Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Snake Bit, Part 3





The afternoon after the debacle at The Picadilly bar I went to the other bar in our apartment complex. Just one floor above my little apartment, it was on the roof and called The Penthouse. I climbed up on a barstool, ordered a beer and prepared to mull over my employment possibilities when the owner of the bar approached me. He knew me as I lived just below the bar. He told me that his evening bartender had left town suddenly and he was in need of a new one and asked if I would be interested.

Serendipity? I thought so at the time but looking back I think it was more appropriately a snake bite. I told the man that I had worked as a cocktail waitress but never as a bartender but I would like to learn. When I returned that evening for my shift he handed me a large copy of a bartender’s drink guide, asked me to learn one new drink every day and left me there. Luckily it really wasn’t very busy that evening and I managed to wing it.

The owner (whose name, to this day, I do not feel comfortable repeating) returned at the end of my shift, asked me which drink I had learned to make and showed me how to tally the evening’s receipts and put them in the safe in his office. And Bob’s your uncle, as easy as that I had started a new career. One that actually stuck as I worked mostly as a bartender for the next twelve years.

I didn’t really know the previous bartender but over the next few weeks I notice that there seemed to be some animosity directed at me from her circle of friends who hung out in the bar. When I finally confronted some of them and asked if I had done something to offend them they told me that I was responsible for her disappearance. ????????? HUH? I said eloquently. I really didn’t know the woman other than to see her behind the bar.

The bar owner, who we will call Jim, had told me that the other bartender had left town suddenly, and I repeated this to her friends. They all laughed knowingly and asked “don’t you know who Jim is?” Apparently not, I told them. They then explained that Jim was the ex-husband of the head of the Hawaiian Mafia. Yea, I laughed too. However they were dead serious and felt that he had gotten rid of her because he wanted me to be his bartender. Whether she had left town or not no one knew, but she had definitely disappeared.

Well great! I really wasn’t sure if I bought any of this or not but I did ask around and much to my surprise this did seem to be the general consensus.  Still, I worked at The Penthouse for a long time without anything untoward happening and I had really forgotten the whole thing until one afternoon as I arrived for my shift, Jim asked me to come into his office. Once there he proceeded to tell me that because I had stolen the last evening’s receipts that I was fired. ????????? HUH?

I explained that this did NOT happen, that it went against my very nature! It didn’t matter and I was canned. The following day there was a knock at my apartment door and when I looked through the peep hole I saw two very large Hawaiian men in dark suits standing there. I put the chain on the door before opening it and asked what they wanted. They said that they were the police and would like to speak with me. I thought, all right, what now?

I asked to see their identification and they flashed some kind of card but it sure didn’t look like a police shield and they refused to give me their names or tell me what they wanted to talk to me about. They just wanted to come inside. I shut the door and told them to go away, hearing them say through the closed door that they would return. Now I was pretty freaked out. Over the next couple of days the men returned once more and I decided that I had had enough of that.

I packed my meager belongings and went to stay at the apartment of my friend David  (who later became my first husband, but we don’t need to go there) and just sort of laid low for awhile. One afternoon though I had agreed to meet David at a restaurant at the Waikiki Yacht Club. I arrived first so I waited for him at the bar. A man sat down beside me and started to chat, which didn’t strike me as strange because back then it happened every time I sat alone at a bar. However, at one point he offered me a plane ticket off the island because I was a nice kid and I was in trouble.????????? HUH?

Now I was actually panicked. I had never seen the man before or he me, I thought, so how did he know anything about me? I had the sudden feeling that if I got on that plane I would not get off at the other end. I told David what happened and he felt we should go home immediately and discuss what we should do. Call the police? Probably not the best idea. Instead I called my parents. They were wintering in Carpenteria California and sent me a plane ticket which I used in all haste and left Hawaii behind.

As I flew to California I went over and over in my mind all the events that had occurred in the previous couple of weeks, trying to make some sense out of the whole thing. The only thing that made any sense to me was that I probably had inadvertently seen something in Jim’s office that I should not have seen, on the night that I supposedly had stolen the money, but I had no idea what that might have been and never found out.


I’m sorry, I lied, the final chapter of this odyssey will be posted tomorrow. It seems to have gotten rather wordy.


  1. Don't stop! This is interesting stuff. Did you have your next surgery yet? Hope you are doing well. I have been following you and Todd for several years. Jan in Mississippi

    1. Thank you for asking Jan, I have had my next surgery and all is currently well. I am glad that you are enjoying the story.

  2. Geez, I'm on the edge of my seat!

    1. It's all a little surreal isn't it?

  3. Can hardly wait to read chapter four...

  4. That's true, but this did turn out to be a much longer piece than I had anticipated.