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My Kind of Town

by Don Chapman

Sunday, January 6, 2002


The Honolulu Soap Co.:
Sunday digest

>> Queen's Medical Center

Slumped in a chair blind with depression, Sheets Ah Sun suddenly sat upright, on full alert. "What's that?!"

His wife Grace felt it too, air moving as a very large something passed, creating eddies in its wake. Something, someone, was in the room. Grace reached for Sheets' hand, clutched it, and closed her eyes in whispered prayer.

When she opened her eyes, Grace saw a very tall, very brown, very naked woman leaning over Lance, whispering to him in Hawaiian, breathing on his face, touching her nose to his, kissing him briefly on the lips.

For the first time since his injury, Lance stirred, kind of twitched, and the sound from his lips was dry, raspy, indecipherable. But it was a sound!

"Ho'ola," Grace said reverently. Her tutu had been right! The goddess of life was real! "Mahalo for blessing my son."

"Akua sent me," she said and touched her nose to Grace's, sharing her breath of life.

Ho'ola snapped her fingers in front of Sheets' face. He ignored her as if she isn't there. She put her hands on her hips, tilted her head in a pouty way -- another one refused her help.

But really, it might not matter. While Ho'ola was big in the medical field, her power held no sway in legal matters. And that's what this one was.

Grace blinked and Ho'ola was gone. As grateful as she was for the goddess' blessing for her and her son, she was just as frightened that her husband ignored Ho'ola.

>> Lily Ah Sun nearly gave herself whiplash turning around so fast. She stumbled down from the bed, lost her balance from standing up too fast and had to grab the bed to steady herself with one hand while readjusting her blouse with the other.

But the nurse who had interrupted her and Quinn wasn't alone. There in the doorway, wearing his blue HPD uniform, his mouth at half-mast, was her Uncle Mits, Quinn's father.

How long had he been there? He wasn't letting on. "Good morning," he said. "How was your night, son?" Lily was grateful to be ignored as she pulled herself and the rest of her clothing back together.

Quinn was telling his father and the nurse that he'd slept well, thanks to the painkiller he'd been given, but it sure gave him some incredible dreams, and he glanced over at her. Lily knew what Uncle Mits had seen, and she was in no mood to deal with him at the moment.

"I've gotta go see what's up with Lance," she said. "But I'll see you later, Quinn." Ignoring her uncle, she squeezed his hand. He squeezed back.

>> "We don't have to talk today," HPD Detective Sherlock Gomes said. "I just wanted to see how you're doing." He paused. "I know it was a pretty tough day yesterday."

She heard kindness in his voice. Serena had never much cared for cops, but she decided to trust this Sherlock Gomes. Or maybe it was just that there was no one else in the world for her. "We can talk now."

Gomes didn't argue. People who wanted to talk made his job so much easier. He slipped a notepad from the pocket of his silk aloha shirt. (Gomes didn't wear a blue uniform, but took great offense at the term "plainclothesman.") He went over the notes from last night, written in his tight, precise script, to confirm the details.

Yes, Sen. Donovan Matsuda-Yee-Dela Cruz- Bishop-Kamaka kept her at the Makiki Heights hideaway. He'd explained that it was a business relationship, all she had to do was take care of his needs.

But somehow she was falling in love with him, and then somehow she'd gotten pregnant. Which led to the big fight last night because Donovan insisted on an abortion.

"So the baby you lost was the senator's?"

She nodded, started to cry. With the baby, she lost all ties to the man who many believed would be Hawaii's next governor.

"And you thought that if you could do something embarrassing to the senator, he couldn't become governor, and he'd need you and the baby?" Serena nodded through tears again.

"And that's why you went for a drive in his car, even though you don't know how to drive. And you crashed off the Keeaumoku Overpass?"

Which is why she was here with a broken arm and a crossword puzzle of stitches covering the right side of her face, which at impact had smashed into a Cuervo Gold bottle.

"So the senator paid the rent."

"With campaign funds. He said it was his secret campaign headquarters."

Gomes could not hold his eyebrows down as he wrote.

"And he gave you other money as well."

"For food and things."

And ..." Gomes had perfected the "I know there's more" tone of voice.

"Drugs. Ice mostly, some weed."

Gomes continued writing.

"You gonna arrest me?"

Gomes wrote some more, finally looked up. "No. I'm going to make you do something tougher than that."

Serena couldn't imagine what that could be.

>> Lily stepped into the hallway, closed the door and slumped against the wall.

She took a deep breath, then two, three. Her feelings for Quinn were overpowering. He was all that she wanted, and she wanted all of him. If Uncle Mits had walked in a few minutes later ... whew, no telling what he might have seen. Lily was still leaning there, taking deep breaths, trying to get herself together, when a nurse stopped. "Ma'am, can I help you?"

"What?" Lily said, taking a moment to come back from her reverie. "Oh, fine." She straightened up. "Just catching my breath."

"OK," the nurse said and departed with a lingering look at Lily's lips.

Lily took the compact from her purse, checked the mirror. Omigod, it appeared that a drunken monkey had applied her lipstick. Well, serious kissing will give you that look. Heart fluttering at the memory, she reached for some tissue and headed for the elevator.

>> H-1, Kokohead bound

Muhammed Resurreccion played his cover very well. He was a shape-shifter. Different people saw different sides of Muhammed. It came to him naturally.

He'd been living in two worlds since the day he was born 37 years ago. His father was Catholic, his mother Muslim. While their hearts and bodies burned with passion, their different faiths did not matter. Little Muhammed went to mass with his father, to the mosque with his mother. He found both perfectly fine religions, they had much in common.

But as the years wore on his parents' passions turned to their religions. And from the time Muhammed was about 9 until he was 14, the Resurreccion home was the tableau for a reenactment of the Crusades. One day when his mother was dressing to take Muhammed to prayers, his father Lazarus got into a righteous uproar and stabbed her to death. He was arrested, of course, but Muhammed's Muslim cousins and uncles broke his father out of the Zamboanga jail and tortured him for a while before letting him die.

Muhammed went to live with his mother's family, and in his heart soon became a Muslim. It wasn't just religion. The sense of right and wrong he'd learned from both religions was offended by the economic and legal disparity between Catholics and Muslims. In the eyes of the Philippines government, Muslims were not even second-class citizens.

Muhammed was going to change that. And that's precisely why he was in Hawaii.




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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