Man Wanted

Shit! It’s stuck. No matter how hard I push, the door doesn’t move an inch. “Perfect, it’s not like I had something better to do right now!” I groan, slapping the sturdy barrier between freedom and this smelly prison. I should’ve known there was something suspicious about this toilet since there was no queue. Everyone who’s ever had to pee knows women cannot just stroll into an empty toilet like this, without waiting in line for what seems like an eternity, while squeezing their legs together hoping their bladder doesn’t explode. But I was naive enough to think that this would be the day that I might get lucky.

I will admit, the “out of order” sign that was taped to the door should have been my first warning. And the fact that the toilet was tucked away in a dark corner of the restaurant should have been my second. But I really, really had to go. How was I supposed to know that this toilet only had a doorknob on the outside? Out of order usually means a clogged pipe or a sudden shortage of toilet paper. Not a secret trap from which there is no escape after the door closes behind you.

I take my debit card out of my wallet and wedge it between the door frame and the lock. Not that I have even the slightest clue about how to open a lock with a card, but it always works in the movies. I mean, how hard can it be, right?

I’m scraping the card against the lock like a maniac, but it’s a stubborn one. Completely refuses to work with me. Maybe if I push the card a bit further between the… Oh no. It slips between my fingers and lands on the piece of floor that is located in the free world. Crap! For once it would be nice if fate didn’t bite me in the ass.

My palms are getting sweaty. What if I’m stuck here for the rest of the evening? Or worse, all night? This space I so tiny that I can barely move. I sit down on the closed lid while I try to get my breathing under control by counting slowly to ten. “One… Two… Three… Four…” Oh man, who am I kidding? I’m feeling just as relaxed as a child on Christmas Eve. I really have to get out of here before this panic paralyzes me forever.

“Hello?” I shout. “Is anyone out there?” Of course there is. The restaurant is loaded. But no one can hear my cry for help above the booming sound of chatty people and clanging cutlery.

“Can anybody hear me?” I try again. To reinforce my shouting I start banging on the door, of course to no avail.

I look at my mobile but it just laughs in my face by displaying ‘no service’. Figures! Thanks for picking my side, Universe. It’s almost as if the damn thing is trying to send me a message: ‘do not go on blind dates in restaurants you’ve never been before’. Of course, considering my record it might as well be interpreted as ‘do not leave the house, ever’.

So here I am. Locked in a toilet, my date waiting for me around the corner. Any minute now, he’ll realize that he’s being stood up – even though he isn’t, not really – and he’ll leave. Or maybe it will take him a whole hour to decide what to do. It all depends on his self-esteem I guess. But no matter how long he needs to reach his decision, I’m almost positive that I will not be able to escape before he goes home.

11 thoughts on “Man Wanted

  1. cosiogirls says:

    I think there is potential here that you are burying. We don’t find out she’s on a blind date until pretty late in this and knowing that would help make the situation funnier. Possibly, pointing out the fact that her blind date took her to such a seedy place would also help with showing her bad luck. And I wonder if you could give more of her personality with out using so many exclamation marks?
    Overall, if fine tuned a bit, I would definitely keep reading to see what’s going to happen.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t know how being stuck in the bathroom could be so intriguing, but you really drew me in. I’m dying to know what happens next. Do you have a website or something where I can keep reading?
      I loved the tone of voice in this piece. Well executed!

  2. Rona says:

    I cracked up the entire time reading this. The MC’s voice is really strong here. I like that we learn a bit about her personality as well, such as her feeling that she has rotten luck and her breathing to halt a panic attack. It didn’t feel intrusive, but the seeds were definitely planted.

    The thing I found hard to believe was the sequence of events. I feel like most women would try the door, then use the phone, and only use the card as a last resort. Using the card first, while funny, made me wonder if she had left her purse somewhere. So when she mentioned her phone, I wondered why she hadn’t used that first. So I would consider flipping that sequence. You can also use that to mention that she’s on a blind date, and her overall bad Universe luck draw.

    Also, the exclamation points. I counted four in the snippet here, and I don’t know that any of them are necessary. You use three one-word exclamatory sentences, but I don’t think the punctuation actually adds anything to the word. It just stands out at me.

  3. melissa says:

    I felt this was a good idea for an opening of a romance novel. I feel an authors voice. I think the character sounds spunky. Also found much of the first page superfluous. I felt the novel began when she pounded on the door. That action brought me right into medias re. Before then it felt static. There is a scene close to the opening of Tootsie where Teri Garr bursts out of the bathroom holding a plunger saying she’s been locked in for 30 minutes.. It is maybe 20 seconds but she reveals so much about herself and fhe setting.

  4. AB says:

    Personally it turned me off that the very first word was profanity. Maybe others are fine with that though. I think I need to be eased into the story a little more before the profanity starts flying.

    I liked your voice that was peeking through but I felt like your paragraphs had too much and could be trimmed down. For example in the first paragraph you could probably cut “Everyone who’s ever had to pee knows women cannot just stroll into an empty toilet like this, without waiting in line for what seems like an eternity, while squeezing their legs together hoping their bladder doesn’t explode. But I was naive enough to think that this would be the day that I might get lucky” or at least condense it.

    In the second paragraph you could cut “Out of order usually means a clogged pipe or a sudden shortage of toilet paper. Not a secret trap from which there is no escape after the door closes behind you”.

    Fourth paragraph you could cut “For once it would be nice if fate didn’t bite me in the ass.”

    I feel like removing some of the unnecessary text would sharpen your voice. I stopped reading after the 4th paragraph. I do feel you have potential, just need get rid of unnecessary/obvious stuff.

  5. Pam Portland says:

    Hey there – thanks for posting this fun opening. I can tell the character’s personality well through the inner dialogue.

    Just a few thoughts, though. One, even if they are her inner thoughts, the quoted sentences – things she says even to herself – should be noted as separate paragraphs rather than buried in the paragraphs of description. It makes it tricky to tell where she is perhaps reprimanding herself versus where she is describing her efforts to escape.

    Two, consider the scenario: why doesn’t she text the date, or phone the friend who set them up? Is this date happening pre cell-phone era, or did she forget her phone? If it were me, that would be my first line of defense before the credit card. Likewise, if it is as busy a restaurant as she describes, eventually someone will enter the restroom.

    Lastly, keep tabs on your verb tense. ” I groan…” and “I’m scraping the card…” are in different tenses and this distracted me from the predicament in which she finds herself. This might be something to polish along the way.

    Good luck, and keep enjoying your work!

  6. Dhara says:

    This was fun and enjoyable to read! The voice in my opinion is both the strength and weakness of this piece. The unique voice is definitely there, which is a great plus that your MC is no Mary Sue, but sometimes the same voice also makes the MC come across as high strung. For example, if you get rid of ‘Figures!’ and then read the rest of the sentence following that, it feels more toned down (but still keeps to the unique voice). Also, I think the last 2 sentences in the first paragraph could be deleted since it doesn’t really add any important info to the rest of the piece. I think you have a great story on your hands if can tone down the voice a bit.

  7. Briana says:

    I like it! Though the first sentence I accidently read as “Shit, it sucks” I don’t know why and it threw me. I do think what she is doing there (a date) should be added more toward the beginning so it gives off more of a romance vibe and catches readers attending, instead of her mentally cursing herself for a few paragraphs.

  8. Sofie says:

    Thank you all for the replies so far! It’s really good to get some constructive feedback and I will definitely take all the comments into account during the editing stage. Feel free to keep them coming 😉

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