My Kind of Town

by Don Chapman

Tuesday, September 25, 2001

The meaning
of Portland

>> Keeaumoku Street

Stopped for a red light at Beretania Street, HPD Detective Sherlock Gomes heard his stomach rumble. Questioning Serena Kawainui in her room at Queen's had taken longer than he planned, especially when she had a miscarriage.

That would be one less problem for Sen. Donovan Matsuda-Yee-Dela Cruz-Bishop-Kamaka, father of the child. Of course, there were still this evening's headlines about Serena crashing the senator's car off the Keeaumoku Overpass and onto Cartwright Field -- drunk, in possession of crystal methamphetamine and totally naked. And then there was the senator's forced trip to Portland -- for which Gomes needed to call his sister Donna, the travel agent.

But first Gomes needed dinner, and he still had the onos for lamb souvlaki and mussels ceviche, so he called his friend Savas at The Olive Tree with a takeout order.

And then he called Donna. Their father was a cop -- yes, the same Gomes who introduced the ukulele to HPD -- so she understood his work.

"Hey, sis, me," he said. As if she or anyone else who had ever heard her big brother's deep, soothing voice could mistake it for anyone else. "Need a favor."

"Uh-oh," she teased with feigned dread.


"OK, what's up?"

"You had Vern Matsuda for math, right?"

Back at Leilehua High, Sherlock was four years ahead of Donna. "Sure. He was classic." Donna remembered what an important figure Mr. Matsuda was for her brother after their father died when Sherlock was 14. Math teacher, wrestling coach, mentor, substitute father figure. "I heard what happened to his son's car today." And then it hit her. "That's why you're calling."

"We have to book the senator on a flight to Portland."

"Portland?" Donna knew what Portland meant. Her brother had sent a few other people he'd busted to a drug rehab center there. The threat of jail if they screwed up again kept most of them clean and out of prison. "I can't believe it! He was supposed to be the next governor!"

"You never know, he still could be."

>> Makiki Heights

Sen. Donovan Matsuda-Yee-Dela Cruz-Bishop-Kamaka kept putting off calling his official girlfriend, Dr. Laurie Tang. He had some serious 'splaining to do. The detective who'd been here earlier, Gomes, said the crash had been all over the news. And Laurie was a news junkie. Well, Donovan could spin Serena crashing his car off the Keeaumoku Overpass. As long as Laurie didn't know that Serena was pregnant with his child, no problems.

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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