Sunday Snippet, Flash Fiction, Pissing in a Cup by Bill Chance

If you have a glass full of liquid you can discourse forever on its qualities, discuss whether it is cold, warm, whether it is really and truly composed of H2O, or mineral water, or saki. Zazen is drinking it.

—-Taisen Deshimaru

Trinity River Bottoms Dallas, Texas

Pissing in a Cup

Craig would start his new job in ten days – today was the day for that new traditional pre-work-related task, the drug test. It was all set up by the Talent Aquisition Department with an appointment at a specialized drug testing clinic in a strip mall in a slightly shady industrial area. Craig drove by a day ahead of time to be sure he could find it. He could leave nothing to chance – he needed this job.

He was worried that he wouldn’t be able to pee on demand, that there wouldn’t be enough to fill the plastic cup. So he avoided the toilet when he woke up and before Craig drove to the clinic he chugged two generous tumblers of ice water – so he could be sure to perform on cue.

Of course they only needed forty-five milliliters, which he easily provided. The drug-test bathroom was a little bizarre, no trash can, only a wooden box and chain-of-custody tape on the toilet. Craig decided not to use that weird toilet because he was planning on going to a big warehouse electronics store afterward to pick up a switch for his new scanner and a couple programming books – a slight celebration for his impending gainful employment. He knew that place had a big bathroom – he had been there many times. It even had a changing table in the men’s room – a rarity. He had changed each of his son’s diapers more than once. That was nice – Craig hated most men’s rooms where he had to lay his infant son – one or the other – down on the floor in a stall. He was no germaphobe… but still.

Unfortunately, when he arrived, the men’s room was being cleaned. A well-mustachioed cleaning lady was dutifully mopping and had a sign propping the door open that said, “Bathroom closed for cleaning, sorry, five minutes.”

Craig started walking around the store. He tried to stop and look at the kiosk of books on sale to pick out the ones he wanted but he couldn’t concentrate. He had to pee so bad by then he had to keep walking.

His only recourse was to continually circle the huge store, going from music CD’s into the washers and driers, cruising through the high definition and projection televisions (they were all showing A Bug’s Life) through the laptop computers, passing down the mouse and video card aisle into the electronic gadgets, finally walking through software and past the bathroom to see if she was still mopping.

It took her a lot longer than the advertised five minutes. Craig couldn’t stand still and had to keep moving. He considered walking out to my car and driving to a nearby fast food place to use their bathroom, but decided it would be probably quicker to simply wait her out.

Finally, on his fifth circuit of the store he saw her putting the mops and buckets back into the janitor’s closet. A herd of men at that point converged and rushed the bathroom; Craig must not have been alone.