My Kind of Town

Don Chapman

Captain, my captain

>> Kona

Later, Sonya Chan would tell herself that she'd have shot her fiance Daren Guy with the spear gun if the sound of a fishing boat hadn't suddenly broken her concentration. She really would have.

"Hear that?" Daren had said. "Somebody's heading out. We gotta go."

Through her tear-blurred eyes, she saw Daren leap from the yacht to his fishing boat, anchored a quarter-mile out in the bay. And then into the dinghy, where Sushi Leclaire anxiously waited.

"I know the sound of that boat," Daren said, tilting his head toward shore.

"That's Mano. We really do gotta go."

He hit the ignition switch and the dinghy's electric motor hummed softly.

"We also gotta talk about some stuff, babe. You're wrong about a lot of things, including my love."

With that he cast off from the fishing boat.

"Now get out of here before anyone sees this boat," he called. "We'll see you at Pele's Bath. Love you, babe."

And Daren and Sushi putted away.

This was no time to stand and watch, or even to shoot Daren in the back. Blinking back more tears, Sonya hurried to the wheel, engaged the prop on the idling engine, and with no running lights made an 80-degree turn and fled. Clearing the bay, she turned left. And as the lights of Kona grew distant, she at last called below to where the 12 Filipinas Sushi Leclaire recruited out of the brothel bars of Manila huddled in terrified silence.

"Magdalena, please come up!"

In talking with the girls earlier, getting to know a little about them, Sonya had been especially impressed with Magdalena. Just 19, from East Samar, she was beautiful, still had a certain innocence about her, and though she was educated only through high school, she was a bright girl.

"Yes, mum," she said.

"It's Sonya, not mum, OK, you're not working for me."

"Yes, mu ... yes, Miss Sonya."

"How's everybody doing down there?"

"Kind of scared."

"I don't blame you. What did Sushi tell you."

"That we live in the nice house, make like a TV show, don't have to have sex with stranger man."

An improvement in their quality of life, perhaps, but still a sad one.

"I'm the captain of the boat now, Magdalena. I'm in charge. And I think you can have a better life than that. But I'll need your help too."

The girl saluted playfully, "Yes, my captain!"

"Thank you." Sonya needed a smile. It had been a while. "Now, come over here so I can teach you how to steer the boat."

"Me? Oh my god!" Magadelena exclaimed. But she picked it up quickly.

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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