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My Kind of Town

Don Chapman

Friday, November 12, 2004


Long Man’s long journey

» The Tube

It had taken the young Tuber chiefs Kaneloa and Puka a day to walk from their home below 'Iolani Palace to Kualoa Ranch, another day to reach the Tuber resort at a super-secret area of Bellows. And that was the easy part, it was mostly straight and level.

Bellows was one of the few places left in the islands where Tubers could come topside, get some sun and keep their melanin alive, swim, surf and barbecue without risking detection. It was one of the agreements they had with the U.S. military -- who do you think first alerted the Navy about the Japanese mini-subs lurking outside Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7? Anyway, there was a Tuber saying, if it happens at Bellows, it stays at Bellows.

Their journey was easy so far, but the rest of the journey -- from Bellows beneath the Kaiwi Channel to Molokai, across to Lanai, then the Haleakala Tube, which would at last connect with the Great Tube to the Big Island, where the Great King's bones were kept and venerated at the court of King Kavawai, king of the Tubers -- would be more arduous.

Kaneloa was anxious to continue on to the Big Island and contend for the right to marry the king's daughter, Princess Tuberosa La'a, but right away Puka met a hot wahine from Kailua, Leirosa, and so they lingered at Bellows for two more days. Leirosa's girlfriend thought Kaneloa was pretty cute, and then there was the reason he was named Long Man ... But Kaneloa had dreams of charming the princess.

And always, above everything, he heard the bones of Kamehameha the Great beckoning him with ever greater urgency to come to the Big Island.

On the third day, Kaneloa rose and found Puka and Leirosa sleeping on the beach.

"We must go, now," Kaneloa said. "The king is calling, I can hear him."

"He's calling you a total doofus," Puka said. "You dream of a princess, but already we've heard other young chiefs talking about making the journey. There will be scores to compete with, a hundred perhaps, and all of them with higher lineage. Do you really think that the sacred high chiefess would ever choose the low chief of the excrement haulers, or that her parents and kahus would allow it? No way! Get realistic, my friend! Me, I've found my future wife in Leirosa. I'll be returning to the Palace with her. I suggest you look around here. There's a bunch of sweet wahine have eyes for you."

"I must go," Kaneloa said, steadfast.

"Alone?"

It was not the way of the very sociable Tubers to take on any endeavor alone.

"Was not Kamehameha himself known as the Lonely One?"

With that they embraced, exchanged ha, and the Long Man began his long journey. As he went many wahine sighed. And a few kane.



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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