Shared Apartment Bathroom

          He has a theory about why the shower floods: it’s her hair. When she showers there are wads of it sticking to the chipped tiles and in the drain. She won't use her own fingers, or even rubber gloves, to get rid of it.
          What she does is pour bleach down the drain. He asked once or twice if it works—why not just use Drano or whatever? She claims it works. Those son-of-a-bitches plumbers don't want you to know that bleach works better. He wants her to know that the correct form is sons-of-bitches, or sons-of-a-bitch, but he doesn't want to be the one to tell her.
          He notes the grime along the edges of the shower, the cracks that grow deeper every month. He doesn't let himself think about when the lease is up.
          He stands in the shower—those long showers he takes, longer than hers—and starts to itch from the cheap soap that he's sure is the cause of the scum. Her hair clings to his washcloth. It swims by his toes. He closes his eyes and feels the low-pressure water run over his nostrils, feels the water rise above his ankles.

Marlin M. Jenkins was born and raised in Detroit and graduated from Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan. His work has been published by decomP, Squalorly, Black Heart Magazine, The Molotov Cocktail, and others, and is forthcoming at Cheap Pop. You can find him online at and @Marlin_Poet.