© 2012 by Maurice Mattei
I was in Des Moines working on a commissioned oil portrait of Oswald Ratzenberg, a
highly successful local scrap dealer, and I had some down time between sittings. The
Ratzenberg Family arranged accommodations for me at the lovely Royalton Arms in downtown
Des Moines. It was a turn-of-the-(last)-century hotel - from the so-called
"gilded age" - that had been renovated with contemporary amenities. One of these included
a bar and dance club. After dinner one evening I wandered into the club for a drink. It was
sometime after 9:00 and the place was filled with revelers. I ordered my customary
Rob Roy and watched the merriment from my perch at the bar. After a few minutes I noticed
a rather portly woman, dressed in clothes more appropriate for a much younger girl,
dancing toward me and giving me a grotesque come-hither look. Not finding her even
remotely attractive, I paid for my drink and went upstairs to the room. I did a quick
rendering from memory of this unfortunate woman (whom I have dubbed "Belinda") and
watched the last few minutes of The Final Countdown on TBN before turning in.
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