The Devil’s Piss – A Vignette

“Sonovabitch.”

There was a pause, and it came again, slower, more pronounced.

“Son. Of. A. Bitch.”

Kevin looked over at the man a couple of urinals away. He was on the shorter side, though a bit stocky. His head was bald, with stubble that covered his scalp and trailed down to his sideburns and cheeks to a Van Dyke. He was wearing an expensive black suit with a red shirt peeking over the top of the jacket. The man was looking down, holding himself with both hands, and rocking onto his heels every now and then.

“Sonovabitch.” He said again.

“You all right?” Kevin asked.

The man turned his head to look at him. Crow’s feet spread at the corners of his eyes, and laugh lines bracketed his mouth. He was deeply tanned.

“Yeah, it’s just when you get to be my age, it doesn’t always come unless you bully it.” He laughed, a friendly-sounding chuckle.

Kevin smiled, or at least tried to. Truth be told, he was having a little trouble now, too. He hated it when people talked to him in the bathroom. It was a toilet, for the love of God, not a public forum. He looked back down, not noticing his forehead creasing in concentration.

“Having a little trouble yourself? I hear if you blow on it, it’ll get things started.”

Without looking up, Kevin asked, “That ever work for you?”

The man chuckled again. “Oh hell, no. Just a suggestion.”

They lapsed into silence. Kevin was thinking about just quitting for now, going back to his cube. He had a meeting in about 30 minutes though, and he hated to think of being stuck in the conference room with an ache in his bladder. He felt something, the tickle that meant it was coming, and got unreasonably excited for a moment.

“Say, what department you with?” The man asked.

The tickle went away, and Kevin heaved a sigh of annoyance. He looked over at the man.

“Marketing. You?”

“Acquisitions.”

“Didn’t know that department existed.”

“New addition.”

“You like it? Marketing, that is.” The man asked.

Kevin shrugged. He did enjoy the work. Sometimes he wished he could move ahead, though.

“It’s fine.”

“Tell you what – ahh, that’s it.” The sound of a strong stream hitting the side of the urinal filled the room, followed by the smell of rotten eggs. ┬áKevin couldn’t help himself.

“You sure you’re ok- what the hell is that?”

Smoke had started rising from the urinal, like a thick steam. It obscured the man’s face for a moment, then it dissipated almost as soon as it had come, and the man was zipping up. ┬áHe took something out of his coat, and approached Kevin, who was trembling, though he didn’t know why. The man grinned, and for the first time Kevin noticed his teeth were white, almost impossibly so, and sharp. He tucked the business card in Kevin’s jacket pocket, and patted him on the shoulder, then turned and walked away, leaving the bathroom without washing his hands. After a moment, Kevin’s stream started, and he stood there in a bathroom smelling of rotten egg and pissing more out of fear than relief.

When he was done, he walked by the urinal the other man had been standing at. The porcelain was pitted and scorched, and he wondered if it had all been a prank. He washed his hands, and took the card from his pocket. It read

L. Morningstar

Acquisitions

Beneath that was a number. The alarm on his phone buzzed, letting him know his meeting was in a few minutes, and he silenced it and tucked it away. He looked back at the pitted and stained urinal, and the business card, then pulled his phone out for a second time, and dialed the number. After a ring or two, a voice, rich and friendly, answered.

“Kevin. So nice of you to call.”