This is the seventh part of a fiction serial, in 783 words.
Trying to take his mind off the need to empty his bladder, Jon found his thoughts drifting back to his past once again.
Close to graduation, there had been the scandal with Nigel. Arrested by the police for Gross Indecency with another man in a public toilet on Hove seafront, the tutor’s life unravelled quickly. Resigning from his position, and no doubt losing his cosy family life with a long-suffering wife. For Jon, it was on to teacher training, and then a job as an English teacher in a West London school. A rented one-bed flat in Hammersmith, followed by a baptism of fire at one of the roughest secondary schools in the area.
Controlling the behaviour in the classrooms was near impossible, and most of his colleagues had stopped trying a long time ago. Like them, he was soon going through the motions, and accepting the appallingly low performance results. But unlike them, he was writing in his spare time, churning out manuscripts that he sent off in batches to anyone who would read them.
After watching a television series about a determined and efficient police detective, he concluded he could do a better job. Two years later, his first Inspector Johnson novel was published, he had an agent and had tendered hs resignation, prior to moving back to Brighton.
The rest, as the saying goes, is history.
As anyone knows, trying not to think about having to pee makes the urge to go worse, not less. Scanning the street through the van windows until it was clear of pedestrians or traffic, he grabbed his things, and exited through the back doors. Perhaps there would be a toilet in the church, though that seemed unlikely. Jon knew little about churches, other than a few he had researched for his novels. Like most people christened in the Church of England, he was only ever inside a church for christenings, weddings, or funerals.
In case anyone was watching, he held up his phone, pretending to take photos of the building as he approached it. His plan was to walk around to the back, and if nobody was around, he would relieve himself against the ancient stones. Not the gravestones of course, just the back wall. By the time he reached the rear of the church, the sense that relief was imminent made him feel relaxed. There didn’t seem to be any CCTV above him, so he put his phone away, and approached the wall.
Just then, a back door opened, and a man walked out into the churchyard.
Judging from the black suit, charcoal grey shirt, and white dog collar, he had to be the vicar. But as he was also a black man in excess of six-feet six tall who looked more like a professional basketball player, Jon wasn’t sure. Pretending to inspect the stonework, he contrived not to notice the man, until he was addressed by him. “Good afternoon sir, are you interested in my church? That stonework is actually medieval, but the building existed before that, in Saxon times”. He smiled, showing a row of strong white teeth that looked powerful enough to bite through the very stone he was describing.
Jon explained that he was a writer, a novelist researching a new book. He might well feature the church in it, so was doing some research. Shifting from foot to foot like an awkward schoolboy, he finally cracked and asked the vicar if there was a toilet inside he could use. He made a joke about drinking too much coffee before leaving the hotel.
“Of course, my friend. There is a toilet in the vestry. Many of the parishoners get taken short when my sermons go on too long you know”. He grinned, and opened the back door. “Follow me, I will show you where it is”.
Never had he known such relief, as his powerful stream felt as if it might well drill a hole in the porcelain. Tomorrow morning, he was definitely going to have to buy some kind of plastic container. As he exited the toilet, the vicar was waiting for him in the vestry. “A novelist you say? I might have read some of your books, what’s your genre?” Jon explained about the Inspector Johnson series, and gave the vicar his real name. The tall man shook his head. “No, not familiar with those”. Then he winked. “I much prefer horror, to be honest, but don’t tell anyone”.
Jon was hoping to say thank you and take his leave, but as they entered the main part of the church, the voice boomed behind him.
“Don’t rush off, I will show you around now you are inside.”