This arti­cle is part 8 of 9 in the series The Maui Condiments

I slept in the next day, not aris­ing until slight­ly after ten a.m., and I lounged around briefly with a cup of cof­fee while watch­ing CNN to catch up on what was hap­pen­ing else­where in the world.  When one is in Hawaii, one tends to either for­get about or pur­pose­ly ignore all the tribu­la­tions else­where, and the news was­n’t all that dif­fer­ent from what it had been when I left the main­land anyway.

Then, show­er­ing and shav­ing, I pre­pared to go relax in the court­yard with a book until I could spot Herschel com­ing for his lunch.  At least I hoped that he would fol­low his usu­al rou­tine today and dine at the Beach Club.

Shortly after noon I glanced up from my book and saw him approach­ing.  I act­ed sur­prised when he got near and tossed a friend­ly greet­ing, “Hey, Mr. Herschel.  Good to see you again.  Heading in for lunch?”

“Mr. Tate,” he respond­ed.  “Yes, actu­al­ly.  And I’m din­ing alone today unless you’d care to join me.”

“I’d be glad to.  And do you sup­pose we could begin by using first names?  It could prove a bit awk­ward to keep refer­ring to each oth­er as Mr. Herschel and Mr. Tate since we’re becom­ing din­ing partners.”

“Of course.  Michael and Marion it is,” he offered.

We entered the restau­rant and were quick­ly seat­ed by the recep­tion­ist, at a table where we could look out over the near­by pool and the ocean beyond.  I found it a bit dis­tract­ing to see some of the biki­ni-clad ladies loung­ing around the pool deck, but I man­aged to con­cen­trate on the task at hand.

I was glad that Pinter was not accom­pa­ny­ing Herschel to lunch today as I would have found it dif­fi­cult to avoid endan­ger­ing him with my scheme to deal with Herschel.  Pinter may or may not have been as cul­pa­ble as Herschel in all the nefar­i­ous activ­i­ties, but my charge was to deal with Herschel.  I was­n’t anx­ious to cre­ate col­lat­er­al damage.

There were still some impon­der­ables attached to my plan.  First, I did­n’t know if Herschel was a salt user and sec­ond, even if he did use salt, I was­n’t sure he would order some­thing that would require it.  Nothing to do but play the cards as they were dealt.

As it turned out, I did­n’t need to wait for the lunch order to find out how I could make my move.  I ordered a glass of Chardonnay and Herschel very oblig­ing­ly ordered a tequi­la!  If he fol­lowed the usu­al rit­u­al, salt would be includ­ed and the amount that he would typ­i­cal­ly con­sume with a glass of tequi­la would be suf­fi­cient for my purposes.

Awaiting our drinks, I reached across the table to osten­si­bly pick up some sug­ar pack­ets for the iced tea I had also ordered and man­aged to knock the salt shak­er from the table.  I quick­ly reached down to retrieve it and man­aged to switch it for the one in my pock­et which I placed back on the table.

When our drinks arrived, I began sip­ping my glass of wine and watched as Heschel licked the side of his left hand and sprin­kled a gen­er­ous por­tion of salt onto the area he had just wet­ted.  The salt clung to the damp area of his hand and he licked it off before down­ing the shot of tequi­la and suck­ing on the lemon slice which came with it.

True to the depic­tion of him as some­one who liked to drink, and since I was still sip­ping on a glass of wine, he sig­naled the wait­ress to bring him anoth­er tequi­la!  It was hard to imag­ine some­one being so accom­mo­dat­ing in his own death!

The remain­der of lunch was spent in small talk and I gath­ered a good deal of advice on what to see while on Maui.  I was grate­ful for his knowl­edge of the island and deter­mined that I would take advan­tage of some of his rec­om­men­da­tions for the remain­der of my stay.

I knew that the remain­der of his stay would not be pleas­ant and that his return to the main­land would be in a casket.

As we rose to leave the restau­rant, I man­aged to switch back the salt con­tain­ers while his back was turned.  I could flush the remain­der of the con­tents down the toi­let and dis­pose of the con­tain­er some­where off the hotel grounds in some man­ner so that it would nev­er be used again.

We walked back to the hotel togeth­er.  He indi­cat­ed that he had some busi­ness to con­duct that after­noon and that per­haps we would meet again for lunch.

I knew that we wouldn’t.

  • Chuck Witt

    Chuck is a retired archi­tect, a for­mer news­pa­per colum­nist, and a life­long res­i­dent of Winchester.

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