Meanwhile across town: Bossy’s grandmother, Bert. She was left on the doorstep during a rainstorm with a beautiful name pinned to her baby blanket, but the crazy old Native American woman wasn’t much for beauty and so she promptly rechristened her. In the photo Bert is perched on the shoulders of her only source of salvation: Jenny, the orphan girl five years her senior who was also adopted by the Old Woman. Red-headed Jenny is a comedienne full of vinegar, which helps the girls to suppress the surrounding insanity.
And the insanity is intensifying, and it has teeth. This is because the Old Woman decided to marry a man named Kline suffering from St. Vitus Dance—a neurological condition marked by involuntary spastic movements. He is a real prize. Add to that equation his two teenage sons who are both nutty as fruitcakes with shady motives.
So now under one roof in the desolate slum of a large city you’ll find: the crazy Old Woman and her sister, the Old Man Kline with St. Vitus Dance, his shady sons, a few strays, a possible boarder of ill intent, red-headed Jenny, and refined Bert—who is not yet in her teens.
Here the girls are balanced on their “bathtub”, but in fact their whole life is a balancing act and soon Jenny will leap, leaving Bossy’s grandmother Bert to survive the mess on her own.