My Kind of Town

by Don Chapman

Monday, June 11, 2001

Hello, Stranger

>> Kalanianaole Highway

Quinn Ah Sun slid a CD into his pickup truck's player. "This seems appropriate." And winked at Lily with that smile that made her smile back.

The first bars made Lily smile even wider. "Omigod!"

"You like it?"

"That's the song I heard on the radio this morning after I saw you. I mean the first song after I got back in traffic! I thought, how perfect."

The song was a remake of the old Barbara Lewis hit "Hello Stranger" by the new group Mauka Showers.

Lily didn't say it and neither did Quinn, but they both thought it: This is our song. First cousins are not supposed to share a romantic "our song." But it was too late already for the cousins Ah Sun.

This was their song.

>> Aquino International Airport -- Manila

Muhammed Resurreccion was a warrior as well as a worrier. Which helped explain his success. Of course, there was also the glory of Allah. But Muhammed was a diligent servant for his people and his God. So of course Muhammed worried on the flight from Zamboanga up to Manila. Retrieving his bag from the carousel, he worried about his people's core group in the capitol being compromised. They had been active recently, their bombing campaign further eroding confidence in the new government. Infitada Inc. should award the former President Joseph Estrada for contributions to the Muslim cause in the Philippines. If he hadn't stolen those billions of pesos and hadn't been impeached and imprisoned, the government would be much more stable. The peso would be stronger. And Muhammed's cause would have a much more difficult time.

He worried that the police would infiltrate their core group. So he had a backup plan. If he didn't like the looks of whoever showed up, if they hesitated for a twinkling of an eye in offering their coded greeting, he would be gone.

But his bigger worry was in Hawaii. Their cause had friends and relatives there. But some of them had become Americans. So he automatically did not trust them, no matter which side they said they were on.

>> Kalihi Valley

As instructed, Wilhemina Mercado used her home phone and made a reservation to rent a van. She had been told that she would be using the van to pick up an imortant visitor from the Philippines.

And then she made another call, using a cell phone that had been given to her recently by a man who said her new name was Sandy. He would want to know about the van and the visitor from the Philippines.

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

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