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There is something to be said for graffiti found in toilet cubicles.  And I mean real toilet graffiti, not just the uninspired tags that rebellious teenagers scribble across walls.  Real graffiti that has absolutely no artistic merit (that stuff is saved for the bus interchanges), and is usually witty.  Mostly wryly-observed commentary about today’s social standards.

That, or toilet humour.  But it’s understandable.  

To tell you the truth, though, I think graffiti has been going downhill since the ’80s.  Oh, sure, street art has flourished, but it seems nowadays that people are quite happy to bitch about the world’s problems in public, instead of saving them for a quiet moment in the public loo with a permanent marker.

But, if we’re being serious here for a moment, it’s rather pathetic the obsession I have with graffiti in public toilets.  I’m a 20-something who thinks that toilet humour is funny.  I don’t actually vandalise myself (I’m much too respectable for that) but the witticisms that can be found on walls are often the only saviour for otherwise utterly unsavoury public toilets.  So much of a saviour in fact, that over the past decade I have found myself following graffiti movements and trends.  I bet you didn’t even know that there were trends within the toilet graffiti community.  Oh, but I know all about rules being OK, and Kilroy being here and the Pope being fucked, even if you don’t.  I understand graffiti etiquette and know when it’s appropriate to add to someone else’s joke.  

But because graffiti just isn’t as popular an art form as it used to be, I get quite excited whenever I see anything worth reading.  So you can imagine my joy this morning when I used the unisex toilets at the shopping centre while waiting for my bus, and saw a slogan just begging to be added to.  

God is dead.

As I said before, I’m not really a practicing graffiti artist myself.  I’m more of an observer of the art form’s movements.  But in this case, I just couldn’t help myself.  I whipped out my handy marker (hey, you can’t blame an enthusiast like myself.  At least I don’t carry rubber ears in my pocket) and, in as neat a font I could manage, added onto it.

Now the vandalism read:

God is dead.

Yes, she is.  

I was quite proud of myself, to tell you the truth.  Not that I’m anti-religious or anti-anti-atheist, but you have to admit: it was a clever rejoinder to whoever had originally written on the already defaced wall.  

I was chuffed.  

I left the cubicle and went about my day: catching the bus, filing at work, highlighting apparently important passages about my boss’ newest client.  But I found myself wondering about the graffiti in the toilet at the shops.  And, more importantly, who had written it.  

The toilets were unisex, and the hand distinctly masculine, so I imagined it had been a male.  Younger than me, by one or two years, with black hair and black eyes.  Probably still going through his post-adolescent idealistic phase, disillusioned with the world and both sarcastic and cynical.  And self-deprecating, of course.  Skin like moonlight, a strong jaw, impossibly handsome.  

I was in love already.  

Would this man ever go back to that cubicle?  Would he see my addition?  Could this be the start of a beautiful relationship?

During her cigarette break I tried to ask Charlotte what she thought about my chances of ever meeting my soul mate in a public toilet.  Charlotte just laughed, smoke pouring out of her mouth and fag dangling from between her fingers.

“You’re insane,” she said breathily; smoke now streaming out of her nostrils.  “You’re not going to meet your fucking soul mate in a fucking public toilet.  And because you both like graffiti?  You’re fucking insane.”  

Yeah, thanks Charlotte.  You’re a doll, boosting my self-esteem like that.  Not.  

“But, really,” I said, carefully picking at my nails, “The odds aren’t that bad.  I mean, maybe he goes there often?”

“Maybe he’s a she.  Maybe he’s a hermaphrodite.  Unisex toilets, hello?  You’re fucking mental.”  She finished this statement by blowing smoke into my face, which she knows I hate.  I hardly want to die because I’m a passive smoker.  

I tried not to take Charlotte’s comments on board, though, despite the honesty of what she was saying.  Sure, the honesty was kind of hard to hear through the cussing, but it was there.  I just didn’t want to hear it.  

I proceeded to think about the mystery artist for the rest of the day, but didn’t tell anyone else.  I didn’t want to be mocked again, and was quite happy obsessing in peace.  

By the next morning, I found myself heading to the shopping centre/bus interchange earlier than I usually would have.  Pathetic, I know.  

I went straight to the toilets, to the cubicle I had been in the day before.  Locking the door behind me I searched the wall for the addition I made, and let a grin break out across my face as I saw that the mystery artist had indeed been back to the scene of the crime.  And written more.  (Take that Charlotte: one point to me.)  

Now beneath my own hand it continued:

She is also black.  

Smiling, I pulled my pen out of my pocket, popped off the lid and raised my hand to write.  But then I paused.  I didn’t actually know what I could add to this, to continue our witty repertoire.  My blood ran cold.  How would he and I continue our illicit affair, if we couldn’t communicate using graffiti?  This was terrible.  Our relationship was doomed before it had even started.  Already I could feel my heart sinking, and I mourned the loss of my angst-ridden, chiselled younger man.  

I quickly stepped out of the cubicle, and walked to the taps.  Splashing my face with cold water, I stared into the mirror in front of me, trying to see eye-to-eye with myself.  I would just have to go home and think of something to add to our graffiti banter overnight.  And then in the morning I could come back, and all would be well in the world, and my mystery man and I would eventually find each other and realise that we were “meant to be.”  

It was totally possible.  

I steeled my shoulders.  I had another 24 hours to think of something so witty that whoever read it would fall instantly in love with me.  

So, of course, I went straight to Charlotte.  

“Charlotte,” I asked as we stood beside the coffee machine, “How does one go about making people fall in love with them?”  

Charlotte coughed, and the coffee machine spluttered.  One day she’s going to kill herself.  Charlotte that is, not the coffee machine.  The coffee machine does make brown sludge, but I don’t see how that’s going to kill it.

“Oh, you’re such a darl, darl,” she said, sipping from her Styrofoam cup.  “Just show some skin.”  

“Uh, right,” I said, “What if you have to make someone fall in love with you without seeing them face to face… And only being able to communicate with writing?”

“Just write like a slut.”  

“And how does one write like a slut?”

“Oh, you know. ‘Oh baby, I want you, I need you, take me now.’”

I wish I had remembered that Charlotte doesn’t give useful advice before I asked her for it.  

All night I hoped that a strike of genius would hit me while I slept.  Instead, in my dreams I met my graffiti artist, and he looked exactly like I imagined him.  In my dream he was completing his second degree (majoring in Philosophy), and his jeans were ripped at the knees.  He carried two motorcycle helmets under his arms, one which he gave to me, and we had proceeded to speed around town, admiring the scenery and sharing our deepest thoughts.  We were then attacked by vampires and had to seek refuge under the sea.  

Hey, it was a dream.  

But alas, despite all my hopes nothing had come to me graffiti-wise.  I still didn’t know what to write.  My future ended here.  A brief flicker of hope sputtered inside of me, when I thought that perhaps the mystery man had noticed my absence and left a kindly message enquiring after my health on the wall, but those expectations were dashed when I looked into the cubicle in the morning.  There was nothing extra added.  

For the third time in three days I locked the door behind me, and once more pulled out my permanent marker, wishing desperately that sudden inspiration would come.  It didn’t.  

I continued staring at the door, but was startled out of my contemplation when a heavy knock sounded at my cubicle’s door.  

“Could you please open up?” a harassed voice from the other side asked. “I really need to use this toilet.”  

I growled angrily.  The nerve of some people!  “Use the other toilets,” I called out desperately.  Couldn’t this person hear my woeful tone?  Didn’t they understand that my entire future hung in the balance?

“No, you see, it’s rather urgent,” the disembodied voice called again.  “I’m running late for work and I need to use this particular cubicle.”

I still had no idea what to write on the door in response to ‘she is also black.’  She is also black African American?  Indian?  Perhaps I could make some cruel and insensitive religious slur?  

“Please!” the voice on the other side called out.  It was clearly a he, and suddenly I felt like blaming him for my troubles.  Because he kept bothering me, I would never think of a clever message to write and so, ultimately, I would never meet my one true love.  The injustice of the world.  

Unlocking the bathroom door ferociously, and glaring at the man that stood in front of me, I scowled.  “What are you, some kind of sicko that has to use the same toilet everyday?  You need help?”  

He had pale freckled skin and white-blond hair, sticking up at odd angles.  His nose was snubbed, giving him a boyish appearance, despite the fact that he looked older than myself, by one or two years.  He didn’t seem particularly concerned by the insult I had just given him, and instead pushed distractedly past me and lent around the toilet door.  He peered for a second at the back of the door.

Time seemed to slow.  He was looking at the back of the door.  He was looking at the back of the door.  Why would he be doing that unless he was the one who had been writing that graffiti?  And now he was waiting for a written reply.  One that I had not given.  I couldn’t believe that my cynical raven-haired sex god had turned out to be this fair, elf-like boy.  Who wasn’t a younger man!  I mean, this guy carried a briefcase for goodness sake.  

For a second I was glad that I hadn’t replied.  This blonde boy was so not my type of man.  Even if he did share my love of vandalism and destruction of public property.  

As he looked at the back of the door, his shoulders sunk.  He turned slowly back to face me, and shot me a dejected gaze.  

“Sorry about that,” he mumbled, pushing past me again.  I watched him walk away, and suddenly my hand was reaching into my pocket of its own accord, pulling out my marker, and throwing it across the room, straight at the man’s head.  It hit with a slight slap, and the man spun around, eyebrows furrowed angrily.  He met my gaze, and then dropped it to the floor to see what I had thrown.

When he saw the pen, any protestations he had been about to utter died on his lips.  He looked back up at me, eyes wide.  I smiled broadly.  

What was I doing?

“Want to go discuss the role of graffiti on politics during the ’70s sometime?” I asked.  

He smiled back, and hesitated for only a second before answering.  “Okay.”  

There was a pause, and he looked at me strangely.  Seemingly embarrassed, he cleared his throat.  “You know,” he said, “I really thought you were going to be Swedish.  You’re not my usual type.”  

I just laughed.  He could say that for both of us.  It’s not like he was a tortured artist, or anything.  I’m sure that God was laughing too.  

Dead, black or female.
ONE-SHOT. Is it possible to meet your soul mate through graffiti in a public toilet?

--

Whoa! I got a feature in the August edition of Unknown Artists. Thanks to IfrozenspiritI This is like Chirstmas in July... Well, August, technically, but whatever.

--

I really wasn't sure which category to put this story in, but I did the best I could. I mean, it's obviously not 'cheap and tawdry' or 'married.' I considered 'teen' because I'm a teenager, but then decided it didn't fit the lives my characters were living. And, well, 'mature' just didn't work either. So 'general romantic fiction' it is! ^^

Constructive crit greatly appreciated. The flow is a bit crazy, and the beginning drags on too much and, well, I'm sure you can find lots of other things to say, too. ^^ There are also a lot of 'fragment' sentences, and I'm not sure of that makes it harder to read...
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:iconangelbooklover:
angelbooklover Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2013  Student General Artist
your writing is really amazing you should keep writing
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:iconnuvolasolitaria:
nuvolasolitaria Featured By Owner May 27, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
That was great!!! :heart: I literally LOL'ed :D Thanks for writing such a great piece~ :meow:
Reply
:iconiliveindreams777:
ILiveInDreams777 Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2012
This is the type of creativity and imagination only artists can have <3 I love this!
Reply
:iconlaora0403:
laora0403 Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2012
This is so cute! Aw, don't we all want to meet our special someone? Brilliant!! Keep up the good work :D
Reply
:iconjust0looking0at0art:
Just0looking0at0art Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2012
wow I LOVE YOUR STUFF!!! This made it feel like you were in my kitchen telling me this story like we were long lost friends. I just got so caught up in the story i forgot where i was, if i was on the computer or not, what i was doing, what un-godly (dead, black or female) it was or even how i was in the most uncomfortable position possible. plus this story is just so odd, so unique, you just have to love it!
Reply
:iconrussianbear0027:
Russianbear0027 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I really enjoyed reading this: your style fits the story well. Doesn't hurt that it's pretty funny in a dry kind of way. (Out of curiosity, do you actually follow graffiti the same way your character does?)
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:iconoviedomedina:
oviedomedina Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2011
Really original idea, and pretty funny as well.
Thank you.
Reply
:icondk206607:
dk206607 Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2011
Hi there,

My name is Danni King and I am a senior at Ohio University. My senior project this year is to create a new literary magazine, which I have titled "Shattered Illusions." One of the things this assignment entails is soliciting works from people to publish. I am a huge fan of your work and I would love it if you would let me publish this piece in my magazine. My magazine focuses on different points of view and interesting ways to look at the world. Unfortunately this magazine is an assignment and will be non-profit, so I cannot pay any of the authors or artists who submit work so I understand if you don't want me to include yours. I would need an answer by October 17th at the latest. If you are willing to let me use some of your works please email me a short author bio. If you dont wish to let me uses your works then it is no problem, just let me know as soon as possible. I love your work!

Danni
dk206607@ohio.edu
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:icontwilght-incantations:
twilght-incantations Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I loved this! Really a great read :)
Reply
:iconbecursed:
becursed Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2011  Student Writer
This is amazing. Very thought provoking.
Reply
:icondw817:
dw817 Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
No. But it's possible to meet your soul-mate after she's angry and swirls you in one. Truth.
Reply
:iconmangamad2k9:
Mangamad2K9 Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Incredible writing! I love it! :)
Reply
:iconcomfort-juice:
comfort-juice Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2010
That was AWESOME.

Thankyou for existing
Reply
:iconcharcoalrainbow:
CharcoalRainbow Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2010  Student Writer
I love it!!!
Reply
:iconwho-asked-you122:
who-asked-you122 Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2010
awesome story.
at first i thought you were a guy so when i got to the "...impossibly hansome. i was already in love" part, i freaked out a little. then i got it 1.5 seconds later.
hehehe
ur british?
in amaerica "fag" has a different meaning ^_^
i'll finish reading it later cuz my attention span shotens as i get older. seiously it does! in 5th grade i wrote ballads, 6 years later all i can manage is haiku. lmfao rotlf
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:icon12memories:
12memories Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2010   Artist
That was adorable
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:icontestosteroneahoy:
TestosteroneAhoy Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2009
Man, that was the most original thing I've read in years! It was funny, creative, and the descriptions were just vague enough to keep the focus on the story and not on the words, words, words. Two thumbs way up!
Reply
:iconfluisteren2bomen:
fluisteren2bomen Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2009
this is amazing. although i kind of wish it was longer i do love the ending:) :+fav:
Reply
:iconirunwithwolves:
irunwithwolves Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2009
WOW!!!!!!!!!!! that was freak'n hilarious!! im definatly gonna fav this one! :D
Reply
:iconmissmegp:
MissMegP Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2009  Student General Artist
sorry i didn't comment wayy back when i faved.The first time i started reading it i thought this was a blog or something then realized it was fiction!

I came back here to re-read it 'cause i loved it so much the first time and couldn't remember the whole thing.

just amazing really if you had a book i would so buy it!
cheers!
Reply
:iconcolorblindparrot:
colorblindparrot Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2009
this is amazing. i thought it was real. i really thought it was an autobiographical bit until i remembered that this was romantic FICTION. XD brilliant and very very funny. XD
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:iconcktagged:
ckTAGGED Featured By Owner May 27, 2009   Photographer
haha that was excellent!!
Reply
:iconviol3tbaud3laire:
Viol3tBaud3laire Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2009   Writer
xD

Too bad you can't find that kind of graffiti here.
Reply
:iconinfinitynoir:
infinitynoir Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2009
this is a really sweet story, made me smile and I thank you for that
Reply
:iconxnowornever:
xNowOrNever Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2008
The innocence of it all is wonderful. I like this a lot =)

xx
Reply
:iconmarylyn24:
marylyn24 Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2008
This made me smile. And it's so sad that people don't graffiti in toilets here. ): Which is why I love graffiti so much, I guess. It's a rarity. Oppressive vandalism fines! :shakefist:
Reply
:iconladymini-iago:
LadyMini-Iago Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2008
Have finally faved this piece, after having read it for a third time and loved it just as much as I did the first time! (I first came across this when before I had an account, and once after I created one; I'll admit to simply being too lazy to sign in that time, lol). I really loved it, from the concept to the writing style. Beautiful :).
Reply
:iconlonzdevil:
lonzdevil Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2008
that, was, amazing. im relly into literature so i had a look at this and wow.
Reply
:iconsalitis:
Salitis Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
I read this story a while back and really enjoyed it. Unfortunately I didn't favourite it like I should have, but yesterday I remembered it and remembered just how awersome it was. I read this around a year ago and it is still fresh in my mind. You are a very talented writer to accomplish that! This work is so well written and original!
=D
Reply
:iconetre-aux-anges-lune:
etre-aux-anges-lune Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2008
I love it so much! God, I have to develop an interest in graffiti!
Reply
:iconjadedragonsoul:
JadeDragonSoul Featured By Owner May 29, 2008
Wow, I just came across this and I'm glad I did! Nice work!
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:iconmissmidge:
missmidge Featured By Owner May 31, 2008
Thanks. =)
Reply
:iconuniquekk2:
uniquekk2 Featured By Owner May 8, 2008
wow. this is really cool. i dont normally read about graffiti and toilets, but you did a very good job!!!! : o)
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:iconsahkmet:
Sahkmet Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2008
My God...beautiful...
Reply
:iconvbabe1:
vbabe1 Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You came and read it! Yay! Isn't it wonderful? I told you! :glomp:
Reply
:iconsahkmet:
Sahkmet Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2008
:D Yup it is!
Reply
:iconshaoticmaster:
shaoticmaster Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2008
Wow, that is so incredibly convenient.

And im so young/stupid.
it hadn't occurred to me to graffiti "Killroy was Here" on public restrooms.

ugh! so good but so lame if i use now!
Reply
:icondethispartoflife:
dethispartoflife Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2008
I love this! i read it a while back and ive been looking for graffiti on cubical doors ever since, just to see what people had to say. :)
Reply
:iconmissmidge:
missmidge Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2008
Hehe, it's what I always do. Thanks. =)
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:iconleilalight:
leilaLIGHT Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2008
:rofl:
THIS IS AMAZING
I was just thinking about how people do "graffiti", some of which should really be considered art or poetry
Reply
:iconmissmidge:
missmidge Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2008
Thanks. =) That's so true! =P
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:iconpure-ash:
pure-ash Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2008
That's absolutley excellent! The bizzare flow makes it much more interesting to read.
Reply
:iconmissmidge:
missmidge Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2008
Thanks! (I didn't know I had a bizarre flow, but I'm glad it works! ^^;) =)
Reply
:iconthephoenix131:
thephoenix131 Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2008
I lack the skills to give you the critique you want, but I can still say that I loved this story :D :+fav:
Reply
:iconmissmidge:
missmidge Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2008
Hey, thanks for the comment and the fave. Nice comments are hugely appreciated, too. =)
Reply
:iconthephoenix131:
thephoenix131 Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2008
You're welcome :)
Reply
:iconsugar-babeh:
Sugar-Babeh Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2008
Are you an author? This story deserves to be in a book, it's absolutely wonderful, cute in some odd way. :)
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:iconmissmidge:
missmidge Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2008
Thanks for the praise. I aim to please Odd. =)
Reply
:icongot-goats:
got-goats Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2008
this is great. i love this story.
Reply
:iconmissmidge:
missmidge Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2008
Thanks! And for the fave, too. =)
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