on the fifteenth floor of the building where i work, the men’s room has two stalls—
one for special needs and one for regular joes.

the fifteenth floor also has the office where i work,
and it has another office, a federal agency, discreet and well-armed.
(the agency’s name does not appear on the building’s lobby directory. i see
the agents bringing carts of weapons up by freight elevator, and i see nothing.)

i stop by the men’s room to sit a spell, routine business,
with a copy of the new yorker at hand.
the stall for regular joes is occupied. i occupy the other.

my installed neighbor flushed as soon as i came in.
good, he’ll be leaving soon and i can concentrate on relaxing.

but he doesn’t leave. he rustles a newspaper.

i pull down my pants and sit.

he sits.
i sit.

he rustles his paper again, noisily, and flushes again.
i read the new yorker. (an article about sleeping with baby.
nothing this issue about crapping with strangers.)

i sit.
he sits.
i try to relax.

i hear my neighbor pissing, rustling noisily again,
flushing, standing, buckling, zipping, etc.,
and i am at last alone in the men’s room on the fifteenth floor,
in the stall for special needs, reading the new yorker and relaxing
just down the hall from the regular joes with their guns and ammunition.

(Copyright 2023 by Tetman Callis.)

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