The Restroom, part 2


THE RESTROOM, by Joseph Simmons
Part 2


What the hell did I have for dinner last night? Sam thought. On his screens, a photo of a too-bright landscape with a yellow flower dissolved into an aerial shot of clouds, then a picture of the moon. The screensavers came from IT and Sam watched them cycle through as he wondered if he could make it through the day without having to go to the bathroom. I’m never going to make it, he thought. I’m going to have to shit here. Why do I have to live through this nightmare?

Sam rose fast, as if he was on some sort of assignment. He wanted anyone who saw him to think he had important business and not stop him. Paulina’s assistant, an older woman who had started a few days before, looked up and smiled. She sat caddy-corner and faced him because of the way their work boxes were laid out. Sam’s mouth smiled a return gesture, but he knew there was no courtesy in his eyes and he turned and walked out.

The office was busy with morning routines. People were still smiling, some hanging out in office doors, others holding their coffee mugs and having conversations in another’s cubicle. Sam figured it would be another half hour or so before everyone was back in their cell and buried in work. It was the mingling hour, the social-types had to find out what each other did the evening before.

Sam’s stomach gurgled as he rounded the corner of his row and into the main walkway. Offices on the left and the cubicle farm on the right. Row after row of corporate jail cells. At the end was a left turn into the hall and the bathrooms that was a long hundred yards from where he stood.

He shook his wrist to activate the time on his fitness watch and grimaced. It wasn’t the best time to be in the work bathroom. You could be in there all alone in blissful peace, or it could be a full house. If only he’d waited another forty-five minutes, but there was no way his stomach would have made it. When everyone was pretending to work, the restrooms were usually deserted.

“Hey, hey. Sammy.”Son of a bitch, Sam thought. Of all the motherfuckers…


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