Lettie's left arm had fallen off again. Funny that, thought Betty, always the left arm. Lettie was not handed – both arms were the same. Betty repaired Lettie.
“Why is it always your left arm that drops off, Lettie?” asked Mrs Tinge.
“Dunno, there was this clunk and there it was lying on the ground. But Betty has made it better again.”
“Good, good! Go and get two large coffees, please Lettie.” Mrs Tinge was very excited, she had been working on the drawings for weeks, with some help from Betty. Mrs Tinge sat at the drawing table, Betty sat on her lap and Mrs Tinge opened the folder and pulled out the A3 sketches.
Betty was excited too, the drawings were perfect, the new costumes for the carnival princess and prince. Mrs Pearson had said that the existing costumes were not sensational enough and not spectacular enough. Mrs Tinge thought that they were not feminine enough, especially the prince's costume which Mrs Tinge wore as Prince John the Hundred and Sixty-Ninth, not enough room for the lovelies.
Mrs Tinge was the carnival prince, but she was female through and through, and so was Mrs Pearson, nothing butch about those two. Betty was Betty, because that's the way she wanted, no one would ever change that.
Mrs Tinge could communicate with Betty, how she did that she did not know. She had already designed a new costume for Betty as the Boff. It had bright yellow and orange stripes, but no gold or silver, trousers and a long frock coat with a high stuck-up collar and plenty of room for the lovelies. They had designed it together.
The Boff was responsible for law and order, a very important member of the Eleven, the carnival club's management. Betty wore the costume with a big black belt – on it hung a big ring of keys; she was the jailer, when she wasn't dancing.
The two of them examined the drawings, the designs were similar to Betty's costume, but green and red and silver stripes for Mrs Tinge and pale yellow and pale blue and gold stripes for Mrs Pearson as Princess Anna the Thirteenth. They both had detachable trains for the entrance march and of course crowns, silver with emeralds and rubies for the prince and gold with diamonds for the princess.
The two of them looked at the drawings for hours – the prince question remained – who was the prince? Betty had an idea, a sword. But that would be too heavy. No, no, just a belt, a short scabbard with the sword handle – no blade, no need to draw the sword.
Mrs Tinge thought everything was wonderful, she would start sewing the costumes as soon as she could buy the materials. Mrs Pearson was the wonderful thing in the middle of Mrs Tinge's world and Betty was the cream on the top.
Betty thought that everything was wonderful, she was very pleased with her own costume, she had worn it twice at carnival balls. The new designs for Mrs Pearson and Mrs Tinge were wonderful too.
She knew that Mrs Pearson was a bit pompous and bossy, but that she would do anything that Mrs Tinge told her to do. She knew that Mrs Tinge did not fully understand why Mrs Pearson was part of her life and that they were married.
Mrs Pearson burst into the room. “Hello dearest darling Mrs Tinge, I managed to get away early.” She picked up Betty and kissed her behind the ear. She wrapped herself around Mrs Tinge and kissed her.
To be sandwiched between two people who loved one another was one of the best places to be on this planet for Betty.
“What's for lunch?” asked Mrs Pearson. Lettie brought in a tray of baguette slices with cheese and ham and salad – there was one with anchovies for Betty. Lettie brought another tray of drinks and returned to her ironing.
Mrs Tinge showed Mrs Pearson the drawings. “Just wait a moment.” Mrs Tinge drew a sword on the side of the prince. “It's Betty's idea, isn't it good? Makes the prince look more like a prince, don't you think?”
“Bit heavy though?”
“No, no, no blade!” laughed Mrs Tinge.
“Betty is wonderful as usual. I see that she has repaired Lettie again. Bussi-Bussis all round.” Everybody got kissed several times.
“Let's go to High Cliff and get some fresh air.”
Mrs Pearson pointed out the new social housing in the valley that was being built with her money. “The old slummy tower blocks have been knocked down.” Betty danced her latest carnival routine. Mrs Tinge recited the funny poem that she was learning for the next carnival ball. Mrs Pearson and Mrs Tinge sat on a park bench and sandwiched Betty between them.
Much later in the day they returned to Mrs Pearson's mansion and Lettie opened the front door. Lettie's right arm was wrapped twice around her neck.