It’s high noon in the lavatory; who will draw first?

Ferg Connors, Former Bengal News Service Writer

­­Ferg Connors

Bengal News Service

Oct. 7, 1997

Within seconds I had realized my mistake. It was too late.

The guy next to me at the urinal had only flushed as a precursory measure, like a starting pistol at a marathon. He hadn’t finished, he was only just beginning.

And I, in my foolhardiness had already rushed in where angels fear to tread.

I’d always been a “stall man.” Preferring the close confinement of graffiti scrawled walls on either side of me, and a door that may or may not lock behind me, I was now helplessly out of my element. And now it was too late to turn back. I had unzipped and unholstered, and now we stood side by side at the urinals with our pistols in the wind.

The flushing that had tricked me into jumping the gun was subsiding. I couldn’t blame the guy; I’d done that often enough. Pre-flushing gets the water going in more ways than one. It helps a guy focus when he’s up to bat, like the roar of the crowd, or more suitably, like the rushing of a waterfall.

But the flushing was done. Now there was only silence.

We both stood there, rigidly facing forward as an undercurrent of homophobia swept over us. Yes, we are both standing within inches of each other with our “tangibles” out in the open, it was true. BUT WE ARE NOT GAY! (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

A flush from the stall beside me and a pair of sneakers walk contentedly out of the bathroom. Damn my impatience! That could have been me in that stall! Whizzing away secure and carefree in my cubbyhole of relief.

But here I am with a bad case of stagefright, and my compadre ain’t fairing so well either. What the hell’s wrong with the guy? He was here first. He should have this show on the road by now.

Silence. Two guys standing side by side at their urinals, engulfed in an awkward, deafening silence threatening to destroy them both.

I should just leave. But that would be admitting defeat. What kind of guy balks at a urinal? A weirdo!

With each frustrating second it only got worse. There was no way I was gonna make it with this guy standing here beside me. We both knew what was happening, but there was no way to acknowledge it.

Then it happened. He cracked! With a frustrated shuffling of his arms, my sidekick had called it quits and zipped up.

Yes! The tension proved too much for the poor chump. He knew he was beat.

So why wasn’t he leaving? What the hell is he doing? He’s pacing around behind me! Waiting for me to finish! You gotta by kidding!

Get out of here! I can’t work under these conditions.

I hit the flusher. I hit it again. Water courses down the porcelain drop. The loud roar of the flushing echoes throughout the restroom as I pull down on the chrome handle again and again.

I am not here. I am beside a tree in my backyard. I am a dog at a fire hydrant. This man is not pacing behind me. FLUSH! FLUSH! FLUSH!

And then it happens. It takes only half a minute and then its over.

And when I turn around zipped up and empty-bladdered — the guy is gone.

Two men enter. One man pees.