THE FACE ON THE BATHROOM FLOOR • by Carl Steiger

People see Jesus all the time. They see him on grilled cheese sandwiches and in patches of mold. They see him on walls with the paint peeling off. Even Linda said she saw him on a burnt tortilla once, and she just wouldn’t give up on the idea, even after I told her it really looked more like Willie Nelson. She was mad as hell when I ate it anyway.

What I’m looking at now sure as shit ain’t Jesus. Jesus has long hair and a beard. Everybody knows that. And he don’t have pointy ears. And no horns. This is a devil I’m looking at.

All the blood drops on the bathroom floor are nice round circles, except for the one I stepped in. Now it’s a face. It’s a snotty little face. Yeah, I’m talking about you. You got your lips all puckered up, and you’re looking off to the side with your big, big eyes. You look just like a little kid that just got caught doing something he shouldn’t have been. Except for the pointy ears and the horns.

You look kind of embarrassed. Oooh, did I just do that — is that what you’re trying to say to me, Mister Face on the Floor? Look at me when I’m talking to you. Anybody with horns on his head is up to no good, I know that.

What, am I being too hard on you? Well now, maybe those aren’t horns after all. Maybe they’re antennas. Like that blue alien I saw on Star Trek once. ET phone home, is that your story?

No, I was right the first time. Those are horns, and you’re a devil. And you’ve done something awful and you don’t even have the decency to be ashamed. You just sit there looking embarrassed and kind of stupid.

I guess I ought to clean this mess up. Linda would bite my head off if she saw it. I know there’s a mop around here somewhere. Thank God for linoleum floors.

I got to do it all myself, don’t I? I don’t suppose you’re going to lend a hand. Are you, Horn-head? You’re just gonna sit there and let me do all the work, and hope I don’t notice you. Well, I won’t forget you’re there. I’m gonna keep my eye on your ugly little face. You sorry son of a bitch. This is all your fault, isn’t it? I ought to take this mop and smear you to hell right now.

But don’t worry, Mister Devil Face. I won’t wipe you up off the floor just yet. I’ll save you for last. You and I got unfinished business. I want to know what you did. I just want to know, what did you do?

Look me in the eye, you worthless sack of shit. You’re not even sorry you did it, are you? You’re just sorry I know you did something. Or maybe you don’t even give a damn. You think it’s funny, don’t you? You know something I don’t know and you think that’s funny?

Well, I give a damn, and it’s not funny. I’m on to you. You’re a wicked, wicked devil, and I hate you. I hate your guts.

God damn you, what have you done?


Carl Steiger’s efforts that have appeared at EDF include a story about a little girl, one about a little boy, one about a guy who was not a vampire, one about a teddy bear, one about an upper-class headhunter, one about some ghosts, one about another little girl, and now one about a dirty floor.


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