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My Kind of Town

by Don Chapman

Sunday, October 21, 2001


The Honolulu Soap Co.: Sunday digest

>> Waterfront Plaza

"What a fruitcake" was one of the nicer expressions city editors and news directors used to describe people who over the years had called to report seeing a World War II vintage mini-submarine in island waters. Especially when they added that a fading red circle was painted on the sub's hull.

The rumor had been floating around for years, literally, but was never taken seriously. At least not in the real world. In fact, the few folks who called the papers and TV stations and claimed to have seen the spectral ship surfacing might as well have been reporting that Elvis and Sasquatch just arrived aboard a UFO in Waikiki, where they and some guys who lost relatives at Roswell were joined by Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny for Mai Tais at Duke's, with the exception of the Easter Bunny who was getting seriously polluted on Blue Hawaiis.

Cruz MacKenzie of the Star-Bulletin had received just such a call several months ago, soon after the release of the film "Pearl Harbor." A throw-net fisherman at Queen's Beach, a retiree, said he'd seen the sub rising from the sea early that morning. MacKenzie, like most journalists, lived on logic and literal thinking. A sub launched by Imperial Japan still floating around 60 years after the attack on Pearl Harbor? Yeah, right. As if. How would the skipper survive? What would he eat and drink? How would he power the sub? How would he service it and maintain it? And why didn't the U.S. Navy detect it?

But the old fisherman was adamant. Drunks often are. MacKenzie figured the guy had merely seen a small whale, maybe with a red splotch where it had run into a ship or a shark, and confused the spout of sea water for a periscope. But MacKenzie made a note, labeled it "Ghost Sub" and filed it in his "Delusional Kooks" file. He also made a copy and e-mailed it to his old pal Rick Carroll. Maybe Rick could do something with the story for his next volume of "Spooky Tales." It sure wasn't news.

>> Royal Hawaiian Hotel

Maybe she was being presumptuous, Lily Ah Sun thought, still lying in bed. Maybe she was jumping to conclusions. But she didn't really think so. She had felt her cousin Quinn's passion, and it was as strong as her own for him. There was that one kiss -- well, one kiss that lasted over a minute --at Maunalua Bay last night. And then later at her home they were in the garden, and Quinn had sighed "Oh, Lily," as if surrendering the last of his will power, and his fingers were lifting her chin, and their lips were inches apart, and she too was surrendering, when they heard Rosalita screaming from inside the house.

No, Lily was not being presumptuous. She was not jumping to conclusions. Their feelings were mutual. And that's why, when Quinn was released from the hospital, he would come home to stay with her. He'd need a nurse, after all, during his rehab from the gunshot to the thigh. But everything had happened so fast yesterday when the cousins were reunited after 21 years apart. So many things Lily didn't know, such as where Quinn lived. Did he still live at home with Uncle Mits in Pearl City? That could be a problem, given the longstanding feud between Mits and Lily's father, and the chilly treatment she'd received from Mits when she visited Quinn in his room at Queen's late last night. But too bad. Quinn was coming home with her.

The bedroom motif had been all white before. But Lily would tell the designer to come up with something more masculine this time.

>> Ala Moana Beach Park

Sen. Donovan Matsuda-Yee-Dela Cruz-Bishop-Kamaka was having second thoughts as he stepped into the water at the Diamond Head end of the park. If he did what Detective Sherlock Gomes said, go to the rehab center in Portland, he could avoid arrest on drug charges. But if Gomes told Donovan's girlfriend, Dr. Laurie Tang, that Donovan had fathered the child that was in Serena Kawainui when she crashed Donovan's car yesterday, that would end his relationship with the best First Lady candidate he'd ever met.

While he was having second thoughts, Donovan should have had third, fourth, even fifth thoughts. But the thing with crystal meth is that it doesn't give you many thoughts. Mostly it gives you impulses and responses, but nothing that you could call an ordered, logical thought.

So Donovan pulled on the mask with the shotgun snorkel and plunged ahead with his fatal plan. Like Carol King sang, you can't talk to a man with a shotgun in his hand.

>> Dr. Laurie Tang had told HPD Detective Sherlock Gomes to look for her white Mercedes SLK 2000 convertible parked near the workout area at the Diamond Head of the park, adding that she would be wearing a blue, one-piece swimsuit and that she used a mask and snorkel to swim.

There she was, Gomes saw as he parked his gold Barracuda in the Magic Island parking lot, Dr. Laurie Tang doing a little stretching and looking impatient. Not to mention looking mighty fine.

Gomes was getting out of his car when his cell phone rang. The caller identified herself as Sheila Fernandez, said that Sgt. Mits Ah Sun from the Pearl City station recommended she call Gomes about the crime that had happened at her home. Gomes, being Portuguese himself and proud of it, didn't even like to think such things but, man, this Sheila Fernandez could talk, barely pausing for air, not letting him get in a comment or question. Gomes could see Dr. Laurie Tang looking around for him, looking at her watch.

"OK, Mrs. Fernandez, you caught me at a real bad time. I'll call you back in an hour so."

Gomes grabbed his towel and goggles and ran across the sand, waving at Dr. Laurie Tang as he went.

"You're late." She looked at her watch again. "Your questions will have to wait until I'm done. Forty-five minutes."

Gomes watched her swim away, her stroke both graceful and strong. He was so intent on watching her, he didn't notice that 30 yards away in the water to his left a guy wearing a mask and snorkel was staring bullets at him.




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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