Betsy Carter
Chapter 10

Copyright© 2022 by Lazlo Zalezac

Sally walked into the room thinking that she had made a horrible mistake. There were a lot of people, none of whom she recognized, moving around. She grabbed Gary’s arm to prevent being separated from him. Betsy had disappeared somewhere into the heart of the party.

It was a typical frat party – a lot of testosterone driven young men, scantily dressed young women, too much booze, not enough light; and loud music, which made talking impossible. The air had the lingering hint of a sickly sweet smell of marihuana being smoked somewhere nearby. There were people dancing off to one side. It was difficult to tell who was part of a couple and who wasn’t. People were just dancing, and looking around within a press of bodies. There were guys drinking massive quantities of beer in a mad dash to be the first one to pass out. They were loud, obnoxious, and stupid. The party would be over for them within half an hour.

Gary lowered his head so that his mouth was next to Sally’s ear and said, “Let’s move off to the side where there are fewer people.”

“Please,” Sally answered with a tone of desperation in her voice.

The pair moved off to the side of the room where they had a good view of everything that was going on. It was the kind of location that a bodyguard would choose. He could see the beer keg, the dance floor, and the entrance to the room.

He finally spotted Betsy dancing with a bunch of people. The music was loud and, in Gary’s opinion, irritating. His eyes constantly moved around the room watching anyone and everyone for anything that might be a threat. He wasn’t happy with the situation at all. This was the worst kind of duty that a bodyguard could draw.

There was no way that he could protect Betsy and Sally at the same time. He had sworn to Betsy that he wouldn’t leave Sally alone for even ten seconds. The thing that bothered him, was that when he had sworn to that, the air around him seemed to come alive in an unnatural manner. Just thinking about it made him cringe.

When Sally hugged his arm even tighter, he asked, “Are you having fun?”

“No,” Sally answered.

“I didn’t think so,” Gary said.

“I don’t know why I agreed to come here,” Sally said.

It wasn’t the first time he noticed that Sally was speaking in a more natural manner. He assumed that he was earning her trust. He hoped that she was beginning to view him as a friendly father figure who would protect her if she were threatened. She seemed so vulnerable that it brought out every protective instinct he possessed.

He asked, “Would you like to go outside?’

“I really want to go outside, but I promised Betsy I’d stay for thirty minutes,” Sally answered.

“We won’t tell her,” Gary said.

Sally looked uncomfortable for a second and then said, “The air kind of felt weird when I promised her that.”

“Okay. I’ll check my watch every few minutes and we’ll head out right after thirty minutes has passed,” Gary said.

“Thank you,” Sally said.

Gary took a minute to watch Betsy. She was enjoying herself on the dance floor. He could see that she was happy to be able to move around and talk to folks, without looking like an idiot. One young man started dancing next to her and then transitioned so that he was basically dancing with her. Betsy smiled and danced with the young man. Gary wasn’t concerned, it all looked harmless enough.

He leaned down to Sally’s ear and said, “Betsy appears to be having fun.”

“She does,” Sally said.

“Would you like to dance?” Gary asked hoping that she would answer no.


They stood apart from everyone else exchanging little observations about events at the party. They laughed about a guy who was dancing like a spastic chicken, and the mortified expression on his date’s face. They commented about the group of guys at the keg, groaning when one of them would suddenly turn green and then rush off to find a toilet. Sally pointed out a young woman who was flashing her breasts to a group of guys.

Their quiet discussion ended when a young man swaggered over to them. He looked at Gary with a smirk. Gary wasn’t impressed, but knew that the guy was looking for trouble. Unfortunately for him, he had chosen the wrong couple.

“Hey, old man. Why don’t you leave the babe here and go find a woman your own age at the nursing home,” the young man said.

Not impressed, Gary said, “Please leave.”

The young man sneered at Gary and then reached for Sally. Scared, Sally immediately ducked behind Gary. The guys hand brushed her arm and she squeaked in fright.

At the same time the guy touched Sally, Gary gently, at least gently for him, pushed the man back. The kid staggered back a couple of steps, tripped over his own feet, and then landed on his butt.

In a calm voice, Gary said, “Don’t touch the lady, son. Please leave.”

Seeing that a fight was about to erupt, a crowd started to gather. The increase of people in the immediate area scared Sally and she pressed against Gary’s back.

The young man got up and waved her arms around while screaming like a cat in heat. He struck a pose that was right out of bad Kung Fu movie. The crowd looked on expecting to see some really great action. One young man who was watching had crossed his arms and stared at the kid in disgust.

Gary shared that same expression of disgust. The kid had already demonstrated that he couldn’t even keep on his feet.

“I’m a black belt. I’m going to kick your ass from here to Wednesday, old man.”

Gary stared the young man straight in the eye. In a hard flat emotionless voice, he said, “You might be a black belt, but I’m a trained killer of men. I’ve had lots of practice. There are dead bodies on three continents that will attest to that fact. Please leave.”

The crowd that was standing there all took a step back. The guy who had been watching the jerk in disgust, looked over at Gary and then back at the kid. He smiled and watched Gary, knowing that he was someone who wasn’t prone to exaggeration.

Someone shouted, “Kick his ass. He’s just an old fart talking out his asshole.”

The young man swung. Gary caught his blow in his fist, pulled him in, and grasped the young man’s neck in an eagle claw hold with sufficient force that the young man was choking. Gary didn’t even look the least bit excited.

Gary asked, “Sally, should I rip his throat out?”

“No,” Sally answered after a pause that must have felt like an eternity to the young man.

Gary looked the kid in the eye and said, “Today is your lucky day. Don’t push your luck, or it is liable to run out. Please leave.”

He pushed the kid away. The young man collapsed on the floor breathing hard. His eyes were wide open, staring up at Gary. The whole crowd had backed away in shock at what they had seen. The kid was scrambling to his feet to head out the door when Betsy arrived. All hint of his swagger was gone.

“You’re getting slow,” Betsy said with a laugh.

“Thanks,” Gary said watching the kid run out the door.

Betsy asked, “Are you okay, Sally?”

“Can ... I ... go now?” Sally asked.

Gary was saddened to hear Sally returning to her broken speech pattern. She had been making such good progress in opening up to him.

“Not yet. There’s more to come,” Betsy said just before running back onto the dance floor.

Moving Sally back to his side, and putting an arm around her, Gary asked, “Are you okay, Sally?”

“I ... was ... scared,” Sally said.

“I’m sure you were. A situation like that is always scary, but you can’t let the fear rule you,” Gary said feeling how she was still trembling.

“Why weren’t you ... scared?” Sally asked.

“I was, but a little fear isn’t a bad thing.”

Seeing the look of incredulity on her face, he explained, “A little fear sharpens your senses, increases your awareness of your surroundings, prepares the body for conflict, and speeds up your thoughts. That little bit of fear can give you a tremendous edge in a conflict.”

“What about when he said he was a black belt?” Sally asked.

Gary laughed.

“How can you laugh about that?”

Gary asked, “If I claimed to be an expert in parasites and then told you that the hooker worm is a parasite that enters your ear, eats your brains, and then is passed on as a venereal disease, what would you think of me?”

“I’d think you were an idiot,” Sally said looking at Gary like he was an idiot.

Gary said, “The guy was an idiot. The way he was dancing around was like some idiot talking about hooker worms.”

“Oh,” Sally said not wanting to admit that she had thought the display was impressive.

Gary said, “Suppose, though, that you were talking to a student who had read a couple of papers on parasites. Suppose he said some things that are fairly reasonable, but not entirely correct. What would you think of him?”

“I’d know that he doesn’t know as much as me,” Sally answered.

Gary said, “There are some who have studied parasites and know as much as you. Would you recognize that?”

“It wouldn’t take much time to figure out how much they know. We wouldn’t argue, but we would discuss materials of mutual interest,” Sally said.

Gary asked, “Exactly. Then there are a few who know it all. They’ve written the books on the subject. Do you know enough to know who they are?”

“Sure,” Sally answered.

“Same here. I recognize the idiots, the novices, my peers, and my superiors,” Gary said.

Sally asked, “What if he had turned out to be a real expert?”

“Easy. I would have called for Betsy,” Gary answered, “and then fought like hell to keep you safe until Betsy showed up to take care of him.”

“Betsy,” Sally said with a laugh. “Why on earth would you call Betsy?”

“There are some who might consider me to be a Master in the martial arts world. I’ve been in some pretty serious fights. I’m good, and I’m not boasting about that. It is a fact.

“I believe you,” Sally said particularly after what she had witnessed.

“Betsy is better. She is a Grandmaster. There isn’t anyone better, and only five people in the world who might be her equal,” Gary said.

“I didn’t know that,” Sally said looking over at Betsy who was dancing merrily to the music.

Gary said, “If Betsy trains you, you will be able to protect yourself even against the biggest and meanest gangster in the world.”

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