With Billy asleep under the porch, I was bored. I noticed the toilet sitting down the trail from the house. “I need to use the bathroom.” This needed investigation. I knew what a toilet was, but had never gotten to investigate one to my satisfaction. Mother had always rushed me through the process on the few occasions I gotten to use one.
”You’re going to have to wait. I can’t go with you right now. I’m in the middle of putting this permanent in,” Mother replied. That fit in nicely with my plans.
”I can go by myself. I’m a big girl. I’ll be careful and not fall in.” I asserted.
”If you do, we’re just going to leave you,” laughed Miss Bessie. “You’ll be too nasty to save. She ought to be okay. My younguns went by themselves all the time.” I admired her good opinion of me as I sauntered off, though I had to wonder if that was where the lost little girl had gotten off to.
“Okay, but don’t fall in and come right back.” Mother looked a little worried as I left them to their project.
I considered myself a bit of an authority on toilets since we had an abandoned toilet in our chicken yard put there by the previous owners. Mother had always threatened us away from it, but I had bragged to a couple of Mother’s coffee-drinking friends once, much to her horror. As long as I could remember, she’d been after Daddy to pull it down, but he never found the time. Not only that, I’d been lucky enough to visit a couple of toilets when we visited some of Daddy’s backwoodsy friends.
I was completely surprised at the daintiness of Miss Bessie’s toilet. In contrast to her rustic house, it was a showplace. The walls were beautifully with remnants of ornate wallpaper. Though the numerous patterns varied widely, they were all right side up, unlike the magazine pictures and newspapers tacked to the walls of her house. My favorite print was off little fat men in rainboots and top hats holding umbrellas on the ceiling. Clearly, Miss Bessie had had control of this operation and was a high-class lady. Bright floral linoleum graced the floor. Wonders of wonders, a toilet seat covered the open hole I’d expected to see. A toilet paper holder held a full roll, instead of the Sears and Roebuck catalog I’d been forward to perusing. I never felt brave enough to look at women’s underwear unless I was assured of privacy, a rare situation in our busy house. This expertly decorated toilet far surpassed our poor bathroom at home, a very utilitarian one with the usual drab features.
Naturally, once I’d completed my business, I raised the toilet seat to inspect the quagmire beneath, interested to know whether Miss Bessie had managed any improvements on the usual situation. She hadn’t. The stench was overwhelming. Fat maggots squirmed in the disgusting mess, just like every other toilet I’d ever seen. If the little lost girl was in there, the maggots could have her.
“You took long enough,” Mother said when I got back.
“That toilet smells even worse than Miss Bessie’s hair,” I informed the two on the porch. “I sure am glad I ain’t a maggot!”