Red shoe poo

Today I have a glamorous 💩 story that my wife wrote about her childhood.
I was probably 8 or 9, which means my brother was around 5 at the time. It was a rare occasion of me visiting him and both our parents in the village right next to the military base where my dad was working. Parents would go to work and just leave us at home all day, which was normal at the time. The entrance to the base was only a 20 minute walk away, if we ever needed anything while they're away, and people working at the checkpoint would phone one of our parents.
The military housing they were living in did not have any indoor facilities, aside from the very low pressure water tap fed by the natural spring just outside the house. Aside from that, the shower was outside: a wooden structure the size of a portaloo, on top of it was a "water tank" made out of a retired underwater missile shell painted black. There was a small ladder leaning against it: anyone wanting to take a shower had to climb up there with a garden hose, fill it with water and wait for it to warm up under the hot Crimean sun (which didn't take long). 
Slightly further away from it, behind the shed were the toilets. Until very recently there was only one very old and incredibly stinky village toilet: a tall wooden construction with a narrow door with a latch, behind which you'd find a glorious hole in the creaky wooden floor. As soon as you'd open the door you would get greeted by an eye stinging stench and a swarm of flies, annoyed by the disturbance from worshiping the contents of the hole. The old rotting floor was threatening to break even under a small child's weight, so we were told to stay away from there unsupervised (or we might drown in human poo). It was clearly the time the 4-family military housing needed a new toilet.
A few months before my summer visit, the new deputy commander of the military base moved in next door, along with his wife, two sons and his mother in law, which must have resulted in the building of the new toilet. It was (!) clean, had a raised wooden "shelf" seat, and the deputy commander's women made it as fabulous as they could: they stuck wallpaper on the walls, used pretty upholstery nails and wipeable tablecloth material to cover the seating, and even provided toilet paper and air freshener. Most importantly, us, kids, were now allowed to go in there like grownups! 
Just as I arrived, mother got paid and went shopping over the weekend; she bought herself a pair of fancy looking bright red rubber slippers: they had a platform heel, an indents on the insole for a heel and each toe, and a snakeskin pattern on the outside of thick criss-cross straps (something every 8-year old girl would have clearly dreamt of in the 1980’s) 
On Monday morning she got ready for work, told us to behave, DON'T TOUCH her new red shoes or else she'll rip our arms out, and she'll see us on her lunch break so we can all eat together. Off they both went (dad and her that was). As we peeked around the corner of the house, watching them disappear into the distance, Andy said to me: have you seen our new toilet?! 
Before we went to check it out, I quickly ran inside to change into mom's new red shoes: they were wayyy too big for my tiny feet and made walking nearly impossible, but I obviously looked great in them - that's all that mattered! 👑
First, as usual, as we passed the stinky old toilet, we had to open the door, look at each other while covering our noses, scream "ewww!" and slam the door closed before the swarm of flies gets out. Then we admired the new build by finding and throwing down the hole everything we could think of: small sticks, stones, grass, leaves, flowers... It got boring fairly quickly and I needed a wee.
I pushed Andy outside and locked the door with a turning wooden catch. The seat was too high for me, so I climbed on top of it with both feet, and tried to wee while covering any gaps in the door my little brother was trying to peek through. I got so distracted by the process that I forgot that the shoes I was wearing were a few sizes too big... and as I finished and jumped off the seat to open the door as quickly as I can (to hopefully get my giggling brother's curious nose with it), the unthinkable happened: one of the shoes slipped off my foot and fell down the hole! 😳
I immediately forgot about my revenge, and once again we were a team on a mission (not to get our arms ripped out). We both stuck our faces almost neck-deep down the hole: it was impressively full, considering the newingness of the toilet! People in this 4-family housing were productive, but not enough for the product of their vital activities to completely swallow the innocent red slipper: we could still see half of it peeking above the surface! Sadly, the said "surface" was way out of our reach - about 3 meters too far...
The next couple of hours were the most productive ones in our short lives: we used all of our critical thinking and hands-on skills, trying to come up with a plan to retrieve the slipper (and keep our arms intact). Countless amounts of long sticks got themselves one smelly end before they were dropped back onto the ground where we found them, shorter sticks were lost in a battle and drowned in the name of nothing. Gardening tools found in the shed nearly followed, but luckily were too heavy for us to handle.
My little brother, an aspiring fisherman, had a brilliant suggestion: he offered to make a fishing rod so we can "catch" the shoe with it. That sounded like the best plan we've had all day, so we went to gather supplies and let the engineering begin: we got ourselves some gardening rope in the shed, wire and found a cool stick (just because every fisherman needs a stick). 
We managed to bend the wire multiple times for the piece long enough to break off, bend it into a flimsy hook, tie that to a long piece of rope, and the other end of it to our fishing stick. Of course, next we had a fight about who gets to have the first go - the eldest in the family or the inventor himself. The inventor won, but after a lot of sweating with his face down the dark stinky hole he screamed in despair: the catch got off the hook, splashed its tail and nearly disappeared beneath the surface! We had to resort to the help of a very long stick, to bring the red shoe back to the surface, under a convenient angle for the hook to catch around it.
Remember, this is taking place on a boiling hot summer day in the South of Crimea, and the two of us are standing on our knees on the wooden floor of an offensively glamorous village toilet with only some natural light coming through the gaps in the door cracks and under the roof. The depths of the toilet are almost completely dark and stinky, with the much longed-for [formerly red] shoe crowning the contents of the hole. I don't know how none of the neighbours saw us at any point of all of this.
After many failed attempts and almost giving up I finally hooked the slipper and started to pull it to the top very carefully, accompanied by my brother's excited cheers. We didn't prepare ourselves for what was coming next, and naively were thinking that one of us would grab the shoe as soon as it's within a hand's reach… Have you ever smelled the contents of an outside toilet which has been brewing for at least a couple of hot summer months? Now imagine it has been brought up right in front of your nose, oozing in all its glory, dripping... and beneath it is something you really really want and need to have NOW. Well, neither one of us was going anywhere near it but at least I managed to maneuver (to manure it?) and drop it onto the ground outside, and not back in the hole.
I've already mentioned lack of any civilized world’s facilities, we're not even talking about hot water and soap here… Well, there was one cold water tap, outside in the communal area, where everyone did their washing, water filling, teeth brushing, laundry and everything else. We put our catch on a stick and headed there. 
We had to hide behind an elderberry bush and wait there for the deputy commander's mother in law to finish her washing and leave. It seemed like an eternity and we were definitely running out of time: the sun was already at its highest point which meant one thing - lunchtime!.. 😬 She finally went away, we emerged from the bush with our smelly catch on a stick and immediately dropped it onto the drain board right under the tap, opened the water and ran off from there screaming "ugh!", returned, flipped the shoe over with the stick, repeated the process until there were no visible chunks of poo left anywhere on its indented snakeskin patterned surface.
Neither one of us wanted to check whether it still stank of where it has been, but we just hoped for the best. I can't remember what we used to wipe the shoe dry with, but it was back in its place, on the shoe shelf right next to its other half, barely in time before mom got home to feed us lunch. 😅
She asked how our day went, we looked at each other and said - uneventful, we just sat in a cherry tree and then went and played on a large dismantled naval missile in the field, pretending it's a submarine, the usual stuff. 
She never found out what one of her shoes had been through and wore them proudly for years to come. She got plenty of compliments on them from her friends and neighbours, and other women wanted a pair just like hers!
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