My Kind of Town

Don Chapman

Quite a

>> Kakaako/Waikiki

HPD Detective Sherlock Gomes was in the FBI offices at the Federal Building as part of the joint task force on counter-espionage and terrorism, checking police mug shots of the eight arrested members of Te-Wu against candid photos, when a call came in for him.

"Detective Gomes, Bodhicita Guzman here."

Of course. The woman who had shot and sent the Te-Wu photos.

"We had the news on, they were showing the eight Te-Wu guys that were arrested. That's when I realized, there were nine guys in the house."

Gomes preferred a face-to-face interview over a phoner every time. You learned so much from body language, even more from the eyes. He asked for her address, was surprised to learn she was in the same hotel as the second Lama Jey Tsong Khapa.

After self-parking -- he did not trust these young hotshot valet guys with his cherry '68 Barracuda -- Gomes was even more shocked to find Ms. Guzman and the young lama sitting side-by-side on a white couch overlooking the sea, both with freshly shaved heads. Her's was very fresh, the scalp area much lighter than her tanned skin. From mistress of the chief Te-Wu spook to consort of a living Buddha -- now there's a conversion for ya, Gomes thought.

"Tea, Detective Gomes?" the lama offered.

"That's a big deal for you Buddhists, I take it," he said. "Tea."

"Why do you ask?"

"My, uh ... " He and Dr. Laurie Tang hadn't yet put a declarative title on their relationship. Girlfriend seemed presumptuous, even though he was hoping it would develop into far more than that, like fiance and wife. "The lady I'm seeing is Buddhist, and she's big on her green tea."

"And your religious alignment?" the lama said, pouring tea for Gomes.

He fingered the cross and St. Christopher medal on a chain around his neck. "Catholic."

"A wonderful man, your John Paul II. In any event, please, I would be honored to meet this lady you are seeing."

There was something about the kid that threw Gomes off. His openness and compassion, a certain purity of thought and action. "Thank you. I'm sure Laurie would be thrilled. We were there that night you spoke with the Dalai Lama at the Blaisdell. But first things first. The danger to you is not over."

He'd brought printouts of the secret digital images Bodhicita had e-mailed to the FBI the previous night, spread them out on the table beside the tea and pastries.

"That's the one, name's Lu Wi," Bodhicita said. "He was the house boy, cooked all the meals. Real quiet. Hard to believe he'd want to hurt Jey."

"He's already told a female acquaintance of his plans," Gomes said. "And you are not the only one at risk, Lama Jey. There's also a child, a girl."

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 dchapman@midweek.com



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