My Kind of Town
Don Chapman

Sacred foreplay

» The Tube

The news sped ahead of the procession, and soon Tubers young and old were rushing to see for themselves the brave young Oahu warrior who after consulting with the bones of Kamehameha had predicted trouble in what was called the King's Cave, then so bravely swam into the cave and, with a swift poke to the eye, dispatched the giant eel that was trying to force itself inside.

"Kaneloa!" they cheered, showering him with tuberose petals. "Kaneloa saved The Tube!"

And now, having revisited the Great King's bones, Kaneloa was being led by Prince To'o the seer toward the Royal Residence of King Kavawai and Queen Tuberosa, the sister of To'o. Following from the edge of the crowd with her cousin Pualani was the Princess Tuberosa La'a, for she and all of the matrilineal La'a line were ali'i who walked among their people.

"I do," she whispered again to Pualani, "I do think he's the one."

"Every girl should be so lucky to have such a Long Man," Pua said with a naughty sigh and a wink.

"It's more than that. He's already far surpassed any of the other young chiefs in their physical and religious testing. And he looks so ... so good."

"But what about the musical test?"

One of the things the princess liked about Pualani was that she was truthful and down to earth, not to mention earthy -- even by the standards of a people who lived inside the earth. And she was right. The musical testing was crucial, for men who married into the La'a line were expected to perform the ancient rituals, playing the pahu drum and the nose flute, dancing the hula, as much as an offering for the gods as foreplay for the queen.

When the throng reached the entrance to the Royal Residence, a grand cavern off the Royal Rotunda, Prince To'o ushered Kaneloa inside, followed by a few of the other Kane priests. The princess and Pualani, meanwhile, dashed around the corner and into the service entrance.

Kaneloa was soon being led into the fabulous throne room and facing the king and queen, reclining on two EZ-Boy loungers.

"Your excellencies, I present Kaneloa!" He told them of the young Oahu chief's mysterious arrival "by Ola," goddess of life, not by The Tube, and reminded them that he himself had predicted the future king would arrive today. He also told of Kaneloa's acts of devotion and bravery. "He has proved his religious devotion to the gods and to Kamehameha. He has proved his courage and strength by spearing the great mo'o. I recommend Kaneloa be considered as the princess' future husband."

"First, I would like to see him dance hula and play the pahu."

It was the princess. She was lovely in every way. Kaneloa's heart began to race faster even than when he smelled the eel's hungry breath.

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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