My Kind of Town

by Don Chapman

Monday, April 23, 2001

Scarred for life

>>Makiki Heights

"Serena?" Sen. Donovan Matsuda-Yee-Dela Cruz-Bishop-Kamaka called from the bed.

No reply. Serena didn't work, didn't have to with the campaign fund money he gave her to live in this hillside hideaway. Her only responsibility was to be there for him. Where could she be? And what exactly had they done last night, besides party?

He pulled himself out of bed and stumbled to the bathroom. The words streaked in maroon lipstick across the mirror made him remember. "F_ you."

They'd fought. She'd just learned that day she was pregnant, which was supposed to be impossible with the birth control pills he paid for, and which she mentioned only after several drinks and smokes and gropes.

"So we get you an abortion," he said and patted her thigh.

"I want to keep it, Donovan."

"That's impossible," he said with a coldness she'd never heard from him.

And so they fought.

But where was Serena now?

>>The Queen's Medical Center

Dr. Laurie Tang was an artist. Her medium was skin, her implements needle and sutures and magnifying glass and incredibly bright but diffused and unshadowed light. She did not do art for art's sake. She did art for people's sake. Right now, the unconscious young woman lying on Dr. Tang's table needed all of her artistry.

It was obvious that the young woman, admitted to the emergency room without ID and known only as 46-225909, had been beautiful before she crashed the senator's Town Car off the Keeaumoku Overpass and ripped open a jagged wound in her neck. Glass fragments embedded in 46-225909's face glimmered with tatters of Cuervo Gold label.

Laurie hated scars. Under the hands of another doc, 46-225909 might have walked away with lifelong scars like the one a butcher with a medical license left in Laurie's abdomen after her appendix ruptured when she was growing up at Palama. She worked at having a tight little tummy and would have loved to show it off with a bikini. That scar was the reason she always wore a one-piece suit when she swam her daily mile at Ala Moana, and preferred her men in the dark.

46-225909's facial features were delicate. She was maybe Japanese, maybe with some Filipino, maybe a United Nations mix. Dr. Tang evenly sutured the bleeding tissue from the jagged gash in the neck. Whatever had ripped it open had just missed the jugular. Then Dr. Tang began removing glass and paper from the face. Under her hands, 46-225909 would be beautiful again.

Don Chapman is editor of MidWeek.
His serialized novel runs daily in the Star-Bulletin.
He can be emailed at

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