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My Kind of Town

by Don Chapman

Wednesday, June 19, 2002


That sinking feeling

>> Arizona Memorial

The fear had been rising inside Rosalita Resurreccion since they arrived at the Visitor Center and looked across the water to the Memorial. And it hit her -- to get there Rosalita would have to take a boat. Her husband Jesus died when a boat sank, and it was a much bigger one than the little shuttles that ran here.

On the other hand, Rosalita tried to reason, these boats were operated by the U.S. Navy, not a fly-by-night Filipino ferry operator. And the calm waters of Pearl Harbor could hardly be compared to the open, turbulent sea between Zamboanga and Cebu, where poor Jesus lost his life, his body never found.

But now as they shuffled along with the others toward the dock, the fear was in Rosalita's throat and tears were at the corners of her eyes.

"Mama!" her daughter Elizabeth exclaimed, grabbing at her skirt. "We forgot Uncle Muhammed's flowers!"

Rosalita had been so worried about the boat ride, she'd forgotten the flowers that Jesus' cousin Muhammed wanted to take out to the Memorial, and left them under her seat. "Yes, the flowers," she said, blinking fast.

"Uncle Muhammed said so." And with that the 6-year-old was off and running back toward the theater.

"No!" Wilhemina Orlando, Muhammed's driver, screamed and took off after Elizabeth as visitors and Rosalita stared. "No, stop!"

>> Inside the theater, Lt. Martin Luther Washington was pointing out the flowers lying on the ground between rows of seats and the potential threat they posed, and asking Park Ranger Pono Maunawili to close the theater until the flowers could be checked by the bomb squad.

That's when the little Filipino girl ran into the theater and eagerly called "Did you find my flowers?"

She was followed by Muhammed's driver, the Filipina Marty called Sandy, screaming "No! No! No!"

In his ear-piece, Marty heard his boss, Commander Chuck Ryan: "What 'n hell's going on in there?"

"The kid wants her flowers back. Sandy's freaking out."

"Let her have 'em. Muhammed's going to be watching from outside. This has to look normal. He has any doubts about what's happening, he might trigger the thing. My gut's telling me he doesn't want to do that until they get out to the Memorial."

"Makes sense." Marty trusted his boss' gut.

"Marty, one other thing. I need you to stay within arm's length of the flowers. When I say so, they go in the water. Pronto."

"I sort of figured that part out, chief." Martin Luther Washington's Hawaiian vacation, which was supposed to have included playing golf at Kaneohe Klipper today, was getting less and less relaxing.




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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