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My Kind of Town

Don Chapman

Friday, October 3, 2003


Hello, good-bye


>> Off the Big Island

The luxury yacht currently known as Wet Spot and the fishing trawler Tuna Maru were less than a 100 yards apart now, and on the deck of the big ship Sushi Leclaire's desperation was giving way to confusion. The good news was that the yacht had finally shown up, two days late for their rendezvous, a grand relief because Tuna Maru's captain had been threatening to throw him and the 12 girls overboard. The confusing news was why the yacht's pink sails and life rings were not visible. The more pink the better, because the infamous yacht Pet Shop provided the perfect cover for transferring his exotic young ladies to dry land, and ultimately the hillside home awaiting them in Kona. And then there was the matter of why his friend Paul was not at the helm, and a total stranger was.

As Sushi herded his dozen young Filipinas along the rail, the girls, recruited from the bars and streets of Angeles City, were also experiencing mixed emotions. Anxious to at last get off this ship and away from it's captain and crew, who demanded certain favors in return for giving them a ride, the ladies nevertheless did not like the idea of climbing down five stories from the deck to the water on a wobbly ladder made of nylon rope and plastic slats, or of all of them piling onto the yacht that looked ridiculously small from up here.

Having reached the opening in the railing that led to the top of the ladder, Sushi was just turning to bow to the captain with a "domo arigato" but it came put "domo ... damn!" Because over the captain's shoulder a huge luxury passenger liner was bearing down on them, and he stood up in mid-bow, nearly wrenching his back.

Aboard Wet Spot, Sonya Chan sighted the ship, even bigger than Tuna Maru, in nearly the same instant, gasped. "It's getting crowded out here!" At the helm of the yacht, her officially dead fiancee Daren Guy glanced to see what she was talking about, saw the big ship maybe a mile away, swore, and spun the wheel, turning away from Tuna Maru.

"No!" Sushi cried, knowing that they had very little choice. The last thing they needed was for the captain of this cruise ship to report seeing a Japanese fishing vessel transferring a dozen young women to a Honolulu-based sailboat just outside the 200-mile U.S. territorial limit. Nothing suspicious in that, eh?

Waving at the girls, yelling at them in both English and Japanese, Sushi hurried them below deck as the captain ordered the anchor raised.

Hoping they still taught Morse Code to Japanese mariners, and hoping he could still remember his Morse Code, Daren used the yacht's red laser to flash off a message: Same place, dawn, tomorrow.



See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Don Chapman is editor of MidWeek. His serialized novel runs daily in the Star-Bulletin. He can be e-mailed at dchapman@midweek.com

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