My Kind of Town
The Honolulu Soap Co.:
>> 2002 Wilder
"So how did an island boy avoid learning to swim?" Dr. Laurie Tang said, bobbing up to her neck in the shallow end of the pool. "I mean, no surfing?"
Standing nervously up to his waist, HPD Detective Sherlock Gomes didn't want to admit his fear of the water. "The few times I tried, I sank."
"Here," she said and held out both arms on the water's surface, palms up. "I just want you to feel how good the water feels."
Gomes lay face down across her arms, one supporting his chest, the other his thighs. He didn't know if it was the water that felt good, but something sure did.
Achmed al-Hazir found his place of martyrdom in the middle of the intersection at Kuhio and Seaside. A trolley full of people was stopped for a red light at Kuhio, heading mauka. Behind it was a police car.
Achmed walked casually but purposefully, patting the bomb strapped around his waist. He took an angle that would carry him between the trolley and the cop car.
That's when the screaming started from behind him. "Terrorist!" a woman shrieked.
It was Mrs. Chang!
Heads turned from all four corners of the busy intersection. In an instant, rookie HPD officer Dale Kaneakua was out of his car, drawing his Glock 9mm. "Stop, police!"
But the one-man jihad kept running toward him.
Then, Larry "Just Under A Ton" Underton, a jolly faced actor who was best known for playing Santa at a mall every Christmas, tackled the terrorist and knocked him senseless with his stun gun. An instant later, the gun's fierce electrical impulse reached the bomb's fuse mechanism and the Waikiki night exploded.
>> 2002 Wilder
"You're stiff as a brick," Laurie said. "I mean, just relax, OK? You're going to have to trust me." As she began to move sideways, the water flowing past his body actually did feel good.
"This isn't so bad, is it?" she said.
Gomes realized he'd been holding his breath, tried to breathe normally. But between fighting his fear and the sensation of Laurie's breasts pressed into his ribs, his heart was racing.
"Not too bad," he managed.
Achmed al-Hazir departed this life when the bomb he wore around his waist detonated in the intersection of Kuhio and Seaside, and shortly after arrived in ... well, he wasn't quite sure, but it was kind of misty.
And then through the mist a murmuring of many women arose. They were coming nearer. Oh day of rapture! The mist parted, and there was God the prophet, leading two parallel lines of women dressed in white. His heart racing with joy and anticipation, Achmed leaped forward.
"Not so fast, Camel Butt," the prophet said.
"What? But ..."
"How many dead in Waikiki?" the prophet called.
"Eight," God's own scorekeeper replied. "No, make it nine."
"Nine innocents in my name. The definition of utter blasphemy."
He bade the first pair of women to step forward.
"Before you," the prophet intoned, "stands an eternal line of women. Not a virgin in the bunch, but each was a good woman -- who got dumped by her husband for a younger woman. I'm telling you, each one of them has issues about men like you wouldn't believe."
"Welcome to your eternity."
The prophet hath spoketh.
Larry "Just Under A Ton" Underton was also on the first boat out of life. Later, when witnesses had been interviewed by police and the FBI, everyone agreed that Underton saved many lives when he tackled the terrorist, preventing him from reaching the crowded trolley. Then he'd fallen on top of the terrorist just as the bomb exploded. Underton, who actually tipped the scales closer to 350 pounds, and the pavement below absorbed much of the blast and many of the tacks and screws it unleashed.
Also killed were HPD officer Kaneakua, two young honeymooners from Japan and five people on the trolley. Many others were hit by shrapnel, but their injuries were not fatal.
Rayna Chang had watched it all, screaming and pointing at her yardman -- whom she knew as Paul Omandam. When the smoke cleared, she saw body parts, heard the anguished cries. And it was all her fault! She was the one who'd found the yardman through a Filipino employment service -- not sanctioned by the Filipino government, but considerably cheaper -- and unwittingly brought a terrorist to Hawaii. Overcome with guilt and horror, Rayna fainted into the arms of attorney David Fulton. Some first date.
At that moment, based on information provided by Lily Ah Sun, who'd heard about the employment service from her good friend Rayna, agents of the Philippine National Police were raiding the offices of Muhammed Resurreccion in Zamboanga and finding a computer list of 35 other Filipino Muslims who had been placed in American homes in seven states. A call was going out to the FBI, and each of the 35 would receive a visit in the next 12 hours.
This would be a huge victory in America's war on terror. But at the intersection of Kuhio and Seaside nobody was cheering.
>> Punchbowl Kai
Salvatore Innuendo knew this apartment well. The church owned it and had put him up here during his therapy, thinking a change of scenery would dim memories of the day Innuendo, a young Vatican Security Office agent, was walking beside Pope John Paul II's car when the Holy Father was shot by a would-be assassin. The counseling did help pull him back from his new fascination with suicide. But his faith had been lost. Innuendo had been touched by great evil that day, and it touched him still.
During those days of disarray, he often sat in this corner bedroom watching a new condominium arise across the way. And as he watched, he reconstructed himself into the man he was today.
Innuendo's perch in the darkened corner bedroom now gave him a straight-line shot inside Dr. Laurie Tang's condo at 2002 Wilder. He'd watched through the scope of his Blaser R93 hunting rifle, steadied with a tripod, as she and HPD Detective Sherlock talked over a glass of wine. Gomes, his target for the evening, sat out of sight, hidden by curtains pulled wide.
Later, he'd watched as the doctor disappeared for several minutes, then reappeared in one of those lava-lava things. Gomes suddenly appeared, and Innuendo was about to squeeze the trigger when the doctor touched his arm and motioned for him to go ahead of her. He watched them leave.
While they went swimming, Innuendo would go visiting. He walked the block to 2002 Wilder carrying a small black duffel bag, entered the building and took the elevator to the 15th floor using the pass card the doctor had given to Sen. Donovan Matsuda-Yee-Dela Cruz-Bishop-Kamaka. Using the senator's key, he entered No. 1527 and gave himself a tour.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org