My Kind of Town

by Don Chapman

Thursday, March 6, 2003

Can’t buy me love

>>Around Oahu

His degree was in law, but what had made Victor Primitivo a billionaire was computers. He intuited the importance of the new technology as a pre-law student 30 years ago, and set about creating applications that made the lives of millions of people both easier and more enjoyable -- from specialized office management programs for doctors, lawyers and small businesses to flight simulators -- and networks to exchange information.

The last thing he did before not saying good-bye to his wife was send an e-mail attachment, a mole virus that would be routed through five other stops along the Web, each of which would alter the sender's address and destroy the original, finally arriving in Shauny Nakamura's e-mail. Where it would sit for 30 minutes scouting her hard-drive, and then nuke it, wipe out everything including every trace of the e-mails and photos he'd sent her over the past two months while courting her. As that was happening, Shauny would be having lunch with Primitivo -- their first face-to-face meeting.

He closed up the wireless laptop, headed for the door with it. Meg was out by the pool, shivering, cradling a cup of coffee, although it was a warm morning. Primitivo didn't know what was wrong with his wife, only that nothing about her attracted him any longer, and it was her fault. At least he wouldn't have to worry about her for the next two weeks while he was away on a hunting trip.

Meg Choy Primitivo heard the Escalade rumble to life out front. Her husband was gone. He was always gone, even when he was home. She leaned over the sparkling water, saw the reflection of her shiny black hair, but nothing else that was familiar.

Who was this person she'd become? She'd once been beautiful, and vivacious. That's what people said. And voluptuous, they said that too. Now she was 40, old already, and life had passed her by. She had everything money could by, but she was old enough to know what the Beatles sang on that subject. Starved of affection, starved of touch, she found nothing appealing about the person looking back at her from the shimmering water. Except the hair. She had that going for her. But who cared? And so, ridiculously, she pondered the various methods of suicide.

Which is what led her here, closer to the edge of the pool than she'd ever been. Meg the island girl couldn't swim.

At her Pearl City condo, Shauny Nakamura was in the tub shaving her legs when the phone rang. Reaching for her cordless, she was pleased to hear Victor's soothing baritone.

"Just wanted to make sure we're still on."

"Absolutely! I'm so excited!"

"Me too. See you at 11."

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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