A minor indiscretion that went unnoticed

24 Jun

Hot tub blur

I live in a picture-postcard town with lots of shops on and off Main Street. The merchants come and go and recent openings include a waffle-and-ice cream emporium, two vap parlors and a store made up like a pharmacy that sells “medicinal” cold-pressed juice for $7 a bottle.


People around here keep up with the shops, but there’s one that everyone overlooks. Instead of being parallel to Main Street, it’s set at an angle. When you round the corner right before it, your line of sight is directed elsewhere.


No one ever looks in that window. I know because I sat in it with two blondes wearing bikinis.


That was years ago.


The story begins at the county courthouse in the center of town. I covered the government there as a reporter. The important offices were on the fifth floor and were guarded by two sentinels sitting at adjacent desks that formed a sort of barrier. The sentinels were young, blonde and attractive. They looked alike and both had the same first name.


For the sake of this story, let’s say it was Donna.


To secure information or to speak with the people running the county, reporters had to get past the two Donnas.


On a day when I needed something special, the two Donnas were in a good mood and complied. In exchange, they demanded something of me.


“Tomorrow, meet us on Main Street at noon. Bring cheese, crackers, pepperoni and your bathing suit. We’ll bring the wine.”


They would say no more. As I think about it now, I really didn’t need to know more.


The two Donnas showed up as promised and walked me to the store that sits at an angle. We made the little turn and they explained.


“Our friend is renting this now,” one of the Donnas said. “He asked if during lunch we could help with his new business. He wants us to sit in there,” and she pointed to a steaming, redwood hot tub in the window.


This was a government town and I was fairly well known by all the government officials. Most took lunch at the local restaurants and would be passing by. While there was great appeal to the idea of being immersed in hot water with two almost-identical women who had the same name, I worried about my reputation. This was a town where people talked. I didn’t want them to be talking about me, especially when my job was to talk about them.


“Oh, c’mon,” one Donna said.


“Oh, c’mon,” the other Donna said.


And so I went on.


They were relaxed but I was tense. I watched the window as people passed, waiting for that moment when some authority figure – maybe a judge — would pause, stop, turn, point and show utter disgust. After a glass of wine, the tension seemed to boil off.


We were having a good time and had forgotten the world. But after a while we grew concerned – perturbed – that not a single person had noticed us. How odd. In an effort to draw attention, we frolicked in a more pronounced way, and still nothing. We yelled and waved, but no one waved back.


Was it us?


No, it was the store.


Hot tubs were popular around this time, but the friend of the two Donnas went out of business in just a few months.


I learned a couple of important lessons from this. First, have fun while you can. Second, before you open a business, for god sakes do a little research.


By Lanny Morgnanesi

2 Responses to “A minor indiscretion that went unnoticed”

  1. Leslie Scism June 24, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

    I rmember that story I am laffing again!

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Smartphone


    • NotebookM by Lanny Morgnanesi June 25, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

      You’ve got a good memory, Leslie. Glad it’s still funny. Russell Cooke at the Inquirer saw this and is going to pick it up for the Op-Ed. I really meant to include the line, “It was like … stereo.” Take care.


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