November 27, 2008
By Lauren Burton, Austin, TX

A friend of mine was talking to me about bathroom habits a few days ago. He said that he always washes his hands after going to the bathroom, but not because he is afraid of germs. He washes his hands because he knows that the one time he forgets to do so, someone will stop him on the way out of the restroom and demand to smell them. They will say, "Oh, I just love that soap! Could I take a whiff?"

My friend, he begins to feel his ears turn red as he thinks about the unused lavender-grape soap that he passed by a few minutes before. The poor, lonely bar that sits on the bathroom sink all by itself.. He starts to mentally slap himself while he looks into the expectant eyes of the hand-smeller that stands in front of him. This man, the hand-smeller, he grabs my buddy's wrist and sniffs. His eyes shoot open and his brows furrow in disgust. The same way my friend's mother did when he forgot to put the toilet seat down when he was little.

"You unhygenic jerk!" yells the hand-sniffer, dropping my friend's hand as if it was a piece of diseased meat. He pulls out a walkie-talkie from his pocket and speaks into it, while my friend lowers his head, ashamed with himself.

"Code orange! Code Orange!" The hand-sniffer yells into the speaker. Alarms go off and all of the doors lock around him. My friend begins to feel sweat drip down into his armpits. He looks at his hands closely, as if expecting to find some giant bug gnawing at his raw flesh, or that his hand has suddenly turned into a mass of purple and blue; the result of a disease that could have been prevented by washing his hands.

Men in white suits and gas-masks approach my friend, who is now feeling quite faint. Could it be the onset of a disease? He feels a sharp pain in his side, and finds a tranquilizer lodged in his abdomen. His eyes begin to shut, everything starts to become hazy and his head is swimming. He knows he will pass out in a few seconds. He whispers a prayer before hitting the ground. As he falls through the air, he can't help but detect a lavender-grape scent coming from the men in suits. One of them says something in a gruff voice, and my friend strains to hear it.

"If only he'd washed his hands..."

The author's comments:
This is for my friend Jared, who is scared to death of forgetting to wash his hands...

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