Rice field

Latest update: April 2019

Method, by Hana Aianhanma, February 2019.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

The story is made up. As such, similarities with real events and/or persons are coincidental. If you recognise yourself in any of it, find professional help.

Seriously.

Method

“The old trains used to just have a hole.”

The old man had drunk quite a bit.

“A hole?”

“I mean, they had toilets and all, but look down one and you could see the tracks.”

“Tracks?”

“Anything that drops down through them during the ride is lost forever.”

“Drops down?”

“Please don't use the toilets when the train has stopped at a station.”

Yes, definitely inebriated,

“Bad for the smell, see?”

“I don't quite follow what that's got to do with my question.”

“Everything with why I hate that question.”

“You'd think they would be able to clean the tracks there, it's outside, you know?”

I interjected, “Except when the station has a roof.”

“Very few roofed stations in the country I lived in, back then.”

“Country?”

“Belgium.”

“Had some problems moving stateside.”

“I can image, with the visa requirements.”

“Oh, not that,” he waved that away, “it was the beer I brought with me.”

“Taxes?”

“The labels. You barbarians don't know art when you see it.”

He must have noticed my befuddlement, so he changed subject on me.

“Used to have one, to answer it.” He gulped down the remainder of the glass of whatever poison he was drinking.

“What?”

“Your question.”

“Used to?”

“Treasure of our lives.”

“If you don't want to talk about it ...”

“No I don't.”

“Then …”

“The wife and I had this little kid. Little one charmed me the day she was born.”

I poured each of us a glass of beer. Had to make sure he wouldn't touch that poison again, after all. He looked at it suspiciously. “What's this piss?”

“It's beer.”

“You call that beer?”

I carefully inspected my glass. “Yeees?”

“Hah!”

He took a swig, “Piss,” and finished the contents. “I've tasted better stuff that people used to drink when beer was too expensive.”

I stared. “Why drink it, if it's so bad?”

“Sometimes one enjoys the drink,” he took my glass,

“other times the alcohol,” and emptied it.

“Quite so.” I ordered another pair. “So, you had this kid.”

“Ah yes, the kid!”

“You know people idealise having one.” He looked up as he received the new glass. “It's all true,” another huge swallow.

“True?”

“Kid was great.”

“But?”

“Well, gotta pay with karma, isn't it?”

“There were downsides?”

“Downsides? Yes!” He laughed disconcertingly, “And it went all down!” He had a mad look in his eyes now.

“See, I had diaper duty.”

“The wife shed some sweat, blood and tears when the baby arrived,” now that I looked at them, they had that yellowing look,

“so I had to take care of it for a while.”

“Tough?”

“Formed a habit, I did.”

The new glasses arrived, he took both of them now.

“See, the little'un had this charming game when we changed diapers.”

“They often do.”

“Just finished cleaning up when ...”

He cackled delightedly,

“out came the rest.”

He considered the glass.

“Great way to check a babysitters dedication, that was.”

“So, that habit?”

“Well, I wasn't going to be cleaning any more than needed.”

“You had a method for dealing with it?”

“Great one, changing diapers in the bathroom right next to the toilet.” He put the glass down. “No more of this,” he mumbled.

“Water!”

“Where was I?”

“Your method?”

“Ah yes. Baby who doesn't hold his poo, toilet right next.”

“I see ...”

“So the littl'bugger could have all the fun it wanted while I held it under its armpits,” he smiled triumphantly, “above the toilet.”

He looked happy for the first time that night. “Why didn't you like to be asked about your children?”

“You don't see?”

“No.”

“Had to change diapers in the train one day.” He seemed almost sober now. “Here I was, on this old train, with my Genius Method.”

He eyed the beers. “Not a smooth ride, those old trains. Especially when they change tracks on you.”

“The shaking makes you drop what you're holding.”

He decided against taking the glass' offer.

“Did I tell you where those old trains' toilets drain to?”

*****

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