Too much coffee, too many Krispie Muffin Treats and that late night run to White Castle---those sliders, surely god has cursed the little, steam cooked squares served on a bun---it was this combination of food and drink that inspired my dash to the restroom.
Inspiration not withstanding, my name is Spinner, Rick Spinner. I am a consultant, someone you blame for all the unpleasantries in your life. But despite your sad state of affairs, I am on the job even if I am on the toilet.
As such, sitting on my throne, if you will, I heard something unexpected from the next stall. Grunts, expulsions, even the crinkling of newspaper should have greeted my ears but instead I detected clicking and tapping; the unmistakable sounds of fingers working on a keyboard.
I made a face. Partially out of curiosity, partially out of intestinal discomfort---those so-called sliders were not living up to the name.
But who uses a computer in the bathroom? Then, unbelievably, I heard the telltale ‘Bling’ of an arriving email. I considered calling it in; crapper computing had to be a violation of some sort. But, instead, I decided to investigate. Well, not literally. I didn’t...uh… hey now I’m just a tech, not a U.S. senator.
My investigation went something like this:
Tap, tap, click. Tappety-tap-tap. Click, click. Bling! Click, tappety-tap, click.
More tapping, more clicking
Then I spoke.
“Hey,” I said. “Do you have a computer in there? Are you working or working it out?
“Sir,” I said, deciding to do this by the book. “I’m a consultant and unless you want to face….” I thought about it. Face what? I was waltzing across an uncharted dance floor. So I cut to the chase. “What on earth are you doing?”
My stall mate coughed, cleared his throat, and said, “What do you mean? I’m using the toilet.”
“Right, and I suppose that typing I hear is just the creaking of an empty toilet paper dispenser.”
The guy hesitated then said, “Look, my wife is making me crazy”
“Obviously. Anyone who drags their PC to the john has to be a few smokes short of a pack.
“No, it’s not like that. My wife is the director of my department and she made some budget cuts. She told me it was either my job or my cubicle.”
Now I hesitated. Actually, it was more like a male version of the Kegel, kind of an all out gut clench. Right then I was wishing I’d just ignored those typing sounds and gone about my bidness. It’s the badge, always the badge. Authority makes me do stupid things. But I was in it now, there was no going back.
“Wait, she did what?” I said.
“You believe that? She calls me into her office and says, “Fleegle, sometimes----”
“Wait,” I said, interrupting. “Who’s Fleegle?”
“Uh, I’m Fleegle.”
“Hold up, wasn’t Fleegle one of the----”
“Yeah, yeah,” the guy said, sounding even more frustrated. “Fleegle was the Beagle in that nineteen sixties show called the Banana Splits. Hey, I got lucky. My little brother is named after the elephant. Try getting date in high school with a name like Drooper.”
“Drooper and Fleegle?” I said, feeling like I was having a flashback from the acid I did not do when I was eight.
“My mom was a fan of the show, what else can I say?”
“Okay,” I said, cautiously. “So, your boss, who is also your wife, told you to choose between losing your job and losing your desk, is that correct?”
“That’s about the size of it.”
“I take it you and your wife don’t get along?”
“Not so.” Fleegle said, his voice brightening. “We get along great, we have a terrific marriage. I’m crazy about her and she treats me like a king.”
What next passed through my mind could not be printed---even on the Internet. And not because it was unseemly or foul. No, the reason it couldn’t be printed is because what went through my head was a primordial scream for mercy as every, single one of my synapses simultaneously popped off like overloaded organic circuit breakers. At that moment, my brain was preparing to detonate.
There I was, talking to a guy named after someone who dressed up like a cartoonish rock star dog, who had been banished to the lavatory by his own wife because she fired his desk, while claiming that same woman treated him like a king. I’ve been on the job a long time, I’ve seen my share weird things but this had to be the show-stopper.
On the other hand, I was sitting in the next stall with my pants down, constipated, listening to this knucklehead. What did that mean?
There goes the head.
“My wife,” Fleegle said. “She is something else. I mean, I am one lucky man. Hey, do you smell something burning? I swear I smell smoke. You still there?”
“Uh….well, yeah, I’m here. I guess. So let me get this straight. Your wife tosses you out of your cubicle, you’re working in the men’s washroom and you still think she’s terrific? Isn’t that embarrassing?”
“Embarrassing?” Fleegle said. “Hell no, son. I own this Large Corporation, she can’t actually do anything. This is my toilet. It was my cubicle she fired. Every so often, I hire myself into her department just to be with that sweet woman---did I mention I’m crazy about my wife? This whole thing is just for show, I’ll have a desk by this afternoon.”
My brain wanted to detonate again but cranium explosions tend to be one-time events. So, I stood, leaving my pants around my ankles, and waddled out of the washroom.