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My Kind of Town

by Don Chapman

Tuesday, January 8, 2002


Scent of a goddess


>> Queen's Medical Center

Lily should have been dumbstruck, her brain tried to say. A very tall, very brown, very naked woman steps into the elevator, says you smell like love, shares her breath of life, says she is blessing you ... well it doesn't happen just every day.

The woman was, Lily knew from the tales that her tutuwahine told her many years ago, Ho'ola, goddess of life, healer, preserver. But Lily had no idea Ho'ola was so beautiful.

When the goddess got off the elevator, she stepped past two male doctors who didn't seem to notice her. Either Ho'ola was invisible to some people or those guys were gynecologists and saw this kind of thing all the time.

But Ho'ola did leave behind a distinctive scent, which the two docs apparently noticed because when the elevator door closed they made little sniffing sounds. It was a distinctly unhospital, anti-antiseptic aroma -- eucalyptus and ginger and sea brine. One of the docs, Dr. Aeschylus Wong, glanced at Lily, kind of semi-sniffed in her direction, as if she was the source of the smell.

"If you don't mind my asking, what kind of perfume are you wearing?"

"I'm not," she said, embarrassed to say so. She was, afterall, the president of Ola Essences, the phyto-cosmetic company whose motto was "Making the world a better place to smell."

"Must have been someone who was on earlier," he said with a shrug.

"I think so, yes."

"Too bad, I've smelled that scent around here before, but nobody ever knows where it comes from. I'd like to get some."

Ho'ola, apparently, did a lot of her work in hospitals. That would make sense. As if any of this made sense at all.

But it did. Lily knew what she'd seen and didn't doubt Ho'ola at all. So instead of being dumbstruck, Lily felt alive, and suddenly very comfortable with the idea of loving her cousin. The elevator stopped on the ICU floor. Lily stepped off, wondering what had happened to the anger she'd been carrying into the impending confrontation with her parents.

>> For Serena Kawainui, the term Scholarship was like Nuclear Reactor or Nobel Prize. They were words she knew, but was very vague on the exact concept. "What do you mean scholarship?"

HPD Detective Sherlock Gomes smiled. "Just what it sounds like. Somebody pays for somebody else to advance their potential in life."

"Who's paying?"

"Me, some people I know."

"A Sherlock Gomes Scholarship?"

"It's been called that, yes."




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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