I woke up in the middle of urinating.
It was a recurrent problem in my early youth. I was a prolific bed wetter. So frequent were my illicit leakages that my hindquarters were dyed a sickly yellow. My mum installed an old shower curtain under the bed sheet, but it quickly grew mildew and had to be disposed of.
Every few months I would unwittingly abandon my bed and awaken on my feet, a fine stream of urine splashing onto an area of the house ill-equipped for the task. Often it was a bin or plastic drinking cup, perhaps a habitual hangover from my days of potty use, and easily dealt with. At my Grandma’s house it tended to be one corner of my bedroom, resulting in several frantic middle-of-the-night panic scrubbings.
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This time I woke up and found myself pissing all over my school project, due the next morning. The task was to fashion some kind of parachute. Its mettle would be tested by throwing it over the balcony in the school hall. I had gathered together all my engineering genius to stab holes into all four corners of a white handkerchief, run string through each and tied it all around the waist of a rubber action figure.
Now it was soaked in piss.
Even to my young mind this was clearly a problem. It was now far too saturated to float. And it stank of piss.
I hurried quietly into the bathroom and ran the hanky under the tap. Its new yellow tint refused to recede. Even after a thorough rinse it smelled of piss. I cast around the bathroom until I spotted a bottle of mint mouthwash. I drenched the material with it, sure that the sharp medicinal mint would overrule my pre-pubescent urine. Finally I set the project to dry on the radiator and returned to bed.
This is what happens when you search 'happy mattress.'
In the morning my room smelled like a hospital ward: the clean smell of mint undermined by a distinct bodily musk. Still, at close quarters the handkerchief smelled reasonably fresh, and it was dry. I had got away with it, and for once my mattress had not borne the brunt of my lascivious bladder.
The parachute remained in my bag until mid-morning. The class trooped through into the school hall, and small groups took it turns to ascend to the balcony. The winner would be whoever’s parachute remained in the air the longest.
What's the worst that could happen?
My group lined up on the balcony. I took the parachute from my bag.
“Ugh, what’s that smell?”
The mouthwash had worn off. The heady tang of stale piss drifted across the balcony. My classmates swatted at the air as if the smell were a cloud of gnats, pulled the necks of their jumpers up over their noses. Even the teacher was taken aback, reeling as the smell pinched at her nostrils.
Eyes began to turn in my direction. I had to act quickly. Before they could single me out I stepped to the rail of the balcony and hurled my parachute over the edge.
It plummeted to the ground in less than a second. I rushed to retrieve it before anyone else could, and celebrated last place by flushing the project down the toilet.