Barry jammed his thumb over the end of his penis as he turned around and sat. He was surprised to find urine squirting in all directions. He tried to aim into the toilet before letting go but his pants were still around his waist and the zipper was pulled up preventing him from achieving the proper angle.
Barry's bladder was empty. His trousers and shirt tails were soaked. He was trapped in the women's restroom. What else could happen?
“He's in there,” a woman's voice said.
Footsteps approached. Looking under the door of the stall, Barry saw well-polished shoes and the cuffs of uniform trousers. A knuckle tapped gently on the door.
Barry held his breath.
Another rap followed by another, “Sir?”
Barry exhaled with a sigh. “Yes?”
“Please come out, sir.”
A silence filled the gap between the request and Barry's response.
“I need to clean up.”
“Clean up what, sir?”
“Please come out, sir. Now.” A demand, not a request.
Barry grabbed a handful of toilet paper and wiped his face. “Just a minute,” he pleaded.
“Now, sir,” the demand was clear this time.
Barry grabbed another handful of toilet paper and attempted to sponge his pants. “Please, just a minute,” he requested again.
The polished shoes shifted as another set of footsteps approached.
“Excuse me, officer,” a familiar female voice said. “I think that may be my husband.”
“What is he doing in the women's restrooms?”
“I don't know,” she responded. “I'll ask.”
Barry continued sponging his trousers.
“The officer wants to know why you're in here.”
“Yes, I heard.”
Barry hesitated for several heartbeats as he considered his answer.
“I made a mistake.”
“You'll have to come out now,” the officer's voice commanded.
“Why can't you, Barry?” his wife asked.
“I'm a mess.”
“Well, come out and we'll clean you up.”
“I don't think you can.”
“It...,” Barry stammered and hesitated. “I'm wet.”
Barry considered his response. “Pretty wet.”
“Does he do this kind of thing often, ma'am?” Barry heard the officer ask.
Barry grew alarmed at his wife's hesitation to answer. “Tell him,” he demanded. “No.”
“Well, not exactly this,” she demurred.
“Does he have mental problems?”
Again, his wife hesitated.
“Glenda,” Barry prodded his wife.
“No, not exactly,” she responded. “He's a writer.”
“A writer?” the officer parroted.
“Yes, he gets distracted.”
Barry became annoyed listening to the conversation. “I was in a hurry,” he defended himself, “and made a mistake. That's all.”
“Didn't you hear that lady shout?” Glenda asked.
“There's a woman outside who says that she tried to get your attention.”
“I didn't hear her.”
Barry saw his wife's feet shift as she faced the officer. “As I said, distracted.”
“We still have to get him out of here.”
“I understand,” Glenda replied. “Please, give me a minute. We know the owner.”
“Very well, ma'am.”
Glenda's footsteps retreated. She returned about five minutes later to where Barry and the officer waited on opposite sides of the door. “Open up, Barry,” she ordered.
Barry unlatched the door and Glenda stepped in with a pair of waiter's trousers and a shirt over her arm. “These are about your size,” she said.
Barry changed into the dry clothes while his wife stuffed his soiled ones into one of the bags that the restaurant offered for diners to take home their leftovers. The restaurant owner was outside speaking with the police officer when Barry emerged.
The owner smiled when he saw Barry and his wife. “Ah, they fit.” he said. “Excellent.”
The officer scowled and left without a word.
“We're sorry for all the trouble, Miles,” Glenda offered.
“No, no,” the owner assured her. “Happens all the time.”
Barry's interest registered on his face.
“No,” Glenda commanded. “Don't even think of it.”
The owner looked at the couple, confusion in his eyes.
“Don't worry, Miles,” Glenda assured him. “Barry won't write about it, will you, dear?”
Barry shook his head dumbly.
“And he certainly wouldn't mention your restaurant if he did,” she added.
The owner looked at Barry expectantly.
Barry smiled. “All PR is good so long as your name is spelled correctly, eh, Miles?”
Glenda slapped her husband and led him out of the women's room, past the glaring patrons who had been waiting to get in. The owner followed close behind.
“No problem, Mr. Martin,” the owner called out as they headed for the exit. “Come again soon.”
Barry heard a woman behind him ask the owner, “Is that Barry Martin, the writer?”
“Why, yes it is,” the owner replied with a broad smile, and Barry cringed.
His wife smirked and looked at her husband out of the corner of her eye. “Just as you say dear,” she remarked. “All publicity is good so long as they spell your name correctly.”