four ruffles and flourishes

Hail to the chief, who in triumph advances.

StoryKettle » BETTY » four ruffles and flourishes

Copyright © 2014, Michael M Wayman

He awoke suddenly, who was driving his car? A little girl half sitting, half standing, was driving his police car at high speed around the ring road with the siren screaming and the lights flashing.

Was he dreaming? When he had a double shift he often went to the park to sit on a bench or sleep on the back seat of his patrol car. He had a two hour break between shifts.

Whose face was that in the rear view mirror? It was a man's face, a kind face, the face of a good man. The girl switched off the siren and the flashing lights and drove slowly back to the park.

They got out. The policeman looked at her. She was not a little girl, she was an adult, a very small but beautiful, young woman. She looked up at him. He was a policeman, but he was a good and kind man. How could he be a policeman?

She took his hand in hers and led him to a park bench. They sat together, she took one of his hands into her tiny hands and he told her the story of his life. She did not hear a word, but she could understand a few of his thoughts and they pleased her.

He had to go, the second shift started in five minutes.

He was standing at the junction of Park Street and the High Street, the pavements were full of people, it was the day before Ash Wednesday, the day of the carnival parade.

He had nothing to do, he thought about the little girl he had sat next to in the park, he really liked her. She had spoken not a word, she had made no sound, she had walked like a ballet dancer.

He had nothing to do, the crowds were behaved, no violence, no crime. Why was this town so quiet, no trouble, little crime, very peaceful, more trust, more happiness. He did not understand, he was new in town, he asked some colleagues, they said one word and laughed: BETTI

Oh, he said, as if he knew, but he didn't. He looked in the internet, but no crime prevention system named BETTI, plenty of people called Betty, but there were no policewomen with that name in the town.

The first float came slowly along Park Street, he watched the parade, float number nine was something special. The band played and that little girl danced and she could dance, she was the star of the show. She was wearing a three-cornered hat, an embroidered black waistcoat, a pretty white blouse, the shortest skirt you ever did see and the frilliest knickers you will never see again.

She saw the policeman and jumped onto him. She kissed him – many photos. She jumped back on the float and danced again.

The next morning his face was all over town, the local newspaper carried the photo Betty kisses Policeman. He bought a newspaper from a kiosk. “She really likes you!” “Yes, I think you're right.”

Betty left the Brown Jug to get some fresh air. Three young men were kicking a man on the ground. In Betty's mind there was only one person allowed to fight and that was Betty. The three young men were not evil but stupid and more stupid when drunk. Betty had warned them before, this time it would be harder.

Betty grabbed the three young men and gave each of them a good thumping; they would have to crawl home tonight. She helped the other man to his feet and brushed the dust off his clothing. It was of course – you have already guessed – the policeman.

Betty took his hand in hers and walked down the street – Betty had decided to take him home and eat him.

Betty marched proudly across the grass, the sun was shining, the crowds were cheering, the sky was blue and the grass was green. She saw him.

He was standing at the other end, on the side of the field, he was on duty. Betty wheeled to the left and came to a halt five metres in front of the policeman. Betty gave the signal, Betty threw ten fingers into the air, the marching band played Hail to the Chief, the cheerleaders danced their thing and Betty did slow somersaults.

It was not a routine they usually performed. It was reserved for VIPs and the club manager in the big grandstand at the other end of the field. The policeman knew that his colleagues would make fun of him: “Hail on the Chief!” and “Heil Chiefie!”. But he knew that Betty had done it for him.

The game was good, no trouble; the cheerleaders and the band performed many times, but not near the policeman, once was enough. The crowds left slowly after the end of the game, but without trouble.

He waited until the stadium was empty and he walked across the grass to the main exit. Betty came out of the tunnel and walked to the middle of the field.

Betty jumped into the policeman's arms and the sun shone down on them.