THE SPEAKEASY #163… What’s in a Name?

THE SPEAKEASY #163... What's in a Name?


‘Seven plus seventeen equals twenty-four, a nice round number, I like that.’ Bendel Banks was on her way to the public library to change her life. Bendel hated her life. Bendel hated her name. She blamed her misfortune on her parents, who had named her Bendel Banks. Her mother had been a big fan of alliteration, and Bendel had paid the price all her life.

People called her “Bendy” and then, “Hey, there goes BeeBee!” She always thought that sounded like two honeybees stuck together. Little Teddy had first called her that. Their friend Grant thought it should be BB, like the shot in their air-rifles. Grant and Little Teddy had always been her best friends, but now they were gone. They had carried those BB guns everywhere and took great delight in shooting each other. Once they shot Bendel… she told, and that was the end of the guns. She didn’t mind so much when they called her BB, but hated it when others did, or worse Bendy. ‘Now’, she thought , ‘everyone should just call me Biddy, because that’s what I’ve become, an old biddy.’

Bendel was unhappy, friendless and in a job she hated. All because of her unfortunate alliterated name. She spent her free time on-line now, where she did not have to see people. Upon reading a self-help blog entitled “You Too Can Change Your Life… In Seven Easy Steps”, she decided to try Step One. She would change her name. No one would ever call her Bendy again. Things would change, and she could be a new woman, the blog said so.

Going up the granite steps, Bendel felt a lift in her spirits, maybe it was starting to work already. She pushed through the ornate brass door into the hushed interior and asked the woman at the information desk where the baby name books could be found. She had planned to open a baby name book to a page, close her eyes and stick her finger on a name. But, being a big fan of numerology, she decided to take today’s date and use that. It was July 17th, so her number would be 24. She also decided that she would use whatever name it turned out to be, no matter what.

Bendel picked out ‘Modern Baby Names’, closed her eyes and opened to a page. She held her breath and counted down twenty-four names… BETTY! Her new name would be ‘Betty’.

‘Great, so much for getting rid of alliteration. But, I like Betty, and Betty Banks has a nice sound, and I absolutely adore Betty Boop. I feel better already!’

Bendel… Betty replaced the book on the shelf. Making her way through the stacks, she felt like a weight had been lifted from her shoulders. People were smiling at her. The woman at the desk said “So nice to meet you, please come again soon.” As she got to the exit, a gentleman held the door for her and winked. Leaving her old life inside, Betty went outside.  She never looked back, she just kept walking.

✎  ✎ ✎ ✎ ✎  ✎ ✎ ✎ ✎ ✎ ✎  ✎   ✎


I enjoyed writing this story.  With such an excellent line it work with and a very cool short film, the story just came to me somehow.  Be sure to watch the film below and read the story of last week’s winner.  Here are this week’s instructions from The Speakeasy Editor-in-Chief Suzanne Purkis:

technology is a tool

And you should use your tools wisely, right? This week’s sentence prompt, provided by last week’s winner,Ted, must be used as the LAST line in your piece.

“She never looked back, she just kept walking.”

Submissions must be 750 words or fewer, and must be fiction or poetry. You must also include a reference to the media prompt.

The video prompt is a short film by Claude Sadik, entitled The Device, which you will find below.

Please visit The Speakeasy and read the other author’s stories… tell ’em “Ted sent me!”.

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In the photograph, I am on the left and my friend Grant is in on the right.  I do not know who the little girl is… she may be my cousin Carol, but I don’t know for sure.

35 responses

  1. I enjoyed reading it, I’m glad Bendel was able to change her name. Names do affect ones personality, as was proved in your story. Thank you Ted for this beautiful story.

  2. Bendel Banks is a very interesting name, but I get the desire to change names. I legally changed my first and middle names after college. Regretted it almost from the start. This year I’m back to my birth name. No looking back here either. Great story, Ted.

    1. Thanks, Coleen. I think your name fits your face… beautiful.

  3. I think we all wish to change our names at some point. Liked the striked out word do – added legitimacy lol

    1. You are right, I always wanted to be Henry. I’m glad you mentioned the strike. It seemed right when I did it… then I debated, worried if it would look gimmicky, hemmed and hawed, and finally decided to leave it. I like it.

  4. I always liked my name and today it is almost unique, Stop and think, how many Betty’s do you know? It is a grand old name! Loved the story Ted, great job! 🙂

    1. You still not have told me if it is short for Elizabeth, Betty. I am sure your mother named you after the Queen. I only know 1 Betty, a designer in Seattle… none on my island. I’ll see if I can find one.

  5. Good one, Ted. Cool take on the prompt, too!

  6. Congrats on last week’s win! You followed up with another interesting story. I didn’t think Bendel was THAT bad of a name… I’ve heard worse. I hope she’s happy with Betty (but it does sound awfully close to “Biddy”… just sayin’!)

    (I always wanted to change my name- it gets really old having to repeat my name, and often spell it for people. And then, they still call me Janice (my Aunt’s name) or Janet (2nd cousin’s name.) I wasn’t up to the responsibility of choosing a better name… besides, this way, I can be like Bendel and blame my parents for the burden of my name 🙂 )

    1. But you don’t have to blame them for the writer you turned out to be. I always think of you as JannaT.

  7. Fun story, Ted. Your first paragraph drew me right in. I like the quirkiness of the parents who love alliteration. Congrats on your well-deserved win last week! Karen

    1. Thank you Thank you Thank you Karen

  8. Ted, congrats on your win last week and for a great last line! I was happy that this ended positively, though I’d like to follow Betty’s story. One hears so often of unhappy folks, who, despite cosmetic surgery, still see the same person in the mirror.

    1. Thanks, Joanne… I guess mine kind of ended the same way as your story in a way. I was impressed with your poem and the photo.

  9. What a great story! The power of words is amazing – as is the confidence that comes from taking control of your life. Nicely done!

    1. Thank you, Suzanne. I am proud of this story, and to please you is always ‘icing on the cake’.

  10. Who knew so much confidence could radiate from a simple name? Well written story. I enjoyed getting to know Bend- I mean, Betty.

    1. Thank you for the ‘well written’, Renada.

  11. If you leave your old life behind at the library can someone else check it out for two weeks?
    Just askin’.

    Another home run Ted.

    1. Wow… I never thought of that! Thanks, TN.

  12. Creative story with a sweet, unique and innocent-sounding voice to match. Nice!

    1. Thank you. I was captivated by your story this week. You left me wondering.

      1. Wow, Ted, thank you! Wondering what? Maybe I answer some of your questions in the longer version. It’s a work in progress; I’ve been readjusting it and adding in parts that I had to cut to meet the word limit – now that I’ve clipped out the extraneous bits.

  13. Great story, Ted. What was it that you won last week? I am having a lot of trouble keeping up with the world. You were a very cute baby boy. Were you an only child if these kids were not siblings?

    1. I won ‘Bragging Rights to being Everyone’s Favorite Writer for a Week’. It’s a tough crowd too.

      I have two younger sisters. I think the girl might be my cousin, my mother didn’t know when she was writing names on the back of photos when she was 90. That is something we never think of doing until much later when the memory is gone. The boy on the right was my friend Grant, who became a Magician, a Psychologist and the head of some Sherlock Holmes Literary Society.

      1. Cool! I like that Grant boy!

  14. […] am especially proud of two stories I have written recently… What’s in a Name? and Don’t be Silly… please read them and let me know what you think.  I think […]

  15. Congrats on the win last week. Loved your story this week. With a name like Bendel I might just have to change it too…but to Betty? Not to sure I would have chosen that. Amazing how one tiny detail can make all the difference though!

  16. My grandmother changed her name from Dora to Dorothy, and until now I’ve never understood why. This was a good one, Ted! Is it my imagination, or do you have a literary attraction to old ladies?

  17. A really uplifting end 🙂

  18. This was such an inventive take on the prompt. Very enjoyable read.

  19. Dear Ted, Congratulations and you deserve the title win! Your story is cute and interesting! I don’t blame Betty for changing her name. What were her parents thinking when they named her that? Good job – and quirky (but really good) story! Nan 🙂

  20. […] met up with blogger friend Ted Strutz in Boulder! What a super sweet […]

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