“[L]ife is a good thing for a writer. It's where we get our raw material, for a start. We quite like to stop and watch it.”
Neil Gaiman

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

Notes from the author:

So I was at Backcountry Pizza one day (another fine Boulder eating-and-drinking establishment handy for writing in; its draft list is truly epic) and I noticed there was an OUT OF ORDER sign on one of the stalls in the ladies'. And I got to thinking, what other reasons might there be for a stall to be out of order? You know, besides the obvious. (This is the way writers' brains work, y'all.)

Here are a few: There's no toilet inside, but instead a secret elevator to the sub-sub-sub-basement, where a secret cabal holds monthly meetings and karaoke sessions. The toilet is the home of an aquatic oracle who can sometimes be heard singing to itself from the next stall over.

Or the toilet is periodically replaced by a catastrophic hazard of time and space....

The women's restroom at Backslope Brews is clean and well-lit, even stylish. It might even be considered comfortable. It boasts an old-fashioned "fainting couch" near the entryway and, when it's time to dry your hands, the very latest in AirBlade technology. The ultra-modern sinks do come on a bit strong, and one of the toilets regrettably has a crack in its tank lid; nevertheless, it is uniformly rated a most pleasant place to do you business.

But today the accessible toilet stall sports an OUT OF ORDER sign. The sign is scrawled in large, painstaking crayon letters, each thick brown stroke echoed by two or three other colors, giving the impression of a font face cobbled together from a Rorschach rainbow. There are strategic underlines and three exclamation marks for emphasis. The sign has been taped across the narrow slit between the hinged stall door and the stationary stall wall.

No one has complained yet, but the assistant manager has rehearsed his response for when someone at last does. "We are working to restore functionality as soon as possible," he'll say, with just the right balance of firmness and sympathy. "In the meantime we regret the inconvenience."

It's woefully insufficient, but vastly preferable to the truth. A customer complaining of the lack of ADA compliance in the women's restroom would not take the truth well. "We're frightfully sorry, but that toilet stall has become a portal to another world, and we're not sure how to change it back."

One of last night's closing shift servers discovered the portal around a quarter past midnight, when a party of one disappeared without paying her tab....

This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for April 3, 2015. The fictionette appears in its entirety (1147 words) at Patreon and is available to all Patrons pledging at least $1/month.

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