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Grandma’s house had a cesspool in the backyard.  

Grandpa or Grandma had cut a hole in the top of an orange construction cone and stuck a second cone upside-down into it (like an ice cream cone), creating a plastic portable toilet.  This toilet sat in a shed-like room away from the main part of the house.  

Petra and I were instructed to pour water into the cone after use, shake and swirl the contents around, and dump everything into the swamp.  

The backyard was pretty, with close-cropped green grass, guava, mango, lychee and loquat trees, subtropical flowers and an anti-fragrant cesspool.  You carried the cone out to the pit, moved the corrugated tin lid aside, poured the cone’s contents in, dragged the lid back in place, and took the cone indoors for a rinse.

Petra usually told me to swirl, empty and wash her cone for her, so I did.  

The cones were actually a pleasant alternative to the indoor toilets, which were housed in narrow wooden stalls in the hallway.  When you went in and closed the door, you felt like you were inside a square, claustrophobic, unsanitary tree.  

Both bathrooms were much nicer than public Taiwanese restrooms.  

I recently asked Petra if she remembered making me swirl and wash her cone for her.

"Yes," she said, with a satisfied smirk.

Rummaging Region