Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Artform of Peeing Without Paying

I'm working on a nonfiction book called Interregnum, which is about my leavetaking from Larry Flynt's house of smut in 2010 and my subsequent drive to Montana and the three weeks on the road before returning to L.A.  Here before you now is the world premiere of an excerpt, which is taken from Day 1 (yeah, I still have a long way to go).

We've all been out and about when you gotta go...I mean when you really, really gotta go!  Believe it or not, there's an "artform" to entering an establishment for the sole purpose of using the restroom.  As often as not, the employees of the establishment in question are on to you, especially in the later hours when the bars are closing or near to closing.  This is especially true in urban area.  (If you told them you there simply to use the restroom, you'd be promptly turned about.)  Ergo, a certain degree of subterfuge is typically called for.

I've done this so many damn times over the years that I'm almost--but not quite--ashamed of myself.  Actually, I'm more proud of my creativity, especially in the following excerpt, which I bring to you from the early morning hours of August 15, 2010.  It was my first day of driving, in which I pulled 750 miles from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City (a record I would break two years later when I drove 900 miles from Eugene, Oregon, to L.A....and which I hope to never top).  So after a rather large iced tea and oodles of water, the ol' bladder was screaming for relief.

Here's what happened:

            I have to pee.  I really have to pee.  I pull off I-15 in Victorville, a little not-much of a ‘burg in the desert.  There’s a Denny’s askance the interstate.  It’s still fairly early and there’s no one seated when I burst in the front doors.  The hostess/waitress at this godforsaken hour asks me how many are in my party. 
            After years of finking my way into establishments for the sole purpose of urination, I’m an expert at this.  I tell the seen-too-much-of-life waitron that I’m waiting for approximately six others to join me.  I mime typing into my iPhone—ostensibly to text my phantom friends. 
            “They’re on their way.  Which way to the restroom?”
            She points me the way.  I release a stream of urine that has been brewing for nearly 200 miles.  Relief. 
            There’s a delicacy to leaving the house of urination upon release.  Sure, you could simply escape out the way you came, but that makes both yourself and the employees look bad (to whom, I’m not sure, but bear with me).  Back in the Denny’s lobby, I can see the waitron moving some seats together for myself and my ghosts. 
            Tact is now called for. 
            The iPhone is again whipped from my pocket.  I begin excoriating Flaky Phantom Friend #1 as to his location. 
            EFA to Waitron: Is this the only Denny’s locally?
            Waitron: There is another one on Stoddard Hills Road
            EFA: Oh, crap.  I think my friends went there.  Hold on.
            For emphasis, I hold up my left pointer finger in the proverbial “hold on” gesture.
            I step outside.  Perhaps still feeling the waitron’s eyes drilling into my back, I continue my faux nascent-asshole-tearing into Flaky Phantom Friend #1.  To complete the illusion, I actually say out loud, “Are you fucking kidding me?  I fucking told you it was THIS ONE!” 
            I storm fake-angrily towards the Scion.  When sufficiently out of view, I sigh heavily and gruntily—both in appreciation of my empty bladder and slightly detestant of my own charade.