My Kind of Town

by Don Chapman

Friday, January 3, 2003

Just a hunch

>> Somewhere out there

The teal BMW must have found its own way across town because Lily Ah Sun's conscious thoughts were far from King Street's traffic lights and white stripes, or any other drivers on the road.

If the lab report was right, and they'd run the DNA test twice, she and her brother Laird were in fact half-siblings. And Sheets Ah Sun, the man she occasionally still called Daddy, was not her father.

But who was?

And what secret were her parents hiding?

Or was it just her mother's secret?

No, her father had to be in on this too. That would explain so much. It would mean that no matter how successful Lily was running Ola Essences, no matter how savvy, no matter how solid the proposal she'd given her father (how was she ever going to stop thinking of him that way?) for the reorganization of the parent Honolulu Soap Co., she was never going to run it. That was a job he'd always reserved for Laird. Not just the eldest son, but his first child. No wonder he got Stanford Business, she got UH.

Lily had always enjoyed thinking that she was a love child. Partly because it was so obvious her parents loved one another. Partly because she was born eight months after their marriage.

She'd wondered where it happened, a few weeks before their marriage, that she'd gotten her start in life because her parents just couldn't wait any longer and gave in to their youthful passion. But now the question wasn't just where, but who was the guy?

Suddenly Lily was pulling into the Macro Polo's guest parking, thinking she hadn't been here in years and wondering how she'd arrived without a memory of the transit.

Wondering too how Bobo Ah Sun figured into all of this. Hopefully the postcard Bobo sent to Tony Martinez 21 years ago from Miami would shed some light. She pressed Tony's security code on the entry phone, got the come-ahead, felt her heart racing, and it wasn't because she was about to meet the founder of the band Mauka Showers.

>> 4th Avenue

As hunches go, this was one of HPD Detective Sherlock Gomes' best. When the woman who identified herself as Kate, whom Gomes suspected of being the Family Photo Burglar, opened the door to her studio apartment, he was both relieved to see that the crimes had been solved and saddened by the loneliness that prompted them.

There on a bookshelf were dozens of framed family photographs -- weddings and graduations, births and Little League, ballet and Scouts, birthday parties and Christmas.

"They're crying because they miss their parents," Gomes said softly.

Kate, knowing he was right, began to cry too.

Don Chapman is editor of MidWeek.
His serialized novel runs daily in the Star-Bulletin
with weekly summaries on Sunday.
He can be e-mailed at

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