Story A Week (SAW) 2: Jan 8th, 2018
By Adam O’Sullivan
I rush into the male bathroom at work. It’s a standard bathroom, 2 stalls as you enter the door and two standing urinals in front of them. One of the stalls is occupied, the other closed with a “Do Not Use” sign taped on the door. The urinals are also being used. My bladder pulses as it threatens to let loose all by itself. I mentally urge it to quiet down. I wish I hadn’t waited so long to go to the bathroom, but I wanted to finish something off before taking a break. The bathroom is always occupied when you wait too long.
One of the guys leaves and I rush up to the urinal. There’s a brief moment where I worry I won’t be able to in time, but thankfully I manage to get it out without wetting myself. It feels good to evacuate the accumulated coffee and water from the morning, relieving the pressure on my body. A faint smell rankles my nostrils, coffee mixed with bleach.
From behind us in the stall I hear splashes and grunts. The toilet is perhaps the most uncivilised thing a human being could do. At least with sex, it’s an enjoyable experience, something we crave. No-one looks forward to going to the bathroom. It’s something to be done, releasing excesses from the body like a truck lets exhaust into the clean air.
“Sounds like someone’s having a tough time of it” says the guy standing next to me. I never understood why people would talk to each other while you’re in the bathroom. The act is so disgusting by itself, why would you want to associate chat with that. Or maybe people are trying to pretend that what they’re doing isn’t so disgusting. Everyone poops. So maybe they’re just in such a routine and they’re looking for something to break up the monotony. I wish they’d leave me out of it. I don’t like small talk at the best of times.
The guy beside me finishes and turns to leave. He bangs on the closed stall door and asks “You alright mate?”. Why can’t people be a bit more ashamed of their bodily functions? The guy chuckles as he leaves without washing his hands. I make a mental note never to shake his hand if I ever see him around the office.
Seconds later, I hear the stall door opening from behind me as the toilet flushes. Out of the corner of my eye I see the guy go to the sink and I hear the water running. At least this guy has some basic hygiene. He leaves and I am alone as I finish up.
I shake, knowing that no matter how many times I shake, I could shake for a million days and be totally certain that all forms of moisture have left my body, but the second I put it back in my pants a small amount of urine will come out. Happens every time. I just have to mitigate the damage. Try to make sure it’s not enough to soak through my underwear and show on my pants. Not that anyone would be looking at my crotch anyway.
I hear a noise behind me and I turn around as I do up my zipper. The door of the closed stall opens. The “Do Not Use” stall. Maybe a plumber has been in here the whole time? That stall has been closed for a while. I can’t remember hearing any tools being used, but I was stuck in my own headspace.
As the door opens, I hear the creaking of hinges, as if my brain has overlaid its own soundtrack to the moment. The inside of the stall is darker than usual, darker than it should be considering all the lights are on in the bathroom. I see a figure inside as it starts to lurch forward.
Out walks a gorgeous blond woman. I don’t recognise her face, so I’m not sure if she doesn’t look like she works here. She could be a plumber, right? Women can do anything. Why did I have to assume the plumber would be a man?
Yeah, she could be the plumber. Except that she’s completely naked.
“Just…” she says, her voice starting too deep, “my business” she finishes, her voice raises a few octaves, waivers initially, like a guy doing a bad female voice impression before it settles in and sounds more feminine. I don’t know what’s going on but my brain is screaming at me to get out of there. I feel like my limbs are made out of concrete. Surely in a situation like this, it would be embarrassing, funny? So why does every nerve in my body scream out like this is some sort of horror movie?
My common sense tells me I should just wash my hands and leave, run and tell someone about the weird woman in the men’s bathroom. Someone else will deal with this. The police. Emergency services. They’re trained at this.
Suddenly I feel one of the impulses from my brain click into place and I slowly move towards the sink. The woman moves to block the exit. Though my mind doesn’t register her moving, I’m sure she moved much faster than it should be possible for a normal person to manoeuvre. It’s almost like she’s trying to keep me in the bathroom with her, like she’s trying to counter my escape. Is she high? A junkie? I’ve heard the drug Ice makes people do strange things, seem to have superhuman powers. How did she get in the building? Where are her clothes? Did she flush them down the toilet? Is this why the toilet is constantly out of order? Question after question races through my brain, as if to stop me from trying any more movement.
My brain has been stuck in fight or flight mode. The only problem is, I can’t flight now that she’s blocking the exit. Maybe I should launch myself at her, and try to get away. Just looking at her limbs makes fight less of an option. I can see the strands of muscles under her skin, like seeing a body builder pose and reveal their true power. I try not to concentrate too much. It looks like the muscles under her skin are moving, still find their place in this body.
My mind turns to the secondary flight mechanism – being nice. Asking questions. Building rapport. It’s all I have left now. Not the questions from before, too confronting. I need to ease myself into it, make her feel welcome.
“Are you alright?”
She pauses, looks at me as if she’s only just seen me. Her eyes are inquisitive but seem to be changing colour. For one second I swear they turned completely black before settling on hazel. My eyes are hazel.
“Fine.” She spits out, as if it’s the only word she knows. “Is there something wrong?” Her voice solidifies with each word of the sentence, as if she’s become more comfortable with the voice and the words. Like someone speaking a foreign language and finally realising they know how to translate properly. I realise her speech pattern is now similar to mine.
“What are you doing in the male bathroom?” It’s the million dollar question, right? It was on the tip of my tongue, so I said it. I should have done a bit more easing.
She looks at me with those hazel eyes that look like my eyes, they truly do now. I can see behind them is a flash of fear, like a little kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. It’s gone in an instant. She smiles, a shy smile of awkwardness, and I feel sorry for asking such a ridiculous question. Surely naked women just turn up in men’s bathrooms all the time? I smile back and she starts to compose herself. She then straightens her back. The only problem is that she seems to be taller than before. I was sure she was shorter than me, but now she stands half a metre towering over me. I see her eyes wander down from my face, looking over my body. It’s like she’s never seen a person before, never seen someone who shares similar features to her before. Her eyes wander over my Adam’s Apple, my chest, and I feel like she’s comparing her body to mine. As if she’s only just noticed the difference between a man and a woman. I strongly wish I wasn’t standing in this bathroom right now. How often can you say that when you’re standing in front of a beautiful naked woman? I want to be back at my desk, blankly staring at my computer. I want this day to continue like any other.
Her eyes reach mine again and lock on to them. Something happens between the two of us. I feel electricity pass between us, but it’s like the physical embodiment because I swear I felt a slight breeze blow into me. Her smile gets bigger and her lips part. Her teeth are white, far too bright, as if these are brand new teeth that have never been stained with coffee. As she smiles, her lips continue to open, forming a sneer. My mind flashes – is she choking? My body wants to run away, now is the time to do it, while she’s distracted, but I no longer have control over my body. I feel that more than an unspoken psychic electricity passed between us in that shared moment, at least on my end. The sneer becomes an open mouth and suddenly I notice her teeth are now pointed. Or have they always been pointed? Why hadn’t I noticed before? They’re longer than they should be, each one a pointed dagger framing an open black maw. Her mouth continues to open and I now realise that the weird smile has continued to split until the corners of her mouth are behind her ears. I see there are new teeth as the split continues to open. It spirals around her head, like a coiling snake, splitting her head into two sections. A top and a bottom, both filled with those dangerous teeth, like the head of a crocodile on the body of a beautiful woman. My brain screams in terror, but no sound leaves my lips.
I hear a voice in my head, radiating around my skull and sounding like the vibrations of a broken stereo turned up way too loud. I feel this voice inside my every pore, its distortion rippling over my skin and back out through my ears. This voice that consumes me is her, or it, inquiring. I can’t tell if she’s hungry or testing me out for size.
“Is this not what a human male looks like?”
My brain wonders if she means her current form, or the female form.
It lunges at me.