Several minutes had already passed since Higgins left the table between the mains and pud to deal with ‘an unexpected situation’ which she blamed on an earlier excess of lentils, and the window of opportunity for her absence to be conceivably attributed to ‘just powdering her nose’ was rapidly ending.
‘It’s not something you want to do in someone else’s house at the best of times,’ Higgins admitted, ‘but I’d already dodged a bullet when the dog took the fall for me during the beef wellington, so it became clear that sitting it out was not an option. When Phillip launched into his anecdote on negative equity I grabbed my chance to evacuate.’
The operation had initially been a textbook example, with the facilities featuring loo roll in abundance, and the emergency match Higgins kept in her purse for just such occasions doing its job effectively. However, the episode of ‘unexpected buoyancy’ which became evident as the first flush died down, was exacerbated by an over-eager second crank of the handle before the tank had had time to re-load, resulting in ineffectual bobbling and some associated scuffing along the waterline of the bowl. A further attack with the toilet brush was deemed too risky, escape through the toilet window impractical, and a ‘grab, roll up, and bag’ recovery exercise dismissed as ‘too disgusting, even for Woking’.
As time ran out, Higgins resolved on a course of action. ‘If it doesn’t sound full in 30 seconds I’m just going to have to cover it in toilet paper and gamble,’ she concluded. ‘And if that doesn’t do it I’ll dash back in here straight after dessert and if anyone looks at me funny I’ll just tell them I’m bulimic.’
A minute later Higgins was heard to mutter, ‘I’m getting too old for this shit,’ before winding copious amounts of quilted paper from the holder.