Froderik was feeling shifty. It was his first ever visit to the home of his only female friend, Sonja, who had invited him over for lunch with her parents. Froderik had originally met Sonja at the bus stop. In fact, she had been the first to take care of him when the side mirror of an oncoming bus had grazed Froderik’s forehead, injuring him slightly.
That was three weeks ago. Now, Froderik was sat at the dinner table with Sonja, her brother Florian, and her parents. He slurped at his bowl of dumpling soup, which was to be followed by roast venison and thereafter a bowl of jelly, prepared by Sonja’s mother according to “Grandmother’s own recipe.” The overall atmosphere was relaxed, and Froderik managed to conceal his nervousness to the extent that he could avoid making eye contact with Sonja’s father, who appeared less than overjoyed at the presence of his daughter’s dinnertime guest.
“Something stinks here, Hilde,” said the father immediately after Florian had finished a tale from his day at primary school. Froderik blushed. Had the father wanted to belittle him or was there indeed some sort of smell? For a few seconds, he didn’t know what to think.
“Well, it’s certainly not the roast,” said Hilde, looking at Florian reproachfully.
“Aha,” said the father. There was silent agreement that little Florian had indeed released a gaseous package, hence the stink.
The smell was still more than present halfway through the meal, however, and Froderik left the table to go the bathroom. He was starting to feel nauseous. Looking down, he saw with a shock that he had stepped in some dog shit and was undoubtedly the source of the spicy atmosphere at the dinner table. Visions appeared in his mind of the inevitable stains on the hallway carpet, and he felt a trickle of sweat run down his forehead. With extreme care, he set about removing the disgusting substance from every crack and crevice of his soles, aided by balls of scrunched up toilet paper that were thrown into the toilet. When this was finished, he set about peeing quietly on the towels. This unconventional and less noisy approach enabled him to listen to the dinner table conversation through the paper-thin walls.
“Did you tell him that the water’s been turned off today?” he heard the mother ask. In the bathroom, Froderik had already noticed. “Don’t panic,” he thought, and began to carefully pick out the bundles of paper and dog shit from the toilet bowl. He had already been in the bathroom for about five minutes and if he didn’t hurry the entire family would be sure that had been ‘doing a big one’ – not the done thing on a first visit. He laid his pungent collection of scrunched-up paper on the guest towel before wrapping the whole lot into a bundle. Then, with his foot propped up on the toilet bowl, he jammed the smelly package halfway down his sock before forcing the rest up his trouser leg.
“Frodi?”, called Sonja, knocking on the bathroom door. “The flush isn’t working.” Froderik replied quickly that he had no need for water as he only needed to wash his hands, before realising immediately that this excuse – which would likewise require the use of water – was utterly nonsensical. “What are you doing in there?” asked Sonja quizzically. Froderik unlatched the door and walked slowly to the table. He took a casual glance at his leg and noted with satisfaction that the towel was as good as invisible.
“It’s still smelling a little tangy in here,” noted Froderik loudly, before segueing confidently into a theory that little Florian had probably stepped in some dog poo – a typically clumsy and childish thing to do. His hosts might be interested, Froderik continued, in the suspicious stains that he had seen on the carpet upon his arrival.
Following lunch, the father discovered the stains on the carpet and Florian received a curt slap on the bottom as punishment. The tears flowed. “If you make a mess, you should at least admit it,” the son was advised, before being sent to his room.
Froderik walked home in a cheerful mood – his debut at Sonja’s place had been a success. Above all, he was glad to have sidestepped the misfortune of the shitty shoe with such inconspicuous grace. In fact, he was so glad that he kept the filled towel in his room for a few days as a memento of his wily intelligence.