Author Topic: 'Using the Toilet' (around 804 words) Content: mild swearing and human waste  (Read 87 times)

Offline Inky

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Using the toilet

Urine trickles into the toilet bowl, some of it streaming down my thigh because the seat is too high for me to sit with my thighs parallel to the floor. I read graffiti on the door, trying to distract myself from the stench of faeces in the next cubicle. A love heart drawn in marker surrounds ‘Kathy + Aaron + Jessica’. ‘Why does he get two bitches?’ is scrawled in biro under it, scratchy as if drawn with a non-dominant hand. Someone else has written ‘is this wat ur parents tort u?’, the ‘u’ partly covered by the laminated Campsie Centre Management sign which states ‘please do not flush foreign objects down the toilet’.

I startle at a belch that interrupts the pipes humming above. The stench of vomit saturates the bathroom air. A cubicle door slams shut, making my door hinge shake. Coughing and spluttering fills the cell beside mine. A pink high heel swipes under the partition. My breathing shallows. I’ve read about the trope ‘camping a crapper’ in TV Tropes: it’s ‘when someone waits for the target to go to the bathroom before killing them.’ I imagine a talon gripping my ankle from under the partition, then a bloodied woman’s face popping out to rasp, ‘heeeeelllllppp meeee…’ I lift my feet off the floor.

Sure enough, a hand appears under the partition, pale and bony with hot pink nails which look like claws. Yellow and red boluses splatter to the ground near her wrist which sports a bracelet of plastic white beads. I remember my older sister Alice telling me that ‘red’ coughs are emergencies, because ‘red’ equals ‘blood’, and ‘blood’ equals ‘tuberculosis’ – the woman has TB! I try to remember if TB is airborne – I don’t think I ever asked because by then, Alice and I had started laughing about this Chinese romance drama our dad once showed us. In the drama, the male love interest coughed with an ‘ahem’ into a tissue, widened his eyes at the heart-shaped blob he had made before staggering to the floor. ‘How did he even cough up such a perfect heart shape?’ Alice choked, face reddening as her smile extended from one side of her face to the other. I lean away from the woman’s cubicle: if I catch whatever she’s got, I’ll be the one coughing my heart up.

‘UUUUUEEEEAAAAAHHH!’ The woman’s nails scratch white tracks into the tiles. I can still feel pee trickling out from between my legs – I can’t leave yet. I hear her let out a hoarse growl, then a piercing splash in her toilet bowl. A green-brown spot splats onto my forearm. I repeat to myself that it must be the wasabi and soy sauce from my Salmon Lovers bento box while my fingers scurry along the treadmill of toilet paper. Where does this roll start?! My fingers run along the roll before I finger a torn section, then draw out a strip of toilet paper. When I try to tear it at the jagged edge, it doesn’t tear properly, so I end up yanking out an extra metre instead. I scramble to haul the paper up as it floats towards her hand. I swipe away the green-brown droplet, then stuff the excess paper under my butt and into the toilet bowl.

‘URRRKK!’ The woman’s heel stretches halfway into my cubicle. Blue veins pulse through her white calves. I pull up my shorts, throw my cubicle door open and leap towards the sink. I slam the head of the tap, listening to the woman’s spluttering behind me as water torrents down my hand. My finger spasms on the soap dispenser. Only squeaks come out. I shake my hands dry while scampering out of the public bathroom.

‘Thanks for minding,’ I utter, approaching my high school friend Lina. She crosses her legs on a bench below the escalator that goes up to Campsie Food Court. The chiffon fabric of her white dress drapes over her knees as she taps on her phone.

‘That was fast.’ Lina drops the phone back into her bag, then slides my backpack to me.

I sling my bag over my shoulder, ‘green tea latte at Cherry Beans?’

‘Sure.’ She strings her handbag across her body. When we step onto the escalator, I feel a spoke of poo pushing at the wall of my anus. I could’ve forced it out if I had stayed in the bathroom a bit longer. I glance at Lina’s side profile. She blinks behind her dark-rimmed glasses, black hair scooped into low ponytail. I can’t tell her that I need the bathroom again, because some crazy lady in the cubicle next to mine stopped me from ‘fully going toilet’. I’ll just have to enjoy my drink with this bit of poo stabbing me on the inside.

----------- END STORY ------------

Hi everyone,
Thank you for reading my piece. I entered this into a local writing competition and got it into the anthology but unfortunately didn't receive 1st, 2nd or 3rd place. I posted here to receive feedback on what would have improved it. Thank you again for your time.
Inky

Offline Mark T

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This is an excellent example of consistent writing in the active voice i.e. showing. It's altogether well-written, and the subject matter is unusual and frank. I would say to look at your dialogue structuring as an area of improvement.

Mark 

Offline Everyman

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As a fan of all things scatological, I was beginning to enjoy this.

Quote
I remember my older sister Alice telling me that ‘red’ coughs are emergencies, because ‘red’ equals ‘blood’, and ‘blood’ equals ‘tuberculosis’ – the woman has TB!
Good

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I try to remember if TB is airborne – I don’t think I ever asked because by then, Alice and I had started laughing about this Chinese romance drama our dad once showed us. .
Okay.

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Alice and I had started laughing about this Chinese romance drama our dad once showed us. In the drama, the male love interest coughed with an ‘ahem’ into a tissue, widened his eyes at the heart-shaped blob he had made before staggering to the floor.
Losing it.. what am I reading?

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‘How did he even cough up such a perfect heart shape?’ Alice choked, face reddening as her smile extended from one side of her face to the other. I lean away from the woman’s cubicle: if I catch whatever she’s got, I’ll be the one coughing my heart up.
Lost. Stopped reading

You have talent for a good flow, and setting a realistic scene. Unfortunately, you drag yourself into unneeded depths.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2018, 11:32:51 PM by Everyman »

Offline jkalman

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That was vividly gross, which is a testament to your writing!

One thing you might want to keep an eye out for are filter words, or words that distance the reader so that they are watching the MC watch/experience something rather than giving a direct experience. E.g. I hear her let out a hoarse growl. = She let's out a hoarse growl.

"I can still feel pee trickling out" = pee is still trickling out. Or, Pee still trickles out.

Also keep an eye out for the word "try/trying". It can water down effects. E.g. I try to remember. This can shorten to, I remember.

this line:
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A green-brown spot splats onto my forearm
I am not sure I want to know (ha) but where did the spot come from, and how? Did it bounce over the wall?