It's a sultry Friday afternoon in Long Branch, New Jersey, and Betty just got off work at Madison's Stationery Shop where she's waited on customers for 36 years. She loves her work, especially because it always smells so good in the stationery shop and because the fine papers and writing instruments can, in the right hands, transport people into wild worlds of imagination. Betty also likes to think about the letters her customers write, hoping that at least a few contain steamy tales of love.
Betty is a solid, middle aged woman who wears sensible shoes and loose-fitting clothes. Some might call her "matronly." She lived with her mother until two years ago when her mother died and now she lives with two white cats in a little apartment over the stationery shop.
Everything she does in the stationery shop is precise. She writes out the orders just so, using perfect penmanship. She arranges the different kinds of papers in neat piles, and makes sure the pens and pencils are all pointed in the same direction. But, when she puts on that bathing suit in the little cabana at the beach, and walks toward the dock where she'll take her first dive into the cool ocean water, she starts to feel all jiggly with joy. With a huge smile, and excellent form, she dives, swims a bit underwaters, and feels free and sleek as a porpoise.