Author's note: I always wanted to do something with this quote from the episode 'Honor Code:' "My father left me in the Maui Hilton for two days and didn't even realize I was missing until he got the room service bill." This is what the muse came up with. Hope you like it.
Tony muses …
It was Lichtenberg - or was it Lichtenstein? Or Lichenburger? - who or whatever. Somebody famous once said that "There are people who think that everything one does with a serious face is sensible." The point he was trying to make is that some people are idiots.
Take my father, for example. We mutually severed all ties when I was eighteen, and I never looked back. If I ever did look back, it would cost me thousands of dollars from the years I would spend in therapy afterward.
The following little story is just one of the many reasons I refer to him as 'the sperm donor' rather than 'dear old Dad.'
The story starts like this:
My father decided to combine business with pleasure by arranging to meet with a client in Hawaii. My mother invited herself along. When Father realized that he wouldn't be able to talk Mother out of it, he agreed on one condition: little Tony and his nanny, Elizabeth, would be coming along.
The story continues …
Being a ten year old kid and forced to share a room with your nanny at the Maui Hilton could have been really boring; especially if your room had a connecting door to the room next door where your parents were staying. However, Tony's dad and the nanny were involved in more than a simple employer-employee relationship.
This particular morning, the vacationing family members were up early. Tony's mother stepped through the door of their adjoining rooms, fully made up and perfectly dressed. Not willing to risk disarranging her ensemble by any potentially messy personal contact, she waved a hand and blew air kisses to Tony, Elizabeth, and his father standing in the room behind her. "'Bye, dears, I'm off for a day of shopping. Don't expect me back before dinner."
Less than half an hour later, Tony's dad joined Elizabeth and his son. He pulled out his wallet and absently removed a handful of currency. Without bothering to check the amount, he passed the cash to his son. "Tony, Elizabeth and I have a few things we need to discuss. Take this, and go see the sights."
Young Tony was more than happy to do so. Elizabeth was the latest in a long line of nannies to have passed through the Dinozzo household. Tony chafed under her restrictions. The last nanny had let him do pretty much whatever he wanted, as long as he was on time for meals. Elizabeth never let him have any fun. For example, every school day she made it a requirement that Tony complete his homework before he could go outside and play with his friends. The change in rules was perceived as totally unfair to his ten year old self.
Tony was halfway out the door before his father shouted to his retreating back, "And don't come back until dinner time!"
Tony waited until he was in the hotel's lobby before he counted out his cash. "Twenty, forty, sixty, eighty, one hundred dollars!" Man, if his dad knew what he'd given him, he sure would want some of it back. Luckily for Tony, his dad would forget all about the money after a day spent with Elizabeth.
Tony spent a while browsing through the hotel's stack of travel brochures, trying to find something to do. Most of them advertised grown-up stuff to do like golfing; or walking around old volcanoes in Haleakala National Park. If Tony was going to see a volcano, he wanted it to be a live one. Glowing, molten lava equaled cool. Black, dead rock equaled boring.
One brochure really caught his eye. It offered a boat-based whale-watching excursion. Unfortunately, there was no way he'd be back in time for dinner. He held on to the brochure with the hope that he might be able to sell Elizabeth on the idea for another day. If Elizabeth went along, Father would agree, and it would be a done deal.
The weather was beautiful and Tony had his bathing suit on under his clothing. He eventually decided to head down to the beach. He introduced himself to a group of kids his own age, and ended up making many new friends that day.
His enjoyment would have been greatly curtailed if young Tony had been present when his mother returned to their suite of rooms. Her arrival was much earlier than originally planned. She walked in on her husband and the nanny. The two of them were too involved to notice that they were no longer alone. It was probably best for young Tony that he was spared the resulting screaming fight between his parents.
The fight concluded with his mother yelling at her husband, "Get out!"
By this time, hotel security had arrived after having been alerted by the other guests. The security staff encouraged the elder Dinozzo to get dressed and leave so that his wife could have time alone to calm her homicidal urges.
After Mr. Dinozzo left the room, Mrs. Dinozzo turned to the terrified nanny cowering beneath the sheets. Her voice cold, sharp, and promising deadly retribution, she declared, "You are SO fired!"
With that last comment, Mrs. Dinozzo left the unclothed Elizabeth in the room with the security staff and retreated to the quiet of her own room. She slammed the door behind her hard enough to rattle the pictures hanging on the wall.
This was not the first time Mr. Dinozzo had been caught cheating by his wife, nor would it be the last. However, Tony's father could not recall his wife ever being quite this angry before. He decided the wisest thing to do would be to stay out of her way. He decided to book a room at the Hyatt hotel. Rather than risk a return to the Hilton and his wife's rage, Mr. Dinozzo met with the Hyatt's Concierge and arranged for the man to purchase clothing and toiletries and have them delivered to his new room. The last necessity he purchased himself: a bottle of Jack Daniels. He proceeded to quietly drink himself into oblivion.
Tony's mother was debating whether or not to file for divorce as she supervised the hotel maid she'd ordered to pack up her belongings. She tipped the maid generously before heading down to a waiting cab. Tony's mother left a note at the front desk addressed to her husband. She did not spare a thought for her son. The note informed her husband that she was flying home today, and he was NOT to follow.
Young Tony returned to his hotel room promptly at six o'clock. There was no one there. Fifteen minutes passed, and still no one joined him. He began searching for a note. He could not find one in his room, so he headed into his parents' room next door. There was no note, but he noticed that his mother's belongings were nowhere in evidence. A more thorough inspection revealed that while his father's things were all present and accounted for, nothing of his mother's remained. He sighed. It did not take Magnum P.I. to figure out that his mother had found out about her husband and the nanny. Tony couldn't find it within himself to be too upset. There was nothing new about his parents arguing. At least Tony would get something out of the deal this time: a new nanny.
Seven o'clock came and went, and Tony began to get worried. His father was a Nazi when it came to dinner being served promptly at six o'clock. Tony had been on the receiving end of more than one swat when he'd arrived late. He headed down to the front desk.
The desk clerk, a young, attractive brunette, smiled down at her guest. "Can I help you?"
Tony's return smile was tentative, held back by his worry. "I was wondering if you have any messages for Dinozzo in room 501?"
Tony's mother had not bothered to address her husband personally. The outer envelope was simply labeled, 'Dinozzo.' The smiling clerk handed the note to her young guest.
His "Thank you" was a distracted afterthought as he read the message. Great. If he knew his father, the elder Dinozzo would be off somewhere getting drunk. Tony did not want to be anywhere near his father when he was drinking. Just in case the old man was wandering around the hotel somewhere, Tony retreated to the safety of his room. He ordered his dinner from the room service menu, and fell asleep watching television afterward.
He woke up the following morning and found that his father had never returned.
He ordered breakfast from room service, then headed off to join his new friends at the beach. During the course of the day, he returned to the hotel periodically to check for any sign of his father. Day passed into evening, and his father did not return.
That night, Tony watched television in the dark, unable to fall asleep. The darkness encouraged his worst fears. What if Father never comes back? What if he's dead? What if no one wants me? How will I get home?
Even though home was more often a source of turmoil than comfort, young Tony felt his eyes fill with tears as he contemplated his fate. His chest hitched with the beginning of a sob. Out of habit, he tried to stifle the sound, not wanting to anger his parents. Despite his best efforts, one sob turned into two and more. His crying began in earnest when no one came in response to his cries of distress. He buried his face in his pillow and cried himself to sleep that night.
By the next morning, his sorrow from the long night had been replaced with a burning anger. The bright sun of yesterday had given way to storm clouds and rain, perfectly suiting his present mood. Tony planned to stay at the hotel all day, in order not to miss anyone who might be trying to contact him. He did not plan to spend the day alone. He called his new-found friends and invited them to a party in his room.
As the day proceeded, more and more young people realized that there was an unsupervised party in progress. They eagerly joined in the fun. The suite of rooms filled with laughing, happy vacationers. Alcohol was obtained and passed around with no worries regarding underage drinking. Tony sipped from the Jack & Coke he carried, trying to fit in with the older kids present. Given his small size and large drink, he was soon thoroughly intoxicated.
He had no idea how much time passed before the hotel's security staff arrived to clear out the rooms and shut down the party. Tony didn't remember much of the evening after that.
It seems that one of the hotel's other guests eventually complained about the party. The desk clerk of the previous day informed security that Tony was the only rightful guest present in the room. Tony couldn't tell them anything himself as he'd thrown up at the sight of the security staff before he'd passed out and collapsed onto the floor.
When the Chief of Security could not locate either of Tony's parents, he called one of the contact numbers listed when the hotel room had first been reserved. He was disturbed when the number on the mainland was answered by Tony's mother. The woman did not seem to care what had happened to her son. Her last words to the Chief had been, "Don't talk to me. Tony's his father's problem."
The Chief had been a police detective prior to taking on his current job. He had no difficulty in tracking down Tony's father. Once he found out his wife had flown back home, Mr. Dinozzo was more than willing to return to the Hilton and the mess that his son had made.
By the time his father arrived, housekeeping had restored the rooms to pristine neatness. Tony was awake and huddled on the sofa, suffering from the worst headache he'd ever had. To his immense relief, his father kept the yelling to a minimum, saying all the right words to satisfy the security Chief that his son would pay for his misdeeds, and apologizing for the fact that his son had been effectively abandoned by his parents.
After the two Dinozzos were left alone, Tony waited for his expected punishment. It never came.
His father sat across from him in one of the room's comfortable chairs. The elder Dinozzo sighed and declared, "You look as bad as I feel." He continued, "Tony, the first thing any son of mine needs to learn is how to hold his liquor."
Tony's father proceeded to relate a long, boring story about the first time he'd ever been intoxicated, sounding as if he were proud of the fact that he, too, had been all of ten years old at the time. At the conclusion of the story, he called up room service and requested that they replace the contents of the room's bar. After he hung up the phone, he stated, "Son, this is no time to be sober."