A few days ago, I was killing time in a local department store while my wife shopped, when the urge to make a nature call hit me. With all the controversy swirling around department store restrooms lately, I was a little wary of using the store facilities. However, you can only deny nature so long, so after a few minutes of waddling around the store with my knees clamped together, I found myself standing before the men’s restroom ready to risk whatever evil lurked behind the door. At that point, I would have kissed Hillary Clinton flush on the mouth for some relief.
Maybe, it was because my eyeballs were floating, but the moment my hand touched the door to enter, I broke into a sweat, and the image of a tall bearded guy wearing a John Deere baseball cap and a three-quarter sleeve red dress with a ruched waist stretched over a budding beer belly flashed before my eyes. Standing at a urinal with the dress hiked over his hips, he smiled sweetly and winked at me. The heebie-jeebies rolled down my spine, down the backs of my legs, and to my toes. Warning lights and sirens flashed and wailed in my brain, but my growing need for relief overruled the warnings. I pushed open the door and walked inside. Thankfully, the only person in the restroom was a guy in the stall nearest the urinals with his pants wrapped around his ankles. So far, so good!
I was unzipping when from the stall next to me, I heard, “Baaaaaaa.” I froze. That sounded like a sheep. “Baaaaaaaaaa!” It was a sheep! I have always joked I don’t care what a person does in the privacy of the bedroom, that is between the person and the goat or the sheep, but folks be careful what you joke about! “Baaaaaaaa!” A man and sheep sharing a public restroom stall is just as kinky. What were they doing in there? What was I to do? I needed relief, but I felt so exposed and vulnerable standing next to that stall with my zipper open. What would I do if the guy or his sheep reached under the stall and started playing with my shoelaces? Suppose one of them tied my shoelaces together, and I was unable to escape. With my shoelaces in knots, what would I do if accosted by a perverted sheep and a guy with a wool fetish? I would not be able to run, and although I knew exactly where to kick the guy to incapacitate him, I had reasonable doubts I could do so with my feet tied together, and even more troubling, I did not have the slightest idea how to disable a sheep with raging hormones.
Ker plunk! Something plopped into the toilet; that was gross I thought. Bam! Bam! Bam! The stall rattled and shook as the man . . . or sheep . . . banged against the metal walls. “Oh, sh@#, oh, sh@#, Ohhhhhhhhh, sh@#,” the man moaned from inside the stall. “Baaaaaaaa,” warbled the sheep as if underwater. The man’s head popped above the stall door. Wide eyed, he looked around the room. With a twist and hop, he and the pants crumbled around his shoes turned to face the toilet. He looked down, moaned, said, “Oh, sh@#!” and dropped to his knees, the heels of his shoes protruding from under the stall door. “Oh, sh@#!” the man groaned. Splash! Splash! Splash! With each splash, his heels rose and descended much like a bird drinking water. “No, no, no, no,” the man wailed. Splash! Bird drinking! Splash! Bird drinking! Water from the toilet ran from under the stall and pooled in the middle of the room. I backed away to the nearest restroom wall, my urge to pee subdued by the desperate macabre dance unfolding before my eyes.
Water circled the man’s knees soaking his pants. Long, air gulping, crying sobs came from the stall. “Oh, God, what have I done?” he cried. The sheep was strangely silent. Terrible pictures of the man and the sheep doing unmentionable things to one another flashed before my eyes. “What have I done?” the guy moaned. Dread for the sheep’s safety suddenly engulfed me. The sheep was no longer bleating; what had the guy done? Had he injured or maybe killed the poor animal? Was it possible the guy had come to his senses and realized a rendezvous with a sheep in a public restroom was not such a good idea after all, and the splashing was him drowning the evidence in the toilet bowl? But, who in their right mind would have thought a tryst with a sheep was a good idea anytime or anywhere? Unless, maybe, this was one of those perverted transgenders lurking in public restrooms I had been warned about in the news and on Facebook. That was the only logical explanation, which meant the odds were high that as soon as he finished with the sheep, he was coming after me! I knew I should run for help, but I couldn’t move. What would I tell the store manager? Did I say a man with his pants around his ankles is abusing a sheep in the men’s restroom? I could see the headlines, “Retired Educator Witness to Hideous Sheep Abuse in Local Department Store,” story at ten.
After the splashing stopped, the man remained on his knees in front of the toilet for what seemed a very long time – it was a very long time. Maybe, he had drowned himself. A part of me told me to check on him, but my Christian side reasoned he might be praying and shouldn’t be disturbed. From what I witnessed, he needed all the time on his knees he could get, so I decided not to disturb him. A more disgusting possibility was he was sick and throwing his guts up, which was highly likely since he was sharing space with a sheep? I also asked myself what I would do if I opened the stall door and saw the sheep stuffed in the toilet? Other than cruel, was that illegal? Could a sheep be murdered? If it was a murder scene, did I, as a citizen, need some kind of warrant before I opened the door? If I didn’t have such a warrant, could I be held criminally negligent and liable? The idea of PETA detectives interviewing me in a dimly lit room smelling of puppy and kitty feces terrified me. Also, if this was truly the end of time as my Sunday school teacher proclaimed, I was terrified that Gabriel and his angels might find me lying in a puddle of toilet water underneath a sheep and a bearded guy in a red dress. I was convinced that would pretty much cancel my ticket to heaven. What would a sane, rational person do in my situation – RUN! I couldn’t, so I did the next best thing – I did nothing.
Finally, the feet disappeared into the stall and righted themselves. A pair of hands pulled the soggy pants crumbled around the shoes up over argyle shins. The man’s head once again appeared above the stall door – this time his back to me. I strained to hear the sheep, but there were no sounds other than the sounds of the man’s stressed breathing and water dripping to the floor from the toilet. He turned, clicked the stall lock, and stepped out. Not only were his pants soaked, but his white sleeves were wet to the elbows, and thin trails of water streamed from the drenched suit coat hanging over his arm. The sheep was nowhere to be seen. He stared at me for a moment and then looked in the mirror. “Damn,” he said, “What a mess. I guess I am going to be late.”
Late? Did he say late? He had just molested a sheep or been molested by a sheep in a public restroom, and he was worried about being late. What kind of unfeeling, unconscionable monster was this? “What about the sheep?” I said. “What did you do with the sheep?”
The guy frowned. “What are you talking . . . ,” he said and stopped. “Oh,” he said holding out his dripping cell phone for me to see. “Word of advice . . . never play games on your cell while on the toilet and if you do turn the volume off and hold tight to your phone.” Stuffing the phone in a soggy pocket, he walked to the restroom door dripping puddles. “By the way,” he said over his shoulder. “The sheep is fine. Thanks for the concern.”
I continued to lean against the wall for a while after he left. I needed a drink. In those few moments of solitude before the guy in the bunny suit walked in, closely followed by a woman in a yellow hard hat and overalls with no shirt underneath, I swore off public restrooms. In today’s society, adult diapers simply make more sense. The convenience as well as peace of mind is liberating. I don’t care what anybody says, sheep do not belong in public restrooms.
©Jack Linton, May 29, 2016