by Alli Kirkham
Marco was wearing some white taffeta monstrosity. He had dyed his hair bright red to match the stilettos winking out from under the full skirt. He looked cool and confident and light on his feet. He looked like a sundae, the bitch.
I was standing about halfway through the interminable line to the ladies room. Girls in front of me chatted and jabbered, girls behind me giggled and talked. I felt uncomfortably alone but that wasn't improved by Marco squealing my name and loudly announcing how grateful he was that I'd saved him a place.
"This is a girl's restroom, Marco. Are you a girl?" He flipped imaginary hair over his shoulder and batted his eyes at me.
"I am not a girl, but neither do I see any evidence that this is a girl's bathroom." He kissed my cheek and left a long smear of lipstick up my cheekbone ant into my hair. I rolled my eyes.
"Do you see the girls in line around you? I'd say that's pretty good evidence."
"No, what I see is a little blue sign with a little white stick figure. You know what that stick figure is wearing? A skirt. You know what I'm wearing? A skirt. As is everyone else in this line except for you. So maybe you're in the wrong line."
It was true. There was no sign saying "Women" or "Ladies," and, I realized feeling more self-conscious by the second, I was the only person in line wearing pants. I didn't like skirts, even at the club. They felt too exposed. "You may have a point, dearie," I said, patting him on the shoulder and wandering away. "I'll go find the bathroom for people with pants on."
I did. It was blessedly empty and relatively clean. There was no door on the one stall but I shrugged, sat, and pissed anyway. A guy standing by the sink took a bump of something off his thumbnail then ran water and snorted a few droplets up his nose. He glared at me when I came to wash my hands after flushing but I wasn't about to let myself feel judged by a dude using god-knows-what in the bathroom of a shitty Hollywood club.
I went back out to the bar and considered dancing. I decided I wasn't drunk enough to dance and didn't feel like getting there so I just leaned and bobbed my head and watched the lightshow and the people around me.
My cell phone buzzed in my hip pocket.
Marco had a problem and needed my help immediately in the girl's bathroom.
I texted him that it was the skirted bathroom, not the girl's, and that I didn't have a skirt so I wasn't allowed in. He replied that I was a horrible cunt and please come help right now I'm stuck.
The line had gotten longer and the conversation near the front had gotten angrier. I edged up to the door and asked some drunk girls what was going on. They stopped laughing and grumbling long enough to let me know that someone was stuck. I told them I was here to help and shouldered past them.
This bathroom didn't have stall doors either. Marco was in the one closest to the entrance, next door to a toilet overflowing with shit and tampons. He had cried out his makeup.
"What the fuck?"
"Help me!" he wailed. The bottom four inches of his skirt were soaked in shit and urine all around. The toilet appeared to have eaten about a third of the back half of his dress. The suction had pulled the bodice far enough askew that I could see the padded, hot-pink bra he had worn to fill out the top. All in all it was easily the third most absurd thing I'd ever seen happen to him.
"What do you want me to do about it?" I had no idea how to handle this situation. This was not the sort of occurrence that I generally came prepared for, though clearly that was going to have to change if I was going to keep being friends with Marco.
"Are you telling me that this is the one time you don't have a knife on you?"
"I got the same pat-down coming in that you did, asshole. Why would I try hard to smuggle a knife in? I didn't think I'd have any emergency whittling to do tonight."
"Katie! You are always armed! I am strapped to a toilet and those dippy broads are laughing at me and I need your help!" I thought about wandering out and getting a bouncer, but realized that would probably get us both kicked out. Maybe for good. And this was like a second home to Marco.
I sighed and put my hand down my shirt and hauled out my yarn cutter. It's a round razor blade set in a pendant, used by yarnbombers (like me) and grandmothers everywhere.
"I'm going to ruin your hemline, darling," I said to him. He sniffled and hugged me when I reached behind him and started slicing him loose.
The shorter skirt with its hanging threads actually looked even cuter on him, the bitch. I made him go wash his hands while I hauled the mangled skirt up out of the u-bend. There was no trashcan in the room so I dropped the shit-smeared material on top of the clogged and overflowing toilet. There was no soap in the dispenser but a girl in line gave me a bottle of hand sanitizer that I wiped down with up to my elbows. She said I could keep it, and was just glad that the line to piss had started moving again.
Marco was already flirting at the bar when I joined him, reeking of isopropyl alcohol and fake violets. He no longer looked like a sundae. He looked like a beat-up baby doll but I could see where his smeared mascara and shredded dress were appealing to the proto-goth element of the club. All he needed was some stripy kneesocks to complete the look. As soon as I sat down he draped himself around me and turned back to his new catch. "This is my hero - she just rescued me from a man-eating toilet. Buy her a drink!" And the catch did, and listened to the story and laughed in all the right places at Marco's antics and my eye-rolls. I thanked him for the drink and didn't say much. I just turned around to watch the crowd and listened to the music and saw the flaring and fading of the lights overhead as they froze dancers, separated individuals from the moving bodies for a few fractions of a second, like lightning flashing in the distance.