Flight of the Navigator
In the dark of one noughties night, we tiptoe past my friends’ parents, sleeping in their Chandler’s Ford home, rooms filled with loving memories, crafted over some twenty years here. Unintentionally (believe me!) I will craft my own in a moment. It will not be loving.
We have drunk a lot, every silent step an effort. Ascending these suburban stairs, our need for the toilet is equal. Respectfully, I let Joel go first. This was a bigger mistake than the skinful of beers earlier.
Disorientated and desperate, the tides rising, I linger in my room for the night; Joel’s brother’s.
A moment, lost forever, passes, I find myself leaning against the door. Outside in the hall, Joel whispers, ‘It’s free’. Thank God. I am bursting. But…but… something strange catches my eye, something in the corner of the room…
Swaying, I regain my balance as something horrific comes into view. Oh God, no…
It’s…it’s… it’s a shit. My shit. I’ve shit in my mate’s house.
I am a man in his twenties and I have done this. Reflecting on where it all went wrong is not for now.
The sight of this steaming pile of excrement, clears my dizzy head. Instant clarity. One thought; no-one must know. Ever.
‘Thanks mate’ I whisper. ‘See you in the morning’. But, I’m not going to bed yet.
Thought process; toilet, urinate. Don’t flush yet. Must avoid too much noise and waking his parents up. Zipping up my fly, I tiptoe back into the room. The horror. I scoop up as much of the poo as possible with toilet paper, step over a lemonade bottle and return to the toilet, cradling it so preciously. Just, don’t drop it.
A few return trips and a flush and I am in the relative safety of bed after opening all the windows and turning the bedroom into a mid 90s boys’ changing room by spraying a can of Lynx with the kind of gay abandon confined to pubescent teenagers.
I wake up, shivering, and not the man I was last night. Someone different. I feel like a wartime stretcher bearer returning from the battlefield. I’d seen something so horrific, so unimaginable, something I could never talk about. I must keep this memory locked away, repressed, forever.
‘Would you like anything for breakfast?’ Joel’s mum kindly offers, fortunately from the hall outside.
‘I’m good thanks’.
I stay in bed until I hear his parents leave then head downstairs to the cleaning fluids cupboard. This room should be quarantined. So should I.
‘Flight of the Navigator is on mate’ says Joel from the lounge. The childhood innocence of this film clashes with the reality of my adulthood guilt.
‘That’s great. Be in in a bit’. Head under the sink, I pull out some carpet cleaner and stride upstairs to the scene of devastation.
After some concerted cleaning, I think I have just about contained the problem. This spare room is probably rarely used anyway. The Lynx smell can be written off as over exuberance on my part. Just trying to smell good after a night on the beer, obviously. I cleverly place a poof over the stain, return the cleaning fluids and say a somewhat hasty goodbye to Joel.
Driving home this Sunday I feel a sense of accomplishment. Yes, technically I did defecate in his family home. But, taking the positives, I did clean it up.
And crucially, I got away with it. Praise the Lord.
So, I’m relaxing at home on my comfy sofa.
Beep. A text:
‘Hi mate. Hope you are feeling better. My mum was a bit confused as when she was cleaning up your room she found some poo on a Schweppes bottle’.
Oh, shit (so to speak). Never admit what happened John. Never.
‘Not sure what happened there mate. Must have trod in some on the way home’. Yeah, that’s feasible, convincing. Come on, who would seriously think I would shit myself? Please.
Friend to the end, Joel actually put this to his mum as my defence. His mum must have taken some convincing as there was none on the stairs…
‘What did he do when he came in drunk Joel? Hop up the stairs?’
Years later I did admit the truth to Joel. There’s only so long you can keep things inside before they have to come out. It’s just about timing.