________Lost Souls_______
Excuse Me is Anybody in Here?

Nick Ehst

With the graceful slide of only one hand, the door slammed shut and the metal lock slid firmly into place. Unfortunately, the other hand wasn't coming along quite so well.

"Come on damn you, fucking, come on."

Mumbling to himself in the midst of his frustration, John pulled and tugged at the unrelenting clasp of the large, gold belt buckle. He had always hated that gaudy thing, but her dad had given it to him on his birthday last year, so she had insisted that he wear it.

John could feel something welling up inside of him, like some sort of caged animal, or an angry wife pounding at the bedroom door. His meal had purchased a one-way ticket out of his bowels, and it was not about to wait for his earliest convenience.

John had simply excused himself from the table only moments ago. His wife glanced up at him as he rose; a disapproving look burned into her face. John had shot her an apologetic smile in return. This was a nice restaurant they were eating in, and these were her parents they were eating with, and anything less than his total silence obedience was construed as being discourteous; or saucy as she sometimes liked to put it.

But those were thoughts for later; as John headed off to bathroom only two notions were bouncing around in his mind. ONE, he hoped he could make it to the bathroom without walking funny enough to attract any attention, and TWO and more importantly he hoped he could make it to the bathroom period.

"Thank God!" John moaned aloud as the buckle came undone, and the belt's death grip on his aching mid-section gave way. He wasn't sure, but John thought that he actually started shitting before his ass hit the toilet. Thank God the seat was up.

A snort of disgusted disapproval could be heard from the stall next to his. Against his will and civilized judgment a smile bit at the corners of John's mouth.

What's the matter buddy, never get struck by a case of the hellshits? Probably not.

Over the last 3 years, Linda's family had led John to believe that the rich and well-to-do were never the victims of any form of gastrointestinal revolution. Their bodies were above all that by the mere nature of their societal class. He loved her, at least he really thought he did; but there were some things about her he knew he would never come to grips with. In retrospect, it was probably those very things which had made her so attractive to him in the first place. Something about her upperclassness, the ease with which she carried herself through any and all situations, without a hair ever falling out of place.

She's an uptown girl.

He had caught himself humming that tune on more than a couple of occasions during their courtship; she made him feel like more than just a downtown man.

That's what I am.

Back then, he had seen the ability to look down at others while they looked up to you as social grace. Lately though, it had started to look more and more like simply being a stuck up cunt.

Coughing in the stall next to him now. A sick hacking cough, trademark sounds of a life-long smoker. John looked over at the wall, squinting as if he could somehow see the guy through it. For a stall in a nice restaurant, there sure were a lot of obscene carvings in it; possibly the last great underground art in America.

If you want to fuck me in my ass, call ... 

Sick ... Not as sick as the illustration of this downtrodden poet's ass, but sick all the same. It reminded him of a picture he once saw in Breakfast of Champions. John giggled; he was sure Vonnegut would be honored by the comparison. The sound of coughing from next door could still be heard. Maybe it was the smell? He wasn't sure why, but John found himself hoping it was.

Yeah buddy, try sitting in here with me, see how bad you start coughing then.


Another burst, the muscles of John's body all feeling as if they were contracting in sync with one another. His head lay between his knees, and not even the stink of his situation could get his strained neck muscles to raise it. Staring straight down, his eyes instinctively made shapes out of the tile designs on the floor. If followed just right, bizarre patterns began to appear; order out of chaos. John could find the Purina Cat Chow symbol popping in and out of various parts of the floor, or a bizarre series of Swastikas. Swastikas with sweat dripping onto them.

A flush, followed by the grunting and buckling of pants. With his head down, John could see the loafers of his stall neighbor walking out, hear the faucet running and the bathroom door swinging open. From the sound, John didn't even think the guy had washed his hands; only hit the button to give that impression.


At least he was gone; John didn't want to have to wait him out. Sort of an unwritten rule of the restroom; when one man has made a noisy time of it, he will usually wait for any others who were in attendance when he began to leave. This way, one avoids the unpleasant experience of looking those people in the eyes if on an off chance both of you leave your stalls at the same time.


"Excuse me, is anybody in here?"

The stall walls shook. John instinctively grabbed his pants and pulled them up as high as the toilet would allow. Shit, he hadn't even heard the guy come in.

"Yeah, sorry, this stall's taken."


It seemed to echo off the small, gray walls, then heavy footfalls turning towards the other stall. With stiffly held breath, John listened as his near intruder loudly unbuckled and plopped onto the seat. What must have been an ass of no little magnitude thudded onto the porcelain ring with a wet, meaty splat!

John finally allowed his lungs to empty as the familiar sound of urination filled the room. His fingers and toes felt numb, and John found that his heart was racing at an incredible clip. Something about being startled, coupled with that childhood fear of another man seeing your dick; does it to you every time.

This went on for about two minutes, and ended with what sounded like the supernova of flushes. In his mind's eye, John saw a canal running dry somewhere, the water draining comically down into a tiny spiral, keeping perfect time with the sound of the toilet next door. The guy whod been in there not four minutes ago had flushed that same toilet, and it hadn't sounded anything like that.

Like the tides themselves, the sound in the stall began to fade away but the man never got up. John sat, waiting, listening for the familiar sounds of one zipping up and vacating the premises but there was nothing.

Jesus, did it take him with it?

The force with which that toilet had whisked away the man's leftovers was such that John almost found himself apt to believe it.

A shudder passed through his stomach as he realized that his hair was touching the tile floor, but he had to know. Leaning down as far as he could without falling off the seat and probably getting shit on his clothes, John scanned the six inches of space the stall-wall allowed him, and he could see nothing. No shoes, no pants lying there, no dead carcass or anything. The man was simply gone.

"What the fuck," he asked no one in particular. His curiosity was getting the better of him; so much so that he failed to realize the worst of his stomach condition had passed. And he'd all but completely forgotten about his wife and in-laws.

"Where could he have ..."


"Excuse me, is anybody in here?"

This time John fully jumped, dropping his pants entirely. The walls shook so hard with the force of the pounding, John feared the entire, flimsy structure would collapse around him.

What the fuck, it's the same guy, how could he ...


"Excuse me!"

John's eyes widened, the left one almost escaping from his head.

"YES, YES I'm fucking in here! Jesus!" John screamed.

Silence Just like before.

Oh God!

The shock to his system had resulted in another uprising. He could feel the bubbles deep within. Something turning in his bowels, something that desperately wanted out.

The sounds that escaped Johns war-torn body could most easily be described as vulgar, pure and simple. He didn't understand it; it didn't make any damn sense.

What the hell is the matter? Ive never felt this sick.

There was that one time in Mexico. He and Linda had made the less than wise choice to grab some tacos from what looked like perfectly respectable street vendor. Linda had been lucky enough to get a perfectly respectable taco, while John on the other hand, had received something far less kind.

But that was food poisoning.

It didn't make any sense. At least that last outburst was bound to scare his friend away. John waited, panting, and carefully applying a balled up wad of toilet paper to his burning backside. Then finally he heard it.

The water from the faucet ran longer than when the other guy had washed. Not just the sounds of water harmlessly running into the sink, but the sounds of a struggle. Actual washing this time, and thank God. The tense feeling didn't leave until John actually heard the door to the bathroom swing open, and then closed.

"Whew, my God," John mumbled. He was shaking his head, and looking down at the feet he could no longer feel. This had gone on long enough. Linda was definitely going to kill him now, and hed read once that you could get hemorrhoids from sitting on the can for too long. Time to call it a night.

Getting up from the toilet John cast a backwards glance at the bowl.

Oh mama, that ain't good


"Excuse me, is anybody in here?"

That time, John could actually see the door bend, straining the metal clasps that held the entire structure into place.

"Yes, WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WANT?" John screamed. He was buckling his pants and reaching for the door. Rules or no rules, this fucker had some explaining to do.


"Excuse me ....... Excuse me, anybody?"

The ground actually shook. John lost his footing, falling back and breaking his fall on the edge of the toilet seat. A dizzying jolt of pain shot through his cranium. The air was hot down here, and the smell nearly unbearable. John was head level with a bowel full of his own sickness.




The earth jolted, the walls started to buckle and splintered pieces of wood began to fall into the stall from the abused door.

"Stop, go away, please for FUCK'S SAKE JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!!!"



That's when John noticed it; through the six inch gab between the floor and door he could see pieces of wood, sheets of discarded toilet paper, and he could see the front wall. But he couldn't see any feet.



John couldn't remember ever screaming before in his entire life. Not truly screaming. But as the wood came apart and the door collapsed inward, Jonathan Colburn SCREAMED.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Honey, do you think John's Ok? It's been a while."

"Has it? I hadn't noticed," Linda lied.

Where was he? She could kill him. He knew how important this night was to her. Sometimes she thought he did this kind of shit just to get to her. She used to find his little jokes kind of cute. He was so refreshing when compared to all of the prep-school frat boy types that her father kept introducing her to. But lately, she had just found him annoying, almost lower-class.

"Maybe I should go see if hes alright," her father offered. Linda's cheeks turned a dark red. Her father was not going to go fish her worthless husband out of the bathroom. Not on her watch.

"That's alright Dad, we'll give him just a couple more minutes, I'm sure he'll be right back,' Linda said. One of her dad's eyebrows rose, and he gave her that intense look she'd always hated. Like he wasn't so much looking at her as he was studying her.

Linda smiled; oh yes, she was going to kill him.

"Ok honey, if you think that's alri-."

"Oh my God, someone come quick," a voice hollered. All heads turned towards the commotion at the back of the restaurant. Everyone was scurrying towards the noise, heading towards the bathroom. Somewhere, a woman let out a high-pitched shriek.

When they got there, Linda's mom screamed and fainted outright; her father made the sign of the cross on his chest and mumbled incoherently to himself, completely oblivious to his wife's condition. Linda just stared; her eyes remaining open so long that the burning began to reach a point where it was almost as torturous as the sight itself.

All of the stalls in the sizable restroom had collapsed, and there were large cracks in the tile floor. All of the toilets had been smashed by the falling walls, and a heavy amount of water poured from the holes in the floor. All of the toilets but one that is, and it was covered in blood. Meaty chunks of flesh and gore hung from the sides of it, and the bowl had been filled with someone or somethings dying life essence. And floating on the top of the toilet's nightmare concoction was a large, golden belt buckle.

Copyright Nick Ehst 2003

You can contact Nick Ehst at: nurseww@aol.com
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