Prompt Images

Dear Diarrhea,

When will you stop? I’ve been sitting here for over an hour. I’ve suffered your intermittent bursts, your sputters and starts, and your false hope when I thought you’d run your course, only to be corrected moments after I stood. I stare at the same spot on the teal stall door where somebody wrote “this too shall pass” as if they were thinking of me, a tormented soul, trapped in this 3×3 box, cheeks sucking the seat, gushing his innards.

Please stop.

I thought you were a fart at first. Maybe a wet one. I figured I’d go to the bathroom just in case, you know? Maybe a few brown tracks on my underwear, I thought. but nothing like this torrential downpour.

My office’s bathroom sits down the hall tucked between a law firm and a tech startup. The regulars start cycling in around 11 A.M., and it was nearly quarter till when I shuffled in. The stalls were empty. Just me, the echoes of the stall shutting, the smell of Lysol, and hollow fluorescent lights.

I counted myself lucky.

Then you erupted.

No warning. No stopping. No looking back.

Was it something I ate? Usually, I blame some ethnic food unfamiliar to my weak Western constitution. Is this complaint racist? Completely. And for that, I deserve every wet and aching moment of this deluge.

It was probably the salad.

Everything in a salad is raw and uncooked, a cesspool for bacteria and, Diarrhea, you’re just the byproduct of an infection, that’s all you are. I don’t mean to diminish you, to talk down to you, to mansplain. No! I have come to understand who is stronger in this power dynamic, who is in control. Ignore me! I am delirious and won’t stop talking.

I’m willing to negotiate.

Anything you want you can have. Do you want me to stop eating solid food? Seltzer? What is it that makes you so furious?! How about you get evenings and weekends, and I get to function at work like a normal human being?

Oh, God!

Please stop. I beg you.

Let me be honest for a second. I need a break. You can come back in a few hours. Maybe even half an hour. Enough time for me to hydrate, make an excuse to my boss, and get home. No, half an hour won’t do. I might be on the bus still. Or, as is more likely given your unpredictable persistence, an Uber.

Poor, unsuspecting driver.

Are you listening? I think you must. Your force has slowed. My sphincter is tightening for the first time since lunch. I can only hope that you can contain yourself for that time.

My boss looks surprised to see me leaning into his office, one hand held at my rear outside his door as a support team for whatever muscles are keeping you settled. Not feeling well, I say, need to head home. He shows either empathy or indifference in letting me depart. Some days I might wonder with anger which it is and how an incompetent man got his job, but today it doesn’t matter.

Are you doing okay? Only a few more minutes. Maybe twenty.

Uber says there’s surge pricing. On a normal day, I might think about accepting an Uber Pool or search Lyft and Via for cheaper options. Instead, a grumble from my bowels tells me I don’t have time. A driver accepts. Clifton. Five minutes away. Toyota Corolla. Fine.

I hope he doesn’t have cloth seats.

Thomas Viehe

Thomas Viehe prefers pop over soda, loo over toilet, fall over autumn. He lives with his wife and dog in a remote part of the country, Washington, D.C.

learn more
Share this story
About The Prompt
A sweet, sweet collective of writers, artists, podcasters, and other creatives. Sound like fun?
Learn more