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My Kind of Town

by Don Chapman

Friday, April 12, 2002


Good arm

>> Honolulu Soap Co.

For the first time, Sheets Ah Sun had mixed feelings when he pulled into his company's parking lot and saw his daughter Lily's car. Usually that would be a good thing -- she was already at work, making both of them more money with the wholly-owned subsidiary Ola Essences, the phyto-cosmetic company that Lily ran. But today, Sheets wouldn't mind if he and Lily didn't cross paths.

Partly it was because he expected her to still be angry about his rejecting her plan to reorganize the Soap Co. -- which would have made her president -- because instead he was going to name her younger brother Laird president upon his graduation from Stanford Business in a few days.

But Sheets' greater concern was that Lily and her cousin Quinn were very close to discovering the reason Sheets and his brother Mits quit speaking 21 years ago. Concern was an understatement. Fear was more like it.

Walking into the plant, Sheets was looking forward to calling Laird, the one bright spot in his life these days. And he didn't think he could wait to tell Laird the good news.

>> Lily Ah Sun should have stuck with softball. She had a heck of an arm. Lily played one year in Pearl City before her father and uncle quit speaking, and her father uprooted his family and moved to Kailua just in time to sign Lily up for softball and her brother Laird for Little League. Lily was the better player, a star shortstop in the Ko'olau Bobby Sox program -- at least in the younger age divisions. Then at about 12 she discovered boys, and vice versa, and playing sports suddenly became not cool.

Earlier today she'd shown off her arm, flinging a stack of photocopies across her cousin Quinn's hospital room at Queen's. And at the moment she was fighting the urge to chuck the spiral-bound document on her desk at the wall like she used to do firing a strike to first base.

Lily picked up the document, started to cock her arm, thought better of it. At work, Lily had to be in control -- of her company and her emotions. And besides, she'd worked too hard on this proposal to reorganize the Soap Co. to just trash it.

She took a deep breath, set the reorganization plan back on her desk, sat down, smiled. It didn't matter if her father rejected her ideas and chose the schoolboy Laird over her experience. It didn't matter because there were other ways to take over a company. And then Lily could institute her plans.

As for Laird, a recent Stanford Business grad shouldn't have too much trouble finding work.




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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