Locked Up

I punched the flush button on the stainless steel prison-grade john, touched the door handle with two fingers, carefully, and it was stuck, wouldn’t move. The lock just jammed. All zipped up and nowhere to go. I'd just locked myself in a bathroom stall down at the beach.

Bach was on my Ipod, but the cell phone wasn’t getting a signal.

Who was I going to call? Restroom Emergency Rescue?

What stall are you in? they would ask.

I don’t know, I’d say. I didn’t notice.

Are you in one of the plastic port-o-potties?

No. One of the permanent structures, maybe a half mile south of the pier.

Do you know which building?
Now how could I know which building? Who takes notice of a bathroom building?’

I could hear a boom box somewhere outside. People would be moving up and down the strand, striding, skating, walking, biking, connected to cell phone friends and wireless universes, ordering pizzas. I have darkness and a stainless steel toilet.

If I banged on the door, who would answer? Who would answer someone in a bathroom stall banging on the door? Useless, I thought.

I could die in here. They’d find me. Put together a report. Find that there’d been enough toilet paper. I wouldn’t leave a mess or anything.

Maybe there’d be a play written about me, something for the stage.

‘Paralysis Urinalysis’.

‘Defecated and Dead’.

But how would they stage a guy hidden from the world in a toilet stall? No magic there. You wouldn’t even see the actor. No dialog. No action. Just a guy trying to decide if he wanted to sit or stand, pee or poop, and nowhere to wash his hands.

They’d pass a new City Resolution. “No Locking Restroom Stalls.” Too dangerous, they’d say. It would define a whole new meaning for ‘public restrooms’.

I could hear someone going into the next stall. What would I say to get their attention? It could be one of those acting lessons on improvisation; how to convincingly get someone’s attention from inside the next restroom stall. From the most basic form of human posture, an impossibility of personal communication. Couldn’t happen.

The door to my stall flung open and a woman stood there. Mousy blonde hair. Nice legs.

Bach was running low on the Ipod. Strings fading out on a low-level alkaline charge.

‘I am so sorry’, she said. ‘I didn’t know anyone was in there.’

‘No problem. I was just leaving.’

‘Are you sure?’

‘Oh, yeah. I’m pretty sure.’

Her terrier looked at me, took a couple of sniffs, and backed away from the stall.

I never liked dogs that much anyway.

No comments: