Betsy Visits River City.
Betsy returned to her rented apartment, checked her pixie defences despite her not being able to detect the little buggers—you can’t be too careful with them around , especially when they weren’t—then made herself a cup of tea with the proper British tea and the proper British water she had brought especially—Northumbrian water not Essex water—Essex water was crap, like London water.
After the necessities were accomplished properly, she opened the parcel carefully. After all, she didn’t want to unexist, did she? It was the right item all right. She gingerly packaged it in the bespoke container she brought for just this occasion, phoned for the courier, handed it to him when he arrived and signed the documents of transfer and that was that. ‘She’ would be pleased. Now Betsy was free to do what she wanted and what she wanted was to return to a proper civilised country where they drove on the right side of the road and, in the process, get away from this hell hole as quickly as possible.
She waited for the prescribed time for the package to be finally airborne and out of the country, just in case, before using her mobile to get a ticket on the next plane out. But she couldn’t. Apparently there was a major storm that had grounded all the flights out. She had friends in New York, that place was fine, (she liked it there, even if they still drove on the wrong side of the road and the place always smelt of wee—they had delightful orgies) so she tried the railway and found the same. Turning to the news she saw the whole city was wreathed in some sort of storm that was bad enough to stop traffic but small enough to let the citizens go about their normal life without being blown away. Strange. This area was, well, a bit windy and rainy, but nowhere near the extent that was being reported. River City was a weird place. She would be glad when she got out.
Betsy became worried about the parcel she had dispatched, so she checked and discovered it had just beaten the storm and was now on a flight to Newcastle. ‘That’s lucky,’ she thought to herself. She had signed it off so, technically, she had done her job and was not to blame for anything that happened to it now, even if it unexisted the whole world and everyone in it. But she knew they would blame her if the parcel got lost and she was anywhere near it. They always did. It wasn’t fair. She did her best and she succeeded all of the time—well, most of the time. And it wasn’t her fault when she didn’t succeed, which was hardly ever anyway. Faeryfaye didn’t succeed in her jobs far more times than Betsy didn’t, but she wasn’t held to account like what Betsy was. It happened all the time. Betsy was sick of it and resolved to tell ‘Her’ what she thought. Just like the last time she resolved to tell ‘Her’. Well, maybe not like that. This time Betsy would actually tell ‘Her’. It was only right.
She was jerked out of her reverie when her phone suddenly played some really creepy music. She stared at it. That music wasn’t in it. She didn’t like that. It was too creepy. It was seeping into her brain and doing things there she didn’t like at all. She quickly checked her phone and discovered a text from an unknown caller. She opened it. It was from Loki. ‘Oh, for fuck’s sake’, she thought. ‘What’s he up to now?’
‘Your job, should you choose to accept it, LOL, is to help Pearl escape from the baddies and enable her to gain her dreams. Pearl is the one the robot-man took, in case you haven’t worked that bit out yet. (‘Now even Loki is being sarky at me,’ she thought. ‘It’s not fair.’)
BTW this is Loki calling You need to add me to your contact list.’
He even sent a pic of Pearl, just to make sure she got the right girl. Betsy couldn’t tell because she only saw the weirdo with her mask on. The pic showed a grinning girl with heavy makeup, bright red lips, bobbed red hair and several large freckles all over her face. Why hadn’t she covered those freckles? That’s what proper Americans would’ve done. Betsy was certain of that. Americans were vain and vain people hide their deformities. This girl had some sort of a bandage around her forehead, with a jaunty feather stuck in there as well as some sort of jewel that matched. More evidence of her vanity was that her bandage had been dyed to match her outfit. She looked pretty enough—for an American.
Betsy saw Loki was now added to her contact list. She tried to delete it but the phone wouldn’t cooperate and it just stayed there, reminding her of her decision long ago. She tried to remove that fucking music as well, but that wouldn’t budge either. ‘This is my phone and I’ll put whatever I want on it and nowt else,’ she thought to herself as she tried, again and again to delete the message, the music and Loki’s name. Betsy knew the old adage of how repeating something over and over again and expecting different results was a sign of madness, but she had worked extensively with computers and people and, therefore, knew that adage was a load of old bollocks. Anyway, she couldn’t think of anything else to do right now.
What was she going to do when Michael McIntyre took her phone and contacted everybody on it? She had tickets to one of his shows in three or four months and was looking forward to it. She liked him. He was funny. Now it would be embarrassing. She’d have to think of a cover story for having a Norse God’s contact number on her phone. It would be just like Loki to call at the exact time Michael took the phone and that creepy music would play and everyone would hear it and vomit. What would they think of her? Betsy reddened and shuddered at the thought.
Everybody else just talked to their Gods and their Gods didn’t answer. But she received texts from hers? She sighed the sigh of the put-upon and reviewed how she could get away from this. Loki’s instructions invariably didn’t work out all that well. She still had the skeletons from her return from seeing Franz. She didn’t even know who those people were, or where they were from, but she just knew Loki was at the bottom of it. They were there when she finally returned from Germany, another Loki interference story she wanted to forget.
She couldn’t think of how to get rid of them. The binmen were creeped out by them and simply refused to take them away. And she knew the local bobbies were watching her and would be joyous if they found her with eight skeletons of recently deceased human type people in her car. How could she explain to them she was just going to bury them in some out of the way place where they wouldn’t bother anybody? They’d just love that and put her in prison for years and years. She’d already determined she was going to be nobody’s bitch in there. She knew what to do and how to defend herself in prison now. She’d researched it thoroughly after finding ‘Prisoner Cell Block H’ on Youtube. She was a delicate flower and the thought of becoming all tough and hairy like them was abhorrent. She’d have an Australian accent as well. That wasn’t on. That was cruel and unusual punishment for certain. She’d also seen ‘Orange is the New Black’ but that was American, so, not to be trusted. The Australian one was authentic all right. Australians were convicts after all. Betsy was proud her ancestors never got caught.
Betsy eventually bit the bullet and activated the tracker app and discovered where this Pearl person was located now. At least it wasn’t in an old abandoned warehouse, but it was miles away in a castle, according to Google Maps. That was wrong. There are no castles in America. Google maps was shite. A quick search told her it really was a real castle owned by a Dr. Orlof. Street View didn’t cover this place but Google and Wikipedia confirmed Google maps by indicating Dr. Orlof lived in an old, refurbished castle. ‘The bastard’, thought Betsy. America doesn’t have castles. We do. He’s stolen it. I bet he didn’t pay for it either.’ Betsy read on and discovered Dr. Orlof lived in this castle, along with his brother and sister-in-law.
Dr. Orlof’s history was interesting. Multiple degrees along with a paranoia and persecution complex were his defining features. He wasn’t liked anywhere he went. ‘He’s a fucking genius weirdo,’ thought Betsy as she read on. She read that Dr. Orlof had inherited a fortune as well. ‘Oh, that’s all right then,’ Betsy added to herself. ‘He’s not a weirdo. He’s just eccentric.’
A bit more technical probing of her Google revealed that Dr. Orlof had a fascination for controlling people. That was why he was fired from so many establishments. He had the brains in spades, but his ethics was just too much for those businesses. “Oh shite,” Betsy said aloud when she read that Dr. Orlof was too much even for the American government, who had also gotten rid of him. “I’d better be careful. He’s a dangerous fucker.”