P.S.I. Part III -- Without Betsy . . .And Others

Chapter 14 -- 'Betsy's Revenge'

Chapter 1 -- Stomping, Snorting Buck
Chapter 2 -- Pele or Meowzie?
Chapter 3 -- "High Tide"
Chapter 4 -- Three Phone Calls
Chapter 5 -- The Fire Pole
Chapter 6 -- "She's Got You Spoiled, Doesn't She?"
Chapter 7 -- Heartbreak Hotel
Chapter 8 -- Kentucky Christmas
Chapter 9 -- Betsy's Estate
Chapter 10 -- Alone With a Madwoman
Chapter 11 -- "Why, Ettie, why?"
Chapter 12 -- Three Starbursts
Chapter 13 -- Weep No More, My Lady
Chapter 14 -- 'Betsy's Revenge'
Chapter 15 -- The Geoff Papers
Chapter 16 -- The "Wedding Portrait"
Chapter 17 -- Silence Requested

Friday night and into Saturday morning, Mike dreamed about horse racing, and the Triple Crown in particular.  Although he'd never seen Josiah Hague, he saw the man in front of the pagoda at Churchill Downs, which was never used except for the Kentucky Derby awards ceremony.

Josiah raised the Derby trophy, and looking Heavenward, said, "This was for you, Betsy!"

Yeah, right, thought Mike when he woke up.  He was extremely down on himself for thinking such.  Just stupid ego, that's all.  Hague probably doesn't care anything about Betsy.

Mike and Cap debated with themselves all day Saturday as to whether or not to watch the race.  Cap noticed Mike was preoccupied, and tried to find out why, but Mike just told him he had a weird dream.  "You know how it is when you have one of those, you just aren't yourself the next day," he explained.

Cap cut the grass while Mike did inside chores.  As he worked in the kitchen cabinets--trying to get better organized--he heard the teenaged girl weeping again.  Instead of coming from one area, the sound seemed omni-directional.  Mike checked all though the house, but he didn't see any apparitions.  The sound faded almost as quickly as it came.

"I don't know about you," said Cap after lawn mowing, "But if I owned Papenfus, I'd change his name."

Mike gave him the look of, "Where did that come from?"

As time for the race drew nearer, Mike actually broke a nervous sweat.  Cap sat him down in the recliner.  "What's going on?" he asked.
"I can't help but feel cheated," said Mike.  "That's my fiance's horse.  She should've been riding it.  She should still be alive.  But she's not.  Now she's never going to have the notoriety she should've had."
"You still haven't come to grips with what all has happened, have you?"
"I have my days, and today is one of them."
"And what about your cure?"
Mike doubled over and wept.  "I know, I know."
"Didn't Betsy go over the dream with you?"
Mike heard Cap turn on the TV, then find the channel.
"Why are you doing that?" Mike wailed.
"Because I think you need it," said Cap.
Mike hadn't felt this childish since junior high school.

Mike tried not to listen to the race call, and each time 'Papenfus' was mentioned, he whimpered, and imagined Betsy riding the colt.  But when the pack turned into the homestretch, curiosity got the best of him, and he had to watch.  Before his eyes, Papenfus pulled away from the pack and won.
Mike stood up, and with clinched fists, screamed.  He grabbed a small pillow from the couch, and threw it at the front door, screaming profanities.  Cap literally tackled him onto the den floor, shouting his name.  Mike kept screaming because there were no words that could possibly express his rage.

Minutes turned into hours, and Cap wondered how long Mike was going to go on like that.  He had to keep the man pinned to the floor because he didn't know how he'd react to being released.  The neighbors couldn't hear what was going on because everyone on the street, or so it seemed, was mowing grass.  The phone was a mere foot from him, but he couldn't get to it.  Even if their crew from 51 knew something was amiss, they'd be stuck in traffic or something.
"Okay, okay," said Cap.  "I'll ask Bobby.  He knows where they've put Mrs. Papenfus."
Johnny, Marco, and Chet came bursting through the front door.
"Shut the door so the cat doesn't get out!" yelled Cap.  "How'd you guys know we needed help?"
"He called us," said Chet, pointing at Johnny.

Another knock at the front door, and then Roy stepped in.  "I thought I'd stop by to see how Mike was doing," he said.  When he reached the den, and saw the teeth-clenched Mike on the floor, restrained by the other four, he said, "Not so well, I see.  Shall I call Dr. Brackett?"
"YES!" they all said.
Dr. Brackett wasn't able to get off from Rampart, so he suggested calling the Fire Department.  Mike needed Diazepam, and quickly.  As the paramedics were loading a sedated Mike into the ambulance, one of the neighbors asked if they'd heard about the horse's name being changed.  No, they hadn't.
"The Derby winner's owner is changing the horse's name to 'Betsy's Revenge.'"
"WHAT?" they all exclaimed.
Meanwhile, Mike was having flashbacks to the beginning of his dream, where Brin was shot off her horse, and he was taken off to Rampart by ambulance.  Those scenes, in turn, led to those involving 'Sabrina's Posse.'  Another part of Mike's brain was making a note to contact the FJs.
Mike started waking up in a darkened Treatment Room 3.  Cap sat next to the guerney.  "Hey," said Cap, quietly.  "How you feeling now?"  Mike looked around the darkened room, trying to get his bearings.  "Where. . ." he started to say.
"Rampart," Cap answered.
Dr. Brackett walked in to check on Mike.  "Had quite some upset, there, didn't you?  How are you feeling now?"
"Dopey," Mike managed.  He put his free hand over his heart.  "Pounding," was all he could say.
"Your blood pressure was through the roof," said Dr. Brackett.  "I think we can let you go back home, though.  We're just waiting on the lab tests.  I wanted to make sure you hadn't had a heart attack."
"Thanks," Mike mumbled, surprised that the dream had not followed that course.
After Dr. Brackett left, Mike dissolved into tears.  The dream wasn't leaving him alone--he had just flashed back to when he was in CCU, and Dr. Brackett was letting him know. . .
"Hey, hey, hey," Cap said, "What's going on now?"
"Just more dream," Mike wept.  "My life is such agony anymore."
"Get it out," Cap advised.  "Just get it out."

Down on the farm, the FJs had watched the race on the tack room TV, while sitting on the couch.  They were consoling each other--or trying to.  Katerina had broken her leg on her 16th birthday, and couldn't apply for her groom's license.  Papenfus' name being changed brought some consolation, but they still felt cheated for Betsy's sake.  The three able-bodied fans gathered around Katerina who sat at the end, and attempted a group hug.
"We'll get there someday.  Really, we will," Katerina said.

In town, the Kentucky Stanleys were ignoring the phone ringing incessantly.  Like the FJs, they were attempting to console each other on the living room couch.  Elizabeth was doubled over, never thinking the pain would ever drive so deep.  Her faith struggled against her own sense of loss for her daughter, and the honor Betsy could have had if she'd not been taken from them.   But, said an inner voice, Betsy had far greater honor and her would-have-been-son-in-law was proof positive of it.

"CHIEF!" someone called from the back door.  Harold recognized the voice as that of one of his volunteer firefighting crew, Zack Chapeze.
"In here, Zack!" Chief called.
A tall, thin man in jeans and t-shirt, Zack appeared in the doorway from the kitchen.  "Your house is practically surrounded by the media," he said.
Everyone groaned.
"Do you need a spokesperson?" he asked.
Chief then remembered that Zack was usually the one who confronted the media at the fire scene.  "Yes,  I think we need to come up with some kind of statement."
"Could you take their questions and bring them back to us?" Barbara asked.
"Of course," Zack said.

Not as gone as we'd like to think. . .