(Please remember the following is based on fact.)

Outside the bathroom door, Jay-Z flowed.

Inside, it was a different story.

He couldn’t find any toilet paper.

The cardboard roll was there, bare of tissue, completely bald, with very discouraging words written in thick marker and legible hand,


He bobbed his chin to Jay-Z’s beat.

He knew he was in a bit of a pickle, but he didn’t see the point in worrying.

He didn’t stand from the bowl.

He remained seated.

His pants down to his ankles.

He looked at the cardboard and chuckled until his spleen spoke from discomfort.

His spleen said,

“What are you going to do now, Francisco?”

He splayed open his palms and didn’t know what to say.

His spleen said,

“You have to ask the people outside for some help, Francisco. You have quite the mess on your hands.”

He flushed to bring some degree of decency to the situation.

Outside the bathroom door, Jay-Z flowed,

“If you’re having girl problems I feel bad for you son
I got 99 problems but a bitch ain’t one.”

He rubbed his soon-to-be blind eyes and thought of bitches.

He tapped his toes in his dress shoes and bobbed his chin.

He had a soft spot for hip hop.

His spleen said,

“Don’t daydream, Francisco. Apply yourself. You can’t always behave like a writer. It’s not practical.”

He said in reply,

“When was it ever practical?”

His spleen said,

“Didn’t you see there was no toilet paper, Francisco?”

He looked from the lines in his splayed palms up to the old ceiling.

The light fixture was Late Baroque.

He looked at the doorknob, at the curlicues in its design.

The door was obviously old. It didn’t even fit precisely into its frame.

He could see the paws of an epic Horse Dog scuttling back and forth.

A woman dropped an unpitted olive.

He saw her heel try once to back kick it into the bathroom.

She missed.

She tried again and missed again.

He liked this snippet of society.

The olive-dropper walked away from the bathroom door while talking about beaded earrings she saw Fantasia wearing in the latest issue of People Magazine.

She said,

“They were simply gorgeous. Perfectly indigenous!”

The Horse Dog stooped its epic maw to floor level and inhaled the olive.

Jay-Z’s anthem ended.

Another hip hop act filled the party with his flow.

He didn’t recognize this artist, but he distinctly heard the lyrics,

“I want the world.
You want the pussy.
I want the pearl.”

He stood from the bowl with his pants around his ankles and shuffled to the sink.

He bent over and looked at the faint trail his belt buckle left in the hardwood floor.

He said,

“Soft wood.”

He took the buckle in his fingers and carved his initials,


No one would know it was him.

This wasn’t the first graffiti he made.

A long time ago, in Austin, he spray painted an alien frog on a brick wall.

He made it look like the alien frog was saying,


He intentionally left out the question mark.

At the time, he was a visiting professor at University of Texas.

He got the idea for the alien frog after writing a short essay on estrangement and contraceptives.

His spleen said,

“Focus, Francisco. People will start to wonder where you are hiding.”

He said,

“But if I’m not hiding. I’m only in the bathroom.”

He looked at his shirttail in the mirror and considered this option.

He looked at the hand towel and considered that option.

He opened the medicine cabinet.

He bent down and opened the vanity cabinet.

He said,


There was a tap on the door, quiet at first, delivered by the tender knuckles of an inebriated girl.

He yanked the slender thing inside.

She didn’t put up a fight.

He looked around suspiciously at the party and bobbed his chin to 2Pac flowing,

“And even as a crack fiend, mama
You always was a black queen, mama.”

He shut the door and turned around only to discover the slender thing he dragged inside sitting tense on the bowl, her torso hunched over her knees, her face puckered tightly as she urinated.

He didn’t interrupt her deep relief.

He looked at the way her toes fanned and wriggled in her thong sandals.

When she finished, she looked up as if from a trance and landed on the cruel marker,


He said,

“We’re in this together.”

The slender thing ignored him and reached into her purse for a napkin.

She unfurled the napkin and threw a wooden toothpick away in the trash.

He said,


The slender thing said,

“What do you want?”

He said,

“One ply. That’s all I’m asking.”

The slender thing flapped her lips and wiped herself dry.

He said,


The slender thing pulled up her black lace panties and arranged the hem of her dress.

He said,

“There must be something else in your purse.”

The slender thing reapplied lipstick and smacked her lips.

The lipstick made the air in the bathroom smell like crayon.

She laughed at the reflection of the man she saw in the mirror.

The slender thing said,

“You’re Borges.”

The slender thing said,

“I wrote my dissertation on THE GARDEN OF FORKING PATHS.”

Jorge Luis Borges said,

“A whole dissertation? Incredible.”

The slender thing leaned closer to the mirror.

His spleen said,

“Tap that, Francisco.”

The slender thing pressed her lipsticked mouth against the mirror, right where Jorge Luis Borges’s face stilled.

The slender thing said,

“Institutions pay me a salary because I understand your work.”

Jorge Luis Borges said,

“There’s nothing to understand except this — ”

And like a swooping crane, he snagged her purse from the sink and flipped it upside down.

He shook it desperately.

The only thing that fell onto the hardwood floor was his book, LABYRINTHS.

The slender thing faced Jorge Luis Borges.

She looked into his soon-to-be-blind eyes and gently took back her purse.

She twisted her lipstick, capped the crayon tip.

She pressed her front side against this old man with his pants hanging around his ankles.

She grinded into his old-man prick then left.

Jorge Luis Borges caught his breath.

He breathed.

Jorge Luis Borges looked at the smooch on the mirror, right where his face stilled.

His spleen said,

“Well, Francisco, it’s a good thing she left when she did.”

Jorge Luis Borges understood. He understood.

He picked up his book that she forgot to take with her, opened to THE GARDEN OF FORKING PATHS, ripped the first page out, then vigorously cleaned himself.

He did the same thing with the next two pages and returned to the party, where Ice Cube flowed,

“Today I didn’t even have to use my A.K.
I got to say it was a good day.”

November 26, 2010 2:33 pm

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