Prose

No Toilet Paper for Dirty Men

7 June 2017

“One of the most jolting days of adulthood comes the first time you run out of toilet paper,” Mason’s grandpa used to say. “Toilet paper, up until that point, always just existed.” Now, sitting in silence with his pants around his ankles, Mason contemplated how he’d gotten himself into this situation.

He surveyed his stall. Four grey walls. No paper to be had. There was a ‘toilet etiquette’ poster on the stall door, below the hook where he’d hung his holster and pistol. He would have used the poster, if it wasn’t covered in various colours of bubblegum.

It occurred to him to check the other stalls. What were the odds that all three were out of toilet paper? Embarrassment be damned. He got up – pants still around his ankles – and reached for the door. But as he went to unlock it, he heard the sound of leaves crunching underfoot. Someone was outside. The footsteps gradually drew closer, then Mason heard whoever it was run in and take refuge in the next stall along.

Mason had just sat back down when the newcomer let out a piercing shriek, giving Mason such a jolt that a few remainders splashed into the water below him.

“PAPER! WHERE’S THE DAMN PAPER? Oh my god, this can’t be happening right now!”

“You better believe it buddy,” Mason said. “Mine’s out too. What are the odds?”

“Once I get out of here, I’m gonna kill the old man AND his damn janitor,” said the man, rummaging around in his stall, looking for paper.

Mason was quietly interested. Could this man be here for the same reason he was? “What’s your name?”  he asked. “Do you work here?”

The man let out a huge sigh before answering. “I’m Bobby.” A short silence ensued. “Um, I’m just a guest here… Looks like we’re gonna be in here for a while.”

“Well I don’t plan to stay here forever with crap on my butt. I’m going to check the other stall.” Mason pulled himself up the divider. The copious amounts of snot put there by the previous tenants left greasy stains on his Hawaiian shirt but he had more pressing issues.

As he lifted his head above the divider, Mason was greeted by a pair of large, empathetic eyes. It was an old man. He was very small, almost like he had a child’s body, and was wearing a yukata despite his Caucasian appearance. He and Mason stared into each other’s eyes, each of them praying that the other had toilet paper to give. But the old man’s roll was empty too. A moment passed, then Mason lowered himself back down.

“Are you still there, man?” asked Bobby. “Any luck with the toilet rolls?”

“Nope. Just an old man,” Mason replied. He turned his attention to his new neighbour. “How long have you been in here, old-timer?”

“More than two hours,” the man replied, with a noticeable tremor in his voice.

“Don’t give up, old man. We’ll find a way out of this. God hasn’t forsaken us yet,” said Bobby. It sounded as though he was playing with a pocket knife. A chill went down Mason’s spine.

Once again, they heard the crunch of leaves. Both Bobby and Mason shouted to get the attention of the outsider. There were more footsteps and then a man’s voice.

“Mr Dollarworth? Is that you in there?”

There was immediate silence. Mason stood up and pushed his stall door ajar. Bobby got down on the floor and peeked through the gap. Both of them saw a man in a smart black suit and sunglasses, his shiny hair slicked back and complemented by an immaculate goatee. Everything about him screamed ‘generic henchman’.

“Hey, old man,” said Bobby. “You wouldn’t be Alfred Dollarworth by any chance?”

“I was curious as to why two strangers would be in my estate’s outdoor washroom at this time of night,” Alfred admitted. “My head of security did warn me of potential assassins, though I never expected us to meet under these circumstances.” His eyes drifted to his holster, which he too had left hanging from his stall door.

The bodyguard reached for the pistol tucked into his belt but Mason was faster. He snatched his gun from its holster and unloaded half a clip into the bodyguard, who dropped to the ground with a thud. Alfred and Bobby froze.

“NONE OF YOU FUCKING MOVE!” Mason shouted, backing out of the stall with his pants around his knees. He saw Bobby still lying on the ground, face pressed to the filthy floor, and noticed he was shirtless.

“Why the fuck are you naked?”

“I take better dumps this way!” Bobby shouted back. An awkward silence built up. “Who the fuck hired you to kill this geezer anyway?”

“None of your concern. I’m the one asking questions here. Who hired you?”

Alfred tried to take advantage of all this commotion. He slowly rose and crept towards his weapon, also with his pants around his ankles.

Bobby saw him move. “You better sit the fuck down, old-timer! Just stay there! I’ll kill you after I’m done with this asshole!”
Mason fired a warning shot past Bobby’s head. The sound was deafening in the enclosed space.

Bobby could just see his pistol, dangling above him from his stall door. He could try to reach for it but Mason would put a bullet in his back before he could even get close. Then he remembered his knife, still in the left pocket of his jeans. But his jeans were beside the toilet, out of reach. He tried to hook them with his foot, simultaneously attempting to stall for time.

“You wouldn’t shoot a man with a dirty ass, would you?”

Almost there.

“I got a dirty ass myself, so I don’t care,” said Mason. “Also, you better keep quiet if you don’t want me to kill you first.”

“Don’t you have any honour, young man? To shoot a man when he is at his most vulnerable and filthy?” asked Alfred, taking a stack of notes from his wallet and proceeding to wipe himself with them.

“Shut up, old man,” said Mason. “I could shoot you right now but I have principles to follow. I’ve got to look people in the eye when I kill them. It’s how I get my kicks. If I had known it was you before, I would have killed you then and there.” He took his pants off, readying himself to kick the stall door open.

Got it.

Bobby unsheathed his pocket knife, took aim, and threw it – directly at Mason’s unsuspecting, hanging member.

The following scream was like that of an animal. A primal scream that transcended Mason’s humanity. His agony, pain and anger melded together into a shriek that would make any prey run in fear.

Alfred was stunned. Bobby, still naked, jumped to his feet, grabbed his pistol and shoved the door open, then fired five shots into Mason’s chest. Mason fell to ground, and as the life left his eyes, so did tears of pain.

“I’m sorry about that, man. It’s just business.” Bobby said. He turned towards Alfred’s stall. Without wasting any time, he kicked the door in.

As the door swung open, Bobby was greeted by a fully clothed Alfred and a flurry of bullets. He stumbled back and tripped over Mason’s corpse, holding onto his wounds in an effort to stop the bleeding. He struggled to raise his pistol, but Alfred just kept firing shots into his chest.

Alfred watched Bobby draw his last breath. Then he put a round into each assassin’s head. He dropped his gun and tightened his yukata. As he walked towards the exit, he tilted his head and spoke, as if the souls of the dead men were still present to listen.

“Tainted men can never harm those that have cleansed themselves.”


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