My name is Michael Tate.
I am an assassin.
As I’ve noted before, I try to be selective regarding the assignments I accept and confine my work to the elimination of only the most heinous and dangerous characters.
While most of my “commissions” begin with a somewhat anonymous letter setting up a personal meeting to be given all the particulars, the latest request came in the mail as a package containing tickets to the destination where the assignment — if I chose to accept it — would be carried out.
That destination was also the place of contact with the person who would be providing all the additional information I would require to complete the job.
And while I am, and always have been, reticent about traveling long distances, the prospect of going to Maui, Hawaii was not one that I looked upon with much approbation.
I had never been to the islands but had always assumed that they were a most desirable destination and a pleasant locale. Now I would have a chance to find out.
It was also enticing to discover that flight tickets for the trip were included in the package and that the long legs of the flight, from Chicago to Los Angeles and Los Angeles to Maui, would be in first class. I knew from experience that there was no way that I would spend several hours in a full-to-capacity airplane jammed between two grossly overweight passengers over whom I would have to crawl in order to visit the lavatory.
The short note that accompanied the package was signed by an old acquaintance, Lionel Trane, L.T. for short, who would also be meeting me in Maui to further fill me in.
The only unfortunate thing about most of my assignments is that it is extremely difficult to predetermine whether or not I should attempt to take weapons along with me.
Of course, the last assignment which sent me to China was a no-brainer. The possibility of getting weapons into that closed-off country was virtually nil.
Traveling to Hawaii was somewhat different. As a U.S. citizen, flying from one state to another, it is quite possible to conceal weapons in checked luggage. A rifle can be broken down and some of the parts placed in a separate bag with golf clubs, while the ammunition and other small parts of the rifle can be hidden in the special pockets built into my pullman bag.
However, Hawaii, like most other states, contains gun shops. I knew that, should I decide on an elimination method requiring firearms, I could procure them there or have L.T. do so.
I happen to know that L.T. is a man with many talents… and many contacts.
L.T.‘s short note indicated that if I chose not to take the assignment, it would be a no-fault trip. I could stay on as long as I liked for a vacation and the costs for the travel and hotel would still be covered.
Hardly a deal to turn down!
My tickets scheduled me to leave in two days so I set about getting things together and ready for packing. I also visited the AAA office in Lexington to secure some travel brochures for Maui so I could acquaint myself with some of the attractions there and familiarize myself with the streets and roads on the island.
I let Nelson, my neighbor and the person who does all the farm work here, know that I would be gone for probably two weeks and asked him to keep an eye on the house.
Accepting the day’s mail delivery on the day before my departure, I informed LeAnn that I would be gone and asked her to hold my mail until my return.
Two days following the delivery of the package, I drove to Bluegrass Airport in Lexington, parked the Lexus in the long-term parking lot, and entered the terminal to check my baggage and await departure for Chicago
The security checkpoint was not particularly busy at the time I arrived, so my passage through was quick and efficient. As I was putting my shoes back on, the TSA agent asked me to open my carry-on — a briefcase. I readily obliged with the warmest smile I could muster and he quickly scanned the contents, found them quite innocent, and motioned me on.
I picked up a couple of magazines from a store on the concourse, even though I had brought along a couple of paperback books to read as well. Sometimes it’s difficult to stay focused on a novel and a break for some magazine articles can help pass the time more quickly. I got a copy of Skeptic magazine and a puzzle book of logic puzzles.
I also grabbed a breakfast sandwich and a large black coffee since I had not eaten before leaving the house and it was still early in the day. I would be reaching Maui in the afternoon of the same day I left. Amazing what the speed of jet travel and a six-hour time difference makes when one is traveling west. Of course, these two things work the same way traveling east, but they seem to work against a person going in that direction.