Writers Inside a Bag / Parabolic Urine Flow

I took Hemingway and Bukowski and Palahniuk and F. Scott and Hitchens with me, and we crossed the border into Canada like the hooligans that we are (F. Scott would object to that, but he’s dead so let him howl from beyond). Only, none of them saw the light of day. It must have been savagely boring inside that leather messenger bag for six straight hours of flying. I imagine an omnibus such as that would surely be the cause of  one stabbing. Or at least a drunken debacle. Tight quarters, gargantuan egos, and a rattling fuselage. Welcome to the Chelsea Hotel? Indeed. From time to time I dumped a few drops of red wine down to them, to keep them somewhat pacified and well lubricated. Bukowski hates flying. All I was left with, was stained bookcovers. Please allow me my grey matter short-circuits. I am a bright man otherwise.

The gent next to me at the urinal at YYZ airport started in on an elongated diatribe about the medical profession. He loved it and he loathed it. His mother was an LPN. Or Registered. Things get somewhat fuzzy when one is trying hard to just stand straight and aim into a porcelain cup. To me he confessed: as a child, his urethra was somehow suddenly blocked or fused, and they had to drill his dick. Either the urologists botched the gig, or there were still some ongoing changes to come with the onset of puberty, so he had to be back for the same procedure at age 18.

“Only I refused,” he said. “I didn’t care about having a crooked streamflow. Do you know what it’s like to have a drill down your member?”

I thought about the consequences of curved urine flow, and took a few tiny steps away from him. Turns out his mother still keeps his foreskin in formaldehyde and he now is an expert at reading Tarot cards. He offered a quick reading only I’m not ecstatic about such things right before boarding an airbus. Although the Death Card signals the beginning of a great change, I prefer not to have that drawn in general. I buttoned up and we said our goodbyes. I left him standing, flipping, shaking, and making some sort of circular motion with his hips. It’s quite peculiar what one is privy to in airport washrooms.


Alex M. Pruteanu’s fiction has appeared in The Legendary, Specter Literary Magazine, Thunderclap Press, and Pank, among others. He is the author of novella Short Lean Cuts. He is currently an editor, on staff at N.C. State University.

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