“Oh my God, babe! I love it!” Jenny whispered while squeezing his hand.
“I know. Just wait till we get in the car,” her husband Victor replied with a grin.
“As you can see, this house also comes with cabinets.” Their real estate agent was an idiot, and also Victor’s younger brother Adam. As they walked into the master bedroom, Victor felt a pang coming from his stomach. Jenny noticed his discomfort.
“Are you okay?” Victor rubbed at his stomach some more.
“I think it was all those fried beets we had for lunch. Hey Adam, do you think they would mind if I used the bathroom?” Jenny cut in before Adam registered the question.
“You can’t hold it?”
“Babe this is Dire Straits. Like serious Sultan of Swing action.”
“At least use the guest bathroom.” Victor looked at Adam for confirmation, who was too busy texting his pseudo-girlfriend to notice.
“Okay, give me fifteen.” Before Jenny could respond, Victor was racing up the steps while unzipping his jeans and sliding into the bathroom. He collapsed on the toilet and sighed. After a couple of seconds, he noticed something odd positioned across from him. It looked to be a park bench, but a miniaturized version.
“Hey, babe? Why is there a weird bench thing in the bathroom?”
“That’s where I sit,” replied a voice out of nowhere, nearly knocking Victor off the shitter. A small man looking something like if George Burns and Jay Leno had a baby came out of a hidden door and sat on the bench. The man stood nearly four feet tall with a tan three-piece suit on minus the jacket. The suspenders were dark green, and his black shoes polished to a high sheen. He also sported a gray derby hat and carried a tiny pencil and pad in his left hand. Victor raised his knees to his chin and stuttered,
“Who are you?”
“The name is Stan, and I’d shake your hand, but it looks like you’re preoccupied at the moment.” His joke snapped Victor out of his shock, and the reality of a tiny man in the bathroom with him took hold. Fear gave way to anger.
“Get the fuck out of here!” Victor took a swing, but Stan casually moved to his left to avoid the blow.
“Now now-now I can’t do that.” Victor didn’t know what was more infuriating, the stranger’s presence, or his ambivalence? Victor’s frustration bled through his words.
“Because I got a job to do.” Victor and Stan stared at each other for a couple of seconds while Victor tried to understand the conversation.
“Fella I’ve been watching people shit for thirty-two years, and I’m not about to blow my pension for you.” At that moment, Victor’s mind snapped.
“BABE! ADAM! HELP!”
“Now why you gotta do that? Just prolongs things. I’ll be back.” Stan stood up and disappeared into the ether. Jenny and Adam ran up the steps and to the bathroom door. Jenny reached for the knob, but it was locked.
“Honey? Victor? Are you okay?” Victor looked around his empty surroundings, and embarrassment poured over him like hot Tabasco sauce. Had he imagined all that?
“Umm yeah. Yeah, I’m fine. I’m fine. Sorry about that.” Jenny looked over at Adam, who was picking at his nails and put her face to the door.
“You sure? You sound freaked out.”
“Yeah, I’m fine. I thought — I thought, you know what I’ll be out in a second. I’ll meet you downstairs.” Jenny looked at Adam, shrugged, and the two of them went back downstairs.
As soon as they reached the first floor, Stan reappeared. “Satisfied now? You scared your poor wife.” Victor put his hands to his face and pulled down on his cheeks.
“I’m hallucinating. You’re just an undigested bit of meat. That’s all this is.”
“Real, imaginary who cares? All that matters is you take a dump, I mark it down on my pad for color and consistency, and I’ll be on my way.” Victor stared at Stan for a couple of seconds, his brain furiously trying to comprehend what was happening.
“I don’t understand.”
“You don’t have to. You want this horrible nightmare to end? Take a shit.” Victor considered his options and got down to business.
Three minutes later, he was finished. Stan stood up, pad and pencil at the ready.
“Okay good. Now don’t flush, I need to record this.” Victor stood up and zipped up his jeans while Stan leaned over the bowl and began writing. “Ahh okay. That’s either Peru or Saddle brown. You know the lighting here doesn’t make the job any easier.” Stan leaned in closer. “All right, I’m going to say this is a log. What do you think?” Victor could feel the stress of the situation behind his eyes.
“I think I need to leave.”
“Log it is. All right fancy boy that wasn’t too hard.” Stan put his pencil and pad in his front pocket. “Now you can flush, and I can go to lunch.” Victor flushed and walked to the door. Before he unlocked the knob, he turned to confirm he wasn’t hallucinating.
“I still don’t understand.”
“What’s to know? My name is Stan. I record your dumps. By the way, the school system here is fantastic.” Stan stood up and walked through the invisible door.