THE RESTROOM, by Joseph Simmons
A rumbling, rickety rollercoaster raced through Sam’s stomach and under his beltline before it stopped and gave a good, hard tug at his sphincter. He managed to keep a straight face while he pretended to listen to his manager say complain about spreadsheets and an inventory problem at one of their warehouses in Kentucky. Len paused at the noise then kept going because Sam didn’t react. Sometimes horrible gas noises sound the same as hunger pains.
“So you can take care of Kentucky?” Len said. “This can’t wait.”
Sam found his eyes had drifted from Len’s face to his shoulder while giving all of his inner attention to the thing boiling in his belly. He realized he’d stopped paying attention and his anxiety churned his insides. The noises were getting louder and harder to ignore. He needed to get the boss out of his cubicle.
“Yeah, of course I can,” Sam said. I can do it all, he thought. I can do a little digging and maybe find out what the hell you were just talking about, then do the job and you’ll never know I wasn’t listening. “This is easy stuff. Don’t worry about it, we’ll straighten them right out.”
“I knew you were the guy,” Len said. “I need this done the right way, so I knew where to come.”
“That’s why the company pays me the bucks,” Sam said.
“Make sure you keep me on all the emails,” Len said. “I don’t want them making any excuses and try to blame the whole thing on us.”
“Never happen,” Sam said.
“Great,” Len said. He looked around the office as he spoke. Sam knew that he had completely disengaged from their conversation. He wondered if the boss had already forgotten why he had come over and spoke to him. He’d said what he needed to say and had moved on.
I wish I knew what he told me, Sam thought. A quick trip through his memory came up with nothing. He shook it off. Doesn’t matter, I’ll figure it out.
Len turned and walked away without another word, off to put a different task on the shoulders of another overworked employee. First thing every morning, Len came out of his office and slow-walked to everyone’s cubicles and gave them a new job. Sam turned to his monitors and had his finger hovering over the keyboard to deactivate his screensaver when his stomach growled at him.
The growl was accompanied by a rumble that was too far south to ignore. Sam had a middle cubicle and all of his coworkers were in. The person in front of him, behind him, Paulina on the other side of the wall and her assistants who sat across both of Sam’s corners could have heard the volcano about to erupt in his belly.
READ: PART TWO…