My Kind of Town

by Don Chapman

Tuesday, May 15, 2001

Walk right in

>> Portlock

Rosalita checked the thermometer -- Elizabeth's fever was down to 101 -- and placed a fresh cold washcloth on her daughter's forehead.

"When is Auntie Lily coming home with Popsicles?" Elizabeth said, sounding very tired.

Rosalita was Lily's cook, maid and caretaker, and lived with her daughter in the cottage behind Lily's home. But Elizabeth called her mother's employer Auntie Lily. That was fine with Lily. The girl, just 6, brought out Lily's nurturing side. She wasn't remotely close to ready for motherhood. Her company, Ola Essences, was her baby. With orders pouring in from Neimans and Macy's and even Harrod's, Lily was far too involved to even think about the responsibility of a child. And besides, the way Lily saw it -- call her old-fashioned -- a husband ought to precede a baby, and she wasn't close to finding one of those. But Lily liked being an auntie. And God knows her brother Lance wasn't about to have kids with Greg. As for Laird, who knows what the Stanford wonder boy had in mind? So it worked out well. Lily needed a niece the way Elizabeth needed an auntie.

"Not until later," Rosalita said. "You take a nap."

"Can I watch 'Sesame Street'?"

Rosalita knew the children's TV program was helping Elizabeth with her transition to being a full-time English speaker. In fact, she was losing her Filipino accent after a barely a year in the U.S. "OK."

On TV, Kermit the Frog was doing a report about the London Fog, but a London Hog showed up instead. Elizabeth smiled, but was too sick to laugh. And she was asleep before a London Frog arrived.

Rosalita kissed her daughter's head and turned the washcloth over. She went outside and across to Lily's house to check the load of laundry she'd started, but remembered a noise she'd heard on the side of the house. Checking, she found that a dead palm frond had fallen and was brushing with the wind against the cottage.

At that moment, the front door of the big house opened and the guy who had been tailing Lily for two days walked right in.

>> Honolulu Iron Works

The best seat in any restaurant was one that gave Lt. Col. Chuck Ryan a view of the whole room and every door. At The Foundry, the health club's restaurant, he found it at the corner of the bar. Ryan ordered blackened ahi and ice tea, then dialed the office on his encrypted secure line cell.

Officially, he was taking a few days off to relax in Hawaii. But most of his work was unofficial, including this trip.

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

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