Paul stood on a street corner like thousands of other people, it was the day before Ash Wednesday in Bigtown. He had always seen the procession, the one they called the Morning, on TV; but today he would see it live.
Clementine sat on Paul's shoulders, it was a cold but sunny morning in February, she had never seen the procession from the kerb before. The first band rounded the corner, were they loud, but Clementine heard nothing. The first float rounded the corner, they were hit with a shower of hard-boiled sweets, or was it beads?
I'm not going to describe the procession to you, have you never seen one? The Morning was the biggest and best parade in the country and the star of the show was on float number nine.
They had to wait hours for float number nine, why wasn't it near the front? What was wrong? Why was Clementine wearing dark glasses?
Betty was disappointed, there was no dancer on float number nine, no Tanzmariechen, just a large picture and her hat.
Paul was disappointed, there was no dancer on float number nine, just a large picture, a hat and a sign: RIP Betty!
Paul realised that the picture was of Clementine wearing the dancing clothes he had first seen her wearing, plus the hat.
He realised that his Clementine was THE BETTY – the great dancer and the great murderer of corrupt politicians.
No, they were not going to the Four Crosses Carnival Club to celebrate. No, she knew that she would lose Paul if they went there.
After the last float and the invasion of the orange army she took Paul out of the town across the heath up to High Cliff. She took off her dark glasses, she did not need them any more. She jumped onto Paul and clamped her legs around his waist and her arms around his neck.
She kissed him. Perhaps next year after her leg had properly healed she would be dancing again on float number nine.