The debaucheries of Dr. David Duncan
Micah Davenport is a quiet man. That isn’t to say that he is a joyless man, but we seldom see him ‘tickled’ to the point of laughing out loud.
Three weeks ago Isabel was sitting at her small desk in the front foyer of the Inn going through the mail. It was after 4 pm, and Micah had just come up from the mailbox. Isabel shuffled through the letters looking for customer reservation confirmations and deposit checks so that she could enter them on the Inn’s journal and endorse them for the next day’s bank deposit. Micah was sitting nearby sipping a cup of hot coffee, and I was sprawled out on the cool, wood floor of the lobby nearby.
I heard Isabel snort and begin to laugh. “We have a reservation here for two single rooms from David Duncan in Dawson County, GA,” she said. Almost as if on cue, Micah picked up her alliterative thread and said “do you think he’s related to Dunkin of Dunkin Donuts?” “No, he spells his name differently, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s driving a Dodge Durango when he arrives,” she chortled. Everyone was tired, and sometimes Isabel and Micah get “punchy” and laugh at virtually anything when they become exhausted from working too long. This time they both began to laugh like children.
Isabel is not one to poke fun at our guests, but this running joke seemed to ‘get legs’ and escalate during the coming week. The next morning, Micah almost choked on his coffee when Isabel walked by him and said “. . . Dr. David Duncan, from Dawson. . . and he’s a Doctor of Dental Surgery!” Micah knew exactly who Isabel was talking about, and began to laugh all over again. Isabel related the story to Louella Hess who was standing nearby, and even the usually stone-faced Louella began to smile broadly. “It’s a shame he didn’t designate a double,” Louella added with a snicker. Yes, one of our new guests was going to be Dr. David Duncan, a dentist from Dawson, and now our small staff was becoming obsessed with meeting Dr. David Duncan in the flesh.
Isabel confirmed his reservation by return mail and routinely requested a deposit check from Dr. Duncan. When the deposit check arrived a few days later, it came with a short letter. When Isabel opened the letter, she just couldn’t contain herself. She caught up with Micah, sweeping the front porch. “Micah, you won’t believe this, but Dr. David Duncan, Dawson County dentist, is reserving the extra single for his divorced daughter, Deborah Davis!” You can only imagine the laughter that ensued. Isabel said later that she was afraid that she would burst out laughing when she met Dr. Duncan, and Micah just shrugged and chuckled quietly.
When Friday finally arrived, Micah and Isabel were so busy ‘settling in’ the arriving guests that when Dr. David Duncan pulled up under the side portico, they had all but forgotten to watch for him. Dr. Duncan didn’t roll up driving a Dodge Durango, but he looked very much at home driving a shiny red BMW convertible with his daughter, Deborah Davis, ensconced on the front passenger seat.
Dr. Duncan appeared to be in his mid-sixties, tall and handsome, with black hair graying at the temples and a slim, athletic build. Deborah was a petite blonde lady in her early forties who wore sunglasses on her nose, or pushed up on her head most of the time. Isabel playfully described Dr. David Duncan later as being “dapper.” Micah, who had become very distracted by young Deborah, kept saying “I can’t believe he’s almost as old as I am!” Next morning, Louella peeked out of the kitchen while they were having breakfast, gave them both a ‘once over,’ and then went back to making her biscuits saying “they aren’t no father and daughter!”
Luckily, I can’t talk, because it turns out Louella was right. I don’t have a clue as to how Louella knew. . . because on Friday night, I had decided to sleep in the narrow upstairs hallway between rooms four and five, which are in the rear-most portion of the second floor. At around 2 a.m. young Deborah, the divorcee,’ literally tripped over me on her way into the good doctor’s room. I didn’t growl, bark or create an uproar, and I hardly remember going back to sleep; but just after Louella’s raucous arrival in the kitchen at 5:30 a.m., I was awoken again, and voluntarily moved out of the way to avoid being stepped on as Deborah exited “her father’s” room. Saturday night was no different, except things did get a little nosier in there, if you know what I mean. I’m not a gossiper, but be assured that we dogs ‘know when you’ve been bad or good;’ and Dr. Duncan appears to have been very ‘good’ in a bad way.
Ours is a simple, unassuming B&B in the “Bible Belt” of the South, and we aren’t so sophisticated that Isabel checks IDs, birth certificates, drivers’ licenses or the like. Because this is a small, close-knit community and folks tend to notice little details, the Inn’s staff was really beginning to suspect that Deborah Davis was, indeed, not Dr. David Duncan’s divorced daughter.
Unfortunately for Dr. Duncan as well as our staff, the answer to this question was imminent. After a delicious and decidedly decadent Sunday pot roast dinner served up by Isabel with help from Louella Hess, most of our guests had already started to pack up to leave the Inn for their home destinations. It was about 3:30 p.m., and Dr. Duncan’s BMW was parked again under the side portico. Deborah Davis was seated demurely on the front seat, and Dr. Duncan was busy packing the last of their things into the trunk.
Nobody seems to have heard the arrival of the gray Lincoln Town Car until it screeched to a stop, ‘blocking in’ Dr. Duncan’s red BMW. The enraged middle-aged lady who jumped out and angrily confronted David and Deborah turned out to be Dr. Duncan’s wife, Dorothy. Departing guests mercifully fled the scene rapidly as Dorothy made it clear to all at the top of her lungs that Dr. David Duncan’s daughter Deborah was indeed not Dr. David Duncan’s daughter. By this time, Mrs. Duncan had begun flailing at the BMW’s hood with a folding umbrella; and, had Isabel not intervened, I believe that there would have been a nasty scuffle with an uncertain, and possibly disastrous outcome. Micah injected himself into the fray and politely asked Mrs. Duncan to move her car. She jumped back into the driver’s seat and angrily sped off down the driveway as suddenly as she had arrived. Without even inspecting the damage to his own car, Dr. Duncan hastily pulled out of the portico, sending up a spray of gravel, and careened down the long driveway toward the main road.
I remember the last thing that Micah had to say before heading up the stairs to the porch; “I think Dr. David Duncan from Dawson and his wife Dorothy are indeed destined for a divorce.” And with a wry smile, Isabel’s parting comment was “ditto, my dear Micah, ditto!”