This is the original with Merry Clayton... the best version. All the ladies who sang this part were great, but Merry is THE voice.
This is a long story, if you want something short... this is not the time or the place you are looking for.
Once upon a time, long, long ago… when Tye Dye was Miss Bliss’ sense of safety and security… a trip began with a trek to a Quick Stop Shop, which was the result of drinking a plastic shake from B K. At that time B K was proud to produce non-dairy milkshakes that had a chewable vitamin taste which was disturbing and were served at a somewhat creepy room temperature.
Bliss thought she was going to gag. Cotton mouth was the motivation behind the trip to BK for rescue and relief. Instead, they had a new mission to seek out relief at the Quick Stop Shop. Bliss was tilting her had back and letting the Dr. Pepper roll down her throat when the clerk squeaked out “Hey… you wanna buy some blotter?” Tye Dye and Bliss looked at each other and smiled, then in a sublime Ester Williams impersonation, they turned… Bliss to the left and Tye Dye to the right… circled around to meet in the middle and walk like a bride and groom to the counter to peer at what the clerk was offering.
A green sheet of construction paper was lifted from under the counter. It was divided into a grid. Within each of the small squares was the face of the Mad Hatter. They were two dollars away from paradise. Behind them a car pulled into the lot. Four dollars hit the counter. The clerk pressed a tiny envelope into Bliss’ hand.
“Be careful, you can absorb it through your skin.” He whispered.
Time began it’s rapid march soon after. To Bliss it seemed that Zu and Ef’s house was empty one moment and jumping with people the next. It was a funny little house, old with odd crannies and doors that were not well placed. Every room was full of happy people, beers in hand, talking. Bliss did not care for beer, so Zu insisted that she make Bliss a cup of tea. Zu leaned close and shouted “Be careful…” as she helped Bliss to curl her fingers around the handle. When Bliss looked up, Tye Dye was gone, replaced by E who seemed to be interested in the conversation they were having, though for the life of her Bliss could not grasp what had been said.
Her fingers were distracting. They felt warm. Over warm. Down right hot. Perhaps on fire. She shifted the cup to dangle from the tips of the fingers of her opposite hand. Looking at the burning fingers, she saw no sign of damage.
“Is this hot? I mean too hot?” she asked E. He reached out and felt the mug. “No.” he said. Trusting him, she slid her fingers back into the mug handle and ignored the burning sensation that must have been imaginary. E wandered away when Tye Dye returned. The burning sensation was worse. There were some things that the imagination can do that are not comfortable. The Mad Hatter was making it so. Bliss set the mug on a table and moved away from it, putting Tye Dye between herself and the excessive heat.
Time spun. When Bliss was next aware, she and Tye Dye were deep in animated conversation. Two guys standing near by watched them openly. Bliss and Tye Dye flashed smiles at them and continued to chatter.
One guy said “They act like they’re on acid.”
The pair swiveled their heads and said “We are!” laughed and turned back to their conversation, with electric smiles pasted fast to their faces. The conversation then turned to how funny it was that the guys had known. (Duh... they were higher than kites! Giant pupals... plastic fantastic grins... manic.)
Bliss was standing on the porch watching Ef and Tye Dye cross the street holding hands. She stood on the top step… there were only three… and watched them. They looked happy. Neither person seemed to feel the creeping sense of doom that had begun to crawl up Bliss’ spine. The night sky was colored by the weird pink incandescent light of the security lamps that loomed high above the run-off reservoir located in the lot at the opposite curb. The air was hot. Cobweb clouds stretched over a brown sky back lit by a three quarter moon.
Bliss told herself to get her brain in right… do not let the eerie feeling wreck the high. She pushed off the steps and ran across the street to clutch at the chain link enclosure that surrounded the run-off depression.
“Isn’t it beautiful?” Ef said and gave Bliss a little squeeze. Bliss stared into the dip, wanting to find beauty. Instead patches of darkness and twisted brush sat silent. In the middle was a deep patch of black that felt hollow. Bliss searched it and found fear. It burbled up from the soles of her feet and boiled into her brain. When she turned to tell Ev that she was afraid, he and Tye Dye were gone. The distance between herself and the door with it’s bright patch of light creating a beacon was impossible. Bliss froze.
The door burst open and someone nameless pitched down the steps to hurl into the bushes. Bliss seized her opportunity to launch for
the house, run up the steps and back into the safety of the light inside. One lone man looked up at her, his face a question mark. She knew him. It was awkward. He was Tye Dye’s ex. Bliss knew that Ef and Tye Dye were interested in each other and that was where Tye Dye had vanished. Hummmm….
“Party’s over.” SB said as he leaned down to pick up an empty beer cup. Bliss just stood there. There was no way in hell that she was going to go back outside into the night and face what had frightened her… the sound from the hole across the street.
The screaming from the hole across the street. The Well of Souls. She knew that was exactly what it was but was not sure what that meant. Only that it needed to be avoided like a siren’s song.
“I’m afraid of the dark.”
She said at last. SB turned to assess her honesty. After a moment he nodded then continued his work. Bliss joined in to pick up. When they finished, he led her to the kitchen and sat her at the table. When he offered her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich she agreed but was not at all hungry. Eating slowly would give her time to figure out where she would stay. SB pulled a notebook from his back pocket. He asked her questions about how she felt or for opinions, then jotted notes on her replies. When he finished, he closed the pad and stuffed it back in his pocket.
Oddly enough, his behavior and the questions did not bother Bliss at all. SB was like that. He studied things. This was normal for him.
“Come on..” SB led her by the hand to the living room and sat her on the sofa. It was a dreadful thing… pink, prickly with hair. SB left the room but quickly returned. “Lay down.” He ordered as he flipped open a beach towel. A cat leered at fish in a bowl. He carefully covered her up and apologized that there were no blankets or pillows. SB walked to the stereo and stacked some records on the stylus… a Rolling Stones record dropped down first… Let it Bleed, then quietly retired to his room, telling Bliss that he would leave the door open in case she got scared... he was right there.
That was the only bad experience that Miss Bliss had with acid. She managed to hang on to the edge of being okay. But I cannot properly describe the feeling of anxiety that threatened to overwhelm her for most of the evening. At the time Bliss was unsure of SB’s motives but she was equally unsure if the cat on the beach towel was real or part of the print. In retrospect, he was pretty amazing for a guy who had never so much as taken a puff of pot. The notes he took were on answers to his questions. What was her favorite food? What bands did Bliss like? Was she cold?
You can see that he did whatever he could to make Bliss comfortable and to help her feel safe. Bliss thought he was studying her like an experiment. He was in fact, just trying to help. Miss Bliss cannot say that she had a true “bad trip” but this one was close enough that it ended her fascination with acid. She is also aware that it was the kindness of SB that probably kept her from stepping over the edge. The thing she remembers most about him? He liked trains.
Which brings us to this: The next album that dropped from the stylus was Grand Funk Railroad’s Survival. It starts with a narration by children about God... you can skip to 1:24 if you want to avoid that.
It starts with a narration by children about God... you can skip to 1:24 if you want to avoid that.
A final story foot note is that the cup that was so hot was truly scalding. E was playing mind f*ck with Bliss… something that people did to trippers on occasion. It left her with badly blistered fingers. Not cool.