Blind Betty By: Terry D. Scheerer


Blind Betty
By: Terry D. Scheerer

She wasn't really blind. The regulars had nicknamed her 'Blind Betty' because she always wore a pair of those big, white, fifties-style sunglasses, the sides of which swept up and back like a pair of huge wings, and the few times anyone had actually talked to her, she never seemed to be able to make eye contact, but always looked at something that was sitting just over their left shoulder. It had also been noticed early on--the word passed via whispers and elbow nudges--that after you had imbibed a couple of beers and looked at her with slightly squinted eyes through the dim, smoke filled light of the bar, she looked remarkably like a mature version of the legendary 1950s model, Betty Page. So, the nickname stuck.

I considered myself to be a 'regular' at the small, local tavern, even though I had only been stopping by most evenings after work for about six months. Located in the corner of a decaying shopping center, sandwiched in between a dry cleaner and a real estate office, it didn't even open for business until 6:00 PM, which was just about the time most of the other businesses in the center were closing up for the night.

The interior of the tavern was long, narrow and dark; the old bar itself taking up most of one wall, while deep, red naugahyde booths lined the other wall, with a scattering of small tables and chairs placed randomly down the middle of the room. A mixed aroma of stale cigarette smoke, spilled beer, lemon scented polish and long lost dreams greeted you when you entered the bar.

Up front, an old jukebox stood sentinel by the door, the dusty selections not having been updated in over a decade, but none of the patrons seemed to mind. Across from the door, a raised platform had been installed in a corner of the room, upon which a three-piece band had once played during the weekends, and where, for a very short period of time years ago, Tuesday night Karaoke had been tolerated.

Today, there were no pool tables, no dart boards, no loud contemporary music to entice a younger, more swinging crowd into the bar. This establishment was meant to be a quiet sanctuary for people who sought a refuge from the outside world--a place in between the realities of work and home and life.

It was the perfect place for Blind Betty to make an appearance.

I usually stopped in for a drink or two on my way home from work most evenings about 7:00. My new apartment was just down the block from the bar and being in my late forties and recently divorced (for the third time), I no longer had any special reason to hurry home, and the laid back atmosphere of the bar was something I had started to look forward to every evening. Mellow, familiar sounds of lost love and unfulfilled quests floated from the juke box, to mix with muted conversation and the tinkle of ice against frosted glass. To me, it seemed an island of peace in an unsettled world.

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About the Author

A published writer since 2001, along with his work which has appeared in "The World of Myth," Terry D. Scheerer's short stories have appeared in such magazines as, "Dragonlaugh" and "Sword's Edge," and a book of his collected poetry and short stories was published by Gateway Press in August, 2005. Mr. Scheerer continues to work as an Editor and writer (as health permits) on a number of ongoing projects.
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