My Kind of Town

by Don Chapman

Monday, November 26, 2001

Clouds of mystery

>> Ala Moana Beach Park

Sitting on a park bench, HPD Detective Sherlock Gomes was about to ask Dr. Laurie Tang if the name Serena Kawainui meant anything to her when his cell phone chirped. Laurie was glad for the interruption. Gomes' question about her boyfriend Sen. Donovan Matsuda-Yee-Dela Cruz-Bishop-Kamaka "acting differently" raised a fear in Laurie that she was about to learn things about Donovan she couldn't have guessed at.

Gomes' cell phone looked like a toy in his big hand. He listened intently and didn't notice her watching him.

"OK, you tell her." Gomes handed Laurie the phone.

She recognized the voice of extreme photographer Johnny B. Goo. "There was no moisture in the lens, in the housing or anywhere else. So I've no idea what caused the white cloud in some of the photos of you and Gomes. In the old days you could blame bad film, bad paper, bad processing, bad chemicals. But not when you're shooting digital. All I know is that something caused a cloud to appear in different shapes in different shots."

Laurie thanked him, clicked off the phone, handed the phone back to Gomes. "This makes absolutely no sense."

"Neither does what we saw."

"Excuse me." Gomes and Laurie looked up, saw a man with white hair and sun-leathered skin. "Some people over there ..." He nodded toward the swelling crowd that had come to see for themselves the WWII-vintage Japanese mini-sub that minutes ago had surfaced out of nowhere, lifted Laurie out of the water during the last yards of her swim, and then beached itself at the Diamond Head end of the park. Gomes, waiting to ask Laurie about her relationship with Sen. Donovan Matsuda-Yee-Dela Cruz-Bishop-Kamaka, jumped up onto the sub and after much effort was able to open the exterior latches to the sub's lone hatch. "... they're saying you saw a naked woman inside the sub."

"Yes, she was kind of glowing," Laurie said excitedly, "And then she came up out of the hatch ..."

Gomes' cop instincts kicked in. "And just disappeared. What's it to you?"

"I know this woman."

Laurie and Gomes exchanged a glance. Maybe this old guy was crazier than they were.

"Her name is Ho'ola."

"You saw her too?" Laurie wanted to know.

"All my life I wanted to see that wahine, and today I did." Jimmy Ahuna was glowing too. "I saw the goddess."

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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