(A.N.: An experiment, if you will.)

The Forty-Four

by elaine

A collection of short stories chronicling a year of our lives, as the seven of us lived together in an old, decrepit apartment.

When we first moved in, the downstairs toilet didn't work very well. Our landlord, with a wave of his hand, just told us we didn't know how to work the plunger correctly. I came to dread that toilet, with its disgusting yellow stains and the game of chance one must play with it every time you flush. When you had to use the toilet, you had to take into account that at least ten minutes will be taken up out of your schedule: a minute at most for your business, nine for desperately plunging the toilet while continuously flushing to make sure it all goes down. And let us not even begin the long process one must go through when one commits a number two.

The toilet had the temperament of a volcano. The kind that's not quite dormant, that sits and bubbles up occasionally, keeping all nearby occupants at bay. Then without warning, the volcano would spew molten lava into the air, and a mass panic will occur. Exactly what had happened with our toilet. Luckily for the rest of us, it decided to erupt on Chris. Vanessa and I were sitting in my room, located next to the bathroom, and we heard Chris yelling. After languidly attempting several more questions on our Japanese homework, we decided to investigate as that the shouting had not ceased. We found a panicked Chris violently stabbing the toilet with the plunger as dirty water overflowed, forming a nasty puddle on the floor. Eventually the rest of the house came downstairs, to see what the ruckus was about. We all gathered around the doorway to the bathroom, passing paper towels to Chris. Our neighbors from downstairs came banging at our door, to let us know that dirty water was dripping from their ceiling. I don't remember how long it took for us to get it under control, but it was long enough for us to find it not funny anymore.

The next day, our landlord finally came and replaced the whole toilet, and we, including our neighbors, rejoiced. Especially Chris.

(As that all of this, and the following stories are pretty true to the actual events, I'm using this as a test to see how this works with people who don't know us. If that makes sense. Will these be too esoteric for the general public to find humourous as well? Let me know, and thanks. -lainie.)