Writing Prompt: Every time you take a shower, you’re transported to an alternate universe that desperately needs your saving help. It’s grown tiresome. Now it’s been several months since you last washed and people in your life are beginning to make comments.
It’s common knowledge that taking a shower saves time when compared with taking a bath.
Think of it like taking a plane across water instead of taking a boat. There are exceptions to the rule, as always there are. For example if you were to try and fly across a pond you’d likely spend more time taking off thank actually flying, so under these conditions the sensible option would be to take the boat. But then again, who really travels over pond now-a-days anyway?
So, we can safely say it’s common knowledge that taking a shower saves time. What is far less common knowledge is that taking a shower can quite literally save time.
Confused? You’re not? Well, you should be.
The Universe is a complex place, a net of time and space and alternate dimensions. In one time a tyrannical leader that sets out to cull half the population of a planet succeeds, in another time they fail, in yet another part of space they are coerced into seeing the error of their ways and help said planet they were hoping to cull thrive, and in an altogether alternate reality the tyrant never takes to power and instead opens a cupcake shop on the corner of 42nd.
A long extinct race of time travelling, dimension hopping, mischief causing (and occasionally preventing), hooligans built what are known on Earth as shower cubicles. Single unit showers were meant for solo travels, where as communal shower rooms, often found in swimming pools and gym locker rooms, were meant for the transportation of entire squadrons (coincidentally this is what led to the Dallas Cowboys inadvertently saving Klaxorta-Delta-Thirty-Five in what is now known as Klaxorta-Delta-Thirty-Five’s most excitingly bizarre game of Squiggly Pop in all of recorded history).
Hopefully this will go some way to explaining just how Anthony Mora, a middle school mathematics teacher with a fear of being stabbed in the shins, became the unwilling hero in what now amounted to seventy four misguided adventures. Adventures that, if you were the sort of person that happened to be fascinated by pie charts and excel spreadsheets piled high with statistics (which summed Anthony Mora up quite astutely), had ended in thirty seven victories and thirty seven quite outstanding failures.
Of thise outstanding failures just a little over fifty percent had resulted in mass genocide, another thirty percent in the explosion of a sun or major planetary body, and a further five percent accounted for the uprising of sentient machines that led to either the enslavement or banishment of those Anthony had been enlisted to save. The final fifteen percent consisted of a series of quite unimaginable events, such as the devouring of an entire planet by a Mars-sized Chihuahua that roams space on a bed of tentacles and answers to the name of Cthuahua. Another notable failure (when Anthony had been called upon to save an alternate reality governed by numbers) had been the crash of the Universal Stock Market, which was particularly upsetting for a middle school mathematics teacher.
All in all Anthony – despite his better than average success rate for a mathematics teacher who had unwillingly been called upon to save a planet, star system or universe – was quite fed up with the whole torrid series of events.
Anthony had asked one or three friends if he could possibly bathe at theirs; two had responded with disgusted looks and the utterance of something along the lines of pervert (safe to say they weren’t friends any longer). A third friend, Evalyn, had agreed to the request with an enthusiasm that baffled Anthony, that was until Anthony turned up at Evalyn’s, around nine o’clock on a Thursday night, to borrow the bath. He found Evalyn already in the tub, with candles lit and incense burning, slapping at the bubbles for him to join her. He uttered something along the lines of pervert and quickly left.
“We need to talk.” Bowen Harmon, Principal of Math over Mind over Matter Middle, sat across a stout desk from Anthony, accompanied by Rosalie from Human Resources, who sat on a stool in the corner of the room taking notes, “There have been some… complaints.”
Rosalie gave a cough, “Can we try not to use negatives, they give the wrong impression.”
“And what impression,” Bowen sighed, “might that be, if I can I ask?”
“Well,” Rosalie settled her glasses back on the bridge of her nose, “that we’re here to discipline or undermine Mr Mora,” Rosalie gave Anthony a queer smile, not quite condescending, but close enough, “which I can assure you we are not.”
“Then why am I here?” Anthony asked, “I’ve never once been late to work, I don’t take lunch breaks, I have the highest pass rate among my peers. What could possibly be the problem?”
“You really can’t smell it?” Rosalie bit down on her tongue, “See it, I mean. The problem, why we might be here?”
“Quite honestly, Anthony, you stink.” Bowen shook his head, chins wobbling, “And we can’t allow it to go on any longer, something needs to change.”
“Stink?” Anthony’s mouth drew open almost as wide as his eyes, he tried first to swallow his tongue before resettling his eyes and continuing, “I stink?”
“Yes.” Rosalie and Bowen answered in unison.
“What, exactly, stinks? My attitude? Surely not. No, I’m sorry I even brought it up. My work ethic then? Well as I’ve said, I have the highest pass rate among my peers! My sense of style…” Anthony looked down at the tweed shirt, bow tie, summer shorts and socks and sandals (shorts and sandals were regulation uniform in high summer), and he shook his head, “No, it can’t be…”
“You!” Bowen hit his head against the desk in frustration, “It’s you, Anthony. Not your attitude, your work, or your sense of style.”
“Well…” Rosalie began, but decided not to finish.
“Just you.” Bowen opened his desk drawer and started fumbling around inside, “Some of the children have made complaints to their parents, and their parents to me, about your lacking personal hygiene.” Bowen revealed a towel, some soap and a hair net. He threw them at Anthony, “Now, please, go use the gym’s facilities if you must. I don’t know what the situation is at home, but it’s time to shower, Anthony.”
“Just go, before I start to take this matter more seriously.”
Anthony left the room, and immediately raised an arm to take a whiff of his armpit, “You know, they might be onto something.” he let out a sigh, and left for the gym’s communal shower room.
When Anthony arrived at the showers he found Coach Hendrix, Alex (the Janitor), and the School’s mascot, a cat affectionately known as Purr-thagoras, all soaking themselves in suds.
Anthony believed that he couldn’t possibly be dragged off to yet another planet, time, or reality when there with other people there to watch. He was safe, he concluded, in the company of others, even if he was just a little embarrassed.
He was, of course, wrong. Not to be embarrassed, but to assume that he was safe.
As soon as Anthony stripped down and entered the steaming mess of water, suds and limescale the showers began to whistle and creak, then a bright flash emerged from out of nowhere and when it cleared the showers were empty.
Anthony, Coach Hendrix, Alex, and the Cat had all been dragged away from Math over Mind over Matter Middle and thrown halfway across the cosmos to save a dying World of plant-based organisms who had recently come into contact with an alien species known as the Veegan.
Unless Anthony and his new found team could stop them, the Veegans would consume the world and all those upon it.
“Christ above,” Anthony sighed, “I can’t go thirty eight in favour of loses. What a mess it would make of my stats!”
Copyright © K R Perry 2019