by Linda Rawlings
Linda Rawlings lives in Toronto. She received
a Certificate in Creative Writing from the
University of Toronto School of Continuing
Studies in June 2009, earning  Honors for her
collection of short stories.  Her short story
“Ties” was recently published in the December
2009 issue of Niagara Moments.
Gemini Magazine
“Joe, the toilet seat is up again.
Can’t you remember to put it
down when you’re done?”


“Honestly, Joe. I hardly ask
anything from you.”


“Do you know how gross it is in
the middle of the night? My ass
gets soaked and I can’t get back
to sleep.”


“You don’t care about me do you?”


“I have half a mind to phone your
mother and ask her if you she
brought you up in a barn.”


“You don’t think I will?”


She pulled her phone from her
purse, pressed in some numbers
with a white-tipped fingernail,
glaring at him sprawled on the
bed, the television remote in his

“Susan? Hi. It’s me, Sherri Lee.
Got a minute?”

Joe turned the volume up on the
television. The noise of the
football game filled the bedroom.

“Did you have a hard time toilet
training Joe? Was it difficult for
him to grasp the concept?”

Joe farted.

“Oh? Well, did someone happen to
drop him on his head when he was
a baby?”

Joe waved his sports magazine in
her direction.

“Well, he can’t seem to do
anything I ask. And he certainly
can’t do anything right. Was he
held back in school at all?”

Joe quietly put his beer can on the
bedside table and got off the bed.
He shoved the remote into his
pocket and walked down the
hallway to the basement door.
Dim light from the bare bulb in the
ceiling encircled the black toolbox  
on his work bench. Opening the
box, he calmly rummaged through
his tools, found his ball peen
hammer and slowly made his way
back up the stairs.  

At the top of the stairs he paused.
Her muted whining went on and
on as he made his way down the

With the accuracy of an expert
carpenter, he drove the head of
the hammer again and again, first
on one side, then switching to the
other. He held on tightly to the
wet, slippery curve. The last blow
sent the toilet seat to the floor,
leaving the porcelain bowl a
gaping white hole. Joe picked the
toilet seat off the floor, walked
into the bedroom and tossed it
onto her pillow.

“Look,” he said, picking up his
beer can. “I did it right.”