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The Accident

He didn't know exactly at what point in the night it happened. He just woke up wet. Cold piss all over the sheets. He had put off washing them for weeks, dusting the crumbs off his pillow when he could remember that he had eaten something stale. He couldn't put it off any longer. Bruce had pissed the bed.

He didn't have any quarters. Looking past the crack in the bathroom door, the bathtub seemed like the only sensible solution to remedy his unintended release without risking the curiosity of strangers at the Laundromat.

Last time he got sick, he didn't make it to the toilet. The tub was his porcelain nurse, and he had left his stomach to dry in the drain that was already clogged with his newly receding hairline. He didn't even bother to turn on the water. He just crawled back to bed and forgot about it. He told himself he would take care of it in the morning. When morning dawned on him, he went to the kitchen and washed his face in the sink, dripping soap on a tower of ancient dirty dishes. He had meant to clean the tub, but he was managing fine without it.

His eyes called over to his hands for further motivation to break free from the film of crust that habitually formed overnight. As he began to rub his palms against his swollen eyelids, he felt his hands were wet. It was probably sweat. He drew his fingers to his nostrils and tentatively inhaled. Old piss. He wiped them slowly on the dry side of the bed, trying to blink away the sting of sunlight.

Bruce swung his legs across the frame and watched his feet touch the floor. His head hung heavy while it tested his neck. If he forced alertness on his mind too soon, his body would punish him with violent dry heaves of inconsolable nausea. He stared at the wood beneath his toes. He found faces in the grain. He pushed the pills on the floor with his big toe to mark the eyes so he wouldn't forget. Slowly, he lifted his head and tilted his eyes towards the cold light escaping between the blinds. His scattered prescriptions bottles balanced on the curves of broken glass. A degenerate circus act for him to watch.

A quick warm whip of shame began to belt his gut. A grown man covered in piss in early afternoon. Mortification should have tenaciously blackened his morale. His confidence should have beeen livid with such an inconceivably childish blow. But he was used to the smell, and besides, he thought, accidents happen. I'm not the only man alive who pissed himself. Hemingway probably pissed himself at some point in his life.

He was alone. Marcia had left two nights ago. Some of her hair had gathered and tangled into dusty knots underneath the nightstand. He left it there.  He hadn't ask her what was wrong. She would have told him if it wasn't serious. She didn't want to explain it. He knew she had a habit of keeping the worst of things unsaid. She didn't want the truth spoken. Life would be beyond denial when words framed her demons.

Marcia would have laughed. She would have gotten him a glass of water. She would have punched his shoulder. She would have washed his sheets and told anybody who had anything to say about it to fuck right off. That's what she said when they first met. She had seen him looking at her like a lost calf so she walked up to him and told him to fuck right off. She was smiling as she said it. A few months later, she had fucked right off.

Bruce took off his sheets and put them on the floor. He would have to clean the bathtub before he could do anything about it. The mattress was damp. He doused it with cologne. He didn't have any detergent. But he would take care of it later, when the piss had dried.


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