I Stepped in Unicorn Poop?

Walter Rhein

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When you become a father, you find yourself uttering phrases you never thought you’d say in a million years. “What do you mean I stepped in unicorn poop?” belongs in this category.

Let me back up.

Children are good at making parents tiptoe through a booby trapped house barefoot in the dark. Basically, they turn your life into that scene from ‘First Blood’ when Sheriff Teasle’s deputies are cut to ribbons by Rambo’s primitive traps.

To be clear, you’re one of the deputies in this scenario.

Everything you’ve heard about stepping on a Lego is true. It’s important to maintain body control otherwise you might accidentally throw yourself down the stairs.

Although they might act like drunken adults most of the time, children are highly adept at getting the better of you. They know that you’re groggy when you’re half-asleep. They know your eyesight is terrible in the dark. That’s why they wait until it’s two in the morning to wake you up and demand a glass of water.

“I’m thirsty!”

The call is worse than an alarm. After all, you can crush your alarm clock with a hammer to stop it. With your kids, there’s no option but to procure the water.

I rubbed my eyes and moved to the edge of the bed. I’ve been at this long enough that I have conditioned myself to put on slippers. The slippers don’t completely stop the pain of a Lego piece, but they can keep you from throwing yourself down the stairs.

On this particular night it was easy, too easy. I maneuvered into the bathroom, filled up the glass and made my way back towards the hall. On the last step before my foot left the tile of the bathroom, I had the dim sense that I’d stepped on something squishy.

I tried to ignore it.

I realized my mistake the moment my foot hit the hallway carpet.

Definitely squishy.

I still took one more step before the emergency override kicked in, “Stop you fool! You’re tracking something all over the house!”

I pulled off my slipper with one hand and groped for the light switch with the other. As the searing light burned out my eyes, I discovered something soft and sparkly and sticky on my shoe.

“What the…”

Okay, I’ll just scrape it off, I thought. It must be some Play-Doh or something.

But it didn’t come off. It was unbelievably sticky and now I discovered it was staining my fingers blue. I glanced at the floor and noticed two major blue blotches.


I’ve been married long enough to know when to keep trying to fix something, and when to just throw what you’re working on away. The answer is always throw it away. I tossed the soiled slipper in the garbage. I kept the other one because I knew that would drive my wife crazy. Then I washed my hands. Three minutes later my hands were still blue.

“What the…”

“I’m thirsty!”

Drying off my hands, I went into the bedroom. Both my girls were awake. I handed over the water. “Hey kids, I just stepped in something blue, sticky and sparkly in the bathroom.”

“Oh, that was the unicorn poop we made.”

“I stepped in unicorn poop?”


“What is it made from?”

The girls shrugged. It was too much to expect them to remember. I shrugged too.

“Kids,” I said, “don’t ever make that again.”


I made my way back to bed. My wife rolled over. “Is everything okay?”

“I stepped in unicorn poop and tracked it all over the hallway carpet.”


“Don’t worry, tomorrow I’ll rip the carpet up and burn it.”

“Good, I’ve been asking you to do that for six months,” she said, and went back to sleep.

As I drifted off, my thoughts returned to the electric fence. I wondered if one could be used to trap a unicorn? I’d almost begun to dream when a prepubescent voice roused me again.

“Daddy, we’re hungry!”

As I pushed away the covers I wondered what new obstacles awaited me. Minotaur diarrhea? Hippogriff vomit? And me without my anti-Lego protection slippers.

Like some tragic Homeric champion, I shuffled off into the night.

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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI

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