then the hope that someone enjoys the read. Zoë is from the "Bloodties" story, the creation of a very talented young lady who has graciously allowed me the honor of using her here. Thank you Hayden.
Time OutBy Morning
Charley was at her wits end. It had been snowing nonstop for 4 days and though she loved her new family to no end, being cooped up with a busy 4 year old for that long, was rough on any mother's nerves.
Charley had watched so many children's tapes and TV programs, that she was ready to have Blue put down and Steve committed. Take every one of the, Rugrats, and put them on the next shuttle to the furthest planet in the know galaxy and most of all, have that annoying Little Bear turned into a rug. Not to mention she had colored every coloring book, played every game ever invented and was Vinnie helping matters? No! He was even more hyper than their daughter. If he wasn't chasing Zoë through every room leaving a trail of destruction, then he was racing all over the garage with Zoë perched squealing in delight, on his handlebars. Charley would almost be grateful if Limburger would blow something up, steal some land, kidnap her, anything, but the extremely weather had him snowed in with the rest of Chicago.
She wearily looked heaven ward and pleaded, "If I don't get a break real soon, I am going to bound and gag both of them."
Fortunately their salvation arrived, before Charley could get out the ropes, in the forms of Throttle and Modo who had braved the bad weather to check on their extended family. Pulling their recently upgraded (thanks, again, to Charley's mechanical genius), snow worthy bikes, into the garage and walking into the house, Modo was the first to notice the frazzled look on Charles face. He knew that weary, over tired, glare when a mom was just about to go ballistic and he immediately took the situation in hand.
"Charley girl, you need to get out of here, we really should put these babies through some tests and check out how to work all the cool snow stuff you installed, why don't you come along?"
Vinnie would normally have protested, but the look on Charlie's face made him decide not to, that is if he valued keeping his head attached to the rest of his body. But Throttle knowing it would kill Vinnie if she went without him volunteered to baby-sit with Zoë.
After a few minutes Charley returned to the living room all bundled up and ready to get some fresh air, anxious to she her work in action
"Throttle, Zoë shouldn't be any trouble. She is playing with her toys and I read her the riot act, so she'll behave; besides it's almost her naptime. Just peek in on her from time to time." Charley gratefully hugged him then grabbed the back of his hair tugging on it playfully, "You're letting this get kind of long huh, handsome?"
"Yeah Carbine had always wanted me to grow it longer, so I thought I'd give it a shot," he mildly blushed pushing the hair from his eyes. Throttle wasn't normally a vain person until it came to his hair. It was his pride and joy next to his girl and bike.
"Carbine my foot, you would think he had spun gold flowing from his head, the way he acts sometimes," Vinnie said chuckling sarcastically.
"Vincent, you don't want me to start, do you? I'm sure Charley doesn't know about that…." Throttle threaten giving Vinnie a wicked grin, making Vinnie immediately change the subject.
"Uh… well Sweetheart, we'd umm.. better get goin' "
Charley didn't ask, but she would find out what Throttle had on him. Vinnie and Charley snuggled close on his bike and began to remember just how nice it was riding together. Modo smiled and the three left.
Throttle sat for a minute then decided to check on Zoë. He quietly peeked into her room and there she was lying on her bed with her chin propped up on her hands.
"Hey, Pumpkin, you look kinda bored?"
"Kinda," she sighed not taking her chin off her hands.
"Would ya like me to read ya a story?" Throttle said as he sat on the edge of her bed.
"Oh yesth, pwease!" she hopped out of bed and ran to get her new favorite storybook. It was a big yellow book with large red letters on the top, her momma had gotten it from a real nice lady who came to the door.
Throttle sat holding the book while Zoë got herself comfortable, snuggling in her uncle's arm.
"Read dis one, my bestest favorite one," Zoë cuddled closer.
Throttle read the story of a man who lived in ancient times; this man was very strong because, among other things, he never let his hair be cut. Zoë listen carefully adding her giggles of delight. But soon Throttle finished and he saw that the little bundle in his arms was fast asleep. He gently eased her off and down on her pillow. He pulled one end of her blanket over to cover her and kissed her on the top of the head. Before leaving he looked back at how sweetly she slept and hoped one day to be doing the same thing for his own little girl, as he closed the door quietly.
Going back down stairs Throttle sat on the couch thinking about he and Carbine, his lady back on Mars. Would they ever have a life together, get married, have kids? He flipped on the TV and sat half-staring, half-day dreaming. That day dreaming slowly turned into real dreaming as Throttle drifted off.
Sleeping children don't always stay that way and sure enough Zoë's nap didn't last long. Soon after Throttle left her room, the little Martian/ Earthling child opened her crystal green eyes. She didn't get out of her bed, but laid with her arms behind her head wondering, " Bein' strong is better den bein' little like me, Unca Modo is strong cause he's really big, bigger den anybody. Daddy strong cause Momma says he is missin' scews. But what made Unca Trottle strong? He got long hair like in the man in the story!" Zoë popped up squealing in delight at her new discovery.
If she could get a little of his hair maybe it would make her strong and more than anything she needed strength. Just in case they tried to come get her, just in case they tried to hurt her Momma and Daddy.
She shook in fear remembering those bad men that hurt her so badly, who tried to make her think that she was unwanted and unloved, who kept her from her parents.
Yesth, "Unca Trottle can gimme somma his," she reasoned, pleased that she had figured out such a great plan.
Zoë tip toed out of bed and peeked down from the top of the stairs to see where Throttle was and as she crept closer she could see he had fallen to sleep on the couch. That was even better, now she could take some with out bothering him. She remembered what her mother had told her about touching sharp things like scissors and knives, but this was such a good reason her Mommy wouldn't mind, just this one time. Besides if everything worked out no one would ever know.
Zoë snuck into the kitchen. She reached up and tried to open the drawer that held all the sharp things she was warned not to touch, but it was too high, so she pulled a chair from the table to reach.
Throttle mumbled and stirred making Zoë stopped hoping he hadn't awakened. He didn't, just turned over. She got up on the chair and took the biggest pair of scissors out of the drawer. She softly walked over to where he was sleeping and then stared at him. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea, but she needed to be able to keep her parent's safe, so she was going to do it. It would be so much easier if only her little hands would stop shaking.
Cautiously, Zoë reached out and lifted a hand full of Throttle's hair repeating in her mind, "only the teeniest, tiniest bit…. " Not closing her eyes before cutting would have probably been a better course of action, but she only discovered that after hearing the sound of the scissors go * snip* and opening her eyes to discover that, in her hand, was her Uncle's entire ponytail. Zoë stood with her little mouth hanging open, looking at the long tuft of golden hair clutched in her hand. Panicking the little girl dropped the scissors and fled to the temporary safety of her bedroom. She sat on her bed listening to see if Uncle Throttle had waken and discovered what she had done, but it remain very quiet.
Well, what was done, was done. The only thing to do now was hold on to the hair and wait to see if her plan had worked. Closing her eyes, she hoped and wished and hoped some more, but nothing happened, she didn't feel any stronger, not one single bit. Why hadn't it made her like the man in the story, like her Uncle Throttle? So now what was she going to do? Maybe it only worked on whole Earth people and not ones like she was," she reasoned sadly. Maybe what that doctor said was about her, was true; she was just a bad experiment that should have been flushed down the toilet. She crept sorrowfully under her blanket, holding the soft hair close to her chest wondering what they would do when Momma and Daddy got back and even worse what would Uncle Throttle say when he found out.
The ride was glorious they needed this time together, marriage and parenthood had taken more out of them then they had realized. The bikes performed better than Charley could have hoped and they were overjoyed to have something else to keep, Old Bait Bucket, in check.
Getting back to the Garage they pulled the bikes up and walked into the living room. Modo was the first to notice and bellowed in shock, "Oh, my gray haired Momma!" Vinnie and Charley came up behind him and stood staring, praying they weren't seeing what they knew they were.
The commotion caused Throttle to stir hearing them come in. He sat up and reached under his specks to rub his eyes and wondered what was going on, "What's up bros, Charley?"
"Uh.. Throttle how much do you really love your niece?" Charley asked sheepishly.
"You know she is my heart, Charley girl, why?"
"Vinnie, I think you have something to tell him," Charley shook her head and went to deal with the phantom barber.
Opening the door to Zoë's room she could see the tiny bump hiding under the covers, "Zoë Van Wham! How could you do something so mean to your uncle Throttle? You are in big trouble, Big! Big TROUBLE! Get your self out of that bed and you are going to sit in time out until you are 21!"
With that Charley escorted Zoë out of her bed and into the familiar corner, where the small wooden chair with the pink painted flowers sat facing the wall.
"But momma I just…,"the flustered little girl tried to explain.
"Not a word from you young lady. I am so angry with you I don't even want to hear your voice, NOW SIT!"
While back in the living room Vinnie was trying to find the words to tell Throttle what his daughter had done, "Uh….Bro, you know kids are strange little critters. And…. Uh… they do some of the darnest things," Vinnie stammered.
Modo was just about in hysterics trying hard not to break up watching the whole scene.
Vinnie just couldn't find a way to tell him, so he went to the bathroom, came out with a large hand mirror and gave it to Throttle.
"Yo, Vinnie what is this fo..," before he could get the rest of the sentence out the shocked tan Martin saw the condition of his hair and then an ominous silence fell over the room. Modo just rubbed his hand on his head and Vinnie stood watching, waiting for Throttle's reaction.
"I'm sorry bro. I have no Idea what would make her do something like that."
Throttle held his hand up to silence Vinnie and with out a word, he got up, put on his things and walked out of the door. As the door shut they could hear him yelling at the top of his lungs. Fortunately, it was all in Martian so only Modo and Vinnie could understand what he was saying. Charley, coming down from Zoë's room, could only imagine that what ever it was shouldn't be said in mixed company judging from the embarrassed looks on their faces.
"I guess he didn't take it very well?" Charley sighed.
Modo knew it was more to the situation then met the eye having dealt with children before, "Charley I am not trying to tell you how to raise your kid, but did you ask her why she cut his hair?"
"No, I was just so mad I didn't want to hear anything," she lamented plopping down on the couch.
"It doesn't matter any way she knows better," Vinnie added.
"Well, do you mind if I give it a shot," Modo asked not wanting to over step his bounds. Both frustrated parents agreed to let him talk to Zoë.
As he walked into her room, Modo could see Zoë sitting backwards in her chair. Her arms folded angrily and Fred, her faithful teddy, was perch in front of her. He could also hear little sniffling sound accompanied by soft muttering.
"Can we talk, Little Bit? Your Momma said it was okay," he took a seat on her bed.
"Don't * sniff* care," she puffed through tight shaking little lips.
Modo went to picked her up and sit her on his lap but the angry little girl protested, " I gotta stay in time out chair till I'm 2 hundred and 1 *sniff* Momma said so."
Modo, stifling his laugh, let her know it was okay for her to get out so they could talk; her mother had given him permission.
"So little darlin,' you gave your Uncle Throttle a little snip on top, huh? Don't you love your, Uncle Throttle, any more?"
"Yesth, I wuv him almost much as Daddy," Zoë looked at Modo with an astonished glare wondering how he could think she didn't. Next to her parents she loved the two of them more than any one else. Did he think she would do anything to really hurt him, on purpose? The thought brought the flood of tears that she was trying so hard to sniffle away.
Modo realized he'd hurt her feeling, obviously not understanding her motives, " Don't cry, Baby girl, Uncle Modo didn't mean to make ya cry. Why don't you just tell me what happened? It must have been real important for you to do what you did."
Zoë looked up into her Uncle's one good eye and saw he was really trying to help. She wiped her eyes and nose on her shirtsleeve and tried to stop crying long enough to explain, "In my story, the man was strong cause he got long hair. I thinked that Unca Throttle was strong cause he had long hair too. I just needed a little bit*sniff* just a tiny piece *sniff*. But I closed my eyes and it all camed off, see," she pointed to the long ponytail still partially hidden under her covers.
Modo began to understand, as a part of him wanted to laugh uncontrollably and the other part ached deeply knowing why the little girl had taken such desperate measures looking for strength, "Why Sweetness? Why do you have to be strong?"
By this time Vinnie and Charley had come up the stairs and were quietly listening to their daughter.
"Cause," the tears continued to fall and her voice was shaking so badly they had to strain to understand her. "Cause,…I gotta take care of… em, Mommy and daddy. Those bad mens…can't let hurt.. they can't hurt Mommy and Daddy."
Throttle who had calmed down, and was also standing at the door listening to Zoë's explanation, feeling just about as bad as Vinnie and Charley.
Charley was overwhelmed and guilt ridden, as she walked over and lifted Zoë off of Modo's shoulder.
She sat on the bed and gently rocked her daughter softly smoothing her tears away." I didn't understand, baby. Mommy is so sorry. But you don't have to worry. Daddy, your uncles, and I won't let those horrible man to hurt you, us or any one."
"Yeah Baby Doll, your daddy ain't called the Baddest Mamma Jamma for nothin'. You and mommy are the most important things in the world to me and I will do what I have to do, to keep us all safe." Vinnie joined Charley and knelt down next to them kissing Zoë on the head. The child looked up at her mother then over to her father and smiled knowing they understood and had forgiven.
Modo placed a hand under Zoë's chin. "You know, Little Bit, we're all gonna make sure those wrench heads are put away for good."
Zoë bit her bottom lip and dared to look over to where Uncle Throttle was standing. What she had done was bad no matter what her reason, was he going to forgive her too.
"Come here Pumpkin' " Throttle held his arms out to her. Zoë wiggled down from her mother and ran to him," Sorry Unca Trottle," she said hugging his neck tightly.
It's okay, I think it's cool that you love your Mom and Dad so much. It will grow back, but you promise never to do that again, right"
"Yesth, I pwomise, but you still look pwetty," Zoë smiled as she playfully brushed the strands that hung on his shoulder.
"And Miss Lady, I will read you the story again and help you understand it, but you will still be punished for touching those scissors. You could have really hurt your self and Uncle Throttle too," Charley sternly added.
"Yes, Momma," Zoë looked shyly at her mother then gave her a sweet turned up little smile, which got a similar smile in return.
"Now Throttle, let me see if I can do something with that hair. I am pretty good with the scissors." Modo said as he smiled and walked Throttle down to the kitchen.