Sunday, January 27, 2008


Item: white porcelain toilet tank cover
A portly fellow, much more round than he is tall, stands waiting for the bathroom door to swing open. He is staring at the flickering television set in the corner of the crowded room. Sports bloopers. He is not smiling. His eyes are dead. He blinks them more times than what he should. His hands are clasped together across his stomach and he is cracking his knuckles one by one in deliberate motions. He has an enviable mustache that he keeps tonguing every couple of instants. He’s leaning back against the manila wall, foot propped up, knee extended. He keeps checking the bathroom door to see if its occupant has emerged, even though he would be impossible to miss in the narrow hallway. And he knows this. He waits. Staring. Fiddling. Itching. Finally, the lock from inside is turned making a horrible clicking noise. The door opens and a man, walking tall, appears. He says that he was sorry for taking so long, and he nods to the portly fellow, then to me. The portly fellow pushes past him and slams the door shut. The lock is hastily turned and engaged. The man breathes a sigh of relief. Some time passes, I don’t know how much because the sports bloopers are engulfing me. Another man, a sad one, lines up behind me, taps me on the shoulder, says to me, “Ain’t they got more than one toilet in there?” I tell him yeah, he says “must be doing rails off of the toilet tank cover or some shit.” Time passes. Lights grow and die. The horrible sounds of the lock are once again heard. Out comes the portly fellow, eyes wide, walking tall. “Sorry for taking so long,” he says, nods to me, then to the sad man behind.

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