Peace Time

“Piss time, yeah?” Said Enrique. After he said it he drummed on the counter with his fingers. A little drum solo of eight or nine beats. The drum solo said, I don’t feel great asking you but we’ve reached a stage where we both accept it. I nodded. My nod was in reply to his drumming rather than his words. My nod said, yeah, we’ve explored all other avenues over the years and this, while not ideal, is the best way to proceed so let’s just do it. He handled it well actually. Enrique’s surprising sometimes. Often he’s a dick but he can, when necessary, be tactful. If he’d come up to me clicking his fingers shouting, “make with the piss already!” Then I’d probably still have given it to him but I’d resent it. The drumming removed all of that resentment.

Every three months or so Enrique takes a bottle of my piss somewhere. I can’t really imagine exactly where although I’d guess some kind of office situated in a government building. In town. He has to take it to prove he doesn’t do heroin any more because he’d get deported if he did. I don’t do heroin or any drugs apart from caffeine and occasionally, if we have any, an ibuprofen. 400mg. Pharmacy strength. Or 2 x 200mg.

I ran 15.3 miles this morning before work and hadn’t stopped drinking since I got in so pissing was no problemo. The actual pissing was no problem. I filled the bottle Enrique gave me. Filling the bottle was no problem at all but I kept my Raph out of my trousers while I rinsed the bottle under the tap. I left it out because I have an issue with urinating but doing it in a bottle does not exacerbate it, I wanna make that clear. It’s my problem. After urinating I always have a little dribble left. I’m exactly like a petrol pump. Just like when I put diesel in my vehicle, no matter how hard I shake the nozzle, tapping it around the hole, and no matter how long I wait for all the diesel to drip out when I do eventually brave retuning it to the pump some more diesel will always dribble out causing me to dance like a Neo-Nazi on the forecourt, so as not to get any diesel on my shoes. No matter how long I relax after I have finished urinating, no matter how many times I try and put my Raph at the same angle it would be when I put it away, no matter how much I spin it around or otherwise manipulate it a dribble always escapes when I put it back, darkening my underpants with a splotch.

Mind you, even if it’s a big dribble (a double dribble. A droubble) and sometimes it’s alarmingly large – there’s no way of telling what’s left in there until it’s put away and there’s never enough to show through my trousers, although I always check, so it’s just an annoyance rather than a real problem. The only way anybody would know I dribbled in my underpants was if they inspected them before it dried or hired a criminal profiler to read my face during the three or four seconds when I look off to the side, pensive, directly after I put it away.

I rinsed the bottle under the tap which meant my fingers also got wet and therefore cleansed and then I put my Raph away and zipped while Looking off to the side and gauging the leakage. It was well within operating limits. Hardly worth mentioning. There’s no real reason for me to be telling you this except, come on guys, we all piss our pants, right? Just keeping it real.

I wiped my hands on my trousers then tossed the warm bottle in the air and headed out onto the bright shop floor, my good deed done for the day.

“S’fucking dark, man!” Said Enrique.

“Oh, I am sorry,” I replied sarcastically. Enrique held my piss up to the fluorescent squares and then to the front window which was even brighter. “If you don’t want it…” I started but there was no end for that sentence. If you don’t want it, what? Give me my piss back? I didn’t want it either.

“Dis is piss?” He asked holding it in front of my face.

“Of course it is! What do you think it is?” I was suddenly protective of my piss.

“Looks like…” Enrique did click his fingers at this point. “Ice tea!”

“Well it’s not, it’s piss.”

“Drink it!” He said again thrusting it ominously towards me. I recoiled.

“Drink it? What would that prove? What? It’s piss. Fuck it, give it back. Get Paula’s piss.” I beckoned the bottle with bent fingers. Enrique held it off to the side. “Paula, he wants your piss!” I shouted.

“Paula’s piss has h’eggs in,” said Enrique.

“I don’t think-“

“Dis serious, I fail dis I leave America.”

“Jersey.”

“New Jersey.”

“Jersey.”

“Go back to Colombia, man.” Enrique looked terribly serious. “Nutink for me der.”

“Honestly mate, that’s piss, I’ve upped my running is all. You want to come and watch me do another one just like it?”

“Yes!”

“Fuck off, as if! It. Is. Piss.” I said. Paula arrived. Seems it’s not just injured ducks that will get her moving. I can add suspect urine to that list. “What’s that?” I asked her pointing at the bottle.

“What’s that in the piss specimen bottle?” She asked.

“Yeah, in the piss specimen bottle.”

“Piss?”

“Yeah, see?”

“It’s a bit dark though,” she added unnecessarily. She blew a bubble. Enrique nodded then held it up again and winced and shook his head.

“It is! I’m just a bit dehydrated.” I whined. Enrique looked at his watch.

“How long before chu do ee so ee look-a-like piss. If chu drink water?”

“I don’t know,” I replied honestly. Enrique made a clicking noise with his tongue and teeth.

“We put water in dis?” He shook the bottle.

“I don’t know. I really don’t. I guess. But it might… I dunno. It might alter something, you know, chemically. Look suspicious”

“Dis fuckin’ look spucious.” He shook the bottle vigorously.

“Suspicious.”

“Sispucous.”

“I don’t know what to tell you?” I said quite high pitched. Enrique looked at Paula and then to me and then he turned on his heels and marched to his office door, snatching a bottle of water from the shelf without breaking stride. With a bottle in each hand he had to shoulder charge his door to open it. That didn’t work, of course, because it had a handle and so he had to delicately press the handle down with the little finger of one hand while carefully holding the bottles. With the handle down he pushed the door again and this time it opened. He stood in the doorway and turned to me.

“One ting! I ask for chu one ting and dis,” he looked upset and that made me explode.

“Fucking one thing. Everyday it’s something!” Because I don’t like being nasty to people directly I turned to Paula to express myself through her. “Paddly pool. I put the paddly pool up yesterday and he’s there going, ‘it’s so hot, wah wah wah‘ and I let him get in it. With my kids! And the telly. Set his telly up and he’s all ‘wah wah wah, wanna watch the show about Bigfoot!'” I felt that was enough. I turned to Enrique who was still in the doorway.

“Wah wah wah?”

“Yeah.”

“Ch, wah wah wah! I wan’ Sloosh Poppy machine. I wan’ new job.” His head was nodding and shaking simultaneously. He licked his lips but then went into his office. The door closed gently behind him.

Ten minutes later he came out and marched past me deliberately looking away. He was carrying a Spar bag with my piss in it, I could see the shape of the bottle through the plastic. He crossed the car park and then was out of sight as he headed to the bus stop.

“I bet he put too much water in it!” I shouted to Paula. She didn’t take me up on my wager. Or respond. “I said, I bet he put too much water in it!”

“Yeah, maybe,” she replied.

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