Monday, 20 August 2012
04:42:04 PM (GMT)
Story time, children. Gather round.
Many years ago, when I was in high school, I worked at a movie theater. Allow me to
preface the story by saying that I pride myself on my ability to accomplish tasks
that I find unpleasant. My parents own several section 8 rental properties around
Youngstown, and I had been roped into innumerable "This house is a mess, we're not
paying anyone to clean it, we feed you, here's a bucket, get started" adventures in
my short life. I had dealt with festering diapers left in the open air for months in
summer, rotten food, spoiled milk, animal corpses, used hypodermics, anything you
could imagine. Cleaning the grease trap in the concession area did not phase me. I
was woefully unprepared this day.
I arrived in my polo shirt and slacks through the lobby entrance as some of the
theaters were letting out. I could tell immediately something was amiss. One of the
managers had put the caution tape we normally used to mark defective chairs over the
door to the women's restroom, and was standing in front of the door looking worried.
When a patron would try to enter, the manager would stop them, nod apologetically,
make a brief "mia culpa" gesture with her hands, and usher them away. When she saw
that I had arrived, her eyes immediately brightened and she waved emphatically for me
to come over.
"Jenkins," she said, "You want to do something for me? There's gas cards in it for
This should have been my tip off. Gas cards were highly prized commodities in the
theater, being given only for the most exemplary service. To receive multiple gas
cards was unheard of.
"How many gas cards?" I asked.
"What do you want me to do?"
"There's a mess in the first stall. I want you to clean it up."
"Sure, no problem," said 17 year old me, ready to earn the easiest 30 bucks in gas
cards of my life. I was naive, and did not expect the horrors that awaited me.
I was allowed entry into the women's restroom, and the first thing I noticed was the
smell. It was the foulest thing I have ever smelled to this day. Imagine that a dozen
homeless people are filming a scat porn with a dead dolphin inside a sweat lodge
inside a paper mill next to the Jersey River in August. That pales in comparison to
the unholy aroma permeating the room; its soft pink tiles ironic in the face of such
an insidious odor.
After leaving the room to get a lungful of fresh air, I held my breath and proceeded
to open the stall door there. What I was to bear witness to was a travesty. What had
been done to that stall could not have been done by any creature, human or animal,
but rather some breed of deranged shit demon conjured from the 8th circle of hell for
the sole purpose of wreaking psychopathic excrement torture on the souls of the
Before me sat what I would estimate to be about two gallons of sludge-like human
waste, coating the area immediately surrounding the toilet as if it had been somehow
weaponized. It had caked the toilet, formed a 3 foot halo around the toilet,
splattered and stuck to the back wall, caked itself onto the toilet paper dispenser,
seeped into the little bin used for sanitary napkin disposal, and caked itself in a
Pollock-esque pattern on the stall doors. Amongst the refuse, draped over the
toilet's handle and pump was a medium-sized woman's cardigan that had originally been
white, but appeared to have been subjected to a profane fecal tie-dye. To imagine
this volume of crap being expelled from a living thing's anus in such volume and with
such velocity as to form the specific pattern of disaster in front of me was to break
the natural and physical laws of the universe. To look into that first stall was to
look upon the face of God, and know with certainty that he is an angry and terrible
God. Beware ye who would fight monsters, for when one stares into the shit abyss, the
shit abyss stares back.
I left the restroom to prepare for my struggle against the cesspool. I donned
gauntlets of nitrile, blue and sterile as the cleanest lagoon. From a hefty bag, I
fashioned a hauberk and adorned my shoes and shins with packaging from frozen
pretzels, held securely in place with rubber bands. I gathered 8 rolls of paper
towels, three additional hefty bags, a mop and two extra mop heads, a bucket, and two
gallons of green, undiluted industrial strength disinfectant. To finish my raiment, I
stole the face mask from the blood born pathogen kit and doused it in industrial air
freshener so that I could smell pine groves clearly when it was extended to arms
The battle began and raged for two hours that passed in a blur. I lost all sense of
time. I forgot my hopes and dreams. I forgot my name. In retrospect, this may have
been because I had doused a face mask in aerosol air freshener and was higher than an
entire Phish concert. I scrubbed. I worked. I cursed. The battle raged on, and new
enemies were discovered. In addition to the cardigan, there was a pair of formerly
pink ankle socks. Anything that was not held in place by bolts or mortar had to be
removed and destroyed.
In the end, I was victorious. I lost a lot of good men. The mop and mop bucket died
valiantly in the effort, and were given a burial with full honors in the dumpster
behind the theater. Because they were not proud men, and the general manager had a
fragile temperament, whenever she inquired about them afterwards I maintained that
they were lost. They would have wanted it that way.
I went on to leave the theater for college later that year, but the employees still
talk of it to this day. I am the shitslayer.
- some guy on the internet