Wednesday, January 24, 2007

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night...

Okay, so it was actually around three in the afternoon. We were still about an hour away from our destination on this bright yet briskly cold Sunday afternoon, and, as always, I had to pee. Something about the motion of the car, I dunno...

So I see one of those handy-dandy blue signs that tell you wonderful friendly things, like "Camping 1 mile on left," or "Beavers Stuffed While You Wait, Next Exit." This one happened to say, "Mobil, 2 miles." Where there's gas, there's a bathroom. Where there's a bathroom, Jason can feel better.

So we take the exit, and just like the friendly blue sign, there's the Mobil. It doesn't look nearly as friendly and clean as the sign that announced it presence; in fact, it looks like it might pre-date gasoline in general. But when nature calls, and it's been on hold for quite some time, we no longer care about greeting her with a smile.

I walk into the "garage" (in quotes due to the dubious presence of running vehicles of any form) and take a quick glance around. I spy an attendant (who looks like he might also pre-date gasoline; perhaps even sky god himself) sitting just above counter level at the far end, where giant signs say "Marlboro $4.95 a pack" and "You Must Be 18 Or Older to View the Top Shelf."

Me: Hey, chief, you got a bathroom?
Old Man: Eh?
Me: Do you have a restroom I could use?
Old Man: Bathroom?
Rich: I'm going to wait in the car.
Me: Yeah, (speaking louder, looking for a hearing aid) BATH-ROOM.
Old Man: Right around back, young man.
I go back outside and walk to the left, and I peer around the edge of the building. No doors. So I cross back in front of the Mobil, passing three broken-looking garage doors painted lime green, a dumpster, and a few things that look like they may have been alive at one time... Peer around the corner. I see two doors, one marked "Wom" and one marked "M" followed by half an "e." Making the mental leap, I reach for "M."

It's locked. I knock and call in, "Hello? Anyone in there?"

I'm greeted by a silence recalled only during child times of waiting for Dad to get home and spank us. That silence that permeates through the bone, and you expect skeletons, giant rats, and Satan himself to be peering at you from a dark corner. Even the sunlight doesn't reach this side of the building, making the creepy "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" feel to the place complete. I pull my should-have-brought-the-winter-coat-but-didn't jacket tighter around my body and walk back past the (dead birds? squirrels?) dead things, the dumpster, and the lime-green garage doors and back into the shop. I see Rich from the corner of my eye waving from the car in a "Hurry up!" gesture, which I always ignore, and do not make an exception now.

Me: It's locked.
Old Man: Eh?
Me: The DOOR to the BATHROOM is LOCKED.
Old Man: Yeah?
Me: YES.
Old Man: I think there's a key here... Somewhere...
Me: Is there a bathroom in here I could use.
Old Man: (stopping the search for the key) Eh?
Me: Nothing.
I wait, doing a small, hopefully inconspicuous pee-dance, hoping that he finds the key five minutes ago. Finally:

Old Man: Here ya go.
Me: Thanks! (dashing back out before he could say anything further)
I no longer care about lime green anything or dead things ("Dead things, Mikey, dead things!") I slam the key into "M" door and...

Fuck it! I scream mentally and slam the key into the "Wom" door. Success! I drain the lizard, a small smile creeping across my face as relief comes in waves and then, more slowly toward the end, spurts. Sweet relief. I read things like "Tom & Stacy forever" and "For a good time call..." I'm especially disturbed by one that reads "Chris suck her own cock." Eww...

And then I stop. I step outside the door and take in the surroundings. Hmm, off to the north, I see nothing. Nothing in the east... Turn, nothing int he west. I round the corner of the Mobil and see... Nothing to the South...

Why? I step into the Mobil and hand the brittle-boned attendant the key back.

Me: Why do you keep the bathrooms locked?
Old Man: Eh?
Me: WHY DO YOU LOCK THE BATHROOMS!
Old Man: (shrugs) Why not? Gotta keep trouble makers outta there.
Me: (incredulous) Have you ever stopped anyone from using the bathroom?
Old Man: (looks thoughtful) Can't say that I have...
Me: So...
Old Man: Eh?
Me: Never mind. Have a god one, chief.
Old Man: (waving) Thanks for stopping by.
So either sky god's half-brother is not psychic anymore, thus preventing him from keeping out "the trouble makers," or there's some secret trap door that hides the treasure of a lifetime whenever the key is inserted into the lock. In fact, the treasure's probably locked in the "M" room! I regale Rich with my tale of hidden treasures in the almost-deserted looking Mobil, about the booby-traps that probably killed the (rats? mice? rabbits with big, nasty teeth?) animals, the secret lock that hides the treasure when twisted one way, but reveals itself when twisted the other, how no one would ever suspect an out-of-the-way Mobil station for hiding "the loot," whatever the "loot" might be...

Rich told me I need a CAT scan...

Seriously, can you think of any other reason why these out-in-the-middle-of-no-where stations lock their bathrooms? It's either that, or a power-trip of some type, but I can't imagine even sky god on that kind of twisted power trip, let alone his half-brother forgotten at the way-station somewhere south of Harrisburg yet north of Gettysburg...

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering why you went to the trouble. A man can pee anywhere.

Jason Hughes said...

LOL! Yeah, well, if had been surrounded by trees...

But there was nothing but open field, and dead things, so...

mom said...

hello jason! they keep them locked so they don't have to clean them. see if they are told they have to clean them they just say they can't find the key. :) i have some wonderful pee stories! i am not even a man and i found out you can pee anywhere also! :) :) :) snort! snort! love and prayers

Sylvia said...

LOL Just wanted to say hi! I loved this blog, Ja......anywho, I also much enjoyed the Goonies reference....
thanks for keeping the laughs coming =)

Jason Hughes said...

Why, thank you, Red Jr.!

Anytime anyone gets the Goonie's references, I get a little fuzzy-warm... :D

MichaelBains said...

I loved the story but, yeah, pee anywhere. It's probably safer since those johns may have been what killed those dead, uhm, things.

Is curious though; the label for this post is "Around the House".

Hhmmm...

Jason Hughes said...

LOL! Yeah, well, I didn't feel like making another label for travel since I don't do it that often, and it seemed like the best fit for what I had already made... I'm lazy like that...