The end was near.
White-hot needles and knives were puncturing my abdomen like a swarm of wasps defending their hive. I had been soldiering on for the past two and a half hours in the confines of public transport but my will was slowly disintegrating; every man has his breaking point.
I had decided not to avail of the opportunity to relieve myself before I undertook my journey, confident that I could resist the faint urges that my body was whispering to my brain. Besides, I was going to be late for my transport.
Once we arrived in Dublin my salvation was at hand. I had fallen asleep on the way up and I literally had dreamed of this moment.
I dreamed of marble floors, golden faucets, silk cloth and porcelain basins.
What awaited me was more depraved and debased than anything I could have possibly imagined.
It is said that the lowest circles of Hell are reserved for the violent, the fraudulent and the treacherous. Satan must have forgotten the circle reserved for this toilet when he was drawing up the architectural plans.
Imagine if you will the most filth-encrusted, degraded lavatory your mind can possibly fabricate, and then multiply it by 52. Even then you probably won’t be able to grasp just how bad this place was. This is the kind of place that homeless heroin addicts avoid out of a sense of self-respect and decorum.
It almost seemed that the place was alive, its own putridity the lifeblood flowing through its veins.
Not only that, but that it was proud of how foul it was, and that I wasn’t going to get out of there without leaving a part of my soul behind.
I felt that I had entered a whole different plane of existence, one where joy and happiness could never exist; a place where the dreams of men crawl into to wither up and die.
But I didn’t care. I had suffered long enough and my time was running out; armageddon was here and God as my witness I would endure.
As I entered the cubicle I could almost hear the anguished wailings of the damned howling out of the cistern, begging me to turn back, to avoid the same fate as those foolish enough to have ever considered using this wretched excuse of a public bathroom.
Ignoring the warnings of the condemned that this infernal lavatory has taken hostage forevermore and never to be released, I concluded my business and hastily made for the sink.
Looking back, I probably shouldn’t have expected soap considering where I was, but I still did. I was also still disappointed when there wasn’t any in the first, as I should have expected.
Washing my hands in what was possibly the tears of those who had come before me, I quickly shook my hands and started towards the door.
The bathroom seemed a lot larger than when I first came in, possibly because in my urgency I didn’t pay much attention to it or possibly because it knew that I wanted to leave and was trying to give itself more time to capture my soul.
Looking around I saw what suspiciously looked like bloodstains, scraps of tinfoil and in one corner what appeared to be a broken syringe.
Turning back to the door and pulling on the handle, I discovered that the door was stuck. It wouldn’t open.
The bathroom wouldn’t let me leave; I was doomed to become another lost soul confined to its decrepit tiled walls. I expected Satan himself to emerge from one of the cubicles with a malicious grin on his face, welcoming me to the secret tenth circle of Hell, found right here in Dublin city centre.
I tried the door again, to no avail.
I could feel the damned gathering around me with every second that passed, gloating and laughing at me, laughing at the fact that another poor soul had fallen victim to this infernal place.
So I tried the door for a final time, opening it with perhaps more force than was necessary.
Light flooded into the dingy room, vanquishing the shadows dancing with glee on the walls and silencing the cries of the damned. I had escaped.
To this day I remain terrified of toilets.
Well, not really.
But sanitation is pretty important.
Screenshot from Trainspotting 1996. © Channel Four Films