My Kind of Town

by Don Chapman

Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Seeing the future

>> Waimanalo

It was one of those things you know before you really know it, before it actually happens. Sheets Ah Sun had experienced such moments a few times in his life, moments of such clarity that he could see briefly into the future. Most of those moments were on a golf course, where he just knew that damn little dimpled ball was actually going to behave on this shot and go where Sheets wanted it to go. As a 24-handicapper, there weren't many good shots period, but on rare occasions he had seen a perfect shot coming and it would fly just the way Sheets saw it flying in his mind's eye, as if he was in a little cockpit flying the ball himself like it was an F18 Titleist.

This was the same kind of deal, but far less fun than hitting the sweet spot. Turning his Cadillac off Kalanianaole Highway, Sheets felt his stomach drop, which had nothing to do with the nasty pot hole disguised as a little puddle. Ouch.

Driving mauka, he knew in his gut of guts that when he reached the place he remembered from 27 years ago he would find a crew of city, state and federal workers. There would be toxic waste clean-up experts, and EPA investigators, and Department of Health folks, and cops to look in the hole.

>> Hungry Lion Coffee Shop

HPD Detective Sherlock Gomes had already finished the morning edition of the Star-Bulletin. Nursing a third cup of Kona brew, he looked again at Page One. He was grateful that they'd played Johnny B. Goo's photo of Gomes questioning a disheveled Sen. Donovan Matsuda-Yee-Dela Cruz-Bishop-Kamaka as a one-column photo inset into a larger photo. In his line of work, Gomes didn't want or need the publicity. But he knew that the page designer hadn't played his photo small to do him any favors.

Gomes knew it because in his line of work he was forced to hang around media types. And he'd been forced to hang around them long enough that he'd picked up a few tricks of the ink-stain trade.

So he understood why they ran Johnny B's other photo bigger. It showed the wild-eyed senator throwing a long-neck bottle of beer at Johnny B, the bottle spewing foam like a jet contrail. It was a great photo, a prize-winner maybe. And talk about your free advertising -- you could read the label. This Bud's for you, Johnny B. The light-footed photog had duck-walked out of the way just as Gomes arrived on the scene.

Gomes glanced at his watch. Time to roll. He had a full day ahead -- and it would be full of anticipation for his dinner at Dr. Laurie Tang's home.

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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