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Art by Steve Cartwright 2014


By Dave Holton


As I walk past the bar, I spot her. Dammit.


I’m frozen. Too soon to say hi. Supposed to go like half a year no contact for a two year thing. That’s what the experts say, anyway; I’ve been Googling. She sits facing away at a four-top near the windows, illuminated under a golden, hanging light. I can’t see her face, but I’d recognize her figure anywhere. I still think about her in the shower. I’m trying to cut back on porn so it’s the best I’ve got.

Her silk, wraparound dress ripples across her abs. She always wore those sexy dresses. She’s obviously been taking the positive steps. Her hair shimmers blonde and spirals up in a fancy way, bouncier looking than usual. I remember how it bounced, all those times that we did it in my piece-of-shit apartment. I live with a bunch of dudes over by Washington Square park, and she was the only girl ever around. Now it’s just dudes. Jesus, I need to get laid.

In the chair across from her sits some Douche in a black blazer and tight jeans, with chestnut Oxfords that he probably got at Nordstrom. I went to NYU, and the place was literally crawling with carbon copies of this asshole. He wears a part in his hair, looks like a newly-minted I-banker. Probably makes good money. This is exactly what Anna had always tried to turn me into. The only reason I got the degree was so I could manage my own gallery one day. She didn’t appreciate my dreams, you know? Looks like she found what she wanted.

I have to pee. Necessity calls for movement. I un-freeze and bolt across the final gap toward a buzzing restroom sign. I narrowly avoid colliding with a waiter carrying a tray as he exits the kitchen, then duck into the door labeled “Caballeros” and head for the first urinal. I’m dazed, and my mind replays the image of her as piss hits porcelain.

Dammit. Why does she have to be here? She doesn’t even live around here. Maybe he does, though. Probably spends all her time at this new guy’s place. I could hardly ever get her to leave mine. Before she stormed out for good anyway, complaining that I wasn’t going anywhere or some bullshit like that. I’d told her I was going somewhere. To the store. To get cigarettes.

The bathroom door squeals open, then slams shut.

Shitty timing, seeing her here, now. I’ve just started to get past it all. Well, relatively. I still feel like shit, haven’t been eating right and haven’t been working out, started cruising dating sites with no…

“That beer goes right through you, huh?” a voice interrupts, and before I turn I know exactly who I’m about to see. Dammit. Just like a Douche to show up when I’m trying to pee and self-converse in peace.

I angle my head to glimpse as he steps up to the urinal directly to my right, even though there are at least five open just beyond. Doesn’t he know the etiquette of bathrooms? One space between, please!

“Yeah, sure buddy,” I mumble. My brain starts a slow spin. I’m stuck, standing in place with my dick in hand, piss halted mid-stream.

“My lucky day,” the Douche continues.

“Why’s that?” I have no idea why these words just escaped me. Fucking stupid! Why invite more? Out of the corner of my eye I can see his piss hitting the back of the urinal in a mighty stream, and then oh my god what’s that? This dude has a huge dick. I look down at my own and shake my head.

 “I got me a hot date out there. Some chick that’s on the rebound. I can tell she’s just itching to get some. I’m telling you, she wants some of what I got.” He starts shaking his hose. 

One, two, three times, you’re playing with yourself, dude.

My brain flips over. I can still see his mouth moving, but I don’t hear any words. He stows his tool. I turn, facing him now, still holding myself. Since my brain feels useless as an overturned turtle, battling this nemesis with words might be out of the question. I use the only weapon that works.

“What the hell, bro!” he yells. A little steam rises and a soft patter echoes as my pee hits his jeans, then his shoes, then the floor around his shoes. As my piss slows, he just stares, his blazer rising and falling with each breath. I finish, and I give a quick shake. Just one.

He speaks, seemingly frozen in shock. “You crazy son-of-a-bitch. I don’t know your goddam problem, bro. I’m going to fucking kill you.”

This guy could probably play small forward for the Knicks. I might be in trouble. I quickly stow my weapon. Despite his threat, he still stands on the opposite shore of Lake Pee. I mean, I get it. One minute he’s talking to some stranger about hooking up with a girl and the next the stranger takes a leak on his leg. These things don’t happen every day.

A vein threatens to burst on his forehead. I can see it pulse. Dude might want to get his blood pressure checked.

The Douche balls his fists and steps forward. The second his foot hits Lake Pee, his right foot slides like he’s stealing second base. I guess he put all his weight there so he could throw a real haymaker. His body goes airborne.


The sound of head hitting urinal is like the bell at the end of a prizefight. I can see the headlines now: No punches thrown! Heavyweight knocks himself out in the first!

I stand there for a moment observing the aftermath. The Douche moans, eyes closed and hand to head, soaking up urine. If I were one of those NCIS forensics people, I’d say this was a clear-cut case of some drunken asshole slipping in his pee.

I consider my options. He’s breathing, and there’s not much blood, just a small cut. Maybe just a minor concussion. Not my problem, way I see it. Time to leave.

Exiting the bathroom, I glance over at Anna. She looks at her yellow Timex, then around. She doesn’t see me through the murk and mayhem of the restaurant. I remember giving her that watch. Maybe she keeps it as a reminder? Screw it. I decide to walk to her table, though I’m aware that it’s only a matter of time before the Douche rises. On the way to her table, I tap a manager and tell him some guy fell down in the bathroom. He thanks me.

A second later, I’m standing next to her. She smells perfect. Like oranges.

“Anna! Funny running into you here.”

She snaps her head like she’s been caught stealing. “Jason! What are you doing here?”

 “Oh, I’m just out with some co-workers, having a little celebration.” Dammit, slow down man, speak slower. Think John Wayne. “What about you? You here with somebody?”

She smiles, and glances toward the bathroom, where the manager pokes his head back out to call to a waiter over. “Well, I’m here with someone, but he’s been gone a long time.”

I’ve missed that smile. “Someone serious?” I ask, though I wish I hadn’t.

“Not really, some guy one of my friends set me up with. I don’t know, the guy is kind of a douche,” she says. She laughs.

I laugh, too. God this feels good. Then, I realize that I had better get moving. “Well, good luck, I better get back. Hope your guy didn’t fall in or something.”

I nod and she smiles, a little sadder though. “All right then. It was great seeing you. Glad you came over.”

Steady now. Just get moving, man, play it cool. “You too.”

“Wait. Jason.”

I turn back. “Yes?”

“You look great. Call me sometime, ok?”

I wait until the bar blocks her view to grin a toothy, maniacal smile. As I circle the bar on the side opposite the bathroom, I glance across. The Douche emerges with the help of the waiter and the manager, holding a paper towel to his head, clearly shaken and pissed off, but obviously fine, medically. I duck my head a bit to avoid being seen.

I sit back down in my empty chair in the alcove with my colleagues, who are discussing something having to do with work. I’m glad to note that the bar completely hides us from the other side of the restaurant. My colleagues look at me, halting their conversation. I’ve been gone for a while.

“Everything okay?” asks Sally, the hot girl who sits in the cubicle next to me in the Finance department at Barneys.

“Me? Oh yeah, all good. No big deal. Just saw someone I used to know.” I smile at her, and she smiles back.  “You ready for dessert?”

Dave Holton is a writer, film fanatic, world traveler, and businessman. He grew up on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where he spent his childhood playing outside (What's that you say? No television?). Dave went on to gain degrees in Engineering and Business to impress his father, who years later asked why he didn't just become a writer. Now, Dave spends his nights and weekends making up for lost time. To follow his journey, connect with Dave @davidholton on Twitter or through his website 

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