e were driving to the deanís place. My date and I, the dean and his wife. We had just wasted two hours of our lives. We had just been to a pathetic Art show. It was around nine at night. And I had to piss so bad I could die. I should have pissed there at the Art gallery, but I didnít want to tell people I had to go to the bathroom.
      The dean was at the wheel. A skinny man, around fifty, graying hair, a thin, prissy mouth. He wore a gray suit. His wife sat next to him yammering about what a great talent we had seen. She was fat, also around fifty. Her hair was dyed a dark brown.
      I sat in the backseat rubbing my knee against my dateís knee. She was twenty-seven, wearing a dress-up dress. Her face was devoid of life.
      I wondered why I was there in the deanís car with this associate professor rubbing knees. I wondered why I had to brown-nose every member of the English department. I wondered why being chairman of the English department was so important to me. I wondered when we were going to get to the deanís house so I could empty my near bursting bladder.
      I looked over at my date and tried to tell myself she looked pretty. I didnít believe it. Even in the dim light of the car she looked plain. But I did believe she would be a good contact in the English hall. I would fuck her tonight and rack up some points. A girl with looks like hers would appreciate a thing like that. Hell, it might be her first time.
      The deanís wife stopped yammering, and the dean drove on in silence through the suburb. My date was talking with her knee. I decided to say something.
      ďAlan, I love this car,Ē I said.
      ďThanks John,Ē the dean said.
      The dean swung his Mercedes into his driveway and pulled into his two-car garage. My task was simple. I had to get out of the car and walk into the house even though my bladder was throbbing with pain. I did an OK job, mumbling about the long drive and having leg cramps.
      The deanís place was two storeys, big yard, lots of shrubs.
      I made it into the living room and was about to excuse myself when the dean made a bee-line for the bathroom. I knew this, even though it was my first time there, because he shut the door and I could hear the faint sound of pissing.
      I sat down on the sofa with my date, and the deanís wife chatted with us about the house and its furnishings. The deanís wife offered us a tour. My date accepted eagerly. But I declined claiming my leg cramps were getting worse. The women went off and eventually up the stairs.
      I sat all alone on the sofa and prayed the dean would leave the bathroom soon. The pressure was unbearable. I heard no sound from the bathroom. I thought about going upstairs to see if they had an upstairs bath. But I knew I would never make it up those stairs.       My only hope was the dean. Heíd been in there over twenty minutes. What was he doing? Was he jerking off?
      I started to panic. What if I couldn’t get up from the sofa when he got out? What if I pissed my pants like a wino in the alley? What if this one insane incident cost me my chairmanship?
      And it was then that I spotted a large vase sitting on the mantel of the fireplace, looking down on me soothingly. I knew my only course of action. It would be a desperate gamble, but it was the only way out.
      I sat there listening intently to all sounds around me. I heard footsteps of the women upstairs. I heard nothing from the bathroom. The die was cast.
      I summoned all my strength and stood up from the sofa. I almost fell. My body bent inward toward my crotch. I trudged over to the mantel. My bladder was a piss-filled balloon on the cusp of popping. I rested against the mantel to steady myself. I reached out and grabbed the large, empty, vase.
      I held the vase at my crotch, un-zipped my slacks, fumbled my pecker out from behind my underpants. I leaned there, my left shoulder against the mantel, my pecker hanging out. I had to act fast. I pointed my pecker into the mouth of the vase and tried to piss. My bladder was so full that it hurt just to release little squirts. All the time I thought the whole bunch of them would walk in. Finally, I got a slow, even, stream of piss to flow into the vase. I wanted to piss faster, but couldn’t.
      My body felt relief. But I was nearing the brim of the vase. I cut off the flow of piss and settled for the relief I had.
      The toilet flushed in the bathroom. I was so startled I almost dropped the vase.
      Quickly, but carefully, I put the vase back in its place. I flipped my pecker back into my pants, zipped up, almost zipping up my pecker in the zipper.
      I dashed back to the sofa and picked up a copy of the New Yorker from the coffee table. The dean came into the room. He smiled and offered me a drink. I accepted. I needed it.
      He mixed me a bourbon and water while I glanced through the New Yorker. Then I heard the women coming down the stairs, and they came into the living room.
      My plan was to gulp my drink, make an excuse, and leave for my date’s place.
      I sniffed the air, couldn’t smell piss.
      The women chatted among themselves and the dean and I talked about the upcoming election. I gulped my drink. The dean gave me a dim look of disgust. I knew it was a mistake to gulp my drink in front of him, but I had to.
      I waited for the booze to hit me, and then I spoke.
      “I’m afraid we’ll have to be going. I’m sorry to break up the evening so early, but my leg cramps are getting worse.”
      That didn’t go over well with any of them. I was losing points right and left.
      And so my date and I left. I did a fair job of walking like I had leg cramps. I was relieved when I pulled onto the freeway. I shouldn’t have been, but I was.
      While we were driving to my date’s apartment and chatting about the state of the nation, it occurred to me that I didn’t feel like fucking her. I knew that if I didn’t, after all that knee play, I would lose points.
      When we got to her place I gave her a quick goodnight kiss. I mentioned once again my leg cramps. I walked away. She slammed the door behind me.
      I got back home and finally emptied my bladder completely. I sat down on the sofa and thought things over. The night had been a total disaster. It was all behind me. Except one thing. That vase of my piss that sat on their expensive mantel. When it was found I was finished. So, the night wasn’t that bad. I would have to leave this college anyway. No need to worry about lost points. I never had a chance to dump the vase in the sink, rinse it out, and put it back. That was that. I went to sleep.
      When I got up the next morning it was a gloomy Monday. It dawned on me why I did what I did. I had options. But I had to. I hated the object of my ambition. I wanted, and didn’t want the chairmanship. I was pissing on the American Dream, on the normal people, on the people who can excuse themselves and go to the bathroom.
      I decided to call in sick. Let the dean make the first move. I called in all week until Friday, and then went in. I had to show up sometime, so why not for one day with two days off right after?
      When I got up to the English hall I found a note in my message box. It was from the dean. According to the date it hade been there since Monday, a standing invitation.

            Would you please drop by my office this morning? I need to talk with you.
                                                                   Dean Anderson

      I crumpled up the note and tossed it in the waste basket. The dean was stupid if he thought I was going up there and cut my own throat. My technique of ignoring the whole thing had been working all week.
      And then it hit me. I just had to wait it out and dare the bastard to confront me. The dean and his wife were probably scared shitless. They probably thought I was some kind of psycho. They would never bring up what I did. I could use that fear.  


Hell, all I had to do was breeze through the day and dance in next Monday morning like nothing ever happened. There were many ways of scoring points. I was going places. I strolled down the hall to my office.





  I woke too early
and clearly
I wasn’t getting back to sleep.
So I walked to work too early,
settled for a “Value Meal” at Macdonald’s,
the coffee crummy,
the food bad.
Then I was at work too early,
and sat in the lunch room alone,
reading the paper.
Soon this room would fill
with my colleagues,
most of them bored, frustrated,
just wanting to go home.
This boredom is poison,
each of us faces it alone.
And I thought
I’ve been at it 19 years,
with 10 more to go.
I sat there wondering
if I could go the distance.
And like a battered boxer,
I rose, went down
to the workroom,
to check the schedule
and see where I started the day.