My Kind of Town

Don Chapman

Off the boat

>> Off the Big Island

Mano Kekai's fishing boat pulled alongside the yacht Wet Spot, and Sonya Chan had never been so glad to see anyone since, well, since the old man who skippered this boat turned out to be her dead fiance Daren Guy in disguise.

And that hadn't turned out too well at all. Just look around. Here she was skippering a stolen yacht with 12 Filipinas, illegal aliens bound for the sex trade unless she did something, plus a ship-jumping Japanese fisherman slowly dying and breathing gangrene fumes below deck. Things had worked out just lovely after Daren came back to life, hadn't it?

"Uncle Mano, I'm so glad to see you!" Sonya called from her boat to his.

"But how did you ... I mean, way out here?"

As the Filipinas huddled behind Sonya, not sure what to make of this large brown man with the more-salt-than-pepper goatee, Mano explained that he'd been heading out in the wee hours of the morning to go fishing and had noticed Wet Spot was back in the bay, again close to Daren's fishing boat.

"An' you know us ocean people, always niele, eh? So I followed you that first night, not knowing it was you, figuring it was the old guy, and in the morning I saw through the binocs that it was you and all these wahine. An' I thought, somethin' ain't pono."

"Understatement, Uncle Mano."

Now, up close, bobbing at the stern of the yacht, Mano noticed that it's name had been altered. Painted there was Wet Spot, but it had once been something else. And in that instant he knew.

One of the Filipinas shrieked, pointed at the sea, and set off a chorus of squeals and chatter.

A huge fin traced a path around the yacht. "Oh my gosh!" Sonya said.

"That's Mano," Mano said. "My aumakua. You have nothing to fear."

Sonya and the Filipinas looked doubtful.

"So where is the old man who brought this boat to Kona?"

Sonya froze. How to answer? Mano thought Daren was dead, and it should stay that way, especially if she wanted Daren's Lotto and insurance millions. Still she told the truth, partly. "He's waiting at Pele's Bath. With the guy who is these ladies', um, sponsor."

Mano nodded, stroked his beard. "So, bebbe, what can I do for you?"

"Help me with my karma."

He frowned. "Eh?"

"We've got another passenger below, Japanese fisherman, jumped ship from the trawler that brought these girls this far. Literally. He landed badly, must have done some awful internal damage. He's dying. Can you take him back to Kona, get him to a hospital, tell them you found him adrift?"

So it was that the Filipinas carried the unconscious Hideki topside. Agnes, the one for whom he'd jumped, cried as she kissed him good-bye.

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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