The clerk returned with his supervisor, who tapped a few keys on the machine and then ran Lesley’s credit card through again, this time with no problems.
“So sorry about that, theses things are really temperamental when we get busy! But all sorted now. And here, by way of apology…” The man handed Lesley a couple of vouchers “Take your boys for an ice cream each, on us.”
“Oh, thank you. There really was no need, but I’m sure they’ll enjoy that, won’t you lads?”
Jack, still excitable, bounced on the spot shouting “Yay, ice cream! Can I have sprinkles Mum?” Tom managed a smile, but was rooted to the spot and tense. At least the wait was over now,, but he still had to make it to the loo.
“Tom, off you go mate, you know where it is. Quickly, before it’s too late!”
The poor boy didn’t need telling twice, making a stiff legged dash for the toilet door which as Lesley had said was just to the left as they walked through the turnstile.
“You too please Jack. No arguments, you may not feel like you need to go now, but if you don’t then you never know when we will pass another toilet. Won’t take a moment, go on you follow Tom whilst I nip into the ladies.”
Jack rolled his eyes, but did as his Mum had asked, making his way into the mens toilets as she popped into the ladies. Once through the door, he was met by a large, noisy crowd of men and boys. It looked like a group of some kind, the boys were all a year or two younger than him and Tom, and had matching t-shirts on. They were queuing for the urinals, queuing for the cubicles and even forming a line to wash their hands.
Then he spotted Tom probably about halfway along the queue, and doing an unmistakable potty dance whilst grabbing at himself every few seconds. When they’d been waiting to get in, Jack hadn’t noticed his friends need as he was too excited and distracted, but now he could see just how bad it was. Tom was going to wet his pants any second! In fact, Jack thought, if that had been him he would already have been soaked, and he marvelled at the other boys strength.
As he joined the back of the queue himself, he was so glad that he didn’t really need to go, or he’d have been in the same boat. Fortunately, one of the adults with the large group of young boys had noticed Tom’s predicament, and made his way over to him.
“Are you ok young man? Here, come with me.” He stepped forward to the front of the queue, and motioned for Tom to follow him. “Lucas, do you mind if this chap goes in front of you please? If you can hang on for a second? Before he has a terrible accident.”
The young boy agreed, and Tom was propelled forward towards the urinal by a hand on his back. Once there, realising he hadn’t got a second to spare to mess about with the fly on his shorts, he grabbed both sides and pulled them down, giving the crowd behind him quite a view of his Spiderman undies, but he didn’t care…he’d made it! Such relief washed over him, and an incredible feeling of gratitude both towards the man who had stepped in to help and also young Lucas. If it wasn’t for them, he just knew there was no way he would have made it, and he’d have had to go back to Jack’s mum and admit he’d wet himself like a little baby. He could hear the giggles from some of the kids waiting in line behind him, but none of them knew him so it really didn’t matter.
Finishing up, he turned to Lucas who was now standing at the urinal next to him and said a shy “Thanks, you saved me then.” And then, spinning around to wash his hands, he picked out the older man who had come to his rescue and smiled broadly.
“Good job mate, glad you made it ok.” He called over, returning the smile.
Jack was still waiting in the queue, and it had barely moved in the time he’d been in the bathroom. Seeing that Tom had now finished and was busy washing his hands, he gave up and made his way over to the sinks too. He didn’t need a wee, so it wasn’t a problem, he could go later. Taking the time to wash his hands, so that they were wet when he came out of the bathroom – a trick he’d learned years ago when his mum had always insisted he ‘try’ whenever they passed a toilet, he followed Tom out of the door and back to where Lesley was waiting.
Noticing Tom’s shorts were miraculously dry, she hastily shoved the spare pair which she’d fished out of her bag back in again, amazed but relieved that he had made it ok. Deciding not to say anything, as she was sure he was embarrassed enough, she simply hooked her bag back over her shoulder. “All set? Then let’s go! Ice cream or rides first?”4
Audio Version of Chapter