What Scares You?–Tales of Pee Corner

When I was about nine, my brother Joe and I had a bedroom in the upstairs of our house. The bathroom way wayyyyy downstairs, through the livingroom, eerily lit from the street lamp, then down a dark hallway where you had to make a quick left past the cellar staircase (where zombies hid) and a quick right (where a monster might be waiting to eat and digest you). In our early childhood we bypassed this dangerous trek completely and urinated in the farthest corner of our room. We called it Pee Corner. My mother finally noticed when the wood siding started to discolor and buckle. She used two full cans of Lysol, whose foul-smelling mist magically undid any disgusting thing me and my brother did. Needless to say, Pee Corner was no longer viable.

So we pished in the closet. But the moth-ball smell couldn’t hide out secret for long, and we were pointedly told in no uncertain terms that future failure to use the proper receptacle for our “business” would result in a consequence that would make it hard for us to sit down for awhile. So now that our options were diminished, we had to find a way to navigate the various horrors that awaited our midnight trips to the crapper. Sometimes we accompanied each other, one sleepily standing guard outside the bathroom door while the other took a leak. Sometimes we woke our younger brother (or our autistic sister if she were nearby), ready to sacrifice either of them at a moment’s notice if faced with a demon, ax murderer or wraith. I can’t speak for my brother, but my barely formed plan consisted of hurling a younger sibling toward the source of my nightmares, then tare-assing in the other direction. There is no room for loyalty when one’s life is on the line.

Such was my predicament when I felt the urge one rueful night. Joe was out cold. Kevin was downstairs somewhere because he was sick with a fever and needed to be closer to my parents. My sister was down in her room. My youngest brother had yet to be born. Me and my full bladder were on our own. I lay there in bed for what seemed like hours, squeezing my legs to my chest and praying I would go back to sleep and wet the bed instead. No such luck. Pure necessity held sway over fear and I felt myself rising from bed and heading toward the door. The vestibule at the top of the stairs was pure darkness. I did a quick count in my head and found there were at least six places a murderer could be laying in wait: he had hidden beneath my bed and was now behind me, he was in the crawl space and was now behind me, he was in the linen closet and would momentarily be leaping out on top of my head, he was in the bedroom across the hall and would stab me with his cleaver through the door, he was on the downstairs staircase and was waiting for me to take my first step before pouncing and (most primarily on my mind) he had powers of transubstantiation and would appear, fanged and bloody, while I was blinking.

I tried not to blink. I crept down the steps methodically, lest my haste worsen whatever punishment was surely in store for me. I reached the portion of the stairs that opened up to the livingroom and peeked through the spaces in the bannister. A sickly yellow light spilled in through the front window, making everything unfocused and confusing. After a few seconds I could just about make out the sofa, and the wall of mirrors behind it (it was the 70s and mirrored walls were all the rage– “it makes the room look twice as big!”, and three times more gauche!). I took another step, my eyes peeled for anything suspicious. The branches of the tree in our front yard were swaying gently in the wind, casting a shadow of lightly waving leaves on the rug. My mind could accept this as normal. But then! I thought I saw something move on the couch. I froze, all my attention on the spot of movement. I was like a cat. If a cat were wearing too-tight Spider -Man pajama pants that he was about to wet.

There was another barely perceptible movement, followed immediately by a slow moan. This was it. Something was down there. This was a flight or fight situation. All my nerves were alert as my adrenal glands began pumping panic through my bloodstream. This was the moment I’d been waiting for all of my nine short years. I was ready to take on my fears headlong. No one would ever keep me from whizzing in my own bathroom again!

I screamed like a girl and ran down the remaining stairs and through the hallway to my parents room. The lights went on. What’s the matter? I couldn’t speak through gulps of pure terror. “Something…something…something out there! On the couch!” No sooner had I alerted my parents to the certain death that awaited us all then there was another piercing scream, followed by clamoring footsteps leading toward the bedroom. My eyes widened. It got closer. I braced myself. Would death come quickly, or would it be a lingering, painful process.

My younger brother Kevin flew into the room like he’d been shot out of a cannon. Good, I’d have something to throw at the murderer. But wait, my parents were laughing! Is this the madness that attends horror when one becomes overwhelmed by it? No. Kevin, in his illness, had fallen asleep on the couch. It was his moaning I had heard, his barely perceptible movement. My scream startled him awake, confirming his own long-held fear that something evil would come in through the front door, ready to bring a violent end to his life. My girlie scream had scared him thoroughly witless.

I began to breath a little easier, slowly coming to the conclusion that I would live through the night somehow. But then! Another scream! Oh no, aren’t all the screamers already here? Another parade of footsteps leading to my parents bedroom. This was the big one. I wondered if the monster would be satiated after eating my parents first.

It was Joe. The first scream had been incorporated into his nightmare about a thief who was trying to break into our house. The second scream woke him, and convinced him beyond a doubt that we were indeed being robbed. He stumbled down the stairs to where the wall ended and the bannister began, leaving him wide open for the thief’s attack of…thrown tomatoes (hey, it was his dream). He screamed then, the third scream in this sorry affair, and tried to avoid the tomato bombardment all the way into my parents’ room.

There we all were when Joe arrived, heaving and crying. We clued him into the misunderstanding, and my parents somehow convinced him that no one was pelting vegetables at him. Kevin was allowed to sleep in my parents’ room, while Joe and I were led back upstairs and tucked back into our beds. All was as it should be.

Except I still had to go to the bathroom…

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  1. Sorry this one’s late–satellite internet stinks in a snowstorm.

    • Joe
    • February 2nd, 2011

    OH my God, I’m still crying from laughing so hard. Yes, I am “THE” Joe, with the memories now awakened in my mind, after years of burying this true nightmare deep down inside, of that fateful night of the “robber throwing tomatoes” at me.
    Thank you Brian. Now, I think I will go out and get a beer and throw away my almost 8 years of sobriety over your heartlessly true, detailed description of how we all really felt that night. You couldn’t have described it better. It’s as if you were in my head and copied and pasted all the horrifying feelings I had of going alllllll the wayyyyy downstairs to pee at night. Oh, and I thought we would take “pee corner” to our graves with us. Nah, me and cousin Mike laugh about it all the time. He thinks we’re as sick and disgusting as everyone else who reads this will.
    Thanks dear brother.

  2. Just keepin’ it real, bro. Look up “Sister Mercedes and the Temple of Doom” if you want another blast from the past.

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