My Kind of Town

by Don Chapman

Wednesday, October 10, 2001

Say good night, Gracie

>> Kailua

Doctors' instructions are seldom easy to follow, but never more than when Dr. Hassan Farhakeem told Grace Ah Sun that the best thing she and her husband Sheets could do was go home and get some sleep. There was nothing she could do for their youngest son Lance, who lay in a coma after being attacked at the hate crimes bill rally at the Capitol, falling and hitting the back of his head on a curb. Tubes and wires ran into and out of his head, and Grace's maternal instinct told her that her baby needed her. But the doctor had said the hospital staff would call them the moment there was any change in Lance's condition.

"The doctor's right," Sheets said, taking Grace by the hand, practically dragging her out of the ICU. And so they had driven home in silence over the Pali Highway to their home in Enchanted Lake.

And now they lay in bed, the same bed where this afternoon they had made love for the first time since, well, Grace couldn't remember. But it was wonderful, and she thought she would glow for days, until the call came from the Queen's social worker.

Lying in the dark, Sheets reached out, took her hand. Even with so much sadness in her heart, Grace felt the love of her husband. He rolled toward her, kissed her cheek, tasted the warm, salty tang of tears.

"Thank you," she said.

"Good-night, Gracie.

"Tomorrow will be a better day." It sure couldn't be any worse, could it?

But Sheets knew it could. The day had started poorly, when he told their daughter Lily that he was rejecting her plan to reorganize the Honolulu Soap Co., and instead was naming his eldest son Laird president immediately upon his graduation from Stanford Business. Lily did not take it well. And now Lance's unfortunate incident was screwing up Sheets' big plans for the whole family to fly to San Francisco for Laird's graduation.

But the worst news of all came over the radio this morning, when he heard a report about a new Board of Water Supply well in Waimanalo suddenly found to be contaminated from a previously unknown illegal chemical dump site. The report ended by saying that officials were investigating the dump site.

Investigating! That was the last thing Sheets and his brother Mits needed. Then on top of that, Lily and Mits' son Quinn had somehow reunited after 21 years.

Yes, Sheets knew as he lay in the dark, holding his wife's hand as much for his own comfort as her's, things could get worse tomorrow.

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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