My Kind of Town

Don Chapman

The idiot brother

>> Big Island

It was a gruesome sight, and Sushi Leclaire and his 12 Filipinas turned away, some covering their mouths, some bursting into tears. Cruz MacKenzie took detailed took notes and Nick Ornellas recorded it with his video cam. Two men lay dead and bleeding with head injuries. The third, whose moaning had alerted them, was bleeding from a puncture wound to the forearm and was just coming back to consciousness.

"That's Virgil Root!" Sonya Chan said. "Omigod, Daren really did try to kill his cousin."

"Twin brother," Cruz whispered. "We checked the birth and adoption records. I'm still not sure of all the details, but they were twins, we know that much for sure."

The pilot administered first aid, and soon Root was propped up, sipping from a bottle of water and telling them how he, his cameraman and their local guide had just arrived to check out the snorkeling for his TV outdoor adventure show and were getting out the camera so they could shoot the approaching lava when they were viciously attacked from behind by a guy they'd barely met.

"He hit us with that," Root said, pointed at a four-foot kiawe branch with nasty two-inch thorns at one end.

Cruz bent over the club, taking notes, glanced at the bodies. "That'd do it alright."

Root added warily, "Uh, where is he?"

"Dead, shark attack," Cruz said. "Long story."

"Who was he? He tried to tell me we were cousins."

They told him the story.

"Hard to believe that was Daren, but ... Kimo there did say it looked like we were separated at birth. It was kind of eerie, the similarity ..."

"After seeing you on TV, Daren shaved his beard and head so he could look like you," Sonya said. "He was going to become you. Oh, hi, I'm Sonya."

Spilling out of her glittery silver bikini, this Chinese beauty was indeed a sight for sore eyes, Root thought. His long-lost twin was obviously an idiot. He'd won two mill in the Lotto and had this great looking girlfriend, and instead of being grateful for what the fates had given him, he concocted a crazy get-richer-quick plan that led, ultimately, to his own death.

"Did Daren know?" Root said.

"He had no way of knowing you were anything more than cousins," Cruz answered.

"Twins? Dang. But it's tough to miss something you never had."

The pilot got on the radio, called the police.

"Don't say anything about the girls," Sonya said. "They'll get sent back to Manilla and the bars." She knelt beside Root, touched his hand. "I'd like to talk later, but right now I have to help these girls."

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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