Bathroom Murder

Obviously everyone has their own tastes and is free to do whatever they wish their own bathroom, but Sheila was having a devil of a time understanding how anyone could have intentionally come up with the disaster she was staring at. As a realtor you see some things, some really awful things, and your job is to put a positive spin on it or find a way to get your client to overlook it.

Sheila had experience with all of this and considered herself an expert, not as a result of inflated ego but because she truly had a knack with people, probably the little bit of psychology she took at the local community college before deciding she didn’t want to listen to people bitch and moan all day for a living. And wasn’t that just ironic, people don’t seem to understand that 90% of her job is listening to clients bitch and moan, and the remaining 10% is taken up by driving, paperwork, and cleaning…so much cleaning.

But this…there was no way to “clean” this into ignorable, there was no way to spin this into positive, unless it was to encourage the clients with a bit more money that this would be the perfect location for the beginning of their remodel. Ugh.

The thing was, it wasn’t dirty. This was not the toilet out of Trainspotting. Sheila would not refuse to use the bathroom if she had an urgent need to go. No, it wasn’t that the bathroom filled you with terror over what disease you might contract just by breathing within it. It was entirely…functional…just not, practical…or attractive.

Sheila’s friend, Megan, was an interior designer, a friendship born when they were in grade school and their value to each other was purely altruistic. They were not so much alike other than being female, of the same age, and in the same third grade class. At that age that’s all it really takes though. They had an instant friendship born of Barbie dolls and pets and the fact that their mothers allowed them to take turns sleeping over at each others houses on weekends.

Megan had a dramatic way of seeing things, a perfect trait for an interior designer, one her clients appreciated. It was more than just flair, although Megan had no shortage of flair, it was a boldness and a surety that would have made her an excellent actress if she wasn’t so content to remain where she was.

Sheila knew she’d have to bring Megan into this house, and into this bathroom. Clearly her wealthier clients would want to do something about it immediately, and she needed some help on how to spin it for the ones who couldn’t afford to.

She grabbed her phone from her back pocket and when it went to voice mail she left the only message she could think to, “Megan? It’s me. I’m going to need your help. Call me or come by…I’ll be here for at least an hour,” and she left the address.

While she waited Sheila proceeded through the rest of the house. She took some pictures and some videos, even though she wasn’t the sellers agent, she knew her buyers well and some of them would request these things. She made notes on her phone, a habit she’d picked up early on, things that were quaint or charming or especially attractive about a property, things that she’d have to remember to gloss over or to ignore entirely if minor enough that their omission wouldn’t be seen as a fault with her as an agent.

Sheila had just finished sending emails with attachments to some of her buyers when she heard the front door opening and Megan calling, “I’m heeeeere!” in a sing-song.

“Oh, thank god!” Sheila said as she walked from the kitchen and embraced her friend. “Thank you for this,” she said, taking the proffered coffee cup and looking Megan directly in the eyes. “I need you to…I just don’t know how to…follow me,” she ended lamely as she walked her friend through the living room, down a hallway, and into the master bedroom. “It’s in there,” she said, pointing through the doorway that led to the bathroom.

Megan smiled, took a deep breath bracing for the unknown, and walked through into the bathroom. She didn’t get far before she shouted, “my god, it’s a bathroom murder!” the word murder echoing off the tiles.

This #writethirtyminutes session was prompted very loosely from “A Year of Writing Prompts” by Writer’s Digest, available here

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