Friday, September 3, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: Man is the Master of His Own Home

“Man is the master of his own home,” Douglas told himself. He didn’t know where he’d heard it first, but it comforted him hearing it now. Lord knew he needed to feel comfortable.

He undid his fly. It was the only kind of rebellion he could think of, and he buttoned it back up shortly thereafter. He paced around the living room carpet like a panther. He paced in socks, then remembered how Cheryl hated bare feet on the carpet, took them off. He scrunched his toes into the fabric and grinned like a big cat who knew his prey was somewhere.

“My living room,” he told himself. “Nobody else’s.”

Nobody else’s as of Tuesday when he and Cheryl signed the papers. She got the Manhattan place and he got this. A two-bedroom with goldenrod carpets he’d never wanted and echoes of her criticisms.

“Incapable of spontaneity!” he repeated and undid his fly again. He did it back up before anyone might see him through the window. He tugged on his jeans. They sunk half an inch, then snagged on several years of fast food.

“Surprising you with Arby’s that one time was spontaneous.”

He strolled to her faux-Persian drapes. No one was outside. No one would be up here for weeks, barring the occasional caretaker. This was a summer community.

Douglas remained at the window, watching nobody go by. No caretaker. No ex-wives with hideous red dyejobs. When he released the drapes, his hand wandered back to his crotch.

“Incapable,” he snarled. He undid his fly, moved to re-do it, and stripped off his damned pants before civility could succeed. Let a caretaker see it.


He threw the legs of his jeans around his neck like a scarf. He stormed into the kitchen that way, grabbing the phone book and opening the refrigerator door.

“Is it spontaneous to order take-out while looking in your own pantry?” he asked the lettuce. He dialed. As it rang he wandered over to the biggest carpet – the one Cheryl would likely send for in a week, when she realized it wasn’t explicitly in the papers. He sat on it, boxers and toes defiling her awful taste. He wondered if the delivery guy would take a photo of him posed like this so he could send it to his ex.

“No. I thought about it in advance – not spontaneous. I’ll have to come up with something else before he gets here.”

A vaguely Asian voice on the line asked, “Excuse me?”

“Oh, hi. What kind of food do you folks sell?”

“Only Thai, buddy.”

“Oh, that’s great. I hate Thai food. What’s expensive?”

That was spontaneous! And his joint account with Cheryl wasn’t closed yet. As the order-taker listed dishes, he flipped the pages over to Interior Decorators. He circled a number and farted into the carpet.


  1. OMG, John, I was cracking up the whole way through and getting very odd looks from my boyfriend across the room. :) Another great story. The last line is grossly beautiful.

  2. He's showing her! Too bad getting his photo taken by the delivery guy wouldn't be spontaneous anymore because that would certainly be sweet revenge. Good story!

  3. Ha, thanks for the laugh. This was hilarious and excellent. Oh, sweet revenge.

    I'd love to see her face when she gets those carpets.

    Great story.

  4. Why would anyone have a problem with barefeet on a carpet? Was I taught impropriety?

    Now farting on a carpet, I get that. (heh heh)

  5. Poor guy! He really isn't stellar at the spontaneity thing, hey? Aw.

  6. Hilarious. The image of him striding through the rooms with his pants around his neck was priceless.

  7. This cracked me up. Especially at the first mention of his rebellion, which was unzipping and zipping up his pants!

    Ah, I think he still has feelings for Cheryl. :)

  8. This was great piece, sympathetic and funny, totally believeable, such valient small protests. Very enjoyable.

  9. That is such a heart-warming ending. And I love, "then snagged on several years of fast food." Perfectly descriptive. I guess revenge tastes like Thai food. Lots of it.

  10. Danielle, don't share it with uour boyfriend. Your carpets will never be safe again.

    Anthony, glad you laughed. Thanks for reading!

    Eric, you know I almost wrote that it wouldn't be spontaneous. But as I edited, I thought that was one bit of self-reflection too many, even for a guy like this (and like me).

    Gracie, happy to provide that laugh.

    Peggy, different people have different niggles. My great grandmother was fastidious about no shoes on the carpet, but her friend loathed bare feet. The bare foot thing, I think, has to do with sweaty feet or a lack of class.

    Jen, some of us aren't very good at spontaneity. It's difficult to get over what other people want from us and just do things.

    Laurita, I'm sorely tempted to start wearing pants as a scarf.

    Marisa, do you think he'll ever really be over her?

    Alison, you believed even the ending? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

    Kim, lots of dry Thai food. Isn't takeout spontaneous?

  11. What a fun laugh John! It seems all he needs is a camcorder so he can send Cheryl a copy of his spontaniety.
    Snorting out loud!

  12. he's still struggling with spontaneity a tad. Exemplary timing, for today in the UK celebrity couple Ashley (soccer player) & Cheryl (pop star, talent show panellist with Simon Cowell) were officially divorced in the Courts over his unreasonable behaviour. Yet she's keeping her married name????

    Marc Nash

  13. Awesome! This is so accurate it stings. I like this one; very ... realistic, I guess. :)

  14. YAY! VIVA PANTSLESS FRIDAY!! I totally loved this. That rug deserved to die.

  15. Cost of divorce: Mega $$ Farting on ex-wife's carpet: Priceless. This is hysterically funny, John!

  16. Getting his own back big time. Loved the Thai food ref. and how his jeans 'snagged on several years of fast food.' A real crack up!

  17. Have you been looking in through my window? i love the ask the lettuce line. I have been trying to think of a suitably obtuse question for your RAQ, but perhaps I should rather be thinking of something to ask the lettuce.

  18. Hilarious! King of the Castle indeed. But still, a tinge of dis-ease at being stuck without his ex. Peace...

  19. John, I loved the image of wearing jeans like a scarf. Hilarious. If you plan spontaneity, can you still call it spontaneity?

  20. The scary thing is that I can see some of myself in this character. The set up is brilliant and very funny. And let's face it, a fart joke is always funny.
    Awesomeness all round.

  21. Poor guy really is at a loss of what to do with himself and his new freedom and you wrote that brilliantly. The barefoot thing cracked me up - I couldn't live with his ex-wife since I wear socks only when forced to (shoes, too, for that matter). I hope he rolled all that Thai food up in the carpet when he sent it to her and he ordered dishes with shrimp! Nothing goes bad as fast as shrimp & you can never get the smell out.

  22. I liked it, Mr Wiswell. Minor typo: "then remember* how Cheryl"

    I'm going to be spontaneous and try to re-tweet this. I can do Twitter.

  23. That was a riot, John. Poor guy - I would've opted for the manhattan apartment for sure, if for no other reason than cash money ;-) Fun read!

  24. Cracked me up and had some lovely prose at the same time. The last line was priceless.

  25. You can't beat a story that ends with a fart. Great fun this.

  26. I really enjoy your work, especially the more devious, is that wrong of me? Excellent John. You never ever disappoint.

  27. Bitter is the new black. Hilarious story John. Maybe if his wife had cared as much about him as her stuff, they would still be together. Awesome writing.

  28. Impossible not to laugh at this one John. You're such a master at this kind of writing. "Incapable." Everytime I saw that, I laughed.

  29. Wow, bare feet on the carpet as icky huh? That's the best way to enjoy carpet!

    This reminds me of all the breakups I've seen where one person, finally, gets to be comfortable. I hate to say it (no I don't) but this is exactly the kind of thing I'd do after an acrimonious breakup with someone that had a horrible dye job and too many rules. I would never, however, confess to farting into the carpet, as if girls farted.

    Too bad there weren't video phones. Delivery guy might have taken a screenshot just for kicks!

  30. Awesome. Especially loved the pants as scarf. I'd love to see the delivery guy's face when Douglas opens the door like that.

    With the way he was fiddling with his fly I was expecting a Big Lebowski style carpet defilement. Yours is much more...tasteful.


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