Betsy Carter
Chapter 9

Copyright© 2022 by Lazlo Zalezac

Betsy skipped down the hallway pausing to read the sign on each door. The other students in the hallway would move over to the other side to avoid getting hit by the jump rope.

She stopped in front of one of the doors and read the name off the nameplate aloud, “Sally Tilton.”

She stepped back nearly hitting a student with her jump rope and read the sign on the door aloud, “Keep out.”

She stopped swinging the rope around, but kept up the jumping motion while knocking on the door. She called out, “Hello! Is anyone in there?”

She waited a second and then called, “Hello! It’s me! Are you in there?”

The door opened a crack and an eye appeared. “Uh ... hello...”

“Let’s go eat,” Betsy said.

“Uh...”

“I’m not going to take a no for an answer,” Betsy said.

“Uh...”

Betsy said, “I’m going to stand out here and make a scene, until you say okay.”

“Please ... I...”

Betsy resumed skipping rope shouting, “Let’s go eat! Let’s go eat! Let’s go eat!”

Sally said, “Okay! Okay! I’ll go.”

“Lock your door, and let’s go,” Betsy said.

Sally stepped out and locked the door. She turned to find Betsy halfway down the hall. She smiled and reached for the door to unlock it thinking she could slip off without being noticed.

Gary sighed and then said, “Come with me. We’ll go directly to the car and she’ll go the long route. She’ll beat us there anyway, but she won’t have to wait so long.”

They walked towards the parking lot with Sally keeping a pretty good distance from Gary.

“I’m actually a pretty nice guy. The only people who have to worry about me being not nice are people who want to hurt Betsy. You don’t have to be afraid of me,” Gary said.

“Uh...”

Gary looked over at her. She looked positively miserable. He said, “You’re really shy. Betsy is anything except shy. I feel for you. I’m sure that you just want to crawl into a hole and hide.”

“Yes,” Sally squeaked.

“That’s not going to work with Betsy. She’ll find you,” Gary said shaking his head.

“Uh ... that’s ... ah ... um ... Why is ... she doing ... this?” Sally asked.

Gary said, “I can’t figure that out. She picked you right out of the room full of people, for some reason. I don’t know. Maybe she saw someone else who is lonely. I don’t know.”

“Can you ... uh ... get her ... to stop?”

“Nope,” Gary said.

Sally looked ready to cry. He said, “Look. When you are with her, all of the attention is going to be on her. You’re going to be invisible. I kind of figure that you would prefer it that way.”

“Yes.”

“I can’t figure out one thing, though,” Gary said. He looked at her and asked, “Why did you go to that meet and greet?”

Sally didn’t answer. She walked along glancing around at her surroundings nervously. She spotted Betsy jumping from the roof of one building to another. Surprised by what she was seeing, she asked without stuttering or pause, “What is she doing?”

“That is called Parkour. I have no idea when she picked that up, but she’s pretty good at it. The whole secret of parkour is fearlessness, and Betsy is fearless,” Gary said.

“Ah ... is she ... crazy?” Sally asked.

Gary chuckled knowing that Sally wasn’t the only one wondering that. Rather than answer the question, he said, “One of her fathers is a black robed Druid. Do you know what that means?”

“The ... uh ... Hermaphrodite..., “ Sally answered. “Uh ... the scary one...”

“Yes. Well, her father has to tell the truth. He can’t lie, not even little white lies. That’s pretty bad when the wife asks if her outfit makes her look fat and he has to answer that it does.”

Sally managed to giggle at that.

“You asked me if she is crazy. He told me once that Betsy was touched by the Gods and Goddesses. I believe him. She has been touched by the Gods and Goddesses. The thing is, I don’t know what that means.”

Sally didn’t say anything, but continued to walk along beside Gary. He noticed that she was walking a little closer to him, though he didn’t mention it.

Betsy ran down a handrail, jumped to touch down with one foot on a parking meter, launched herself over a car, and landed in the parking lot with a roll. She came to a stop in front of the Hugger.

“She beat us to the car,” Gary said.

“She’s ... fast.”

“Yes, she is and she moves like that all day,” Gary said.

Once Betsy got into the car, Wheels drove it over to where Gary and Sally were walking. Gary opened a rear door for Sally and, bowing down while swinging a hand towards the open door, he said, “Entré vous, Mademoiselle.”

Wheels said, “Stick to English. Your French is atrocious.”

With a soft giggle, Sally got into the car. Gary shut the door and went around the car to get in the front passenger seat. Once he was in, Wheels took off like shot. He hadn’t even had a chance to buckle his seatbelt.

Gary turned to Wheels and said, “I have a gun. If you drive like a maniac, I will shoot you.”

Wheels laughed.

Gary turned to look at Sally and said, “I get no respect.”

“I’m really getting hungry,” Betsy said.

Wheels said, “I know. We’ll be there in a few minutes. I don’t think our passenger will appreciate it if I drive down the stairs.”

“We’re going to a seafood place. Is that okay with you?” Betsy asked.

Sally nodded her head. She looked out the window, hoping that her pretended interest in her surroundings would deter Betsy from asking more questions. Betsy was not deterred. She asked one question after another about Sally’s research. They weren’t superficial questions, but detailed questions for which Sally was one of the few people who would know the answers. Sally answered the questions although there was a lot of stuttering, pauses, and general nervous sounds. Undeterred, Betsy just kept asking more questions.

Wheels pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant and announced, “We’re here.”

Betsy said, “I’ll get a table.”

Turning to Sally, Gary said, “They know us here. We have a table reserved in a private room. Don’t worry.”

“Ah ... thanks,” Sally said.

Gary got out and went around to open the door for Sally. Sally was already waiting by the side of the car with Wheels standing next to her. Gary gestured with his head to Wheels to head on into the restaurant. He figured that he was making a little headway with Sally.

“Your lunch awaits,” Gary said.

Sally walked beside Gary into the restaurant. She let him deal with the hostess and followed them into the private room that had been reserved. Betsy was in a chair with ankle weights and doing some sort of leg lift exercise.

Betsy said, “Sit beside me. It’ll be easier for us to talk.”

Sally moved into the chair next to Betsy. Gary and Wheels sat down in chairs at the other side of the table.

Betsy said, “I have to move all of the time. It’s been getting worse over the past few years. It was bad when I was a kid, but it is really bad now. My speech is fast, my gestures are almost spastic, and I just can’t sit still.

“You’d think that having a lot of energy would be great, but it isn’t. Believe me, it isn’t.

“There are so many things that I can’t do, and I envy people who can do them. I’d love to be able to sit through a symphony. I’d like to watch a Broadway play. I can’t because I’d ruin the experience for everyone else there. That’s not nice.

 
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