Previously, on "Woodlawn Beach" ...
Vanessa, Junior League second vice president and chairwoman of the Signature Span Committee, is still reeling from the public humiliation of her husband Derek's infidelity. Just last week, after they went to see Derek Jr. perform with the Spirit of Youth at Erie County Fair, Derek Sr. was chosen to participate in the hypnosis demonstration at the Tops Friendly Market Pavilion. It was there, onstage in front of hundreds of people, that Vanessa's beloved husband admitted that ... he actually prefers the Twin Span! Thinking their entire marriage is a sham, she gets into her Saab and heads for the Walden Galleria.
Distinguished veteran TV anchor Gordon Wolcott finds himself inexplicably fascinated with the station's new Gen X intern, Brandee. He was particularly touched when, upon returning from Woodstock, she presented him with a Limp Bizkit CD she had looted from an incinerated kiosk. Although he's been happily married for some 40 years, Gordon is distressed to discover that Brandee's spiked hair and variety of pierced body parts make him forget his Peabody awards. When she invites him to party with her and her friends on Chippewa one night after the 11 o'clock news report, he rationalizes it by saying it may make a good series for the November sweeps.
Buffalo's self-proclaimed biggest sports fan -- "Lou from Lewiston" -- is still calling sports talk shows to debate Ted Washington's diet and other such critical issues. Over a lunch of Flutie Flakes and Peca Pickles, his wife Janice confides to her best friend, Mitzi, that Lou's not been "romantic" with her since the whole Sabres "foot-in-the crease" controversy, bringing new meaning to the words "no goal." Mitzi reminds her how long it took Lou to "recover" after the "wide right" incident. Desperate, the two women make a pilgrimage to the Ralph ... and buy four old Rich Stadium seats for the camper in a last ditch effort to awaken Lou's missing mojo.
Still believing it's May 11, 1972, after being hit in the head by a piece of driftwood sculpture during the Allentown Art Festival, Uncle Joe continues to spend his days riding the No. 8 Main Street bus in search of a Courier-Express and a glazed doughnut from Freddie's.
Ellis Washington, the charismatic African-American neighborhood political leader, has just won his first primary. After celebrating with his staff and volunteers in his headquarters, he calls his mother to say goodnight.
"This is only the beginning, son," she tells him. "Mark my words. Big things are in store for you."
Ellis laughs: "Yeah, Mama, maybe I should have my own listening tour. Goodnight, Mama."
As soon as he hangs up the phone rings again.
"White House," he answers, thinking his mother is calling back. The voice on the other line is confused.
"Mr. Washington? This is Hillary Rodham Clinton. I'm going to be in Buffalo tomorrow. Would you be free to meet for lunch?"
Meanwhile, Buffalo Seminary student Felicity MacIntosh is working on her senior class project, polishing chandeliers in the basement of Shea's Buffalo Theatre, when suddenly she spots a crack in the wall. She touches it, and a secret doorway appears leading underground. Days later, she emerges from the ancient tunnel and finds herself at Happy Jack's Chinese restaurant in Fort Erie. Felicity quickly realizes what this underground intercontinental tunnel makes the Peace Bridge debate moot -- not to mention what it would do to for her final grade.
Meanwhile, Felicity's boyfriend, Javier, has been waiting for her at the Anchor Bar for what seems like days. (Javier is the Buffalo Bisons' Cuban outfielder who met Felicity when she brought a group of seniors to a game from her church group and she was accidentally dinged by his fly ball. It was love at first swing, much to her parents' dismay.)
Just when Javier is about to go home, Felicity's twin and not-nearly-so-sweet sister, Cassandra, comes in. She wonders aloud if Felicity's tardiness could have anything to do with the pre-med student their Dad's been trying to fix her up with. Firmly believing that the hunky Javier deserves better, Cassandra has decided to show him her good side. Just as Javier is getting up to leave, an old man sitting next to them begins choking on a chicken wing. Cassandra quickly leaps into action and performs the Heimlich maneuver, dislodging the errant bone.
Genuinely impressed, Javier offers to walk her home. Cassandra agrees to meet him outside in a minute after freshening up. She meets the choking victim out back and shoves a $20 bill in his hand.
"Nice job, you actually looked blue there for a minute," she tells him.
"How about another $5?" he asks. "I think you broke a rib."
She offers to do the Heimlich again -- this time a bit lower. He runs down the alley, and she happily heads off to Javier.
A mysterious mustachioed man in a fedora finds the door in Shea's basement has been opened. He pulls his cellular phone out of his pocket.
"Someone has found the tunnel," he hisses into the phone. "We must put our plan into action tonight."
He then details a plot to improve WNY tourism by diverting the water from the Horseshoe Falls to Delaware Park Lake, finally giving Buffalo sole ownership of a world-class tourist attraction!
Kathleen Rizzo Young's last story for FIRST SUNDAY was the definitive guide to Western New York shopping. Carol Jasen is anchor for WIVB-TV and was chosen sexiest woman on the Niagara Frontier by readers in the magazine's 1998 first anniversary issue.