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You’ll see from the date that this story is one day late – it’s Tuesday! – but it couldn’t be helped because I was given some extensive baby-sitting duties and anyone who has had to look after three kids of 6; 4 and 2 years old for five days will understand that it is a heavy duty indeed.

MONITORING THE ESSENTIALS.                                      9-20-11

Roy Garde.

Richard Manning had been a Hotel General Manager for his company for better than ten years and when they gave him that same position at the Royal Hawaiian Regency, the most prestigious one in the entire chain, his bosses showed him, and everyone in the business, how highly they valued him.

He was not only always well liked by his staff – which made for far fewer Personnel problems for Head Office – but the hotels that he took over as General Manager always began to show improved profit margins in a matter of months.

When he’d taken over in Hawaii he made many procedural changes and one of them was to introduce computer equipment that made it possible for information – like reservations and airplane delays and warnings of the arrival of  large groups and, so on – to be transmitted to monitors in every department and thus see to it that they all knew at the same time what was afoot and could take appropriate action. (It also saw to it that the well used excuse, “But nobody told me about it, Sir.” or in Spanish – which had been needed when he was working in LA – “Ay Dios mio! Pero no sabia, Senor.” became unusable from the moment that the new system was put into service.)

When, after a few weeks and several innovations, he decided that his next major task was to make alterations to the Roof-Top Ladies Solarium everyone went along with his wishes without question.t was being done he also annexed one of the bedrooms of a penthouse suite and he’d had it isolated it from the suite and had had a separate entrance to it built in and he’d then had it turned into a private office for himself.  That raised some eyebrows but no one was foolish enough to comment to his face about it.

The alterations and additions that he ordered for the Solarium were – three extra massage tables and two rotating sun-bathing machines and a ballet-type exercise bar that was placed in front of a 10 foot long by 6 feet high mirror.

Richard had studied the building’s architectural drawings carefully before presenting his new plans for the Solarium to the contractor and, lo and behold, the wall that he chose for the mirror turned out to be the one that was shared with his new office.

Also – something which mystified the contractor and disappointed the would-be sellers of mirrors on the island no end – he imported the mirror, which came in a frame, directly from the States.

Richard took time to supervise the installation of the massage tables and the rotating sun-bathing machines and when the mirror arrived he insisted on having it mounted on studs so that it was an inch away from the wall.

That instruction further mystified the contractor but, no matter how diligent or sneaky he was about asking managerial staff for an explanation, he never did get a satisfactory one which is not all that surprising because none of them had any idea as to what was going on, either.

On the night that the alterations were all finished, and the Solarium staff had all gone home, Richard locked himself in his upper office and he used a hammer and chisel to remove some of the concrete cinder blocks from the part of the wall that the mirror was mounted over. He then assembled and fitted a wooden, swinging panel over the hole that he’d made and then, after he’d padlocked it, he washed up and went back to his lower office to take up his normal duties.

By then, monitors had been installed in both of his offices and on the desks of all management personnel, also at all work stations, and after the system was ‘brought on line’ a coded message would appear on the screen at certain times of the day and the machine would ‘beep’ and then a stream of numbers and letters like: 4.8 – 31 – 31 – 31 – 108 – 14 – M – S – SB – LE . . . .  would scroll across the top.

Wherever Richard happened to be when the monitor beeped he would stop whatever he was doing and read the signals and would sometimes ask to be excused and he’d disappear for ten or fifteen minutes.

As only he knew, the signals were entered by the Solarium receptionist and no one had told her the reason and so she’d guessed that the numbers had to be a part of a statistical survey that the Hotel was carrying out but, in truth, the information was required by Richard and was for his benefit, alone.

He’d left instructions with her that every time a customer came up to her desk she’d be signed in and then assigned a locker and asked to fill in a small form – as usual and for insurance purposes – and when she’d done so, and had gone on through the door and out to the Solarium, the receptionist had to punch in a series of numbers. The first one was the customer’s approximate height and then came her three vital dimensions and then her approximate weight and age. Then came initials that showed what the customer had signed up for – “M” was ‘Massage’ and “S” was ‘Sauna’ and “SB” was ‘Sunbathing’ and “LE” was ‘Light Exercises.’

Whenever an interesting set of figures showed up on the Monitor, wherever Richard was he’d excuse himself and go up to his upper office and switch the lights out and then he’d unlock the swinging panel and look through the one-way mirror at the exercise-bar and the massage tables and the revolving sunbathing platforms and, sometimes, when he was very lucky, beyond that – way beyond.

There isn’t a man on the planet who doesn’t relish looking at lithe women, especially if they’re naked, and, sometimes, at over-endowed women too for purposes of contrast and because they are all in possession of  the essential mystery that is Woman. Some women actually think that once a man has seen one naked woman he’s seen all that there is to see and should be blasé about all the rest but the truth is that when a man has seen one he’s only seen that one and not only do all other women’s secret, and not so secret, parts remain alluring and call out for admiration but that first woman’s body will still draw his full attention anew, for hours on end, with every movement of hers because that means that a different angle is revealed and calls for further careful study and admiration.

Richard Manning was no different than any other man except for the fact that he was in a position to indulge his needs and he had the ability to do so and was in the happy position of having the necessary wherewithal, and the authority, to hand.

On a day that was about three months into his new job he had a disagreeable task to take care of.

One of his most efficient and experienced and popular waiters had been caught in the act of peeping through a hole that he’d drilled in the wall of the ladies shower room that was adjacent to the main swimming pool.

There was no doubt at all as to his guilt because the affronted guest had seen a flash of movement  on the other side of the hole and she’d given it a good squirt from her suntan-oil spray can and, when he was brought into Richard’s office, he still couldn’t see out of his right eye properly.

Beep – – – – – 5.4-26-26-26-90-60-LE-SB – – – – –

His Personnel Director, a man named Fred Walters, and the Union Rep. had come in with him and both of them pleaded with Richard that he be given a second chance – the Union Rep because that was his job and the P.D. because good waiters

       Beep – – – – – 3.4-20-20-20-64-9-SB – – – – –    

are hard to replace.

Richard’s hands were tied in that the guest in question had clout with top management in the States and she’d demanded that the culprit be fired post-haste and, if possible, thrown into a jail cell for a month or two.

Richard thought about it and drew on his past experience and then came up with a compromise.

First, he gave the waiter a lecture – the third one that he’d been given in the last hour – that dwelt on  the Hotel’s good image and went on about the Island’s dependence on tourists, and on and along in that vein, and then, and at length, about how the sanctity of privacy for each individual has to be carefully preserved

Beep – – – – – 6.0-30-28-31-110-51-SB-M – – – – –

and then he came up with his compromise.  

“Well, this is what I’m going to do – you are fired as of right now and you have to empty your locker and go through all the usual paperwork but we’ll put you back on the payroll a week after the guest in question has gone back home to Ohio, or wherever.

“There, that OK with you two?” He asked his Personnel Director and the Union Rep.

Beep – – – – – 5.6-43-38-44-205-54-S-M – – – – –

When they’d nodded – both obviously relieved with the way that he’d handled it – he then turned his wrath on again and told the voyeur that the guest wouldn’t want to see him again ever, face to face or eye to eye, so he was to write out an apology to her before he left and he had to

Beep – – – – – 3.10-20-20-20-52-8-SB – – – – –     

            Beep – – – – – 3.7-19-19-19-46-7-SB – – – – –

promise, right there and then, that he’d never do it again.

When the poor man had, shame-facedly, done so Richard said, “All right. Now go with your Union Rep to his office and write out the apology and then go home and, as I said, stay there until we call you. Do you understand that?

“Good, well that’s that I think – are we all agreed?”

Beep – – – – – 5.9-36-27-36-120-24-M-LE-SB – – – – –

Richard reached into his pocket, surreptitiously, and he pushed the number ‘1’ on his cell phone three times which activated a special command that would make it ring two minutes later.

He then shook hands with the Union Rep, who ushered the waiter out, and he signaled to his Personnel Director that he was to stay behind for a minute and when the door was closed he asked him what was the accepted proportion of local born interns – for the busy season that was coming up – to ones from the mainland.

He went on to say that he’d been inundated with applications, most with an influential person’s endorsement, and he wanted to be sure to follow the Hotel’s usual routine.

As the P.D. was answering him Richard’s phone rang and so he apologized and took it out and said his name into it and then, “Ah, hello Maggie. How are you?  Please tell me that it’s cold and miserable in Chicago because hearing that always makes me feel good. What’s up?”

He listened for a half minute and then he said, “No problem, OK, but will you tell Bill that I’ll have to call back in about fifteen minutes because those numbers are in my other office. Will you do that for me, please?” . . . . “Thanks Maggie, so long.”

He put the phone back into his pocket and said, “Uh, I’m sorry about having to rush off Fred but Bill Costain needs some information so is it all right with you if we continue this conversation over lunch?”

“Sure, no problem. Uh, is one o’clock good for you?”

“One o’clock it is. Good. Now, as I said, I have to go upstairs and check out some figures.