The Old Shampoo Trick — The Phantom Strikes Again
I wrote recently about the wonderful home I once owned in Dalton, Ga., and pretty much about the lifestyle it provided for my pals and me. I had an open-door policy for my friends, and the major rule of the house was that my bedroom was off-limits. This did not hold for the upstairs bathroom and steam shower.
One of my pet peeves was when somebody would use my toiletries. In retrospect, I should have kept my personal items under lock and key. Now and then, I would find that my deodorant or my supply of Q Tips would be diminished, or my soap and shaving materials would somehow disappear. The use of my personal items would really get to me at times, even though it was something I rarely mentioned. This was totally avoidable and my fault.
I was once on a flight from Chatanooga to Newark when I met a woman who fell into the category of what I considered a FLAMINGO. I was on my way to play in a golf tournament at the shore, and she was on her way to Princeton, NJ, for indoctrination into a huge brokerage firm.
I caught her eye in the waiting area at the airport, and after a while, I moved to the seat next to her and introduced myself. I continued with my usual routine and listened to everything she had to say. It turns out she had been an assistant broker for a couple of years and recently qualified for her brokerage license. She was recently divorced, occasionally worked as an aerobics instructor, owned her own house, and was a native of Chattanooga. She also mentioned that at one time, she came in fourth in the Miss Chatanooga Beauty Contest. Yup, she was a real FLAMINGO.
We arranged to sit next to each other on the flight to New Jersey and had a great time. When we reached Newark, we exchanged cards and private phone numbers and promised each other we would be in touch. The mutual attraction was obvious.
A couple of weeks went by, and I received the long-awaited call. It was her, the FLAMINGO. The gist of her call was to invite me to a gathering of her top clients for a private presentation of some interesting investment opportunities. My thought process was that she had investigated me and found I was a real prospect in all areas especially being a bachelor and financially stable. She was hooked. I considered myself a good catch. We went to an early diner, and we went back to her office for the well-attended meeting. At the end of the meeting, I was awarded a sterling silver set of pens as a door prize. The drawing was rigged. NICE TOUCH.
We went out several times after that but always away from the Chatanooga area. It turned out she was involved with a guy ever since her divorce who was a guide and ranger on a private hunting preserve and would only get together with me when he was out of town. I sensed a situation like this, and I was glad to accommodate her spare time, but it was a pain to drive all the way back and forth to Chattanooga, so I started to make arrangements for her to stay at my house.
It was a very workable arrangement, and I would do all I could to make things as convenient and comfortable for her as possible, including having her favorite food and drink. Before she arrived, I would have the house meticulously cleaned and closed to everyone except my regular buddies. I even went so far as to have fresh soap and her favorite shampoo, Neutrogena, placed in the steam shower. I attempted to turn the place into a posh hotel for her stay. Another accouterment would be a bubble bath and terry cloth robes. I tried not to miss anything for this FABULOUS FLAMINGO.
During one of her visits, she mentioned to me that she thought her Neutrogena shampoo seemed not to be lathering as it should. I examined the bottle and noticed the color to be a bit pale. It was watered down. I thought to myself, what the fuck? I smell a rat. I immediately sent out for a fresh bottle.
A few days later, after FLAMINGO went home, I had dinner with Joe, Big O, and Jerry when I brought up the shampoo issue. I explained how it seemed to be watered down, and I wanted to know who was using it and watering it down. All three plead innocent until I told them I was pissing in the bottle. Big O and Jerry burst out laughing while Little Joe’s expression revealed the true phantom, and his pathology has never changed. Crafty little devil that he is.
THE PRETTY FLAMINGO has gone on to richer and better pastures.
Jerry died not knowing that I knew he was the Q Tip theif.
We’re still out to lunch on Big O.