The bathroom turned to flames of rage around me. I could hardly see straight. Once again, Lanky McGee was on his way out the door without washing his hands. He had abused the porcelain in a serious way, battering it with the bowel movement to end all bowel movements. Then, after using three, maybe four squares of paper to clean himself up, he had launched himself out of the stall and headed for the door.
But he would not get away with it this time. I’d finally had enough. Leaping after him, I grabbed him by the scruff of his tattered sweater and spun him around. I propelled him across the bathroom and forced his hands into the basin of the nearest sink. Then washed them in scalding water with clouds and clouds of industrial-strength soap.
Lanky struggled, but I was not about to let him get away. When the washing was finished, I dried his hands with acres of paper towel…and then I handcuffed him. He fought back, lashing out with powerful karate kicks, but I ducked every one and punched the fight out of him with a hammerblow to the breadbasket. Then, I hung the sandwich board sign over him, the sign I’d prepared and stowed in the drop ceiling for just this occasion.
And when I frog-marched him out of there and trotted him through every office, cubicle, and conference room in the building, one and all read that sign and knew the nature of the man who paraded among them. For once, he could not blend in with the common crowd. For once, he could not deny his true self. The sign read, “I never wash my hands in the bathroom.” Below that, he sported a scarlet letter “U” for “Unclean.” I am certain the laughter and mockery will haunt him the rest of his days. As they should. (See you soon.)