East of the Towels, West of the Sink

A Patchwork Fantasy Tale about the trials of cohabitation.

Sometimes renting an apartment comes with very peculiar problems to be negotiated.

  • Follow this podcast on Tumblr or Twitter!
  • Check out composer Kai Engel, who wrote the theme song “Holiday Gift”.
  • Penny for a tale? You can tip your storyteller on Ko-fi!
  • Read the full transcript below:


[Gentle theme music]

Laura: Hi, I’m called Laura, I’m here to tell you a story if you like. If you want to read as well as listen, check out the transcript linked in the description. This is patchwork fairy tales and you found one of my Patchwork Fantasy Tales! This one is all about the trials of cohabitation…

[Music fades]

“Alright then,” she said firmly, crossing her arms and giving the empty shower cabin as intimidating a glare as she could. “I know you’re in there, so show yourself.”

There was no response. Just the rush of the water streaming down.

“I said: show yourself.”

Nothing but lukewarm water splashing up at the open shower door.

“You’re not fooling anyone!” she loudly insisted. “I know that you’re here and this time I’m not leaving until I know what the hell you are.”

For a long, heart-pounding moment nothing happened, and then, with the shower still raining down, the water swirling around the drain slowly came to a halt and stopped running off. In front of her very eyes, the shower base began to slowly fill with water. The level rose and rose, and she stared and stared, snapping back to reality only just before she shower was about to flood. Hastily she reached out and turned the shower off, getting her clothes thoroughly splashed in the process.

Dammit-” she cursed, but as soon as she looked down, she shut her mouth.

Below her the shower had collected a shallow pool of water and on its surface, undisturbed by either stray drops or overhead lights, was the reflection of a face. A face with large eyes with endless depths and a tensely closed mouth.

She stared at the apparition and the reflection stared back. “Alright,” she said eventually, a little stiffly. “Thank you for coming when I asked.”

“Ordered,” a thin, but decided voice replied.

“Well, you’ve been causing a lot of trouble, so I think my attitude is justified,” she argued. “There’s been leaking taps and floods and…shampoo all over the place! You are haunting my shower!”

“Not haunt,” came the indignant reply. “I am spirit of water, not ghost.” The water spirit regarded her accusingly. “Humans drain ponds. Block off wells. Stop streams…”

She moved her lips in silence for a moment, taken aback. “So you want to hang out in a shower??”

“A nice place,” the spirit replied defensively. “Close to old stream.”

“Look,” she spluttered. “I really am sorry that you lost your home. That’s really shitty and I’m sorry. But I can’t let someone watch me while I bathe, just because they like my shower!”

“She,” the spirit corrected. “Not they.”

She faltered for a moment. “She, noted,” she agreed with a nod. “Um, she or he, myself. But my point stands! I understand that you need to live – or…be – somewhere, but I can’t shower with you in here!”

“I am not in shower. I inhabit water.”

The grimace on her face was mostly a reflex. “I do not mean to be insensitive, but from my perspective that may be worse.”

To her surprise, the spirit snorted at that, making the water splash in its basin.

“I’m glad you think this is funny,” she grumbled. She slowly let herself sink to the bathroom floor, sitting in front of the open shower door and looking at the spirit’s watery face with extremely conflicted feelings. Most of them being guilt and discomfort. Now some of the pent-up frustration from the past weeks was gone, she was suddenly not at all sure if she did have the right to demand this spirit leave. In a way, she may be the original occupant, so to speak.

“I am sorry,” the spirit suddenly warbled. “Your body has a space. I do not want to trespass.”

She glanced at the pool-like eyes. “It’s okay,” she muttered. “I can imagine it doesn’t make a lot of sense when you’re…water. I guess people used to wash themselves in your stream all the time.”

“Clothes, too,” the spirit agreed.

She nodded. “Listen, I’m- maybe we can work something out. So we can share the shower.”

The water moved curiously and the large eyes looked up at her expectantly. “I could be not when your body needs space and be when here is empty?”

“Yes, that would be good, but, don’t you need the water to be running to…do your thing?”

“You can make water run.”

“I can, but I can’t just leave the shower running all the time, that’s—” Wasteful? That sounded rather nonsensical speaking to a being made of water. Expensive? Well, that was true, but it would also lead to her having to explain putting a price on water to a spirit and she rather would not go down that particular rabbit hole just yet.

“We do both,” the spirit pressed. “First you. Then me. Then none.”

“Yeah, alright, we can do that,” she agreed. “I can leave the shower running for you after I’m done. Or before, if you like, I don’t have to be first.”

“Yes!” the spirit warbled, sloshing the water around joyfully. “And I keep clean and nice.”

She gaped at her. “You can keep the shower clean?”

“I am water,” the spirit scoffed. “I can, of course.”

“Well!” she laughed. “That is one hell of a deal. I would have let any other roommate I’ve had use the shower as long as they liked, if they also did all the cleaning.”

“Roommate…” the spirit repeated, as if considering the word carefully. She sounded pleased.

She smiled at the spirit, light and relieved. “Okay, I think this is something we can work with. What do you say?”

“I say yes,” the spirit chimed happily, but then she suddenly closed her mouth again, looking hesitant.

“What is it?” she asked. “You don’t have to decide now, I can come back later to talk about it again, if you want?”

“No! No this is well…” The spirit’s eyes turned round and pleading. “You can bring more flower water?”

She frowned in temporary confusion and then remembered the spilled bottle of lavender shampoo. “Uh, do you need it for something, or do you just like the smell?”

“The smell please.”

She laughed. “Tell you what, tomorrow I will go out and buy some oil that smells just as nice. It will last longer too. You can have it as a housewarming present.”

“As roommate,” the spirit said delightedly.

“As my roommate,” she agreed with a smile.

[Theme music]

Laura: And with that last word stitching up the very last sentence, this story has its proper end.

Thank you very much for listening, I hope you enjoyed this short fantasy story. If you want to know how to contact me, or where to find my other projects, you can find all that on my website laurasimons.com.

There’s another tale to tell some other day, but until then…

Ward your home, guard your name, and be safe~

[Music fades]

Image of the Patchwork Fairy Tale dragon from the podcast logo.

Copyright Laura Simons, please do not copy my stories without my permission, lest you insult the fae.

Share your thoughts: