It was stunning. The fiasco at the Domestic Relations Court. She kind of knew that it had been a big mistake to get her hopes raised. Somebody obviously got to Tommy. It wasn't his fault, he's just a little boy.
Voices echoed in that marble courtroom. The judge said, "Custody of the child remains with the father," and then slammed down his gavel. A crack of lightning, which startled her. Mike stood up, shook hands with his lawyer, the creep in the shiny suit. Mike turned to look at her. His nostrils flared. He gave her that glare of his. Eyes flashing with hatred. "See, bitch? Keep fucking with me and see what happens." That's what his eyes said to her.
Bully tells her, "Hey, babe, it ain't the end of the world. You can still see Tommy." Right. But each time the poor kid does, he'll get hassled for it. From Mike, and his Aunt Jane, and the rest of those people. It was true: They all hated her. And they'll take it out on Tommy. That's the way they are. That's the way they've always been.
"Listen, Betty," Darlene says. "You can't let that son of a bitch get you down! If you don't snap out of it, he WINS. Don't you understand that? Come on, Betty. Talk to me. You know I'm right."
It took a while, but Darlene hung in there with Betty. All afternoon. She said: "Okay, get dressed. We're going to the Avalon and tie one on. Whattya say? Huh?"
Tie one on. Get blitzed.
Why the hell not?
Jesus Christ almighty! The whole goddamned crowd. "YO! Betty!" Myrtle shouts. "Get yer ass over here and have a drink!" Hey, look at Alice whydoncha. She ain't feeling any pain. "All right girls," Betty says. "Just step aside. I'm gonna PARTY!"
"Hey! All together now. Roll out the friggin' barrel! EVERYBODY!"
"Five hundred bottles of beer on the wall. Five hundred bottles of beer."
"Oh stop it fer Chrissakes! You're killin' me!"
"I'll be sober in the morning," Betty says. "But you'll be crazy the ressssssa yer life! Thasss from a movie. You know? A movie. Whasssshisname. That funny fat drunk."
"W. C. Fields."
"Yeah! Thasss the guy."