Max is an Aquarian, an air sign. It is the sign of visionaries who have a keen eye for deception and maintain contagious optimism. They are also charming and cheery. That’s the official version. So, I was taken aback when I saw Max brooding one day in a dark corner of the garden.
I sat on the bench next to him and asked, “What’s wrong, dear?”
“On this birthday I’ll be seventy and what have I done with my life?” he said, his elbows on knees, cradling his head in his hands.
He was fishing for compliments. At seventy, he had a right.
“Max! I’m shocked!” I said, putting my arm around him. “You are the winner of five Golden Radish Awards, the most any caterer has ever received from the Garnishing Guild of America,”
“Well, yes, that’s true,” he said, sniffing and lowering his eyes modestly. “I’ve done everything that can be done to a radish. But, I don’t know,” he said, lifting his head, a faraway look in his eyes, “now, I want to do something really big, something radical, something unlike me.”
I eyed him suspiciously. “Like what?”
“Max, you get a nosebleed looking out of a second story window.”
“A little dramatic my dear,” he said, “but there’s a seed of truth.”
“Or zip lining!”
“You hate speed!”
“You don’t swim!”
“You’re being rather discouraging,” he said, giving me a sideways glance.
“No, Max dear, just realistic.”
He chuckled. “Yes, I suppose you’re right. “ He paused a moment and then a wicked gleam came into his eyes. “There is one thing that I have been thinking about doing quite seriously.”
“Oh?” I said.
Whatever could that be? Gambling in Las Vegas? Taking a vacation on a dude ranch? Starting a men’s club?
“What would you think of my getting ………….
What? I thought. Guitar lessons? A billiard table? A jukebox?
“What would you think of my getting a ………… tattoo?”
My mild mannered, conservative, play-by-the-book Max with a tattoo? Weren’t tattoos for bikers or teenagers with rings in their noses and plugs in their ears?
I swallowed, trying not to laugh. “Oh, Max! How novel of you!”
“I’ve been watching “Miami Ink” and ordinary people get tattoos all the time for different reason. I’m thinking of something that relates to my career like an eagle across my chest holding garnishing tools. Or maybe, a cornucopia on my back.”
I chewed my lower lip and patted him on the hand. Oh, dear!
Max got his tattoo. Instead of the eagle or the cornucopia, it was a tattoo of a martini in honor of my book THE PINOCCHIO RING that takes place on Martini Cove Island. What a dear man! And where it is located on his body, let me just say this: if you see Max on the beach in his Speedo, you might just catch a glimpse of the olive but not the whole glass.
I told him it looked very provocative. Ah, the things we do for love!
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