The buffet had been cleared away, Mrs Pearson had finished her lunch, very good. The morning had been very good: short, inspirational talks with snappy dancing in between. Betty had led the dancing, very good.
Her annual Town Planning Seminar had had a good start. But still Mrs Pearson was worried. The main speaker had still not arrived; he had telephoned that his plane had been diverted and that he had hired a car and that he would soon be there.
All the other dancers had left after lunch, but Betty had stayed, she wanted to know what the other speakers had to say. It was Betty who had shown Mrs Pearson the state of the homeless in Bigtown and the slummy tower blocks on the west side. Mrs Pearson had the tower blocks pulled down and had built shelters for the homeless and better accommodation for the poor.
Betty couldn’t hear the other speakers, she couldn’t hear anything, she could have read the minds of the speakers, but she didn’t want to hinder them. Betty sat in Mrs Pearson’s mind, she tried to cheer her up and understand what Mrs Pearson was hearing.
THE SPEAKER arrived in time for the last speaker time slot – many apologies.
Everybody was fascinated with the talk he gave – many questions.
“Don’t forget, dinner at eight in this hotel. See you at eight.”
Betty was fascinated by him, she knew what he wanted, she grabbed his hand, she took him out of the hotel and down the street to a sandwich bar. He was hungry.
She jumped onto the counter and sat there. The manager of the sandwich bar quickly made some fresh sandwiches for them. Betty drank a large beer with both hands. He drank a freshly-pressed fruit juice.
“No, no. No charge, on the house. Betty is good for business, very good. Betty makes everyone feel safe and happy.”
The two of them returned to the hotel. Betty unpacked his suitcase and hung up his clothes for the next day. She took off his jacket, his tie and all her clothes. She led him to the bathroom and he washed her under the shower.
She pushed him onto the bed, she lay at right angles to him with her head on his stomach. The message was clear: she owned him.
He sat next to Mrs Pearson for dinner. Betty sat on his lap and ate from his plate. Nobody said anything about that, they all wanted to talk with him.
She slept on him; she was tired.
There were more talks the next morning. It was her chance to dive deep into his mind – big problem – there was a large object like a bank safe but with no key. This would take some time.
Lunch was at the Pearson’s Residence. He received a load of praise from Mrs Pearson. “You will come next year? Won’t you?”
He talked to Mrs Tinge, Mrs Pearson’s wife. “You don’t know why Betty is attracted to you? But I do. There is something about you that she doesn’t understand and she is going to find out and bust it apart. You will find out more about Betty in the next few days. But don’t worry she will never hurt you, not in a thousand years, she likes you.”
He hired a car and drove back home – there was never any question – with her. He had a funny feeling in his head, as if he was not alone in his mind.
As the hours past by he realised that she was in his mind, she was sorting through all the clutter in his mind, she had already found the large, incomprehensible object in his mind. He knew that she would do what she liked with him when they got home.
Betty sat on a large cushion, she knew why she was attracted to him: he knew what he wanted, or thought he did. He was the type who got things done, like Mrs Pearson.
She would make him a bit cuddlier and a bit softer. She would pull apart the large object in his mind and let him get on with his life. She knew that she would do what she liked with him when they got home.
It was like a honeymoon, they went places, they went to restaurants, they did things together. She danced on the table for him before every meal – at home or in a restaurant. “What a lovely, little daughter you’ve got.”
One evening they were in a bar somewhere when a guy stood up and started firing with an automatic weapon. Betty threw him to the ground and dropped a load of coats and hats hanging on the wall on top of him. She ducked out of sight and circled round to the back of the shooter and punched him hard between the shoulder blades. EOS.
Betty helped the wounded by tying tablecloths around their wounds. She was a bloody mess when he found her again. He wrapped her up in a plastic tablecloth and took a taxi home. “No, she doesn’t speak to reporters.” This was true, she never spoke to anyone.
He took Betty to the stores the next day and bought her clothes, lovely clothes, a sari, a tutu and some evening clothes. He wanted her to look good, he was proud of her.
Betty was very happy with him and she would have been happy with everything if it wasn’t for the wife. Betty knew nothing about marriage or what a wife was. She knew that adults lived together often as pairs. The mysterious object in his head was the wife and possibly a person. More she had not discovered.
He was not certain. Betty was as tough as nails and could read other people’s minds. Could she do it? Should he take her? He took her to the institute. In the middle of the room were a table and chairs and sat at the table was a young woman. There was a guard sitting on a bench by the door.
Betty sat down on the chair opposite the woman; Betty did not normally sit on chairs. She noticed that the table and chairs and the bench were bolted to the floor; and that the woman’s wrists and ankles were belted to her chair. Betty ignored that and smiled innocently at the woman.
“Hello Carla!” He leaned over and gave the woman a quick peck on the cheek. “This is Betty, she’s a great dancer, I thought you’d like to meet her.” Betty was playing the little innocent, she didn’t enter the woman’s mind.
She had no need to, thoughts were flying out of the woman’s mind in all directions. This was not usual, no, the woman was not human. Perhaps it was the wife.
“Hello Betty, I’m Carla, pleased to meet you. I suppose my husband has told you a load of lies about me. I will tell you what really happened.” The woman ignored the fact that she was restrained in a chair and that Betty didn’t speak. What is the husband? Betty asked herself.
The woman continued her monologue. “So you’re the new girl friend; he’s pretty good in bed, isn’t he? But I’ll tell you how it all started: it was about a year ago when I woke up one morning covered in bruises. He said that I had hit him, but I was the one who went to the doctor with a black eye.”
“He hit me every morning after that and then in the street...” and so she rambled on for twenty minutes or more.
He was disappointed, Betty had done nothing, just sat there like a bored, little girl. “That’s a load of lies, Carla, you know it. You are the one tied to a chair in this loony bin.”
Betty knew now the woman was the wife and that he was probably the husband. She also knew that the woman was violent, nasty, evil and not human. Time for action. Betty jumped feet first into the woman’s mind. What a house of horrors! Betty got out quickly.
The woman was enraged – that little girl had been in her mind – that girl was dangerous. The woman broke all her restraints. She stood up, wrenched her chair from the floor and threw it at Betty. Betty dived under the table and the chair smashed into the guard.
Betty grabbed the woman’s ankles and tipped her over. Betty picked her up and threw her onto the table. Two guards ran into the room and bound the woman to the table.
This all happened very quickly, but then a switch to slow motion. The two guards carried the injured guard very slowly out of the room.
Betty looked at the woman on the table, she was screaming slowly. Betty pushed her tiny hands into the side of the woman’s head. There was a long, slow struggle.
Betty pulled a black, writhing object out of the woman’s head and placed it on the table. Betty thumped it hard, but it wouldn’t die. She wrenched a leg off the thrown chair and battered the black thing flat.
She unbound Carla and helped her to her feet. She took Carla’s hand and left the room and the institute. Nobody could stop the two, everybody was still in slo‑mo.
The two walked hand-in-hand round the garden. “Thank you, Betty. You have given me my life back.”