Stuck in the Bathroom

by John Barrale

My bathroom is dying. That’s why I spend all my time there. 

My doctor says these thoughts are a massive illusion caused by my depression. 

I know better because, one by one, all the faucets have stopped working, and the toilet refuses to eat what it’s given leaving it all to float on its watery plate. 

The bathtub in its fevered delirium has spawned islands of mold. The groaning, clogged drain, like the Hadal deep, has given birth to microbial life. 

In just five generations, the microbes have evolved into seafarers and built fleets of ocean-going canoes from bits of soap, wads of toilet paper, and strands of clotted hair. 

In an evolutionary burst of genius, an Einstein among them discovers that toenail clippings make excellent oars. 

No bleach typhoons or scrubbing bubble storms disrupts this Polynesia. The microbes are aggressive, and obsessed. Tirelessly, they’ve been expanding their geopolitical sphere of influence, aided by the bathroom’s lack of light. 

You see, strange alliances have formed. My light bulbs, in Bushido-like sacrifice, have blinded themselves by falling on the pointy end of my toothbrush. 

Even the Venetian blinds, who normally are happy sailors and perfectly content to sail up and down at my hand’s command, refuse to leave port. No light gets past their warped, shut slats that look like eyelids with a complicated disease. 

I’m reduced to howling in the dark like Homer’s Cyclops. For hours, I sit on the porcelain throne like one of Shakespeare’s morose kings and deconstruct the past stacking its bricks around me in an ever-taller and widening circle. Soon, I’ll wall myself in like a character in a Poe story. 

The future will discover me, my fleshless grin glittering like a pirate’s skull’s smile in the dark of an island cave. My crooked and bent bones will be scattered, finally free of their ancient frenetic waltzes. Is that Heaven? 

I hear the mailman ring the bell and yell my name. I haven’t brought in the mail for days. He knows I’m home because I have CNN blasting at full volume. 

I’ve been listening for a week now hoping that Wolf, or Jake, or Poppy will interrupt my reveries with Breaking News that the Resurrection is about to happen. 

Running, I’ll leave the bathroom and hope to reach the cemetery in time to see my relatives emerging from their graves. 

I’ll stand politely in the crowd grinning with my cap in hand as I hold up their photographs like a limousine driver waiting for his passengers at the airport. 

It’s problematic. There’ll be so many. Afterwards, where do I take them for lunch?

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