My Kind of Town

by Don Chapman

Rock the boat

>> Arizona Memorial

Boat No. 13 had just pulled away from the visitor center dock when a Filipino woman with a bouquet of flowers jumped up and appeared ready to throw them overboard until a tall black man intervened, tried to lead her to the seat beside him. But she spun away, lunged for the side rail, dropped the flowers. Changing tactics, he nimbly picked them out of the air and threw them as far and hard as he could.

As the flowers flew through the air stem-first, wobbling like some big Yard Dart with baby's breath in tow, half the passengers leaned forward to see what the fuss was all about, half leaned away apprehensively.

The exception was Elizabeth Resurreccion, who had been so honored that her Uncle Muhammed asked her to lay the bouquet at the Memorial and was now running to the rail crying for her flowers.

Lt. Martin Luther Washington, the flower chucker, sensed what was coming and let his follow-through spin him around, his back to the coming blast. He saw the on-rushing girl in his path, gathered her into his arms, shouted "Down! Down!" and fell to the deck cradling the child as the sound of Armageddon rang once again across the peaceful waters of Pearl Harbor. The percussion of the blast played the hull like the steel drums of Hell, rocked it up and back.

But it could have been worse. The blasting mechanism in the TATP plastique explosive in the flowers -- the same stuff used by The Shoebomber and Palestinian homicide bombers -- was designed to blow downward through the floor of the Memorial, and so it mostly blew a hole the size of a small shopping center in the water, showering everyone aboard with waves of flying seawater. But the hull held, and the worst injuries were cuts, bruises, a broken wrist and a few conked heads caused by the severe rocking of the boat.

Marty sat up, pulled on his cell phone's ear-piece. But he couldn't hear a thing. Not even the crying and screaming of open-mouthed passengers.

>> Out on the lawn beside the water's edge, Muhammed Resurreccion was transfixed by the blast. A beautiful thing. But it did not seem enough to bring the boat down. He couldn't tell from here through all the smoke and vaporized sea spray, but hopefully there would be casualties. In any event he had made his statement for the Muslims of Mindanao. His goal of sinking the Arizona Memorial had not been realized, but Pearl Harbor had once again been attacked. America was on notice. He turned to leave and came face to face with the barrel of Commander Chuck Ryan's Sig Sauer P228.

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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