I’ve been spending the days while the kids are at school fooling around with this old chemistry set we’ve got. It’s fascinating!
One day, Bobobo asks me if I’d make him a solution that glowed orange.
“Like Tang,” he says, “but not really tang. You know. Chemicals.”
I add dichromate to a saline solution, and it’s a beautiful sunrise color.
“Perfect!” Bobobo says as he grabs it from me.
He goes into the kitchen, gets something from the fridge, and stirs it in. I hear him humming his Toxic Ray-de-ay-shon song.
“Here, Patches,” he says. “It’ll burn going down. But don’t worry. That’s the price of reality.”
Suddenly, purple explosions and bubbles burst out.
“Bobobo! Look out!” I call.
“‘S’okay, Mom,” he says. “Got it all under control.”
The purple smoke clears, and there, amidst the bubbles, is a little girl.
“Bobobo?” I ask.
“I feel funny,” says the girl.
“Oh, crum,” says Bobobo. “I think I mixed in too much.”
She shakes her head, jumps around a little bit, and then starts to giggle.
“I feel great!”
“But who ARE you?” I ask.
“MOM!” says Bobobo. “It’s Patches. Duh.”
I spend the evening getting to know this little blue-haired girl. She has amazing, long, convoluted stories to tell about the price of admission, but admission to where, I could never figure out.
I’m not able to enroll her in school for the next day, since we’re missing some of the needed paperwork–I figure I’ll call a friend in City Hall and see what kind of special dispensation we can get–so, after the other kids go to school, we spend the next day alone, just the two of us and Zoey.
She is a lovely companion and a fierce opponent over the chess board.
That evening, shortly after the other kids get home, while Patches is still at the chess board, I get that ominous feeling again, and it’s the paparazzi this time. This is the third visit by the Reaper in as many days. It doesn’t get easier.
When it’s over, He turns to me and says, “Mind if I come inside? It’s a bit drizzly out.”
I dare not refuse, though I feel the pit of my stomach grow hollow.
He settles into the rocking chair and waits, while we have supper, while I help the kids with their homework, while I tuck them in. He’s still sitting there when I return.
“I’ve been wanting to talk with you,” He says.
I find this disconcerting.
“You’ve seen a lot of me,” He says. “That means, of course, I’ve seen a lot of you. Yes, we’ve been seeing a lot of each other!”
And His laugh is terrifying.
“Do you know that Timing is everything?” He asks. “And Timing is not up to me.”
“I can sometimes influence Timing, however,” He says. “Especially when I sense Purity of Intention. Is your Intention Pure?”
I don’t know how to answer.
He waves a bony hand my way. “No need to speak a word. We understand each other. We have an understanding.”
And he laughs again.
He stops rocking and looks at me. “I know what you want,” He says. “I know your deepest wish. You need to know that not All is in my Control. But what I can Influence, I will. All right? Comprende? We are simpatico? Don’t fear.”
And with that, He is gone in a cyclone of sulfur and smoke.
When the smoke clears, I discover that gone, too, is my own fear and dread. I don’t know, exactly, what He has offered me, but somehow, my worry seems to have cleared with the moonlight.