She looked at the BAR code on the cake. It was her BIRTHDAY, but no one usually bothered about it, least of all her. This year, though, she made an exception. She felt she was owed something. She had been through a lot lately. She didn’t really know why she had looked at the bar code, but for some strange reason she did. In fact she didn’t really know why she was doing a lot of things recently. But she had to BLINK when she looked at the bar code. There it was, right at the end of all the numbers. 666. Terry had warned her about this. He said that whenever he went to the Coop he had noticed that all their bar codes ended in 666. Betty thought he was stupid, and she just cast it away from her.

Terry worked with her at the Volunteer Centre. A friendly chap who had lost his wife some time ago. Betty sometimes took him out for a drive in an afternoon. Their last trip had been to a Country Park, where they were fascinated to watch the water CASCADE down the rocks on a man made water feature. Much of their time was spent in idle CHATTER. It had been a hot day when they had gone to the Country Park, and Betty had pulled her old COTTON dress out of the wardrobe. She wasn’t much of a dress person, but the weather demanded that they wore something cool and simple. She was not good in heat, and often FELT rather FAINT in it, so the dress was a good choice.

Just lately Betty had noticed a bit of a CROAK in her throat, but, as with everything else, she made little of it. In fact, her throat felt strangely dry, a lot of the time. Never one to bother too much about her FACE she was surprised when one or two people mentioned to her that she had gone a bit thin around her face. Maybe she wasn’t eating enough, she thought to herself. Indeed, she hadn’t really wanted to eat much since Jack had died. She laughed sometimes though, at the memories she had of him. There was a man who lived in the house at the back of them who liked to go around NAKED. Jack had given him the nickname of “Bare Nigel.” Eventually he got himself a girl friend who also took to going round the house naked, but they did not know her name so she was just called “Bare Nigel’s girl friend.”

Jack had had to go into RESPITE care a few times before he died. It totally upset the RHYTHM of Betty’s lufe, and she felt bad that she had not been able to look after him all the time. It was her duty. But it was not only duty. She felt a kind of love towards him even though they were not the most affectionate of couples. Indeed, Jack had put her through the mill quite a lot. It was just how it was.

Betty looked again at the birthday cake. It was rather unusul in that it had green icing on top in a kind of RIPPLE effect. Green was her favourite colour. She wondered if in fact she could invite Terry round to SHARE the cake with her. He was a good sort, and would always SHIELD her from any trouble at work. Betty did have a little niggle in her head that people might see them together and put two and two together to make a hundred. But she SILENCED her niggling thoughts. It was nice sometimes to have Terry to talk to. She almost felt a TEAR come to her eye as she thought over her life, and of how dull and uninteresting it had been. Suddenly she had a THIRST for something exciting and different. Maybe on this, her 70th. birthday, she and Terry could paint the town red. She thought of the numbers 666 on the bar code of the cake. That was It! It was time for her to be a little devil!

4 thoughts on “TAKE SEVEN

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