The Carriage Driver 4 – Hugh Hefner

Updated on April 19, 2018

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


1973 Elton John's Tribute to Norma Jean Baker "Candle in the Wind"

Questions & Answers


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      • mckbirdbks profile imageAUTHOR


        22 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

        Hello Shyron - I think Hugh Hefner might have thought he owed his success to Marilyn. He clearly had her on his mind, as he purchased the space next to her at Westwood Village Memorial Park. Peace waits for all of us. As always, thanks for the blessings.

      • Shyron E Shenko profile image

        Shyron E Shenko 

        22 months ago from Texas

        Mike, as always your current hub becomes my this is no exception.

        I love that it was MM that was the passenger, I hope that she found and regained her soul.

        Blessings my friend

      • mckbirdbks profile imageAUTHOR


        23 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

        Hello Gypsy - You may have guessed, but I never knew Hugh Hefner. It just seems to me that his world view changed so much. It may have actually aided the strengthening of the middle class by sharing the concept of luxury.

      • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

        Gypsy Rose Lee 

        23 months ago from Daytona Beach, Florida

        This a wonderful insight to a different side of Hugh and his ladies. Marilyn was a talented and lovely lady who could have greatly used a helping hand. Hopefully, the angels helped them all come together in peaceful bliss.

      • mckbirdbks profile imageAUTHOR


        23 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

        Hello Genna – Hugh Hefner certainly made his mark. The Playboy empire was built on a premise of people living or striving for a sophisticated lifestyle. He and his organization gathered all that contributed to our culture and in doing so shaped our culture.

        Marilyn Monroe must have made a deep, lasting impression on Hugh because he went out of his way to purchase the crypt next to hers at Westwood Village Memorial Park and Cemetery. Both of these celebrities (likely) never got to be who they really were.

        ‘Candle in the Wind’ is such a beautiful piece of writing and music.

      • mckbirdbks profile imageAUTHOR


        23 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

        Hello Peg – Hugh Hefner brought a whole new world to us. The country discovered itself. It was an era like no other in history. The United States was ‘on top of the world.’ What is the old saying? ‘How you gonna keep them down on the farm, after they've seen Paree' [Of course, I just looked that up and it applies to WWI, not II] But still.

        I never visited a Playboy Club, and they did not rely on me for revenue, but I know many contributors to the Playboy fortune.

      • Genna East profile image

        Genna East 

        23 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

        Hef was quite the icon. He celebrated sexuality as nothing to be ashamed of in a liberating way, especially from a man's POV. :-) His magazine also included fascinating and sophisticated articles and short fiction stories. I liked your Carriage Drive tribute...and how appropriate to include the often misunderstood and exploited Marilyn Monroe, especially since I think that the first issue of Playboy featured none other than Norma Jean. (Hollywood and politics truly did a number on that fragile and enormously talented lady.) 'Candle in the Wind' has always been one of my favorites. Beautiful, Mike.

      • PegCole17 profile image

        Peg Cole 

        23 months ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

        A beautiful tribute to a man with a vision. He opened the doors for women to express themselves in a different way than the fifties model of behavior. I recall visiting a Playboy club in the late sixties and was surprised at the nightclub nature and good service we received.

        I loved the reunion with the beloved Norma Jean and her wishes to live a normal life in the country.

      • mckbirdbks profile imageAUTHOR


        23 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

        Hello Randi - Hugh Hefner changed the course of society. He did it with style. There are those that still think the human body is evil. I am not one of them.

      • btrbell profile image

        Randi Benlulu 

        23 months ago from Mesa, AZ

        Really enjoyable. I do like th hat you put Hefner in a positive light. One can't help but appreciate his contribution to society.

        Thank you!

      • mckbirdbks profile imageAUTHOR


        23 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

        Hello Ruby - Thank you. No doubt in my mind that Marilyn paid with her life for the fame that found her. Thank you reaching my best becomes more and more of a challenge. Hope you are well.

      • always exploring profile image

        Ruby Jean Richert 

        23 months ago from Southern Illinois

        Such a great story! Hugh and Marilyn together and out of the limelight doing the things they both loved. I must admit the video brought tears. She had it all, yet had nothing. This episode is one more of your best. God,s speed my friend...Hugs

      • mckbirdbks profile imageAUTHOR


        23 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

        Hello Shauna – I think people sometimes ‘fall into their lives’ not knowing full well what they are in for. Hugh Hefner changed the United States and then the world. He did it by proclaiming that women are beautiful. There is no higher truth than that.

      • mckbirdbks profile imageAUTHOR


        23 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

        Hello Paula – The readers here on Hubpages have been very kind to me in regards to The Carriage Driver series. The series was launched with the questions in mind and an attempt to address them. It is mostly the readers who showed continued interest that have kept the series going. I want to thank you for your continued support and your kind comment.

        As for my day, I went to visit my 89 year old Mom today, who thought I was her Priest. So, that is how my day is going.

      • bravewarrior profile image

        Shauna L Bowling 

        23 months ago from Central Florida

        Mike, I'm so happy to see Griffin and Nuelle back in the saddle, so to speak. This was a lovely tribute to Hefner and Monroe. I saw Hefner in a different light, thanks to this beautiful story.

      • fpherj48 profile image


        23 months ago from UpstateWestern,New York

        Mike....Your Carriage Driver tales have become "famous" to all of us here, and I'm sure to many others who have your wonderful books. Each story brings your readers, a lesson, a memory and a sober but comforting take on the end of our lives, with potential legacies. (Great quote from Hemingway)

        This is no exception. Thank you, Mike. Hope your day is going splendidly!! Paula

      • mckbirdbks profile imageAUTHOR


        23 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

        Hello Ann - I made it over to read one of your April Poetry Month contributions and hope to catch up on my reading as well. The world does become demanding at times. Thanks for the visit and the complement.

      • mckbirdbks profile imageAUTHOR


        23 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

        Hello Verlie - When I began writing this story it seemed to me that there was a divide in this country along the timeline of Hugh Hefner's enterprise. Once I had that small thread to hang onto the story took shape. Hugh Hefner is interned next to Marilyn so she was easy to weave into the story. As always, thank you for such a nice comment.

      • annart profile image

        Ann Carr 

        23 months ago from SW England

        Late to this, Mike; sorry. I have so many catch-ups in my Inbox! Plus I'm trying to do the poetry month challenge - time management is the most difficult part!

        This is delightful. Two people who had the press on their backs all the time, able to do what they want with no critique. Great idea! Like bill, I'm glad to see another Carriage Driver.

        Love the Hemingway quote.

        Have a great weekend, Mike!


      • snakeslane profile image

        Verlie Burroughs 

        23 months ago from Canada

        Mike, Hugh and Marilyn, and Hemingway, what can I say, playful, sensitively sensual, and sincere, lovely write.

      • mckbirdbks profile imageAUTHOR


        23 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

        Good morning Bill - Thanks. A small core of people have been very loyal to my writing. Thanks for being one of them.

      • mckbirdbks profile imageAUTHOR


        23 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

        Thank you Nikki - I will begin to explore how to make mini-biographies interesting. This new series will be a mixture of fact and fiction. I appreciate your kind comment.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        23 months ago from Olympia, WA

        So good to see another "Driver" in my inbox, and a real beauty it was. What I am amazed by is the fact there are only what, five comments? This deserves a thousand....excellent as always!

      • nikkikhan10 profile image

        Nikki Khan 

        23 months ago from London

        This was amazing Mike, loved it. I’ve read your other installments too.They all are weaved so interestingly and I would say classy ones.

        It made my morning today, bless you!

      • mckbirdbks profile imageAUTHOR


        23 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

        Hello John - Thank you. It is tough to keep up with all the reading that is due to the wonderful writers here on Hubpages. I appreciate your visit. I may find this pathway more difficult, but we will see where The Carriage driver takes us.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 

        23 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Mike, this was a pleasure to read. A wonderful carriage Driver instalment and the famous guests make it just that little bit more interesting as well. I have some catching up to do with my reading.

      • mckbirdbks profile imageAUTHOR


        23 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

        Hello mar - Thank you. A few readers of The Carriage Driver series have contacted me suggesting that they miss the stories and offered suggestions. Here is one of the suggestions and there are many more. I will see where this takes me. So far, I have come close to renaming the series, "The Celebrity Carriage Driver" but resisted.

      • marcoujor profile image

        Maria Jordan 

        23 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

        Ah what is better than an installment of The Carrriage Driver with one of my favorite EJ songs as a perfect accompaniment.

        I can imagine Hugh and Marilyn in this 'happily ever after' scenario - sounds like paradise to me.

        Hoping this is the start of many more stories to come, dear Mike - Brava!


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