Experience taught my kind to avoid public bathrooms. But
since experience hasn’t been known to win arguments against full bladders, I exited
the highway and pulled into the first gas station I saw.
I rushed towards the restrooms sign and ended up in front of
two locked doors, labeled His and Hers. Under the label, someone had written, ask
store attendant for key. I reread the words as my bladder screamed that it would not
make it back to the front of the shop without exploding.
Showing my bladder that flesh was weaker than thought, I
approached the attendant, and said, “May I borrow your bathroom key?”
His gaze landed on the side of my neck. I wanted to think that
he was admiring my new earrings, but the disturbed expression on his face convinced
me that he was staring at the hint of wing tattoo escaping the top of my
“His or Hers?” the attendant said.
“What?” The question surprised me. Angels weren’t common in
these parts, but myth and reality had merged decades ago. Our physiology was no
Mistaking my puzzlement for deafness, the attendant asked in
a much louder voice, “Do you want the men’s or the women’s bathroom?”
“I’m an angel,” I said. “I’m not in love at this moment, so
I’m neither and both. Any bathroom will do. I just need to pee. Any key will—”
“We’ve no restrooms for people who can’t tell,” the
“Who can’t tell what?” Puzzlement turned to frustration, and
set my skin aglow. The surge of energy burst my wings and sword fully out of my
“I’m not afraid of you,” the attendant shouted, reaching
down the front of his T-shirt for a crucifix, and then brandishing it between
I’ve always wondered why people did that. I had just told
him that I was an angel, not a Christian vampire. “Never mind”, I said, rethinking
my wings back to ink and returning my sword into non-being, “I no longer need either
I walked away from the trembling fool, wishing I could stay
to see the look on his face when he noticed the puddle my bladder spilled on
his filthy floor.
photo by Josh Howard - on Unsplash
- for Poets and Storytellers United--Weekly Scribblings #80: Sudden Moments (where we’re invited to write poetry or prose, fiction or nonfiction, about “sudden events which the people involved somehow sensed coming” – or didn’t).