Treasure Island

Elizabeth Swados

(1951 / New York / United States)

Haunted Toilet 2


WE have a toilet that
has remained broken for five weeks now.
It continues to flush itself
whenever it feels the urge.
I sit in the living room,
I watch TV, read a serial killer
mystery, play tug of war
with my seven month old
Labradoodle, and now and then
I hear the toilet flush.
I have explored the possibility
of a ghost who never got
its bladder or prostate infections
cleared up, but there's no
heaviness in the air like
a presence and it's just
not that kind of flush.
It's a light flush, free
of choking or angst,
rather simple and almost cheerful.
A cheerful flush. The plumber
has been here four times
and declared it vanquished.
The building manager has
brought in a sewage specialist
(if there is such a thing).
And yet there it goes
again and again.
One of its favorite things to do
is to flush just as I sit
on the toilet seat,
a sort of mechanical object
going 'Gotcha!'
Often it flushes when I step
into the bathroom as if saying
'We of the toilets
say 'hello.''
I don't like a toilet
flushing for no reason.
It's bizarre and bad manners.
How long this will go on
I do not know. But I
hope it apologizes before it leaves.
Or at least says goodbye.

Submitted: Monday, August 25, 2014

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