Betty Smith, aged 13, blond, skips lessons to do dancing, often seen hanging about the bar on the town square. She was also top of the list last week.
He was sitting in the bar eating a sandwich and drinking a coffee, his breakfast. Perhaps she would walk in. And in she did walk. Bingo!
She jumped onto the bar, onto the bar counter top, and the barkeeper gave her a large beer. He finished his coffee and moved to the bar. He looked at her, he saw a very pretty, small girl wearing a white tutu. She looked at him as if he were made of plastic. She drank her beer, she was thirsty.
He spoke to her, asked her why she was not at school, told her that he would take her to her school. She did not speak, she ignored him. Why was somebody or something inside his head? And why was that somebody or something throwing around furniture inside his head?
She finished her beer and put the glass down on the bar. He put his hands under arms and gently lifted her down onto the floor. He took her hand and “Let’s go!”
Why she went with the truancy officer I don’t know; perhaps she was curious. Number Three Middle School for Boys and Girls was not far away. He took her to the school administrator “Oh yes, class 3A, now in the language lab on the upper floor. You can’t miss it.”
It was quiet in the language lab, just quiet mutterings, until the truancy officer and the little girl arrived. The children looked up, took off their earphones and loudly demanded “Betty, do your thing!” The teacher said “It’s not every day that we get a visit like this.”
The little girl jumped onto the teacher’s table and danced a hornpipe. One of the girls took a wooden recorder from her bag and blew the hornpipe music. Children came from other classrooms to watch. The little girl danced an all-in-one-spot version of the Sugar Plum Fairy and a Tarantella.
The little girl jumped down from the table. Much applause. She grabbed the hand of the truancy officer very tightly and pulled him out of the school. He went with the little girl because he wanted that his hand remain an integral part of his body. She looked at him like he was made from plastic.
Back at the bar, she sat on the counter, the barkeeper poured two large beers. She banged the bottom edge of her glass against the bottom edge of his glass.
And the barkeeper said “Cheers!”