by Jim Foreman
Travis T. Taylor the Third could not come up with a single reason why someone as important and busy as his grandfather would want to have lunch with him, but when grandfather calls, you obey. They sat at a table in the restaurant at the Top of the Mark and made small talk for a few minutes. Travis had long since learned from his grandfather that it is always best to wait for the other person to deal the first card.
As casually as asking if Travis liked his broiled salmon, the elderly Taylor asked, "What did you think of the Patton girl who you met at dinner the other night?"
"OK, I suppose," he replied, taking care not to say anything uncomplimentary about his grandfather's guests, who were probably important clients of some sort.
"She's a well educated young lady and very wealthy. She owns Patton Shipyards, worth about fifty million dollars."
His grandfather was always one to rate people by how much money they were worth. "Too bad that she can't buy some good looks with all that money," replied Travis, throwing caution to the wind.
"I'll admit that she is no Betty Grable or Liz Taylor, but I suppose that those women were well before your time. But, as I have always said, looks aren't everything," replied the grandfather.
"I'll have to agree with you that those were both beautiful women, fully equal to some of today's beauties like Madonna or Vanna White," said Travis.
"Well, Travis, I'll get right down to the point. I'd consider it to be a personal favor to me if you would ask Daphnie Patton to go out with you a few times, just so the two of you get to know one another better. After all, a young man like yourself could do a lot worse financially than marry a girl like her. If you two did happen to get married, you'd probably become the President of Patton Shipyards in no time at all, and it's about time that you began to think about what you are going to do with your life."
During the next few months, Travis T. Taylor III and Daphnie Patton were seen together on a regular basis. They were seen at parties, which were usually planned by Geraldine Patton. Their photos were constantly in the social columns. Travis would get one of his friends, Ralph Evans, to team up with him to play Daphnie and Judy doubles in tennis. The girls would usually whip them soundly.
Travis and Ralph would take the girls swimming, where the girls would swim circles around them. "What a pair of damn jocks those two women are!" remarked Ralph one day. "I'll bet that they wear leather bras."
Travis and Daphnie had never really discussed marriage, but just sort of went along with the flow when Geraldine Patton, who was usually referred to as General Patton, accidentally leaked news of their engagement to all the social editors in the city.
"You are really getting married?" asked Ralph.
"I suppose so, the social columns are full of it," answered Travis.
"I'll agree with you on one thing, the social columns are really full of it," replied Ralph. "But why are you getting married?"
Not wanting to go into the details, Travis replied, "I suppose for the same reasons why everyone else gets married. How about you and Judy, how are thing coming along with you two?"
"We get along fine as friends, but she isn't my type and I'm certainly not hers." Travis didn't fully understand that last remark and simply shrugged it off.
No matter what Travis and Daphnie did, they seemed to never be able to be alone together. It was always Geraldine planning this or that or else Daphnie invited Judy and Ralph to come along with them any place that they went.
Travis finally decided that they simply had to get away from everyone and get to know one another, so he told her, "The Taylor Corporation has a condo up at Lake Tahoe. How about just you and me going there so we can be together and away from everyone else for a few days?" He didn't know about Daphnie, but he still had never had his first sexual encounter. This might be a good place for them to break the ice, so to speak, before they got married.
"Can Judy and Ralph come along?" asked Daphnie.
"Hell, no! They are one of the reason why I want us go to Tahoe. They are always around, especially Judy."
"Judy's my friend and if she can't come, then I won't go either," replied Daphnie.
Travis drove a Ferrari, Daphnie had a Porsche and Judy drove a Vet, none which had more than two seats, so they rented a sedan to drive to Lake Tahoe.
When they arrived at the condo, Travis carried his and Daphnie's bags into one bedroom and Judy's to the other. This was his subtle way of telling Daphnie that he expected her to spend the night with him.
"Why is my bag in your room?" she asked.
"After all, we are engaged and this seems like a good time and place for us to get better acquainted," he replied. Daphnie never said another word about the sleeping arrangements and they went out to dinner.
When they returned from the restaurant, Travis went into the bathroom first. When he returned to the bedroom, he was dressed in pajamas and a robe. "Your turn," he told her.
Daphnie was in the bath room for no more than about thirty seconds before she returned, stark naked. She flopped down on the bed, spread her legs and said, "Go ahead and do what you brought me up here for and get it over with."
Travis stood beside the bed and stared at her for a few seconds. This was even worse than Doris in the back seat of the brown Dodge, except that Doris at least looked like a woman. Daphnie reminded him more of a skinny boy with no penis.
"What the hell, go sleep with Judy," he said. I couldn't make love to you now, even if I wanted to. The following morning, Travis caught a cab back to San Francisco, leaving Daphnie and Judy to drive home in the rented car.
Travis called his grandfather, "I think that we had better call the wedding off. Daphnie and I went to Lake Tahoe over the weekend and it was a total disaster. I don't love her and don't think that I could ever bring myself to making love to her."
"You are both just timid and inexperienced," replied T. Thornton. "It is seldom ever magic the first time. You just have to give those things time to develop. Incidentally, my accountants tell me that you two kids should get married prior to the end of the year for tax reasons."
The date for the wedding was set for December 28th and Geraldine Patton launched her plan of action. She made lists and checklists. She set time schedules and arranged for the scores of people who would do the various things at the wedding. She even planned and made the reservations for their honeymoon trip to Acapulco. This was to be the masterpiece of all of her social events. Travis and Daphnie sort of rode along on the crest of the wave created by the General's forced march to the altar.
December 28th arrived and everything was right on schedule. General Patton moved her army of waiters, musicians, maids, aids and helpers back and forth, shifting them to the most strategic positions to prevent any possible breach of her plans.
The parking lot at the St. Thomas Episcopal Church was filled to overflowing, A long line of stretch limos with black windows and Cellular Phone antennas stood bumper to bumper, drivers casually wiping away any speck of dust as soon as it landed on their polished exteriors. Door handle to door handle in the parking lot sat row upon row of Rolls Royce and Mercedes sedans. Behind those were the Cadillacs and Lincoln Town Cars of the lesser wealthy of San Francisco. A TV station's remote van was parked on a side street, its generators humming softly.
The time was approaching, the organist was playing soft music. Travis Thornton Taylor III, dressed in the latest in formal wear, accompanied by his best man, Ralph Evans, emerged from an anteroom and walked to their places in front of the minister. They turned and stood looking toward the front of the church. The organist played the first few notes of the wedding march. When the door did not open, she waited a few more seconds and began to play again. Still no one appeared through the doors.
Suddenly the doors swung open and the organist launched into the wedding march for the third time; however, she stopped quickly when she realized Admiral Patton, wearing his full military dress uniform, was walking down the aisle alone. He strode to the altar and handed a folded piece of paper to Travis.
Travis opened the note which read, "Go fuck yourself, asshole. I don't love you and never will because I love Judy Clark."
"Your daughter certainly has a way with words," Travis whispered to the Admiral.
"You should have seen the first note that she wrote. I refused to deliver it until she cleaned it up," he replied.
"What's the matter," asked Ralph.
"Looks like there isn't going to be any wedding," Travis replied as they walked toward the back of the church.
The Admiral turned to the people gathered in the church and said, "I'm sorry but there will be no wedding. I want to apologize to and thank each of you for coming. I'll see that all gifts are returned by messenger."
"Daphnie's a damn Dyke, a Lesbian. She is as queer as a three dollar bill," Travis whispered. "What a hell of a time for her to decide to come out of the closet."
"Better now than after the wedding," was Ralph's only comment.
Geraldine Patton wailed like an Banshee and sprinted toward the front of the church, trying to save her masterpiece from destruction. It was too late. All that she saw was Judy's red Corvette, laying down twin stripes of smoking rubber, as it roared out of the parking lot. The bride's flowers flew into the air as they disappeared around the corner.
"I had always thought that she and Judy were awfully close for some reason. It must be one hell of a life to be gay," said Travis.
"Oh, I don't know about that. I find that being gay has its advantages," replied Ralph as he squeezed Travis` arm and smiled.
"You too! Is the whole damn world queer?" said Travis, jerking away and heading toward the back exit of the church.