• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 03
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Duty Calls

Every time I see a wad of toilet paper slowly disintegrating in a pool of leaky bathroom water, all I can think of is wasted potential. You had one job and apparently this shit ain’t for you.

Discarded and stuck to blue tile, below the numbers of people that are truly going nowhere. People like Shauna, who scribbled “Shauna was here” like it was a reminder, like she forgot that she was going somewhere and didn’t want to forget the journey along the way, leaving little bread crumb notes in gas station bathrooms next to numbers I’m too afraid to call, even out of curiosity just to see who would pick up.

I give Shauna a back story. Every year her family takes a trip from Boone, N.C. to Atlantic Beach, N.C., mountains to coast, through the capital, Raleigh, just to see the state end to end and visit her maternal grandmother in Morehead City. It’s a long, stupid drive and each time the family stops their Prius, she wanders up through the gas station aisles, fondling candy bars to kill the time between fill-ups. She keeps a Sharpie in her back pocket to tag public spaces. She’s really sticking it to the man. So rebellious. Nothing says I hate the establishment like “Shauna was here” in a public restroom. Don’t worry, she’s married to a Wal-Mart greeter with four kids, six grandkids and two great-grandbabies on the way. Even anarchists fall in love.

I mop up the mess and unfold a “slippery when wet” caution sign. Shit always works itself out in the end. Especially here.