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The Restroom


    “Just wait here honey, I will only be a minute,” came the voice of a particularly attractive young mother. She spoke to her son, probably six years old. She touched her baby boy’s face, smiling, and then entered the restroom. The teen beside me began tapping his foot impatiently, while leaning against a wall that had long forgotten the loving touch of a paint roller. It’s not unfamiliar, I’ve been here before. In my 42 years I would wager that I’ve done the wait a few hundred times. It was when the 6th woman entered the washroom, leaving the 6th companion behind that the kid beside me left in a huff uttering an obscenity as he stormed away. I was about ready to do the same, when a young woman approached the bathroom door.

    “Excuse me, miss,” I felt awkward. I know… she really just wanted to relieve herself in peace, but I had to ask her. “Could you check on my wife, her name is Karen, she’s been in there for about half an hour.

    “Oh, um, sure.” She stammered a bit, but grinned, seemingly happy to help.

    A minute passed, and some of my concern dissipated, if something was wrong surely the young woman would have come and told me. Then 5 minutes passed. 7 minutes. 10 minutes. My concern had returned tenfold and by this time I found myself comforting the young boy, telling him that everything would be alright. I decided I would walk with him to customer service so they could look after him while the situation is resolved. I explained it all and they found it strange enough to send security. I returned to the lavatory entrance with two security officers, one male and one female.

    They decided that the woman would enter first since it’s the woman’s restroom. Makes sense to me. The other officer stood with the door open. The restroom winds like a snake for a good 30 feet, you can’t see around the first bend, so I stood beside him watching the cavernous room tiled from floor to ceiling, awaiting any sign of anything at all.

    I couldn’t truly be worried because I couldn’t come up with anything that could be preventing people from leaving, and not giving us any sign of anything. Perhaps there is a murderer in there, murdering every single person as they enter, perhaps so quick that they can’t even make a noise. It just doesn’t seem realistic. I’m sure it’s just a strange coincidence of several women entering a washroom in sequence, only to find that their diet demands more water and more fibre.

    The woman rounded the first bend. “Anything, Cooper?” Said the officer beside me.

    “Not yet,” she responded, “Hello? Security. Is anyone…” she fell silent.

    “Cooper, what is it?” The fellow asked.

    “Cooper!” I shouted. “Karen!”

    “Stay here,” he demanded of me, then ran into the washroom. I waited barely a minute for any sign of anything before calling the cops.

    “Something strange is happening, several women have disappeared from the first floor restroom at Guildford Mall. I’m highly concerned, even a young boy has lost his mother. I’ve lost contact with 2 security guards. Please send some officers to investigate.”

    More women entered the washroom. What do I tell them? Don’t go in there. “Those who go in, don’t come out.” Is that what I should say? By the time any officers decided to show up, the lineup of people outside the restroom was staggering. It would have been more impressive had some not decided to go looking for their loved ones. By this time, I was certain there were more women in the washroom than there were toilets. Still obviously humoring the idea that they’re just having a hard poop.

    The officers strolled around the corner, one holding a large slice of pizza, the other laughing about something when 16 pairs of eyes found them. They froze. The hungry man dropped his pizza and the other drew his gun. They both headed for the door.

    “Explain!” one shouted and scanned the group. “There are what, 16 women in here that haven’t come out?”

    “At least 31 people have gone in and not come out in the last 2 hours” I explained.

    The other cop spoke to the radio on his shoulder “We need hazmat down here, Maggie, just in case. Something is wrong here.”

    “On its way.”

    The officers entered and rounded the first bend, weapons drawn. That was the last I saw of them.

    A few minutes passed and the mall was quarantined, there were dozens of officers trying to prevent a panic. Officers in hazmat suits set up plastic walls everywhere near the restroom. They had meters reading the air content, and searching for radiation. They found nothing. Only that one by one each person who entered the restroom did not come out.

    It was sheer morbid curiosity that compelled me to enter the restroom. I expected to see a hundred dead bodies lying on the ground around the second bend. Instead, I found nothing. There were 10 stalls, I checked each one and found it empty, aside from a sparkly clean seat and full tissue dispenser. Then the question came to me. Why am I still alive? Why am I still here? I ran to the exit and swung the door open only to find myself facing into the same washroom I was exiting. My eyes began to water and I began to shake. All my brain could muster was confusion. So I marched forward. As I rounded the last bend I came to the same restroom, but this one contained one young woman.

     “Hello,” she smiled at me.

    She stood before me, naked and without shame. Her long blonde hair flowed over her shoulders, and she lit up the room. She literally lit up the room, her being emanated light. She reached a hand toward me.

    “You have a burden to bear, my friend,” she said to me.

    “Yes,” escaped my lips as if I hadn’t the strength not to. My eyes uncontrollably examined her breasts, her legs, her lips, her abdomen. I’m probably old enough to be her father for God’s sake. Stop.

    “I can help you bear every burden you have.”

    “Can you?”

    “Yes,” she smiled “All you have to do is come with me. All will be taken care of.”

    Her fingers motioned for me to come to her. I did, and as I neared her, all my worries began to evaporate.

    I came face to face with her, and then I had no shame. She told me, “all you have to do is walk with me, hand in hand, and I will always protect you. You needn’t worry ever again.”

    I couldn’t bear to not touch her, my hand found its way to her skin, and she smiled, “come.”

    She took my hand, and she led me home.


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