It’s every author’s dream come true: A book you can’t lend and can’t duplicate. You can’t even reread it—to go back even a single page, you’d have to buy a whole new copy. Think of the royalties!
That’s precisely what may have gone through the mind of Koji Suzuki, a writer considered the Stephen King of Japan, when he received a commission from the Hayashi Paper Corporation for a horror story with a toilet-related theme.
The tale, it turned out, was to be printed on a roll of toilet paper!
The nine-chapter novella that resulted, called Drop, tells of a nasty spirit who makes his home in a toilet. The notion of potty-dwelling monsters who reach out and grab you when you’re at your most vulnerable is well established in Japan. Stories about them are usually used—like scary stories everywhere—to keep kids from misbehaving.
But Drop is for grownups. Its entire artistically printed text (in Japanese, of course) takes up only about three feet, short enough to read in a single bathroom break at work. Best of all, once you’ve finished, the boss can’t accuse you of dawdling, since all the evidence has been flushed away.
Remarkably, Drop is not Hayashi Paper’s first venture into creative toilet paper content. One of the company’s earlier products was a roll printed with earthquake-survival information. What’s puzzling is why they selected this particular story as their first venture into fiction.
From the sound of it, one of Koji Suzuki’s earlier novels might have been a better choice. It’s title? Dark Water.