My Kind of Town

Don Chapman

A drink for God

>> Kona

Don the bartender was right. There's absolutely nothing like the night after The Bite. Debris from the celebration lingered in the morning as Cruz walked along the harbor to clear his head before breakfast. He stepped past squashed beer cans, a Jose Cuervo bottle, a couple wine bottles, tattered red paper remnants of a large pack of firecrackers, a puddle of puke, cigarette butts, several cardboard crutches for marijuana joints and a recently used condom.

Not one fisherman was still on his feet, though several slept on benches or on their boat decks, and the harbor was oddly hushed until the steady WHISSSK of a city street sweeper drew steadily closer and louder.

"I know it's a street cleaner, but we gotta use it on the sidewalk today, OK!" the exasperated supervisor said. "You unnerstand English?"

Cruz had been to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, Ft. Lauderdale for spring break, Lahaina for Halloween and the Super Bowl on an expense account. Each was a great party, but nothing compared to Bite Night in Kona. It was primitive, tribal, real -- grown men and women ecstatically celebrating the bounty of the sea and their respect for it. It was a true harvest festival that he could have seen in a National Geographic special.

Cruz had the good sense to leave the Yacht Club at 1 a.m. instead of closing the place at 4 with everyone else and then drinking on the dock until past dawn. His strongest memory of the evening was Mano pouring a bottle of perfectly good Bombay Sapphire gin into the dark water of the harbor.

"To say t'anks, eh. The sea shares, we share."

Why Bombay Sapphire?

"Akua nevah like rot gut."

Cruz couldn't recall the last party he was at where somebody poured a drink for God.

>> Daren was up early, excited for the big day. With the morning's first cup of coffee, he turned on the TV for news he might take personally, while keeping an eye out for signs of Sonya departing for his memorial service. He could hear her radio faintly across the water, she was up and moving. He wanted to see the memorial service, watch the world say aloha to Daren Guy. But he couldn't risk it. Everyone he knew was going to be there.

He hoped that she would come straight back. But knowing his friends, and her, there would be a wake at the Yacht Club and she'd be home late. And he was getting tired of waiting, and anxious. The longer he had to wait, the more thinking he did, and it got tougher to hold back the negative thoughts that seemed to pulse through him -- the doubts, the fear, the lonesomeness, even the unexpected guilt that tried to overpower his well-cultivated anger.

But he had no choice, he had to wait.

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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