“Hey Jay-Pee! What are you doing here? Did Kirsty let you out of your cage for the morning?”
Twenty-four year old Jason Postles looked up from where he had been locking his bicycle to a railing at the edge of the shopping centre and grinned at the similarly aged male who was hailing him from afar and bearing down on him. “Yeah, that’s right,” he replied. “She’s fed and watered me, groomed my fur, and now I’m free to run round the shops until she puts my collar and lead on again. What about you? Has Sally sent you outside while she cleans your droppings off the living room floor?”
Jason’s friend Kieran Flynn smiled ruefully as he patted Jason affectionately on the shoulder and then abandoned the kept pet analogy which he and Jason had adopted as a sort of private joke between themselves, referring to the fact that they both had a girlfriend who sometimes made rather strict demands on their respective time. “I wish that was true,” Kieran replied. “She made me clean the flat last week then gave me a hard time because I forgot to pick the hairs out of the shower drain. No, actually I’m here to pick up a new speaker system I’ve ordered. They phoned just an hour ago to say they’ve got it in stock now. I’m really excited about it. What about you? Are you shopping for something to liven your place up as well?”
Jason stuffed the key of his bike lock into the tight front pocket of his new denim jeans, winced slightly as this slight extra pressure in his groin area caused his bladder to send another rather more persistent signal than the gentle reminders which it had been giving him in the latter stages of his thirty minute cycle ride into the city, then turned back towards his companion. “That sounds good,” he replied. “You’ve been wanting to improve your sound system for some time, haven’t you? No, my errand here is more mundane. Kirsty’s finally convinced me to get another pair of glasses.”
“But you hardly ever wear your glasses,” said Kieran.
“Only because the lenses have been scratched for some time now. Also one arm of the frame has broken off and the tape holding it together looks pretty stupid. I do need them, really. So I’m heading for Stynes over there.” He nodded towards the optician’s premises opposite them. “They should get me fitted out with a replacement pair.”
The instant Jason had uttered the words he realised the slight tactical error he had made. Kieran’s unexpected arrival had distracted his attention from the decision he had made on arrival at the shopping precinct, which was to leave his bike here outside the optician’s, walk through the precinct to the public toilets where he could deal with the effects of the coffee of which he had consumed two mugs with Kirsty at breakfast, and only then return to get his eyes tested. Realising now that this would look a little odd in front of his friend, Jason suddenly wished he had been less informative about his reasons for being in the shopping centre.
Kieran glanced through the shop front of Stynes Opticians opposite them. “Well, it looks like you’re in luck,” he remarked. “They’re not exactly rushed off their feet. I can see two staff members in there, and they’re standing around doing damn all. But that’s unusual. They’re normally busy. I had to wait two hours before they could test me for my contact lenses last year. You’d better get in there quick while you’re still first to be served, then they’ll see you at once.”
Jason hesitated. “Maybe…” he muttered, his mind racing to think of a plausible excuse to ignore this natural advice and head for the other end of the precinct instead. Kieran was a good friend and they had known each other for a couple of years, but Jason nonetheless still felt that he had to maintain some sort of reasonably cool image in front of him, and admitting that he wanted to go for a wee first did not quite fit the bill.
“What do mean, ‘maybe’?” said Kieran. “Go on, mate, cash in on your luck and get in there now before the hordes descend. I promise you, you’ll find a queue stretching out the door by the time they’ve finished with you.”
“Yeah, you’re right,” said Jason, reasoning to himself that he was a strong, healthy adult male and that he should have no trouble holding in his piss for just twenty minutes while he had his eyes tested even if he was already having to strain slightly to keep it in now.
“Look, you dash in there now, get your glasses ordered, I’ll go to Curry’s to pick my speakers up, then I’ll go and put them in my car and then come back and meet you here outside Stynes when you’re all done. Then we’ll go and have a coffee somewhere together. How about that?”
“Okay, sounds good,” replied Jason despite Kieran’s latter suggestion reminding him of the overly generous amount of coffee which he had already consumed back home with his girlfriend. “See you later then.”
“Fine, well if you’d like to step through with me to the back we’ll get the measurements done for each of your eyes,” said the middle-aged woman finally to Jason. According to his watch it had been only ten minutes since Jason had left Kieran outside in the street and walked into the opticians’ shop, but it seemed longer to him. He had explained his requirements to the two staff members on duty, one young male of about Jason’s own age whose name badge read “Darren Knight” and who received him with a friendly smile, and the older woman, “Janet Burridge” according to her badge, who set to work taking Jason’s details and typing them into the computer. Her general demeanour was distinctly more formal than that of her friendly male colleague, and Jason’s natural reaction to her was to be formal and correct too, giving his name, address, date of birth, health insurer and other details as patiently as he could manage while she operated the keyboard of her computer at a frustratingly slow tempo which was not helped by the evidently complicated and slow nature of whatever software it was running.
While Jason had successfully maintained his patience and outwardly calm demeanour while the slightly severe-looking Ms. Burridge entered his details into the system, a demeanour which always stood him in good stead for his own work with customers as a salesman of televisions and other electrical goods, Jason now shuddered in some anxiety as he was required to get up from his seat in the front of the shop and follow the woman into the back area where the optical testing equipment was situated. He had spent the previous ten minutes gently and rhythmically wobbling his legs under the table while he responded to the woman’s questions as she sat opposite him, ignoring the mounting pressure in his bladder as best he could and using his leg wobbling to absorb it, but he now experienced a more alarming wave of desperation as he followed the older woman into the back of the shop.
What should he do? Jason had no idea quite what to do in the circumstances. The woman’s formal manner demanded equally formal behaviour from him, and the only reasonable thing to do was to continue to follow her instructions, sit down on the hard plastic seat in the middle of the floor as she was instructing him to do, and co-operate with the eye testing which she was about to conduct. The fact that Jason was actually bursting to go to the toilet and not quite sure if he could even sit still on the hard seat without leaking into his boxer shorts and wetting them and the tight, new pair of denim jeans which he had put on to wear for the first time that morning, did not alter the fact that sitting down and holding his bloated bladder shut was precisely what was required of him.
The thought passed through Jason’s mind that if it had been the friendly young man, Darren, who had been dealing with him, he might have felt able to confess his problem and say that he would have to use a toilet first. Just a quick few minutes would be all Jason would need to excuse himself, leave the shop and make the few minutes’ dash to the public toilets at the other end of the precinct before returning for his eye test. Or maybe Darren would have even let him use their staff toilet, even though this was not a normal service offered to customers and which Jason himself would not generally allow customers to do in the electrical goods shop where he himself worked. Jason had once, during a busy working day, refused a young man of about his own age who had come running into the shop, his hand squeezing at the front of his sweatpants, and made exactly that request. The general public was not allowed in the back area, as Jason had explained. The guy had groaned audibly, run back outside and relieved himself against the side wall of the shop in full view of dozens of people with a lengthy micturition which lasted a full embarrassing minute.
“Please sit down,” repeated Ms. Burridge with what seemed like a touch of impatience as she observed her customer’s hesitation. Jason, reasoning to himself that there was no other option and that the coming procedure would surely not last for an especially long time, lowered himself onto the chair and submitted as the woman manoeuvred a large, chunky piece of equipment in front of Jason’s eyes through which he was required to look. “We’ll test your left eye first,” she continued, inserting a couple of parts into the apparatus which caused Jason to see a large letter through the left-hand viewer. “Do you see the letter ‘A’? I want you to watch as I put the lens in, and tell me if that makes the letter appear sharper or fuzzier or if it stays about the same.”
Jason forced himself to concentrate on the task at hand and spent the next few minutes reporting “Sharper” or “Fuzzier” as Ms. Burridge inserted various lenses in the machine. This concentration seemed to help him ignore the pressure in his bladder and even to sit completely still, aware as he was that on this bare open chair his lower half was completely on view to the optician instead of being concealed by the table as it had been when she had been taking his details. But after a while the desperation returned, and Jason started to perspire slightly under his tee shirt despite the cool air which was coming from the air conditioning, as he squirmed in the seat in his effort to keep it all contained. The only thing which was keeping Jason from panicking now was that Ms. Burridge appeared to be winding the test up, describing the latest lens which she had inserted as the “last one”. Jason involuntarily pressed his legs together and pushed his hand down briefly on the crotch of his jeans, aware that Ms. Burridge would be able to see this but having no other way of keeping his pee in. This was it, he had firmly decided. The moment the woman removed the contraption from his face he was going to stand up, say he had to leave briefly because he had left his bike unlocked but would be back very shortly to complete the purchase of his glasses, then he would run outside and sprint down the street the short distance to the public toilets. If he could not make it there, he would duck in somewhere between the shops and let it all go against the wall, just as he had seen the guy do outside his own shop after he had told him he couldn’t use the staff facilities. That was all Jason needed to do. Any attempt at keeping protocol was irrelevant now, because Jason knew that he could not wait any longer in this seat without having an accident in his new jeans and all over the floor of the eye-testing room.
The optician finished noting the measurements and remarked: “Okay…” as Jason braced himself to get up from his seat. He could feel the pressure right down to the tip and a painful throbbing sensation in his bladder. “Now let’s do the right eye,” she continued.
Jason cringed in horror as he realised his mistake. The words which he had formed in his mind to the effect that he had just realised he had forgotten to lock his bicycle and needed to go and do that but would be back very shortly, died on his lips as the optician switched the apparatus around so that Jason was looking at another letter through his other eye, and then inserted a lens. “Sharper or fuzzier?” she asked.
Jason wanted to say “I’ve just realised I’ve left my bike unlocked…” but failed to form the words. He gasped slightly as he felt his whole waterworks starting to force itself open.
“Shall we try that one again?” said the optician after a pause, removing the lens and reinserting it. “Sharper or fuzzier?”
“Um…” began Jason. A warm squirt blasted into his boxer shorts. He gulped. “About the same,” he responded, his hands trembling on his lap as another squirt escaped.
“And this one? Sharper of fuzzier?” The woman did not seem to be aware of Jason’s rapidly crumbling facade.
“Sharper,” muttered Jason. He knew he had passed the point of no return. He could feel more warmth spreading around his groin. His hands could feel the wetness on the crotch of his new jeans. Instinctively he moved his hands and arms so that his lap and the tops of his legs were concealed from the woman.
“And this one?” continued Ms. Burridge as she put another lens into the apparatus.
Jason drew a deep breath, shuddered, and gave up the struggle. While continuing to respond as the eye-testing required, he gradually let his pee go into his pants, all the time trying to avoid letting it out too fast and keeping his arms covering his lap and legs so that the woman would see nothing if she looked down. Aware that once his piss started running off the hard plastic chair it would make a splattering noise on the floor and give away what was happening, Jason moved his lower legs so that they were tucked under the chair and would catch the drops as they fell. A wave of intense relief surged through him as the bladder pressure gradually subsided to be replaced by the warm, soaking feeling all over his lap and underneath on the seat. Concentrating on giving the correct responses for his eye test, coupled with the aforementioned wet relief, was sufficient to keep the negative feelings of shame and acute embarrassment at bay, and Jason found himself behaving as if nothing unusual was happening as he continued to reply “sharper” or “fuzzier” to the optician who was evidently concentrating entirely on recording the measurements of Jason’s right eye. If she had noticed that Jason had completely wet his pants in her testing room, she was not giving it any heed for the moment at least.
“That completes the test, sir,” she announced finally, removing the viewer from the front of Jason’s face. Her tone was coldly polite. “You are short-sighted in both eyes and there is evidence of distortion in your right eye, though I’m not quite sure whether you were able to concentrate sufficiently while we were testing that one. I’m going to ask you to wait here while I get my colleague Darren to help you, and then maybe we should test your right eye once more to be sure that your accident in your jeans was not affecting your concentration during the test. After that you can come out to the front of the shop to choose which frame you would like for the new glasses, but I suggest you let Darren help you get cleaned up first.”
“What are you wearing? Where are your new jeans?” Kirsty was staring in amazement at the unfamiliar pair of dark green shorts in which her boyfriend had returned from his visit to the optician’s.
“Oh, I’ve leant them to Kieran,” muttered Jason in reply. “He’s going to a party tonight and wanted something to wear for it, so I let him borrow my jeans.”
Jason had been with Kirsty for two years and he shared many secrets with her, but he was not going to tell her what had really happened. Lending his jeans to a friend to go to a party was a much easier story to tell than the humiliating truth of having been unable to hold his pee in during his eye-test, having totally wet his pants in the testing room and made a large puddle on the seat and floor, having been helped by a friendly, if slightly nonplussed young male optician who had fetched some towel roll from the utilities cupboard together with a mop and bucket and allowed Jason to clean himself as best he could in the staff toilet while Darren mopped up the puddle on the floor, and finally having met up with his friend Kieran outside the shop and gone back with him in his car to his house where Jason had borrowed a pair of his shorts to come home in. The young male optician Darren had been gentle with him and, after letting Jason dry himself with the towelling in the staff toilet, had let him stay in the back of the shop while he brought example frames for him to choose for the new glasses so that he was not on view in front of other customers in his wet jeans for any length of time. Kieran had been astonished initially and quite amused (he had continued the kept-pet theme by suggesting that Kirsty had not “toilet trained” Jason properly) but had then reverted to being helpful and compassionate and more than willing to sneak his friend into his house without Sally seeing him in his wet jeans in order to let him change into a pair of shorts and equally willing to promise not to say anything about it to Kirsty either. After all, some stories are much too personal and embarrassing for a guy to allow his girlfriend to know.