My Kind of Town

Don Chapman

Smooching sound

>> Honolulu

Cruz MacKenzie tossed and turned all night, the sleep of a man whose cage has been rattled. Jasmine Kekai had done that to him last night, alright, but no more than her father, Cruz's old golf buddy Biggie Kanaka, who gave his blessing to Jasmine's infatuation with Cruz, and a relationship between them. He probably figures it won't last anyway, Cruz had thought at one point as he rolled over and refluffed the pillow. Unable to sleep, he showered and shaved and was in the office in time to see the sun coming up.

He spent as little time as possible in the office, but it remained a familiar haven, a home away from home. He liked the chair. And the view through skinny designer Oriental blinds at the high-rises of Kakaako and beyond to the home-lined hillsides of Honolulu was a constant reminder of who he was really reporting and writing for -- people.

Cruz had been so busy island hopping that he hadn't retrieved recorded messages or e-mails, so the backlog was ridiculous. Multi-tasking, he checked the most recent phone messages first while scanning e-mails.

"MacKenzie, this is Jonah Hancock," the machine repeated, giving Hancock a slightly metallic tone. "I need to talk with you, ASAP."

The call from the National Marine Fisheries head came in yesterday afternoon. Not too hard to guess what he wanted to talk about if he'd read yesterday's column about half of what might have been Daren Guy's shorts washing up on Maui. The city editor ran Cruz's column across the bottom of Page One. He returned Hancock's call, got his voice mail and left a message.

The phone rang then. "MacKenzie." A female voice introduced herself as Nurse Kumulani from Hale Makule, an upscale retirement home in Manoa, and said that Professor Delbert Pester wanted to talk.

"Impossible!" the frail, brittle voice insisted. "Your assumption contradicts everything!"

"Excuse me?"

"Do you know who I am?"

"The nurse told me your name, sir."

"For nearly 20 years, I studied tiger sharks in Hawaii. And it's simply not possible for a shark to swim from Kona on the Big Island to Waiehu on Maui."

"I'd like to hear about your research in person, Professor Pester. I can be there in 25 minutes."

"I'm not going anywhere."

The most recent message was from Jasmine: "Just wanted to say I'm looking forward to dinner tonight. You're so old-fashioned, going to Daddy like that, and not wanting to come home with me last night, I can hardly believe it. But I'm glad. Bye." And then a smooching sound.

Walking out the door, Cruz thought it was nice to know that things other than playing golf with a coroner could still give him a happy-skippy heart.

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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