Songs of Bliss
and Bex are giving Leona a lift home. Walking across the car park Billy hears one word
echoing off the inside of his skull.
My Truly, Truly Fair
Down on the farm life is lived by routine, by cycles of growth and decay. Helen
works hard. She learns how to be useful with a pestle and mortar. She learns about
measurements and combinations. Helen works hard at the business of living and through
hard work she thrives. She blossoms. It helps that the reward for her hard work can slide
into her veins and take away the drudgery of this modern farming life. The good doctor
makes the world go round and for Helen, anyone is a friend if they supply free gear.
She finds herself coming to terms with the strange, thin man in the other cell. Most
of the time she can make herself believe that they have something in common, that they are
both prisoners, that he is not so bad. When he is in a good mood she likes his company. He
is educated. Arbnor Jasari can be cultured. His conversation has range and depth, although
the world that he inhabits has been warped out of shape, but such weird meanderings are
nothing new to Helen. Most of her life has been spent fitting herself into oddly shaped
spaces and her new friend has a certain naïve, if deadly, charm. She is by degrees excited
"Helen. No, not like that."
The doctor reaches round from behind her and shows her how to tilt the bowl that
she is holding so that the mixture is easier to work. She remembers images from a
television childhood. Rosy cheeked kids and grandmothers making cakes. She feels the
warmth of his skin. His forearm. Breath on her neck. He watches her as she tries to do as he
has shown her. It is good. His lips brush her neck. She shivers.
"Very good. I?ll make a real chemist out of you. You see how well we work
Helen concentrates on the mixing. It?s like grinding flour and she is the mill wheel
turning at the constant urging of the flowing water course that provides life. In the derelict
surroundings of Sillick Farm she thinks it appropriate that the work is being done by hand.
It?s organic, a labour of love. She works on one of the tables set against the wall at the
opposite end of the barn to the small kitchen and bathroom. On the tables set in the middle
of the room there are four plastic food tubs, each one containing one hundred sachets of
Bliss. She and the Doctor have been busy.
To make the time pass more productively the doctor allows her to take an
occasional sample from his supply of MDMA. It takes the edge off. She feels a sense of
wellbeing out of all proportion to her surroundings and circumstance.
This morning, Saturday, she thinks, they took a walk around the courtyard. Exercise
hour. Clockwise. She thinks she has been here for a week, but her appreciation of time
down here on the farm is a little out of joint. She thinks about running away every time he