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Bea is Frustrated With Pablo

Bea is Frustrated With Pablo

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Tamara and Bea search for Ben
Tamara and Bea search for Ben

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Published by: mary allison tierney on Apr 01, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Bea was frustrated with Pablo for having had plans leavetown for months on tour to promote his album, and nevermentioning that this was looming on the horizon. She wasalso feeling like Mrs. Mintz was letting her know that she was just a temporary distraction for her son. After Thanksgivingdinner, Bea took Opal home. The two of them huddled onthe couch and watched a late night showing of Psycho on TV.Bea remembered having seen it in the theater as a teenagerand she told Opal how much it terrified her. She had madeher mother sit on a chair outside the bathroom door whileshe showered for weeks. Opal held a blanket up over hereyes for most it. They munched slightly burned popcorn thatBea had narrowly escaped setting aflame in the second handpop corn popper and Bea drank more red wine.Long after putting Opal to bed, Bea was awakened by franticknocking on her front door. It was Tamara, scared andbreathing heavily, “My car won’t start – I’m sorry to wakeyou – I need to help a friend – he’s in trouble, he’s sick. Canyou please drive me. I’m sorry.”Bea let Tamara in and told her to wait just a minute whileshe got dressed.She hesitated outside Opals door, then woke her up andhelped her find her slippers and wrapped her in a wool peacoat as she guided her down the hall. Tamara lookedterrified so Bea asked no questions – yet. She slipped herleather handbag over her shoulder, lifted her keys off thehook and headed out the door to the car port.Opal stretched out on the back seat. Bea’s Gran Torinostarted but the steering was stiff and Bea jumped out andopened the trunk. She grabbed a white plastic bottle with athin neck out of a box of ten and a paper cone. She poppedthe hood, and leaning over she screwed off the cap to thesteering fluid chamber, putting the cone in then pouring thebrown syrupy fluid until the bottle was empty. She grabbedthe paper cone and put the cap back on the reservoir then
closed the hood. Bea only pulled out a couple feet from herparking spot when she got out again and tossed the bottleand cone into the dumpster, then slid back in quickly andturned on the heat. “Where’s your friend?” asks Bea. She needed to knowwhich way to turn.“South on Central to Van Buren. Then we start looking inphone booths”“This is not good news,” thought Bea and she started gettingnervous, especially with Opal asleep in the back seat.“What’s really going on?” Bea attempted sounding like shewas the adult here. Maybe that would give her the strengthto be the adult. An adult was needed here.“My friend ….had some bad news today. He didn’t take itwell and over medicated. He called and asked me to comeget him. I said I would find him and take him to the VA. Mycar wouldn’t start and I panicked. You have a kid and seemreally responsible so I figured your car would work and youwould understand an emergency. I am really sorry toinvolve you but I panicked, like I said.”“OK, I understand. Let’s find your friend. Do you know whathe’s taken?”“Oh God, who knows?” Tamara sighs in frustration, “He’s onpain meds for a back injury he got in Viet Nam. After hisaltercation today he went searching for something strongerand he found it.” The tears started and that just made Tamara mad. Tamara was distraught. Bea had only seen glimpses of  Tamara getting into or out of her car, getting her mail orletting herself into her apartment. She had never seen herup close and never without her work clothes on. Scrubbed of 
her usual painstaking make up, with her thin brown hairpulled back from her face with a wide headband, herfeatures were soft and delicate and she was clearly youngerthan Bea.As they made their way south on Central, they were silentfor several long blocks. At the intersections where they hit ared light, they were the only car and there was an audibleclick when the light changed. It was almost three AM and itseemed the entire city was asleep. Tamara suggested turning left onto Van Buren Aveune. Afew blocks later Tamara spotted Ben’s crumpled formdisplayed inside a lit phone booth. It was in the corner of theparking lot of a strip mall with an all night laundromat andconvenience store. She jumped from the car almost as soonas Bea pulled in and Tamara ran to the phone booth andtried to push the door open. Ben was lying on his side withhis face on the ground and his knee was blocking the door.Bea parked, got out and hugged her coat closed as shewalked to the phone booth.“Shouldn’t we call an ambulance?” Bea suggested.“No. If we do, they’ll have to file a police report when theyget him to the hospital. If we can get him into your car andtake him to the VA then the police won’t get involved.” Tamara was circling the phone booth and waving her hands.“Help me get this door open. Help me push. Ben! We’rehere Ben we need you to get up and move!” Tamara banged on the glass wall near Ben’s head trying torouse him. Bea pushed and Tamara banged then helped herpush. With all the banging and yelling Opal woke up andwhen she sat up she tried to comprehend what she wasseeing. What on earth was happening?

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