I have moved to Bigtown, I wanted to, I had to, I wanted to dance, I want to dance. Bigtown is the centre for carnival – four carnival clubs – and for dancing, singing and having a good time. Bigtown is a very happy town.
I'm a financial advisor at BigBank, I help people with mortgages, loans, pensions, shares and investments – that's during the day – otherwise I'm a very small person who loves to dance.
I persuaded BigBank to move me to Bigtown. Which is the best carnival club to join I asked. The Four Crosses is the best, the Acorn and the Five Rings are also good. The Sycamore was not mentioned. I joined the Sycamore Club.
It's a warm early evening in September, I have been at the Sycamore Club all day teaching the little ones, the juniors and the teenagers to dance. Shortly before Xmas there is the very important Children's Dance Competition and this year the Sycamore Club is going to win.
I turn the corner into my road and see her right in front of me. She is as little as me, she wears a white tutu like me, she looks like me, but she is blond, and she is a dancer.
She stops, I continue walking, I walk into her, I put my arm around her, I kiss her. Alarm bells! I think of all the behaviour videos and ethics lectures that I have received at BigBank. This is totally unacceptable behaviour. I pull back from her.
It is wrong, really wrong, what have I done? The little girl is smiling, she beams at me and puts her arm around me and pulls my face into hers and we continue the kiss. It is a six-minute kiss. Really wonderful! I realise that the little girl is not a little girl, but a young woman like me.
I grab her hand, turn her round and we walk to my apartment. No, she doesn't want to sit on my sofa, she sits in the armchair, she says nothing. I open a bottle of red wine and pour two glasses. No, she doesn't want me to sit on the sofa, she pulls me into the armchair.
She takes a big gulp of wine, she kisses me and I drink from her mouth. I realise that she does not speak and she does not hear. But somehow she understands me. How does she do it?
We eat some cheese and crackers. I hold her overarms, they are thick with muscle, I hold her at arm's length and look into her eyes – she can see into my mind – this is alarming.
She can read my mind. She is wonderful. She is right next to me. These whatevers are crashing around in my head.
She stands up and leaves the room, I follow. She enters the bathroom and undresses. She stands in the shower and hands me the shower head. I wet her all over and soap her all over. This takes a long time. I take a flannel and wash her all over several times. I like this. Rinse and dry with a big white towel. My turn.
We are taking a break from dancing. One of the mothers of the little ones asks me “Why is Betty here? She's the lead dancer at the Four Crosses Carnival Club.” I look at Betty, I see for the first time the four crosses embroidered on her tutu, all the stories I have heard about “The Betty” go through my head. I say “Betty wants to help.” Which I think is true.
The president, the President of the Sycamore Carnival Club, comes over to meet me, what does he want? “Hello Carol, taking a break? I think that the boys and girls need it.”
“I've just had a phone call from the President of the Four Crosses Carnival Club. He said that he was happy that Betty is helping us, Betty is not only the best that ever happened to the Four Crosses Club, but to all the carnival clubs, to everybody in Bigtown. Besides that, he said, nothing and nobody could stop Betty doing what she wants to do.”
“The entire Eleven, including me, think that you are doing a great job, Carol. Keep at it! And...” He lowers his voice to a whisper. “The stories about Betty being extremely violent are true. However only with men who are nasty and evil. She wouldn't harm you in a million years. Put your trust in Betty!”
The Mayor is in the front with the chauffeur, I'm in the back with Betty. We're on our way to Knowtown to dance at the big dancing competition evening; the Mayor is one of the judges. Not that we two are competing, we'll be on the stage when the judges take a break to make their decisions. This is going to be interesting, seeing a competition from the audience's point of view – I must take some mental notes.
Betty enters stage left and skips past me ignoring me. I do likewise from stage right. We have not been announced, who are we? I turn and pull a radio mic out of my cleavage. “Betty, aren't you going to dance with me?” Betty stares at me and shakes her head, she is keeping time with her left arm. “Oh, Betty, you must dance with me.” Another shake of the head. “B‑E‑T‑T‑Y!” Betty nods her head and smiles from ear to ear.
The audience roars – the name Betty is well known. The band breaks into Oh! Carol by Neil Sedaka, we race towards each other, slap hands and back-flip five times to the edges of the stage. We dance around each other on the stage and spiral towards each other. We are together and the band switches to the Ententanz from Werner Thomas – our chance to go bananas, the audience's chance to wave their elbows about.
Betty gives another signal and the band switches to I Can't Get No Satisfaction from Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.
We both see the stage manager in the wings moving his hand in a circle, our cue to wind up, I grab my mic “And now for the moment you have all been waiting for, the judges have made their decisions...” We handstand and walk off the stage on our hands – again the audience roars.
We cross the bridge to the car park, a young man jumps out with a knife and grabs Betty. “Your money or the kid gets it.” The mayor reaches for his wallet, Betty reaches for the mugger's neck, Betty snaps it, the man falls over the balustrade into the river below.
The three of us run to the limo where the chauffeur is waiting.
On the way back to Bigtown the Mayor asks how long had we practised our piece. “Not at all, we just did our thing. Nobody noticed that I made five mistakes and even Betty made one.” Betty holds me very tight.
The mayor's limo drops Betty and me at number five South Street, why I don't know, but Betty does. She goes straight inside, hauling me behind her. And big surprise, there is Big Betty.
“Oh hello, you must be Carol. I'm a teacher and I've heard great things about you from the children in my school. You've got them all dancing including the boys. I'm Betty's younger sister, call me Henni, everybody does. Betty has just slipped into the kitchen to make three chocky-coffees. It's just what you need. You look pretty shaken-up...”
“He just grabbed Betty and threatened to kill her. Betty crushed his neck, I could hear the bones cracking...”
“Drink this!” Henni hands me a hot mug. Betty holds my other hand very tight. I spent the night sandwiched between Henni and Betty. “You need tlc and lots of it.”
“Oh yes, she looks just like me.” and “No, I wasn't watching TV last night.” and “I think that she is dancing with Betty.” It is the day after in the bank. Everybody is talking about the dancing competition at Knowtown on the TV last night and watching the video clip of the two little girls.
“What were you doing last night, Carol?”
“Oh, I went for a drive with the mayor.”
“OK, guys. We're taking a longer break this time, Betty and I have a meeting with the President, be back at 11:30, we're going to do a complete dance.” Waiting in the conference room is Mr Bahrshott, he's our organiser for dance competitions.
“Hello Betty, hello Carol and hello Mr Bahrshott.” The President enters the room. “I'm inviting you three to be witnesses at the monthly Eleven meeting. But first I want Mr Bahrshott to read a report out loud. Start at the red arrow on page 43, please.”
Mr Bahrshott reads from the annual charity report, it is heart-breaking, about two little children chained-up in a dog's kennel for months, however they are rescued. “OK, stop there. Thank you.”
Betty does a thumbs-up. Betty and the President know what's happened, Mr Bahrshott is completely confused. I realise that Betty has been fishing in Mr Bahrshott's mind; Mr Bahrshott has passed the test, he is pure of heart.
It is 11:11 and in marches the Eleven, however not eleven, the President is already there, however not ten, only eight. They remain standing behind their chairs; each wears a very elaborate jester's hat embroidered with sycamore leaves, and don't forget the little bells. The President moves to the head of the table. “Please be seated ladies and gentlemen.”
“Welcome to the October Eleven Meeting, a special welcome to our witnesses Betty, Carol and Mr Bahrshott.” A round of applause from the Eleven. “Today there are two topics – first a status report on the preparations for the annual Children's Dance Competition from Carol.”
I stand on my chair. “Thank you, Mr President. The Children's Dance Competition takes place on the 11th of December. As you all know, the Sycamore Club does not have a good reputation for dancing; last year we did not enter the competition; this year we have started from scratch, early last month.”
“We have enough children to dance in all three categories: little ones, juniors and teenagers. I say children, we have managed to persuade a large number of boys to dance too. We have enough finances. We are organised; thank you Mr Bahrshott.”
“The training is going to plan, we are about to select the best for the solo dancing. We are fortunate to have special help; as you all know Betty is the lead dancer at the Four Crosses Club; thank you Betty. We are going to win the competition on the 11th of December.” A big round of applause from the Eleven.
“Thank you, Carol.” resumes the President. “I ask all of you here to help Carol win in December. And now some bad news, our Financial Director has resigned, he is not in the best of health. We now have two vacancies in the Eleven. I propose two persons for the position of Financial Director.”
“First Mr Allan Bahrshott. He has been associated with the Sycamore Club almost since he was born. He is a POG of eleven years and is a great organiser and married with two kids. He is a qualified accountant and is currently the HR Manager at Bigtown Candy Cane, a large employer in our town.” Mr Bahrshott stands and bows to the Eleven.
“Secondly Mr Leslie Giles. He is a POG of two times eleven years, married and a member of the Eleven as Water Carriers for eleven years. He is currently the Financial Director at a car dealer chain in our town.” Mr Giles stands and bows to the Eleven.
“Raise your hands for Mr Bahrshott!” No one raises a hand. I feel the disappointment from Mr Bahrshott.
“Raise your hands for Mr Giles!” Everyone raises their hand.
“I declare that Mr Leslie Giles is the new Financial Director.” Mr Giles moves to the empty seat. A big round of applause.
“I propose the usual rochade.” Everyone raises their hand. The Second Water Carrier moves to the First Water Carrier chair, the Eleventh Water Carrier moves to the Second Water Carrier chair. A big round of applause.
“We still have two vacancies. I propose one person for the position of Eleventh Water Carrier. I propose Mr Allan Bahrshott. “Raise your hands for Mr Bahrshott!” Everyone raises their hand. I feel the happiness from Mr Bahrshott.
“I declare that Mr Allan Bahrshott is the new Eleventh Water Carrier.” Mr Bahrshott moves to the empty seat. A big round of applause.
“The position of Dance Master has been empty for over a year; it is very difficult to find suitable candidates with the right qualifications... I propose one person for the position of Leader of the Dance.” Blank faces all round.
“I propose Carol...” All hands shoot up in the air. “OK, OK, I must mention that Carol has recently moved to Bigtown in order to dance. She has passed class C and class B dancing instruction levels and will take the class A examination next summer.”
“However there is a little problem, Carol cannot be elected to the Eleven because she is not a POG. You have all heard me saying how important the Goodness is. And being a POG, that is ‘Part Of the Goodness’ and being ‘pure of heart’, is very...” All hands shoot up in the air.
“I declare that Carol is a POG and is the new Leader of the Dance.” A very big round of applause.
I overhear a conversation in the clubhouse; the President approaches two strange men watching the dancing lessons.
“Good morning, gentlemen. Welcome to the Sycamore Carnival Club! You are both plain-clothes policemen from Knowtown. That is not a question. You are here because of a body found floating at a weir in Knowtown; you want to interview someone who is here in this hall. Again, not a question.”
“I suggest, for your own good, that you consult your colleagues here in Bigtown first. Ask them about the Chief Constable's standing orders for this person. I know what they are. I wrote them, I was the previous Chief Constable. Good day, gentlemen.”
I never saw the two men again.
There was a picture in the next day's newspaper titled ‘Five of the Eleven’. Top-left is the President of the Sycamore Carnival Club; top-middle Leslie Giles, the new Financial Director, top-right Allan Bahrshott, the new Eleventh Water Carrier; bottom-left is Carol the new Leader of the Dance; and bottom-right is Betty who is the Boff and lead dancer at the Four Crosses Carnival club.
“Oh yes, she looks just like me.” and “She's got the same name as me.” It is the day after in the bank.
“That jester's hat on her head is too big for her.” “The President put his hat on my head.”
Finally the day came, the eleventh of December.
After the TV cameras are gone we let ourselves go. Three months of preparations with no break, then the success. And then the wind-down. You name it, we drunk it.
OK, OK, the word is drank, but we were certainly drunk.
Henni bundles the two of us into a taxi and throws us onto the bed at home. There we lie still wearing our sweat-sodden tutus. I can't move, I am so sozzled. Betty has her head on my chest. She tries to raise her head, but it just comes whump back down on top of me. I giggle. Betty giggles, or at least I think she does, she makes no sound, but she shudders.
We look like two silly little hentai girls.
She puts her fingers in her mouth, sucks them and tries to put them in my mouth. More giggles. She raises her head and bangs it down on my face. She pushes her tongue into my left nostril. I push my tongue out. Someone's tongue lands in somebody else’s mouth – that is more than good enough.
The best thing in the world is Betty.