The Ballad of Trolley-Girl Betty by Greg Santos

Here lies Trolley-Girl Betty ‘neath a belly of dirt.
When Betty was livin’ she sure liked to flirt.
But men didn’t move her, she wanted power and greed.
She used men as her playthings so she could succeed.

Bettie Page (photo by Flickr user Olivander)

At 18, Betty left town and rode the rails to LA –
you can’t make it rich when you live in Santa Fe.
Met up with a hustler named Gin Joint Bob,
he put grease in his hair and called it “pomade.”

He showed her the tricks that good crooks like to pull,
like to pick out a mark from a crowd filled with fools.
“Stick with me,” Bob said, “Betty, you’ll go far.”
Bob thought he was boss but Betty was the star.

One day Bob and Betty took up a sweet job
with Peg-Leg Harry, a brain dead slob.
His leg was a peg from a table he owned,
the oak clicked as he walked, sounding like Morse code.

The plan was simple and they would get rich:
knock off Eddie Jones, the banker. What a cinch!
So they killed Rich Eddie with a wrench to the head
and they celebrated with an orgy in bed.

Drunk off of hooch, a soused mass of limbs.
They rolled in their money, all glistening skins.
While Bob and Harry slept, Betty stayed wide awake,
planning her next move; planning out the check mate.

A bigger cut promised, she convinced Gin Joint Bob
to off Peg-Leg Harry with a toaster in the tub.
Another hit on their list, they took the rails out of town,
“Now that we’re rich,” Bob said, “We can both settle down.”

But Betty wasn’t ready for a 50/50 split,
she went to a store for a bottle of arsenic.
One night she slipped the pills in his drink
and as he died she planted a kiss on his lips.

They say she changed her name and traveled the globe,
the cops never caught her, she was too smart and bold.
So she lived the rest of her life as a spinster, alone
but Betty died rich and content in her Santa Fe home.

Greg Santos was born and raised in Montreal. He currently lives in New Haven, CT. He is the poetry editor of pax americana. Read his blog at Moondoggy’s Pad.