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Scott Sherwood sighed as he went to get coffee in the Green Room. He'd just come from talking to Betty after the big “Strange Loner” broadcast. It hadn't worked out with the networks anywhere near as well as they'd hoped, but the were able to help Joseph Grayhawk not only keep his part, but get a better one. He'd talked to Joe shortly before the broadcast. As stiff as Joe could be on the air, he was laid-back and fairly funny when he didn't have a script. Joe was so appreciative of what they'd done for him, he gave Betty a real ceremonial tomahawk from his tribe. Of course, Betty had used the tomahawk to chase him off when he tried to ask her out, but it was the thought that counted.

Scott sighed. Betty Roberts was beautiful, smart, and strong-willed, everything the late Victor Comstock said she'd be...and far more. When he talked to Victor in London, he couldn't believe any woman was as perfect as Victor described her. Betty Roberts was. She was a marvel. She could match him eye for eye, but she was no con woman. She was a corn-fed beauty from Indiana who never told a lie that didn't involve the station or its workers, never stole, never did so much as looked at someone the wrong way. He never thought a girl like her could go for a guy like him...but during that quarantine a few months ago, when she kissed his cheek and danced with him, he'd suddenly begun to wonder what it would be like to really be in love for the first time.

A few months ago, it all came crashing down. Rollie Pruitt was the nastiest snake he'd ever known. He'd figured him for a jerk the moment he'd ordered their Christmas shows canceled. Pruitt hadn't liked the way he'd kept the station just barely out of the red. He wanted to shut the station down and sell it off, like he was selling off cattle or property. Scott knew that WENN was worth more than the sum of its parts, but all Pruitt cared about was making money and saving face, especially his own.

“What was I supposed to do?” he finally said to the half-full cup of hot brown liquid. Pruitt had gotten his revenge for Scott helping to humiliate him at Christmas. He'd sprung an audit on him, found out about the illicit “Memorial,” and had him fired. He knew he'd deserved to be punished for the embezzlement. Taking the money had been least, he understood that now.

What hurt him more than anything else was being punished by Betty. He'd lied about being a close friend of the late Victor Comstock, just to get a good job and flirt with a pretty girl. When Victor died, he thought that was that. WENN needed him. There was no time to consider how he'd gotten there when there were bills to pay, shows to develop, and sponsors to attend to.

He had no idea how Betty figured it out. She'd acted strangely ever since the night of Holstrom's arrest. Betty saw something that night. She refused to tell anyone what it was. All he knew was, whatever she figured out turned her towards the letter and book of limericks...and against him.

He switched on the radio, trying to drown out his thoughts. Eugenia, Maple, Mackie, Jeff, and Hilary were performing their evening children's version of “A Book at Bedtime,” “The Land of Make Believe.” Maple played Janie, the little girl who supposedly came to the Land of Make Believe every day to hear a half-hour version of a famous fantasy story or fairy tale.

It sounded like “Snow White” was today's story. Mackie must have gotten Betty to split the dwarf roles after he played all seven the last time “Snow White” was in the rotation. He only had four of the seven dwarfs this time, along with the huntsman. Scott would be the prince and the remaining three dwarfs a little later.

He made a face. He'd never liked this fairy tale. That Snow White was a snore. She didn't do anything besides get poisoned and bake pies. The prince was even more boring. He just showed up in the end and married Snow White. Even Walt Disney couldn't find much for him to do! The dwarfs and the witch really carried the story.

“If I was still the station manager,” Scott muttered to himself, “I'd get Betty to re-write this with a lot more action. Let the prince do something to earn Snow White, for a change. And why does Snow White have to sit around like a goose ready for plucking? She should tell that evil witch a thing or two!” I wish I could tell Pruitt a thing or two...and Betty...I want to protect her, if she'd let me....

Fairy Tale Series

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