My Kind of Town

by Don Chapman

Gray matter

>> Arizona Memorial

Elizabeth Resurreccion was 6 years old, but bright and aware. And after just watching the film about the attack on Pearl Harbor, she understood her Uncle Muhammed's seriousness in saying he wanted her to lay these flowers on the Memorial for all those men who had died so heroically. In fact, she was pleased and honored to be asked to perform such a sacred task. And so when they reached the dock and Elizabeth realized that her mother had left the flowers behind in the theater, she panicked and dashed back inside.

"Did you find my flowers?" she called eagerly to a tall black man with a shaved head and a young female park ranger who were talking halfway up the aisle.

"Sure did," Marty replied. "Right over there."

The little girl scampered up the aisle as the Filipina Marty called Sandy ran into the theater screaming "No, Elizabeth, no!"

In his ear-piece, Marty heard his boss, Commander Chuck Ryan: "What'n hell's going on in there?"

"The kid wants her flowers back. Sandy's freaking out."

"Let the kid have 'em." Ryan quickly explained why.

"Makes sense," Marty replied. Make everything look normal.

He gave Sandy the palms-down calm-down sign and a reassuring look as the little girl scooped up the bouquet.

But, Sandy's look said, you told me to keep the girl away from the flowers at all costs.

The plan necessarily changed, his eyes replied.

Marty fell in beside Elizabeth as she came back down the row of seats with her bouquet and walked with her toward the exit.

"Those are beautiful flowers!" he said. "May I smell them?"

Elizabeth proudly lifted the flowers for the big man to smell.

Marty leaned down, got a good look inside the bouquet, took a whiff.

"Mm-mmmm. Very nice."

Their tropical fragrance was indeed nice. The gray putty substance at their base was not.

"Thank you," Marty said.

"Yes, sir."

"Such manners," he said as Sandy took Elizabeth's hand and headed back to the dock.

Marty paused in the doorway, spoke into his phone's hands-free set. "You're right, Chuck. We've got gray matter at the base of the flowers."

"Stay close, Marty. And it's time for the ear-piece to go. Muhammed is watching from outside. You're playing tourist."

Playing tourist on his Hawaiian vacation, Marty stayed close to a terrorist bomb and the little girl who carried it.

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

E-mail to Features Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2002 Honolulu Star-Bulletin