My Kind of Town

by Don Chapman

Comfort food

>> Waikiki

If there was a better-traveled food than spaghetti in the world, Achmed al-Hazir, known here at the Marine Surf as Ignacio Del Rosario, didn't know what it was. His family back in the Philippines served spaghetti on holidays and other special occasions. And a cook at the Infitada Inc. training camp in Iraq he'd visited to hone his skills with explosives had served spaghetti once a week. So when the waiter brought the menu and started to tell him about the evening's specials, Achmed put up a hand.


"Very good," the waiter said with an approving nod. "If I do say so, sir, the chef makes the best spaghetti in Honolulu."

The waiter departed and Achmed began to feel better about his future, whatever it might be, largely because spaghetti brought back such fond memories. Who'd have thought that an Italian dish with a Chinese history would serve as comfort food for a Muslim terrorist from Mindanao in Hawaii?

>> Manoa

"I feel so stupid," the widow Mrs. Rayna Chang said when FBI agent Steve Metz announced that her yardman Paul Omandam, a.k.a. Achmed al-Hazir, a suspected accomplice in the terrorist bombing at Pearl Harbor, had somehow avoided his men and escaped into the night.

"You're not the first American who's been fooled by a terrorist," Metz said. He was afraid she would not be the last.

"What if he comes back?"

"Not likely. But we'll have your home under surveillance."

"Thank you," she said, showing him to the door.

When he was gone, Rayna turned to David Fulton. "I'm afraid I'm not making a very good first impression this evening."

"Well, this is one of the more memorable evenings of my life," the handsome widower said with an understanding chuckle. "And it's still early."

She glanced at her watch. Barely 8:30.

"I did promise you dinner," he said, "if you're still in the mood."

"My appetite had deserted me for the moment, but I do think I could use a glass of wine." Mostly she did not want to be alone.

"That's two of us." He nodded toward the door. "Shall we?"

"Where did you have in mind?" she said as he opened the passenger door of his Lexus for her.

Her friend Babs Johnston, who'd set up this blind date, said he was a member at Oahu Country Club. She was expecting he'd take her there.

"Matteo's, if that's alright."

"I haven't been there in years." Rayna didn't mention that her late husband Henry had loved the osso buco.

"Once again, that's two of us." David didn't mention that his late wife Tish had loved the Caesar salad. "Matteo's, then?"

"Excellent choice."

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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