Betty Dorsett Duke thinks I’m out to kill her. She’s insane. Betty thinks others are out to murder her, too. Yes, she’s that insane.
But why would anyone want to murder Betty Dorsett Duke? After all, she doesn’t exist.
In Betty’s imaginary world, she craves to own an existence. Betty craves an identity of her own. More than anything, Betty craves a famous identity.
You see, Betty has no identity. She’s murdered it. That’s why she doesn’t exist. And she believes she’s gotten away with the crime.
Long ago, maybe as early as childhood, Betty did away with the family she was born into. She killed them off straightaway, in her mind. Betty killed her own family, because she didn’t want to accept the birthright God gave her. No, God, Betty said, not your choice. My choice. I want to be the great granddaughter of Jesse James.
Irrationality, like challenging Creation itself, Betty conveniently disregards. If indeed she was the outlaw’s great granddaughter, Betty would be approaching 90 years old. Betty is a generation short.
Betty desperately craves the blood of Jesse James as her own. She once confronted a real great grandson of the outlaw. As if performing a stick-up, Betty demanded. “Give me your blood! Right here and now!” Jesse’s great grandson, who was a Superior Court Judge, laughed at her. He ruled his assailant was crazy.
Another time, Betty tricked an old woman in her nineties to give Betty a vial of her blood. She told the feeble woman, “so I can prove we’re kin.” The aged woman was a true cousin of Jesse James. Betty is not.
Assaulting people is something Betty likes to do. It’s fun for Betty. It’s her occupation and recreation. After all, in Betty’s world of imagination, there are no consequences. In Betty’s mind, she’s the daughter of an outlaw. Assaults are to be expected, imaginary or not. But then, Betty decided to turn her imagination into realty.
Betty formed a gang. They could do her dirty work for her, and Betty could fly free of any consequences. Betty manipulated a con artist who peddled fake historical photographs to be her front man. The con thought he could become famous, too, if he could just hold on to Betty’s skirt. But the world fast recognized the fool was a con man, like Betty. Somewhat confounded about what to do with her ineffectual protégé, Betty easily bought into his world of daydreams and illusory nightmares, too. Fantasy birds of a feather.
Betty wasn’t above conscripting a puerile, little boy into her gang, either. As if he was born her own, Betty adored the babyish boy who loved nothing more than to make fun of grown-ups. Betty could offer the infantile ample targets of opportunity. Over the years, Betty conscripted others into her gang. But none could survive among the lies which populate Betty’s imaginary world.
Even within her world of outlaw spirits and phantasmagorical invention, Betty continues to fantasize. If someone were to murder her, Betty hallucinates, she then can become famous. Who would be the best person to murder her? Of course. The murderer must be someone Betty believes is from Jesse’s family. Betty picked me.
With the encouragement of the silly con man and the effete boy who likes to insult grown-ups, once more Betty devises another assault. Because Betty has conspirators, Betty believes I must have conspirators, too. She assigns me a batch, and then fabricates a fiction of how we’ve banded together against her.
Betty imagines a confession of guilt is what’s needed to turn a convincing trick. She finds some hapless soul to play along in a charade he doesn’t believe himself. Betty calls the FBI. “They’re trying to murder me,” she cries. “I have evidence – a confession!” Once more, no one comes. Betty does not live in the world of facts and reality where real crimes need investigation. Betty lives in her imagination.
Frustrated, Betty appeals for recognition to the press, to TV reporters, and to the national news outlets. Betty desperately litters the internet, posting her accusation over and over. All to no avail. No one investigates her accusation. No one is interested in Betty’s concocted confession. Yet again, no one responds to Betty. Sadly and pathetically, she is not of their world.
Betty is a lonely person. Like all who live in a world of self-made madness, Betty struggles every day with the identity she created for herself. But happiness never comes, because nobody believes Betty is a great granddaughter of Jesse James. Certainly not her own family. They ignore Betty. Certainly not the family of Jesse James. Few of them know who Betty Dorsett Duke might be. There is no one, no one to validate the existence of Betty Dorsett Duke. She doesn’t exist.
How can anyone want to murder someone who doesn’t exist? Who is there to murder? There is no one.
Danville, Ky. 2012
Stalkers of Famous & Infamous Families (posted July 28, 2010)