Betty darling, you've got to stop killing people. I know that you cannot hear me, I know that you can understand me.
You are so close to me, I can hear your heart beat, I know that you can understand me. You got it right yesterday, I saw you from an upstairs window.
Some woman came into the garden and put you in a push chair. She pushed you round and round the garden. Why you liked that I don't know. She wanted to take you home for your bedtime, you did not like that.
You pulled the wheels off the pushchair and hurled them at her, but not too hard. She did not like that. She ran away. You got that right.
You are so close to me, you lie on top of me. Betty, Betty, I'm so in love with you. You didn't kill the burglar, it must have been you, I saw the picture in the local newspaper, it must have been you.
He had a long screwdriver wrapped tightly round his left wrist like a bracelet and a crowbar round his right arm. The other end of the crowbar was neatly hooked round a lamppost. He did look silly. In the morning the police got the fire brigade to release him.
You did not kill him, that is good. Now you must do something very good to me, just like you did to Henni last night.
That was very good. You are on top of me. You are buzzing. I have such sweet dreams when you sleep on me.
I arranged a small circle of chairs in the classroom and sat down next to Betty. I always take Betty to parents' evenings.
I learn something, the parents learn something, hopefully the child benefits. However there are always the difficult children, a small number of difficult children that always have difficult parents.
Little Johnny was not difficult, at least not with me, he was not little any more, but he did have difficult parents, five of them. Little Johnny is part of a patchwork family – who the mother was and who the father was remain unclear to me.
Why was Little Johnny so bad at maths? That I don't teach maths was not important, they shouted at me, they blamed me. Betty began to buzz.
“Hey, that doll of yours has just moved its head. Is it a robot?”
It got worse, much worse. Little Johnny skipped classes, although none of mine, Little Johnny was a truant. Third time in court, 300 dollar fine to pay.
“We can't pay it. We ain't got 300 to waste. We ain't got even 100. You've got to pay it. You must pay. You are Johnny's teacher.” He stood up and walked over to me, very threatening.
“Why don't you just sit down and tell me how you are going to encourage Johnny to go to school every day.”
No, he just wanted the money “Just give me it, now!”
Betty jumped off her chair, grabbed the guy and carried him screaming and kicking down the corridor, past the other parents – very embarrassing – to the big waste bin at the other end.
“What the eff is going on? What sorta teacher are you? I'm going to complain.”
“I don't think so.
Your husband, I s'pose he's your husband,
has just been carried away by a killer robot?
Who just happens to look like the Sugar Plum Fairy?
Oh, yeah! Everyone will believe that.”
As a teacher I often meet social workers, it's part of the job, but never at home before. What does she want? No, it is not about Little Johnny, no, it's about little Betty.
“Who is Betty's legal guardian?”
“Er, guardian? Betty has no guardian, Betty looks after herself.”
“Why doesn't Betty go to school?”
“I'm sure Betty would go to school if she wanted to, she's a bit old for that though.”
“Can she read and write?”
“This is a real problem. I must ask Betty some questions. May I?”
“You don't have to ask me, but just yes-no questions. Betty does not speak.”
“No, I've never heard her speak, maybe she doesn't want to.”
The socwok turns to Betty who is embroidering a hat.
“Do you go to school, Betty?”
Betty shakes her head.
“Have you ever been to school?”
Betty shakes her head.
“You would like it at school. You could play with other boys and girls and learn to read and write and do sums and...”
Betty shakes her head violently.
“and do dancing and...”
Betty nods her head violently and waves her hands in the air.
I interrupt “Stop, stop! Forget this school stuff. Betty is not a little child; she's twenty-five or more. Betty likes dancing and violence.”
The socwok looks very puzzled.
“I must go back to the office and make a report about this. I think that Betty must go into care, that is, into a home for difficult children. Goodbye!”
I shake my head “No, Betty likes it here. You don't understand. You can see Betty dancing on TV tonight...”
The socwok hurriedly leaves the house and walks straight into a group of five people, five violent people. You've guessed it, they are Little Johnny's family and they know the socwok well.
The five tear the socwok apart. Betty walks over to them, picks up one of them and drops him. The five run away. The socwok gets into her car and drives away rapidly.
“Shall we let her in?” shouted the master of ceremonies.
“Yes!” cried the audience.
“I can't hear you.
Betty is waiting to come in.
Shall we let her in?” roared the MC.
“Yes!” screamed the crowd back at him.
The band played a fanfare and Betty cartwheeled across the stage, sprang in the air, spun two somersaults, landed in the splits and pulled an ugly face. The audience loved it. Much applause.
Little Betty 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. Betty began to buzz, all over.
The band played Heart of Glass, Betty pirouetted around the stage, more somersaults, more pirouettes and again the splits at the front of the stage. The audience loved it. Much applause.
The bandleader gave Betty a lyre, Betty carried it around the stage looking very puzzled. A very large light bulb lowered itself down to Betty. Aha, Betty should hit the lyre with the light bulb? No, inside the light bulb was a hammer.
The band played the Colonel Bogey March and Betty strutted around the stage hitting the lyre with the hammer – bing-banga-bong-bong, bing-banga-bong-bong. Betty was getting her breath back.
Two foot soldiers in Napoleonic uniforms marched onto the stage, saw Betty and rushed over to grab her. Betty sprang into the air and kicked the first soldier in the nose, he rubbed his nose and fell over backwards into the second soldier who fell over backwards. Pile of soldiers. Much laughter.
The bandleader exchanged the lyre for a long steel pole. Was Betty going to fight the soldiers with it. No, the two soldiers held the ends of the steel pole. Wait for it!
The band played the March of the Toreadors from Carmen. Betty swung around and around the pole and jumped up high into the air and landed on the pole. Much applause.
The two soldiers lowered Betty to the floor and stood on the ends of the pole. Wait for it!
Drum rolls. Betty picked up the pole very slowly and carried the two standing soldiers off the stage.
Fanfare, fanfare. Betty cartwheeled across the stage, sprang into the arms of the surprised master of ceremonies and bowed to the audience.