Things were already bad. Really bad, I mean even before the “Big-Mig” as the last migration was called. People just splintered down into tinier and tinier little units. Most folks just living alone with only their phones. They might have a like minded little electric friend or two, but that was it. No more face to face. Physical contact was done. Nobody went above ground anymore what with three plagues and the air all gone. When the water went bad it was all over for Old Earth. The United Nations, Red Cross, Red Crescent and all the rest… they did their best, that’s for sure. But this business of moving better than four billion of us off planet,… who could plan for that? Like they used to say, “Humanity was scattered through the stars”.
Folks ended up some of the damnedest places. Places nobody ever heard of. Look at me and my cat Miss Priss. They put us down on a planet named “Betty”. It was a stupid joke at first, but nobody could think of anything better. On the questionnaire you checked off your favorite “Betty” and that’s the settlement you were assigned to. A lot of people were in such bad shape they chose the Betty Ford Clinic Islands to dry-out or get clean. And of course most folks were just shocked and numb; they mostly went for the comfort of the big continent divided between “Betty Boop” and “Betty White”. Kids seemed to split between Betty from the Flintstones, and Betty from Archie comics. Some liked both and couldn’t decide. They just got lumped together over at “Cartoon Betty”. There were fiery intellectual types living up in the hills at “Betty Friedan”, and a bunch of dreamy romantics along the shore at “Betty Grable”. Little places too. Places named for every “Betty” you could Google. Google was still around. They’d moved over to the Microsoft “Death Star” years ago.
Me and Priss, we went for comfort over to “Betty Crocker”. We talked about a little place downtown Betty Davis. Retro. Campy. Fun I guess, but too edgy for me and Priss said it looked like it might smell like boy cats. It’s nice here. We like it. Our Betty does get a little too comfortable sometimes. Now and then on a Friday night I slip across the border and visit “Bettie Page”.
by Doug Mathewson