“I got to go to the bathroom Daddy.”
Father didn’t respond. The van windows were open and the rumbling was loud in their ears; perhaps he didn’t hear.
“DADDY! I’VE GOT TO GO TO THE BATHROOM!”
Father glanced in the rear view mirror. “You should have gone before we left.”
“The toilet was clogged and I didn’t want to get my feet wet.”
Father glared in the rear view mirror. “What do you mean you didn’t want to get your feet wet?”
“Well…” The third Daughter hesitated. “…it overflowed.”
“What the – “
A horn blared as the van crossed the middle line of the highway into the oncoming traffic. Mother sweetly asked Father to watch the road as he wrenched the van back into the proper lane.
“What do you mean it overflowed!?”
“Something was stuck in it and when it was flushed the water and other stuff came out over the top and went on the floor and then – “
“That’s not what I meant!” Father gripped the steering wheel tightly and clenched his teeth while he drew in a breath and let the air slowly escape through his nostrils. “I meant, why didn’t you tell someone about it so it could be fixed?”
“Because you said we were late and we had to leave ‘right now.'”
“And so the bathroom floor is covered with sewer water – and will be covered with sewer water until we get back in three days. Great – “
“And the basement steps too.” The third Daughter looked out the window at a colorful tractor trailer rig that swept by.
“There was so much water and stuff that it ran out under the door and went down the basement steps.
“Cool, just like a water fall!” The second Son chimed in: “Did anything – “
“Quiet! Its not cool when the toilet over flows and runs down the basement steps! Do you hear me!?” Father stared hard through the windshield. The air coming through the open window stirred his hair into a comic style. “It’s a mess and when we get home you can clean it up if you think its so darn cool!”
Mother winsomely suggested that Father calm down.
“I still got to go to the bathroom, Daddy.”
A rest stop sign flashed past. Father hesitated, muttered under his breath as the exit approached, and then jerked the van into the tree lined parking lot at the last second.
“Everybody get out and use the bathroom – now.”
“I don’t have to go right now” volunteered the second Son.
“Go anyway.” Father’s face was without expression.
After several minutes the family was back on the road. After several more minutes the first Son spoke up.
“Uh, Dad, you know those four sodas I drank a while back -” he affected an embarrassed chuckle. “Well… I need to use the rest room.”
“What the – we just stopped! I just told everyone to get out and go. Forget it! I don’t want to heart anyone say they need to use the restroom again. Do you hear me?”
Mother graciously pointed out that Father was exceeding the posted speed limit.
Several minuted later the first Son’s voice rose over the din of the rushing wind. “Dad, I find that my bladder is full of waste liquid and I am in need of a facility designed for the disposal of said waste. Moreover, I find that I have reached a crucial stage in this condition and thus I am unable to continue without addressing the issue posthaste.”
A road side gas station loomed ahead. Father glanced at the fuel gage, smacked a hand against the steering wheel and pulled off the highway.
“Okay, I mean it. Everybody – and I mean everybody – get to the restroom. We’re not stopping again.”
Moments later, with a full tank and empty bladders, the family pulled onto the highway and accelerated to the maximum legal limit.
All was well: the sun was shining, the van was humming and the children were quiet.
Father shifted uncomfortably in his seat. His fingers began to beat a soft tattoo on the steering wheel. He scowled as a small town began to materialize in the distance. Abruptly he puled off the road into a convenience store parking lot.
Mother respectfully asked what was the matter.
“I uh…” Father glanced at her and cleared his throat.
He reached to switch off the ignition.
He frowned into the rear view mirror.
“I need to use the restroom.”