Oh yes! We absolutely have a series on bathroom reading! So long as it's taking place behind the closed (or open, if that's the way you swing) bathroom door, we want to know what it is. It can be a book, the back of the shampoo bottle, the newspaper, or Twitter on your cell phone - whatever helps you pass the time...
Today, Paul Beckman takes it to the toilet. Paul’s published books are: Kiss Kiss (Truth Serum Press), Peek (Big Table Publishing), Come! Meet My Family and Other Stories (Weighted Anchor Press) Chapbooks: Maybe I Ought to Sit in a Dark Room for a While (Ink, Sweat, and Tears) 21 Stories (Web Del Sol), and a novella, Lovers and Other Mean People (Sugar Mule Press). He has over 400 stories published in print, online, and via audio in the following magazines among others: Pank, Necessary Fiction, Playboy, New Flash Fiction Review, Pure Slush, Brilliant Flash Fiction, Thrice Fiction, Fictive Dream, Connecticut Review. Literary Orphans, 100 Word Story, Spelk Fiction, Molotov Cocktail, Jellyfish Review, Digging Through the Fat, Litro, and Red Fez. Paul has judged flash fiction contest for Brilliant Flash Fiction, and Cahoodaloodaling and short story financial award grants for the state of New Jersey. And he has had his stories short-listed two times for LISP London Independent Story Prize, Was one of the winners of the Best Small Fictions 2016, Nominated BSF 2019, Won the 2016 Editor’s Prize for fiction for the Southeast Review, and had a story selected for the Norton Anthology of Micro-fiction 2019.
Paul lives in CT. with his wife, Sandra and he curates the FBomb NY flash fiction reading series monthly at KGB’s Red Room in New York’s lower east side.
Toilet Training at the Beckman’s
It started out a number of years ago when I was sitting on the throne and I realized I had a note in my pocket that I wrote earlier in the day with a story idea. I didn’t remember what it was about so I read it again, liked it and took my pen from the same shirt pocket and expanded on the note. When I finished my business in the bathroom I went to my office and typed up that story.
Weeks passed and I stopped and picked up the mail at the end of my driveway and had the urge to go so I jumped in the car, drove into the garage and ran to the bathroom. While I was sitting there I looked through the mail and then started to peruse that weeks’ Time Magazine. When I left the bathroom I left the magazine propped up against the wall.
Then I got a book in the mail and I took it in with me to read the dust jacket and then I was going to put it on my nightstand but it didn’t make it there.
Within a couple of months the books multiplied and I was stacking them in piles to read like at my nightstand and like at the end table in the living room.
My wife took a stand and said she wasn’t going to use that bathroom until I took the books out-- she’d use the guest bathroom and I’d better not go in there at all. I told her I didn’t know how all the books and magazines were piling up and I think, and she found this hard to believe, that they were copulating in there while we were sleeping and that’s why the books were multiplying.
I think if I alphabetize them they won’t look so messy but every time I start to do that I start another book. Now most have bookmarks and the stack of Time Magazines are each folded to an article I want to read. I’ve come to accept me for who I am but I wish my wife would stop brining company into the bathroom so they can laugh at me. No one realizes the pressured I’m under with all those books and magazines calling to me. I may have to start sneaking into the guest bathroom.