Friday morning, I woke up in a great mood. I had spent all day Thursday cleaning the house, running errands, and getting the kids prepared for a weekend at the lake with their uncle. My husband had set his alarm for three that morning, and left soon after for a guy's weekend of hunting and testosterone-filled fun at the cabin we co-own with a few other couples.
I stretched and slid out of bed, making my way first to the bathroom, and then to the kitchen to make myself a cup of coffee. About 30 minutes later, I prepared breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast, coffee, and orange juice, and then went to wake the boys for school.
Waking my boys used to be a battle. Setting alarms didn't matter; they could sleep right through any alarm we had found. Shaking them from their sleep didn't work, shouting their names didn't work. They were too big for me to dump them from their beds any longer, and I was spending an extra hour in the morning just trying to get the boys out of bed. That is, until I was in the hospital and my husband had the task.
The first morning he woke them, he called their names, stripped the covers off of them, and shook the bed, all to no avail. He finally got both boys out of bed and prepared for school 15 minutes after the bus arrived to pick them up. That meant Casey would have to drive them to school, and my husband hates the morning traffic around the schools. By the time he arrived at the hospital to see me, he was frustrated and tired, but he had a plan.
After he had dropped Ty and Talon off at school, he stopped at Walmart and bought slingshot ammo. I was really confused at first, to say the least. How was the purchase of 500 3/8" carbon steel balls going to help the situation? My husband, the evil genius, explained that he would split the balls into two containers, which he would then store in the freezer. He would explain to the boys that evening that the next morning, and every one thereafter, we would call them one time. After that, the covers got pulled off, and the little frozen steel balls would be tossed into bed with them. They would get out of bed, or they would suffer the cold, as there was no way to get away from them. Their own body weight would sink the mattress, and the balls would immediately gather there, leaving a vacated bed fairly quickly.
Day two, Casey did exactly as he said he would. He even gave them the opportunity the evening before, to set alarms or whatever they needed to do to wake up on time in the morning. He flipped on the light in Ty's room first, saying "Good morning," and telling him it was time to get up. He repeated the same in Talon's room. Without another word, he went to the freezer, grabbed the two containers, and went back to Ty's room, where he pulled off the covers and dumped one container into his bed. The shrill scream that emanated from the room of Ty had been worthy of horror-movie fame, and came a nano-second before the second container was dumped in Talon's bed.
I had no trouble waking them on that Friday morning. They were just a half-day of school away from being free until late Sunday evening. Both boys had packed their bags for the weekend the night before, and made quick work of inhaling their breakfast that morning. After clearing their dishes, both brushed their teeth and hair, made their beds, grabbed their bags, and rushed out the door to meet their friends at the bus stop. That just left the breakfast dishes and me. I quickly cleaned the kitchen, and then took a shower.
It was only seven in the morning, and I was finished with my chores for the day. Grabbing a Mt. Dew, a few pre-rolled joints, and my laptop, I made my way to the sun porch. I logged on to a popular social media site, started browsing through the news feed, and found more of what I had seen the previous time I logged in. Trump pissed off another liberal group. If I would just type "Amen" in the next 30 seconds, I would receive a blessing, IF I shared it with 10 other sinners. Oh my... there it was. She had found her soulmate. Oh, and again, this week.
I clicked on her profile and looked through her wall. My intentions were to simply be nosy. See what her life looked like this week. See if I could figure out how many men had broken her heart since the last time I logged in.
Seven, it turned out. Six of the men she had met at the club. There were pictures of her partying with said men on different nights, all four nights ending with a picture of the man of the evening, passed out in her bed. Each night brought a new profession of love found and a soul satiated, each morning crying that another had left her. The seventh was the guy she met at church. That one was special, as it lasted three entire days!
I couldn't look any longer. I logged out and decided to go browse YouTube. I spent a few minutes watching a pit bull and a chihuahua playing, then switched to an Ed Kemper interview. I was listening to Ed talk about the night he killed his mother when I was inundated with thoughts about the profile I had just looked through. I listened for 15 minutes more, but an idea had already formed in my mind. I would befriend her (it wouldn't be hard to do, I knew most of her family) and together, we would put an end to her constant heartbreak.
I logged back in to the social media site and typed her name in the search bar. M-A-R-Y-A-N-N-E-F-O-S-T-E-R. Ah. There she was. Her profile picture was a full-body shot. Blonde hair with purple, green, blue, and red extensions weaved in the microbraids that hung to just above her ass. You could see that, because she was facing away from the camera, looking back over her shoulder, one leg raised in the air, in an attempt to accentuate her less than ample ass. She was wearing a pair of shorts that were so short they resembled the bottom of a bikini bathing suit, an actual bikini top and UGG boots. Her makeup was the antithesis of the natural look. Bright purple hues covered her eyelids, bright pink on her cheeks. Thick, black eyelashes and eyeliner framed her bright blue eyes, and the ugliest orange or pink lipstick I had ever seen on her duck-like lips. With great trepidation (ducks lips everywhere y'all), I began looking through her wall. In the 10 days since I had last logged in, taking into account the aforementioned seven soulmates, she was kicked out of wherever she was staying twice, had her moped "stolen" three times, her mom and sister had ganged up against her, and she was fired from another job. Eight of the 10 days, she had begged for food, yet 10 of the 10 she was with seven different men.
All of the pictures of the men in her bed had some things in common. Her in the same bra and panties five nights in a row was the first thing I noticed. The second was the men were all on the same set of bed sheets, and the stains on them grew nightly. The third made me sad, that all of the men were passed out drunk, and unaware they were being photographed and shared on social media, or that Maryanne was pledging her love to them in that moment.
The more I looked, the sadder I got. I would be doing her a favor. Really, I would. She was so easily led that I knew that she would trust me right away. I would do the nicest thing I could do for her, and lead her to her death.
I clicked the "message" button on her profile and began typing.
"Hey girlie! What's up with you? I haven't spoken with you in a while, and I thought I would check on you. I saw you've been having a horrible time of it lately. Is there anything I can help with?"
I pressed the send button, knowing the message would be dinging its arrival on Maryanne's cell phone. I asked if there was anything I could help with because I knew she would take advantage of that. It wasn't long before I got a response.
"Hi. Yeah, it's been rough lately. I haven't eaten in a few days, and I'm homeless. Again."
My goodness. She was in a mess.
"Is there a Walmart near you?"
I knew she was seeing dollar signs as she typed back her one-word answer.
Then I saw the three little bubbles pop up, and I waited for her to finish writing.
"I don't have an ID. You would have to send it in my boyfriend's name."
I chuckled at her eagerness (and the thought that I would give her cash), and raised an eyebrow at the new boyfriend revelation. (I knew it was a new guy, because church boy had cut out Wednesday morning.) I let her sit for a moment while I called the local Walmart, where I knew the manager. I had him ring up some groceries for her, things she could use whether she had gas and electric or not, and put them on my credit card. I left her name and a description of her with the manager, and hung up the phone. I looked up the number and quickly dialed the local dive motel. I spoke with some Patel, who couldn't have cared less if Maryanne had an identification or not, as long as the bill was paid. I gave him my credit card number and paid for two nights. Again, I left her name and a description of her. I clicked our conversation and typed...
"So, go to the west side Walmart and pick up the groceries that are waiting for you there. Take them to Pointy Place Motel and check in. I paid for two nights. I hope this helps you."
She responded back very fast, and I could picture her excitedly telling her current man about the luck she had just come across. Samfred Weatherby was his name. I knew Samfred and his family and I knew he was trash. I also knew he had a wife, Trayshetta, that was big and mean and jealous. He wouldn't stay with Maryanne for more than a night, if that. She would be alone in the room tomorrow for sure, and I knew she would need a shoulder to cry on when she woke yet again to an empty spot in her bed. That would be perfect. I would use that time to lead her, ever so gently, to her death. In a particularly brilliant moment of genius, I made the decision that she would do it live on her social media. The world would see her do it. Her video would go viral, and she would BE somebody.
"OMG! Thank you soooo much! You have no idea how much this helps us! My boyfriend and I are just starting out. He is going to divorce his ugly ass wife and marry me as soon as he can. He has a real good job, and he says those kids ain't his noways, so he won't have to pay child support. We are going to get a house together soon. I'll get his id out of his wallet while he is asleep and I'll use that to get our apartment. Maybe we won't be kicked out this time. Anyway, thank you so much."
I watched as the three dots appeared again, then disappeared just as quickly. I waited to see if she would ask for anything else, and though the three dots popped up twice more, she never sent a message. I waited for about two hours and sent another message asking if she made it okay. She confirmed that she had and with a smile, I logged off and shut the laptop for the night. I would be up early in the morning. I knew from looking at her social media that Maryanne would pass out around three in the morning and wake up brokenhearted around nine. I set my alarm before bed for seven the next morning. It would be a long day and I wanted to be wide awake and prepared before I logged on about nine in the morning to be there for her fall.
I woke up the next morning and logged onto the social media site. Maryanne Foster wasn't awake yet, but the expected picture was there. Samfred, obviously naked, passed out in her bed. I laughed when I saw it. Not because of the picture, but because I could imagine Trayshetta coming across that picture whilst browsing her favorite social media site. I suppose to really get the image, you must be introduced to Trayshetta.
Trayshetta is a spirited woman of many, many layers. When I say spirited, I mean loud. About everything. You know the type, "pass the potatoes, and "I'm bout to whoop dat ass" are spoken in the same tone. Her apartment is decorated in animal prints and Baule goli masks, the walls painted a deep taupe with one solid black accent wall. For Trayshetta (and Samfred when she can find him) Sundays are always spent in the house of the Lord, where Trayshetta got the Holy Ghost and spoke in tongues during EVERY service. She also always felt the calling to visit the restroom when the pastor broke out the offering plate and was face down at the altar anytime Hezekiah Walker was involved in the altar call. By Sunday afternoon she could often be found dropping it low at the barbecue in her back yard, Ester Dean and Chris Brown blasting from the speakers. (Don't judge her! She was doing it for Jesus! After all, most of her church members were there with her.) Sunday night most generally ended with passed out bodies all over the living room floor and Trayshetta with a mess to clean up in the morning.
Now, when I say Trayshetta is a woman of many, many layers, I mean layers of fat. Layers that she covered with as little clothing as possible, often stuffing herself into clothes meant for women half her size. The image gets no better with the shoes my friends. She enjoyed stilettos, though one can't actually see most of the shoe as her foot engulfs it. Most of the time it appears she has a strap across her toes and a nail in the heel of her foot. Her hair was always done to perfection, and her nails were always perfectly manicured. She loved her food. She made it a practice to prepare her food and take it to her bedroom, in her bed, to eat it.
Trayshetta was a sweet girl that had been picked on way too much in her life. She didn't know her worth and she put up with Samfred cheating on her constantly. I didn't find that funny at all. What I found hilarious is the scene I pictured in my head of her screaming, "SAMFREEEDDDD," as she jumped from her bed, knocking a bucket of KFC onto the floor and stepping on her side of macaroni and cheese as she threw on her pink, silk, see-through robe that looked more like a vest than a robe, jammed her massive feet into her stilettos and grabbed her car keys on the way out the door.
I was still laughing over the scene I pictured in my head when the message came through. It was Maryanne. She was alone. Again. Poor girl. It was time to get to work. I needed her alone, and I needed anyone who may look at the chat log later to believe that I was doing everything I could to save her life, not lead her to her death. I typed quickly and hit the send button.
"Hey! What happened? I thought you were really happy this time!"
The three dots popped up and I anxiously awaited her answer. It didn't take long for her response to be displayed on my screen.
"He left me! Just like everyone leaves me, he left me!"
Did she really believe Samfred was going to leave Trayshetta? My God, Maryanne was beyond any help anyone could give her. I was making the right decision. Death was the only way out for her.
"I'm sorry honey. Can you video chat?"
I was answered with the ringing of video chat. I answered and Maryanne had been crying, makeup smeared and clothes on inside out. I knew that recently Maryanne's father went on a drunken rant on a live social media video telling the world that his daughter is a whore and no longer welcome in the family. Her mother had decided that her sister was the good daughter that month and as such had made a public statement about her hatred of Maryanne and that she would never be permitted back in the family. She was truly alone at the moment, except for me. I was going to be her friend until the end.
"I'm really sorry this is happening to you Maryanne. Listen to me, though. You are better off without Samfred. He is a married man! If he will cheat with you honey, he will cheat on you. I'd get that picture of him off of social media, though. Trayshetta is going to freak out on you girl!"
We continued talking for about an hour. We talked about Samfred and Trayshetta. We talked about her latest "miscarriage" when she was pushed down the stairs at a "friend's" house when she didn't have enough money for him to "borrow." Another "friend" had borrowed her moped, promising to bring it back within the hour, and that had been two days prior. Her brother was on the run again, this time when he was caught, he would never see the outside as a free man again. Her grandmother, who raised her, passed away the year before, and she won the fight for her ashes and the urn the ashes were kept in. Just a few days prior, the day church boy left, he shattered her television by throwing grandma, urn and all through the screen. She had tried to pick up what was left of her, but grandma and pieces of the shattered urn were all over the inside of the television. Maryanne had to throw away the shattered urn and what was left of her beloved grandma. She was devastated and I had to stifle a laugh at the thought of good 'ol grandma finally getting her big break into television. I finally got her to stop crying and go take a shower and clean herself up. I told her to give me a call when she got out of the shower and I would order her some pizza to be delivered to her room.
The video messenger app was ringing again. I ran back to the laptop and answered. Maryanne looked freshly showered, but she put the same clothes back on. She hadn't put her makeup on yet, and her scars were visible. The scar under her eye from the dog bite she suffered during a police raid. She was only three, but her mother was a hooker and drug dealer, and police raids were part of that life. That was the first time she would experience police activity in her home, but it wouldn't be the last. The very next raid brought the scar she wore on her lower lip. That one happened when one of her mother's "boyfriends" had a warrant, heard the police pull up and grabbed Maryanne in an effort to keep the police at bay. Two days later a SWAT sniper delivered a well-placed projectile to the base of the man's skull and brought the standoff to an end. He was holding a knife to her and when he fell dead, Maryanne was sliced across her bottom lip. Covered in blood, her bottom lip nearly sliced from her face and broken ribs from the body weight of the man that fell on top of her tiny body, Maryanne could do nothing but lie under the dead man until the police pulled him off of her. She was a veteran of violent crime and she was only six.
"You look like you feel better! Pepperoni or sausage?"
Pepperoni, she decided. And a Pepsi. We continued to chat while she waited for her pizza to be delivered. I let her talk while we waited, I mostly listened. She told me about her teenage years, when she tried living with her dad for a while. Her time with her father ended at 14 when Maryanne fell pregnant. The father of the baby was one of two people. Either Frank, her father's best friend, or Ben, her father. The baby would never be born, as Maryanne suffered a beating from her mother when she found out that she was pregnant. Not because she was pregnant, mind you. Chasity beat her daughter because she found out Ben was a potential father. In a fit of rage, screaming and calling Maryanne a "no good, man stealing whore," Chasity beat her for having sex with her estranged husband! Testing of the fetus resulted in the arrest of her father, and he would spend the next eight years behind bars.
I let her eat her pizza, then it was time to get to work. I was going to take Maryanne's hand and lead her to the only peace she would ever know. I told her that I needed to get dressed and run a few errands. I didn't need to do anything, really. I just needed to give her time to go get her fix. Addicts are creative creatures and will find a way to get their drugs. Maryanne knew people, it wouldn't take her long. She would be happy for a few hours and then she would crash. It was the crash I was waiting for.
It was six that evening when I messaged her back. I told her I just wanted to check on her and when she got time, she should message me and let me know she was okay. It wasn't until eight that I heard back from her. She was high and she was already starting to get weepy. She kept thanking me for the room and the food. She teared up when she said she didn't have anyone and thanked me again for caring. I told her she was a sweet girl and easy to care about.
"Then why doesn't my mom want me? Why does she hate me so much? I didn't ask to be born!"
There it was. The window of opportunity was wide open and I jumped through, head first.
"Aww, come on now! Don't talk like that. Your mom doesn't hate you. She just doesn't know how to be a mom. She didn't have anyone to teach her. Your sister didn't know how to be a mom either. She had all four of her kids taken. Some people shouldn't be parents, and they do more harm than good by bringing new life into the world."
That hit its mark. Tears welled up in her blue eyes and spilled down her cheeks. If I kept her talking, I would bring her right to the edge, and she would jump herself. In that moment I had her thinking about her life and how the cycle would keep moving and would seemingly never stop. I let that sink in for a few minutes and then I took it up a notch. I knew that a really sore spot with her was her high school boyfriend, Seth. He was the one that got away, according to her. He still lived in town, and she would see him every now and then, so I feigned ignorance and asked about him. Sobbing was heard at the other end of the connection, and I could only see the ceiling. She had thrown herself on the bed, the cell phone landing beside her. I listened to her sobbing for about a minute and then I spoke again.
"What's wrong honey? Did something happen to Seth?"
I knew it hadn't, but I needed to get her talking again. Her hand covered the camera as she picked her cell phone up off of the bed. She"d brought herself center screen, but didn't move from the bed.
"Nooo. Nothing happened to Seth. Seth is fine. Seth is perfectly FINE! He's fine without me. Him and his wife and his daughter, they are all fine. Perfect and fine. The opposite of what he would have been with me. I would have ruined him. He is better off without me. The world would be better without me."
I had the chance to put an idea in her mind and watch it blossom.
"Maryanne, don't talk like that. I just saw a video that had gone viral of a kid that killed himself live on social media. It had been viewed something like five million times. His poor family couldn't get away from it. It had been shared so many times that it had seen airtime on several cable networks. His name and face had been everywhere. That must have been horrible for his mother to live with. She had felt so guilty because they had just had a fight and she never got the chance to say she was sorry. For the rest of her life, that video and the note he left her will destroy her. That note was horrible. He told her she wished he was never born, and he couldn't take away the past, but he would make sure he wasn't in her future."
Maryanne had stopped crying and was listening intently. I could actually see the seed plant and then bloom instantaneously in her mind. Her next question was a simple one.
"How did he do it?
I didn't hesitate to tell her.
"The title of his video was You Win Mom. He set up his camera and hung himself. It all happened so fast, nobody even had time to call 911. Let's not talk about that anymore. It's so morbid! Let's talk about something happy! Put a smile on that beautiful face!"
Her eyes, when she looked back at the camera, told me that she was done. She had made the decision to end her suffering. I just needed to sit back and give her time. As we hung up, her using the excuse that she needed to visit the bathroom and get her something to drink, she forced a smile and thanked me again. We signed off with me making her promise me that she wouldn't do anything stupid to hurt herself. (I didn't know who could see the video in the future, as most social media keeps copies of all live videos through their platform.) Then, I sat back and waited.
Ten minutes passed. Fifteen. Thirty. I was beginning to wonder if she had either done it already or she was not going to do it at all. Forty-three minutes after I hung up from the video chat with Maryanne, I saw a notification that she her video feed was live. My heart flipped in my chest.
My hand was shaking as I clicked on her live video. In the title portion Maryanne had simply written, "This is your fault." It had been three minutes, according to the timer on the video, since she went "live" for the first time ever. As the screen loaded on my laptop, Maryanne came into view. She had a note pinned to her chest, splattered with blood. Both of her wrists had been slashed, and she had ripped a towel into strips and tied it around her throat. Tying it to the shower curtain rod, she simply leaned forward until she no longer could breathe. By the time she flashed on my screen, her face was purple, and her tongue was hanging out of her mouth. Her long hair hung on either side of her face and hung to her wrists, where blood was freely flowing.
Dead people don't bleed. She wasn't dead yet, so I typed in the comments on her live feed.
I followed that comment with another about 10 seconds later. I felt that was sufficient time for the scene to sink into my consciousness.
"OMG! Maryanne! Please tell me you didn't do this! I'm calling 911!"
I snatched up my phone and dialed 911, explaining what had taken place that evening, that I was super worried and would someone please, PLEASE go do a welfare check? I hung up the phone with the dispatcher and turned my attention back to the screen. She wasn't breathing anymore, and the blood had stopped flowing. I watched all the way until the police officer picked up her phone and shut off the video. I logged off and shut my laptop, happy that I could finally bring Maryanne some peace.
Where mercy is shown, mercy is given. I had done both by leading Maryanne exactly where she needed to go.