Sitting at the shaded picnic table beside the bay, Cruz MacKenzie bowed to his laptop and began to write:
"Shark as friend and companion? Shark as protective deity?
"Even as some people across Hawaii cry out for a massive shark hunt in the wake of three fatal shark attacks on humans in recent days, there are others who revere sharks and even seek out their company."
He wrote of swimming with Mano's sharks and told how his family for generations going back a thousand years had been going there to bring offerings to the shark god. He also recounted Steven Stills' tale of befriending Uggums (without mentioning sugar in the gas tank) and her children, and concluded:
"In an unrelated finding, insurance investigators confirmed that Daren Guy made it safely back to his boat on the night he won the lottery. They reported finding his beard hairs in a sink and conjectured that he shaved off his beard of many years before going for his fatal swim, apparently to wash off. "I can just see him, wanting to surprise me," said his girlfriend Sonya Chan before going into seclusion."
Or running away with Daren Guy.
Ever amazed by technology, Cruz hit a button and wirelessly sent the column to the city desk. Having cleverly left his cell phone in his car at the Honolulu airport, he used the nearby pay phone to call the paper.
"Enough of this shark crap," Garry the city editor said by way of greeting.
"And you've been gone for four days already."
"You haven't been getting your money's worth?"
"That's beside the point. It's overkill."
"So to speak. Have any readers complained?"
"No, but there are other stories going on, you know."
"Absolutely. In fact, there's a doctor in Hilo, I'd like to write about his work with women who have silicone poisoning from implants."
Gritting his teeth, Garry strung together 10 X-rated terms as a compound adjective for columnists and snapped "One more day, that's it!"
So Cruz phoned Doc Cocker, Dr. Joseph B. Cocker to be precise, and dropped Ornellas' name. "I'm interested in doing a story."
"As it turns out, I'll be in Honolulu to speak to a group of silicone victims at St. Francis on Saturday morning. We could talk afterward."
"See you then."
With a free pass from Garry, Cruz thought about calling Scott Bridges, the head pro at Mauna Kea, and trying to get a game. But something on Oahu beckoned him. He needed to find out who Daren Guy really was. And then there was Jasmine.
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