My Kind of Town

Don Chapman

The other half

>> Maui

Cruz MacKenzie introduced himself to county medical examiner Pat Ohara and two of his pals, Yama and Dickie, on the first tee. "Our rule is," Ohara said, "if you cannot play good, at least play fast."

The front nine at Waiehu is a links-style course along the sea. Cruz played each of the first four holes as if they were lessons in the golf video he thought about making one day, "Bogey, My Way." But he didn't mind. It was a joy to be out of doors, without a deadline, worrying about nothing more serious than the direction of a golf ball.

Surf crashed on the shore and a salty mist drifted across the links. Cruz was even good-natured when he lipped out a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-3 fifth.

On the 360-yard par-4 sixth hole, with the wind at their backs, Cruz tried to reach the green in one and crushed his drive 285 on the fly right down the middle. But in the truest tradition of links golf, just as the thought "eagle putt" flashed through his brain, the ball hit something and bounced 90 degrees directly right toward the ocean. But still Cruz was calm. It was low tide and he could see the ball on the wet sand.

Cruz hopped down to the beach and tried to hit the ball between waves. But he took too long in lining up the shot and just as he struck the ball, an ankle-slapper hit him from behind. "That'll teach you to play faster!" Ohara hollered.

And then another, bigger wave hit Cruz at the knees and Ohara's face changed in a flash from grin to a growl when Cruz yelled, "Something's got me!"

Something had indeed grabbed his ankle and was dragging him back into the sea with the receding wave. Shark?! Giant squid?! Cruz couldn't see it in the turbo-swirl of white water and sand and slashed at it with his 60-degree wedge as another wave washed in waist-high and nearly upended him.

Cruz used the wedge for balance -- technically, a one-stroke penalty, grounding your club in a hazard -- and during a lull between waves worked his way up the steeply canted beach, using the wedge like a cane and incurring penalty after penalty.

When another little wave approached, he used its energy for a boost into ankle-deep water. Something green was wrapped around his leg. Cruz pulled it off, held up exactly half a pair of swimming trunks, cut right up the Velcro zipper. Though faded and tattered, at one time they'd been neon lime.

"Omigod! It's ..."

"Sure looks like what I read about ..."

"... Daren Guy's shorts!"

"But how'd they get to Maui from Kona?"

"Good question." Suddenly Cruz was back on the Daren Guy story.

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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