Scrawled in Shit

Gas station bathrooms are awful places, their shit smeared toilets a vortex to hell. For years I had to clean one. I worked as a cashier, frying food for fatasses then mopping their anal explosions. I offered to do every job at closing so long as I didn’t have to enter those hellholes. They were filthy worlds of piss, poop, and curly pubes. I’d empty trash cans in snow storms just to avoid scrubbing the chunks of someone’s dinner. Still, I often had to clean them. For years I saw the horror shows that people created. They were awful acts made in shame, little presents left for us to find.

One night an elderly man galloped through the door then straight to the shitter. We normally laughed at the sight of someone in such haste but this was desperate. After a long while he emerged to tell us there’d been an accident. He was sullen and ashamed. In youth he’d probably shot Nazis but now found himself apologizing to teens for an act he couldn’t control. He offered to clean it if we gave him a bucket. My co-worker took pity and said it was fine. With caution and curiosity we approached the bathroom to witness the accident’s aftermath. We found a flood of liquid shit that flowed from stall to hallway. The feces held no form and floated on the tile like swamp scum. A snail trail led to the toilet but there was nary a drop in the bowl. He must’ve yanked down his diaper but the shit erupted before he could sit. To clean this my co-worker concocted a homebrew with every cleaner on hand. The remains were absorbed through mops and paper towels, though not by me. I steered clear of the bloodbath. I knew there’d be more as the gas station toilet is the least respected, most abused thing in the world.

One night a kind customer left pitch black water in the toilet bowl, their dye a result of unflushed diarrhea. Another smeared shit on the walls and partition. They used their poop to spell out curses. Despite multiple coats of paint there remained a visible streak for the next few years. Others were more innocuous with their leavings. Fundamentalist Christians gave us God pamphlets and “Tickets to Heaven.” I collected these as the power of Christ was the only force fit to face the pit of hell that was our bathroom. Some funny man used marker to scribble “The joke is in your hand” atop the urinal. Every time I pissed I was reminded of the cruel truths of the world. But these truths were better than wiping the scattering of pubes that spackled the urinal. I saw the kinds of people that used our bathroom. I didn’t care to touch anything that came off their dick.

At work we were always bored. I also hated the customers. Because of this we’d take revenge on those whose shit we wiped. The women’s toilet seat broke from its basin. It stayed like this for weeks as our boss was incompetent and us uncaring. Women would sit only to fall to the floor. Some got a bare ass on the rim and others fell in. They’d complain and we’d act surprised. I’d check on the seat to ensure it stayed broken. It was usually on the floor aside the toilet. I’d sit it back up to drop one more to a pool of piss and shit. I was a cynical teen and found this funny.

Work was dull and full of lulls so we invented games to pass the time. We taped cups to the wall and shot paper balls through them. We’d mix ice cream with condiments then dare each other to slurp the soup. We slammed bouncy balls against the shelves until they knocked jars to the floor and broke them. I subtly mocked customers to their face, most of whom were unbearable. But these games grew old so we ascended to the next level. It was time to punish those sick enough to sully our toilet.

We nabbed two hot dogs from the roller then deep fried them for ages. Once done they were charcoal black and greasy. We took these to the women’s room then plopped them in the toilet. They sank to the bottom like fat rats drowning. After that we tastefully sprayed chocolate syrup across the seat and over the floor. We then waited for women to use the restroom. They’d enter then retreat, marching out the store in disgust. It was all we could do to manage a straight face as we wished them good night. A few informed us there was a major problem that needed attention. With a rather serious tone we’d reply with how sorry we were and that we’d snap right to it. We kept the prop shit in the toilet ’til closing.

The laughs were great but the joke turned when it came time to clean it. We wiped the syrup and flushed down the dogs. I almost felt bad for the women whose only crime was nature’s call. Other than tampons caked to the floor with blood the men’s shitter was always worse than theirs. But those tampons smelled awful and women sit more than men so we played the numbers. It was an exercise in flexing the little power we had. The gas station bathroom was a filthy place. We did what we could to make it a little worse for those who made it awful for us. It’s what was required to make it through our nights of low pay, the lost hours spent scrubbing the shit of strangers.

10 thoughts on “Scrawled in Shit

  1. Our styles are similar. I would like to write in a slightly different way, but I always get back to first person. When I try second, it seems inauthentic. I think it has something to do with being there in the moment. The other way seems less visceral. Anyway, I like the way you write. There was a kid who wrote a story about Soi Cowboy in Bangkok for something like Rolling Stone back in the 90’s and your stuff is also a bit like his, more than a bit really. Oh well, I guess none of it really matters. WTF. Good luck and thanks. Duke .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh…so many tales I have of gas station rest rooms. They really are close to the pits of hell and I can’t wait to be done cleaning them. A man can dream! Thanks for the laugh my friend! I’ve been SO behind on your entires…time to catch up!

    Liked by 1 person

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