My Kind of Town
Don Chapman


Incident at Ala Moana

» UH-Windward

It didn't happen often in Hawaii -- though probably more often than non-Muslims might imagine -- that Lt. Basel Zakly Faris, USMC, spotted a girl who looked Muslim. It wasn't just physical features, for Muslims in Hawaii were a multi-hued and ethnically diverse bunch. It was more attire and manner.

And if he were a betting man -- which of course as a good Muslim he was not -- he'd bet that the beautiful young woman he'd just caught looking at him was also Muslim. She wore loose-fitting blue jeans, a billowy long-sleeved white blouse buttoned to the neck and a gray beret covering her head. A very modern, stylish Muslim girl, decent enough to blush and turn away when he caught her eye and smiled.

Funny, that's exactly the kind of girl he was looking for.

"Joe," he said to his Marine buddy, "on second thought, bro, thank you for dragging me over here today. I believe I just spotted my future bride."

Lt. Joe Matsuo, a local boy from Pearl City, fellow MP and teammate on the Marines' champion inter-service basketball team, followed Baz's gaze across the room.

"The tall, thin, beautiful young woman with perfect brown skin? Would that be the future Mrs. Baz Faris?"

"Actually, Muslim women keep their family name. But that's her."

"Baz, brah," he said, "forgetting for the moment that you're talking about marrying a woman after one glance from across a crowded room, and pardon my French, how the hell you can tell she's Muslim?"

"I can tell."

"May I remind you," Joe said, unable to resist laughing at the memory and punching Baz's shoulder, "that I was with you at Ala Moana that time?"

That would be the time Baz spotted an attractive young woman wearing a caftan-style robe and head scarf exiting Hackfeld's. Couldn't miss, right?

Baz made eye contact, smiled modestly, lowered his eyes.

She walked right over, poked his chest with a red-painted nail. "USMC, your shirt says. You a Marine?"

"Yes, I am," he said, humble but proud.

"I just got divorced and, know what, I never did a Marine before. You wanna be the first?"

Smelling alcohol vapors, Baz lurched backward, speechless.

She turned to Joe, slurred "OK, how 'bout you then?"

"Love to," Joe said, biting his lip, "but I got to tend to my buddy who's goin' into major shock over there. You know, Semper Fi and all that stuff."

Baz shook his head at the painful memory. "This one is different."

Fatima bin Laden was different all right, and wanted this Marine for very different reasons. Now if she could just get into whatever class he was taking ...

Which was exactly what he was thinking about her.

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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