Normally I don’t frighten easily. For example, I remember when I read Stephen King’s book Salem’s Lot. I lived alone in a third-floor apartment and read until late one rainy, windy night, and when my eyelids grew heavy, I fell into a peaceful sleep. A sound woke me at 2 a.m. and when I turned on the light, I thought for a nanosecond I saw bloody fangs woven into the tree branch that scraped my window.
What did I do? I laughed. Hysterically.
When my neighbor knocked on the door, I insisted she stay for a cup of tea. Then she begged me to release her so she could go home, but I told her I couldn’t let such neighborly concern go unrewarded. Do you have any idea how delightful it is to share conversation, endless cups of tea, and stale donuts until sunrise?
Anyway, what scares me is when the macabre shows up in everyday situations.
Like this one.
It was an ordinary day at work. I was sitting at my desk concentrating, ignoring a gentle nudge to go to the bathroom, while I made one more phone call. Suddenly, the moment of no return hit me as every middle-aged woman can attest, and I leaped from my chair wishing I had been more consistent practicing my Kegels.
After encountering two locked doors, I found an unoccupied bathroom located in a heavily trafficked area and panting, I flung myself inside.
I nearly emptied my bladder prematurely when I saw this abomination in the toilet.
I flushed and plopped on the toilet simultaneously, hoping the bug could not survive the turmoil of the churning water, imagining I felt pinpricks on my buttocks from its tiny claws. And I am sure I heard the faint sound of the theme from Jaws.
I had barely restored my heart rate to the low 80’s when my backside felt unmistakably damp. Yuck! I made a note to write my legislator about drafting a new law to make sitting on toilet seats mandatory. This is bathroom legislation I could get behind, how about you?
Desperate to wipe my nether regions dry, I reached for the toilet paper and gasped when I saw this jagged horror.
Bummed, I started walking slowly across the room to retrieve the inconveniently located extra roll in the overhead cupboard, engaging a wide gait to keep my pants from falling down, and sticking my butt in the air to maximize drying conditions.
Then I saw it.
The shadow of two enormous feet at the bottom of the door.
Shuddering with relief that the door had a secure lock, I watched the handle begin to turn and with a panic reminiscent of recurrent nightmares of going to school without underwear, I had a chilling realization.
The door was not locked.
I’m not sure which one of us was more terrified. Me or the man in the doorway that I will spend the rest of my life avoiding.
One thing is clear.
The criteria for entering the witness protection program is way too rigorous.
What scares you? Have you ever had a restroom experience turn into a horror show?
©2016, Stevens. All rights reserved.