Once many years after the “upon a time”… Miss Bliss, Tman and only child, Boo had moved from their Columbia River town to the southern end of Oregon by the California border. Here they were able to live close to Bliss’s mother and father. It was important that Boo know some of his family on Bliss’s side.
Boo had golden hair, one big dimple on his left cheek and brilliant green eyes. He was a well behaved baby who was happy wherever he went. Boo was beyond repute the most beautiful baby in the word. This made Bliss very happy but at the same time, she was frightened that a stranger might try to take Boo away. She was extremely cautious about his safety and kept him close.
The little family had a perfect life. A nice home, nice things. Every weekend, Bliss’s father would stop by on his way home from work to pick up Boo and take him home. It was their custom for Boo to stay from Friday through Sunday… giving Bliss and Tman time to enjoy each other’s company. What a sweet deal!
The Medusa had recently moved to town. Bliss did not trust her at all in the beginning. (Oh stop… you had to have experienced this to get why Bliss trusted…!). The Medusa had been a horrible person in the past, but was under doctor’s care and on medication and all seemed well with her at long last. She had not had an episode in what seemed like a long time. When Medusa showed up that Friday, Bliss was a bit surprised.
“Dad’s going to have to work late. I’m supposed to drive Boo out so the Grandma can still get her baby fix on time.”
Bliss ran through her mental check off list. Was she drinking? No, did not seem to be. Did she seem alright? Well, yeah she did. Were her eyes altered? Bliss peered into them and did not see any of edgy nervousness that generally accompanied Medusa’s problems.
“Oh… you don’t have to bother. I was thinking of driving out a bit later anyway…”
“You don’t trust me? You still don’t trust me?” Medusa flipped her hands up and looked hurt.
“No… Seriously, I…”
“What more do you want? What am I going…” And so the conversation went until Bliss was cornered and felt guilted into accepting her offer of a ride for Boo.
Child safety seats were not required by law in those days… but Bliss, who loved that boy more than anything else in the universe, was smart enough that the government didn’t have to force her into buying one for Boo. She drug the car seat from her car and installed it properly in Medusa’s truck. Little boo watched her, full of smiles. Kisses were given and given again. A hug or two. The truck started up, Bliss carefully locked the door and pushed it firmly shut. She waved at Boo and began to throw kisses. This time, Boo did not throw kisses back. His face crumpled into something worried and scared. He never, never looked this way. Bliss’s heart began to accelerate.
She bound up the steps to the living room and called her mother.
“No, dad doesn’t have to work late… he should be there any minute… why?”
Bliss explained. The Nana got off the line and Bliss grabbed her purse. She was waiting at the curb when Poppy arrived. Once in the truck, she gave him a quick run down and they were off. Just because she had lied about giving him a ride didn’t mean that she meant him harm, Poppy assured her. It was 5:00 P.M. When they arrived at Poppy’s home the driveway was sadly empty. Bliss was in full blown freak out mode and heavy into self verbal abuse for her stupidity.
The sheriff was called. Tman was called home early from work. There were drives to any place they could think of where Medusa might take a baby. The parks, schools, etc. No luck. The sheriff called the state police. The night grew dark and long. No one could locate Medusa. Unable to rest or sit still, Bliss went outside to smoke and pace on the old logging road behind the house. It was after 4:00 A.M.. She was a sniveling wreck, hands shaking so hard it was almost impossible to light the cigarette up.
She stopped and listened. Car sound. Bliss searched the top of the mountain. Headlights! Maybe one of the sheriffs had found them. She ran toward the lights as the wound down the incline to the driveway and stopped. Bliss was filled first with gratitude, then anger as she realized it was Medusa behind the wheel. The driver’s car door was ajar. One of Medusa’s feet dangled out. Medusa was passed out cold. Inside the cab, baby Boo was crying and holding out his hands to his mom. Bliss forgot about how she was going to kill Medusa and pulled the baby free. He was soaked to the skin, but she did not care, she hugged tight and ran for the house.
It would be discovered that Medusa’s foot still located inside had the clutch depressed and the car was still in gear. At any moment after stopping and passing out, the car could have lurched into the garage door. It was mind boggling. The sheriff department promised to send a man out the following shift to finish the report and arrange for Medusa to be taken into the state hospital for observation. Bliss was firm about it… she wanted Medusa committed and gone.
Medusa woke up oblivious to the situation. She could not or would not recall where she had taken the baby. All she would say was that they had gone to see the horses… where she had a beer. That explained much. Medusa was in a separate reality by a second beer that often ended up in arrest or violence.
Bliss watched Medusa pace in a circle around the cooking island. She was not fast enough to stop Medusa from pulling the butcher knife from the stand. People shouted and moved. Medusa lifted the knife to her bare upper arm and began to parrot the motions you would make if you played violin. Bliss stood still and watched. They all did for some seconds too repulsed to move. That funny thing happened that Bliss always experienced in stressful situation… the quality of the air in the room became thick and she could no longer hear sounds. The world became crisp and silent. She had no desire to stop her sister from finishing her sonata. She became a quiet observer of the fast paced activities that looked impossibly slow motion. Tman had the knife, appeared to consider using it to more permanent effect, then flung it into the sink as Medusa twisted out of his grip and began running down the hall where she locked herself in a bedroom.
“She can’t go anywhere.” Poppy said. It was true. They were 27 miles from town in the middle of BLM forest on three sides and only a cow pasture between them and the park below where the river would stop any escape in that direction. However, she did escape. Poppy had pulled the keys from the ignition the night before and felt safe in the knowledge that they were in his pocket. But the Medusa had experience and kept another set hidden in the bumper.
Bliss called the sheriff and demanded that they come take her away now. That conversation ended with Bliss screaming “Sh**!” into the ear of the dispatcher when she spied Medusa outside running for her truck. By the time they got through the kitchen and out of the garage the truck was halfway up the steep incline to the main road.
The Medusa was gone. She drove straight through to Louisiana… way farther than Bliss’s anger could reach. But at least she was gone. She looked at Tman, covered in her sister’s blood, then down at Boo. His sweet face smiled up at her and his chubby fingers held out something.
“Beanie” he said as he dropped a black jelly bean into Bliss’s hand. Bliss quietly thanked God that Boo did not seem to understand the events that had transpired around him. But small minds are big sponges and memory can last a life time. It has on many occasions occurred to Bliss that this life she provided to Boo was corrupted, that these events that peppered their lives lay at the heart of his eventual drug abuse or her own for that matter. Sometimes life is fucking hard... but we make it that way with lousy choices.
Medusa eventually would move to Dumb Potter’s Hell. There she would eventually live with Tman and Bliss. There is no way that you can imagine at this point that any sane person would accept such a monster under their roof. You may assume that we were not sane on that day. But I will tell you this... Medusa had children. The one thing that Bliss is a sucker for… are kids. The children needed sanctuary. Medusa was in rehab and there was hope, if you can believe it. Bliss is also a sucker for hope.
You are correct. It was the stupidest idea in the world. It led to the imprisonment of Tman, where he became broken and blamed Bliss. He will never forgive Bliss this. Bliss understands. She accepts the responsibility of these horrific things… played out in front of her innocent children. You can’t take that crap back. Bliss can't fix what is broken in a man who was a good, kind man.
Tman had just left for prison when Medusa showed up. Bliss would not allow her in the house and they sat on the front lawn in plastic chairs. Medusa had an idea. Wouldn’t it be great if they lived together again? They could be just like “Kate and Ali”! Bliss stared at Medusa for several long moments. Too late for certain… Bliss told her no. There would be no more Medusa in her life. Medusa had destroyed or scarred all things that Bliss loved. Bliss wanted Medusa to leave and never return. That was the only thing she would accept.
Bliss’s father still lives in Dumb Potters Hell. She sees him almost everyday. When she was growing up, he was right there whenever she got hurt. As an adult, when her husband was taken away, he was not. Unfortunately, he still to this day favors Medusa and wants desperately for Bliss to make up with her demented sister. Bliss has pretty much stopped talking to the old man. She loves him. She forgives him and understands his desire. She makes sure he has what he needs. But if he cannot get this… that Medusa cannot be a part of her life…then there is nothing to discuss. When Bliss waves as she drives past him on the street, she is always sad. But she stands her ground. What a shame she stood it too late.