They do it this way. He is in the apartment upstairs taking a bath. Head adrift, the sound of water rushes in his ears. Then only an echo of water. At last, silence. He likes this womb. No, there is a thrumming, annoying, somebody wants in. He raises his head above water: the silence is sucked away. Knocking at the door. Ignore it, it will go away. Knock knock knock. Furrowed brow. Yes? Coughs. Who is it?? The sound of a woman's voice through the door, insistent. What?? His voice drops a register, becomes smoother. Can I help you?? You're taking a bath, she says. Out of the tub, he throws a towel around himself. Opens the door a crack. How did you know I was taking a bath? She's beautiful. I heard you filling it, she says, and I banged on the ceiling. She points beside him. The suds on your ear look like a cauliflower. He comes out of his stupor and wipes his ear, using the towel he is wearing. It falls from him, revealing a erection that snaps to attention. She says, each time you fill the tub water runs into my apartment. Holding one hand to his side, so the towel will stay wrapped this time, he uses the other to widen the gap of the door. I'm sorry, he says, what was that about the cauliflower?

© 2001 Brian Mitolo