Translated by Janet Livingstone

Man on the Toilet
I’m so lucky! Even if I’m lucky in an unlucky situation.  The gas station has been ambushed by gangsters or lunatics and I happen to be, thank God, in the bathroom with the door locked.  Safe and sound. I just hope the crazy murderers won’t need to take a piss.  Unlikely.  They’ll definitely take off as soon as possible. Judging from the shooting, the terrifying screaming and the quiet that followed, the lunatics have killed everything that moves. A quick hit.  Maybe it was just one whacko.  Actually, I’m more worried that I’ve run out of toilet paper.  I hear footsteps.  Shit! This isn’t good. This isn’t good at all. Someone rattles the door handle hard.  My heart just jumped into my mouth.
“Is there someone in there?” asks a man. Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!  I’m screwed. What should I do? How does the door open?  Inward? If it opened outward, I could open it really fast and bash the guy in the head. I’ll bite his ear off.
         “Is there someone in there?!” he shouts and bangs on the door. I’m dead. I’m definitely dead. Shit!
         “Could you please bring me some paper or some napkins? There’s no more toilet paper in here,” I say. I couldn’t think of anything else to say. On the other side of the door there’s a chilling, interminable silence.  I hear footsteps again.  I can’t move. My body is paralyzed. At least I managed to take a dump before dying. I can’t imagine them killing me with full intestines. That would be horrible. Footsteps again. Yuck. What an awful sound. I’m dead. Jesus, I’m seriously dead.  It can’t be true! I’m going to die on the toilet. No one dies on the toilet. Not that.
         “I brought you some napkins, you can open the door and I’ll hand them in to you, “ says the man calmly.  He seems friendly. His voice doesn’t sound…so smart.
         “OK. But I’m still not done. It’ll only be a second,” I announce so that he doesn’t sniff my fear. I didn’t see or hear anything. I’m playing for time. I’m dead. I know it. I’m dead. Maybe he’ll leave. My heart is going to explode in a minute. I have to think of something. But what? Maybe he’ll leave.  I have keys in my pocket.  I’ll open the door and stab him in the neck with one of them.  What if he has accomplices out there? How many keys do I have? Do I have enough?  Oh right, one is enough. I’m an idiot.
         “Hurry up. I can’t take this much longer,” says a wise, masculine voice, urging me on.  It’s a murderous professor.
         “I just want you to know that I’m on your side.  After everything that’s happened here, I’m with you and I will happily take your side and I won’t ask anything for it.  Don’t you need anyone for some dirty work, by chance?” I ask. I ask with a tough voice.  Like I’m a pretty tough guy.  But the lunatic doesn’t seem tough, he seems intelligent.  I should have asked him in a smart voice.  How does a smart voice sound? Fuck, I don’t even know how to imitate a smart voice. Lots of things occur to a person in danger.  Totally useless bullshit.  No one prepared me for this.  Mobile phone!  Of course, I have a mobile! I’ll call the police.
         “I don’t need anyone.  Just move it,” the man says pushing me.
         “Aren’t any of the other stalls free?” I ask. I’m wondering whether I’ve already lost my mind with fear.
         “I already took care of those. This is the only stall left,” answers the man calmly. Shivers run through my body.  I’ve fallen into the wolf’s den. What did he take care of?  And why did he bring me napkins when he wants to kill me?  Maybe he doesn’t want to kill me. Why doesn’t he just kick down the door? Why is he waiting for me to open it? I’m dead.
         “What do you mean you took care of it?” I ask him, frightened.
         “That’s not your business,” he answers.
         “And what if we agreed that I would stay here, and you would calmly leave and forget about everything?” I suggest with the naïve expectation of a miracle.
         “Except that I have to go to the bathroom.  Don’t you get it?!” he says raising his voice.
         “So go use another stall,” I propose.
         “I’m telling you, I already took care of it in the other stalls,” he repeats, slightly peeved.
         “What did you take care of? You have to shit in each stall?” I ask him. I hope I haven’t made him angry.
         “It’s not your business,” he answers.  What could he have taken care of? I didn’t hear anything in the bathroom, no sounds, screams or shots.  I’m trembling all over, I’m passing out.  I am so dead.
         “I have a family!” I shout desperately. Not that that announcement has ever made a difference in the movies, but it’s worth a try.  I’m on the verge of tears.  I don’t have any ideas.  I don’t want to die.
         “Why are you sitting there for so long? Because you have a family?” the lunatic asks cynically.
         “I have small children.  They need me,” I say, begging for my life.  Apparently I’m already crying.  I don’t even know.
         “I don’t think you’re going to be too useful to your family if you spend eternity on the toilet,” he advises me.  He’s quiet for a moment. Maybe he left.  I didn’t hear any footsteps.  He hasn’t left. He rattles the door handle again.
         “Come out already!” he says raising his voice.
         “Please, before you do it to me, couldn’t you just bring me a Snickers bar?” I ask. I couldn’t think of anything else. I have a sugar craving. I don’t want to die without something sweet.  I should think of Katherine.  I know…but I’m thinking about Snickers.  I’m ashamed of it.  I want a Snickers bar.
         “ And what is it you think I’m going to do to you?” the man asks and starts to laugh.  His voice has stopped sounding intelligent.  He’s a lunatic!  Now I’m sure.  That’s a crazy man’s laughter.  I text all my friends asking them to call the police right away.  It’s life and death.  A matter of seconds.  My hands are shaking.  I can’t write the text properly.  
         “So what do you think I’m going to do to you?” the lunatic repeats.
         “You won’t do anything to me, right?  Because I have a family.  They need me.  I don’t have any money on me.  And I didn’t see anything or hear anything.  Like I wasn’t here at all,” I say, convincing , insisting, begging, whining.
         “How old are your children?” he asks me, like on a TV quiz show.  He’s got me now.  I don’t have any children.  I’ll tell him they’re really little.  Maybe that will work.  Just to be sure, I’ll tell him that I have a son and a daughter and that my son is in a wheelchair.
         “My son is five and my daughter six,” I say making it up. But what if this lunatic has lost his family and can’t stand people with families?  Then I will have really fucked up.
         “Tell me their dates of birth,” the lunatic challenges me.  This shocks me.
         “My son is in a wheelchair and needs constant care.  I love him,” I say, instead of giving their dates of birth.
         “When were they born?” the lunatic continues, undaunted.  The wheelchair ploy didn’t work.
         “I can’t recall under pressure like this,” I say avoiding him. Sweat is pouring off me.  I’m losing it.
         “Doesn’t all that sitting on the toilet hurt already?” he says and laughs again.
         “Go away and leave me alone.  I’m begging you!” I whimper, crestfallen.
         “I’m not going anywhere. I’m staying right here until you come out of there,” he answers and I believe him.
         “And what if the police come soon?” I say threatening, trying to save myself.
         “What for? Are they going to prohibit me from taking a shit?”
I think about how to get out of this situation.  Keys in the neck?  A kick in the head?       A prayer?  My phone rings.  I turn it off.  It could provoke the lunatic into a quick attack.  In any case, I don’t understand why he doesn’t break down the door and put a few bullets in my skull.  He’s a psychopath.  He’s having fun.  He’s simply having fun with me.  I could use that Snickers.  Why do I have to think about Snickers before death?  I have nothing else in my head.  What kind of a person am I?