It was a calm and quiet night.
We’d all been settled into bed for quite some time when the child ran into the bedroom at an alarming pace, gasping for air with an expression of pure panic.
“Something terrible has happened to the potty!”
I shot out of bed as fast as I could and clumsily stumbled through the dark hallway in a bleary-eyed hurry. As I flung open the door to our only bathroom, flipping the light switch I discovered a toilet whose contents was a combination of muddied water and an excess of toilet paper. The likes of which not even a bear in the woods would need to wipe the stripe.
In my sleepy disarray, I frantically searched the corners of the bathroom for a plunger to save the recently (and painstakingly) bleached, white mosaic tile from the wrath of the slowly rising bowl catastrophe. With no plunger in sight, the only other logical course of action was for me to turn on every light in the entire house and aggressively wake my husband to ask him the same question I’d spent the past few minutes failing to answer myself.
“Where is our plunger?!”
“Huh? Wha…? What’s going on? What time is it?”
“Do we have a plunger?! The toilet is on the verge of being a miniature poo-version of the fountain outside The Venetian!”
After mumbling some crack about how I shouldn’t have had seconds on that night’s dinner of chili cheese dogs, he was wide awake on his feet, sprinting toward the wreckage to see for himself. What followed is a scene that mirrors what I assume would be the case if a couple of headless chickens, unable to form proper, understandable sentences, had overdosed on their fiber intake and were now faced with the task of not swimming in shit water in the next ten seconds if they could help it. We looked in every square corner, even the corners that had no business housing a plunger like the closets and under the couch. You could tell by the sparkle we each had in our eye as we put all of the game pieces back in the Yahtzee box, that this was a reasonable place to be searching, but it was clear that not a single plunger existed in our house.
Then, as if some magical porcelain god were staring down upon us with pity, the rising of the water halted and began to drain. We agreed that the only solution was to wait it out until morning when we could buy a plunger, hope that the toilet beast had settled for the evening, and pray for a long slumber filled only with visions of sand dunes and tumbleweeds.
I awoke the next morning to the vibrations of my phone. A text message from my husband displayed prominently on the home screen. There he was wishing me the best of luck in tackling the can conundrum as he’d miraculously remembered that he had an early morning meeting and wasn’t able to be there to lend a helping hand. With a frustrated grunt and a sharp intake of breath, I smelled it. It was a faint waft of butt juice, but it was there to the point that if I tried hard enough, I’d have probably been able to taste it.
Flinging open every window and door in the joint, continuously spritzing air fresheners behind me as I moved about the house getting the kid ready for school, I inhaled as few times as it was humanly possible to avoid puking profusely a la Linda Blair. A visual, I’m convinced, would have scared straight even the most satanic of demons.
“I need to go potty, Mommy,” he squeaked as he hopped from one foot to the other in the desperation only a tiny bladder knows well.
“Nope. You have to hold it,” I snapped back as my eyes nearly bulged right out of my head.
We rushed our way to school, nearly sprinting down the hill to get in line with his class. I kissed him on his sweet, potty-dancing head and hoped I wouldn’t be getting a call from the nurse soon telling me that he’d had a massive accident. As I trekked back to the car to make my way to the hardware store, I breathed deeply to rid my nostrils of the morning’s scent-trauma.
I strolled up to the plumbing aisle and its as if the section began glowing and a chorus of angels were comforting me sweetly as I selected my plunger of choice and made my way to the checkout.
“Wow. This is an embarrassing purchase, isn’t it,” the cashier commented when I placed the majestic tool on the counter.
“What’s embarrassing is what’s happening in my bathroom at home right now,” I replied with a tinge of sarcasm followed by uproariously inappropriate belly laughter. “Everybody knows what I need this for and I’m comfortable with that.”
Back at home, I unlocked the front door and crossed the threshold as a tsunami of shit-smell smacked me right in the face. It hadn’t occurred to me earlier in the day to maybe keep a window or two cracked before we’d left. My eyes stung as I dramatically made my way to the still-closed door to the bathroom. What awaited me on the other side was unimaginable.
I opened the door and it was World War Feces. Except this was the version where I played Brad Pitt if Brad Pitt had spent that entire movie gagging and dry heaving with a plunger in hand instead of attractively killing all of the disgusting zombies.
The water was gone. It had evaporated or been the only thing accepted from the situation happening in the john at the gates of hell. Poop spackle was the only thing that remained, but with a few flushes and some solid plunges, we were back in business.
My guess is that my family will appreciate my hard work when I lift my indefinitely enacted “No Using Our Toilet” rule.