My Kind of Town

by Don Chapman

P.E. pays off

>> 2002 Wilder

HPD Detective Sherlock Gomes aimed the Glock 9mm in his left hand across the kitchen half-wall toward a darkened doorway that led to a guest bathroom and the master bedroom with his left hand, splashed water in the kitchen sink with the other. For effect he rattled a plate as the water ran. Trying to make it sound as if Dr. Laurie Tang really was home, and not him. The old feminine domestic duty ruse.

Gomes kept the water running, splashing off a pile of silverware, as he stepped silently on bare feet away from the sink. A man of supreme mental acuity, he was also a man of action and would take the offensive against whoever had broken in and partially closed the curtains. He/she/they had to be hiding around that dark corner.

Wiping his hand on the towel wrapped around his waist, Gomes had a brain flash -- one of those moments that defined his place among history's great detectives. The Glock was not the only weapon he carried. With his free hand, he started unwrapping the towel. Back at Leilehua High, he'd learned out of necessity the nasty art of the rat-tail towel snap. Tightly roll up a damp towel at a slight angle so that one corner angles loosely at the end. With a flick of the wrist flip it out, then snap it back. Gomes could make a little P.E. towel crack like a bullwhip and raise a red welt on bare skin. And this was a 5-foot beach towel. A weapon indeed.

Still pointing the Glock toward the open doorway, Gomes quickly spun the towel tight as a cord. It was damp after his swimming lesson at the pool upstairs, perfect for rat-tailing.

He stood there barechested, a pistol in his right hand, a rat-tail in the other, glad to be ambidextrous. Silently he moved out of the kitchen, crept along the wall that led to the darkened doorway, where he guessed the intruder awaited.

And Gomes remembered a skill he'd learned the hard way as a freshman at Leilehua. He'd just showered after wrestling practice and was toweling off when somebody rat-tailed him from around the corner of his locker and got him right in the you-know-wheres. He'd never even seen the attacker. He yelped, grabbed himself, looked around the corner, saw several upperclassmen on the basketball team walking away. Young Sherlock vowed on the spot to learn that wicked maneuver. And he had.

Four feet from the doorway Gomes paused, drew his whip back. He would aim for debilitating effect, at you-know-wheres, and follow with the Glock.

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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