THE MIDNIGHT SKULKER 24
March 1, 1974
2:12 p.m. Pacific Standard Time
Dipping her fork into the dish of Chili Con Carne, putting it into her mouth, she chewed… she gasped and, her eyes opening wide… “Ulp!”
Marsha Lipensky’s eyes opened so wide they looked as though they might pop from their sockets and perspiration immediately dotted her forehead, as, gasping, her pursed lips sucked air inward as, grabbing her glass of Coca Cola, with one long gulping, gurgling drink the glass was emptied.
As Margaritas made south of the border are far different than Americanized Margaritas made north of the border, so then, in Tijuana, Mexico, chili is different… far different and far, far spicier than chili made north of the border by a Jewish housewife living in Schaumburg, Illinois.
Fanning her tongue with her hand, “Mithie, thith sthuff is thterrible!” Her eyes touching on Mitchell’s ice blended Margarita, grabbing it off the table, Marsha Lipensky stuck her tongue in it.
With a sense of comical disbelief at the sight of his wife with her tongue cooling in his drink, fighting to keep from laughing. “Hot stuff?” Mitchell asked.
“Ain’t funny! ‘Hot stuff’, yeah!” Making a different kind of a face now, “Yuck! You’re right; this stuff is terrible! Here, you drink it,” she said, handing the glass back to her husband.
Taking the glass, looking at it a moment, “No thanks.” He placed it on the table.
“What’s the matter? My tongue’s okay when we kiss, but it’s not when I stick it in your farghtinkener (stinky) drink?”
“Yeah, okay.” Seeing bits of chili floating in the drink, “I didn’t plan on drinking anymore of the stuff anyway… So what do you want to do with that,” pointing to her dish.
“Who do we hate?”
“Should we see if they’ll swap it for something else?”
“Yes; I certainly can’t eat it!”
Looking for their waiter, he signaled for him to come over.
“She can’t eat this!” Mitchell explained to the old waiter. “It’s too hot.”
As though speaking to a child, “ ‘Too hot’, Mister?” Lifting Marsha’s unused salad fork, taking a forkful, placing it into his mouth, chewing and swallowing. “This is not ‘too hot’, Mister.”
“Well she can’t eat it. Will you swap it for something else?”
Knowing these two were tourists and would not be back, “ ‘Swap’?” The waiter said, “I don’t understand what you mean, ‘swap’.”
“Can she have something in place off,” pointing, “this.”
“If you wish to pay for another meal.”
Becoming angry, “Forget it, Mitchell! That looks like a lot to eat anyway,” pointing to his plate, “Split it with me and we’ll get something else later.”
Thinking, You just blew your tip! “Take her dish away and just give us a clean one.”
Shrugging his shoulders, the waiter brought a clean dish.
Following the return street directions he’d made, coming out of ‘The Alamo’ they turned left onto ‘Via Ote’, walked past the corners of ‘Avenida Miguel Negrete’, ‘Via Poniente’ and ‘Via Oriente’ to ‘Empleados Federales’ then, without looking over the rail, past the ‘cardboard city’ and over the bridge where they were stopped by a border officer that asked for identification… then allowed Marsha and Mitchell Lipensky to return to the U.S.A..
The top to the Buick Wildcat lowered with American air once again ruffling their hair, “Know what?”
Glancing over his shoulder, “What?”
“Other than that Burrito, that was really pretty good, I wasn’t all that impressed with Tijuana.”
“Yeah, me, too. And they make really shitty Margaritas in Mexico, too.”
Arriving at the ‘Shelter Inn’ at 3:45, there was a message from Sophie Chin saying that she had the escrow documents and asked that they call her when they get in.
“Sophie, hi! It’s Marcy Lipensky.”
“Marcy, hello! So how did you enjoy your day here?”
“The weather’s dreamy, and the car we rented… I wish I could pack it in a suit case and bring it home with us.”
“How’d you enjoy Tijuana?”
“Not so much, it’s… ‘different’ and kind of dirty and, yuck, I sampled their version of chili…”
Laughing, “I know what you mean. Mexican chili isn’t quite the same as your chili, is it?”
“Yeah, you can say that again! It was so hot…” laughing, “I had to use Mitchell’s Margarita to cool my tongue. But the drive along the ocean to Sea World was beautiful and we loved Coronado and the hotel there, wow, it was unbelievable!”
“I rather thought that’s what you’d think of Tijuana. When you get further into Mexico it’s much nicer… Anyway, I have your documents, and I spoke to Alice again and your buyers in Schaumburg are agreeable with a concurrent close because they plan on doing the same with their old property. I’ve spoken to the Sawyers and they’re all set also. So I’ll be running to La Jolla to have them sign the ‘docs’ after I’ve seen you and Mitchell.”
“Well, we’re back at the hotel, so anytime you want come over.”
“Give me twenty minutes.”
“Do you want to meet in the lobby or up in our room?”
“Let’s see? By the time I get there it’ll be after four. So, being as I’ve worked my butt off today and I’m ready for a drink, what say we meet in the hotel bar?”
“Yeah, Marsha said, and I’m ready for a ‘Ball Banger’.”
“ A ‘Ball Banger'?’”
“You had to be there… See you in little while.
©October 24, 2011 / Mark M. Lichterman