Story Go Round 10/29/2005, round 1, #2

The Privy Council

"Today's meeting will come to order."


"Sorry, I wasn't ready. Go ahead."

"Actually, I need more TP."

"But we just had those stalls refilled an hour ago."

"The first item of business is what to do for the orphan's school bazaar. The next is how to get us all there. Secretary, would you please report back on the results of the Blue Flush fund raiser?"

"Sure, Bob. Let me do a courtesy flush first, and then I'll be ready."


"Do we have the east coast office on speaker phone?"

[Series of "yes"es, and "here"s and one flush sound over a staticky conference phone]

"Good," said the secretary. "Okay, the Blue Flush fundraiser was a rousing success, thanks in part to a last-minute donation by Local Janitorial 162 Slush Flush Fund."

"Well done" and "clean bottoms" came the responses, echoing off porcelain and stall doors across the country.

Bob pounced on the news: "This is a shining example of our new middle-management "spiral of success" philosophy. This council is going to turn Town Hall around - no more dirty politics in this town! In fact, I have a special announcement to make, one that you've all been anticipating for weeks. The mayor's office has agreed to our new slogan, "Flush with Triumph." And new funding for grad level and remedial potty training "No more soggy toilette brushes" one joker called out, but everyone ignored him.

Grunting came from the seventh stall briefly, then stopped with a plop. There was, however, no subsequent flush.

"Harriet," Bob called out, "Are you all right in there? Harriet?"

Six cell phones were heard dialing, but at the last moment a soft voice floated out of the last stall: "Sorry folks. Just dropped my dentures. But I got 'em now."

Sighs of relief were heard.

Bob stopped thinking of her in the past tense, picturing her epitaph: 'Out of Order'. Never having seen her - or any of the other council members face-to-face, it was a voice, or a pair of shoes, or a distinctive plop that one recognized - and attached feelings to. Bob knew Harriet's stall door like the back of his hand - the way it didn't close properly, the graffiti in the upper left corner, and the crooked smile her call for help would bring. He knew it was time to escalate this relationship. But stalls kept things so formal - it was time to order the bi-toilette, and call in to these meetings from the comfort of his own home. He and Harriet, side by side, like peas and carrots (which you could sometimes make out in the bowl)...

Bob was snapped back to reality as the vote was tallied. 72 to 0. The people had spoken. From the bowels of middle America the dream had been brought to life.

Bob smiled the smile of success and let out a squeaker.

Amber is purple; John is pink; Alan is blue; Terry is orange