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My Kind of Town

by Don Chapman

Sunday, August 19, 2001


The Honolulu Soap Co.:
Sunday digest

>>King Street at Pensacola

Stopped for a red light, HPD Detective Sherlock Gomes was reaching for his cell phone to order dinner to go from the Olive Tree in Kahala - he had the onos for muscles ceviche and lamb souvlaki - when the phone rang.

"Detective Gomes, this is Anna Tomi from Queens."

"Right." Gomes had spoken with the assistant ER director earlier today.

"How's our girl?"

"Much better. She regained consciousness about 30 minutes ago."

"Is she able to talk?"

"Yes."

"I'm on my way."

Dinner could wait. Gomes wanted to talk with the young woman who earlier today had crashed Sen. Donovan Matsuda-Yee-Dela Cruz-Bishop-Kamaka's car off the Keeaumoku Overpass. Gomes had just come from visiting the senator. The Democrats' best hope in 2002 was loaded to the gills, on ice among other things. Gomes had spotted a glass pipe on a corner table. The pipe was currently in a baggie in Gomes' briefcase. In two days, the senator would be on his way to a rehab center in Portland, part of the private deal Gomes had made. Now he wanted to hear Serena Kawainui's side of the story.

>>Department of Health

There was something about the report that came over from the Board of Water Supply just before closing time that had DOH investigator Steve Tamura working late. Initial tests by BWS had shown a prospective well in Waimanalo to be full of promise - volume-wise anyway. But then the chemists and microbiologists ran their water quality tests. What they came up with was an odd cocktail of at least a dozen chemicals. From there it didn't take much looking to find what had once been an illegal chemical dump site nearby.

Tamura was a clean-water chemist and took pride in giving Honolulu the cleanest, best-tasting water of any municipality anywhere. Poisons were another matter, another expertise. It was just a hunch, but Tamura had an idea. From memory he dialed the number for his old chemistry prof at UH. Tamura was betting the prof could tell him some of the more exotic uses of those chemicals. That might help tell him who had dumped them there, and why.

>>Queen's Medical Center

Sheets Ah Sun was old school, but he could figure why his youngest son Lance had been at the hate crimes bill rally. He'd suspected it for years, since that day when Lance was about 10 and he preferred baking snickerdoodles with his sister to fishing for akule with his father and older brother.

Lance had been in coma since hitting his head on a curb earlier today when he was attacked by a skinhead on the Capitol grounds during the rally. But even sitting here in the intensive care unit, seeing Lance with a tube in his nose and another leading from a puka in the back of his skull, Sheets was thinking about the upcoming graduation of his eldest son Laird from Stanford Business. The whole family was supposed to leave in two days, and he hoped Lance's unfortunate incident would not screw up his plans. At the graduation dinner, Sheets would announce that he was naming Laird president of the Honolulu Soap Company.

Lily wouldn't like it, but this was still Sheets' company and he'd do what he thought was best. Speaking of Lily, they ought to call her and tell her the bad news about her brother.

"Mama, I think I better let Lily know," he said, reaching for his cell phone.

His wife, Grace, was beside the bed where Lance lay, silently weeping. She nodded, waved toward the door. "I don't want him to hear," she whispered.

What could a person in a coma, as dead as alive, possibly hear? But Sheets didn't want to upset his wife any more. He nodded, stepped outside.

Grace leaned close to her youngest child, whispered in his ear: "Oh Lance, I love you so much. Did you know I saw it happen today, from my office? Lance, I know what your being at the hate crimes rally means. I've known for a long time, honey, and it's OK. Whether or not you're gay doesn't change how much I love you. I'm your mother, I'll always love you, no matter what. Just come back to me, Lance. Please just come back to me."

Maybe it was her imagination, but Grace thought she saw his left eye twitch.

In the ICU hallway, Sheets speed-dialed Lily's number .

>>Portlock

An instant after Quinn Ah Sun got off his shot with his Glock 9mm, a slug from the .22 hit him in the right thigh. It spun him around and he went down, dropping the Glock.

Still lying on the bed, Mickey kept the .22 on Quinn as he reached to pull up his black surf shorts, unaware that the sound of gunfire and flying plaster had roused Rosalita Resurreccion.

Quinn had kept his cell phone on, kept the line open to HPD dispatch. "Central," he whispered hoarsely into the earpiece-microphone, grimacing through the pain. "I'm 10-15 (officer in trouble). This is 10-11 (emergency, expedite immediately), repeat 10-11. And send me a 10-10 (ambulance)."

Quinn's Glock had landed four feet away and Quinn was crawling to retrieve it when he heard "Leave it right there!"

Looking over his shoulder, Quinn saw the .22 pointed at him as the guy struggled to pull his shorts up and to get up from the bed at the same time. He also saw Rosalita moving behind the guy who had been about to rape her, but refused to focus on her. That would be a dead giveaway. Rosalita was acting on an instinct that ran deeper than mere Catholic-induced modesty. This was life and death. And so for the moment she didn't even notice that she was totally nude, or think that until this moment the only man to ever see her without clothes was her late husband Jesus, and here she was naked in front of two strangers. She saw the beast who had tried to rape her struggling to pull his black surf shorts up with one hand and pointing the silver pistol a man on the ground in the doorway. He too was bleeding, a crimson splotch spreading across the right leg of jeans. And then Rosalita saw the butcher knife on the bed. In a twinkling it was in her hands, and she was glad that she'd sharpened all of Miss Lily's kitchen knives yesterday.

Gripping the knife that in her hands looked more like a machete, Rosalita was aiming at a mole on the back of this beast's neck and had just started to stab down when the phone on the nightstand beside the bed rang. It distracted Rosalita - her maid's instincts said answer the phone - and that gave the guy a fraction of a second, and a fraction of an inch.

But it gave Quinn the same fractions and he dove for his Glock on the floor.




Don Chapman is editor of MidWeek.
His serialized novel runs daily in the Star-Bulletin
with weekly summaries on Sunday.
He can be emailed at dchapman@midweek.com



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