A Feudal Tale of Toilet Troubles

I am urinating in front of the ghost of my grandmother.

Sou ka. Now that it is out there, let us start at the beginning.

My name is Takiwaza Takeda, and I am a samurai in the service of my lord Oda Nobunaga. Earlier tonight, I was sharing sake with my comrades at a nearby inn, after the most glorious battle of Okehazama. We had earned awe and respect on behalf of our master. We were in high spirits. So we drank until the eerie twilight.

Afterwards, pleasantly drunk and merry, we returned to Azuchi Castle. On the way, as my fellow samurai were laughing and joking aloud, I found myself tuning out of my surroundings in my drunkenness. That was when I realized I needed to relieve myself.

As soon as the thought struck, my prostate started to sing and throb like a Buddhist bell, and I felt I could hold it no longer. My knees buckled. Suddenly, the sake’s warmth dissipated from my body and my thin kimono was of no use against the wind. I felt every flimsy gale press down onto my sensitive nether regions.

I bid farewell and apologized to the men and I rushed to a nearby river, as quickly as my legs allowed. Time stretched on as I walked, and the minutes became hours. Finally, I saw it, rushing forth in the early morning like a stream of concentrated light, of grace. The sweet sound of the running water almost made my urine run down in assent.

When I saw the woman, it was almost too late. My right hand was moving towards my uwa-obi—my belt, my prostate was ready to let go, and then I glimpsed the most exquisite of creatures. She was bowed down, and seemed to be washing clothes in the stream. Her very figure, pale as a crane on a winter’s day, was haloed by the fast-emerging sun. She sat up and turned towards me and I stepped back in horror.

The woman bore a striking resemblance to my late grandmother, the way she was depicted in paintings all over my childhood home. But it cannot be, I thought. Obaasan has been dead these twenty years. 

I realized the woman was not looking at me, but rather only in my direction. She seemed to be looking at nothing in particular. I took the opportunity to wade into the bushes and wait for her departure.

I started pacing around, with my legs still in a knot. I ground the heels of my palms into my eyes, pinched myself, all to get my mind off my predicament. My lower belly started to ache. I kept stealing furtive, hopeful glances toward the river, but the woman would not move.

At last, I braved a final look and the woman was gone. I had heard no footsteps, no rustling of branches except for my own movements. She had simply disappeared. I was too relieved for it to matter.

Alone at last, I unclothed and let the stream pour forth into the water. And a stream it was, rivaling the river itself for force and volume. I felt myself slowly empty and bliss came over me like a silky veil, like shamanic mushrooms.

I stood there, fallus in hand, for several minutes still. The stream eventually became a trickle. I felt a cold hand encircle my exposed throat.

Subarashi, subarashi. . .Wonderful, wonderful”, a sweet, feminine voice said from behind me. “I have not seen a stream like that for twenty years. Might you be related to Takizawa Takeo, my husband?”

My breath caught in my throat at the mention of my grandfather’s name. I looked behind me, filled with horror and apprehension. 

I was alone again.

Andrei Sisman is a fiction author and memoirist from Bucharest, Romania. He is currently wading through a forest of banalities in search of the perfect Tweet. His stories have appeared in White Cat Publications and short-story.me. This is his first comedic piece. Andrei can be found on Twitter at @sisman_andrew.

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