Public Bathrooms

Public bathrooms are a surprisingly dangerous thing. You could ask Letitia Baling, except that she sadly is no longer with us, because parts of her drowned in a shiny toilet bowl. She was not, at the time, large enough to successfully use a toilet seat.

The automatic hand dryer must be blamed for this particular unfortunate circumstance. Even the simplest of such devices have quite a large number of moving parts, and this one was a spectacularly deluxe model. While normally these parts would be safely covered by a metal shield, there are many ways for this protection to be breached. Rust, for example. Hungry mice gnawing through the bolts. Clever sabotage, or even terrorism. Or, as in this case, an explosion, caused by water that made its way into the dryer’s electrics, which caused the wires to short out and spark a fire that ignited a pocket of pure oxygen trapped in the blower by a serious manufacturing flaw.

The explosion caused all of these unusually sharp parts to shoot out at a truly stunning speed, sadly just as poor Letitia was walking in for a pee. They chopped through her like a warm Minnesota spoon through a lime Jell-o mold.

How did all of this debris hit her? Letitia was known as a woman of exceptional grace and nimbleness. She had once drawn a hail of more than 12,000 rocks catapulted from a castle outside of Lyon when its master, a thoroughly insane older man, ordered the action when he became convinced that Letitia was a horde of invading Mongols. (Needless to say, the old man’s belief regarding Letitia was incorrect on a large number of levels.) In this attack, Letitia managed to position herself in the one spot in a 60-foot radius not to be struck by a single stone.

So how was she hit now? It wasn’t the smoke, of which copious amounts filled the room. Letitia had spectacular hearing, and had even learned a rudimentary but effective form of echolocation. She could dodge in the darkest night, and have enough energy left over to dodge the night itself.

It wasn’t even precisely the water on the floor, which was enough to slip up most mortals, although that came closer.

The true culprit was Letitia’s weakness for shows. She owned hundreds of pairs of gloriously dubious quality. The hot pink high heels she wore today were so shoddy that they leached oils when they got wet. This was enough to make Letitia lose the flawless body control to which she was so accustomed.

As she felt her body open up to receive any kind of incoming missile, it occurred to Letitia to wonder where all the water came from. Because her sonar was otherwise occupied, she failed to notice the garden hose connected to one of the faucets. This hose was delivering copious quantities of liquid into the tube that directs the air. A brand-new janitor, in her enthusiasm to make everything perfectly clean inside and out, had put it there and turned the water on to its maximum level.

This custodian was also responsible for Letitia making her way to her final resting place. She came into the bathroom to find Letitia lying in pieces on the floor, and considered it a great tragedy that such an obviously great woman should be struck down so close to her goal. So this worthy custodian took the initiative to move what once was Letitia, bit by bit, to the throne where she obviously deserved to meet her reward.

Many of these bits were small enough to slide into the bowl, and when the custodian left the stall, the toilet’s sensors flushed them into the sewers and ultimately the Earth herself. Perhaps owing to the diligence with which the custodian maintained the plumbing, at no point did Letitia create any sort of a clog.

There have, in the days since Letitia’s passing, been some rumors claiming that it was the force of impact that delivered Letitia’s limbs to their final resting place. This is patently untrue; our heroic if unnamed custodian is solely responsible for Letitia’s peaceful repose. Upon my honor as a storyteller, to claim anything else would be absurd.

*****

This lunchtime post is just a bit of absurdity inspired by some overzealous warning sign that I saw on my holiday travels. Have no real plans for it—might be adaptable as a 3LR sketch, but maybe not—but I enjoyed writing it.

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