Betty says she is just out of jail. Her uncle recently died of AIDS. She found her last roommate with a bullet through his skull, dead on her couch. His brains were everywhere.
"I paid $2,000 for that couch," she says.
It goes on. Her story goes on and on. She sits there calmly. Betty has a vulnerability. There's a sadness. She is a collection of backfires and rebounds. Her words spill disillusionment, regret. Something has her by the throat.
She pours me a glass of vodka, and it's tall. I take a sip and nearly choke. It's pure vodka, with just a few ice cubes. Nothing else.
"Jesus, do you always drink this way?" I ask her.
She smiles and lifts her shoulders and lets them drop slowly. "I guess so."
Yet somehow Betty retains an optimistic bounce in her walk and her dancing. She is not yet ruined by circumstance, the perversions of adulthood. But she's the patron saint of self-destruction.
Madison calls me on Haugen's phone and says not to use names of the bands they were bagging on earlier. His words slur.
Haugen moves in and scores with Betty.
The glimmering night is over.
Johnny Ace is scheduled to perform on Friday, July 21, at Hollywood Alley in Mesa. Showtime is 9 p.m.