Creature from the bleak latrine

Here’s a little story that is mostly fabricated to give you a scare and a chuckle for Halloween.

Normally I don’t frighten easily. For example, I remember when I read Stephen King’s book Salem’s Lot. I lived alone in a third-floor apartment and read until late one rainy, windy night, and when my eyelids grew heavy, I fell into a peaceful sleep. A sound woke me at 2 a.m. and when I turned on the light, I thought for a nanosecond I saw bloody fangs woven into the tree branch that scraped my window.

What did I do? I laughed. Hysterically.

When my neighbor knocked on the door, I insisted she stay for a cup of tea. Then she begged me to release her so she could go home, but I told her I couldn’t let such neighborly concern go unrewarded. Do you have any idea how delightful it is to share conversation, endless cups of tea, and stale Oreos until sunrise?

Anyway, what scares me is when the macabre shows up in everyday situations.

Like this one.

It was an ordinary day at work. I was sitting at my desk concentrating, ignoring a gentle nudge to go to the bathroom, while I made one more phone call. Suddenly, the moment of no return hit me as every middle-aged woman can attest, and I leaped from my chair wishing I had been more consistent practicing my Kegels.

After encountering two locked doors, I found an unoccupied bathroom located in a heavily trafficked area and panting, I flung myself inside.

I nearly emptied my bladder prematurely when I saw this abomination in the toilet.


Photo by Shallow Reflections

I flushed and plopped on the toilet simultaneously, hoping the bug could not survive the turmoil of the churning water, imagining I felt pinpricks on my buttocks from its tiny claws. And I am sure I heard the faint sound of the theme from Jaws.

I had barely restored my heart rate to the low 80’s when my backside felt unmistakably damp. Yuck! I made a note to write my legislator about drafting a new law to make sitting on toilet seats mandatory. This is bathroom legislation I could get behind, how about you?

Desperate to wipe my nether regions dry, I reached for the toilet paper and gasped when I saw this jagged horror.


Photo by Shallow Reflections

Bummed, I started walking slowly across the room to retrieve the inconveniently located extra roll in the overhead cupboard, engaging a wide gait to keep my pants from falling down, and sticking my butt in the air to maximize drying conditions.

Then I saw it.

The shadow of feet at the bottom of the door.

Shuddering with relief that the door had a secure lock, I watched the handle begin to turn and with a panic reminiscent of recurrent nightmares of going to school without underwear, I had a chilling realization.

The door was not locked.

I’m not sure which one of us was more terrified. Me or the person in the doorway that I will spend the rest of my life avoiding.

One thing is clear.

The criteria for entering the witness protection program is way too rigorous.

What scares you? Have you ever had a restroom experience turn into a horror show?



©2016, Stevens. All rights reserved.

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29 thoughts on “Creature from the bleak latrine

  1. Haha! I can see how witness protection could seem the way to go…but would you want this story in an FBI file somewhere?? Incidentally, I am TERRIFIED of Salem’s Lot! Vampire books & films never scare me, except that one!

    • There were parts of this story that were true. I really did find a bug in the toilet (but it was at home, not at work), there is always one square of shredded toilet paper being left for the next person to deal with and I really did read Salem’s lot late at night on a rainy night in my third floor apartment and imagine a vampire at the window. That book totally creeped me out!

    • Yes, that can be a rather shocking and sometimes moist experience! And then there is the super powered hand dryer after one has done the hand washing ritual. I need to pack hearing protection the next time I use one of these beasts. And I think they should install hand rails beside them so light weights can hang on, don’t you?

  2. Haha!! Now this is gripping and wonderful! 😀 when I lined in Chicago, I remember a frog once greeting me but I’d rather have him than that creepy bug millipede thing! Eeks!!!

  3. Oh, Molly, this is the best one yet! I have tears running down my face – from your post and the comments you’ve received so far. Maybe it’s so funny because I can identify with it. Been there, done that – except for the invasion of Bigfoot! However you didn’t mention my pet peeve when using public restrooms. Can anyone explain to me why the toilet paper containers are always just a few inches off the floor??!! Try balancing on your head while holding your pants up and avoiding being strangled by the strap of a two-ton purse dangling from your neck! The end of the paper is never in sight. Even after digging at the roll until your fake nails fall off, you still can’t find it. Thus – leaning down until your hair is perilously close to dragging on that wet floor (that you’ve worked so hard to avoid with your pant legs), you finally manage to grasp a corner of loose paper. Then just when you appear to have everything in hand (literally), off comes one measly little square of paper! Repeat this scenario several (dozen) more times and you finally have a suitable amount of paper to complete the job. By then the blood has all rushed to your head and you are one breath away from passing out on the (wet) restroom floor! Why oh why do they have to put the containers so low on the wall? I just know it was a man who did it! Keep up the good work, Sis!

    • I am laughing at your comment, Noreen and can relate to your scenario. I think it all went to the crapper when they invented those rolls of toilet paper the size of tractor tires. They occupy the entire wall and even when you finally scratch through and find the end of this single ply wonder it doesn’t have the strength to endure even one gentle tug to unroll the flimsy beast. Yes, we women go through a lot in the privacy of public restrooms. There may be even more bathroom legislation we can propose!

  4. Choking with laughter here, Molly and congratulating you on the foresight to take a few photos during the horror show. A little bit saddened not to have a photo of the chap with big feet but I do understand that neglect …

    • You give me way too much credit, Kelly. I did take a picture of the bug that was in our toilet at home and that is what prompted my crazy mind to concoct the ‘rest of the story.’ Fiction is stranger than truth, don’t you think? Especially when it involves a universal experience we may have all had at one time or another. Gotcha! Thanks for stopping by and laughing at my horror show.

  5. You neglected to mention the pleasure we gals have draping our purses around our necks when there is no place to hang them in a stall, and having them bang about in the way as we complete all the necessary steps. I was in the Denver airport this week and went to the toilet after refilling my water bottle—only to find there was no shelf or lip to put the bottle on in the stall. I tried to hold it between my various chins while doing my business, but “cleanup” (and a near drop to the questionable floor) necessitated me holding it in my clenched jaws for the last steps. Tell me that’s not a scary image!

    • I am giggling at your description of the gyrations you went through to save your water. While releasing your water. Is this the perfect circle of life? Anyway, obviously bathroom stalls are designed by men, or there would be a handy shelf in each one, don’t you think?

  6. Oh, how horrifyingly embarrassing–for you both! And that bug…ugh! I’ve had a near-horror show situation when I’m perched over the bowl of a public toilet stall, having completed my business and about to wipe my privates, when someone tries to open the door (which doesn’t lock and is just pushed closed)…Since one hand is committed to cleanup and my other is holding my pants off the invariably dirty floor, I have a moment of wishing I were a monster with three arms so I could hold the door shut. Instead, I let go of my pants to grab the door, announce “Someone’s in here!” and maintain my privacy. And hope no one notices the damp edges on the bottom of my pant legs when I emerge from the stall. P.S. I’m wagering your “intruder” was even more embarrassed than you were!

    • Alas, the inevitable bathroom-stall-door-that-won’t-lock experience, Roxanne. I like to think of this as a chance to be a contortionist, sort like being part of a cirque de soil troupe, I mean soleil. Haha! Anyway, fiction can be stranger than facts and I may have fudged a few of the facts to make a good horror story. I’ll let you wonder what is truth and what is fiction. Thanks for making me laugh with your bathroom story.

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