My Kind of Town

Don Chapman

Not the niele kine

>> Kona

Back at the harbor, Cruz MacKenzie found Mano Kekai's slip empty. Most of the other slips were also empty, where just a couple of hours ago there had been 100 or more boats tied up. Where did everybody go in such a hurry?

"The Bite's on," explained the silver-haired Japanese grandma at Kona Kai Fishing Supply. "The whole fleet just left." The Bite is local fisherman talk for a major run of ahi.

"I need to get out to Sonya Chan's boat. Know anybody with a dinghy?"

"You mean Daren Guy's boat."


"I thought you was just there," she said, accusation rising at the corners of her mouth.

"Small town, eh."

She shrugged. "Small harbor. You can ask around for a ride."

She was, as she knew, the only person around to ask.

"Or you could try swimming."

"Not after what happened to Daren. Did you know him?"

"He was in here nearly every day. Always had some excuse why he was short. In this business, dealing with fishermen, you hear about every excuse there is. But Daren came up with some new ones. He was creative, I think could have been a good writer."

"Actually, I'm a writer -- Cruz MacKenzie, with the Star-Bulletin."

"I know who you are. I read your column. Until this morning, I liked you."

Her knife was so sharp, he hadn't noticed it slipping between his ribs until she pulled it out.

Cruz wasn't up to making excuses. "What's your name, ma'am?"

"Tamura, Joyce."

"Well, Ms. Tamura..."

"Mrs.," she corrected.

"Mrs. Tamura, Sonya and me, we're, uh, old friends. You know ..."

"I figured. Well, she's a grown woman. And her man's dead. Grief makes some people do crazy things. What did you leave on the boat?"

"My story."

"With nothing else going on, I might be persuaded to help you. Except that Sonya just left. All dressed up."

"Where was she going?"

"Do I look like the niele kine? She parked the dinghy and took Daren's Jeep, that's all I saw."

"Thanks. Where's the nearest pay phone?"

She pointed outside. "I was you, I'd check with Perry Brown. He's an attorney in town."

"Why?" Cruz wasn't the nosy kind either.

"Because when I asked, that's where she said she was going."

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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