Volume XVII, Issue 23 # June 4 - June 1, 2009

The Fate of Betty-Anne

She’s been good to me, but she’s starting to creak

by Allen Delaney

I met my friend, Bob, a fellow boating enthusiast, for lunch the other week. We had parked ourselves at the counter since all of the tables were taken. We were catching up on what each other had been doing when a businesswoman sat down beside me. She was very prim and proper looking in her tailored suit, complete with briefcase. I gave her a cordial nod, and Bob and I continued our conversation.

That’s when my friend asked me, “So, how’s Betty doing?”

I looked down at my coffee. “Not that great.” I answered. “She’s not looking so hot anymore.” I could see from the corner of my eye the businesswoman giving me a quick glance.

Bob asked what the problem was.

“Well,” I told him, “for one thing her color is fading and she’s getting harder to get going in the morning. She’s even started to creak a bit.”

The woman next to me snorted a loud, Humph!

“Worst of all,” I continued, “her bottom is beginning to get dimpled.”

The business lady must not have liked her soup, because she began coughing.

Bob shook his head. “That’s not good,” he said, “not good at all. Do you think you’ll hang on to her or let her go?”

I glanced at the woman next to me, waiting for the next interruption, and saw her glaring at me with clenched fists. I turned back to Bob and answered, “I’m not sure yet. We have been together for quite a while. Though, I do have my eye on a little 24. She’s smaller than Betty, but she’s a beauty with sleek lines, and handles well, too.”

My friend’s eyebrows practically raised above his forehead. “Ohhhh, so you’ve already taken her out, eh?”

“Oh yes, sir,” I said. “And she is awesome!”

I could see Bob’s expression turn serious as he looked at my noisy counter buddy. I took a bite from my sandwich and caught the woman’s reflection in the mirror behind the counter. She was clenching a steak knife and digging it into the counter, all the while staring at me. Obviously a troubled woman had sat down next to us. We continued on with our discussion, all the while keeping an eye on the red-faced woman.

“The thing about Betty,” I said, “is that I know how to handle her so well. Even when it gets stormy, I can put her right in her spot. I know how to keep her under control and all of her little quirks. Besides,” I added, “she’s never let me down. Still, that little 24 sure is attractive.”

I heard a hand slam down on the counter behind me. The businesswoman was standing inches from my face, screaming.

“You men are all alike! You’re pigs! You have a woman who’s been good to you, never let you down, and you want to toss her aside for some young thing! Well, sir, with age comes maturity and wisdom! It’s not all about looks you know!”

Bob and I were both bending backwards trying to escape the fire coming our way. I’ve seen active volcanoes that had better tempers than this woman.

Her rant continued. “You men wouldn’t know a good woman if you fell over one! You should thank your wife every day that she allows you into the house!”

My friend and I looked at each other. I turned to the woman and asked, “What does this have to do with my wife?”

She stared at me, as if trying to burn a hole through my head, and yelled, “Are you stupid? You’re going to leave your wife Betty for a 24-year-old girl! I heard every word!”

I had a very difficult time trying not to smile. “Ma’m,” I explained, “The 24 is a 24-foot boat I’ve been thinking about buying. Betty is short for Betty-Anne, the name of my current boat. My wife’s name is Debbie, and I’d be lost without her.”

My inquisitor’s jaw bounced off the floor. “Your boat? Betty is a boat?”

“Yup,” I said, “I named her after my grandmother.”

The businesswoman quickly threw some bills on the counter, grabbed her briefcase and headed for the door.

I couldn’t help myself. I had to give her chain one good yank before she left. “Besides,” I called after her, “if I left my wife, who would wash and wax Betty-Anne?”

The door slammed behind her.