The Carriage Driver 4 – Hugh Hefner
Captain Griffin Chaffey and Nuelle were summoned to the Council of Logistics. They were not sure why they had been called from Boston, but when three beautiful angels are sent to your door to escort you, you follow. After hearing what the council had to say, Griffin and Nuelle stood outside. Their carriage had been delivered and was waiting. They were reassigned, ‘Carriage Driver at Large.’ Their assignments would arrive the same way as they always had. The name in the book, but their territory was enlarged. They were assured that it was not because less people in the Boston area were in need of their service. “Duty First,’ was Griffin's motto. He had served Boston for many generations and would miss it. He readied Nuelle and climbed aboard. Before he was settled into his seat, he, the carriage and Nuelle were transported.
Griffin looked around, not knowing where he was. Nuelle did likewise. It was hot, the sun beat down on the street, and Griffin worried about Nuelle and if her shoes would melt. At the curb stood a tall, slender man, dressed in tan slacks with cuffs and stylishly creased. He wore Italian loafers, crisp white shirt and a jacket was folded smartly over one arm. His black hair combed back, and shining eyes gave him a look of distinction.
Griffin glanced at his own, sturdy work clothing. He glanced, again, at the name in the book. Nuelle pulled to the curb, and Griffin climbed down. “Mr. Hefner?”
Hugh climbed into the back and looked at the workmanship of the carriage and how well every inch of it had been maintained. He complimented Griffin for the look of the carriage and the beauty of Nuelle. Then he sat back and began to tell his story.
“I came along at just the right time. Ernest Hemingway fascinated the world. He was an outdoorsman. He glamorized charging Rhinos, and crossing African rivers. He embodied boxing and bullfights. He embodied guzzling booze and smuggling guns. In Berlin, his work was pronounced modern decadence. Hemingway painted the world, in its raw nature. He was a khaki wearing, canvas hat kind of guy. Meanwhile, the entire new alpha male population had just come back from the war. They stormed beaches, trekked through deserts, hacked their way through jungles. They had spent four years outside. They were the conquering heroes. I perceived that these guys wanted good food, clean sheets and someone to share those sheets. I was good for them. I shared their ideas. The magazine was the avant garde media of our time.” He paused. “Soon there were imitators. They focused less on glamour than what we were trying to do in Chicago.” He smiled; thinking back on what was a revolution of thinking.
“I was good for women too. I liberated them. I allowed them to step out of the kitchen. Their role in society was advanced. They were allowed to have feelings. They took off their clothes and said, ‘Look at me.’” He looked out at the world he was leaving. “It was a rebirth for them, though the feminists of the time labeled me public enemy number one. It was lifestyle, that I offered, and it was a softer lifestyle than the country was used to. Thousands of women sent photographs of themselves, as a form of resume, to get into our magazine. Some of them actually made it. We had offers from little towns, to come and photograph the women in their city. So, we sent photographers and did just that.”
“The sponsors came a running. We sold pipe tobacco, automobiles, and liquor from around the world. We offered humor. We offered literature from some of the best writers of our time. We interviewed prominent people. I am going to miss all this.” He watched a twenty-something girl walking along the sidewalk. “The magazine was sold worldwide.” He paused and pointed, “Hey look. There is Bettistoni’s – let’s stop and buy you a suit – we’ll put it on my account.” He laughed, and thought it good to be young again.
Griffin turned to see the man that sat in the back of his carriage. The entire time he had been working his avocation as the carriage driver, no one had mentioned his attire. Perhaps being a Carriage Driver at Large he would be held to a higher set of expectations. He said, “No thank you. I will take care of it.”
“OK, listen; go straight for a couple of more miles. Westwood Village Memorial Park and Cemetery is the destination. We are going to pick up a passenger.”
Nuelle turned her head to look at her passenger. Then she turned back to watch the road, as a car passed much too close to the carriage. Up ahead, standing on the curb was a blonde woman, wearing a white dress a small satchel by her feet. Nuelle instinctively knew that was the passenger’s guest. When she drew near, she pulled over.
‘Marilyn,” Hugh called out smiling. But it was no use. Marilyn went straight for Nuelle and stroking her neck told her how beautiful she was.
Griffin sat observing. He reached in his practical jacket pocket, and retrieved an apple. He caught Marilyn’s attention and tossed it to her. Marilyn’s smile doubled in size. She and Nuelle shared the apple as the two men watched.
Griffin climbed down. He took her bag and lifted it to his seat. He extended his hand and Marilyn smiled, leaned in and kissed his cheek and climbed in and sat down next to Hugh.
“You took a long time.”
“Yes, he said. “There was so much to do. Changing a culture takes a good deal of time and energy. And overseeing the Mansion, don’t get me started.”
“And blondes. Don’t forget blondes.” Her eyes sparkled as she said it.
“My charter is that we will take you anywhere you want to go. Have you given any thought to where you want to go next? Nothing is permanent, you can seek another place at a later date,” Griffin offered while leading Nuelle through mid afternoon traffic in Los Angeles.
Marilyn looked at Hugh, “Someplace out of the way. OK.”
“I’ve given this some thought. Tell me what you think. I was thinking that a small farm in Nebraska might just suit us. We can get a couple of dogs that can run free with us as we explore. We would be out of the way, no fame and fortune to torment us. Something small, that would be a loving place where the sound of nature filled the air. There could be a well, but just for wishing, not for hauling water. We could keep a couple of horses.”
“I’d like to paint the kitchen yellow, and have curtains with daisies. Do you think that would be possible?”
“Yes, someplace where I can get dirty, wearing wrinkled khaki pants and a canvas hat. We could work together and build something together. You, me and the angels.”
Nuelle made her way to the 10 Freeway. East bound.
Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer's loneliness, but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer, he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day. - Ernest Hemingway