Goodman at an Outhouse, fiction by Brian Tucker

Out­side a dilap­i­dat­ed out­house a man by the name of Good­man wait­ed impa­tient­ly for his turn. He stood on his right toe with his left boot heel, try­ing to not think about the deep burn that was welling up from his loins. His fore­head burst into a frothy sweat. He knocked on the door’s drift­wood tex­ture and leaned against the wall for sup­port. Good­man regret­ted hav­ing that fourth cup of robust cof­fee at the greasy spoon.

Be out in a minute,” a husky voice shout­ed through the door’s cracks.

Hur­ry up,” Good­man whined.

Don’t rush art,” the voice replied.

He always did this. Always sat him­self up for fail­ure. Today, it was too much java. Last week it had been stay­ing up to until 2 am to catch the end of Mon­day Night Foot­ball. A month ago Good­man had even tried to run to the gro­cery for a quick dia­per fix, and he had for­got to take his baby with him. His neigh­bor, Mar­jorie, had been kind enough to call child pro­tec­tive ser­vices on him. It was the bad end of the stick each time. He blamed his trou­bles on bad par­ent­ing. It didn’t make the out­house open up but at least he could sleep through the late night house calls from col­lec­tion agen­cies hell-bent on mak­ing him pay up.

Good­man owed just under fifty grand to Wells Far­go and oth­ers. He remem­bered pur­chas­ing a fifty inch T.V. once, and it just cat­a­pult­ed from there. Glanc­ing over at his new GMC Sier­ra pick-up, he remem­bered that he had left his cig­a­rettes in the seat. Good­man light-stepped to the cab door and pried it open gen­tly. He fig­ured sit­ting down on the bench seat might ease his bladder’s pres­sure and so he scoot­ed up and in. It did take a lit­tle off. He unbut­toned the top but­ton of his blue jeans just to help out. Goodman’s rearview mir­ror showed yel­low­ish eyes glar­ing back at him. He leaned for­ward for clos­er inspec­tion. In doing this, he spot­ted blood shot red eyes to accom­pa­ny the over­whelm­ing yel­low. Just great. I’ve got con­junc­tivi­tis, too. The out­house door rocked slight­ly, and Good­man for­got about his bladder.

It’s about time,” he heard him­self say to the drift­wood door.

I’m not done yet,” the brusque voice retorted.

But, you’re close. I know you are. You just shift­ed. You’re close.”

Nope. Not even bud­dy. It might be best if you just go piss in the sticks.”

And Good­man kicked his new truck’s door. This fel­la is shit­ting bricks if he thinks I’m going out in those woods to take a leak. Good­man admit­ted that any dis­tance away from his truck could result in an agency track­ing him down and claim­ing it and oth­er things. He didn’t want to lose his Sier­ra; he didn’t want the cops to catch him piss­ing out in the open. His balls did hurt though. Five more min­utes and he would be just like he was on his family’s trip to St. Augus­tine. His fam­i­ly had only been five min­utes from their exit when a traf­fic jam appeared. The yel­low eyes had been present that day as well. Shiv­ers and a warm sweat. Good­man hat­ed the shiv­ers. Think­ing about them made beads of water drib­ble down his back. He turned on his car radio for moral support.

This week­end be sure to vis­it Ken­tucky Lake for all of your sum­mer mem­o­ries. The Army Corp of Engi­neers is giv­ing away fish­ing sup­plies to any fam­i­ly that wants to cast down at Spoon­bill Dam. Now is your chance angler. Have at it today!

And the annoy­ing mechan­i­cal voice went away and Ste­vie Nick’s Land­slide came on and Good­man shut off the radio, her raspy voice made him even more agi­tat­ed. Ste­vie Nicks. She was bet­ter with Fleet­wood Mac, Good­man thought. Then, he won­dered if the per­son in the out­house was a woman. Maybe he was a she. His mom had told him to nev­er just a book by its cov­er. Good­man nev­er fol­lowed one word of his mother’s advice. She was good at giv­ing him lec­tures and then par­ty­ing all week­end on the lake. Good­man was sure his nosy neigh­bor Mar­jorie had called the cops on his mom just as often as she had him. Maybe that was one of the few things he had in com­mon with his folks – Marjorie.

The wood­ed area and a cou­ple of adja­cent cow fields sur­round­ing the old out­house were very invit­ing. The sug­ar maples were show­ing off their col­ors for fall, and the cows were moo­ing in an open pond. All that water. Good­man dis­tract­ed him­self and looked at the leaves falling from poplars as a swift wind came through the grav­el road where his truck sat. The only oth­er vehi­cle around was a trac­tor that had steam radi­at­ing from the engine and a strong oil odor. Good­man couldn’t fig­ure it belonged to any­one oth­er than the per­son still squat­ting behind the door.

Been cut­ting some fes­cue today?” Good­man asked, hop­ing the ques­tion would bring about con­ver­sa­tion. He need­ed to keep his mind at bay.

Beg your par­don,” the voice answered, straining.

The Massey Fer­gu­son trac­tor with the bush hog. I couldn’t help but notice it was still steam­ing. You been cut­ting a field? It doesn’t look like that field below needs cut­ting yet,” Good­man added with a smile, proud of his farm­ing knowledge.

I can’t hear you in here,” the voice strained again. It sound­ed like some­thing rough, but Good­man couldn’t smell any­thing from inside his truck cab. The mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion prompt­ed him to take his full-to-burst­ing blad­der over to the door.

There’s a trac­tor out here, and I want­ed to know if you’d been cut­ting grass this morn­ing. It’s a great day for it but your field hard­ly needs it,” Good­man encouraged.

Lis­ten. Don’t you touch my trac­tor,” the voice snapped.

I wasn’t going to,” Good­man replied, shocked.

Good. It’s mine. I don’t need you pil­fer­ing around it. Stay away. It’s my tick­et out of here.”

Fine,” Good­man huffed. He was unsure of what the per­son had meant.

The irres­olute voice made Good­man ask again. “You almost fin­ished? I real­ly need in there.”

You still haven’t peed out there?”

I can’t.”
“Can’t why? Just unzip your pants and drain your lizard. Easy as pie. You’re a man aren’t you?”

The men­tion­ing of a lizard made Good­man think of a pet igua­na he had once. Iggy had been his name. Iggy had had no prob­lem going to the bath­room at will. He would pee all over his cage and com­pa­ny. Plus, he could also lose his tail when he want­ed to. Both were things that Good­man envied. Those damned col­lec­tion agen­cies would be sure to find him in such a small town as Seton, KY. It was best if he stayed close to cover.

Did you hear me? Not a man I know that can’t uri­nate in pub­lic. Or, ruin somebody’s life. So go on,” the voice urged.

Good­man built up his last bit of resolve and marched towards the trac­tor. He want­ed the androg­y­nous voice to reveal itself. When he was right up beside the tractor’s fend­er he said, “This sure is a nice tractor.”

Shuf­fling was heard in the out­house. Fol­lowed by a kick­ing sound against the door.

Keys are still in it. I’m going to take it for a spin,” and Good­man bit his fist wait­ing for the per­son to emerge.

I will stab the ever-lov­ing snot out of you, if you touch my daddy’s Massey,” the voice blis­tered, as a boot wal­loped the door open into the crisp fall air.

Out marched a teenage girl in hik­ing boots and a night­gown she had out­grew wield­ing a bowie knife with a brown leather han­dle. She twist­ed the knife in mid-air, mak­ing a stab­bing motion at Good­man. Her eyes pos­sessed a red tint reveal­ing the lack of sleep and the rea­son for her fury. Her cloth­ing hint­ed at her urgency and rea­son for leav­ing home. The too small night­gown was tat­tered at the edges. The shoes she had on were fluffy house shoes with mud caked on them.

Just a joke,” said Good­man, his hands shak­ing from the bewil­dered look on the young girl’s face.

Don’t joke about my trac­tor,” and she lunged out­ward with the knife, just miss­ing Goodman’s stomach.

Where’d you get a knife girl?” Good­man asked as he danced, and the urine raced down his pant leg. His eyes turned from yel­low to white and his blad­der emp­tied itself com­plete­ly onto his blue jeans.

You nev­er can trust a fel­low. Not a one. Espe­cial­ly in this for­sak­en town,” and she spat.

Lis­ten. I was only jok­ing about the knife. And now I’ve wet myself.”

Get out of here. The last thing I need is more atten­tion from men like you. My whole fam­i­ly already hates me. So scram chump,” and she stabbed at Good­man again.

I didn’t mean to scare you so,” he said. He noticed the fresh streaks of blood on her pale white legs; he was afraid to stare too long.

You like what you see creep?” she barked.

I didn’t mean to stare.”

Get out of here or I’ll cut you up. Cut your whole head off,” she said.

The girl marched back towards the out­house, red-drenched night­gown fol­low­ing, and slammed the door. She began to cry; her sob­bing star­tled Good­man more than the knife had.

Before his legs caught grav­el and pro­pelled him for­ward, he could’ve sworn he heard scream­ing. Scream­ing that came through the drift­wood boards and wasn’t the girl’s. High­er pitched than the girl’s and much more like a baby’s. Fol­lowed by a mud­dy thud and more sob­bing. Good­man ran with wet pants all the way to the dam where anglers were cast­ing their emp­ty nets onto tran­quil lake water.

Bri­an Tuck­er enjoys spend­ing sum­mers on Lake Cum­ber­land and writ­ing fic­tion about the ever-chang­ing South. He is a cur­rent stu­dent in EKU’s MFA Cre­ative Writ­ing pro­gram. Bri­an has been pub­lished in (or soon to be pub­lished in): South­ern Grit, Dew on the Kudzu, Tra­jec­to­ry Jour­nal, The Dead Mule, Gloom Cup­board, Burnt Bridge Press, and The Camel Saloon.

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3 Responses to Goodman at an Outhouse, fiction by Brian Tucker

  1. Brian Tucker says:

    Thanks, Michael! I appre­ci­ate the nice comments.

  2. Pingback: GENRE « FictionDaily

  3. Bri­an, good writ­ing. Thanks for the story.

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