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The Rise and Fall of the Sewer People
by Nathaniel Tower

From an early age, Ruttiger's mother had warned him not to flush the toilet while seated.

"No matter what," she told the young lad repeatedly even before he had been potty trained, "never flush the toilet while seated. Never, never do it."

"Why not, Mommy?" Ruttiger had eventually asked when he was well past the age of potty training.

"The sewer people are not to be trifled with," was her serious response.

"The sewer people?"

"Yes, the sewer people. If you flush the toilet while seated, you will be sucked right in. Then you will be forced to live with the sewer people. That is if they let you live."

"Tell me more about the sewer people, Mommy," he had begged.

She told him everything she knew about them.

"Have you ever seen a sewer person?" the incredulous boy wondered.

"Of course not sweetie. No one has ever seen one and lived to tell normal people about it." Again, she spoke in grave tones. This was a no-nonsense matter.

By the time Ruttiger reached high school, he no longer feared the sewer people. In his younger schooling days, he had tried to warn people about them, but he soon realized that not only did no one else believe in the sewer people, but no one besides his mother had ever even heard of the sewer people. There were no books about them, and Ruttiger's teachers told him it was just a load of poppycock. Ruttiger didn't know what poppycock was, but he figured the sewer people weren't much to worry about. Still, he feared them a little and never flushed the toilet while seated, which was okay because he had not yet reached the age where a courtesy flush was considered to truly be a courtesy.

One afternoon in the high school locker room before football practice, Ruttiger felt the inevitable pre-practice bowel movement approaching, and so he engaged in his usual routine of pre-practice defecation. After eating burritos for dinner the night before and a chili dog for lunch, the smell of his bowels had been greatly enhanced.

"Jesus Christ, how about a damn courtesy flush over there," a teammate cried from the adjacent stall.

Ruttiger had heard of the courtesy flush before, but he had never really considered doing one. Although he was a junior in high school and hadn't given serious thought to toilet suction or the sewer people in quite a few years, there was always the nagging suspicion in the back of his mind that it was true. After all, what reason did his mother possibly have to lie to him?

Ruttiger flushed while seated for the first time in his life, against his mother's commands.

The sewer people were indeed not to be trifled with. In fact, his mother's description was spot on, but he was never able to confirm it with her. Somehow though, she knew.