First Draft

Page 5


Regaining his footing, Ben took the dangling towel from the fist. With a voice far manlier and more imposing than any that Ben could muster, the disembodied voice reiterated his own thoughts to him, “All ruined, you stupid! Now need go buy. Gah!” And with that, the fist again shot back through the hole in the closet door. Instead of re-emerging this time, it patched the hole that it had originally made in the door with a piece of wood of perfect size, color and shape – pounding it into place with the same wood-splitting slam as when the hole had been made. Benjamin stumbled momentarily, rubbed his jaw and gripped the banister with his right hand as he continued shuffling down towards the bathroom. He was awake now.

Benjamin peered through the textured, dripping glass of the shower door, out at the hand towel, now hanging from the towel rack. Even through the wobbled, steamy glass, he could make out the blue stain. He’d have to stop somewhere after work. He hated shopping after work – the traffic, the crowds, the screaming children and disgruntled faces. He’d rather go in the morning, but nobody would be open. He could order it online, but there was no way of knowing if the texture would be right, or of what quality he’d be receiving. And what if he had a woman over? What would she think of him, if his only unblemished bathroom towel set was scratchy, and poorly matched the color of the bathroom walls?

He sniggered at a thought. What if. He glanced up around him. The white steam that rose around his body took on a slightly blued, grayish tone as it rose above his head towards the exhaust fan. Ben rubbed his temples and gently shook his head, dowsing it under the stream of hot water. He lathered his face with his bar of soap.

CRACK! Another tearing, bursting sound tore Benjamin from his thoughts. This time, it was the sound of fiberglass. He opened his eyes for long enough to see that the same, muscled arm had burst its way through the shower wall. Soap dripped down into Benjamin’s eyes, and he gasped as he closed and rubbed them under the stream of water.

“Don’t forget ear!” cried out the slightly muffled Eastern European voice from behind the shower wall, as it playfully poked Ben in the ear with its pointer finger. Benjamin swatted the hand away, just as another identical hand, with an identical accompanying voice, punched a second hole in the shower wall. “Or toesies!” it cried, tickling the tips of Ben’s toes. Blinded and pathetic, he tried to bend down to swat the hand away from his right foot, but it simply went on to tickle his left. He could feel something wet and soft slither over his shoulder, tickling his armpit. He lurched his shoulder away, swinging his bar of soap wildly at his assailants. A third first broke through the shower wall, this one behind Benjamin’s hunched over, naked body. “CLEAN BUM!” it shrieked, as it swung down and made perfect, open-hand contact with Benjamin’s right ass-cheek. The action let out a sickening slapping sound, that of wet skin-on-skin contact. At this, Ben yelped in fury and frustration. He hurriedly scrubbed his face, ears, toes and butt under the running water. Before he could open his eyes, all three fists (and whatever it was that had tickled his armpit) had slipped back into the void behind the shower walls. With three loud, crackling bangs, each sealed the hole that it had made.

Having finished scrubbing, with a bright-red hand print on his butt cheek, Benjamin sighed, exasperated. He leaned his head against the shower wall, letting the hot water streak down his back. Perhaps he wasn’t all that awake after all? He stayed in that position for what seemed like forever. He wasn’t sure if he had faded out of consciousness or not.

Two popping sounds stirred him back to his senses. He opened his eyes. It was a sound similar to the one that you might make with your tongue, on the roof of your mouth. A sort of “clip-clop.” Benjamin figured that it’d be best to get out of the shower now, rather than risk dozing off. He’d be late for work.