There were two stalls in the women's washroom at work and she was in the left one, closest to the wall. She rarely took the one closest to the door and never gave her choice a moment's thought. Some people took the one on the right, some took the one on the left. That's just the kind of wonky world it was.
She heard the door whoosh open and someone walk in with clicking heels. The other stall door was opened, shut and locked. She heard a zipper unzip, the rustling of clothes, a soft thump as the derriere next to her settled onto the toilet seat and a gentle sigh as the woman next to her began to pee.
Jodie looked down to see if she could see the shoes under the stall next to her, but couldn't see anything.
"Is there any toilet paper over there?" the woman asked.
Jodie lifted her head abruptly and flushed full red from the roots of her hair straight down to her toes. It was her supervisor in the next stall. Kirsten. The lovely and talented and perfectly awful Kirsten. The same Kirsten who had just tore a strip off Jodie for her shoddy work, told her she would be taking a pay cut, then, in the next breath, asked her to fill in for her on the weekend because she had a hot date.
Kirsten, in Jodie's humble opinion, was a Grade A Bitch.
Wordlessly, Jodie passed a roll of toilet paper under the wall. She saw Kirsten's long, skinny fingers as they made the roll disappear.
"Thanks," Kirsten said. Jodie heard uravelling and then wiping noises. "You'd think the cleaners could stock the bathroom with toilet paper once in a while. I'm going to send a memo to Bob in HR. Maybe he can get these guys to do their jobs for a change. Don't you think?"
Jodie mumbled in reply. She heard Kirsten pull up her pantyhose and zip up her skirt. The toilet flushed, the stall door opened and Kirsten washed her hands.
"Oh SHIT!" said Kirsten. "There's no soap. Jesus H. Christ, this company is going to hell in a handbasket."
Jodie listened as Kirsten's high heels clicked across the bathroom door. She sighed when the door snicked shut and the only thing that remained of her supervisor was a lingering trace of her expensive perfume.
Jodie sat there. Lumpish. Doing nothing. Just thinking about Kirsten and how everything seemed to go her way.
She was younger, thinner, more successful, had more money, was better looking, enjoyed a series of entanglements with studly looking men, drove a fancy car, wore better clothes, ate better food and, in short, just lived a better life.
Not only that, she had great hair. Thick, red, shiny, beautiful, wavy, long hair.
Jodie pulled at a hank of hair on her own head so that she could get a look at it. Mousey brown with streaks of grey, thin, brittle, dull, flat, boring, boring, BORING.
As she sat there, comparing her own boring life with that of her supervisor, Jodie began to pick at a scab inside her nose.
She wasn't conscious of doing so. Jodie's index finger appeared to have a mind of its own, digging and burrowing, mining for a peculiar kind of gold. Finally she pulled out a crusty green nugget and held it up for inspection.
"Huh," said Jodie.
She reached for a piece of toilet paper to wipe her finger on and realized she had given the roll to Kirsten.
No matter, she just wiped it on the wall next to the empty toilet paper dispenser.
She lifted her butt slightly, waggled it back and forth a couple of times to shake off any excess piddle, then got dressed and went up to the sink to rinse her hands. As the warm water flowed over her fingers she glanced in the mirror and was so surprised she did a double-take.
Her hair looked ... better. It actually looked thicker, shinier, healthier.
Jodie did a slow spin in front of the tiny bathroom mirror, her neck stretching so her eyes could take in as many angles of her hair as possible.
There was no mistaking it. Her hair was ... better.
"Huh," said Jodie. She went back to her desk and, for the first time in months, she smiled.
The next day, in the bathroom stall on the left, there was still no toilet tissue.
When Jodie picked her nose she wiped it in the same place on the wall, leaving two smears of mucous, one fresh, one dry.
When she was done she pulled up the jeans that were always too tight and was amazed when the zipper did up effortlessly. In fact, there were several spare inches of material around the waistband. She looked around, suspicious, and thought, "how could this be?"
She went up to the mirror and looked at herself. Not only did her jeans hang on her, but her sweatshirt was baggy. Even her shoes seemed too big.
She looked at her face and saw cheekbones where there were none before.
And, suddenly, she had only one chin.
Jodie sucked in her breath and wondered if she had cancer.
"Huh!" she said.
If cancer made her this thin this fast, she'd take it.
When she walked back to her desk, she was smiling ear-to-ear.
That night she went shopping, because none of her clothes fit anymore. She had gone from size 18 to size 8.
The next day, everyone noticed Jodie.
People at work who had never talked to her before, suddenly were chatting her up.
When she picked her nose that afternoon, she was too busy thinking wonderful, happy thoughts to even realize she was wiping yet another booger on the wall.
When she looked in the mirror, she looked 20 years younger.
The next day, after she wiped yet another snot nugget on the bathroom wall, she got a promotion. Bob up in HR had finally noticed her and made her Kirsten's supervisor. She got a big raise. She got a company car. She got moved to a corner office next to Kirsten.
Bob asked her out that night, took her to an expensive restaurant and tried his best to take advantage of her.
She let him.
The next day someone was in the right hand stall when Kirsten needed to pee so she took the left stall, something she rarely did. While she was in there doing her business and wondering what was going on with Jodie, Kirsten noticed the pile of boogers accumulating next to the toilet paper dispenser.
"What the HELL?" she said, disgusted, and tried her best to scrub off the mess with an SOS pad from the office kitchenette.
When she finished scrubbing, she washed her hands and tried to fix her hair which was a little sweaty and askew from the physical labour she was so unaccustomed to.
As she brushed at it with her fingers, she noticed it seemed dull. Brittle, almost.
She stared at herself in the mirror and, as she watched, her glorious mane began to fall out by the roots.