I found the note on the kitchen table:
The loo is clogged! You can't throw loo roll down the loo in China! The plumbing can't handle it. I've spent many an hour with the plunger. I'll talk to the landlady and get her to fix it straight away.
Until then, no shitting in the toilet!
So that was why the bathroom smelled so bad nowadays.
I maintained discipline for a few days, taking advantage of the facilities at work. There was a price to pay for that. The apartment took on the fresh aroma of a sewer. The bowl itself assumed the color of Jif Extra Creamy peanut butter.
One night we were eating takeout Chinese food. She had a vegetarian dish. I was pigging out on the shredded fish-flavored pork and steamed white rice.
At the end of the meal, it happened. My intestines were filled to capacity and had to unload immediately. Except our toilet wasn't functioning anymore.
Think man, think. I need somewhere to shit. Maybe I should take a risk and use the forbidden toilet. No, Elizabeth would never forgive me. I had to think like my hero.
What would MacGyver do?
I bolted out of my chair and ran into my room. I snatched up an old plastic shopping bag. This was a good start. I zoomed past a puzzled Elizabeth and grabbed a big red plastic bucket from under the sink.
"What are you doing?" Elizabeth asked.
"Drastic times call for drastic measures." I hugged the bucket to my chest and barricaded myself in the bathroom.
I played the MacGyver theme song in my head as I went to work. The plastic bag went into the bucket, lining it perfectly.
Now to assume the proper stance. I couldn't sit right on it, putting my full weight on the bucket. Otherwise, I'd get up and have the imprint of the bucket on my ass.
The new obstacle was balance. I had to summon Superman strength and hold myself up. I held the sides of the bucket in my kung-fu grip. I was as solid as a statue. This was going to work.
My hand slipped off and I almost fell down, nearly crapping all over the floor. Motherfucking gravity!
I righted msyelf, this time distributing some of the weight to my feet. My aim had to be pinpoint-accuarate. I only had one shot. I had to remember all my hours of playing Virtua Cop 2 in junior high.
There! My aim was perfect. Everything landed inside the bag, nothing fell outside. I cleaned up and tied the bag with a tight knot.
I avoided Elizabeth's eyes as I made my escape from the apartment. While I was out on the street, I had the horrible suspicion that everyone knew what I was carrying. I held the bag with two fingers and as far away from me from possible, like it was a bag of . . . a bag of . . . my own shit.
I tossed my shame into a trash can, damning it to Hell for good measure. Now to face Elizabeth.
I burst into the apartment. She opened her mouth to speak. Before she could say anything, I blurted, "I'm so sorry! I had to go! The pork made me do it!" My breathing was ragged. "Okay, what do you have to say?"
Uncomfortable silence. Finally,
"Could you spare another bag?" Elizabeth asked.