The Adventures of Betty Byrd
Betty Byrd vs. Scissorman
The week before Halloween was a busy time at the Hollywoodland Senior Home. Betty Byrd had the residents busy making Halloween-themed decorations for the carnival that was to be held on the grounds of the senior home. Bill Woggon was excited to be creating Katy Keene paper dolls wearing various Halloween costumes. Adding to the chaos of the preparations was the construction of the new wheelchair ramp and patio. To make the grounds more festive, the seniors were painting a large Halloween mural that would mask the fence surrounding the construction site. The seniors were thrilled to have the children from the local school attending the carnival and had collected many bags of candy and other sweets.
It had been a week since Betty discovered that Mr. Ever. B. Sharp/Scissorman was up to no good, and she and Blaze wondered when he would strike next. They did not have to wait long, as two days before Halloween the residents walked in to find their mural and decorations slashed. Once again, the Scissorman appeared to reserve most of his vitriol for Bill Woggon and his Katy Keene creations.
As the residents helped clean up the mess in the art room, Betty, caught up in her rage, walked into the art supply storeroom where she found herself surrounded by mirrors. Her last thought before becoming transfixed on her image was, “How did he find out my weakness?”
Scissorman emerged from shadows and hissed, “Vulcan sends his regards.”
As Betty stood spellbound in front of the mirrors, she felt the edge of the Scissorman’s blade graze across her neck. Betty concentrated as hard as she could to break the spell and prayed that Blaze would find her. “Help me!” she was finally able to scream. Just as Scissorman was about to make a final deep cut, Blaze flew in screeching at the top of her powerful parrot lungs until she reached the pitch perfect to shatter every mirror in the whole senior home. Bill Woggon ran into the room waving his cane and ready to pummel anyone who would hurt his Betty Byrd. Scissorman, in the confusion of the breaking mirrors, was able to escape through the storeroom window.
“Blaze, Bill, you saved me!” cried Betty, as she came out of her mirror induced trance.
Blaze said, “You broke the spell and we heard your call for help.”
“Cutting up paper and giving bad haircuts is one thing,” seethed Betty, “Murder is an entirely different thing! We must get rid of Scissorman before he harms anyone.” Betty was back to top speed again.
“Let’s set a trap for him,” suggested Betty. “I know just the bait to lure him,” as she thought back to the candy wrappers strewn in Sharp’s attic.
Blaze reminded them the trap would have to be a very strong one, constructed of bars with small spacing as Mr. Sharp was very skinny and could get through almost anything. Betty thought of old movie props she had seen and she walked up Melrose a few blocks to the movie studio to inquire if they had any cage movie props left over from the past. With no hesitation, the prop manager said he had just the thing. It was a cage that Houdini (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Houdini) had used, and over the years, Houdini had altered to the point where even he couldn’t escape from it.
"Just the thing we need for this tricky devil," thought Betty.
On the night before Halloween, the Houdini cage was set up in the art room and taking great pains to be hush-hush, Betty, Bill, and Blaze camouflaged the cage so it looked like it was part of the decorations for the Halloween carnival. They filled the cage up with the Halloween candy that the seniors had collected, set the spring-loaded trap door and left the door to the art room ajar. Blaze volunteered to hide in an air conditioning vent and watch for the culprit to arrive. As the midnight hour drew close, becoming one with the night’s dark shadows, Mr. Sharp came stealing down the hallway on tiptoes. Blaze became so quiet she didn’t even breathe. Mr. Sharp entered the art room and made a greedy beeline for the candy. The very minute he entered the disguised trap, the strong iron door slammed shut after him. Blaze left her hiding spot with a victorious screech and dashed off to give Betty and Bill the good news.
The very second that the cage door had slammed on Mr. Sharp, he morphed into the Scissorman and immediately tried to free himself from the cage. His immense sharp jaws turned strong and vicious as he bit and chewed at the strong iron bars, striking sparks of fire at every gnash of his metal mouth. “I’ll gnash my teeth until I set this whole room on fire and kill every last one of you!” he belched out in a blood-curdling howl. “But if you let me go, I promise to leave Hollywoodland and bother you no more”.
“Not such a bad deal,” thought Betty. .
Blaze cried out, “ He’s lying. Betty, come with me and we’ll find a way to get rid of him!
Betty ran to the window where Blaze was waiting and said “We need to act quickly. Houdini’s Cage won’t hold him forever!”
Betty touched her magic star belt, allowing her to slip quietly into Blaze’s avian body. They flew out the window to survey the moonlit nursing home from the air to hopefully come up with an idea. There it was! The previous day, the construction workers had been working on a new patio and wheel chair ramp for the home, and they had left the cement truck mixer running in anticipation of pouring the concrete in the morning. Beneath them laid the excavated pit for where the new patio would be poured.
“Do you see the pit and the cement mixer? What do you think?” said Blaze.
Betty chuckled, “it’s perfect!”
A Short Story
By Susie Christian and Grace Wheeler
Copyright © 2015, Susie Christian
All Rights Reserved