Scandal returns to the backroads of the county in this Magpie Tale
It was the talk of Parnassus County all summer. There had been multiple sightings of Lord Godiva (which everyone pronounced “go diva”), but how could that be? He died in Korea 25 years ago.
No one was more taken aback by these reports than Dewey Stubner and Henrietta Heinzner. As county commissioner of Ward 4 for the past 32 years, Dewey wielded more power than anyone in Parnassus County and all contracts went to his cronies. All roads were done by Hickney Paving and Concrete, owned by his brother-in-law Ray Hickney.
Henrietta has been county clerk for nearly as long and served as gatekeeper for those contracts. She was often assumed to be a spinster, but she defined herself as a widow. She married the handsome German exchange student Hans Heinzner in 1948, despite their age difference and hostility many in the county held to her wedded to a former Hitler Youth member.
Hans fully embraced the German body culture, swimming in Stern Lake nude and then not bothering to dress when he rode his motorcycle home. Though shocking, it did not cause complaints from most of the local women nor Phillip of Mr. Phillip’s salon or Corky Johnson at the Esso station in Crescentville.
Dewey tried to find work Hans on his nut ranch. Dewey specialized in non-native varieties which were available at the cafe and retail outlet, Stubner’s Nut House on Route 32. In 1951 he and Hans got the idea of trying to raise macadamia nuts which perished in the first frost. This did not bode well with their heavy marketing campaign announcing the launch of Stubner’s German Macadamia Nut Butter. Thinking they could fool the public with a concoction of peanuts and maple syrup, they rolled out the new product in May. It sold like hotcakes. The fact that the label featured a painting of a bare bottomed Hans probably had something to do with it.
But things started to go awry on the nut ranch with Hans not willing to put in more than two hours of work each day, preferring to sun in the nude which was hugely distracting to the clerical staff. Dewey cried no tears when Hans signed up with the Marines and was deployed to Korea. Officially he was reported as MIA, but the truth was that he defected to the north where he did translation and espionage work, making frequent trips to East Berlin and Cuba.
So who could this naked stranger be? Henrietta feared encountering him but also was too intrigued not to head out to Stern Lake after midnight in early August. She could make out the contours of familiar, firm buttocks but knew this simply could not be. Nervously approaching, she gasped when he turned and said, “Good evening, my dear. Might you join me for some kimchi and green tea?”