by Robin Zemek
I can’t believe this. Third period, only science class left, and I’m in the boys’ bathroom with pee all over my jeans … and possibly my shoes.
I could skip. I don’t like science. What’s it done for me? So far the invention of the urinal has utterly failed me. If we can’t design an adequate pee receptacle, then how can our tiny brains be tasked with more? Why didn’t someone at NASA stop and say, “Wait. First design a better urinal.”
But now I’m soaking in splashback, with the little men in my brain working feverishly….
“Get me the Penis! I need fallout reports every forty-five seconds!”
A large grey computer ejects miles of faxes as alert lights rotate. Brian, Central Brain Operator, sits in his command chair watching the chaos unfold. The walls are plastered with centrefolds and pin-up girls. There is a tiny chalkboard in the far corner scribbled with math equations. Beige-coloured memory cabinets burst with files of television trivia.
The loudspeaker crackles to life.
“This is section PEN-15.”
“Just a slight nozzle problem. It’s fixed now. Stream running at sixty percent.”
“Why wasn’t there a warning? We could have corrected for angle.”
“Sir, we were pushing maximum capacity as it was. Stream was set to blow. We were lucky the fly went down when it did, Sir, otherwise we’d have one hell of a mess.”
“We got lucky this time. Logic, I need those fallout reports!”
Logic, a painfully skinny fellow clutching a pile of paper, runs up to Brian. “Ocular assessment shows that the stain looks like pee. The social reaction calculations predict a total loss of popularity.”
Brian strokes his beard, dimly aware of the cogs and gears rotating around him.
A voice comes over the loudspeaker again: “This is PEN-15 entering the dribble stages. We await confirmation for final shake-down.”
“Confirmation received. Hang on to your hats down there boys—things are about to get rough.”
“Roger that. PEN-15 out.”
“What do we do about the pee stain?” Brian ponders.
“Gray Matter Consultants suggest placing a large textbook in front of the crotch,” Logic says.
Brian purses his lips in agreement and nods.
“The textbooks are in the locker,” Logic adds. “And that doesn’t address the smell factor.”
“We’ll just have to risk it.”
They all turn to the dim screens mounted at the front of the skull and watch the fly zip shut.
I turn away from the urinal and walk up to the door. It opens and Principal Farthswaller walks in.
I duck into a stall and click the lock shut. He won’t try to talk to me. That’s just too awkward.
I hear him unzip his fly.
“Ronny, is that you in there?”
What the hell do I say? Who talks to someone while they pee? Not even cavemen did that. They had better manners. They peeked, but they never talked.
I clear my throat. “Yeah.”
“Ah, I thought so. How’s school today?”
Horrible. I just peed all over myself and now the principal is talking to me while he pees.
I hope he pees all over himself.
“It’s going okay. Got a bit of English homework, you know, the usual.”
Maybe I’ll just sit in here until my pants dry. As much as I’d hate to be one of those kids who goes to the bathroom and never comes back, I’d hate even more to be the kid who comes back covered in his own urine. Maybe that’s why some kids never come back.
“Ah, English. Are you going to vote in the student body elections?”
Ha, I’d vote for the student with the hottest body. “I need some time to figure out the best candidate.”
“I think you should run, Ronny. You’re a fine student with good ideas.”
And pee all over his jeans. “I don’t think politics are for me Mr. Farthswaller.”
“Oh well,” he says, zipping his fly. “If Mandy wins, well, don’t say I didn’t tell you so. I bet you just don’t want to compete with her.”
Au contraire Mr. Farthswaller, there are a number of things I’d love to do with her, the Student (with the hottest) Body President.
“Yeah, she has a pretty good campaign.” Of cleavage.
“Have a good day, Ronny.” Mr. Farthswaller leaves. Wait, he leaves without washing his hands. Gross.
I guess now’s my chance.
Brian swivels in his chair to face the microphone.
“Alright boys, I have to say something. This is going to be one of the most dangerous missions we have ever embarked upon. Everything is at risk. Our social status and our reputation. Hell, even our jobs. But we must do it.”
A resounding cheer roars over the loudspeakers.
“Let’s get him going boys. Full power to the legs! Arm the arms! We’re getting to that locker come hell or high water! For Ronny!”
I open the bathroom door and peek out. The hall is empty. Everyone is in class. No hall monitors.
My shoes screech across the floor. Linoleum isn’t suited to stealth, or speed. I keep an eye out for anyone who might be wandering….
Shelly emerges from science class. I turn away and pretend to be interested in the water fountain. So interested that I touch its grimy surface.
“Are you going back to class?”
Shelly is one of those weird kids. Always asking obvious questions, never quite at home in a social setting. Poor personal hygiene helps to keep her in the lowest echelon of the school hierarchy.
I actually bend down to the water fountain and prepare to take a swig of its brown poison if she won’t leave me alone.
“Just having a drink?”
I raise my head slightly.
“I thought you hated the water fountains. You once said that there’s more nutritional content in pool water. That was funny.”
How does she remember that?
I laugh lightly and resume my slow bow towards the rusty faucet.
“Anyway, I saw you come out here and I thought that this might be my chance, since you’re always with your friends. I just wanted to say: Ronny, I really like you.”
“Am I reading this auditory report correctly? Did Shelly just profess her love for Ronny?”
The workers in the brain stop and stare at Brian. Some nod.
“Well shit. What do we do?”
Logic raises his hand and clears his throat. “Show her the stain?”
“Do you think that will scare her off? What if she comes back with ‘I still like you’?” Brian sticks out his tongue in disgust.
Logic thinks for a moment. “We tell her we wet ourselves almost everyday and that we could never be with someone as beautiful and charming as she is.”
“That’s the best we got. Send a transcript to the mouth.”
I face Shelly. She nervously twiddles her pigtail, and I point to my crotch.
“I have bladder problems, Shelly.”
Stick with the plan.
“No. Whenever I like someone, or touch them, or hold their hand, I wet myself. It’s humiliating. I wouldn’t want you to suffer through it.”
“I think it’s for the best, Shelly.”
She turns away, dejected. I’m silently cheering, mainly because I didn’t have to drink from the water fountain.
I resume my saunter-jog toward my locker.
Smelly Shelly liked me? Oh man, that’s awkward. I really dodged a bullet.
At my locker I decide that my social studies textbook provides maximum coverage.
I look around again. There’s a ‘Vote Mandy’ poster on the locker next to mine and her picture sucks me in. She’s hotter than the sun. She’s like a red giant. Are those the hotter ones? I don’t have my science textbook to find out. In the poster she’s wearing a V-neck and has her arms folded in such a way that they press her breasts together.
Maybe I’ll just stay here a moment, contemplating her bosom. I’m not in a rush to get back to class, now that I think about it. In fact, I applaud Mandy’s campaign. Sex appeal is something modern governments generally lack.
There’s a tap on my shoulder that jolts me, but I manage to keep my textbook covering my soggy pants. I turn around and shift my eyes from photocopied cleavage to the real thing. Then up to Mandy’s face.
“Hey Ronny, hall pass?”
I forgot she was a hall monitor. “Yeah, yeah.”
I fumble around in my pocket, politely trying to keep my eyes off her chest.
“Sir, I’m getting reports of blood being diverted from the brain.”
“Where’s it going?”
“Section PEN-15, it looks like.”
Brian looks around the room. Everyone else is just as puzzled as he is. The loudspeaker buzzes to life.
“This is the Penis! We are taking control! Too long have we suffered under the painful logic of the brain! Now we will rise up and make all the decisions! No longer will we live in fear under the tyranny of the brain! For Ronny!”
“You can’t do this!” members of the brain shout in unison.
“Oh, but we already have.”
The loudspeaker clicks off. Everyone looks at Brian.
“Totally not my fault.”
“So, have you decided who to vote for in the student body elections?” Mandy asks, dropping her formal hall monitor tone for a fake, casual one.
“Oh, you know, I’m still deciding.” Which position I want you in. So many choices. I keep the textbook poised. She pats my arm.
“Well, I hope you decide on me.”
I nod. Taking my gaze off her rack for a fraction of a second, I notice Shelly approaching from behind with a stern look on her face.
Shelly marches up and rips away my textbook. “Ronny has bladder problems!”
Mandy stares at the damp tent I have pitched. Then she starts laughing.
Logic is in shock. The entire skull is at a standstill.
“Next time, we hold it until we get home.”