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Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction

The following is a piece of writing submitted by Douglas on September 20, 2008

A Clogged Drain

There was a clog in my shower drain. Probably it had something to do with the fact that I'm now forty years old and my hair slides out of my scalp with greater determination than it used to when I was twenty, or even thirty. That hair had to go somewhere, and the drain was the obvious destination.

At first it was a minor nuisance (the clog, I mean, not the hair loss). The water would drain slowly, that's all. I'll deal with it later, I thought. Those famous last words.

Then one day it simply stopped draining. I opened the cabinet and pulled out the drain cleaner. Drano to the rescue! After reading the instructions, I poured a large quantity into the standing water, left the bathroom, and waited for the heavy-duty chemicals to do their magic.

I returned later to find that nothing seemed to have changed. Drano, I thought, a bit peeved, not such a miracle worker after all, are you?

But, I had nothing better to try, so I dumped another helping of chemicals into the bathtub's gaping mouth.

Still nothing.

Later, as I was washing my hands, I was surprised to hear a soft gurgling noise emanating from the bathroom sink.

Seconds later, the sink also began filling with water.

This can't be good, I thought, followed by, Perhaps it would be a good idea not to flush the toilet, either.

I turned off the faucet and watched as the water swirled and spun about, and then, almost imperceptibly, began draining.

I scratched my head.

I picked up the bottle of Drano and dumped the remainder - which wasn't very much - into the sink. There was a brief swish and bubbling, and then a loud gurgle, and like a mad whirlpool, the sink's contents flushed down the drain.

Ahh. Such relief.

Then, like orchestral instruments playing a fugue, there was an echoing gurgle coming from the bathtub. I peeked behind the shower's sliding glass door, just in time to see the most repulsive black and brown fountain of soap scum, sludge, hair, and other unknown filth burst, like a mountain spring, out of my bathtub drain.

As I spent the next fifteen or twenty minutes scrubbing my bathtub until it sparkled, it occurred to me that people are a bit like bathroom appliances. We look so nice, on the surface, but sometimes the right stimulus, in just the right place, results in the most horrific deluge of filth.

Like it or not, we can't blame the stimulus. The thing is, the filth was hiding under there the whole time.

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