Betty G: Chapter 9

Downtown in autumn

(Novel in progress)

Betty and Anita walked through the aisles of the Farmer’s Market, then stopped at the back of a white truck.

Anita peered in the cooler. “What is this?”

A middle-aged guy put his hands on his white apron, “We’ve got rabbit, veal, pheasant…”

Anita and Betty laughed quickly and paid the $40 for a pheasant.

Anita called a dozen or so people- the 17th street house, some of Lily’s friends- and they started cooking in her big Victorian kitchen with no counterspace.

Betty swore that Anita only knew guys. They started streaming in, dropping their jackets on the bed in the bedroom, pulling bottles of Scotch and wine from paper bags, and asking her a million questions.

She recognized some of the guys from that MIT party, and then a few girls came, wearing crazy bright clothes and 60s glasses, laughing loudly and filling the flat, which had echoed before with the sound of their shoes. Now it sounded like a party.

The guy from the MIT party- she thought his name was Mike- started going through Anita’s vinyl. For being in SF, Anita didn’t have the 5-set binder collection Betty had, of any music that happened to tickle her ear.

She knew Paul was going to show from a conversation they’d had on the bus that morning, returning with bags and bags of vegetables, bread and fruit.

“I can call around, who knows, I mean, that bird should feed about 10.” Anita mumbled to herself, looking at her reflection in the BART window and fixing her bangs.

“Who else? We’re going to have tons of food.” Betty said, hefting the two bags she was carrying, bunches of ears of corn. She felt her stomach already start with the butterflies. She knew Paul’s best friend was probably Anita’s friend Lily. Anita had mentioned inviting Lily to a few things they’d done, but Lily had always flaked. Lily was from Cambridge, she’d gone to Harvard and while Betty had never seen her when she was dating Paul at MIT, she’d heard about her later, or read about her or something Betty didn’t want to acknowledge. Some late night alcohol-fueled stalking she’d done on university computers.