(Last updated: April 5, 2017)
by DR Wolfe

{From “The Dirty Little Secret About Transparensee” Series}

(Includes strong language and some descriptions of sex)

By the time the chariot appeared out front, the crowd was lined up three deep along the railing. Like most of the crowd, his eyes too were completely glued to the street.

As instructed, the driver slowed as he passed, but stayed in the second lane until he made it around the corner. And no one hopped over the rail this time.

because some of the more enthusiastic on-lookers had once jumped over the railing and began banging on the chariot’s windows, they had an extra set of bikers riding behind for a couple weeks, carrying clubs. There hasn’t been a problem since then-

“My security had to rough up a few of them pretty good, or pretty bad, depending on who you asked. And then, after taking a beating like that, all of them had to spend the weekend in the drunk tank. Wouldn’t that suck,” he rhetorically asked the twenty-something attractive young woman sitting across from him who was tapping her long painted nails on her half empty wine glass.

“Since then there hasn’t been much of a problem here, or anywhere else. The news got around pretty fast. So, we ended up giving this couple a free room at the hotel for the weekend and a couple more hours on the chariot whenever they wanted it.”

“So it all worked out, and you got a lot of free publicity?” She asked, smiling.

In the world of business, it was cut throat. You didn’t let people step on your turf. And if they did, you made sure they didn’t ever try it again…or it was gonna cost them a chunk of flesh, he thought.

“Yup. Always has-” He smiled back, nodding his head to the firm’s newest legal intern.

Thinking about how it first began, he had used the settlement money he won to open these automated coffee houses that looked like bird houses which played the sounds of more and more birds the closer someone got to the coffee maker, and that he called “The Birdhouse”.

Since he didn’t need any seats, any bathrooms, or any barristers who usually expected some sort of a tip, nobody could match the price I was asking for a quality cup of what they wanted most. And no barrister anywhere could make it faster then my machine.

“Using a local roaster our beans were always fresh and our cream was real!” She smiled. “And this way we were able to offer a damn good sixteen ounce latte for a buck. Some days people were lined up on both sides of the birdhouses, waiting. And you know what’s funny?” He asked rhetorically.

“No, what?” She asked curiously.

“People just started hanging out around the machine all the time. They were in highly visible areas, so vandalism wasn’t ever a problem. The customers just wanted to hang out and talk to the other people who were waiting for their turn. I think it was the birds myself that did it. You know, before some people left, they ended up buying three or four of our lattes.”

They both laughed. He also felt people liked hanging out at the House because there was no nosey manager watching them out of the corner of their eye. They spent what they wanted, they left when they wanted, and they knew no one was watching them…unless they tried to tamper with the machine.

“So, that was one of my first lessons in business. I learned, making money was first about keeping the business fast, simple, and clean. And the second thing is, recognizing there is this growing desire among most people to be in complete control of their lives, their choices, and their privacy. In a rush to get rich, most corporations and businesses ignored this simple fact. I didn’t.”

“So I can tell you my profit margin was slim, but it paid off by keeping the price low and the product of good quality. Through what was a fair competitive strategy, a lot of small coffee shops ended up closing because of my Birdhouses. So, by then, it was worth the investment to keep people out there servicing the machines twenty-four hours a day. Whenever people saw one of my Birdhouses, which we always kept clean, they knew it was going to be cheap and good every time, and made the exact same way every single time they swiped their card!”

“And you intentionally placed a lot of your machines near many of the new marijuana dispensaries opening around town, is that right?”

“Well, it made perfect sense. Nothing goes better with weed then some kind of caffeinated beverage.” She smiled. “And we always had a steady flow of customers from 5:00 a.m. until well after midnight. The Birdhouses were open all the time, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year. And if there was ever a problem, people could call the number on the machine, and we’d instantly pull up the last transaction record and the video, if needed, and usually got them a free drink and a coupon within two or three minutes at most. When’s the last time you got that kind of result from a typical customer disservice call?”

They both laughed, as another chariot pulled up out front. Again the crowd, gathered and watched intently.

“And that’s what customers want most, is trust and reliability. Yet, the corporations seemed to have grown to big and given up on this business model, over a model that simply wants to dominate the market place for a short time, then quickly sell off the business based solely on its reputation.”

“So with what I got from the sale of the Birdhouse business, I invested in music clubs and restaurants, where people could smoke weed and have an adult beverage, like beer or wine.”

“And you never sold liquor, is that right?”

“Liquor is poison, just like tobacco. And I’ve gone out of my way to prohibit those things anywhere around my businesses. And I don’t allow those addictive, destructive video machines either.”

“How did that go over? I mean, the state and customers must have wondered why a drinking establishment didn’t have any video machines?”

“You’d be surprised, most people can and do find they can live without it. A lot of people who have had their whole paycheck swindled away from them by those nasty little machines appreciate the atmosphere these types of businesses offer, as opposed to the alternative.”

“Really?” She asked, curiously surprised by his answer.

“What really got me was this time me and a girlfriend stopped over in St. Louis at this riverboat gambling place. When we walked in, almost everyone was glued to a video screen . There was a good music system playing and a huge dance floor, but nobody was dancing or speaking to anyone else. I remember, it was really creepy.” She laughed.

“Other than the bartender and servers, I don’t think anybody ever spoke to us. At that moment I asked myself, is that what it means to be a human being in America now? I don’t think so-” She watched him closely, but said nothing.

“So I wanted to make an affordable place where people could come and listen to good live music and hang out, and talk. I wanted a place where nobody was going to get to crazy off liquor and start a fight with a stranger over nothing.”

“As far as the music goes, my idea was to make it a completely instrumental performance, which encourages conversation. A place where there would be lots of open mic’s where local musicians could jam any day or night they wanted. For a ready audience. I wanted a great place to talk and dance, and puff with friends. So as you know, I called it “Instrumentals”. He pointed to the sign, and she looked up and smiled in response.

Once we got the design of the building right, so that it wasn’t considered to be an ‘indoor establishment’, and the fire marshall and the city were okay with it, we opened up the very first one. That was about eleven years ago. I kept the menu simple and more focused on the environment and sound system, and the music. As you can see, allot of them have restaurants and hemp bakeries attached to them now.”

“And you have a place where customers can enjoy the music or food without having to be around the smoke?” She set down her pen and took another sip of wine, and waited for him to respond.

“I always felt, since I wasn’t going to ever have a tobacco smoking area, and most of my establishments are mostly weed smoking areas for weed smoking customers, I thought it would be nice to have a completely non-smoking area too. And the restaurants are kid friendly, so it was kind of required that we put in a non-smoking area.”

“And if I understand right, that’s how Thrillers started out, as an extension to these other businesses?”

“Yup. Instrumentals grew into the hotels, restaurants, bakeries and shops we have here at the Thrillers complex. And that doesn’t include the micro brewery, athletic centers and walking trails were adding.”

“Well, you probably need to have a place where people can work off all that fun?” She asked, laughingly.

“You’d be surprised. You’re from back east, is that right?”

“Yes, Ivy League grad, but don’t tell anyone.” She answered, grinning big.

“Everything we serve, including the bakery, is made with healthy stuff. Look around, most of the people are standing at stand up tables and bars. That’s no accident.” He paused, as he watched her slowly look around. “There’s miniature dance floors everywhere if anyone’s in the mood.”

“As far as Thrillers goes, I designed the business plan to be included into each of these complexes. This way no one knows why anyone else is here. Anyone could use their phone in the restaurant to make an appointment on Thrillers, and quietly slip over to the facility without anyone ever noticing. And well, that’s what began happening.”

“Even after we raised the chariot rides to $250 per half hour on weekends, we had no problem scheduling customers. It was about doing something really different on a date then you may have ever done before.”

“I’ll say!” she said, blushing.

“But now, they have a willing, experienced accomplice in committing their knottie deed.” The young brunet laughed at this remark and threw back the rest of her wine, in a most unladylike way. He liked her open, transparent way of communicating.

“People were happy to pay me for the right to help them exercise their First and Fifth Amendment rights against a government and corporate machine that was already watching them twenty-four hours a day anyway.” The discovery that the men in the military had posted thousands of pics online of military women posed in the most obscene manner any one could ever imagine, including video of women using the toilet, proved the average person’s right to privacy had been stolen away–

“And I’m proud to say that we’ve always kept our word to the customers. Never once has the identity of any of our customers ever been revealed to anyone, including the NSA and the CIA. Israel probably knows the customers identity, but I don’t think they care much about this one-”

“She laughed again, and waived over a server. After ordering each of them another, she said, “Go on please.”

Many of the local businesses agreed to pay him cash to get the chariot to ride by their places. And they would kick in a little extra if they wanted the driver to come bye a little slower than normal. So not only were the customers paying him for the thrill of doing it, or not doing it, in public, Dozens of the local bar owners, hotels and more than a few restaurant owners were paying him to have his chariots swing bye five or ten times a night.

“The idea came from my first wife,” he said, “who had this thing for doing it in public. The thrill for her was the possibility of being caught, or maybe being seen by a stranger.” She looked at him curiously, but didn’t say anything. He thought for a moment about what to say next.

“We used to find all sorts of crazy places. Like sometimes finding some bushes along side the bike trail; once in an empty field near this river in Roseburg; and lots of times in the front seat of a moving car; or once, even doing it in a nun’s graveyard!

It was almost always her idea, but it was thrilling he had to agree. And that’s how he got the original idea and the name, “Thrillers”.

“So why not give people what they really wanted most without the risk?” He asked rhetorically. And after all, his business was booming, and had expanded to three new cities in the last year. The business was operating six days a week, taking Sundays off, although “that may soon change in some cities when Vegas gets up and running next year,” he added.

“At exactly 9:00 p.m., when the little kids are sleeping, my chariots are out on the road all across America. Couples consisting of two or three people are getting naked and are doing, or not doing, what they always thought about doing in public before, without the risk. No one knows who they are, so there’s no public shaming them, something the media loves to do to average people.”

“That’s true,” she said with a snort. He wondered if she were gong to confess to something, but instead, she said nothing else and began rubbing the rim of her glass, nervously. He could tell she was feeling the wine.

“And gender doesn’t matter to us, as long as everyone was over eighteen and consensual. Between getting the release and understanding that the chariots have a few extra special security features, we’ve never had a problem with getting everyone to behave, no matter how much they’ve had to drink.”

“Really?” She asked, looking surprised.

“Well, our rule is if you can’t both walk and talk, you can’t ride. We make this clear before we ever take a dime from anyone. But when people start checking in they seem to get serious just enough to appear sober, and as you can see, our security is pretty intimidating.”

She nodded. They watched as another chariot stopped at the corner. This couple was taking full advantage of the stop to show off some talented gymnastic moves they must have practiced before hand. The crowd applauded and a few hooted, in a respectful way. His companion’s face had turned bright red when she noticed he was watching her watching the couple, and excused herself. He smiled.

The chariots consisted of an eight by five foot long tinted glass tube large enough for a wheelchair or two, mounted on two axles, which were held up by four large spiked wooden wheels. The tube was lit up and the couple’s silhouettes were clearly visible.

The cart itself, which resembled a chariot, was being pulled by an extremely large Harley. And all the drivers were exceptionally large and dangerous looking characters, with spiked helmets and wooden clubs strapped to their waist. The drivers appearance made everyone from outside of the chariot behave, which made the customers more comfortable, and more uninhibited.

No one from the outside was able to tell for sure who the couple was inside, although a few hair dues seemed pretty unusual, and may have been recognizable to friends of theirs. On the other hand, it was very obvious what they were probably doing with each other inside the tube.

The chariots were lit up from the inside by an elaborate, colorful lighting system. And the couples could choose the lighting theme and music they wanted using the touch screen mounted into the glass.

When his special guest returned to the table, she now looked extremely well-composed and professional. “It must be the ultimate date.” She said laughing. She sat down and took a sip of wine, keeping her expression serious and lawyerly.

“Exactly. That was my first sales pitch!” She laughed. “You see, I think there’s this secret desire that lurks in every heart to be secretly watched doing it by other people. Except they don’t want anyone they know watching them. And they definitely don’t want to know or be caught doing…that is, doing what they have every right to do whenever they want to do it!” They both chuckled.

He paused and took another drink. She said nothing, but looked around instead. A couple was dancing extremely close in one of the corners, on a somewhat hidden dance floor.

“So I’m doing what every good entrepreneur would do by giving them exactly what they really want most, but can’t tell anyone. Maybe not even their spouse.” Her eyebrows lifted at this comment. She looked down at the ring on her hand and slid it under the table-

He remembered when him and his attorney, Britney, had met and first discussed the idea. “Well, you weren’t joking when you said you had a real mind blowing idea this time. Glad to see you’re willing to put your imagination to good use. This would definitely be testing the waters. And this is the perfect time and place to do it, so to speak.'”

His lawyer had warned him. “You know most of your investment is going to go to us lawyers; I mean, keeping the chariots on the road?”

“Yes. I imagine, it’s going to be a hell of a grand opening!” He smiled. “At first, it’ll be by invitation only. This way, everyone who participates knows they may be arrested.”

“We can get some injunctive relief once the case has been established as a constitutional, not criminal, question This way, we can keep the ‘do gooders’ away while it weaves its way through the courts. We’ll agree to some basic standards, like not operating until after 9:00 p.m. And agree to keep our chariots restricted to commercial zoned enclaves, and out of residential neighborhoods. And your company will be very, very strict about keeping anyone under eighteen out of the tube, so to speak.” She always had this interesting way of putting things, he remembered and smiled.

She continued. “This case is going to the Supreme Court eventually, but I think the Ninth Circuit will let us operate after dark, along a clearly designated pathway, like the naked cyclists do every year, keeping just enough of the critical body parts hidden from public view-”

He told her he was ready to do it! “I want to make this business happen and screw the government and corporations who we already know are watching us and making videos of us in our bedrooms and bathrooms doing it!”

She gave him one more piece of advice, he always remembered. “Here’s what else I want you to do,” she added. “Get some actors and fit them with skin tight outfits. Then film them from both outside and inside simulating all sorts of sex acts. If we can show that this ‘acting’ can not be distinguished from actual sex from the outside, then the courts will be more inclined to accept our argument that it is political theater, and a citizen’s First Amendment right to engage in this activity in public view because of the invasive spying, during appropriate hours and along commercially zoned thoroughfares.”

She went on to explain, ‘As more information is leaked about what the corporations and government itself is doing every day to violate our right to privacy, our argument grows stronger and stronger. It’s like giving them all the finger, except it won’t be the finger, even if it does kind of like look like a finger to some. It might not fly in Cincinnati’, she added, ‘but in most major cities I believe it will pass the mustard test.’

As Britney predicted, The test was successful. They had the evidence to prove that what the viewer was seeing depended solely on their imagination, not reality. Sure, 99% of the time they may have been right. But that one time when they were wrong, and we could prove they were wrong, was enough to create reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the accused and their intent. As she said, there may be some communities where this would never fly, but most large urban areas already had community standards that would be consistent with the business of letting people make love, or pretend to make love, in public as a First Amendment right if they wanted too!

So keeping the customers identity secret was his first priority. It was about establishing trust among his cliental. Once people knew they could do this naughty thing with anyone else of age and not be arrested and prosecuted , it would catch on real quick, he predicted. And having an exclusive ticket for thirty minutes on a thrill ride like this would be worth it, for most. When it gets popular enough, I’ll sell it all and move onto something else.”

The young, attractive intern flipped her long brown hair back over her shoulder and took another sip of wine. As he continued the interview, he thought back about that first and only arrest.

“So when the cops showed up that first day to make the first arrest, the chariot driver was peacefully taken into custody, as our lawyers and the city and county had agreed would happen. Our lawyers assured the government attorneys and police that the driver himself had not violated any sort of public indecency laws, other than sometimes driving to slow.”

“You mean like the ice cream truck does?” She asked, smirking.

“I like your analogy.” He returned her smile.

“As Britney and the city lawyers arranged, the couple, I’ll just call Jack and Jill, remained inside the tube while the driver was being arrested.”

“The tube couldn’t be unlocked from the inside until the main office released the locking mechanism. The chariots are constantly being monitored by our home security for obvious reasons.”

“You see, the driver couldn’t unlock the tube even if he wanted to, and was visually shielded from seeing what was going on directly behind him. As I’ll explain more about this later, it is set up so that the couple is already inside the tube when the driver starts the bike and leaves the garage. The tube remains dark until it gets to the first intersection.”

“And then the show begins?” She asked.

“Or not,” he responded. They both laughed.

“The viewer never knows what they will or won’t see, or even if its real or just good acting,” he added.

“This way, the driver had no personal liability for what was happening directly behind him. And bye controlling the lock, we kept anyone from running up to the chariot and pulling the door open before the driver could stop them.”
“And no one tried?” She asked.

“Yes, in the beginning a few people tried to get inside the tube, so to speak.” She smiled at his silly pun. “But then got the shock of their life!” They both laughed, as he pretended to grab the handle and was suddenly shocked.

He took a big swallow of his beer and continued. “So we negotiated this deal where Jack and Jill’s identity would not be disclosed to the public. This was Britney’s first victory in the case, I remember.”

“That was five years ago, right?”.

“Yup, five years, two months and three days ago. Before we let them open the tube, we had a different driver take the chariot to a pre-arranged, more private location. Wearing only their robes, Jack and Jill climbed out and were arrested. After their prints and photos were taken on the spot, as we agreed, they were quickly released into Britney’s custody.”

“Then you were arrested and booked at the county jail, is that correct.” She asked with admiration.

“Yes, although it wasn’t like really being arrested. They never searched my butt or dressed me up in some orange clown suit, like most people get.” He looked down with disgust.

“Jack and Jill’s actual identities never did appear in the arrest report or the court records, only my name appeared there as having been charged with the crime of public indecency that day, as the primary respondent in the case.” She nodded and glanced down at her recorder to make sure it was still recording.

“The deal Britney worked out with the prosecutors included our agreement to cease all operations until the courts decided otherwise. This agreement allowed us to keep it civilized, and private, as far as Jack and Jill were concerned.”

“So you only operated the business one day before it got shut down?” She asked, inquisitively.

“Well, don’t think we hadn’t planned for this outcome from the beginning. As Britney predicted, the cops, and the city and county attorneys, all thought they had won this easy victory, and the media was all over us, calling us ‘perverts’ and sick voyeurs. We suspected all of this would be the initial response.”

“But it didn’t work out that way.?”

“No,not for long.” He answered, pointing to the street where another chariot was pulling up. “Along with protecting the secrecy of our customers identities, which was a victory in itself as far as we were concerned, we got the injunctive relief from the federal district court we wanted. And we were back up and running within ten months, as the case began to move through the federal court system.”

“As I predicted, more and more Americans got behind us. Me and Britney were willing to talk to anyone who wanted to talk to us about the case. We were able to move the focus from our business on to the corporations and government’s pervasive spying programs, and Americans began to see our side of the argument. We argued that this was a First Amendment case, not a public indecency question. Most Americans agreed, it was the people’s right to decide what is and isn’t private, not the corporations or the government. And the only way the people could adequately respond to evidence the government and corporations were video taping people in their bedrooms and bathrooms in their most private moments was to put it right back into their faces, so to speak.” She laughed aloud-

“Okay, so before we walk over there and I show you the facility, let me tell you a little more about Thrillers and how the chariots work.” She nodded, shyly.

“When couples arrive at the facility they are first asked to hand over their personal identification and method of payment. After being checked in, they are then asked to leave most of their personal belongings in a locker. Then, they are escorted by security to these private rooms, which are attached to the chariot garage. They’re given robes and private lockers for their clothes. Free adult drinks and cannabis is available if they want.”

“But there’s no smoking anything inside the chariot?”

“That’s right. We’ll give them traveling cups filled with what ever they want, but no smoking bud once they leave their private suite.”

We have six chariots, although we only operate five at a time, and at least one of those is always in the garage being cleaned and gassed up. So for $150 per half hour they put on their robes and nothing else, and climb into the chariot and wait for the driver to return.”

“Thirty minutes seems pretty quick,” she asked, innocently. He smiled big at this question, and she began to blush, thinking about what she had just said.

He continued, “Some couples reserve it for an hour or two at a time.” He paused, but she continued to stare at her wine, waiting for the burning she felt in her cheeks to fade away.

He quickly added, “But there’s no discount for reserving more time. We have more than enough people waiting in line. But our policy is to always let our customers add more time, up to two hours, until they actually leave the chariot.” She looked up at him, and he smiled confidently.

“You know, we could probably have ten or twenty chariots operating on weekends. But its that limited rare opportunity that’s kept the business so popular. For example, we are already completely booked tonight and tomorrow night.”

“Darn,” she said, laughingly.

He stood up and offered her his arm. Without saying a word, she stood up and hooked her arm inside of his and stuck her recorder into her purse. As though they were already lovers, she pulled herself up against him, feeling his body heat. Looking up at him, she gave him a smile that said everything.

As they began to walk across the courtyard, he said. “This is why I always keep a sixth chariot available–“