“before we found our planet” by Julia at Ocean Island Inn

Wednesday October 4, 2017
11:52pm
5 minutes
The Enemy Stars
Poul Anderson

No chips no fruit snacks no picking your nose in the stairwell
No stepping in dog shit
No touching it thinking it was a leaf attached to some gum
No hopping on one foot around the bathroom while you clean it
while you eat the chips
And the fruit snacks anyway cause whatever about you, this is vacation
No watching a face fall after the body attached to it was two seconds too late
No apologies for being less observant than usual
No maps
No getting lost
No carrying around your thong in your pyjama pockets
No wondering about how your mother pronounces the Pea in pyjamas

“finding my people in unexpected places” by Julia on the 99


Monday August 28, 2017
3:50pm
5 minutes
Bad Feminist
Roxane Gay


In the bathroom stall at the gym, I stick my fingers up myself to help stimulate my bowels. My cousin, Trina, taught me this trick one day during the commercial break for Days Of Our Lives. I was eleven and she was thirteen. “You’d think twice a week would be enough but it’s not. You’d also think you should stick your hand up the back but this is way more forgiving!”
Trina showed me a lot of things. Like how to make out with the silky skin in the crook of my elbow for practice, or how not to move the shower head from my clit the second I started to like it.
Without thinking I let slip a tiny groan. The woman in the stall beside me sighs.
“I get it, girl. Been trying since Tuesday over here.”

“discussing something that’s totally wrong” by Sasha in her bed


Tuesday August 15, 2017
11:18pm
5 minutes
Overheard at JJ Bean

Whenever I hear the faint din of Family Guy it reminds me of my first boyfriend
how desperate I was to kiss and be kissed
I’d lied about my first and whether it had happened on a baseball diamond
or whether it had happened on a camping trip
Truth or Dare doesn’t count everyone knows that
Really really I promise I’m telling the truth
it happened in the basement of my mother’s house
my private secluded dank strange jungle
with a hammock in the corner and my own bathroom
every sixteen year olds dream
MY OWN BATHROOM
I had so many strange products in that fucking bathroom
from the drugstore
what is it with teenagers and drugstores
It was a good honest earnest real kiss

“I’ll just call out the names and tell them to wait” by Julia at Pearson airport


Monday July 24, 2017
6:44pm
5 minutes
overheard at the airport

I asked the woman if I could have an aisle seat instead of the middle one they keep putting me on. Last time I got stuck between two giant men and their elbows locked me in while they slept. She told me it was full and likely not possible for me to switch. So in front of everyone I told her I have to go to the bathroom a lot. She didn’t care. Why would she, I didn’t go into details. I didn’t tell her that I
had explosive diarrhea because I don’t but maybe that would have made her feel something for me. I also could have said I’m a barfer but I am not that either. I feel like I let my sister down by saying I was going to declare IBS to get a better seat and then chickening out when the time came. I know this is not a big problem to have. At least I don’t actually have to shit everywhere.

“the usual flood of dark worries” by Julia on C’s couch


Saturday June 17, 2017
9:57pm
5 minutes
The Tools
Phil Stutz and Barry Michels


I find myself in the afternoon
but I lose myself every morning
it’s a hunger I don’t feed much
because it will eat whatever it can
find whether I like it or not
and why do extra work
the alarm was set for early o’clock
and ignored
the day sneaks past me like
it’s trying to keep something
from me
I assume it’s time
I am sure it’s grace
in the bathroom I can
be alone with my family of
dark worries
I can close the door
waste the water
light a candle
remain still
I find myself among the faces
in the shower tiles that have all
begun to look like me

“Feed your creative juices” By Julia on her bed


Tuesday, August 4, 2015
1:05am
5 minutes
from a pencil case

Lana blotted the excess lipstick off with a square of toilet paper, remembering how her aunt Kathy showed her while she was living with her. Apparently Aunt Kathy was only supposed to stay for a couple weeks-a month tops- but things got complicated and before they all knew it, it had already been 4 years. Lana used to hear Aunt Kathy in the early morning when she would get up to shower and get herself ready for her receptionist job. When the water would stop, Lana would crawl out of bed and go sit beside the bathroom door, tapping on it quietly. Aunt Kathy would open the door, scoop her up and sit Lana down on the toilet seat while she did her makeup. Lana would have been two years old. She didn’t say a word, but she watched Aunt Kathy’s every move from the blush to the spacing out of her mascaraed eyelashes with the tip of a safety pin. On some days, Aunt Kathy would even put a little eye shadow on Lana, or let her taste a bit of her vanilla lip gloss.

“How’s that bite on your neck?” By Julia at Belly Acres


Sunday, July 5, 2015
10:09am
5 minutes
Said by Joe

The bathroom floor is covered in dead earwigs and it’s only fitting that earlier Edwin and I overturned a giant rock to investigate an earwig community, business as usual, frantic and overwhelming. Edwin told me how when he was younger he’d keep going deeper into their hub and see just what goes on further away from the light. When he told me that I fell a little bit more in love with him. There was an understanding I guess that wasn’t there before. A glimpse into his young and detailed mind.
I feel like I’ve seen them live a full life, come full circle from under the rock to making their way into this bathroom. They’re not as threatening or disturbing now. They’re just inching to get by like we are: hidden and safe from any distractions or dangers, then fully exposed out in the real world, trying to survive.

“I would have been an eighth-grader” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday May 3, 2015
10:15pm
5 minutes
On Writing
Stephen Kingk


I would have been an eighth-grader this year if they hadn’t held me back, if they hadn’t oppressed my rights and made me wait for it, made me beg for it… Graduation. I saw my classmates who I’d been with since the very beginning, since tear-away track pants and Pogs, get up on the stage in the gym in blue and yellow gowns and hats. I heard Davie Bernstein make the valedictorian speech. “Hey Davie,” I said later, side-by-side in the urinal, “Nice speech.” He looked at me sideways and said, “Go suck a dick, Howard.” He tucked his into his stupid dress pants, didn’t wash his hands and left, laughing and talking loudly with the rest of the class. They held me back not because I’m not smart, not because I can’t write an essay or solve an algebra equation. They held me back because I’m not a go-getter. “You’re just not a go-getter,” Mrs. Sherman said, purple lipstick on her front teeth. “We think you’ll do better with one more year in Grade Six. We think you’ll thrive with Miss Davidson.” “Who is this “we”?” I asked, scratching the scab on my right knee. “The faculty, your parents and me,” Mrs. Sherman said, blinking her cow-like eyes quickly, like the question caught her off guard.

“giving a private lesson” by Sasha in the Binnings lecture hall


Thursday March 19, 2015
1:46pm
5 minutes
from a slide in lecture

The rabbit ran away. Don’t make me say it again… The rabbit ran away. I got nothin’ without that fuckin’ rabbit, man! I don’ gotta show without that rabbit. Clarissa said she saw it run towards the women’s washroom but I’m not gonna be one of those pervs who goes in, meets a lady, and then has to say, “Jus’ lookin’ for my RABBIT…”

Pepple want classics, man. They want the card tricks and the saw and the box and they want the rabbit in the hat. I tried to break out. I really did. That was pretty much all of 1998 for me. You know, hot sauce and table jumping an’ stuff. No one wanted it. I barely got by. Had to borrow money from fuckin’ Bucky.

You think Sting likes singing “Roxanne”? You think he likes it after thirty years of “you don’t have to wear that dress tonight”?! He doesn’t. There’s no way. But, people work hard for their money and when they spend it on YOU, you gotta deliver… You better give ’em what they want.

“What a liberty!” by Julia on the train to London


Saturday December 27, 2014
12:22pm
5 minutes
from Chocolate And Cuckoo Clocks: The Essential Alan Coren
edited by Giles and Victoria Coren


I’m stuck on a train with a surprise murderer from Vancouver island. He’s reading right now, don’t worry. But he just spent the last half hour explaining the plot of his book that he’s trying to get published. He doesn’t have an agent. His protagonist just so happens to be a surprise murderer from Vancouver island. He lives alone. So does his protagonist. He’s a lumberjack. Has access to an axe. Knows how to wield one. So does his protagonist. Captures a traveling circus that’s moving through town. Don’t know how to prove that both of them do it. But his protagonist does. Told me he’d watch my bag while I went to the bathroom. Didn’t trust him. Didn’t go. He doesn’t know yet that I don’t trust him. Too big of a smile trying to reassure me he absolutely will never kill me. I think surprise murderers have to practice that smile. Over and over and over again.

“and back to discipline” by Sasha in the kitchen at Bowmore


Friday December 26, 2014
12:13pm
5 minutes
Uncle Fred in the Springtime
P.G. Wodenhouse


Her pants are tight. She resents that, but she keeps quiet about it and makes sure no one knows when she unbuttons the top button and pulls her shirt down past her bum. It was a terrible idea to make fudge. She feasted and only had enough left to give it to her mother and her brother for Christmas. Her poor dad said, “Where’s mine, pookie?” And she had no words. She just pointed to her round tummy and felt the colour rise in her cheeks. She ate ham and turkey and left the potatoes but then ate them when no one was looking. She poured gravy on her pancakes and when her brother made fun of her she took them into the bathroom and ate sitting on the toilet.

“Pumpkins are awesome,” by Sasha on her couch


Friday October 31, 2014
6:52pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

I was dancing. I was doing my own thing. My friends were somewhere else and I was owning the dance floor. Solo. A guy came up behind me and pulled my hips to his groin. I turned around and said, “No thank you!” and danced away. A guy came up behind me and pulled my hips to his groin. I turned around and said, “Please fuck off!” A different face. Same hands. Same aggression. I left the dance floor and on the way to the bathroom I felt a sob choke in my throat. I wasn’t entirely sure why but I knew it had something to do with me feeling like I couldn’t just dance, alone, without being grabbed. Outside the bathroom door and guy said to me, “You’re fucking hot. How many drinks would I need to buy you to suck my dick?” I burst into tears. Right there. Big ones, not little, sweet, cute ones. He made a few grunts and walked away. I went into a bathroom stall, sat on the floor, and kept crying. A woman in the stall beside me, “Are you okay? You’re probably just too drunk, babe!” I wasn’t. I wasn’t drunk at all.

“The realist canon” by Julia at her desk


Thursday October 23, 2014
1:14am
5 minutes
Realisms of Redress
Natalie Alvarez


saw that pretty little thing reading in the corner
the edges of her book tattered
the pages ripped and curled
she had a bookmark made out of a piece of toilet tissue
making me smile
knowing she likes to read in the bathroom
and why not?
why not read in the bathroom?
she wasn’t looking at anyone at all
not distracted for even a minute
the book was a good one
I couldn’t tell which one it was
the cover was a solid forrest green without any writing
but she didn’t stop even to sip her tea
probably purchased just to have something on her table
a place holder for the idea of multitasking
she was wearing a potato sack
or at least she could have been
I wasn’t looking at her outfit
I was busy trying to see inside her mind
wondering if she could see me seeing her
wondering if she was in fact so distracted by me
that she had to pretend to keep reading
to prevent herself from turning red
or if she was engrossed
in love
with the words on the page

“Awesome job!” by Julia on her bed


Sunday August 10, 2014
8:28pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

According to Raymond everyone could hear us in the bathroom, but I’ve learned not to trust Raymond because he gets off on lying and making people believe every thing he says. I always told him he should be an actor because he was so good at messing with people; people he loves, mostly. Part of me wanted to believe that he was just doing that to me this time and that he didn’t even know what Carter and I were doing in the bathroom. Hell, we didn’t even know what was going on. It was just nice to see him; to feel him again. I wanted to be reserved and respectful of his wife. I wanted that and then suddenly there he was, and there I was tangled up in him on the bathroom sink. I wanted so badly for Raymond to be testing me. I employed my best actor smile and told him “we have nothing to hide.” I learned that you don’t ever admit something without having a direct question asked about it first. I learned that hard and fast one night in August-like a baseball coming straight for my face without the reflexes to catch it before destroying my nose, or knocking out a tooth. As I walked back into the crowded room I took a deep breath and looked around.

“Defeating death, embracing love” by Julia on the Greyhound heading to Toronto


Sunday May 11, 2014
3:10pm
5 minutes
Reader’s Digest
March 2014


What am I going to have to do to get you to come out of there?
He knocked gently on the bathroom door and waited there with his head attached to the wall.
She stared daggers silently through him, through the wall.
I’m not coming out. You can stay there all day if you’d like.
He swivelled in his spot, turning so the back of his head was leaning on the door.
She cocked her fingers like a gun and fired.
Can you turn down the fucking Feist, please?
He peeled himself off the door and went to his laptop sitting on the coffee table. He waited.
She waited.
He closed the lid and the music stopped.
K, thanks.
Yup.
It’s not about me, right?
Yup.
Yup it is, or yup it isn’t?
I need you to go away now.
She walked backward feeling the cabinets on her way to the window. When she reached the tub, she climbed in one foot at a time, then drew the shower curtain.
Please talk to me.
No thank you.

“Inn of Olde” by Julia in the van in St. John’s


Monday March 24, 2014
6:01pm
5 minutes
from the sign for Linda’s in Quidi Vidi, NF

You saw it there just collecting dust and you wanted to bend down to brush it off without anyone noticing.
You coughed in that moment. Just enough to distract yourself from what you were doing, thinking, yeah, hey, that’s a pretty good idea, maybe other people will be distracted too.
So you coughed again. And then everyone looked at you because, what, is she sick?
You smiled and you started toward the bathroom. Maybe you could envision the space better in private? You thought that to yourself. You hoped some time away from it would be a good thing for you and for the dust.
You hoped it would start a train of people going to use the restroom as long as they saw someone breaking the ice. The way people always wait to go up for seconds until they see a small girl with an appetite problem go up first and take down two more slices.
You were thinking about that one thing so hard your brain started to hurt.
You left the bathroom with the distraction of entrances and exits.
The crowd had moved so you thought you had an in.
You walked up to it and you looked around. Would anyone even care? You asked yourself this too.

“washroom of the bar” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday February 27, 2014
3:18pm
5 minutes
spiderwebshow.ca

“Amy?” I wait and hear nothing. “Amy. I know you’re in here…” Nothing. “Amy. I, I… We just need to talk about this. We can talk this out…” Nothing. And then… “Fuck you, Bridget.” The last stall, the only one that locks. Even though everything my mother taught me about public bathrooms goes against it, I get down on my knees and peer under the stall. Amy is crouched against the non-toilet side. “Our friendship is a fucking lie and I think you should just get the fuck out of here – ” “Come on – ” “I don’t ever want to see you again, Bridget. Seriously.” I didn’t think it was possible, but my heart sinks lower, almost down to my ass. “Amy. You were on a break…” “FUCK YOU!” “We were drunk – “, she stands up and opens the door quickly. It smacks me in the head. I fall backwards. She smiles for a moment, turns on the tap, cups her hands and throws water on me. “I’m so sorry. I love you. I love you more than I’m ever going to love any man… And I don’t love Brandon, I barely even like him…” All of a sudden she looks very sad. She runs up the stairs.

“Virgin and Child” by Sasha at her desk


Sunday February 16, 2014
3:38pm
5 minutes
Perfect Happiness
Penelope Lively


When I found you, you were sleeping in a tire. I was afraid, then in love, then mortified that I’d been the one to find you. I called for the Officer, standing close to the gate, but he was too busy playing Tetris on his blue Nokia cellphone. I called for one of the others, but they were running on the track like a bunch of horses, they were too busy listening to the wind. I picked you up and you were heavier than I expected. I saw no other option but to hold your little ear to my chest, so you could hear my heartbeat and perhaps it would remind you of something familiar. I hid you in my jumper and went inside. I put you in the cupboard under the sink in my room. “Remember,” I whispered, “I’m your person now.” You smiled, a tiny baby smile, and it made me shine.

“when he was only 16” by Sasha at Balluchon


Saturday, November 16, 2013 at Balluchon
1:12pm
5 minutes
Edge Studio DG Tour Script Selection

I bled through two pads, one stuck to the other. I stand up to get a book from a shelf in a row close to where we’re working and James says, “Uh, Rachel, uh, you’re, uh…” I know what’s happening. I know what he can’t say. I hadn’t even told him I was pregnant. He thought my breasts were going through a miraculous growth spurt. I mutter, “Oh shit,” and run/walk to the bathroom, tying his track jacket around my waist. The library is suddenly more quiet than it’s ever been. There’s a line. It’s the handicapped stall. I wait for a woman with purple cornrows to go before me. I smile at her and she looks at me like I’m the Devil. As soon as I get in, I lock the door and take a big breath. I pull down my pants and put my asshole make-shift diaper into the trash. I unwind a whole roll of toilet paper and stick it in my underwear, that are already ruined. I want to lie down on the floor and let it swallow me, one blue and white tile at a time. I don’t. I splash water on my face, flush the toilet, for good measure, and leave. I walk back to James. “Uh, what, uh… happened?” When he gets nervous his cheeks look like two giant cinnamon hearts. “I had a miscarriage.” I say, hollow and heavy. James’ cinnamon cheeks fall down his body and his face is white.

The wall at Ezra’s Pound (photo dip) by Sasha at Ezra’s Pound on Dundas


Thursday, August 22, 2013 at Ezra’s Pound on Dundas
4:24pm
5 minutes
IMG_5424
Ezra’s Pound on Dundas

I found myself a Last Supper hologram piece of art and I’m gonna put it in the bathroom. Right across from the toilet. So Jed can look at it when he’s on the can, instead of reading Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul. Got it for $15. It was on sale… Marked down from $50. Can you believe that? When you look at it from one angle, it looks totally normal. And then you walk a bit and Jesus looks at you! He moved His head! It’s friggen amazing. Jed is gonna be resistant, you better believe he is, but he’ll eventually comply. For sure. He’s only been an atheist for seven months… I mean, come on. When he talks in his sleep, he’s usually talking about God, or to Him, directly.

“genuine liquor bottles” by Sasha on the King car going West


Friday June 7, 2013
6:11pm
5 minutes
Fall On Your Knees
Anne-Marie MacDonald


There’s a joy, a huge crest of joy, with frothy foam on top, foam like the head on the best beer, the beer that we drank on that patio in Vienna, that comes from scrubbing the tub. When I was there, on my knees, sweat forming on my upper lip, the smell of tea tree oil and vinegar lingering in the air, I was the most frustrated I’d ever been, or so I thought in that moment. I let out a, “AHHHH!” and scared the neighbour, who thought that I was in bodily distress, in existential crisis, in spiritual agony. And then, the phoenix from the flame, I laughed, hard and long. I laughed til tears flowed, til tears mixed with tea tree oil and vinegar and helped to clean the soap scum and the tiny flecks of shaved off hair.

“adapted for use” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday, April 9, 2013
11:12pm
5 minutes
101 More Drama Games for Children
Paul Rooyackers


“With a name like that, you’re just asking for it!” He says, this dumb guy with the dumb haircut that all guys seem to have, with that dumb smile that’s really a “I’m coooooool.” “I didn’t choose my name, asshole,” I say, turning around, hoping that Jo will save me. She doesn’t. She’d gone to the bathroom, or out for a cigarette, or is in the alley behind the bar making out with Joaquin, her flavour of the month, sexy but rude, tall but skinny. “Damn,” I whisper. I face forward, face the wall of scotch, bourbon, whiskey, rye. I look down. I think about stealing the few loonies that are there, meant for the bartender, but she was a bitch so who cares. I do. I steal them. Dumb Guy notices and says, “Oh, so you’re that kinda girl.” I pause. I want to hit him but I don’t want to get kicked out so I pause, instead. “What kind is that?” “The stealing kind.” “NO way,” I say, sliding off the stool. “I saw that,” he whispers. “Those dollars don’t belong to you.” “Whatever.” I walk away. I go into the bathroom, graffitied and smelling of Comet and pee. “Jo?!” “Nope – ” says a voice, in a stall. I don’t apologize. Most people would. I’m trying to break that habit. I walk through the bar, a long and lean room, towards the door. Dumb Guy grabs my hand, “Baby, let’s dance.”

“He was a rich asshole.” by Julia on her couch


Sunday, December 16, 2012
11:07pm
5 minutes
Hands Off
An essay by Miranda July


I’m not going on any more dates with any more rich assholes. If I want to be treated to dinner and a couple glasses of Prosecco, I’ll start crashing holiday parties and pig out near the buffet with my open bar, thank you very much. I dated Tim for too long before I realized I was killing my soul every time I saw him. He was nice, but not nice to the waitress, which to me is a clear indication that he was not nice. He snapped at her so much I could have sworn he was a secret percussionist. I almost snuck out the bathroom window the last time we went to a restaurant together. The only reason why I didn’t get out was because there was an attendant trying to spritz me and sell me condoms and gum. The spritz I took, the gum I did not. I didn’t have money to tip this bitch trying to invade my bathroom experience. He was the one with the money, but I couldn’t very well ask him to come with me to the lady’s room just because I had gotten so used to him paying for every single thing that I stopped bringing my wallet. I didn’t realize the attendant would be so cruel. She cornered me into a stall and told me it was okay and that she could wait till I found the money. That wasn’t my finest moment.