Tag Archives: public

Trifecta: The Wrong Place at the Wrong Time

I.

by Kimberley Lynne

I was running a healthcare conference at the Marriott and PETA protested by leaving a big stinky pile of human poop right in front of the ballroom doors. As the hotel staff scrambled to remove it, we poured bags of coffee on it to kill the stench.

***

II.

I had been drinking Sambuca after the bar closed. We decided a two-hour road-trip to DC was in order, and as we drove I finished off the bottle. We got to DC about 5 a.m. on a Saturday morning. We started to walk up an empty road, and I was hit with the need to go. I think at this point I was barking like a dog, just for fun. It occurred to me that dogs just go in the road so I dropped my pants and pooped right in the road. Really odd. Didn’t drink Sambuca after I sobered up and realized what I had done.

***

III.

I ran into the house already unbuckling my pants – it was time to go. I bolted up the stairs and found the bathroom door locked. The one bathroom in the house.

I jiggled the doorknob to be sure, and my teenaged son’s voice croaked out from the crack in the door: “I had to come home early. I’m sick.”

I tried to hide the panic in my voice. “Do you think you’ll be in there long?”

He said, “I’m sorry.” Sick as a dog and the dear boy still knows his father has a short poop fuse. “I have diarrhea.”

I shouted a “No problem!” over my shoulder as I shuffled down the hall and back downstairs. My pants were around my knees, and it was hard to run. But I needed to run, unless I wanted to shit on the stairs, because it was coming, uninvited like the plague, hammering the gates of the citadel like the Hun army.

I raced to the kitchen, where at least there’s linoleum. I spied the kitchen trashcan. Perfect.

I pulled the trash can out from the wall, and with the grace of a ballerina, spun, dropped trou, and parked my woebegotten ass in the top of the trashcan.

This was not a firm one. Spraying, sputtering, machine-gun fire. I was thinking that maybe I had what my son had, and I glanced guiltily back toward the stairs. My dog sat in the doorway to the kitchen, watching me with his head cocked slightly to one side. I shouted at him to go away, and he retreated a few paces, still watching me.

See, what’s perfect about a kitchen trashcan is that not only is it strong enough to support your weight and only slightly too tall, but it has a plastic liner. When I finished, I stood up and cleaned myself off with paper towels, tossing them onto the mass of angry Huns. I tied the bag tightly shut and carried it out to the big garbage can behind the house. I shouted at my dog to get away from the outside garbage can, and I returned to the house fresh as a daisy.

Kitchen trashcans: totally my go-to place to go in the future.

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Kill the messenger

One day at my school in Georgia during PE we were playing flag football on the football field, and a boy that no one (literally no one) liked named Jacob went out on the field, lowered his pants, squatted, and deposited a warm poop onto the freshly mowed football field. He stood up, raised his pants, took his HAND, and picked up said freshly baked turd. He then walked with it in hand to the nearest sideline trash can and threw away his shameful wrongdoing. The PE coach quickly but loudly told him he was being sent home for the day; he burst into tears for the fear that his parents would uncover his dirty secret.

Jacob and I were not only classmates, but we also belonged to the same church youth group. After I witnessed the unsightly event, I felt the need to share my horror with the other members of the group. However, some of the other kids told Justin’s parents that I’d fabricated this unchristian and unbelievable story – his parents were still oblivious to all of it. Within hours both of his parents showed up at the main office screaming and throwing things because their innocent baby was being bullied by a little girl. I was later forced to make a brutally awkward public apology for “weaving this tale of lies,” and Jacob gave me a dead stare and said nothing –  even though I’d just covered his behind by convincing every adult that I’d made up that true story, which also happened to be telling a lie in church. To this day no one’s entirely sure if the bathroom was locked, the line was too long, or there was some wager lost. There was also a quiet rumor that he may have been protesting the fields fertilizer. Or maybe he’s just that crazy.

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And this is why you should never wear khakis

by Patrik Moss Satta-Fleming 

It was 1986 and the latest rage in beautiful Dundalk, Maryland, was PHOTON, an early incarnation of laser tag: smoke machines, flashing lights, ramps, tunnels, and even an computer-automated female voice that announced the commencement and conclusion of the game. This place was awesome!

I was 16 and just had gotten my driver’s license. My sister Amy is 19 months younger, and the fact that I drove gave us both an enormous amount of freedom. Our best friend Scott (two years younger than me) also reaped the benefits of our new-found mobility.

It was a Friday evening in the early fall and the three of us were going to PHOTON. Having gone several times before, we all had our PHOTON ID cards (required for play) and money to burn. My sister and I drove around the corner and picked up Scott and we were off. The facility was about five miles or so from our house, and it typically took about 15 minutes to get there.

We were on our way when I felt a rumbling down below. Then another. Glump…gurgle…errrrk…glump. We were about seven minutes from PHOTON when I decided to relieve what I perceived to be a large amount of gas. Nonchalantly, I lifted to one side and did my best to be discreet, that’s when all hell broke loose in my pants.

Unbeknownst to Scott and my sister, I had just done a very successful job of pooping myself. It burned and I felt it begin to saturate my underpants. Panic set in: Mom and Dad’s new car with velour seats! What was I to do? An idea came to mind – I could just turn in to BRADLEY’S department store at the next light. I made the announcement, “Hey guys, I need to run to BRADLEY’S for a second…I want to look for a new cassette tape.” This idea was met with immediate opposition. “What? Now? Why now? No! Let’s go to PHOTON before it gets to crowded,” Amy commanded.

I submitted and kept driving.

Not 30 seconds later it occurred to me that I could fake forgetting my PHOTON card and would need to go home. I made my announcement…disgruntled and irritated, my passengers conceded, and I turned the car around and proceeded home.

Once I pulled up in front of our house, I hopped out of the car and waddled in. It was getting dark so I was certain they would not see any evidence of my dirty deed through the seat of my pants.

I threw the front door open and announced to my parents, “I pooped my pants and have to shower and change…don’t tell Amy and Scott!” And with that, I dashed into the bathroom.

I began peeling off my khaki pants and soiled underwear – it was WAY worse than I thought. EEEEWWWWwwwww. I jumped into the shower, working feverishly to clean myself up before Amy and Scott (waiting in the car) suspected anything. This was no small task. The 10-minute shower lasted for what felt like a lifetime. Finally, I was clean!

I hurried out of the tub, dried off, bundled the evidence up in an old towel, wrapped a fresh, new towel around my waist and walked out of the bathroom. If I could get upstairs and get dressed quickly, I could still pull this off without Amy and Scott suspecting anything, or heaven forbid, finding out! – a fate WORSE than death.

As I walked through hallway on my way to my bedroom upstairs, Amy walked in the front door. I stopped and froze as we locked eyes. The look that crossed her face was priceless…shock, anger, frustration, confusion. I softly offered an explanation, “I pooped my pants in the car, DON’T TELL SCOTT!”

She busted out laughing, turned on her heels and proceeded out to the car.

After getting dressed and collecting what little dignity I had left, I took a deep breath and proceeded out to the car.

The car was silent, Amy and Scott looked straight ahead with expressionless faces, then the giggling started – followed soon by full out hysteria.

Scott, trying unsuccessfully to control his laughter, managed to ask, “Did you get your PHOTON card?”

“Thanks Amy!”

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Animal House

In college, I was driving in my big Caddy on my way to class one summer, and I got hit with a real need to go. I didn’t think I would make it to the classroom building in time, so I pulled off and went to my frat house. Nobody was around, and at this point I thought I was going to die. I rushed into the house and up the stairs to the bathroom. Everything was gone. The bath was being renovated. I looked around desperately, and there was no bucket. Not even a trashcan. I ran to a room at the back of the house on the second floor and stuck my ass out the window and let it all out. Not sure if any saw me, but they would have been ruined for life if they had.

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Mexico City Blues

by Ben Tanzer

We were in Mexico because of my mother. It was her idea to take Adam and me south of the border. Her vision was that we would see the great artists of Mexico City—Rivera, Orozco, Siqueiros, and Kahlo—and then hit the beach in Cancún. But things started going wrong and, on our third night in Mexico, a country where everyone actively discourages you from drinking the water, we all decided to order shrimp scampi.

I can’t remember what the meal tasted like; I can tell you however what happened the next day at the airport as we prepared to catch our flight from Mexico City to Cancún. It started with Adam saying he had to go to the bathroom. We waited, and waited, but as the minutes passed it began to seem less and less likely that he would return, and at some point I went to look for him. The bathroom was dark and quiet, and Adam was nowhere in sight.

I walked up to the row of stalls and called out his name.

“Adam, you still in here?”

“I’m over here,” Adam said, sounding like a junkie looking for his next hit.

“Hey man, what’s going on?” I said as I worked my way to his stall.

“I have diarrhea,” he said, “I didn’t make it all the way to the toilet.”

“Shit,” I said, my expletive matching the mood, “are you okay?”

“I need another pair of shorts,” he said, “and I need them now. Some guy has been pounding on the door and screaming at me in Spanish.”

I ran out of the bathroom and sprinted to the nearest newsstand. They had no shorts. Nor were there any at the duty-free shop. I wandered the terminal; no shorts were to be found. This was not the airport of today, mini-malls full of Starbucks and Benetton stores, massage tables and Polo golf shops. This was pre-globalization, and it was an entirely different time and place. The first George Bush was in office, MTV actually showed music videos, and Barry Bonds was still a string bean hitting no more than 30 homeruns a year for the Pirates. This airport had the basics—the International Herald Tribune, cheap rum and imported cigars—and that was it.

I walked up to a young traveler type, one of those guys you see at every airport. They have one backpack on their back where it belongs and another on their chest, where it does not. They’re wearing dirty, faded Columbia shorts and scuffed leather sandals of indiscriminate origin. They have a scruffy, not-quite adult beard and disheveled near Jew-fro hair. Their t-shirt has some obscure reference to Machu Picchu or some island, somewhere, where people drink hallucinogenic tea before dancing all night beneath a full moon.

The guy can be from anywhere, but he tends to be from Australia, doing that walkabout thing they do.

“Hey dude, excuse me,” I say.

“Yeah mate, he says.

Bam, called that.

“My brother had some bad shrimp,” I say, a little panicked, “and he didn’t quite make it to the bathroom, and now he needs some shorts, and I’m hoping you might be willing to sell me a pair.”

I want to be cool, but I’m not—I’m desperate. If this guy won’t help me, we’re fucked, it’s that simple.

“Sure man, no problem,” he says, smiling, “you can have them for free.”

I want to hug him, but that seems too personal—plus how am I going to get around his front pack? Still, I want to do or say something.

“You rock brother,” I say, “and that Pat Cash, cool dude, handsome too.”

“Right,” he says turning away, “good luck with everything.”

I dash back to the bathroom and pass Adam the shorts under the door. He’s gaunt and ragged when he finally comes out but feels fine by the time we get on the plane. My mom though can’t say the same.

“I’m feeling very sick,” she tells me as we take off.

“Let’s see if they have some Alka-Seltzer,” I say.

“No,” she says, “that won’t help.”

This response is expected. My parents don’t believe that medicine is ever helpful, they won’t take anything, and for years all we have had kicking around the medicine chest is an ancient, unused bottle of aspirin and a home colonic that no one has ever opened. I think this has something to do with showing weakness and an aversion to products and brands and anything corporate, though mostly they don’t like being told what to do, and the act of taking medicine somehow acknowledges that someone, somewhere, off behind a curtain is doing just that.

I stop the flight attendant, who then brings my mother the Alka-Selzer.

My mother drinks the Alka-Seltzer.

“Wow, that’s incredible, it really works,” she says.

The Alka-Seltzer incident becomes our touchstone for every discussion on over-the-counter medicine from that point forward.

After we land I become so sick that, after making myself vomit for an entire afternoon, I am forced to lie in bed for two days. I watch Mexican soap operas, drink bottled water, and while I should be dreaming of bland foods like white rice and toast, comfort foods, we didn’t do that when I was growing up; we didn’t follow rules, we dreamed what we dreamed, and so I dream of chicken fajitas.

I do get healthy though, and outside of the moment days later when we actually have to question whether or not Adam was dead, the trip was really quite lovely.

I should pause here to say that we thought Adam had drowned while jogging on the beach when the tide had come in but he hadn’t returned.

My mother, at this point healthy herself, sunburned and lovely, her hair still all black and long, was convinced that Adam was dead.

“What am I going to tell dad,” she said over and over again.

I didn’t want to believe Adam had drowned, but when the hotel finally said they would look into sending out a helicopter to search for him I started to wonder.

Moments later when he walked in barefoot and tired after getting lost and being forced to walk back to the hotel along the highway, I realized just how terrified I had been.

I also realized that it might be time to go home. Which we did, at this point smiling and full of love, the good memories far outweighing the stomach problems and near drownings.

At least that’s how I remember it. Memory is a funny thing, and I wonder if Adam remembers the trip the same way I do. I e-mail him the draft and ask him for his thoughts.

He replies immediately.

Dear Ben,

Your memory of the story is actually a bit more sanitary, pardon the pun, than what I remember. My memory of this story is that you, Mom, and I went to the airport and we divided up the jobs. You had to do one job, mom had to do a second job and the third job was that I was going to wait in line for all of us to check in.

Quite a long line in a hot and crowded airport, I might add. As I was waiting in line recognizing that I was doing a job that would not only affect my travels but yours and Mom’s as well, I felt quite nauseous and had a strong sense that I had to use the bathroom. I said to myself that for me to get out of line and then for you and Mom to come back from your jobs and for us to have to start at the back of the line again was just not acceptable. We might lose our flight. So I waited for what seemed like an eternity, probably only about five minutes, until I felt a variety of explosions racing through my body.

Not knowing what to do or where I was in the airport, I raced outside, where I vomited…and had diarrhea simultaneously, painting the Mexican sidewalk a variety of colors, but everybody around me seemed to not be phased at all. I raced to the bathroom. And from that point your story is the same as my memory.

Perhaps it is my recognition that I will not become famous in any other way, or perhaps it’s my hours of watching the Jerry Springer show, but either way reading this story does not embarrass me. I need to run, nature’s calling.

Adam

There is much I can say here, about memory, and diarrhea of course, but I think it’s most important to note that this is something we shared, and it is now an ingrained piece of family folklore, like your first words or the night you were caught with a half-naked girl in your room. We didn’t do over-the-counter medicines or bland foods, we didn’t have rules, we were rarely careful as children, or necessarily even cared for all of the time, but we had love, lots of it, and adventure, and we now have stories, many, and a shared history we all revel in.

And who wouldn’t kill for all that, despite the trade-offs? No one I know.

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