Hello to you all and Happy Easter....ooooppssss! A little early, but I'll probably be chocolated out on the day, so I need to do it now. This is a little cautionary tale for our risk taking readers that betting is not always the best thing to do when there are tender bottoms and hard palms about.
May the Easter Bunny be generous to you all!
Desperate Housewives actress Andrea Bowen.
Along with an invited guest, a reporter gets more than her winnings at the Melbourne Cup
The Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival is this reporter's favourite time of year. Parties, horse racing, gambling, parties, champagne, winning money, parties, cute guys, lovely dresses, parties, visiting celebrities, barbecues in the car parks, and did we mention the parties?
Most years the television network that has the rights to the race itself invites a handful of overseas celebrities out to add a little colour to their coverage. The most recent carnival was no exception. 'Alias' star Michael Vartan made the trip, as did 'Superman Returns' star Kate Bosworth. One invitee was 'Desperate Housewives' actress Andrea Bowen, who plays Julie Mayer, the surprisingly common-sense daughter of ditzy Susan Mayer on the popular ABC dramedy.
The sixteen-year-old Miss Bowen is a delightful young lady, but she was likely to be disappointed. Two of the major reasons why people attend the Spring Carnival are to gamble and drink, neither of which she was legally old enough to do.
Managing to score a press entrance into the network's corporate marquee, it was in that rarefied atmosphere that I happened to be standing next to Miss Bowen when she muttered the words, "Delta Blues. The horse," Miss Bowen continued. "He's running in the Cup. I had a whisper about him." The young lady appeared crestfallen. "I'd love to bet on him," Miss Bowen sighed, "but I can't. I'm too young."
"I can do it for you," I offered, "I'll even put a few bucks on it myself."
Miss Bowen gave me ten dollars, and after handing her my bucks fizz (champagne, orange juice and grenadine), I went in search of a bookie.
Over the next hour or so and a few more bucks fizzes, I got to know the young starlet rather well, and we giggled all the way through the Cup itself, jumping up and down and screaming as Delta Blues beat its fellow Japanese horse Pop Rock over the line. As I unsteadily wove my way through the crowd to collect our winnings from the bookie, I did not notice the Aussie network hostesses Shelley Craft and Johanna Griggs descend on Andrea.
Spoilsport number 1: Shelley Craft.
Miss Craft's partner in crime, yummy mummy and former top class swimmer: Johanna Griggs.
Caught in the Act
By the time I returned Miss Bowen was surrounded by Ms Craft, Ms Griggs, and Andrea's mother, Petra Bowen. The drink had been confiscated and one of the ladies was inspecting it. "Hey!" Shelley Craft exclaimed, after taking an experimental sip. "There's champagne in this!"
That was when the eagle eye of Johanna Griggs spotted me. The former Commonwealth Games swimmer's height enabled her to scan over the crowd and once she saw me I was done for. I tried to bluff my way out of it, but when Andrea Bowen herself asked me to explain the situation, I was busted.
Things quickly got worse as my own dear mother's voice resounded at my shoulder. "Yes, please explain, Deborah. I'd be extremely interested to hear how a sixteen-year-old put a bet on a horse and got alcohol at a supervised event."
Gulping, I tried to justify the whole thing as me trying to show our invited guest hospitality, and how was I supposed to know that she was 16? The amount of alcohol I had imbibed did not help me, and I think I implicated both of us in deeper than I had ever intended. "I'm going to take Andrea straight back to the hotel and take care of this in private," Mrs Bowen vowed.
"Oh, no!" Ms Craft implored her. "Please don't do that, ma'am. Andrea hasn't totally discharged her duties as a guest of the network. And whilst I do understand your annoyance and totally agree that she needs to be dealt with, if she disappears now questions are going to be asked. It's going to be rather embarrassing for both Andrea and the network."
A bit vexed, Mrs Bowen asked with an arched eyebrow how she could deal with the situation quickly.
"Well," Ms Craft replied, "I know if I had done the same thing at her age I would have wound up over my Mum's lap getting a good blistering with her hairbrush. Right in public where the crime was committed."
Young Andrea's face paled beneath her makeup and a smile spread across her mother's face. "What a wonderful suggestion," Petra Bowen said.
A grin broke out across the blonde presenter's sunny features. "We have a private tent we use for changing and applying makeup," said Ms Craft, "and I know for a fact that there are a couple of sturdy wooden hairbrushes in there. I'd be happy to take Andrea there for a visit."
"Please do, Shelley," Mrs Bowen invited, handing the teenager over to the grinning Ms Craft. "I'll enjoy our hosts' hospitality while you do so. And Andrea, Mommy Teri will find out about this."
"Yes, Mom," Andrea sighed miserably at the reference to Teri Hatcher, the woman who played her mother in 'Desperate Housewives.' I got the impression that Ms Hatcher punished her on-screen offspring for off-screen events.
Before Shelley could take Miss Bowen to the place of execution my own mother chipped in. "Deborah was just as much to blame for this. She plied this poor girl with alcohol and aided her in placing a bet. I think she should share in whatever punishment Andrea is going to receive, as she was an accessory."
I frowned. I knew I should never have encouraged my mother to take that course in Law.
"I'll take care of that, ma'am," Johanna Griggs offered, taking me by the elbow. Oh God! I was going to be spanked by Ms Griggs, a blonde ex-swimmer who is positively Amazonian. She is well over six feet tall and powerfully built with it. I was going to have to stand up all of Oaks Day.
In the private tent Ms Craft and Ms Griggs seated themselves on makeup chairs facing each other. Young Miss Bowen and I regarded each other from our upside down positions over the ladies' knees, and then we blushed as our spring skirts were lifted and our panties lowered. We started howling about the same time as firm palms descended onto our tender derrieres.
By the time the hairbrushes appeared my eyes were so blurred by tears that I could not even see Andrea properly. After the spanking we were stood in the corners while our mothers came in to view us. We were allowed to redress and our make-up was reapplied after our eyes were dried. Miss Bowen was noticeably uncomfortable as she completed her interviews with Ms Craft.
My advice is, if an underage starlet gives you a tip on a race, ignore it!
Originally published in Bared Affair, Issue 5.01