My Kind of Town

by Don Chapman

Monday, September 24, 2001

Lucky girl

>> Queen's Medical Center

Walking back to his car in the ER parking lot, HPD Detective Sherlock Gomes spotted them. A cute Filipina girl, probably 6 or 7, was holding hands with two women, one apparently her mother, the other an attractive local woman. The girl skipped happily between the two women as they walked, obviously surrounded with love and security.

Lucky girl, Gomes thought. So unlike Serena Kawainui, who he'd just questioned. She'd grown up in a series of foster homes, had been abandoned by parents and parent figures more than once. So she ended up here today after crashing Sen. Donovan Matsuda-Yee-Dela Cruz-Bishop-Kamaka's car off the Keeaumoku Overpass -- drunk, loaded on ice and naked. All because the senator, who kept her and supplied money for the drugs, insisted that she have an abortion. Hurt and angry, she went for a drive, despite not knowing how to drive, figuring she'd get pulled over by a cop and embarrass him. Cruel irony, it was the combination of drugs, alcohol and trauma from the crash that led her to have a miscarriage.

Gomes watched the two women and the little girl get into a taxi, and from this angle saw for the first time the Filipina woman had bandages on her cheek and temple. Whatever had happened to her didn't seem to be affecting her daughter. A good support system will do that when a crisis happens.

Gomes learned that in the first-person when his father died suddenly of an aneurysm when Sherlock was 14, and his wrestling coach and math teacher at Leilehua High, Mr. Vern Matsuda, became his mentor and father figure. Gomes owed him everything. That the late Mr. Matsuda happened to be the father of the senator complicated matters.

Gomes heard his stomach growl. It had been eight hours since lunch. On his way to get some dinner, he wanted to check out the scars on the Keeaumoku Overpass that Serena Kawainui left when she went up and over, landing upside down on Cartwright Field halfway down the first base line. Which would leave its scars on her face. Not a lucky girl at all.

>> In the back seat of the taxi, Elizabeth sat in the middle, between her mother Rosalita Resurreccion and her mother's employer Lily Ah Sun.

"I never rode in a taxi before," Elizabeth said, in awe.

"Only Jeepney," said Rosalita, thinking of the colorful, smoking, jammed-to-the-elbows, open-air Jeepneys, the national vehicle of the Philippines.

"I like taxis," Elizabeth said, touching the leather seat, feeling secure between the two women who loved her most.

"Royal Hawaiian Hotel, please," Lily told the cabbie.

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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