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My Kind of Town

by Don Chapman

Sunday, May 12, 2002


The Honolulu Soap Co.:
Sunday digest

>> Queen's Medical Center

Quinn Ah Sun was not the kind of guy to sit around waiting for a call. But he didn't have much choice at the moment. Ten minutes already since he'd called his cousin Lily, and she said she'd call back. She was on a long-distance call with her brother Laird in California.

Eleven minutes.

Laird was about to graduate from Stanford Business, so there were plans to make. Quinn wanted to call again, but not the way things were between them now. That would only piss her off more.

Twelve.

Quinn had to get out this hospital ASAP. Nice as everyone was -- including especially the lovely Nina Ramones, world's greatest nurse -- the place was still like a prison for an active guy like Quinn.

Thirteen.

The question was, where would he go when they let him out. The docs said he'd have to do some rehab on the leg that took the .22 slug. Until a few hours ago, Lily had insisted he come home with her to Hawaii Kai -- inviting him to move in with her. And he was all for it.

Fourteen.

But something happened while Quinn was knocked out from the painkillers. Lily wouldn't talk with him when he called he. But what had happened?

Fifteen.

The door opened and Quinn forgot all about Lily, the clock and the phone. There was Nina, in her civilian clothes.

And what a civilian she was. Instead of baggy scrubs and white shoes, Nina now wore platform sandals, jeans that revealed a dizzying combination of curves, and a silky blouse with a dipping neckline that begged peeks into her shadows.

"Wow," he said.

"Thank you," Nina said.

Recently and painfully divorced, Nina and her ego needed a few strokes. She could see the appreciation in Quinn's eyes and hear it in his "wow."

"The docs say I'll need some help at home when they let me out," he said. "A private nurse."

>> H-1, ewa-bound

"I'm very proud, my dear, of how well you're learning English," Muhammed Resurreccion said from the front seat of the van. Turning back, he gently patted the shiny hair of the little girl sitting in the back.

He turned to Rosalita Resurreccion, mother of the girl, Elizabeth, and the widow of Muhammed's late cousin Jesus.

"I'm pleased that everything seems to be working out for you in America, Rosalita," he said.

"Yes," she nodded. "I'm even enrolling in college classes."

If you survive today, Muhammed thought.

As the van took the Arizona Memorial-Stadium exit, Rosalita wondered on which side of the Catholic-Muslim divide Muhammed stood. It wasn't a huge question for Rosalita. She had friends in Cebu who were Muslim. Still, she was curious about Muhammed. But too polite to ask.

>> The silver-blue van took the Arizona Memorial exit. And that, thought Commander Chuck Ryan of Navy intelligence, following four cars behind, confirmed his worst fears.

Some people think military warriors don't experience fear. They are wrong. Ryan had known combat, in Vietnam, in Latin America, in the Balkans. And he had known fear. But this was different. It was not fear for himself, but for the girl in the van, and the terrible plan of the man with her. Whatever it was.

>> Honolulu Soap Co.

Stepping out of her office, Lily Ah Sun saw her father in the hall, returning from the production chamber. It was where he always went to think. Or in this case, brood.

"I was just on my way to see you," she said airily, "about Laird's graduation."

The mention of his son's graduation from Stanford Business brought a smile to Sheets Ah Sun. It was the first time Lily had seen her father's smile in two days. With brother Lance in the hospital, the days were particularly dark.

Lily's smile was reassuring, because Sheets had been sure she was angry with him after he rejected her proposal to reorganize the Soap Co., and instead confided that he was naming Laird president immediately upon his graduation.

"I talked with Mom, and she's dead set against leaving Lance's bedside. So it's just you and me," she said brightly.

He nodded, smiled kind of ironically. Isn't that something, Sheets was thinking. Out of everybody in the family, the one who's going to Laird's graduation is Lily. "You and me."

>> Kamehameha Highway

"They're turning into the Arizona Memorial parking lot," Ryan said into his mike.

"I'm on it," replied Lt. Martin Luther Washington, trailing a quarter-mile behind.

Waiting for the light to change, and with the protection of tinted windows, Ryan studied the occupants of the van. The driver, the girl they code-named Sandy, the one who had come to Martin with a tale of possible terror, looked comfortable. She was doing her job perfectly. In the passenger seat was Muhammed Resurreccion. He looked like a well-to-do Filipino businessman, not a Muslim terrorist. But Ryan knew better.

The light switched to green and as the van turned left into the Arizona Memorial lot, Ryan accelerated through the intersection. "I'm looping around," he said. "Marty, somehow he's gonna use the girl. She's the perfect cover."

>>Honolulu Soap Co.

When her father left her office, Lily Ah Sun kept finding excuses not to return Quinn's call.

But Lily was putting off more than just returning Quinn's call. She was fighting the urge to run to him and fall into his big, strong arms.




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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