Written by Will Conway on Thursday the 1st of April 2010
My shoes squeak as I turn on my toes and step up to the urinal. The cleaner has clearly visited recently as it smells, not exactly fresh but chemically lemony. I unzip and as I look into the bowl I see that there are fresh 'mints' in there. Instead of the usual two pale, sickly mini hockey pucks there are three bright new yellow spheres.
"Hey, three balls!” I say for no reason other than to show myself that I pay attention to these minor details when no-one else does.
I instantly realise what I've said and how it could be taken. Mark from marketing emerges from a stall
and passes me in the corner of my vision.
"Not mine,” I utter in my defence, realising what an odd thing I have just exclaimed after uncovering my genitalia at the urinal.
He doesn't catch my eye, as people often decline to do in a toilet situation, especially after a work colleague appears to be proud to discover an extra testicle.
Unfortunately, this isn't the only time I've found myself in this situation.
As I wash my hands I wonder what the people I work with must think of me. Do all the guys have similar stories of odd encounters with me in the gents? I shake the excess water from my hands and use my messy hair as a towel for the rest, walking through the airlock-like double doors and wiping my toilet memory slate clean, I return to work.
Maybe a week later (of course memory is always slightly askew when you use toilet breaks as a unit of measurement) I stroll into the bathroom just as someone is washing their hands. I get to the last urinal on the right and see that our company has its priorities right when it comes to toilet hygiene. Once again we have a new set of soaps in the urinal pods, this time they are bright blue and brand new, looking like high-tech alien eggs or something.
"Wow, blue balls!” I chuckle before I can stop myself.
I don't even bother trying to explain as I hear the door thump closed behind my bemused workmate. I have to stop talking in the toilet.
In a way it's always great going for a dump at work because technically you are being paid to shit. I never waste a minute of my lunch break in the can because that is my time.
I still take advantage of those peaceful lone moments in the cubicle to relax and think. I once even fell asleep sat on the john hungover, so relaxed was I.
I get some great ideas when I'm sat there. You get an interesting perspective on things while you poo; a vague embarrassment mixed with the wonderful realisation that every human being shares this with you - even the queen has to unload the royal bowel once in a while.
The only problem is that these brilliant revelations I have are so easy to forget. I start to wash them off my hands and it seems that every door I pass through shakes a little more of the memory from my mind, and coming back into the office, something distracts me more often than not, erasing it completely.
This particular memory, however, is going nowhere, it will stick with me for the rest of my time here.
I enter the men's room feeling heavy in the guts and go to the first vacant door. As I push it open there is first a heat and then a warm rank funk follows. Somebody's rectum and possibly intestines appear to have exploded all over the toilet. The faeces are not only splattered all over the inside of the bowl and filling the bottom but there even seems to be flecks up on that influshable rim shelf and possibly on the seat. I don't linger to examine it. I have turned on my heels and muttered something under my breath then I go to the adjacent cubicle. As I defecate I ponder on how little toilet paper there was amongst all that mess. I wonder what kind of state the guy was in but I can't help hating him for not even attempting to get rid of the horror scene that he has left behind him.
It reminds me of a story a friend told me of a man who returned to his desk from the toilet with a smattering of brown marks on the back of his untucked baggy white polyester shirt. Nobody dared to confront him about his accident as they were too embarrassed, so they kept to themselves (until later of course) and let the poor guy continue to work. Only when he went for lunch or a cigarette or toilet break did he realise what had happened. He was so humiliated that he walked out of the office never to return. He wasn't even a temp, he had been a permanent member of staff.
I cringe thinking of this unfortunate and belt up, flushing my waste away. As I'm dispensing pink liquid soap onto my fingers in the basin the Chief Executive walks in. I've chatted with him before and he knows me, so I nod and smile as he passes on his way to the cubicles. I hear him do exactly what I did two minutes earlier as he tries the first door.
"Oh my God!” he splutters, just as sickened as I was.
"Ha ha, yeah I've just done that,” I offer, feeling that I share his pain as I dry my hands and leave.
The door closes behind me and it dawns on me what I have just said.
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Title: Will Conway Tastes of Ink
Lazy Says: Animation by Kristian Andrews, Music by Tom Conway