My Kind of Town

Don Chapman

Breaking rule one

>> Kona

Don Dzuraski, the former Honolulu attorney, slid another glass of house Zinfandel across the bar to his old friend Cruz MacKenzie, and began to answer his questions about Daren Guy, who won the state's first million-dollar Lotto and just hours later became Purina Shark Chow.

"Daren was in here a lot, on account of Sonya waitressing. He'd bring me some fish, or take my mom and her friends whale-watching, and I'd slip him a few free drinks. Don't quote me on that part, huh?"

"What was he like?"

"Hard to say. He was broke all the time, but he was still generous. A nice guy, friendly, polite. You could tell he was raised that way. And he liked to have fun. But when you're broke all the time, living day to day, fish to fish, just surviving, you know, it's hard to tell what a guy's really like.

There was always this edge, which I think had a lot to do with his survival mode. You know, there are guys who are broke who don't worry about it, real hang loose kine. Daren knew he was broke and didn't like it. He worked every day, but he was still running barely half a step ahead of various debts and obligations. His problem is that he loves the ocean. Well, loved."

"That doesn't sound like the modus for a Sonya kind of guy."

"No, but he was nice to her. Real courteous. I mean, a gentleman. He was raised right. Little stuff, but she noticed. And when he scored with a big fish or a big week during whale-watching season, he'd splurge and take her out to Mauna Kea for the weekend. Plus. he's a good-looking guy. I've known Sonya a long time, longer than you, Cruz, and she was in love with Daren, genuinely. They were a nice couple. In fact, she once said..."

"What about his family? You said he was raised right," Cruz said, breaking his first rule of interviewing: Thou shalt not interrupt a subject when he/she is on a pertinent stream of consciousness roll. Thou shall make a quick note and come back to it later. Cruz didn't like thinking he'd done it on purpose.

Don blinked, took a breath, switching trains of thought. "Family? I dunno."

A waitress appeared at the end of the bar. "Try wait ..." he said.

Don quickly filled her tray with drinks and returned. "Come to think of it, you know, I do recall him saying something once about his dad. Or maybe Sonya said something about it. What was it? I dunno. But he was still pissed off about it."

Another waitress appeared with an empty tray.

"While you're at it ..." Cruz said, tapped his nearly empty glass.

It's a tough job, the columnist racket.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Don Chapman is editor of MidWeek. His serialized novel runs daily in the Star-Bulletin. He can be e-mailed at


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