My Kind of Town

Don Chapman

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Moment of illumination

» Moiliili

HPD Detective Sherlock Gomes had set it up before meeting with the second Lama Jey Tsong Khapa.

The moment HPD dispatcher Gwen Roselovich received a call from a certain pay phone at a little market on McCully, on a second phone she'd hit instant dial for a young man Gomes had taken under his wing.

Kona Weathers was a junior in criminology at Chaminade University, where Gomes was a guest lecturer. One day Kona hung around and chatted with the legendary Gomes, offering to be his gofer.

Gomes got to know Kona, gave him a few small jobs. And the kid already helped crack the case of the family portrait burglar, a disturbed woman who broke into homes and offices to steal pictures of weddings, anniversaries and birthdays, of little soccer players, hula dancers and graduates, creating her own fantasy family.

Today, playing one of the hunches that made him Sherlock Gomes, the detective called Kona, asked him to hang out at the little market, and to pay attention to any female who might be Chinese and used the pay phone.

Turned out Kona grew up in the neighborhood, still lived with his mom nearby, and sat on the wooden bench out front with a bag of spicy cuttlefish and a bottle of green Gatorade, joking with kids coming to buy candy, chatting with the owners, Mr. and Mrs. Ngyuen.

He'd been there barely 45 minutes when he saw a thin, young woman cross McCully. If she wasn't Chinese, then he wasn't Hawaiian-Portuguese-Scottish-Filipino. Simple as that.

She was a real cutie. He smiled, tried to make eye contact as she passed, but she only had eyes for the pay phone.

Kona had a moment of illumination -- he was way more excited that this might be the woman who called 911 last night than he was bothered that she'd brushed past without a glance.

The pay phone was attached to the corner of the store wall. She dropped coins into the slot, nervously glanced up, saw Kona admiring her, and turned away, tugging down her pink T-shirt over the top of her denim shorts with her free hand.

Lesson learned. Don't be so frickin' obvious -- in surveiling or in ogling.

Kona's cell phone rang, the caller ID indicating it was Gwen. He listened.

"Yes, ma'am, we did get a report last night about a guy who might be a Chinese agent. Are you the person who made that call? ... Well, I'm glad you called back because the person who took the call may not have gotten things quite right, I'm afraid ... OK, and do you know where this Lu Wi might be? ... That's OK, because we think we know where he is. And we hope you'll be able to help us stop him from killing. If you'll turn around, there's a young man who can make that happen. His name is Kona."

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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