Bloody Mary? Oh, the horrors!
So what was it that left him afraid to go upstairs alone last night? What dark force is more frightening than even Potter's Valdemort, the one whose name must not be spoken?
"Bloody Mary" - a centuries-old legend that involves summoning a knife-wielding witch by chanting her name three times in front of a mirror. Or maybe it's 13 times. Possibly even 100. Big Guy's impatient - he picked three.
Big Guy easily worked up enough bravado to try it during the light of day, laughing and making fun of friends who believed in the legend when no one jumped out of the mirror to slash him. But once the sun set it was a whole different story.
Because he first heard of Bloody Mary at high noon, during recess from another second-grader who said she'd watched a movie about Bloody Mary over the weekend, he came home scoffing. I was scoffing at the notion that she'd seen such a movie. "It's all right for kids," Big Guy insisted. "It's radiated PG."
I Googled five pages deep, then searched Netflix and the Internet Movie Database but couldn't find a PG-rated "Bloody Mary." Not that the guys would have watched it even if I could have. Some movies they just can't handle. They lasted only a few minutes into the 1989 "Batman" with Jack Nicholson, and Big Guy had nightmares for weeks after someone let him watch "Monster House" when he was 4. Then someone thought it'd be a hoot to let him see scenes from "Child's Play," and I'm lucky that he's not terrified of dolls to this day.
And no matter how many times I tell the guys that ghosts, spooks, specters, etc., are not real, I cannot get the idea out of their heads at certain times. Maybe it's because the idea is strictly in their heads - it's not a reality that they can address head on and dismiss as "not scary."
In the case of Bloody Mary, Big Guy had proof that she exists. It was hearsay evidence, but that was good enough.
Bloody Mary definitely was in Kansas, because a friend told me so, Big Guy reported. Gee, where's that faith in someone's word when it comes to Mom telling you that you definitely need to eat vegetables.
My friend who saw the movie said it's a true story, he insisted. Right. That's why you make fun of Boots when he insists that he's a real wizard, just like Harry Potter.
The girls at recess said they were going to make Bloody Mary come out, he continued. I had to work hard to keep from laughing at this one. Score one for the girls.
None of this took hold, mind you, until after sundown. But when it came time to climb the dark, creepy stairs and go to the dank, spooky bathroom - there's a mirror there - Big Guy suddenly wasn't so brave.
"You come," he insisted, running back downstairs in his birthday suit after he'd tried it alone. "I don't want to see Bloody Mary."
That triggered peals of laughter from Boots, who also rushed to the kitchen naked to dance around Big Guy and chant, "Bloody Mary! Bloody Mary! Bloody Mary!" That'd teach his brother to make fun of his wizardry.
Within a few minutes it was funny again to Big Guy, too, as the two of them jumped on the bed to avoid the slashing blade of Mary's knife. "She's not going to get us! We're safe!" they laughed as they leaped.
At lights-out time, doubt returned. Big Guy curled as tightly up against me as he could. The danger from Bloody Mary, I realized, was not in a potential slashing. It's from a collapsed lung when a 7-year-old crushes his mom. "If she was in Kansas, she can come here," he said.
He fell asleep gripping my arm.
Copyright 2011 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.