In my early twenties I was working at a small gas station in a small town.  And as anyone that has ever worked at a gas station (or most customer-facing retail positions) knows you see a lot of really bizarre things.  But I can easily say that the worst I had to see at this place was what I referred to as The Great Poopsplosion of Augh-Five.

It started out as any day does.  I was the opener so I had to be there at 4:45 AM, get the coffee ready for people that had to be up as early as, or earlier, than myself, and then mill about ringing people out and drinking free energy drinks to stay awake.  At one point during the middle of the day I asked the manager to watch the counter for me and I made the horrible mistake of going into the men’s room.  And my delicate psyche shattered.

I don’t recall if I had to use the stall or if there was a distinct aroma that made me realize something was terribly wrong, but I slowly walked toward the back of the bathroom in suspense movie fashion knowing that something was irrevocably wrong with the universe.  The stall door stood slightly ajar and I knew no one was in the room with me.  I steadily made my way toward the impending, inevitable horror, nudged the door open all the way…and that’s when I saw it.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that I half expected to see a pair of smoking shoes on the ground.  I fully pictured a person mid-poo just exploding and I was seeing the leftovers.  And it was everywhere.  I don’t mean that from a “eww, it’s POOP!” kind of squeamishness.  I mean that from a “why would a person actually fingerpaint with their own excrement?” kind of flabbergastedness.  And that is literally what it looked like.  It was in smears on the seat, the bowl, the floor, the stall walls, the tiled wall behind the toilet…I want to even say there was some on the ceiling but that could be my overactive imagination lingering from my image of a man spontaneously combusting mid-load.

I did my best not to add to the mess by leaving my lunch in there with it and proceeded to return to the counter where my manager manned my station. When the place was clear of patrons I told her very bluntly, “You can fire me right now if you have to, but I am not cleaning that.”

She made the pilgrimage herself and came back more pale than I remembered her leaving.  She looked at me and said, “Yeah, I’m not cleaning it either.”

In the end, we called the manager of the McDonald’s next door, which happened to be owned by the same person, and told them he needed to send over a HAZMAT team to take care of the damage, but it couldn’t repair the damage to our souls.  Eventually one of the McD’s employees came over and took care of it while we congratulated him on a job we could never do (from a distance of course).

That place has since been demolished.  I doubt that is a coincidence.