Oasis

A bioengineer, shortly after a stunning breakthrough, despaired. A dozen test subjects, following several rounds of unprecedented gene therapy, no longer neĀ­eded to urinate or defecate, having digestive tracts that now operated at 100% efficiency. But rather than celebrate this simplification, or enjoy the precious minutes it saved, his patients grew cagey and irritable. The scientist, studying their tired faces, assumed they were in a fleeting state of evolutionary shock, and was mystified as their symptoms worsened. Not till he broke down and brought in a stuffy old psychoanalyst was it learned that for many individuals, a rare and necessary isolation is found on the toilet.

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Miles Klee is the author of IVYLAND (OR Books 2012). He writes for Vanity Fair, The Awl and others.