My Kind of Town

Don Chapman

Eh, cuz!

>> Maui

Daren Guy was just stepping out of the shower, leaving Sonya Chan to do whatever female things she had to do, when he got the most incredible news.

Actually it was a commercial break in the early TV news: "Starting next month, KHON will bring the popular outdoor adventure show Pendleton RFD to Hawaii viewers, hosted by award-winning outdoorsman Virgil Root."

Virgil Root? Daren's cousin? The same Virgil Root he'd named beneficiary of the insurance policy he'd taken out after winning the Lotto, in the event something happened to both him and Sonya? Daren turned the volume up, on the screen saw a fit, bald fellow netting a big salmon, then in quick sequence kneeling beside a 12-point deer with a rifle, paddling a canoe through rapids, shooting a bow and arrow, standing knee-deep in a swift river casting a fly rod, riding a horse with a pack horse behind.

Then he appeared in close-up. "Howdy, I'm Virgil Root, and every week on Pendleton R.F.D. we bring you the best hunting, fishing, boating and camping in the West. I'm real pleased that as of next week, our show will be seen on KHON in Honolulu. I hope you'll tune in. And we'll be in Hawaii next week to tape some shows -- fishing for marlin at Kona, hunting for wild boar on Maui, scuba diving off Lanai -- so be watching for those, too."

Daren couldn't believe it. Except that Virgil Root was bald, they could pass for twins. Even the voice was the same. But wasn't that what their mothers had said the last time they'd met, when both Virgil and Daren were 12. It was like seeing himself on TV. He didn't need a totally new name after all.

He was going to become Virgil Root.

"Sonya, you about done?"

"Just another minute."

"Keep the water running, I forgot something."

Later he emerged with shaved head glistening. And Sonya understood that though she knew everything that had happened since the night Daren won the Lotto -- thanks to the journal she'd found, she knew he tried to fake his own death by shark attack and in the process had to kill this boat's skipper and his crewman -- that his charade of death would continue. And she knew that he suspected her of complicity in the attempt on his life. But she was also suspecting that he needed her more alive than dead.

The radio crackled then and Sonya heard a male voice, Asian accent, obviously agitated. "Pet Shop, please come in."

Daren grabbed the microphone. "Yo, Sushi, how you been?"

"Where are you, dammit? You are two days late!"

"Check your radar. I got you on mine. We're about two hours away."

"Excellent. I'll ready the girls. Over."

"What girls?" Sonya said.

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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