WARNING: This is a true story. It is a story that will cause little or no disagreement — a bit of apolitical levity in a terribly serious world. It is one of those satisfying somebody-got-what’s-coming-to-them stories. But it’s a bit nasty. Do not read on if you’re easily offended. Consider yourself warned.
My former office, located on the ground floor of a tall downtown commercial building, featured a recessed entry with glass door. This alcove provided shelter from weather and wind but also afforded an ideal amount of privacy and convenience for those who like to defecate in doorways at night. More bluntly, my doorway was often used as a convenient restroom by certain downtown denizens who didn’t wish to trouble themselves to find a toilet. It was always nice to come to work in the morning with a fresh pile or two waiting for me and my clients — so classy.
I should point out this event took place in the 1990s, a period when dozens of 24-hour toilets were available in downtown Portland — all-night copy shops, bars, fast food joints, public park facilities, et al. Not wanting to walk a few blocks to the nearest Kinko’s truly is the height of ill-mannered laziness. Today it’s much more difficult to find an unlocked, unguarded restroom in that area. But altogether, your circumstances are irrelevant — there is no excuse for using a business doorway to relieve yourself.
Doorway defecation was the farthest thing from my mind on one cold night all those years ago.
I’d been down at the corner bar for a few hours and I’d returned to my office just before 3:00 a.m. The streets were dark, largely empty and quiet. I’d straightened my necktie, donned my overcoat, scarf and leather gloves, slinging my briefcase over my shoulder. I called a cab and turned out the lights in the office. In pitch black, I stood just inches inside my glass door, patiently awaiting my taxi.
As I waited in the dark, standing still and silent, a 30-something couple came moseying up the street, the male looking furtively around as they approached my door. The pair stopped and the female took another cautious glance around before lowering her pants and crouching in my darkened doorway. Less than a foot from me, the woman squatted, about to produce a pile of sewage in my doorway. In case this isn’t clear, let me repeat it: a woman was mere seconds from dropping a doorway deuce just inches in front of my feet. She had no idea I stood in the dark, close enough to touch her.
And I could not believe my good luck.
Naturally, I paused for a couple seconds, timing my reaction so she’d be relaxed and just about to “move” for maximum effect. I hauled my gloved hand back and smacked the tempered glass of the door as hard as I could — it sounded like a gunshot in the dark night, reverberating off the empty buildings lining the concrete street.
Never before or since have I witnessed a person with lowered pants jump over eight feet.
Jeans tangled around her ankles and terrified, the thwarted pooper sprang high into the air, landing in a scrambling and panicked heap in the middle of the deserted street.
“This isn’t a $#%@!ed %$!&@#!*&#ing toilet!” I bellowed, charging out the door. Over six feet tall and able to present a threatening countenance when required, I unleashed a string of obscenities worthy of the angriest drunken sailor. My voice sounded like an enraged bull as it echoed in the darkened street, bouncing back to my ear.
Mortified and petrified, the pooper struggled to raise her soiled pants as she turned to bolt — her loyal companion had already fled. She fumbled with her belt, trying to run but succeeding only in an awkward trot punctuated by several involuntary farts.
A skill learned in military service is the ability to stitch together clever combinations of swear words then release them in never-ending streams of vulgar invective. It’s shockingly effective. I probably used nearly every blue word I knew to make sure my displeasure was known. And in the still of the night, I was loud. My profane castigation continued, following her as she stumbled up the street.
As angry as I sounded, I was cracking up inside. I’m sure I told my cab driver the story because it was too satisfying to keep to myself. Nighttime doorway poopers are never caught — what a delight to, um, scare the crap out of one.
People still pooped in my doorway from time to time but I’d bet money that couple never came near my door again. Or who knows? Maybe she left me a revenge turd at some point — she seemed like that type of gal.
Whatever. It was totally worth it.
Photograph © Samantha Watkins via Unsplash