My Kind of Town


Saturday, May 26, 2001

Family relations

>> Kapiolani Boulevard

Drunk was not the way Lily Ah Sun wanted to be when she finally got to see Quinn again. At least she was a charming drunk. But at the moment both she and her cousin, who she had not seen in 21 years until he pulled her over for speeding earlier, were tongue-tied. So much to catch up on, so much to say, so much to explore. But where to start?

"So..." Quinn said.

"So I was very bad," Lily said, feigning contrition. "I got drunk for lunch."

"And it appears you've done a good job of exceeding the legal limit, so I'm glad I called you. But you're so drunk, Lily, I should arrest myself for driving with an open container of alcohol in the front seat."

And he smiled that smile, and Lily had to laugh. But she also had to swoon a little. She was so glad Quinn had called.

>> Royal Hawaiian Hotel

Sandy wasn't her real name. It was code, given to her just a month ago when she shared a very big secret. But Sandy was growing on her. It sure beat Wilhemina, which is what the nametag on her maid's uniform said. One of the boys in the pantry who thought he was funny liked to call her Wilhemina Rise -- a not so nice pun pointed at her larger-than-most-Filipina breasts.

But now, although she had only been a citizen for two years, she thought of herself as Sandy, the brave American patriot. Sandy, the secret American patriot.

Wilhemina was having lunch in the employees' cafeteria when she saw her second cousin Rey, who worked as a dishwasher for the hotel. He walked over, sat down across from her, spoke softly in Cebuano except for two words, Pearl Harbor. At the end, she nodded dutifully. She would rent the van and deliver it as instructed. This is why Sandy existed.

>> State Capitol

Grace Ah Sun was trying to sort out her growing sense of impending darkness and danger when the private line rang. Grace jumped, hoping it was her boss, the missing senator.

"Oh, hi, dear." Her husband, Sheets, calling from the Honolulu Soap Co. "No, no word on Donovan at all."

Her husband was a man of few words, and today he had fewer. "Mm. OK. See you at home." And he was gone.

Yes, this is a part of it. Something in her relationship with her husband.

Grace heard something -- she didn't know what -- in his voice that troubled her. How could she know it was his sudden and reasonable fear that the dark secret of their marriage was in danger of coming out.

Don Chapman is editor of MidWeek.
His serialized novel runs daily in the Star-Bulletin.
He can be emailed at

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