My Kind of Town

Don Chapman

Monday, May 17, 2004

Dressing for Buddha

» Kaimuki

Doo Wop was silent as he drove Bodhicita Guzman back to her apartment on Ninth Avenue, and when they reached her driveway handed her a white envelope.

"A good-bye gift," he said.

"Good-bye?" she said, stunned. Still playing the part, she looked away, wiped at an imaginary tear. "I don't understand."

"Good-bye. That is the message I was asked to convey. That, and please do not attempt to contact Fon Du in any way."

"Just like that ..."

"I must go."

She opened the envelope as he drove away -- wow, a $500 gift certificate from Neiman's. Fon Du's way of letting her down easy. They'd met at Neiman's, they would end with Neiman's. How sweet.

Although it would have been a lot sweeter if he wasn't trying to kill the man she loved. She rushed inside, called Kamasami Khan. "We gotta talk. I'm headed that way."

Khan started to protest, but she cut him off. "It's over with Fon Du, Khan. Totally over. Whatever was in that little vial, it worked. See ya."

After calling her profs at UH, where she was working on a masters in Pacific history, to check on assignments she'd be missing for the next few days, she gathered all the books she'd need, then packed a garment bag. First in was the Sister Mary Miraculoso disguise. She'd be needing it later in the day during the official meeting of the second Lama Jey Tsong Khapa -- in reality his stand-in, she knew -- with Hawaii's religious leaders.

But otherwise ... packing to spend time with a living Buddha ... Bodhicita was suddenly aware that almost every top and dress she owned was revealing, either with plunging neckline or form-fitting snugness, or both. Didn't a lama's eternal consort need a certain amount of decorum? She packed a couple of her more kinda-conservative outfits. And, hey, there was the Neiman's certificate. She smiled at the irony, Fon Du helping dress her for her new life with Jey.

But shopping could wait. Minutes counted now. Te-Wu would have an agent at the meeting of religious leaders, dressed as a Muslim imam. He had to be stopped. Bodhicita loathed the extremists of Islam and their disregard for human lives, even Muslim ones, but it wasn't right of the Chinese secret police to make it look like a religious act -- Muslim cleric kills Buddhist lama -- instead of the purely political one it was for the Communists.

Soon her rusty old VW was chugging up Likelike and she was marveling at the immense double rainbow filling Kalihi Valley. A blessing, an omen, for the beginning of her new life of loving and serving the second Lama Jey Tsong Khapa. She drove as fast as the little car would go.

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


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