Blood Ties by Tim Wohlforth“Blood Ties” by Tim Wohlforth, Mysterical-e, March 2005
Ah, motherhood! Loving, nurturing, caring mother. A perfect story to read just before Mother’s Day. Or it would be if the mother involved had any of the characteristics listed above.
Our Hero (hereinafter designated OH), an unnamed PI, goes into his favorite watering hole and is told his mother is waiting for him. Not the mother who raised, loved and nurtured him since he was three years old. His birth mother.
OH is not anxious to renew a relationship after forty years of no contact, but he can’t resist, first the urgings of a good friend, then his own curiosity. She proves her identity with her hospital admittance form and his birth certificate. Then she tells her tale of woe.
Mom’s been busy lately. She went to work as a bookkeeper for a Cuban patriot in Miami collecting money for the next Bay of Pigs, some 10 million dollars in an offshore account. Suddenly her boss is gone, the office cleaned out, all the money withdrawn from the account. Next a couple of goons show up accusing her of stealing that money from the Cuban people. She takes it on the lam, driving all the way across the country to Oakland in her yellow BMW to see her son, the PI. She wants him to protect her.
He’s not anxious to take on the job. Why should he? Was she interested in protecting him when he was a child? He asks her why she gave him up for adoption. She responds with frustration and anger and stabs herself in the hand with a pair of nail scissors. Not the most stable of personalities. OH tries to follow her, but she gets away.
As he goes home to the marina where he lives on his boat, OH is accosted by two gorillas – or is it guerrillas? Mom’s erstwhile boss and his brother. They want to know where the money is. It seems Mom told them that OH, her son, has it. Whatta gal!
In order to impress him with the seriousness of their query, the two hardmen dump OH into the Bay and won’t let him out until he comes clean – or dies. The water is very cold, and OH is somewhat the worse for alcoholic wear. He could easily die from hypothermia. What happens next could prove the dominant strength of maternal love or self-preservation.
In spite of my light-toned review, this story is anything but light. Mr. Wohlforth does a good job of showing the confusion and frustration of a man abandoned by his birth mother. Why did she do it? Does he hate her as much as he thinks he does? Was he unworthy in some way? Was he unlovable? Did he force her away? OH is filled with warring emotions, curiosity versus rage. What is the true worth of Blood Ties?
In short, I enjoyed it, and the final twist makes the perfect cherry on top.