Tri Duong
There is a fumbling, frantic, like a drowning victim tearing for the surface, trying to get there before the darkness.  The zipper is found and a hand reaches, gingerly, in to find man’s best friend and worst enemy.  It is retrieved and the stream is unleashed as a pinpoint torrent of lukewarm, yellow-tinted wastewater that pools and then spirals, past the puck, down the drain.  He stands in front of the urinal in that pose characteristic of all men seeking relief in public places.  Close up, as if guarding his hand in a poker game from the prying eyes of the dishonest.
            He is standing at the sink, washing his hands, staring satisfied into the grimy mirror that is reflecting his face through its filth.  There is a slight, drunken smirk upon his face.  The kind that everyone gets when they’ve had something to drink and are feeling good.
            The soap pump yields an oily, viscous, sputum that makes him wish that he had not elected to use soap.  He quickly lubricates, wanting to be rid of this anti-bacterial snot.  He plunges his hands into the too-cold water.
            Before he shuts off the stream, he decides to splash some water on his face, hoping that the arctic chill will revive him somewhat.  Once again he places his hands under the flowing water, this time cupping them so that they brim with the frothing ice water.  Staring at himself in the mirror, he looks down to his overflowing hands and plunges his head down into them.  The freezing shock forces him to catch his breath.  Again, he fills his hands and again he plunges his face into the frigid water.  And again. And again.  He feels alive.
            He stares into his new face, seeing himself more clearly.  He turns to the paper towel dispenser and wracks the slide once to no avail.  Again, nothing.  And  again.  And again.  He resolves to use his sleeves to wipe the excess water from his face.  He places his hands, with the sleeves of his too-big hoodie stretched over them, over his face.  He pushes, slowly dragging them from his forehead down to his eyes.  As his world fades to black he hears the door to the bathroom swing open and for a moment there are sounds of spirited conversation, laughter, music and the faint scent of bodies pressed together.  The door slams and there is only the world within.  There are footsteps behind him as his sleeved hands pass down his cheeks and drop off his face past his chin.  The man turns and is greeted with a fist to the face…
“Gimme what you’ve got!”
            He is buckled and bloodied at the nose and mouth.  There is that warm, metallic taste so different from the tasteless cold of the sink.  The man stands, face contorted in a grimace as though he had eaten something he didn’t like.  He shakes his head.
“One way or another you’re gonna give it to me!” A knife is produced.
            He steps back as his assailant steps forward.  He swings, but his body is still feeling the effects of his drinks.  He is slow and his attacker is not so inhibited.  His punch is ducked and the attacker thrusts home with cold, pointed steel.  It finds its mark just to the right of the navel.  The blade recoils and again plunges home.  And again. And again.  Sanguine mess.
            He falls back and braces himself against the sink.  The back of his head cracks the mirror, sending small shards of glass flying about, with a few burrowing into his scalp.  His attacker looks, for the first time, at the mark and realizes that he has nothing to offer.  There is a clatter; his attacker drops the knife.  There are rapid footsteps, his killer runs from the lavatory.  The door swings open.  The vibrant mumble of the crowd fills his ears.  The door swings closed.
            He tries to stand, but instead lurches forward several paces through a toilet stall door that had been left almost-closed by its previous occupant.  He is met with the feted odor that accompanies a toilet bowl long unwashed.  He manages to seat himself, however ungracefully, on the bowl.  He pauses to get his bearings.  He tries to stand but his legs will not respond.  His tries to call out but his chest is heavy.  His lungs have filled with his own blood.  He is drowning in what once sustained him.  Ironic asphyxiation.
            He looks to his right and his left, mouth ajar, blood on his lips, seeing that the walls are covered in the usual bathroom-stall manifestos. Gouged into the walls are the wise words of the drunk, sobered by the spasmodic pain of retching vomit.
            At first he is hot with hate.  He hates the man who punctuated his life just so. In no time at all, this hate ebbs.  Ebbs like his lifeblood that is pooling, running, and spiraling in red rivulets, across the floor.
11 Responses
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  2. Funtage Says:
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  6. F. Tard Says:

    Nice stories!
    I can really recognize myself in them


  7. This is brilliantly written, though I'm questioning if you're actually female now because you described the urinal segment exceedingly well.

    Actually, up the part with the stabbing it sounding a lot like me....


  8. You have some great poems


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