‘Of course I'm sure. I was there when she was tested and I saw the test results. That's why you were tested. I was greatly relieved to learn that you are not the one who gave them to her. '
‘I'll be there at once. Uh, it's about two hundred and forty miles. Coming up, it took me -‘
‘Yes, Mama? '
‘Stay where you are. We sent you to Grinnell to get you away from your sister. '
‘But, Mama, these are special circumstances. She needs me -‘
‘She does not need you. You are the worst possible influence on her; can't you get that through your head? She doesn't need sympathy; she needs antibiotics and that is what she is getting. Now leave her alone and give her a chance to get well. .. and to grow up. And you grow up, tool'
After enquiring about how he was doing with his studies, I shut him off. Then I did something I avoid doing as a matter of principle but sometimes must do http://bookstoread.ru through pragmatic necessity; I searched a child's room.
I think a child has a right to privacy but that right is not absolute; his parents have an overriding responsibility for everything under their roof. If the circumstances require it, the child's right to privacy may have to be temporarily suspended.
I am aware that some libertarians (and all children) disagree with me. So be it.
Priscilla's room was as untidy as her mind, but that was not what I was after. I worked slowly through her bedroom and bathroom, trying to check every cubic inch, while leaving her clothes and other possessions as much as possible the way I had found them.
I found no liquor. I found a stash of what I thought was marijuana but I was not sure how to tell ‘grass' when I saw it. That it probably was ‘grass' was made almost certain in my mind by two things: two little packets of cigarette papers under the bottom liner of another drawer, and a lack of any tobacco of any sort, loose or in cigarettes. Are cigarette papers used for any purpose other than rolling cigarettes of some sort?
The last odd thing I found was at the very bottom of a catch-all drawer in her bathroom: a small rectangular mirror, and with it a Gem single-edge blade. She had a big make-up mirror that I had given her, as well as a three-way that was part of her dressing table; why had she bought this mirror? I stared at those two items, mirror and razor blade, then looked elsewhere in her bathroom, and found, as my memory led me to expect, a Gillette razor that required double-edged blades, and an opened packet of double-edged blades - but no Gem razor. I then searched both bathroom and bedroom a second time. I even searched the room and bath that had been Donald's, although I knew them to be as bare as Mother Hubbard's cupboard; I had cleaned after he left. I did not find a stash of white powder having the appearance of powdered sugar. .. which proves only that I did not find such a stash.
I put everything back the way I found it.
About 1. 0 a. m. the front door chimed. I answered it from bed. ‘Who is it? '
‘It's me, Mama. Donald. '
(Dirty names! ) ‘Well, come in. '
‘I can't, it's bolted. '
‘Sorry, I'm not awake yet. I'll be down. ' I grabbed a robe, found some slippers, went downstairs and let my youngest son in. ‘Come in, Donald. Sit down. When did you eat last? '
‘Uh, I grabbed a Big Mac in Bethany. '
‘Oh, Lordy. ' I fed him first.
When he had polished off all of a giant Dagwood and had eaten a big dish of chocolate ice-cream, I said, ‘All right, why did you come here? '
‘You know why, Mama. To see Priss. I know you said she didn't need me. .. but you're mistaken. Ever since she was a baby girl, when she was in trouble, she came to me. So I know she needs me. '
(Oh, dear! I should have fought it in court. I should not have left my two youngest in the custody of - Regrets, regrets! Father, why did you have to go get yourself killed in the Battle of Britain? I need your advice. And I miss you dreadfully! ) ‘Donald, Priscilla is not here. '
‘Where is she? '
‘I won't tell you. '
Donald looked stubborn. ‘I won't go back to Grinnell without seeing her. '
‘That's your problem. Donald, you two have outworn both my patience and my resourcefulness. You ignore my advice and disobey necessary orders and you are each too big to spank. I have nothing else to offer. '
‘You won't tell me where she is? '
He heaved a big sigh. I'm going to stay here until I see her. '
‘That's what you think. Son; you are not the only stubborn member of this family. Any more of your lip and I'll call your father and tell him to come get you because I can't handle you -‘
‘I won't go! '
‘- and then close this house and take an apartment for myself at the Kansas Citian - a single apartment, big enough for a sand box for Polly, not big enough for another person. I was about to move into an apartment when you and your sister showed up. .. so I changed my plans and rented this house, especially for you two. But neither of you have treated me decently and I'm sick of trying. I'm going to bed. You can stretch out on that couch and get a nap. But if you are not gone when I get up, I intend to call your father and tell him to come get you. '
‘I won't go with him! '
‘Your problem. The next step could be juvenile court but that is up to your father. As a result of your choice, six years ago, he has custody. ' I stood up, then recalled something. ‘Donald, do you know marijuana when you sec it? '
‘Uh. .. maybe. '
‘Do you, or don't you? '
‘Yeah. .. I do. '
‘Wait here. ' I was back in a few moments. ‘What is this? '
‘That's marijuana. But, shucks, Mama, everybody does marijuana now and then. '
‘I don't. And no one living in this house is permitted to. Tell me what this is for. ' I reached into one pocket of my robe, got out that mirror so inappropriate to a girl's room, reached more carefully into the other pocket, got out that single-edged razor blade, placed it on the mirror. ‘Well? '
‘What am I supposed to say? '
‘Did you ever cut a line of cocaine? '
‘Uh. .. no. '
‘Have you seen it done? '