Popper’s Red Toilet Seat

In the war monologue Popper’s Red Toilet Seat, RICKY relates a war story that his father told him to his friend.

RICKY:  My father used to scare me; he’d get on these drunken binges and come downstairs to my room and tell me stories about how he saw men die—he always used to talk to me about it—not sure if he even remembers—but—it was the only time we ever talked—not sure if it was all the beer talking, probably was; I hated his drinking cause of all the shit it caused between—well, family, but uh, I never hated on the guy cause in a mesed up way I was glad he spoke to me; even if it was always about his war stories, glad he spoke to me.

This one time he told me about how he heard his best friend get blown up—his buddy Paulie, yeah, seen pictures of those two bastards in combat—said his friend Paulie went to the toilet to take a dump, when not even a minute past when the bathroom—which was this shed like building, where all the men shit—was just blown completely up—all that remained was the toilet and Paulie’s blood completely covering the whole thing—it was a red toilet—turns our Paulie had this habit of playing with grenade pins, whenever he was on the shitter—he’d hold the grenade and pop the pin in and out—the stupid son of a bitch blew himself up—my father told him to take up reading or something else to occupy his mind while he shat—crazy son of a bitch used to joke about it with all the guys like it was some kind of death prank—well, he got his wish—left behind two kids and a wife, for being an inconsiderate a-hole—they nicknamed him Popper for popping the pin on the throne; everybody knew he did that and everybody warned him—of course, his wife was told he died in battle, like some kind of hero, like lots of wives been told through the years—they should only know how many men died of stupidity like Popper—yeah, you won’t find those stories in the history books, now will you?

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Joseph Arnone