bad, it didn’t even matter.

    Connor, a tall blonde kid across the street at the time, was in the grade above him, and had told Findley to make sure he had plenty to drink that morning. Apparently the teachers wouldn’t let you out to get a drink, and by the time the end of the day rolled around, kids were having headaches left and right due to dehydration. Findley, being nervous as he’d ever been, had taken Connor’s advice- and now hated him for it. It must have all been a trick. ‘Let’s play a trick on the scrawny seventh grader’ he’d probably thought to himself, seeing Findley come out to wait for the bus that morning.

    Having relieved himself, Findley stepped out of the stall, his bladder having a certain lightness to it that felt much better than it did after he’d held it for four periods and could hardly walk. But as soon as he stepped out of the stall, he froze in his tracks. There were two girls that had just walked in, stopping mid-sentence upon seeing him.

    “I…I thought it…” he started, realizing his mistake. He would later learn that the girls’ names were Piper and Emily. Piper, who had long brown hair as opposed to Emily’s shorter style, looked like she was trying really hard not to laugh when she said, “The sign meant that both sides are the girls’. Sorry about the confusion…”

    Findley felt his face heat up. It was just his luck to walk into the wrong bathroom- and then get caught by a beautiful girl who probably thought he was dumb! “Yeah well…I was…making sure that the uh…toilets…flushed right. They splash a bit, but they probably won’t need replaced for another couple years.” He managed to fib out. Now, he wasn’t dumb, he was simply trying to help the ladies out by being a smart young boy who was capable of doing things by himself- he didn’t need help, he was independent. But he knew that Piper and Emily would easily see through the façade- he didn’t even believe it himself for one second.

    Emily just shook her head, but Piper fixed him with her brown eyes and gave him a little smile. “I’ll let you off the hook, because if what you said is true, chivalry must not be dead. And also that was quite creative.” So she knew it wasn’t true, but wasn’t mad about it. Findley nodded and started to walk out quickly. He was in the hall before he heard Emily call, “At least wash your hands!”

    He wearily turned around and walked back in, self-consciously washing his hands while giving the girls a sarcastic ‘there-are-you-happy-now’ look. Emily crossed her arms and looked at him with satisfaction, while Piper seemed to feel bad for what had just happened. “What’s your name, so when I see you, I don’t have to call you Bathroom Boy?” Piper asked, phrasing it like Emily might have, but there was a certain softness to her voice when she said it.

    “Uh I’m Findley, and I’m going to go before someone else comes in. Please forget this ever happened,” he requested, the tough-guy attitude now completely gone. Emily shrugged, “We might. What’s in it for us?” she asked, trying to flip her hair, even though it was just a bit too short, and fell right back over her shoulder. However, Piper rolled her eyes, “We won’t tell, don’t worry. Emily actually did the same thing earlier this morning, so now she thinks she has some authority or something. You can go Findley, sorry about all that.”

    Findley took his chance and walked out, but not before seeing the angry look that Emily shot Piper, and the kind look that Piper was giving him. The rest of the day went well, and no one looked at him like they knew, so he figured all was good. And it did turn out to be quite good after all when Piper sat at the other end of the same table as him at lunch, and gave him a smile before turning to talk to her friends. One disaster narrowly avoided, who knew how many more to go.

    ***

    The pain was gone and Findley opened his eyes to see the bathroom ceiling. He felt a cold sweat covering his skin and stood up, holding onto the sink when a rush of dizziness threatened to pull him back down. The water was still running from when he first turned it on and he had no clue how long he was out. As Findley washed his face and changed into the more comfortable clothes, he realized that it was probably a good thing he had walked into that bathroom shortly before Emily and Piper. After all, Piper was his fiancé now.

    • Reaper says:

      The only constructive criticism I have is there are some places in this that could use some tightening up. I’m a fan of wordy but there are places where the same thought is repeated a couple of times in one sentence. With that said I liked this a lot. The overarching story is something that makes me want more. Love that you used a flashback in the middle of an intense situation too. I would read this full length work.

    • Observer Tim says:

      I like the story, Artemis. I suppose (as Reaper says) it is a bit wordy in places, but that’s a matter of style. Now I’m curious about what the surrounding context is. I hope the bigger story makes it to publication!

  68. lionetravail says:

    “Worst Day Of His Life”

    (Went a little long, but it felt snarkily okay)

    I felt awful as I sat there, pants around my ankles, unsure which end would declare itself first. The way my stomach was rolling, I was sure it’d be at least one of those, and quite possibly both. Somewhere above my troubled nether regions, my head felt like someone was using an eight-pound sledge inside my skull so he, or she, could exit somewhere near my right eye.

    A loud expulsion into the bowl settled the first question. Somewhat relieved, I put my elbow on the paper dispenser next to me, then added my head down on top of that. The queasiness began to pass, but the idiot with the sledge still seemed impatient to reach daylight.

    I woke suddenly when I heard the outer door to the bathroom open and footsteps. Yeesh, how embarrassing.

    I finished my business, less nauseous, but I still needed to kill the sledge-wielder. Finished, I walked out into the bathroom proper, and saw two young women standing there.

    Both abruptly manifested shocked expressions. Interestingly, I could see my reflection, and feely spacy, I recognized a similar expression on my face. I also happened to notice that I looked pale, my hair was rumpled where I’d rested it, and I hadn’t quite gotten my fly zipped up yet. They screamed then, I think.

    Their shrieks made me jerk backwards in surprise, and I hit the stall door which fell inwards, with me along with it. I hit the back of my head on something hard, and the world went away for a bit.

    I woke, or at least came aware, finally, and one of the women had folded up something under my head and was kneeling next to me. Her face was that of an angel. Well, maybe a concerned angel, anyway. She was a redhead, with the same kind of pert nose that Emma Stone has.

    “Emma?” I asked.

    “Who?” she said.

    “Is your name Emma?” I said, and tried to sit up. It was a bad call.

    “Stay down,” she said. “And no, my name is Rita. My friend Jenna went to get help and call in the emergency.”

    “No, I was able to go okay, and I just need some aspirin for my headache,” I said.

    “Ew,” she said. “No, I meant for the emergency of you falling and hitting your head and blacking out, you whacko.”

    “Oh,” I said. “Um, can you help me sit up?”

    “Are you sure?”

    “Yeah.” I sat up, and noticed my fly was still open. And my head still hurt, now front AND back.

    “Are you okay?” she said.

    “This might be the worst day of my life. Hey, why are you in the men’s room anyway? Is there a line in yours?” I said.

    She looked like she wanted to kick me- I know, because I have that effect on women. “We’re not,” she said.

    “What?” I said.

    “We’re in the ladies room.”

    “Erp,” I said.

    “Yeah,” she agreed.

    “Um, can you, like, turn around so I can…” I gestured helplessly towards my crotch.

    “Oh, um, sure,” she said, and turned.

    I fixed myself up. “Well, that confirms it,” I said.

    “What?” she said, still turned.

    “Worst day of my life,” I mumbled.

    “Well,” she said.

    I stood, a bit shakily and went to wash. “Well,” I said.

    She watched me in the mirror. “You must have been pretty out of it today,” she said. “Why?”

    “Tequila,” I said. “Yesterday, my buddy Jake and I ran a 15 K race and raised over $4,000 for charity, so we celebrated.”

    “Which one?” she said.

    “Autism Foundation- Jake’s sister is on the spectrum.”

    Just then, Jenna, security, and an EMT team burst in like S.W.A.T and in a minute I was on my back on a stretcher and being bundled out the door. I felt someone grab my hand and let go as I went out in a rush.

    Later in the ambulance, I found a slip of paper in my grip, which read: “Rita Jenkins- I like that you raised all that money for charity.” It had her phone number, too.

    Maybe it wasn’t the worst day of my life, I mused.

    • tz2328 says:

      That was great :)

    • Augie says:

      As always, I am taken adrift in your wind-of-words. Powerful Lionetravail.

    • lionetravail says:

      Thanks guys! Posted too quickly- could have edited more- “feely spacy”? Really David? Feeling spacy. Grr.

    • Reaper says:

      Your wording has a power and flow that few can match. I noticed the editing mistakes and yet breezed pass them. You write with a quality to your voice that I can only describe as musical and my mind was dancing to it the whole way.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        I think you wrote the entire story with a slight edge of romance. When you mentioned the red head, I knew I was on course. How you put the subtle hints of romance, I can’t figure out. But they’re there, I’m sure of it. This is one of your best David. It hard to pin-point your style, it’s changing you know. It’s a wondeful thing to witness.

      • lionetravail says:

        Thank you, Kerry and Reaper! I appreciate the extremely kind comments, which truly egg me on to do my best with these.

        As for my writing style changing, that may simply be my attempts to flex my fledgling writing muscles in different ways each time, trying to explore new forms, new ideas, and different emotions. Most of the time, I figure out where to start with one of these prompts, and then just let it take me in whatever direction it goes- this one started with the idea that I would try to make the meeting of people in the bathroom as maximally awkward as possible, and still find a way for something meaningful to develop out of it.

        I wanted to show that the difference between the “worst day of my life” and “maybe not the worst day of my life” may just be a tiny shift in perspective, and mean all the world to those of us who experience it.

    • Observer Tim says:

      Wow, I don’t recall ever seeing a story before that mixed touching and disturbing so well. Excellent job, lionetravail.

  69. kylesdgva says:

    I walk in the bathroom, paying no attention to the gender sign on the door, look to see if any one is there and start yelling at myself for getting that C+ in math. Then I walk in the stall when I hear voices.The sounded feminine but then again maybe they were just passing. I hear someone come in, so I jump on the toilet so they can’t see my feet. This time I know that they are girls. I look through the crack of the stall door and I see a blond girl and a brown haired girl named Shelly. This girl gets everyone in trouble. These two have been friends for a month. I think of an excuse of why I am in here. I put my hood up and walk out trying to act like a girl when, the blond one says is that Teo from math, caught! Shelly pulls my hood of and starts to walk out when I grab her and say “There is a very good reason why I am in here”. ” I am in here because…”. “because what”, Shelly says. I think real hard and look at the door when I see caution tape on the floor. “Because I am doing research on why janitors get paid so low for the amount of things thy have to do for”, “Didn’t you see the caution tape that someone knocked down”, I said. She said sorry “I did not see it we will leave”.

  70. Ahsuniv says:

    As I walked out of the toilet stall at the far end of the room, I did a double back as I saw two women standing in front of me. The tall girl was texting oblivious to her surroundings. The other, short girl was primming her hair in front of the mirror. The girl saw my reflection in the mirror and jerked around to face me.

    A story sprung into my head instantly and I started to shake my head as the girl stared at me questioningly.

    ‘I am going to kill Jake!’ I said furiously.

    ‘Sorry?’ she said and the tall girl next to her looked up from her phone and gaped with her mouth open.

    ‘He set up the damn passageway through the women’s room! How can I go unnoticed when I turn up amidst a whole group of women?’ I said, holding my forehead. ‘So much for a secret passage.’

    I saw the women give each other an uncertain look. ‘Why do you need a secret passage into the mall?’

    ‘Who are you?’ asked the taller girl who had been texting.

    ‘I am sorry, but I am not allowed to tell you that. Don’t worry though, I am not here to hurt you. Keep this to yourselves and you will be safe,’ I said, looking at them with my hands on my hips. ‘Best ask that ruddy Jake to change the passage,’ I added, dialing a number on his phone.

    ‘Hello. Thank you for calling the customer service. Press one to talk to a representative. Press two for billing details…’ said a cool female voice from the other end of the line.

    ‘Jake, what the hell, man? You set up the passage into the women’s room!’ I screamed at the pre-recorded voice.

    ‘Sorry, that was a wrong selection. Press one to…’ replied the voice on the phone.

    ‘Better change it today, you!’ I said.

    ‘Wrong selection. Goodbye,’ said the voice and hung up.

    I glanced up at the girls who were now talking in whispers. I started to walk out as I felt relieved at pulling off the feat so neatly. Just as I reached for the door handle, someone pulled it open from the outside.

    ‘Jonathan!’ said my grandma limping in and letting the door close behind her. ‘You naughty boy. I knew I would find you here. How many times do I have to tell you, you will not find your mother here. You stole my mobile again. Bad. Very bad. Come with me. Now,’ she said wiggling a stern finger at him.

    I heard the girls sniggering behind me. ‘You girls don’t understand any of it’, I thought. ‘Nor do you, grandma.’

    ‘Forgive my Jonathan, dearies. He meant no harm. Ever since that fateful day when he was ten, he’s never been the same.’

    ‘What happened?’ asked the tall girl.

    ‘His mother came into this bathroom, and was never found again. Since then Jonathan keeps coming back to look for her…’

    ‘And I would have succeeded in finding her today, if it weren’t for the girls’, I thought, balling up my fists, ‘Don’t worry mom, I will come back for you.’

    • Augie says:

      Nice…Ahsuniv. Touching in a different way. Thank You!

    • tz2328 says:

      You’ve left me wanting more. Nice job.

    • lionetravail says:

      Great story, and touching, and nicely written, but just a tad confused about the age of the MC. Coming out of the stall he saw two women, then described them as girls, and then later hes clearly still a kid that grandma would talk for him. And grams said “since he was ten”… im left wondering just how old the MC is. And im curious, which must mean it was a good story :)

      • Ahsuniv says:

        Thank you very much for the nice comment, lionetravail. The MC is someone who lost his mind after his mother disappeared. So, even though he is a grown man, he needs looking after. The MC is around 18 years old.

        And excuse me for the blunder… I began to think of them as women but they turned into girls in my head as the story progressed. And I forgot to change “women” in the beginning.

    • Reaper says:

      Nicely done. I really like this and could see it as the beginning of a longer story of the search for the mother as well. You had some shifts between first and third person but they were barely noticeable I was so entranced.

    • Observer Tim says:

      Wow, nice story Ahsuniv. Every time things started to make sense you turned it around. Twisty and entertaining.

  71. Jay says:

    I get the feeling there’s going to be a lot of toilet humor in the responses for this prompt. ;) ar ar ar

  72. peetaweet says:

    I was a little late getting into the office on Friday morning after stopping by the gym then getting the beamer detailed. But it was all good, the office was pretty slow that week with the sales team slacking off at a sales conference off and pops on vacation. Coming in, I was still cursing those idiots at the car wash for the streaks on my windshield when my stomach took a turn for the worse.

    Sometimes I use the women’s room, because any time after nine, Jack’s been in the men’s room and very bad things have happened. The girl’s bathroom on the other hand is bright and clean with a full length mirror. And with only two girls at the firm—the hotter of which, I was currently seeing, I figured I’d take my chances. I was kind of running the show anyhow, with pops off playing golf somewhere, so if I wanted to spend a little thinking time in the chick’s bathroom, that’s what I’d do.

    I’m checking the likes on the facebook pic I’d posted at the gym when the door swung open with a burst of laughter. I perked up as the clicking heels stopped at the sink.

    “Yes, I know. It’s ridiculous.”

    I sat in the stall, well compromised and pocketing my phone. Backing my shoes away from the door, I recognized Stacey’s voice.

    “Seriously, I can’t get over how small it is. It’s like, tiny.”

    “Oh my God girl, I would not know what to do with that.”

    The other voice belonged to a chubby chick, Brenda or Brianna or something. I’d never heard her laugh so hard. “How do you even work something like that, you know? I like them big. Like, almost too big.”

    “Yeah, not me, I just want something easy to use. But it’s, like puny, you know?”

    “Hmm hmm. I’ve had one like that before. Inadequate to say the least. You definitely need to upgrade.”

    My butt nearly slid off of the seat. I was fuming. I’d heard no complaints before, and trust me, I’ve been with my share of chicks, it’s not like I needed some office tramp. I’d already been contemplating kicking Stacey to the curb, but then her Mom died and all.

    “Yeah, because, this is just not working,” Stacey said and I’d had enough. Without thinking I bolted up and kicked the stall opened. Both girls shrieked. “What the hell, Stacey? I hope you know you’re fired—“

    It was only then I noticed they were holding phones, or that my boxer shorts were lassoed around my ankles. Stacey covered her mouth, and then both sets of eyes fell from my face to my shirt, to my…uh, utterly exposed manhood. In my haste I’d forgotten to cover up.

    Stacey held up her very very small phone.

    Click

    “Well Jeff, it’s been fun.” Stacey said with a smirk. The chubby one rubbed her arms playfully, still looking at my crotch.

    “Brrrrr.”

    With that, they both waltzed to the door, clutching elbows and laughing their way out into the office. I looked down, yanking my pants up and buttoning up, reminding myself once again that I had a Beamer outside.

  73. Kevin Woram says:

    I threw the door open and stepped out of the stall. The loud sound of flushing water reverberated off the tiles. The two women casually turned from their conversation by the sink and then did a double-take with their eyes wide open. My stomach knotted and my face glowed red-hot. The woman on the left put her hands on her hips and turned to face me.

    “Mission accomplished!” I cried.

    “Excuse me?” said Ms. Hands-on-her-hips.

    “You may be feeling many things right now,” I replied, “but bored is certainly not one of them.”

    Ms. Hands-on-her-hips turned to her friend and then back to me. “You’ve got that right!” she said.

    “So, mission accomplished!” I repeated. I flashed them a smile and strode over to the sink closest to the door.

    “You do know this is the women’s restroom, right?” said the second woman.

    “Yes I do!” I replied. I turned on the faucet and soaped my hands. “Allow me to explain. In large corporations like ExoServe, the biggest threat to employee morale is boredom: mindless, monotonous, soul-crushing boredom. Wouldn’t you agree?”

    The women exchanged looks and softened a little. Ms. Hands-on-her-hips folded her arms and nodded. “I’m sick to death of those inventory audits.” Her friend nodded sympathetically.

    “And that’s why ExoServe has created a secret boredom-fighting initiative.”

    “Really?” they said in unison.

    I nodded and smiled as I dried my hands. “I was approached by corporate about a year ago. They told me to ‘rock the boat’ and ‘wake people up’ and I’ve been doing my part ever since.”

    I leaned towards them and lowered my voice. “Look, you may be getting a survey from corporate about this encounter. I’d really appreciate it if you give me a good rating.”

    “You gotta be kidding me!” said Ms. Folded-arms.

    “I know, I know,” I said, shaking my head, “ExoServe tracks everything, don’t they?”

    “You said it!” she replied.

    “Well, goodbye ladies. I hope I brought some excitement into your day.” I turned towards the exit.

    “One more thing,” said Ms. Folded-arms. I turned back to her. “That toilet paper hanging out of your pants, is that part of the initiative too?”

    “Yes it is,” I replied, “Yes it is!”

  74. Augie says:

    The angry father shouts.

    “Seriously? Handcuffed to a wheel chair? What is wrong with you people?”

    ………..Three hours earlier…..……

    I enter the double doors. The fresh smell of Lysol tickles my nose. My first day! I breathe in deeply taking in the smell of success, smiling.

    The loose fitting scrubs swish as I walk to my station. Nurse Agnes gives me the stare. “Get to room five, Little Johnston threw his bed pan at the nurse.” I smile and push my cart to room five.

    Yes, I am the janitor. I worked for Dales cleaning service for a year and it sucked. While my friends partied all night, I cleaned office buildings. It’s nice to have a day job in a sterile hospital.

    I enter the room, “ Little Johnson?” A very angry man shouts at me.

    “What the hell did you just say?” I blush and softly repeat myself, “Little Johnson?”

    Little Johnson lost control. He jumps up and down on his bed screaming. “You are not funny young lady! Not funny at all!” Feathers float across the room as he rips his pillow into shreds.

    The nurse charges in, “Rodger, what’s gotten into you?” Covered in feathers, he growls and points at me.

    The nurse snaps her fingers “Start your rounds in wing four!”

    It took me an hour to realize the staff has nicknames for all the patients! I struggled all morning with nicknames! By far, Harry was the worst!

    By the time I finished wing four I missed working at Dales! This is insanity! The screaming nurses, the senseless patients! I look at my scrubs covered in ‘who knows what’ after my first hour of crap thrown at me.

    “UGGGGGG!”

    Finally in peace I sit in a stall looking at my watch.

    …………Present time………..

    “Are you her father sir?” The angry man responds, “Yes I am! I want you to explain to me what the hell is going on!”

    The security officer removes my handcuffs, “Well sir she lost her mind and almost got admitted here with all the other crazies! “

    I yell, “I didn’t know it was the men’s room!”

    The officer smirked, “ I Found her in the men’s room beating the shit out of two doctors. She was screaming, “Anita woop your ass, Anita put my knee in your groin, Anita slam your head in the urinal. Even after I handcuffed her to this chair she continued to shout and point to staff of what Anita needs to do.

    My father shrugs his shoulders at me, ‘what?”

    As we walk away from Johnson Mental Hospital I rub my swollen knuckles.

    “The staff gave me a freaking nick name! They call me, Anita Clue!”

    A proud father drives his daughter home. “Good job Jacky.”

  75. Cceynowa says:

    In A Man’s World

    Blowing my nose with company toilet paper is the worst. B.F. Caldwell and Associates is too cheap for the good stuff. Oh sure, they like to show a fancy front to the investors, all high and mighty are they, but behind closed doors the crap is barely kept off their hands.

    I hated and loved Benjamin Franklin Caldwell with equal intensity. Today, like so many days, hatred was threatening to tip the scales. Scratch that, after this morning’s meeting with the Russian Ambassador, I loathed Benjamin.

    Sitting on the commode’s tank, under the flickering light, the stall door closed tightly, and my red Prada pumps resting on the rim of the seat, I let dark thoughts surface. I was smart, good looking, and I could be a hugely successful businesswoman on my own, but no. Benjamin insisted I remain his silent public face. He encouraged me as a public figure. He used my innate power over men. He valued me as a precious, museum worthy, gemstone. He played to my vanity, and I had let him do so for years. I felt trapped in a prison of my own making, with him the power-holding warden.

    Checking my watch, I realized I was going to be late for the next round of investor meetings if I didn’t fix my makeup and leave quickly. While wiping my tears, I heard two men enter the bathroom.

    Oh shit. In my hurry to leave Benjamin’s office I must have walked into the men’s bathroom. How embarrassing.

    The first man was saying, “And what about the DeMonica file?”

    The second man laughed, “Swept under the rug along with Baker’s and Goodall’s.”

    “Unbelievable really, Ol’ Benny will stop at nothing to keep face.”

    “Yup. But if part of that is banging Boobs nightly, I’d keep face too.”

    “Agreed. Think she is getting some on the side, or wants some?”

    “Don’t even think it man. I’ve heard she’s too weak minded to keep secrets from the old man. Anything she does he knows about it. You would literally never work again.”

    “Sally told me that she heard Boobs would be a business partner, if she was a man. Apparently she’s got an Ivy League education.”

    “It doesn’t matter, Benny isn’t banging her mind.”

    I was frozen, fascinated by this inside information. Did everyone in the company think of Benjamin’s and my relationship this way? Most likely. And if that was the case…

    Stepping out of the stall, I said, “Thanks boys. I’m glad I’ve had this experience.”

    “Mrs. Caldwell, our apologies! What, what are you doing in here?”

    “We had no idea, Mrs. Caldwell, seriously.”

    They stammered and sweated apologies.

    “Take it easy guys. Seriously, I’m glad I chose today give the artificial dick the doctor gave me a try.”

    They stared at me in disbelief.

    As I exited the bathroom, I said over my shoulder, “I’ll just tell ‘ol’ Benny’ to file that divorce. He’ll understand; I can’t be the man he needs.”

    (Word Count: 497)

  76. Jay says:

    After the really dark one I wrote yesterday for the zombie prompt, enjoy some light-hearted fun with a few adult innuendos/jokes. :) I’m not entirely happy with how this turned out, but what the hell, have fun!

    * * * *

    “See, What Happened Was…”

    I never had a particular fondness for the stench in public bathrooms. It always smelled like pee, and sometimes, if someone had a particularly awful lunch, the heinous stench that followed—the kind that can peel paint from walls—was absolutely unappealing. This bathroom, however, smelled like roses and some sort of vanilla, I shit you not.

    After finishing my business, I shook once, twice, and a third time for good measure. If you ask anyone, a third time usually means you’re playing with yourself. First of all, most people can’t get off with just one extra shake. I know, because I’ve tried it in a pinch, but also there’s always that one extra monster of a drip that will more than likely soak into the boxer-briefs and make an uncomfortably cold wet spot. I know I don’t like any wet spots. Do you?

    I zipped my fly, carefully making sure I didn’t zip my pecker in the process. I know, my boxers covered it, but that didn’t make me any less careful. It only takes one time, one solitary time to catch your dick in the zipper and you’ll fear zippers for the rest of your life. I’ve done it twice, and so I’ll be damned if I ever do it again.

    As I flushed the toilette, the door to the bathroom opened. I turned, checked my feet for toilette paper—just in case, and then left the stall. When I stepped into the main lobby of the bathroom, there were two very surprised woman staring at me.

    I immediately said, “Not that I have a problem with it, but you guys are in the wrong bathroom.”

    The blonde one said, “No we’re not.”

    The redhead pointed at the entrance and said, “Yeah, it says ‘women’ on the door.”

    I looked around the bathroom, and furrowed my brow. When I entered earlier, I wondered why there were no urinals. I just thought it was some kind of new-age sanitary bathroom that didn’t use the kind of toilettes where pee splatter is guaranteed. Apparently, I was wrong, which also explained why the bathroom smelled like fairy sprinkles and not a demon’s ass-crack after a long day of basketball in the hottest depths of Hell.

    “Oh, well… shit. You’re not gonna believe what happened.” I leaned close to the blonde and said in a hushed voice, “They’re after me.”

    She said, “Sorry?”

    “The aliens. They’re trying to suck my head.” I said, and she raised her eyebrow. “You know, ’cause they want my brains.”

    The redhead pulled out her phone. I immediately screamed and pointed at the device.

    I said, “What is that technology! Wait, you’re one of them! Stay away!”

    I moved closer to the door, and when the blonde reached into her forty-gallon purse, I ran to the door and pushed my way through it. Outside was a group of woman, and as I fought through them I screamed, “They’re trying suck it out of me! Oh, God! They’re gonna suck every last drop out of me!”

  77. tz2328 says:

    Art Imitates Life

    “What a stupid prompt,” Jessie muttered as she left her cubicle. “I’m above this type of drivel.” Her tirade cut short by the disapproving stares of her coworkers, Jessie lowered her head and made for the closest bathroom. Clutching her notepad, Jessie had to lineback her way through the hydraulic door. Once ensconced, she sighed in relief.

    “I hate this course, I hate my professor, and I hate this bathroom!” Hearing her voice echo off the utilitarian tile walls gave further impetus to her almost nuclear meltdown. “All I want to do is write poetry. Great poetry. Nobel prize-winning poetry! But NOOOOO. I have to get a degree before anyone’ll take my writing seriously.”
    Throwing herself into the handicap stall, Jessie dumped her stash in a corner and paced furiously around the cramped space. “I should have done further research on the curriculum approved for online Journalism students. This is a highly rated school, for God’s sake! Maybe that’s the problem, Jess. You should have chosen that artsy school out of northeastern Pennsylvania. THEY would never even consider plaguing their student body with such nonsense.”
    Jessie knocked one knee into the toilet porcelain. “Why me? Why me?” she shrieked in annoyed pain. Sensing her adrenaline fueled rampage coming to a fast end, Jessie slumped her forehead against the cool metal door. “It’s all right,” she cooed to the floor. “It’s all right. I can do this. I can make something out of nothing. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again. I’ll show them. No one is going to break Jessie Prima.”
    Jessie stood up straight, tugging her rustled clothing in place. Patting her cheeks and forcing a smile, Jessie grabbed her gear. “I’ll show them,” Jessie boasted as she confidently released the latch on the stall. The door swung open, and Jessie stopped dead. Directly in her path were two very large males, grinning from ear to ear.
    Looking up at no one, Jessie wailed “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

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