My Kind of Town
Don Chapman

Go and make love

» The Tube/Kona Coast

How, Tokelani Green was thinking, can there be this vibrant Hawaiian civilization in lava tubes beneath the Hawaiian islands and she never knew about it? And why was the air filled with the aroma of tuberose blossoms?

She didn't have time to ponder those question as she was led through the Royal Rotunda -- a cavern as immense as Ala Moana Center, she guessed. All around her, bamboo scaffolds had been erected, some draped with tapa cloth, while 50-foot maile and tuberose lei hung from others.

"Here, Goddess Tokelani," the lieutenant with the Royal Runners said, "is your altar."

Tokelani, like a lot of women, had always thought of herself as a goddess. She'd even once penned a piece for the Star-Bulletin's Goddess Speaks column. Problem was, none of the men she dated treated her like a goddess. Which helped explain why she was still single.

But an altar? A bamboo ladder led to a platform 20 feet above the rotunda floor, and was among those draped in maile and tuberose.

"Please," Lt. 'Awiwi said, motioning for Tokelani to ascend the stairs. "The royal wedding is about to begin. If you should need anything ..."

"I need a translator. Please join me."

On the altar platform was a thick, comfy pandanus mat. Tokelani sat upon it. The lieutenant sat just behind her, out of sight, whispering in her ear as the royal procession began, first members of the Border Patrol and Royal Runners, followed by priests and chiefs.

"Who's that?" she said. One of the men, perhaps 40, fit and handsome, walked with an erectness seldom seen, but gracefully. And there was something about him, something strong and calm.

"He is Prince To'o the seer, brother of the queen. He is the high priest of the sacred La'a line, and by tradition tonight you and he will couple together to honor the gods."

Tokelani didn't usually on the first date ... Didn't usually do it for the gods either ... And she wasn't much of a traditionalist ... But, hey, she was a goddess, she could make exceptions. Plus, he was hot. In a holy way.

"With To'o, that is Kaneloa, the Oahu chief who will marry the princess."

Then came King Kavawai and Queen Tuberosa 'Ekahi, surrounded by attendants bearing kahili and pulo'ulo'u, joined by the king and queen of Menehune and their attendants, followed by Princess Tuberosa La'a. Tokelani had a fantastic view as they gathered at the grandest altar, the one to Kane, as the princess and Kaneloa exchanged vows, whereupon they turned to Tokelani. "Bless us, Goddess Tokelani," the newlyweds called.

Tokelani rose, lifted both arms, her palms facing the couple and the thousands of Tubers gathered. "Go," she said with a wink and a smile, "go and make love, make babies, make fun, make life!"

And for three days, everyone in The Tube did nothing else.

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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