Thursday, February 01, 2007


The haunted Mexican shithouse

Mexico! Home of the sombrero, one of the world’s highest murder rates, and the Dirty Sanchez. The little lady and I went there recently on holiday, and what follows is an account of a terrifying supernatural experience I had during the trip. At the end of the account is a 'comments' section where you can post messages of astonishment and sympathy, as well as the usual abuse and attempts at character assassination I’ve come to expect since I first exposed my then young and unblemished soul to the world of the blog.

Vampirella and I were having dinner one evening in a cantina in P-- , a small village near Oaxaca. I’d bought myself a poncho and was practising being Clint Eastwood in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, though an English and therefore more awkward version. By this I mean I was leaning back in my chair with narrowed eyes, rolling a toothpick between my front teeth. Damn near swallowed the blasted thing when I hiccupped.

The atmosphere was perfect. The place was cramped, smoky, slightly grimy and packed with evil-looking locals with Zapata moustaches. A tone-deaf mariachi strolled between the tables, strumming aggressive-sounding love ditties and singing with much rolling of the tongue. He lingered leeringly over Vampirella, which I didn’t like. She’d obviously turned his head. She does that a lot. I mean it literally: she’s a physiotherapist and a lot of her work involves rehabilitating people’s neck muscles after they’ve been immobilised after accidents.

(I don’t mean to impugn the good name of Mexican musicians. Another night we were in a bar which featured a house band by the excellent name of Las Cucarachas. They did some truly wonderful covers of an extremely odd range of songs including Van Halen’s Jump and Every Day Is Like Sunday by The Smiths.)

The first round of frozen margharitas arrived. At the table with us, for reasons of space, was a bizarre couple called Nick and Shelley, except she was Nick and he was Shelley. Shelley was a braying, toothy fool from London who did something or other in computers but seemed to be stuck in an eternal gap year at the age of 35. He liked to laugh halitotically and shout fark OFF! in response to everything anyone said to him. Nick was a ruddy, rawboned Australian with a faint moustache and a large Adam’s apple that made me wonder if she’d started life with one more Y chromosome than she’d now allow for. She howled like some Lovecraftian being at every joke Shelley cracked. (The jokes were myriad. The only good one was this:

What do you get if you cross a Jehovah’s Witness with an atheist?
Someone who goes from door to door for no reason.)

I can’t believe I just used the word myriad. Anyway: the food was served, together with beer, and Nick and Shelley became a little more bearable, or at least ignorable. I had delicious enchiladas with succulent chicken, rice, tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream, guacamole and salsa, with side dishes of green and red sliced jalapeno peppers hot enough to burn away your hard palate and expose your nasal cavity, and a big bowl of nachos slathered with melted cheese. Vampirella had the poncey vegetarian rabbit food she likes.

It was a while after the food had been consumed that I began to hear nature’s siren song. Now, it’s well known that a trip to Mehico isn’t complete without a good dose of rear-end action, and before the perverts among you get all hot and bothered I’m not talking about that. I mean the splatters, the tears of the brown-eyed monster, the fudge-tunnel express. But I wasn’t yet to experience that. (That came a few days later when I found myself atop a cold porcelain throne in a hotel room, my screams rending the night.) No, I was rocking back in my chair when I became aware of the effects of two margharitas and four bottles of Corona filtered through my kidneys. I excused myself and picked my way over to the restroom at the back.

The room was tiny, with a sloping ceiling that made it impossible to stand upright at the correct distance from the toilet. The walls were papered with pages from Playboy magazine, and I don’t mean the articles about cars or sports. The toilet itself was a foul, stinking hole. I began to feel queasy. I have no Scots or Irish in me and therefore can’t hold my drink very well (though sheep I have no problem holding, look you). Adopting an awkward, splay-legged posture with my back arched, I managed to stand in front of the bowl without bashing my head on the slope of the ceiling. I began to do the necessary.

After what seemed like an age, the flow dried up. I felt light-headed. There’s a phenomenon known as micturition syncope in which dizziness and sometimes fainting accompany the passing of urine, because of a complicated series of hormonal releases. It must have been this I was experiencing; it certainly wasn’t anything to do with the three martinis and bottle of Zinfandel I’d necked. My gaze hovered over the toilet until I spotted what I was looking for. The flushing lever, as is usually the case in toilets on the American continent, was low down, low enough that it could be pressed down with one’s foot. This pleased me. I had no desire to touch any part of that dirty bog with any uncovered part of me. It pleased me so much I paused for a few seconds, smiling. Then I raised my left foot while bending my right knee for balance, and lowered the foot on to the flusher. And it was then it happened, O my brothers and sisters, something so awesome that dread Cthulhu himself would have quailed before the majestic horror of it.

The toilet moved.

It swung slowly, almost ethereally, to the left so that my foot, descending on the flushing lever, planted itself in the bowl. I reacted to the sensation around my ankle – what was shocking was not that it was cold, rather that it was unpleasantly warm – by jerking my foot up again; in the process I lost my balance and banged my head on the sloping ceiling. Miss November clearly had implants but even so I hadn’t expected her bosom to be quite so hard. It was only my terror of landing with my head down the bowl that kept me upright enough to stumble out of the shithouse. I didn’t even bother to close the door after me – the toilet might be following me and I didn’t want to lose precious time.

Vampirella didn’t remark on my piss-sodden foot and ankle – I had just been to a men’s restroom, after all - but the apparently bleeding graze on my forehead did bother her. ‘I told you you shouldn’t have had that fourth Sambucca,’ she chided. I was about to protest that my physical state had nothing to do with inebriation and everything to do with a haunted, malevolent toilet, but I thought better of it. Why should she believe me? Why should any of you? The only person I’ve ever heard of who seems to have had a similar experience is Shane McGowan.

Anyway, despite all this, Mexico’s a great place. Go there. But catheterise yourself first.

You have my sympathy sir. A similar thing happened to me when I puked into my dropped kecks instead of the bowl. I wasn't in Mexico though. I was in St.Helens, the atmosphere is much the same although there are less scousers in Mexico.
Wow. Once I had a very quick debate with myself about where I'd puke as I sat on the toilet with a nasty case of the shits... way too much to drink the night before.

Luckily the feeling passed and I never had to decide.
Eddie: you have my sympathy, sir, for having been to St Helens.

Debra: in such instances I recommend the sink, or, if there is none available, one's cupped hands.
I've often sat doon and thought about what you'd get up to in a restroom stall and its not what I expected, next time wash yer hands, what are ya Welsh?
I'm determined to make this the longest thread ever on this site, even though hardly anyone has bothered to comment. I spent a long time composing this, and the original experience traumatised me profoundly. The fact that none of my regulars (apart from, honourably, Mr Knudsen - and I salute you, sir, most rampantly) has commented just spurs me on.

So come on, you arseholes. If you're sorry enough to read such old posts as this one, then please say so, and I'll respond in probably an abusive manner and go and dredge through your own archives.
I'm still waiting, creeps.
Arseholes! Shits!
Look, can't you just say something?
I'm really disappointed in you all. I might have to scrap your links.
I think I might take this opportunity to interview myself.

Foot Eater: Hello, Foot Eater, and welcome to this interview. How are you?
Bloody hell, Foot Eater, you're not ignoring me too, are you?
No, I'm just giving you a taste of your own medicine. You take so long to post or to respond to the comments on your blog that I've decided to stick it to you. Does it hurt?
Fuck off, Foot Eater.
Fuck off, Foot Eater

Oh, very nice. Very clever. You think you can come all El Barbudo on my arse? We'll see. One day someone else will comment and this whole bullshit thing will be blown out of the water.
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