All shook up
When the shaking startled Cruz MacKenzie awake, he was ready to surrender: Biggie Kanaka's boys had found him and Jasmine sleeping, her head on his shoulder, his arm over her shoulder, their legs entwined, and were rousting them out of bed in the middle of the night! He was in trouble!
Consciousness returned in the next instant, however, and he knew the truth: Earthquake. Cruz grew up in California, had felt dozens of quakes.
Jasmine awoke with a frightened gasp.
"Little quake," he said and squeezed her bare shoulder. The clock read 2:28 a.m. The shaking would be over any second.
Twenty seconds later the room was still shaking. "Let's go!"
They bolted out of bed together. She stumbled as a tremblor shook the floor like a towel, but came up running with her lava-lava in one hand as Cruz threw open the door and the lights suddenly went out. There were screams in the night, but the sounds they would remember was the rattling of steel, the crumbling of concrete and the staccato shattering of glass. At last the shaking stopped. They started walking in the dark.
Jasmine squeezed Cruz's hand down two flights of blackened stairs. They exited the stairwell and saw the flickering glow of a tiki torch approaching. A 300-pound Samoan security guard jogged up breathlessly. "You OK?"
"Just a little shook up." Cruz couldn't believe he actually said that.
The guard directed them toward a distant tiki torch. "There's first aid and water over there. Report there so we can account for everyone. Oh, and, uh, ma'am, you could finished getting dressed now."
"Oh!" Jasmine quickly tied the lava-lava around her.
Unfortunately, all Cruz wore was a pair of white Jockey briefs. Fortunately, without pukas or major stains.
A young hotel assistant manager rushed up with a clipboard in one hand, a flashlight in the other. "Room number, please?"
"MacKenzie," Jasmine said.
"Right. Mr. and Mrs. MacKenzie." She checked them off. "Room 420."
Behind them the sound of voices grew. The big guard led a dozen guests in various phases of underwear, robes and wrapped towels toward the port cochere. Unlike most natural disasters, nobody wanted to talk about this one and share experiences. It must have been the underwear.
Cruz led Jasmine outside to a landscaped area between the hotel and the parking lot to get away from the growing crowd. He spotted a bench, but before they could sit down Jasmine gagged and threw up her dinner on it.
"You'll feel better in the morning."
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Don Chapman is editor of MidWeek.
His serialized novel runs daily
in the Star-Bulletin. He can be e-mailed at