Excerpt from 'For Betty'
An Excerpt from 'For Betty'
At noon, things are pretty slow at the store. Betty Harris stares through her window, over towards Mr. Forest’s restaurant where he does a land office business for an hour or so serving lunch, then the town dries right up. Of course, there’s the 1:45 Greyhound heading south, and the 2:30 northbound, but they don’t bring any trade, only a moment’s release from boredom. Someone might come by hankering for salted nuts or looking for a birthday card, but it’s a long time till the Christmas holiday bonanza. It’s only September and around 3:30 when school lets out, there’s a troop of high school kids looking for colas and ice cream bars. By 4:30 though, you could fire a cannon ball down the sidewalk and not be cited for disturbing the peace.
Betty glances next door as a housewife walks into Schnoover’s Causal Clothing. Betty remembers when she could do that, when she could afford a new sweater, or a shirt for her husband. She remembers how Tommy used to slide that manila envelope with his pay inside across the table to her, and he’d say . . .
No, Betty won’t think about that right now. Besides, Constable Bill Snyder has found a parking spot on the Hometown side of the street, just as he’s been doing most every Monday for a year now.
“Hello Mrs. Harris. Nice day, ain’t it?”
“It sure is, Officer Snyder. The usual?” Betty digs into an ice cream freezer for a Bronco Bar while Officer Snyder stands in the doorway, listening to street traffic.
As he peels away the ice cream wrapper, he glances at the wall display, at rows of magazines, and beyond them, paperbacks, then lowers his eyes to newspapers, neatly stacked on the lowest shelf.
“Monday’s come again,” Officer Snyder says.
“Yes. It has a way of doing that.”
Long since, they’ve both given up confirming that nothing’s been found, neither in Betty’s newspaper searches, nor in Snyder’s queries to nearby county sheriffs.
Tommy Harris has disappeared, without a trace.