Betty

A bright glow tugs Betty into consciousness and she feels her eyes open with slow reluctance. Her back aches and she realises she’s lying on a very uncomfortable and very solid surface. Still half asleep, she begins to notice a familiar smell: clinical, sterile, deathly. She breathes in and the air tastes like disinfectant.

Am ah in a hospital?

She tries to sit up. Can’t.

Fuck.

With blurred vision, Betty turns her head to the side. A dark panic is scaling the wall between her stomach and her throat. She squints at the pale wrist resting next to her ear.

Is that… am ah…?

The slick curves of a thick silver chain come into focus and Betty gasps loudly.

“WIT THE FUCK?”

She clenches and twists her fists desperately, trying to wriggle free from the restraints.

“I see you have awoken,” says a deep, booming voice.

Betty’s eyes jump downwards. Standing at the foot of the metal table she lays upon is a small, bald man. Except he’s not a man, because his skin is neon green and he has nine eyes.

“WIT. THE. FUCK.”

And then Betty passes out.

👽  👽  👽

“Wake up. Wake up, young lady!”

Betty’s eyes creep open. The neon green, nine-eyed man is hovering over her and peering at her face.

NO NO NO. This hus tae be a dream.

“Young lady! I kindly ask that you do not lose consciousness again. We have much to discuss.”

“GONNAE STOP WAE THE ‘YOUNG LADY’? AM EIGHTY FUCKIN’ TWO, YA DAFT CUNT!”

“Elizabeth — may I call you Elizabeth?”

“Ye can call me witever the fuck ye want as long as ye lose seven ae they eyes and turn yersel’ back tae a normal colour. Jesus fuckin’ —”

“Elizabeth. My name is Gorgshemash. We have —”

“Eh? ‘Gorgshemash’? Wit kind a Bohemian Rhapsody soundin’ nonsense is that?”

“Elizabeth. We have chosen you for a reason. My people have been studying your planet for many years, and it is finally time for us to take the next step.”

Betty frowns. In her disorientation, she had not — until now — realised that the man had an accent. A very obnoxious, very posh, very English accent. She groans.

“You fuckin’ English huv always hud it oot fur us. Take that costume aff, arsehole.”

The man’s nine eyes blink in confusion.

“This is not a costume, Elizabeth. This is who we are.”

He raises his spindly arm and gestures behind him. Betty lifts her head to see four other neon green men with nine eyes standing at the door to the room. They wave at her in unison.

And then Betty passes out again.

👽  👽  👽

“Elizabeth. Elizabeth!”

Betty opens her eyes. This time, she’s under no illusions. This time, she knows. This is not a dream: she really is shackled to a table in a room full of green-skinned, nine-eyed men with English accents.

“WIT. THE —”

“Fuck. Yes, we understand, Elizabeth. We acknowledge that this may be alarming. But please: allow me to explain.”

The five… beings are huddled around the table, watching her. Betty looks at the chains around her wrists. She moves her leg and feels the same chains, cold and strong, around her ankles. She sighs.

“Fine. But hurry up. Am meant tae be lookin’ efter the grandweans the morra night ‘n’ Moira’ll be fuckin’ ragin’ if am no there.”

Gorgshemash furrows his nine eyebrows.

“I do not know what this species you call ‘grandwean,’ is, but I will proceed.”

The neon green, nine-eyed man explains everything to Betty. He tells her how his people have watched Earth for almost one hundred years. How they’ve studied how humans work, socialise, speak, and move. How they’ve researched man-made buildings, institutions, societies, and policies. How they’ve grown to have a better understanding of humans than humans do.

Gorgshemash comes to the end of his speech. He looks at Betty with eyes full of pride and a chest full of air. She nods sagely.

“Sounds lit a load a shite tae me.”

Then Gorgshemash puts a needle in her hand, and Betty passes out again.

👽  👽  👽

This time when Betty awakens, things are different. Gorgshemash and his pals are all gathered around the table, and they don’t look happy.

“Hello, Elizabeth. I will be frank with you: we are running out of patience. We brought you here with the aim of harvesting your knowledge of the Supreme Ruler — but so far, all you have done is faint.”

“The Supreme Ruler? Who the fuck is that?”

“Your relative. You are bound by name. Bound by nature.”

Betty looks at them blankly. Gorgshemash sighs.

“Queen Elizabeth II. Your Supreme Ruler and close relative. Bound by name, bound by nature. Just like our people,” says Gorgshemash gravely.

Betty stares at them in disbelief. They gaze back. There is a tense, reverent silence.

“AM FAE THE FUCKIN’ GORBALS,” shouts Betty, dissolving in laughter. “AH DON’T KNOW THE FUCKIN’ QUEEN!”

Gorgshemash shakes his head sadly.

“I had hoped you wouldn’t make this difficult, Elizabeth. Alas, I was mistaken,” he says, and slips another needle in her hand.

Betty passes out again.

👽  👽  👽

A scalpel tracing the line of her arm awakens Betty. She glances down at the blood bursting from her skin and rolls her eyes.

“Look, son: a’ve birthed four weans and they wur aw fat basturts. That’s no gonnae dae fuck aw. By the wiy, wan ae thum’s in a young team. He’ll shove a knife so far up yer arse that —”

Gorgshemash drops the scalpel into a steel basin. He turns to his neon green, nine-eyed friends. He brings his green hand to his green forehead.

“Fuck this. I’ve had enough.”

👽  👽  👽

Betty awakens in her living room on her comfortable, comforting sofa. She sits up and looks around. No green men. No nine-eyed men. No men at all, in fact. Thank fuck.

The front door opens. She inhales quickly and pulls a cushion to her chest. A figure appears before her.

“Hi, Mum. Here’s the kids.”

Ross and Lindsay rush towards her.

“Thanks again fur lookin’ efter thum. See ye the morra.”

Betty smiles at her daughter, drops the cushion, and settles in for a night of Disney movies with her grandweans.

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