7 and Counting

7 and Counting

Kevin Tosca

Ulysses’s bags were packed. All he had left to do was thank his nephew for the hospitality.

“I had a great time,” he said. “Thanks so much for—”

“No problem,” Pascal said. “Look, will you do something for me before you go?”

“Anything, name it.”

Pascal pointed to the door that separated the living room from his bedroom.

“Piss on it.”

“Come again?”

“That door,” Pascal said. “Piss on it.”


“All over it.”

“Are you crazy?”

“I may never see you again.”

“And that has what to do with my urinating on a door?”

“I want you to leave a part of yourself, a trace, a real one.”

“Get out of here.”

“I’m serious.”

“That door,” Pascal said. “Piss on it.”


“All over it.”


Ulysses stared at his nephew, hoped a stern silence would suffice. It didn’t.

“What am I supposed to say?” he asked.

“Say yes.”

“No, it’s absurd.”

“I don’t agree.”

“How can you not agree?”

“I just don’t.”

“What? Have others said yes?”

“Everyone I’ve asked.”

“How many?”

“You’d be number seven.”

“It’s so . . . I don’t know what it is,” said Ulysses. “Seriously, what do you expect me to say?”


“But it doesn’t smell in here.”

“Why would it?”

“You clean it up?”

“You think I don’t?”

“What’s the point?”


“I need more.”



“Combating the rote fatigue of hellos and goodbyes, the unsatisfying ephemeral untrustworthiness of phone calls, emails, letters, visits, declarations, conversations, greeting cards. We can’t really fuck, so, voilà.”

Ulysses thought. “There’s got to be another way.”

Pascal shook his head.

“How about I just sign the damn thing?”

“Sign it? I asked you to piss on it and you want to sign it? With a pen?”

“I could sign it with my blood.”

“No, no more blood.”

“I could shit on the goddamned thing. Why don’t I do that? Why don’t I just shit on the goddamn thing?”

“Calm down,” Pascal said. “That’s disgusting.”

“Yes, I suppose it is. Do you watch?”

“Of course not.”

"Why don’t I just shit on the goddamn thing?”

“Calm down,” Pascal said. “That’s disgusting.”


“So you want me to piss on that door?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Piss all over it.”


“Can I ask who the others were?”


Ulysses hesitated. “I don’t know,” he said.

“Great, I’ll be waiting in the bathroom.”

Ulysses knocked on the bathroom door.

“All done?” Pascal asked.

“I can’t believe this. There’s urine everywhere.”

“Normal, perfectly normal.”

“I pissed on my shoes while I was pissing on your door.”

“I’m sorry about that.”

“Yeah, well—”

“I love you,” Pascal said. “I’ll never forget this.”

“I already wish I could.”

After Ulysses left, Pascal walked toward his bedroom door and the shimmering pool beneath it. He knew about how long his uncle’s urine would take to soak in and evaporate. He grabbed his keys and decided to go out for a beer, hoped Susan would be behind the bar so he could share the love he was feeling because he felt so overwhelmed by it, the seven awkward images in his head worth seven lifetimes of limp gestures and limper words.

Kevin Tosca lives in Paris. He and his work can be found at

Illustration by Meher Khan.

What's Left

What's Left

The Ex-Mermaid Buys Chocolate Milk

The Ex-Mermaid Buys Chocolate Milk