Betty was flying for the first time in her life. She did not know why or where to, but she didn't care – she was sandwiched between two large women.
Mrs Tinge did not care where she was flying to, but she did know why. Mrs Pearson was the wonderful thing in the middle of Mrs Tinge's world and Betty was the cream on the top.
Mrs Pearson had arranged everything, it was Mrs Tinge's and Mrs Pearson's wedding anniversary – they were flying to a big city across the ocean. And Betty was like a magnifying glass – she made everything bigger and better.
They had been on a sight-seeing tour all day and had come back to the hotel room for a short rest and to make themselves even more beautiful for the evening.
They took a cab to The Arena and sat in the best seats. Was it loud, forty Irish girls jumping up and down on the stage together. Betty could not hear it, but she could certainly feel it, Betty thought that it was great.
It was the Riverdance or was it the Lord of the Dance. Betty didn't know, but it was great – Irish dancing and Irish music at its loudest.
After the show they waited for a taxi to take them to China Town for a meal. Time for a mugging. Betty thumped the guy stupid and broke his knife into little bits – both the blade and the handle.
Betty lay awake sandwiched between the two ladies. She was happy, but ideas were rushing through her head. Bigtown would be 750 years of age in August – big celebration. Betty knew that she had to do solo carnival dancing on a float in the Grand Parade – everybody expected that. But what about the Great Ball in the evening?
She knew what to do, she had been thinking about it on the flight home, she went to the cobbler. She knew the cobbler well, she wore through her dancing shoes and boots often. She took his hammer and danced it along his bench.
“I know what you want, but I don't have them in your size, I'll have to improvise.” He took some large steel washers and screwed them under her boots. “Try them out and come back later and we'll order what you want from the catalogue.”
She jumped on the stage at the carnival club and tap-danced, she had been practising in the hotel. She tried dancing across the stage and dancing on the spot. What a noise. She was happy.
The dance master jumped onto the stage and danced next to her. “I haven't used my taps for years.” Suddenly he froze and she too. He danced his way to the other end of the stage and stopped. She danced to the other end of the stage and stopped. They danced again. He showed her traditional shuffles, punches, heel clicks and turns.
All the other dancers crowded round to watch the two, something exciting was happening. The dance master understood, Betty wanted to do something special, something different for the big birthday ball – twenty dancers tap dancing together, line dancing, Irish dancing.
Betty and the dance master were very close, they understood one another, Betty had learnt a lot from him, they arranged the dancing together. He liked men, but that did not trouble Betty.
He laughed when he saw the funny taps on her dancing boots.
The two of them worked together for weeks, arranging the dance numbers, and teaching the dancers to tap and synchronise. Much patience and much time.
It was time for the first full rehearsal, a bit rough and the timing was not perfect. But everybody was full of enthusiasm and happiness.
The dance master stepped off the stage and looked at the video of the rehearsal – a shock. He was one of the main dancers, Betty had wanted that, but where was Betty? He was the main dancer. She was not in the video. What was wrong?
He wanted to ask Betty why she was not in the dance. Two large letters appeared in his head – NO! Something bad was going to happen. What was wrong?