The grass danced against the concrete side of the gas station in the bright, sharp afternoon sunlight. Merle stood beside his Mustang and smoked a Camel Wide. Frank was thinking about avoiding the bathroom entirely and shitting in the ditch beside the station.
“Come on, man, it’s just a fucking bathroom already!”
“You know how I feel about places like this! Remember Kansas? Remember that nightmare?”
“Whatever, man. We stopped because you said you had to go, so either go, or shit out here in the open. I really couldn’t give a rat’s ass which.”
Frank faced the restroom sign. The key, attached to a craggy, bent wire, which in turn was attached to a giant wooden block, labeled ‘Manly Key,’ was shaking in his hand.
Nearer the gas tanks, there were only a few eighteen-wheelers. Other motorists passed on the highway on the other side of a wide diamond of brown reeds.
Frank put the key in the door.
“Attaboy!” Merle said and pitched his cigarette to the ground. “Now make it snappy.”
Frank grabbed the handle and pulled back. He didn’t like anything about this seedy joint. He had legit concerns, he really did. Like, what was the place like when no one was in it? What kind of creepy-ass things crawled up out of the pipes when no one was looking? And hell, what of the bacteria, which loved dark and dank places? He figured that anything that was in the business of mutating would surely love to mutate away in such a place.
And people kept feeding it. Feeding it with their urine, their shit, their semen, their snot, and their blood. All of it into this rank den of germs that would then sit and stew, locked away until the next injection of disease-rich filth.
He turned on the light. There was a crowd standing in front of him in the nasty bathroom. It was all his family and friends.
“Surprise!” they all yelled, and Frank realized he’d forgotten his own birthday, yet again.