It’s true; everything Susan and I have written together invariably features a bathroom scene. It is the most versatile of locations, and it doesn’t seem to matter whether our heroine is twelve or twenty-nine, sooner or later, she’ll have to go. Not that she actually ever “goes,” although in Outbid by the Boss, we gave Samantha Redfern a break because…
“She really was bursting for a pee. And a little privacy because this, she fumed as she locked the cubicle door behind her, was probably her last chance for either.”
And it was. Sam never did get another chance to relieve herself in the entire book, at least not on the page. But she did get time for a frantic call to her friend Mia while her boss waited impatiently to whisk her away to his ancestral home where they, of course, fell in love.
Not all bathroom scenes end that way. From films to novels and series television, characters surreptitiously hook up with one another in public toilets, hide from villains in the one room in the house with the smallest window, and often meet their end in the most gruesome ways. Nonetheless, taking refuge in the ladies is a time-honoured tactic.
It’s also useful if you don’t have an office in downtown Toronto. We collated our scripts in a seldom-used ladies’ room at the Delta Chelsea. Worked a treat!
In Undone by the Star, our next Stephanie Browning Romance, head concierge Alexis Kirkwood takes a ribbing from her fellow co-worker at London’s exclusive Sadler Hotel (we do like posh hotels!) after a close encounter with a new guest…who just happens to be a drop-dead gorgeous movie star.
“What exactly did you hear…not that I’m interested.” Alex touched up her lips, her face reflecting studied nonchalance.
“Well…” said Kate, “…according to my sources…first, Marc Daniels tricks you into personally escorting him to his suite, and then, mere moments later, Bert wanders out of the loo to find Mister Daniels undressing you, with his teeth, ripping the teeny tiny buttons off your shirt while you pretend to fight him off…”
“Which you, of course, totally believe!”
“Are you kidding me! What woman in her right mind would fight him off?”
“Actually, I was swooning with ecstasy!” drawled Alex.
“Really?” Kate’s eyes threatened to pop out of her head.
“…If anyone got caught in the act, it was Bert. You should have seen him. Just as I was telling Marc there was a problem with the toilet, it flushes, and out comes Bert hoisting up the back of his pants!”
“And you’re blushing because….”
And that, gentle readers, is where we’ll leave it for now because, in all honesty the way this story is going, we might get a little more graphic before we’re done.
If we were still writing juvenile mysteries for Scholastic, it would be Alex’s arch enemy “perched on the facilities like a vulture with cramps” straining to overhear what nasty bit of gossip was swirling about the hotel. In The Mad Hacker, our 12-year-old super sleuth Liz Elliot, who shares the stage with best friend Amber Mitchell, finds herself trapped when the evil Jane Dobbs waxes on about one of their friends to another girl.
“I want to know where Amber and Liz are. The police wouldn’t have sent for Jonathan if they’d been at lunch. They’re up to something.”
“Probably,” replied Karen. ‘They usually are. But I bet they won’t tell you.”
“Come on,” said Jane. “Let’s go.”
“Just a minute. I have to go to the washroom.”
Liz lost her balance and almost fell into the toilet. The door swung open, and there she was, perched on the facilities like a vulture with cramps.
The colour drained from Karen’s face.
Liz grabbed some toilet paper and shoved it at her.
Karen stared at her. “I think I’ll go later,” she called to Jane.
“What’s the matter?” Jane asked. “Toilet backed up again? This school is so gross.”
“You can say that again.” Karen grinned at Liz and shut the door.”
On a grown-up note…whenever Susan and I are out and about and have to use the facilities, we never, ever sit down! We squat! It’s good for the glutes!