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The curse of Lono

Hunter S. Thompson
Ralph Steadman
A Bantam Book / November 1983
Grateful acknowledgment is made lothe !ollowing for permission lo "uole from copyrighted material#
om The Las! Voyage of Captain James Conk $y Richard Hough% copyright & '()( $y Richard Hough.
*sed $y permission of +illiam ,orrow - .o.. Inc.% and ,acmillan London Limited.
!rom Hawaiian Monarchy, The Romantic Years $y ,a/ine ,rant0%
1The Law of the Splintered 2ar1 copyright & '()3 $y ,a/inc ,rant0.
*sed $y permission of Aloha Graphics & Sales% Inc.
!rom 1Hula Hula Boys1 $y +arren 4e5on% Lyrics reprinted permission of 4e5on ,usic 6B,I7. .opyright
& '(89 $y 4e5on ,usic.
Te/t copyright & '(8: $y Hunter S. Thompson Illustrations copyright ; '(8: $y Ralph Steadman
All rights reser5ed. %
<roduced $y Lai la =a$ulsi
Book design $y >aron !ldlcr.
This $ook may not $e reproduced in whole or in part% $y
mimeograph or any other means% without permission.
!or information address# Bantam Books% Int.
Library of Congress Cataloging In Publication Data
Thompson% Hunter S. The curse of Lono.
i. Thompson% Hunter% S. 9. ?ournalists@*nited Slates@Biography..
:. Hawaii@Aescription and tra5el@'(8'B . I. Steadman% Ralph. II. Title.
<=38)3.T333A:: '(8: C)p.(93 DBE % 8:B(CFFC
ISB= CBGG:BC':8)B3 6p$k.7
<u$lished simultaneously in the *nited States and .anada
Now it is not goo for the Christian!s hea"th to h#st"e the
$rian %rown, &or the Christian ri"es, an the $rian smi"es, an it weareth
the Christian own'
$n the en of the fight is a tom%stone white with the name
of the "ate ecease, $n the epitaph rear( !$ &oo" "ies here who trie to h#st"e
the )ast*!
Rudyard Iipling 1The =aulahka1
The Romantic +o Lono
I ha5e $een writing a good deal% of late% a$out the great god Lono and .aptain .ooks personation of
him. =ow% while I am here in Lonos home% upon ground which his terri$le feet ha5e trodden in
remote ages@unless these nati5es lie% and they would hardly do that I suppose@I might as well tell
who he was.
The idol the nati5es worshipped for him was a slender unBornamented staff twel5e feet long.
*npoetical history says he was a fa5orite god on the island of Hawaii@a great king who had $een
deified for meritorious ser5ices@Just our fashion of rewarding heroes% with the difference that we
would ha5e made him a postmaster instead of a god% no dou$t. In an angry moment he slew his wife% a
goddess named Iaikilani Alii. Remorse of conscience dro5e him mad% and tradition presents us the
singular spectacle of a god tra5eling 1on the shoulder1K for in his gnawing grief he wandered a$out
from place to place% $o/ing and wrestling with all whom he met. 2f course this pastime soon lost its
no5elty% inasmuch as it must necessarily ha5e $een the case that when so powerful a deity sent a frail
human opponent 1to grass%1 he ne5er came $ack anymore. Therefore he instituted games called
makahiki% and ordered that they should $e held in his honor% and then sailed for foreign lands on a
threeBcornered raft% stating that he would return some day% and that was the last of Lono. He was ne5er
seen anymoreK his raft got swamped perhaps. But the people always e/pected his return% and they were
easily led to accept .aptain .ook as the restored god.
,ark Twain Letters from Hawaii
,ay 9:% '(8C
Hunter S. Thompson cLo General Aeli5ery +oody .reek% .2
Aear Hunter#
To keep a potential screed down to a few lines% we would like you to co5er the Honolulu
,arathon. +e will pay all e/penses and an e/cellent fee. <lease contact us.
Think a$out it. This is a good chance for a 5acation. Sincerely%
<aul <erry M/ecuti5e Mditor% Running ,aga0ine
.cto%er /0, 1234 .w" &arm
5ear Ra"ph,
- think we ha6e a "i6e one this time, o" sport* 7ome ing%at name 8erry #p in .regon
wants to gi6e #s a month in Hawaii for Christmas an a"" we ha6e to o is co6er the
Hono"#"# Marathon for his maga9ine, a thing ca""e R#nning* ** *
Yeah, - know what yo#!re thinking, Ra"ph* Yo#!re pacing aro#n o6er there in the war room
at the ." Loose Co#rt an thinking, :;hy me< $n why now< J#st when -!m getting
;e""* * * "et!s face it, Ra"ph' any%oy can %e respecta%"e, especia""y in )ng"an* =#t not
e6ery%oy can get pai to r#n "ike a %astar for /> mi"es in some maniac hype race ca""e
the Hono"#"# Marathon*
;e are %oth entere in this e6ent, Ra"ph, an - fee" pretty confient a%o#t winning* ;e wi""
nee a %it of training, %#t not m#ch*
The main thing wi"" %e to r#n as an entry an set a ki""er pace for the first three mi"es* These
%oy?na9is ha6e %een training a"" year for the s#preme effort in this 7#per =ow" of
marathons* The promoters e@pect 14,444 entrants, an the co#rse is /> mi"es' which means
they wi"" a"" start s"ow * * * %eca#se /> mi"es is a he"" of a "ong way to r#n, for any reason at
a"", an a"" the pros in this fie" wi"" start s"ow an pace themse"6es 6ery caref#""y for the
first /4 mi"es*
=#t not #s, Ra"ph* ;e wi"" come o#t of the %"ocks "ike h#man torpeoes an a"ter the who"e
nat#re of the race %y sprinting the first three mi"es sho#"er?to?sho#"er in #ner 14 min#tes*
$ pace "ike that wi"" crack their n#ts, Ra"ph* These peop"e are into r#nning, not racing@GC
o#r strategy wi"" %e to race "ike whoreho#ns for the first three mi"es* - fig#re we can crank
o#rse"6es #p to a "e6e" of fren9y that wi"" c"ock a%o#t 2(00 at the three?mi"e checkpoint***
which wi"" p#t #s so far ahea of the fie" that they won!t e6en %e a%"e to see #s* ;e wi"" %e
o6er the hi"" an a"" a"one when we hit the stretch a"ong $"a Moana =o#"e6ar sti"" r#nning
sho#"er?to?sho#"er at a pace so fast an cra9y that not e6en the A#ges wi"" fee" sane a%o#t
it* * * an the rest of the fie" wi"" %e "eft so far %ehin that many wi"" %e o6ercome with %"in
rage an conf#sion*
-!6e a"so entere yo# in the 8ipe"ine Masters, a wor" c"ass s#rfing contest on the north shore
of .ah# on 5ec* />*
Yo# wi"" nee some work on yo#r high?spee %a"ance for this
one, Ra"ph* Yo#!"" %e shot thro#gh the c#r" at spees #p to 04 or e6en B0 mi"es an
ho#r, an yo# won!t want to fa""*
- won!t %e with yo# in the 8ipe"ine gig, #e to serio#s o%Aections raise %y my
attorney with regar to the #rine test an other "ega" ramifications*
=#t - wi"" enter the infamo#s Listen Memoria" Rooster &ight, at C1,444 per #nit on
the #ni6ersa" sca"e@e*g*, one min#te in the cage with one rooster wins C1,444 * ** or
fi6e min#tes with one rooster is worth C0,444 ** * an two min#tes with fi6e roosters is
C14,444 *** etc*
This is serio#s %#siness, Ra"ph* These Hawaiian s"ashing roosters can tear a man to
shres in a matter of secons, - am training here at home with the peacocks@si@ D4?
po#n %irs in a >! / >! cage, an - think -!m getting the hang of it*
The time has come to kick ass, Ra"ph, e6en if it means coming %rief"y o#t of
retirement an ea"ing, once again, with the p#%"ic* - am a"so in nee of a rest@for
"ega" reasons@so - want this gig to %e easy, an - know in my heart that it wi"" %e*
5on!t worry, Ra"ph* ;e wi"" %en a few %rains with this one* - ha6e a"reay sec#re
the Compo#n( two homes with a 04?meter poo" on the ege of the sea on $"ii 5ri6e
in Eona, where the s#n a"ways shines*

+e were a$out forty minutes out of San !rancisco when the crew finally decided to take
action on the pro$lem in La5atory IB. The door had $een locked since takeoff and now the
chief stewardess had r
summoned the copilot down from the flight deck. He appeared in
the aisle right $eside me% carrying a strangeBlooking $lack tool in his hand% like a flashlight
with $lades% or some kind of electric chisel. He nodded calmly as he listened to the
stewardesss urgent whispering. 1I can talk to him%1 she said% pointing a long red fingernail at
the 1occupied1 sign on the locked toilet door% 1$ut I cant get him out.1
The copilot nodded thoughtfully% keeping his $ack to the passengers while he made some
adJustments on the commando tool he was holding. 1Any IAN1 he asked her.
She glanced at a list on her clip$oard. 1,r. Ackerman%1 she said. 1Address# Bo/ ((% IailuaB
1The $ig island%1 he said.
She nodded% still consulting her clip$oard. 1Red .arpet .lu$ mem$er%1 she said. 1!re"uent
tra5eler% no pre5ious history . . . $oarded in San !rancisco% oneBway first class to Honolulu. A
perfect gentleman. =o connections $ooked.1 She continued% 1=o hotel reser5ations% no rental
cars . . .1 She shrugged. 1Oery polite% so$er% rela/ed .. .1
1>eah%1 he said. 1I know the type.1 The officer stared down at his tool for a moment% then
raised his other hand and knocked sharply on the door. 1,r. AckermanN1 he called. you
hear meN1
There was no answer% $ut I was close enough to the door to hear sounds of mo5ement inside#
first% the $ang of a toilet seat dropping% then running water.. . %
I didnt know ,r. Ackerman% $ut I remem$ered him coming a$oard. He had the look of a
man who had once $een a tennis pro in Hong Iong% then gone on to $igger things. The gold
Role/% the white linen $ush Jacket% the Thai Bhat chain around his neck% the hea5y leather
$riefcase with com$ination locks on e5ery 0ipper. . . . These were not signs of a man who
would lock himself in the $athroom immediately after takeoff and stay inside for almost an
+hich is too long% on any flight. That kind of $eha5ior raises "uestions that e5entually
$ecome hard to ignore@especially in the spacious firstBclass compartment on a )3) on a
fi5eBhour flight to Hawaii. <eople who pay that kind of money dont like
the idea of ha5ing to stand in line to use the only a5aila$le $athroom% while something clearly
wrong is going on in the other one.
I was one of these people.. .. ,y social contract with *nited Airlines entitled me% I felt% to at
least the use of a tin standBup $athroom with a lock on the door for as long as I needed to get
myself cleaned up. I had spent si/ hours hanging around the Red .arpet Room in the San
!rancisco airport% arguing with ticket agents% drinking hea5ily and fending off wa5es of
strange memories. .. .
A$out halfway $etween Aen5er and San !rancisco% wed decided to change planes and get on
a )3) for the ne/t leg. The A.B'C is nice for short hops and sleeping% $ut the )3) is far $etter
for the working professional on a long haul@$ecause the )3) has a dome lounge% a sort of
clu$ car on top of the plane with couches and wooden card ta$les and its own separate $ar%
which can only $e reached $y an iron spiral staircase in the firstBclass compartment. It meant
taking the chance of losing the luggage% and a tortured layo5er in the San !rancisco
airport . . . $ut I needed room to work% to spread out a $it% and may$eP e5en sprawl.
,y plan% on this night% was to look at all the research material I had on Hawaii. There were
memos and pamphlets to read@e5en $ooks. I had Houghs The Last Voyage of Captain
James Cook, The Jo#rna" of ;i""iam )""is, and ,ark Twains Letters from Hawaii@$ig
$ooks and long pamphlets# 1The Island of Hawaii%1 1Iona .oast Story%1 1<uuhonua o
Honaunau.1 All these and many more.
1>ou cant Just come out here and write a$out the marathon%1 my friend ?ohn +il$ur had told
me. 1Theres a hell of a lot more to Hawaii than ten thousand ?aps running past <earl Har$or.
.ome on out%1 he said. 1These islands are full of mystery% ne5er mind Aon Ho and all the
tourist gi$$erish@ theres a hell of a lot more here than most people understand.1
+onderful% I thought@+il$ur is wise. Any$ody who can mo5e from the +ashington
Redskins to a house on the $each in Honolulu must understand something a$out life that I
Indeed. Aeal with the mystery. Ao it now. Anything that can create itself $y erupting
out of the $owels of the <acific 2cean is worth looking at.
After si/ hours of failure and drunken confusion% I had finally secured two seats on
the last )3) flight of the day to Honolulu.
=ow I needed a place to sha5e% $rush my teeth% and may$e Just stand there and look at
myself in the mirror and wonder% as always% who might $e looking $ack.
There is no possi$le economic argument for a genuinely pri5ate place of any kind on
a ten million dollar flying machine. The risk is too high.
=o. That makes no sense. Too many people like ,aster Sergeants forced into early
retirement ha5e tried to set themsel5es on fire in these tin cu$icles . . . too many
psychotics and halfBmad dope addicts ha5e locked themsel5es inside% then go$$led
pills and tried to flush themsel5es down the long $lue tu$e.
The copilot rapped on the door with his knuckles. 1,r. AckermanQ Are you all rightN1
He hesitated% then called again% much louder this time. 1,r. AckermanQ This is your
captain speaking. Are you sickN1 1+hatN1 said a 5oice from inside.
The stewardess leaned close to the door. 1This is a medical emergency% ,r.
Ackerman@we can get you out of there in thirty seconds if we ha5e to.1 She smiled
triumphantly at .aptain Goodwrench as the 5oice inside came ali5e again. 1Im fine%1
it said. 1Ill $e out in a minute.1 The copilot stood $ack and watched the door. There
were more sounds of mo5ement inside@$ut nothing else% e/cept the sound of running
By this time the entire first class ca$in was alerted to the crisis. 1Get that freak out of
thereQ1 an old man shouted. 1He might ha5e a $om$Q1
12h my GodQ1 a woman screamed. 1Hes in there with somethingQ1
The copilot flinched% then turned to face the passengers. He pointed his tool at the old
man% who was now $ecoming hysterical. 1>ouQ1 he snapped. 1Shut upQ Ill handle
Suddenly the door opened and ,r. Ackerman stepped out. He mo5ed "uickly into the
aisle and smiled at the stewardess. 1Sorry to keep you waiting%1 he said. 1Its all yours
now.1 He was $acking down the aisle% his $ush Jacket draped casually o5er his arm%
$ut not co5ering it.
!rom where I was sitting I could see that the arm he was trying to hide from the
stewardess was $right $lue% all the way up to the shoulder. The sight of it made me
coil ner5ously into my seat. I had liked ,r. Ackerman% at first. He had the look of a
man who might share my own tastes .. . $ut now he was looking like trou$le% and I
was ready to kick him in the $alls like a mule for any reason at all. ,y original
impression of the man had gone all to pieces $y that time. This geek who had
locked himself in the $athroom for so long that one of his arms had turned $lue was
not the same gracious% linenBdraped <acific yachtsman who had $oarded the plane in
San !rancisco.
,ost of the other passengers seemed happy enough Just to see the pro$lem come out
of the $athroom peacefully# no sign of a weapon% no dynamite taped to his chest% no
screaming of incomprehensi$le terrorist slogans or threatening to slit peoples
throats. . .. The old man was still so$$ing "uietly% not looking at Ackerman as he
continued to $ack down the aisle toward his own seat% $ut no$ody else seemed
The copilot% howe5er% was staring at Ackerman with an e/pression of pure horror on
his face. He had seen the $lue arm@ and so had the stewardess% who was saying
nothing at all. Ackerman was still trying to keep his arm hidden under the $ush Jacket.
=one of the other passengers had noticed it@or% if they had% they didnt know what it
But I did% and so did the $ugBeyed stewardess. The copilot ga5e Ackerman one last
withering glance% then shuddered with o$5ious disgust as he closed up his commando
tool and mo5ed away. 2n his way to the spiral staircase that led $ack upstairs to the
flight deck% he paused right a$o5e me in the aisle and whispered to Ackerman# 1>ou
filthy $astard% dont e5er let me catch you on one of my flights again.1
I saw Ackerman nod politely% then he slid into his seat Just across the aisle from me. I
"uickly stood up and mo5ed toward the $athroom with my sha5ing kit in my hand@
and when Id locked myself safely inside I carefully closed the toilet seat $efore I did
anything else.
There is only one way to get your arm dyed $lue on a )3) flying at :8%CCC feet o5er
the <acific. But the truth is so rare and unlikely that not e5en the most fre"uent air
tra5elers ha5e e5er had to confront it@and it is usually not a thing that the few who
understand want to talk a$out.
The powerful disinfectant that most airlines use in their toiletBflushing facilities is a
chemical compound known as AeJerm% which is colored a 5ery 5i5id $lue. The only
other time I e5er saw a man come out of an airplane $athroom with a $lue arm was on
a long flight from London to 4aire% en route to the AliB!oreman fight. A British news
correspondent from Reuters had gone into the $athroom and somehow managed to
drop his only key to the Reuters tele/ machine in Iinshasa down the aluminum $owl.
He emerged a$out :C minutes later% and he had a whole row to himself the rest of the
way to 4aire.
It was almost midnight when I emerged from La5atory IB and went $ack to my seat
to gather up my research material. The
o5erhead lights were out and the other passengers were sleeping. It was time to go
upstairs to the dome lounge and get some work done. The Honolulu ,arathon would
$e only one part of the story. The rest would ha5e to deal with Hawaii itself% and that
was something Id ne5er had any reason to e5en think a$out. I had a "uart of +ild
Turkey in my satchel% and I knew there was plenty of ice upstairs in the dome $ar%
which is usually empty at night.
But not this time. +hen I got to the top of the spiral staircase I saw my fellow
tra5eler% ,r. Ackerman% sleeping peacefully on one of the couches near the $ar. He
woke up as I passed $y on my way to a ta$le in the rear% and I thought I saw a flicker
of recognition in the weary smile on his face.
I nodded casually as I passed. 1I hope you found it%1 I said.
He looked up at me. 1>eah%1 he said. 12f course.1
By this time I was ten feet $ehind him and spreading my research materials out on the
$ig card ta$le. +hate5er it was% I didnt want to know a$out it. He had his pro$lems
and I had mine. I had hoped to ha5e the dome to myself for these hours% to $e alone%
$ut ,r. Ackerman was o$5iously settled in for the night. It was the only place on the
plane where his presence wouldnt cause trou$le. He would $e with me for a while% so
I figured we might as well get along.
There was a strong odor of disinfectant in the air. The whole dome smelled like the
$asement of a $ad hospital. I opened all the air 5ents a$o5e my seat% then spread my
research out on the ta$le. I tried to remem$er if the British correspondent had suffered
any pain or inJury from his e/perience% $ut all that came to mind was that he wore
hea5y longBslee5ed shirts the whole time he was in 4aire. =o loss of flesh% no poison
oil in the ner5ous system% $ut three weeks in the heat of the .ongo had caused an
awful fungus to come ali5e on his arm% and when I saw him in London two months
later his hand was still noticea$ly $lue.
I walked up to the $ar and got some ice for my drink. 2n the way $ack to my desk I
asked him% 1Hows your armN1
1Blue%1 he replied. 1And it itches.1
I nodded. 1Thats powerful stuff. >ou should pro$a$ly check with a doctor when you
get to Honolulu.1
He eased up in his seat and looked $ack at me. 1Arent yo# a doctorN1 he asked.
He smiled and lit a cigarette. 1Its on your luggage tags%1 he said. 1It says youre a
I laughed% and looked down at my satchel. Sure enough% the Red .arpet .lu$ $aggage
tag said% 1Ar. H. S. Thompson.1
1?esus%1 I said. 1>oure right. I am a doctor.1
He shrugged.
12kay%1 I said finally% 1lets get that weird shit off your arm.1 I stood up and motioned
him to follow me into the tiny 1crew only1 $athroom $ehind the flight deck. +e spent
the ne/t 9C minutes scru$$ing his arm with soapBsoaked paper towels% then I ru$$ed it
down with a Jar of cold cream from my sha5ing kit.
A nasty red rash like poison i5y had $roken out all o5er his arm% thousands of filthy
little $u$$les. ... I went $ack to my $ag for a tu$e of Aesene/% to kill the itching.
There was no way to get rid of the $lue dye.
1+hatN1 he said. 1It wont wash offN1
1=o%1 I told him. 1,ay$e two weeks in saltwater can dull it out. Get out in the surf%
hang around on the $each.1
He looked confused. 1The $eachN1
1>eah%1 I said. 1?ust go out there and do it. Tell them whate5er you ha5e to% call it a
$irthmark. . . .1
He nodded. 1>eah. Thats good% Aoc@what $lue armN RightN1
1Right%1 I said. 1=e5er apologi0e% ne5er e/plain. ?ust act normal and $leach the
$ugger out. >oull $e famous on +aikiki Beach.1
He laughed. 1Thanks% Aoc. ,ay$e I can do you a fa5or sometime@what $rings you
to HawaiiN1
1Business%1 I said. 1Im co5ering the Honolulu ,arathon for a medical Journal.1
He nodded and sat down% stretching his $lue arm out on the couch to gi5e it some air.
1+ell%1 he said finally% 1whate5er you say% Aoc.1 He grinned mischie5ously. :$
meica" Ao#rna"* ?esus% thats good.1
He nodded thoughtfully and put his feet up on the ta$le in front of him% then turned to
smile at me. 1I was Just wondering how I might return the fa5or%1 he said. 1>ou
staying long in the islandsN1
1=ot in Honolulu%1 I said. 1?ust until after the ,arathon on Saturday% then were going
o5er to a place called Iona.1
1>eah%1 I said% leaning $ack and opening one of my $ooks% a nineteenthBcentury
5olume titled The Jo#rna" of ;i""iam )""is*
He leaned $ack on the cushions and closed his eyes again. 1It
s a nice place%1 he said.
1>oull like it.1
1+ell%1 I said% 1thats good to know. I5e already paid for it.1
1>eah. I rented two houses on the $each.1
He looked up. 1>ou paid in a6ance<:
I nodded. 1That was the only way I could get anything%1 I said. 1The whole place is
$ooked up.1
1+hatN1 He Jerked up in his seat and stared $ack at me. 1Booked upN +hat the hell
are you renting@the Iona OillageN1
I shook my head. 1=o%1 I said. 1Its some kind of estate with two $ig houses and a
pool% pretty far out of town.1
1+hereN1 he asked.
There was something wrong with the tone of his 5oice% $ut I tried to ignore it.
+hate5er he was a$out to tell me% I felt% was something I didnt want to hear. 1Some
friends found it for me%1 I said "uickly. 1Its right on the $each. Totally pri5ate. +e
ha5e to get a lot of work done.1
=ow he was definitely looking trou$led. 1+hod you rent it fromN1 he asked. And
then he mentioned the name of the real estate agent that I had% in fact% rented it from.
The look on my face must ha5e alarmed him% $ecause he instantly changed the
1+hy IonaN1 he asked. 1>ou want to catch fishN1
I shrugged. 1=ot especially. But I want to get out on the water% do some di5ing. A
friend of mine has a $oat o5er there.1
12hN +hos thatN1
1A guy from Honolulu%1 I said. 1Gene Skinner.1
He nodded. 1>eah%1 he said. 1Sure% I know Gene@The Blue Boar.1 He leaned up
from the cushions and turned to look $ack at me% no longer half asleep. 1Hes a friend
of yoursN1
I nodded% surprised $y the smile on his face. It was a smile I had seen $efore% $ut for a
moment I couldnt place it.
Ackerman was still looking at me% an odd new light in his eyes. 1Ha5ent seen him in
a while%1 he said. 1Hes $ack in HawaiiN1
+hoops% I thought. Something wrong here. I recogni0ed that smile nowK I had seen it
on the faces of other men% in other countries% at the mention of Skinners name.
1+hoN1 I said% standing up to get some more ice.
1Skinner%1 he said.
1Back from whereN1 I wanted no part of Skinners ancient feuds.
He seemed to understand. 1>ou know any$ody else in IonaN1 he asked. 1Besides
1>eah%1 I said. 1I know some people in the whiskey $usiness. I know some real estate
He nodded thoughtfully% staring down at the long fingers of his freshlyB$lued hand as
if hed Just noticed something odd a$out it. I recogni0ed the professional pause of a
man long accustomed to the sound of his own $rain working. I could
almost hear it@the highBspeed memoryBscan of a 5ery personal computer that would
sooner or later come up with whate5er fact% link% or longBforgotten detail he was
waiting for.
He closed his eyes again. 1The $ig island is different from the others%1 he said.
1Mspecially that mess in Honolulu. Its like going $ack in time. =o$ody hassles you%
plenty of space to
mo5e around. Its pro$a$ly the only place in the islands where the people ha5e any
sense of the old Hawaiian culture.1
1+onderful%1 I said. 1+ell $e there ne/t week. All we ha5e to do in Honolulu is
co5er the ,arathon% then hide out in Iona for a while and lash the story together.1
1Right%1 he said. 1.all me when you get settled in. I can take you around to some of
the places where the old magic still li5es.1 He smiled thoughtfully. 1>eah% we can go
down to South <oint% the .ity of Refuge% spend some time with the ghost of .aptain
.ook. Hell% we might e5en do some di5ing@ if the weathers right.1
I put my $ook down and we talked for a while. It was the first time any$ody had e5er
told me anything interesting a$out Hawaii@ the nati5e legends% old wars%
missionaries% the strange and terri$le fate of .aptain .ook. 1This .ity of Refuge
looks interesting%1 I said. 1>ou dont find many cultures with a sense of sanctuary that
1>eah%1 he said% 1$ut you had to get there first% and you had to $e faster than whoe5er
was chasing you.1
.ity of Refuge at onaunau
AdJoining the Hare o Iea5e to the southward% we found a <ahu ta$u 6sacred enclosure7 of
considera$le e/tent% and were informed $y our guide that it was one of the puhonuas of
Hawaii% of which we had so often heard the chiefs and others speak. There are only two on
the islandK the one which we were then e/amining% and another at +aipio% on the northBeast
part of the island% in the district of Iohala.
These puhonuas were the Hawaiian cities of refuge% and afforded an in5iola$le sanctuary to
the guilty fugiti5e who% when flying from the a5enging spear% was so fa5oured as to enter
their precincts.
This had se5eral wide entrances% some on the side ne/t the sea% the others facing the
mountains. Hither the manslayer% the man who had $roken a ta$u% or failed in the o$ser5ance
of its rigid re"uirements% the thief% and e5en the murderer% fled from his incensed pursuers%
and was secure.
To whomsoe5er he $elonged% and from whate5er part he came% he was e"ually certain of
admittance% though lia$le to $e pursued e5en to the gates of the enclosure.
Happily for him% those gates were perpetually openK and as soon as the fugiti5e had entered%
he repaired to the presence of the idol% and made a short eJaculatory address% e/pressi5e of his
o$ligations to him in reaching the place with security.
The priests% and their adherents% would immediately put to death any one who should ha5e
the temerity to follow or molest those who were once within the pale of the pahu ta$uK and%
as they e/pressed it% under the shade or protection of the spirit of Iea5e% the tutelar deity of
the place.
+e could not learn the length of time it was necessary for them to remain in the puhonuaK $ut
it did not appear to $e more than two or three days. After that% they either attached
themsel5es to the ser5ice of the priests% or returned to their homes.
The puhonua at Honaunau is capacious% capa$le of containing a 5ast multitude of people. In
time of war% the females% children% and old people of the neigh$oring districts% were generally
left within it% while the men went to $attle. Here they awaited in safety the issue of the
conflict% and were secure against surprise and destruction% in the e5ent of a defeat.
The Jo#rna" of ;i""iam )""is 6.irca '8GC7
He chuckled. 1It was a sporting proposition% for sure.1
1But once you got there%1 I said% 1you were a$solutely protected@rightN1
1A$solutely%1 he said. 1=ot e5en the gods could touch you% once you got through the
1+onderful%1 I said. 1I might need a place like that.1
1>eah%1 he said. 1,e too. Thats why I li5e where I do.1
He smiled. 12n a clear day I can look down the mountain and see the .ity of Refuge
from my front porch. It gi5es me a great sense of comfort.1
I had a feeling that he was telling the truth. +hate5er kind of life Ackerman li5ed
seemed to re"uire a $uiltBin fallB$ack position. >ou dont find many in5estment
counselers from Hawaii or anywhere else who can drop anything so important down
the tu$e in a )3) $athroom that they will get their arms dyed $right $lue to retrie5e it.
+e were alone in the dome% :8%CCC feet a$o5e the <acific with at least another two
hours to go. +e would $e in Honolulu sometime around sunrise. 25er the top of my
$ook I could see him halfBasleep $ut constantly scratching his arm. His eyes were
closed% $ut the fingers of his clean hand were wide awake and his spastic mo5ements
were $eginning to get on my ner5es.
The stewardess came up to ha5e a look at us% $ut the sight of Ackermans arm made
her face "ui5er and she "uickly went $ack down the stairs. +e had a small ice$o/ full
of ,iller High Life and a whole selection of miniB$ottles in the li"uor drawer% so
there was no need to do anything $ut keep a wary eye on Ackerman.
!inally he seemed to $e asleep. The dome was dark% e/cept for the small glow of ta$le
lights% and I settled $ack on the couch to ponder my research material.
The main impression I recall from what I read in those hours is that the Hawaiian
Islands had no written history at all $eyond the past two hundred years% when the first
missionaries and sea captains $egan trying to interpret a chronology of some kind $y
listening to tales told $y nati5es. =o$ody e5en knew where the islands themsel5es had
come from% much less the people.
2n the gray afternoon of ?anuary 'F% '))(% .aptain ?ames .ook% the greatest e/plorer
of his age% sailed the two ships of his Third <acific M/pedition into the tiny rockB
walled shelter of Iealakekua Bay on the west coast of a pre5iously uncharted midB
<acific island called 12whyhee1 $y the nati5es% and found his place in history as the
first white man to officially 1disco5er1 the Hawaiian Islands.
The $ay inside the channel was shrouded in fog and surrounded $y a wall of sheer
cliffs% GCC feet high. It looked more like a tom$ than a har$or% and@despite the
desperate condition of his ships and his crews after ten days in a killer monsoon@
.ook was reluctant to enter. But he had no choice# his crew was threatening mutiny%
scur5y was rampant% his ships were coming apart $eneath his feet% and the morale of
his whole M/pedition had collapsed after si/ months at sea in the Arctic.... And now%
after sailing straight south from Alaska in a condition of genuine hysteria% the mere
sight of land made them cra0y.
So .ook took them in. Iealakekua Bay wasnt the kind of safe anchorage he wanted.
But it was the only one a5aila$le in what turned out to $e his last storm.
Marly on the morning of 'F ?anuary D'))(E% .ook said to his master% 1,r. Bligh% $e so good
as to take a $oat% well armed% and take soundings.1 They could $oth make out what .ook
called 1the appearance of a $ay.1
1It seems promising% sir% and the indians friendly enough%1 said Bligh.
.ook spoke harshly. 1+hate5er the nature of the indians% if it is a safe anchorage% I shall
resol5e to anchor in it. This has $een a poor island for shelter and our need to refit is 5ery
Bligh% accompanied $y Mdgar in a $oat from the 5isco6ery, set his men to row on a northB
easterly heading for a deep cup cut into the cliffs% meeting on the way a great armada of
canoes of many si0es% all $ustling towards the ships at twice their own speed and wa5ing
their paddles and streamers and singing out as they passed.
As Bligh closed the shore he $ecame more than e5er confident that this would $e a safe
anchorage for them. It appeared protected from all points% e/cept the southBwest% and from
his recent o$ser5ations gales from this "uarter were unlikely. The dominant feature of this
$ay was a cliff like a knifeBcut through $lack 5olcanic rock in a slight cur5e% falling from
some 3CC feet at the eastern e/tremity to a point a mile to the west where it shel5ed into
gently rising land from the western promontory of the $ay. This cliff% this $lack
insurmounta$le $arrier to the hinterland% appeared to fall directly to the sea% $ut as the day
wore on and the tide e$$ed% Bligh o$ser5ed that there was a narrow $each at its $ase@$lack
rocks and pe$$les. As they were to learn later% the name of this $ay% Iealakekua
6Iarakakooa% .ook called it7 means 1path of the gods%1 deri5ing from this great slide in the
hill to the sea.
Richard Hough
The Last Voyage of Captain James Cook
- was still reading when the stewardess appeared to announce that wed $e landing in
thirty minutes. 1>oull ha5e to take your regular seats down $elow%1 she said% not
looking at Ackerman% who still seemed asleep.
I $egan packing up my gear. The sky outside the portholes was getting light. As I
dragged my satchel up the aisle Ackerman woke up and lit a cigarette. 1Tell em I
couldnt make it%1 he said. 1I think I can handle the landing from up here.1 He grinned
and fastened a seat $elt that poked out from the depths of the couch. 1They wont miss
me down there%1 he said. 1Ill see you in Iona.1
12kay%1 I said. 1>oure not staying in HonoluluN1
He shook his head. 1?ust long enough to get to the $ank%1 he said% glancing down at
his watch. 1It opens at nine. I should $e home for lunch.1
I stopped and shook hands with him. 1Good luck%1 I said. 1Take care of that arm.1
He smiled and reached into the pocket of his $ush Jacket. 1Thanks% Aoc%1 he said.
1Heres a little something for you. It might $e a long day.1 He dropped a small glass
$ottle in my hand and pointed to the crew $athroom. 1Better do it up here%1 he said.
1>ou dont want to $e landing with anything illegal.1
I agreed and went "uickly into the tin closet. +hen
I came out I tossed the $ottle $ack to him. 1+onderful%1 I said. 1I feel $etter already.1
1Thats good%1 he replied. 1I ha5e the feeling youre going to need all the help you can
get o5er here.1
,y friend Gene Skinner met us at the airport in
Honolulu% parking his $lack GT2 con5erti$le up on the sidewalk $y the $aggage
carousel and fending off pu$lic complaints with a distracted r
wa5e of his hand
and the speedy $eha5ior of a man with serious $usiness on his mind. He was pacing
$ack and forth in front of his car% sipping from a $rown $ottle of <rimo $eer and
ignoring the oriental woman wearing a meter maids uniform who was trying to get
his attention as he scanned the $aggage lo$$y.
I saw him from the top of the escalator and I knew we would ha5e to $e "uick with
the luggage transfer. Skinner was so accustomed to working in war 0ones that he
would not see anything wrong with dri5ing up on the sidewalk in the middle of an
angry crowd to pick up whate5er hed come for ... which was me, in this case% so I
hurried toward him with a $usinesslike smile on my face. 1Aont worry%1 he was
saying. 1+ell $e out of here in a minute.1
,ost people seemed to $elie5e him% or at least wanted to. M5erything a$out him
suggested a person who was $etter left alone. The $lack GT2 had a menacing
appearance% and Skinner looked meaner than the car. He was wearing a white linen
reef Jacket with at least thirteen customB$uilt pockets to fit e5erything from a
phosphorous grenade to a waterproof pen. His $lue silk slacks were sharply creased
and he wore no socks% only cheap ru$$er sandals that slapped on the tile as he paced.
He was a head taller than anyone else in the airport and his eyes were hidden $ehind
$lueB$lack SaigonBmirror sunglasses. The hea5y% s"uareBlinked gold Bhat chain
around his neck could only ha5e $een $ought in some midnight Jewelry store on a
$ack street in Bangkok% and the watch on his wrist was a gold Role/ with a stainless
steel $and. His whole presence was out of place in a crowd of mainland tourists
shuffling off an Aloha flight from San !rancisco. Skinner was not on 5acation.
He saw me as I approached% and held out his hand. 1Hello% Aoc%1 he said with a
curious smile. 1I thought you "uit this $usiness.1
:- did%1 I said. 1But I got $ored.1
1,e too%1 he said. 1I was on my way out of town when they called me. Some$ody
from the ,arathon committee. They needed an official photographer% for a thousand
dollars a day.1
He glanced down at a $race of newBlooking =ikons on the front seat of the GT2. 1I
couldnt turn them down%1 he said. 1Its free money.1
1?esus%1 I said% 1youre a photographer nowN1 He stared down at his feet for a
moment% then pi5oted slowly to face me% rolling his eyes and $aring his teeth to the
sun. 1This is the Mighties% Aoc. Im whate5er I need to $e.1
Skinner was no stranger to money. 2r to lying% either% for that matter. +hen I knew
him in Saigon he was working for the .IA% flying helicopters for Air America and
making what some people who knew him said was more than R9C%CCC a week in the
opium $usiness.
I ne5er talked a$out money with him and he had a 5isceral hatred of Journalists% $ut
we soon $ecame friends and I spent a lot of time during the last weeks of the war
smoking opium with him on the floor of his room in the .ontinental <alace. ,r. Hee
$rought the pipe e5ery afternoon around three@e5en on the day his house in .holon
was hit $y a rocket@and the guests lay down in silence to recei5e the magic smoke.
That is still one of my clearest memories of Saigon@stretching out on the floor with
my cheek on the cool white tile and the dreamy soprano $a$$le of ,r. Hee in my ears
as he slithered around the room with his long $lack pipe and his little $unsen $urner%
constantly refilling the $owl and chanting intensely in a language that none of us
1+ho are you working for these daysN1 Skinner asked. 1Im co5ering the race for a
medical Journal%1 I said. 1+onderful%1 he said "uickly. 1+e can use a good medical
connection. +hat kind of drugs are you carryingN1 1=othing%1 I said. 1A$solutely
nothing.1 He shrugged% then looked up as the carousel $egan mo5ing and the $ags
started coming down the chute. 1+hate5er you say. Aoc%1 he said. 1Lets load your
stuff in the car and get out of here $efore they gra$ me for felony menacing. Im not in
the mood to argue with these people.1
The crowd was getting resti5e and the oriental policewoman was writing a ticket. I
lifted the $eer $ottle out of his hand and took a long swallow% then tossed my leather
satchel in the $ack seat of his car and introduced him to my fiancee. 1>ou must $e
cra0y%1 she said% 1to park on a sidewalk like this.1 Thats what I get paid for%1 he said.
1If I was sane wed ha5e to carry your $ags all the way to the parking lot.1
SheSeyed him warily as we $egan loading luggage. 1Stand asideQ1 he $arked at a
child who had wandered in front of the car. 1Ao you want to $e killedN1
The crowd fell $ack at that point. +hate5er we were doing
was not worth getting killed for. The child disappeared as I trundled a $ig aluminum
suitcase off the carousel% almost dropping it as I tossed it $ack to Skinner% who caught
it $efore it could $ounce and tucked it neatly into the $ack seat of the con5erti$le.
The meter maid was writing another citation% our third in ten minutes% and I could see
she was losing her grip. 1I gi5e you si/ty seconds%1 she screamed. 1Then I ha5e you
towed awayQ1
He patted her affectionately on the shoulder% then got in the car and started the engine%
which came suddenly ali5e with a harsh metallic roar. 1>oure too pretty for this kind
of chickenshit work%1 he said% handing her a card that hed picked off his dash$oard.
1.all me at the office%1 he told her. 1>ou should $e posing for naked postcards.1
1+hatN1 she yelled% as he eased the car into re5erse.
The crowd parted sullenly% not happy to see us escape. 1.all the policeQ1 some$ody
shouted. The meter maid was yelling into her walkieBtalkie as we mo5ed into traffic%
lea5ing our engine noise $ehind.
Skinner lifted another $ottle of <rimo out of a small plastic cooler on the floor of the
front seat% then steered with his knees while he Jerked off the top and lit a cigarette.
1+here to. AocN1 he asked. 1The Iahala HiltonN1
1Right%1 I said. 1How far is itN1
1!ar%1 he said. 1+ell ha5e to stop for more $eer.1
I leaned $ack on the hot leather seat and closed my eyes. There was a strange song
a$out 1hula hula $oys1 on the radio% a +arren 4e5on tune#
. . . Ha!ina !ia mai ana ka p#ana Ha!ina !ia mai ana ka p#ana * * *
- saw her "ea6e the "#a#
;ith the one who parke the cars
$n the fat one from the swimming poo"
They were swaying arm in arm * * *
Skinner stomped on the gas and we shot through a sudden opening to the inside%
missing the tailgate of a slowBmo5ing pineapple truck $y si/ inches and swooping
through a pack of mongrel dogs on their way across the highway. +e hit gra5el and
the rear end started coming around% $ut Skinner straightened it out. The dogs held
their ground for an instant% then scattered in panic as he leaned out of the car and
smacked one of them on the side of the head with his $eer $ottle. He was a $ig yellow
$rute with scrawny flanks and the long dum$ Jaw of a tenthBgeneration curK and he
had charged the GT2 with the $ackBalley dum$ness of a $ully that had $een charging
things all his life% and always seen them $ack off. He came straight at the left front
wheel% yapping wildly% and his eyes got suddenly huge when he reali0ed% too late% that
Skinner was not going to swer5e. He $raced all four paws on the hot asphalt% $ut he
was charging too fast to stop. The GT2 was going a$out fifty in low gear. Skinner
kept his foot on the accelerator and swung the $ottle like a polo mallet. I heard a
muffled smack% then a hideous yelping screech as the $east went tum$ling across the
highway and under the wheels of the pineapple truck% which crushed it.
1Theyre a menace%1 he said% tossing the neck of the $ottle away. 1*tterly 5icious.
Theyll Jump right into your car at a stoplight. Its one of the pro$lems with dri5ing a
,y fiancee was weeping hysterically and the warped tune was still coming out of the
- co#" hear their #ke"e"es p"aying 5own %y the sea ** * 7he!s gone with the h#"a h#"a
%oys 7he on!t care a%o#t me
Ha!ina !ia mai ana ka p#ana Ha!ina !ia mai ana ka p#ana ***
Skinner slowed down as we approached the e/it to downtown Honolulu. 12kay%
Aoc%1 he said. 1Its time to $reak out the drugs. I feel ner5ous.1
Indeed% I thought. >ou murdering swine. 1Ralph has it%1 I said "uickly. 1Hes waiting
for us at the hotel. He has a whole AlkaBSelt0er $ottle full of it.1
He mo5ed his foot off the $rake and $ack to the accelerator as we passed under a $ig
green sign that said 1+aikiki Beach ' T1 The smile on his face was familiar. The
giddy% screwBheaded smirk of a dope fiend ready to pounce. I knew it well.
1Ralph is paranoid%1 I said. 1+ell ha5e to $e careful with him.1
1Aont worry a$out me%1 he said. 1I get along fine with the Mnglish.1
+e were in downtown Honolulu now% cruising along the waterfront. The streets were
full of Joggers fineBtuning their strides for the $ig race. They ignored passing traffic%
which made Skinner ner5ous.
1This running thing is out of control%1 he said. 1M5ery rich li$eral in the +estern
world is into it. They run ten miles a day. Its a goddamn religion.1
1Ao yo# runN1 I asked.
He laughed. 1Hell yes% I run. But ne5er with empty hands. +ere crimina"s* Aoc.
+ere not "ike these people and I think were too old to learn.1
1But we are professionals%1 I said. 1And were here to co5er the race.1
1!uck the race%1 he said. 1+ell co5er it from +il$urs front yard@get drunk and
gam$le hea5ily on the foot$all games.1
?ohn +il$ur% a pulling guard on the +ashington Redskins team that went to the Super
Bowl in '():% was another old friend from the whiteBknuckle days of yesteryear% who
had finally settled down enough to pass for a respecta$le $usinessman in Honolulu.
His house on Iahala Ari5e in the highBrent section was situated right on the course
for this race% a$out two miles from the finish line. ... It would $e a perfect
head"uarters for our co5erage% Skinner e/plained. +e would catch the start
downtown% then rush out to +il$urs to watch the games and a$use the runners as
they carne $y the house% then rush $ack downtown in time to co5er the finish.
1Good planning%1 I said. 1This looks like my kind of story.1
1=ot really%1 he said. 1>ou5e ne5er seen anything as dull as one of these silly
marathons . . . $ut its a good e/cuse to get cra0y.1
1Thats what I mean%1 I said. 1Im entere in this goddamn race.1 He shook his head.
1!orget it%1 he said. 1+il$ur tried to pull a Rosie Rui0 a few years ago% when he was
still in top shape@he Jumped into the race a$out a half mile ahead of e5ery$ody at the
twentyBfourBmile mark% and took off like a $astard for the finish line% running at what
he figured was his normal 88C speed. . . .1 He laughed. 1It was horri$le%1 he
continued. 1=ineteen people passed him in two miles. He went $lind from 5omiting
and had to crawl the last hundred yards.1 He laughed again. 1These people are fast,
man. They ran right o5er him.1
1+ell%1 I said% 1so much for that. I didnt want to enter this goddamn thing anyway. It
was +il$urs idea.1
1That figures%1 he said. 1>ou want to $e careful out here. M5en your $est friends will
lie to you. They cant help themsel5es.1
+e found Ralph slumped at the $ar in the HoBHo Lounge% cursing the rain and the
surf and the heat and e5erything else in Honolulu. He had waded out from the $each
for a $it of the fine snorkeling that +il$ur had told us a$out@$ut $efore he
could e5en get his head in the water a wa5e lifted him up and slammed him sa5agely
into a coral head% ripping a hole in his $ack and crushing a disc in his spine. Skinner
tried to cheer him up with a few local horror stories% $ut Ralph would ha5e none of it.
His mood was ugly% and it $ecame e5en uglier when Skinner demanded cocaine.
+hat are you ta"king a$outN1
Ralph screamed.
1The Aum$ Aust% man%1
Skinner said. 1The "ash, the
crank, the white death ... I dont know% what you limeys call it. % . .1 1>ou mean
r#gs<: Ralph said finally. 2! .2*RSM I ,MA= AR*GSQ1 Skinner screamed.
1>ou think I came here to talk a$out art<: That finished that. # Ralph limped away in
a funk% and e5en the $artender got weird.
+e settled down at the $ar and watched the rain lash the palm trees around on the
$each. The Ho Ho Lounge was open on three sides and e5ery few minutes a gust of
warm rain $lew in from the sea. TBH +e were the only customers. The Samoan
$artender mi/ed our margaritas in silence% a rigid smile on his face. To our left% on a
rock in a small freshwater pool% two penguins stood solemnly side $y side and
watched us drinking% their deep un$linking $rown eyes as curious as the $artenders.
Skinner tossed them a chunk of sashimi, which the taller one caught in midBair and
go$$led instantly% whacking the smaller $ird out of his way with a flip of his short
$lack wing.
1Those $irds are weird%1 Skinner said. 1I5e had some real peculiar con5ersations with
He had sulked for a while after Ralph spiked his 5ision of wallowing in pure London
,erck for the rest of the day% $ut he accepted it as Just another one of those illogical
flareBups that come with the territory.
After three or four rounds the glint was $ack in his 5oice and he was looking at the
penguins with the la0y eyes of a man who would not $e $ored too much longer.
1Theyre a hus$and and wife team%1 he said. 1The old man is the $ig oneK hed peddle
her ass for a handful of fish.1 He glanced o5er at me. 1>ou think Ralph likes
I stared at the $ird.
1=e5er mind%1 he said. 1Hed pro$a$ly kill the poor $east anyway. The British will
fuck anything. Theyre all per5erts.1
The $artender had his $ack to us% $ut I knew he was listening. The rigid smile on his
face was looking more and more like a grimace. How many times had he stood
calmly $ack there on the duck$oards and listened to respecta$leBlooking people talk
a$out raping the hotel penguinsN
2n the first day of Aecem$er D'))8E ... he recogni0ed that he was raising the greatest of all
the islands he had disco5ered# what the nati5es appeared to call% and .ook wrote%
12whyhee.1 By the ne/t morning they were close in to the spectacular shore of massi5e
cliffs% spines of land thrusting out into headlands% white streaks of great waterfalls tum$ling
into the white surf% more ri5ers emerging from deep 5alleys. Inland there were ra5ines with
thundering torrents% a landscape of mi/ed $arrenness and fruitfulness% a pocked landscape
rising slowly and then higher and higher to the summits that were snowBcapped. Snow in the
tropicsQ Another new disco5ery% another new parado/. Here% it seemed% was another rich
land% and far greater in e/tent than e5en Tahiti. Through a telescope% thousands of nati5es
could $e seen pouring from their dwellings and their places of work% and streaming towards
the cliff tops to stare out and hold aloft white strips of cloth as if greeting a new messiah.
Richard Hough
The Last Voyage of Captain James Cook
1How long is this goddamn rain going to lastN1 I asked.
Skinner looked out at the $each. 1God knows%1 he said. 1This is what they call Iona
+eather. The winds get turned around
and the weather comes up from the south. Sometimes it lasts for nine or ten days.1
I didnt really care. It was enough% at this point% toB$e away from the snow drifts on
my porch in .olorado. +e called for another $race of margaritas and rela/ed to talk
for a while. I kept one eye on the $artender while Skinner told me a$out Hawaii.
<eople get edgy when the Iona weather hits. After nine or ten straight days of high
surf and no sun you can get your spleen kicked completely out of your $ody on any
street in Honolulu% Just for honking at a Samoan. There is a large and increasingly
o$5ious Samoan population in Hawaii. They are $ig% dangerous people with
uncontrolla$le tempers and their hearts are filled with hate $y the sound of an
automo$ile horn% regardless of whos getting honked at.
.aucasians are called 1haole people1 $y the nati5e Hawaiians and racial 5iolence is a
standard item in the daily newspapers and on the e5ening TO news.
The stories are grisly% and a few are pro$a$ly true. A current fa5orite in +aikiki is the
one a$out 1A whole family from San !rancisco1@a lawyer% his wife and three
childrenSwho got raped $y a gang of Ioreans while strolling on the $each at sunset%
so close to the Hilton that people sipping pineapple dai"uiris on the hotel 5eranda
heard their screams until long after dark% $ut they shrugged off the noise as nothing
more than the shrieking of sea gulls in a feeding fren0y.
1Aont go near the $each after dark%1 Skinner warned% 1unless you feel serio#s"y
The Iorean community in Honolulu is not ready% yet% for the melting pot. They are
feared $y the hao"es, despised $y the ?aps and .hinese% scorned $y Hawaiians and
occasionally hunted for sport $y gangs of drunken Samoans% who consider them
5ermin% like wharf rats and stray dogs. . . .
1And stay away from Iorean $ars%1 Skinner added. 1Theyre degenerate scum@cruel%
$loodthirsty little $astards. Theyre meaner than rats and a hell of a lot $igger than
most dogs% and they can kick the shit out of anything that walks on two legs% e/cept
may$e a Samoan.1
I shot a "uick look at our $artender% shifting my weight on the stool and planting $oth
feet on the floor. But he was working the adding machine% apparently deaf to
Skinners ra5ing. +hat the hellN I thought. He can only catch one of us. I picked my
4ippo off the $ar and casually $uttoned my walletBpocket.
1,y grandfather was Iorean%1 I said. 1+here can we meet these peopleN1 1+hatN1 he
said. :Meet themN1
1Aont worry%1 I said. 1Theyll know me.1
1!uck em%1 he said. 1Theyre not people. Itll $e another hundred years $efore we can
e5en think a$out letting Ioreans mate with anything human.1
I felt 5aguely sick% $ut said nothing. The $artender was still engrossed in his moneyB
1!orget it%1 Skinner said. 1Let me tell you a negro story. Itll get your mind off
1I5e heard it%1 I said. 1The girl who got pushed off the cliffN1
1Right%1 he said. 1It scared the shit out of e6ery%oy*: He lowered his 5oice and
leaned closer to me. 1I knew her well%1 he said. 1She was %ea#tif#", a senior
stewardess for <an Am.1
I nodded.
1!or no reason at a"",: he went on. 1She was Just standing there on the edge% with her
$oyfriend@up there on that peak where they take all the tourists@when all of a
sudden this cra0y nigger Just runs up $ehind her and gi5es a $ig sho5e. +hackoQ
Right off the edge and a thousand feet down to the $each.1 He nodded grimly. 1She
$ounced two or three times off a waterfall a$out halfway down% then she went out of
sight. They ne5er saw her again% ne5er found the first trace of her $ody.1
1+hyN1 I wondered.
1+ho knowsN1 he replied. 1They ne5er e5en put him on trial. He was declared
hopelessly insane. 1
1>eah%1 I said. 1I remem$er it@the %"ack fien who wore earphones, rightN The same
guy who got $usted a few weeks earlier for trying to run naked in the ,arathonN1
1>eah% the fastest cra0y nigger in the world. He ran a$out half the race stark naked%
$efore they finally caught him. The $astard was fast,: he said% smiling slightly. 1It
took ten cops on motorcycles to run him down and put the net on him. He was some
kind of worldBclass runner $efore he flipped out.1
1Balls%1 I said. 1Thats no e/cuse. These $rainless murdering freaks should $e
1A$solutely%1 he said. 1Its already happened.1
1The Samoans%1 he said. 1The traffic Jam on the freeway... . ?esusQ >ou ne5er heard
that storyN1
I shook my head.
12kay%1 he said. 1This is a wonderful story a$out how your worst nightmares can
come true at any moment% with no warning at all.1
1Good%1 I said. 1Lets hear it. I like these stories. They speak to my deepest fears.1
1They should%1 he said. 1<aranoia pays% o5er here.1
1+hat a$out the SamoansN1
1The SamoansN1 He stared into his drink for a moment% then looked up. 1All si/ of
them went free. =o$ody would testify. . . . Some poor $astard got caught in one of
those Sunday afternoon traffic Jams on the <ali Highway $ehind a pickup truck full of
drunken Samoans. His car heated up like a $om$% $ut there was nothing he could do
@no e/it% no place he could e5en park it and flee. The Samoans did things like kick
out his headlights and piss all o5er the hood of his car% $ut he hung on for almost two
hours@with his doors locked and all his windows rolled up@until he finally passed
out from heat e/haustion% and fell on his horn. . . .
1The Samoans went instantly cra0y%1 he continued. 1They $ashed out his windshield
with tire irons% then they dragged him out and castrated him. !i5e of them held him
down on the hood% while the other one sliced off his nuts@right in the middle of the
<ali Highway on a Sunday afternoon.1
I was watching the $artender 5ery carefully now. The muscles on the $ack of his neck
seemed to $e $unching up% $ut I couldnt $e sure. Skinner was still slumped on his
stool% not ready to do anything fast. The stairs to the lo$$y were only a$out twenty
feet away and I knew I could get there $efore the $rute got his hands on me.
But he was still calm. Skinner ordered another round of margaritas and asked for the
ta$% which he paid with a gold American M/press card.
Suddenly the phone $ehind the $ar erupted with a $urst of sharp rings. It was my
fiancee% ringing down from the room.
Sportswriters were calling% she said. +ord was out that Ralph and I were entered in
the ,arathon.
1Aont talk to the $astards%1 I warned her. 1Anything you say will get us in trou$le.1
1I already talked to one of them%1 she said. 1He knocked on the door and said he was
Bo$ Arum.1
SThats good%1 I said. 1Bo$s okay.1
1It wasnt Arum%1 she said. 1It was that geek we met in Oegas% the guy from the New
York 8ost*:
1Lock the door%1 I said. 1Its ,arley. Tell him Im sick. They took me off the plane in
Hilo. >ou dont know the name of the doctor.1
1+hat a$out the raceN1 she asked. 1+hat should I sayN1
1Its out of the "uestion%1 I said. 1+ere %oth sick. Tell them to lea5e us alone. +e are
5ictims of a pu$licity stunt.1
1>ou fool%1 she snapped. 1+hat did you te"" these peopleN1
1=othing%1 I said. 1It was +il$ur. His mouth runs like Jelly.1
1He called%1 she said. 1Hell $e here at nine with a limo to pick us up for the party.1
1+hat partyN1 I said% wa5ing my hand to get Skinners attention. 1Is there a ,arathon
party tonightN1 I asked him.
He pulled a piece of white paper from one of the pockets in his $ush Jacket. 1Heres
the schedule%1 he said. 1>eah% its a pri5ate thing at Aoc Scaffs house. .ocktails and
dinner for the runners. +erein5ited.1
I turned $ack to the phone. 1+hats the room num$erN Ill $e up in a minute. There is
a party. Hang on to the limo.1
1>ou $etter talk to Ralph%1 she said. 1Hes 5ery unhappy.1
1So whatN1 I said. 1Hes an artist.1
1>ou $astardQ1 she said. 1>oud $etter $e nice to Ralph. He came all the way from
MnglandB@and he $rought his wife and his daughter% Just $ecause you said so.1
1Aont worry%1 I said. 1Hell get what he came for.1
1+hatN1 she screamed. 1>ou drunken sotQ Get rid of that maniac friend of yours and
go see Ralph@hes hurtQ1
1=ot for long%1 I said. 1Hell $e into our luggage $efore this thing is o5er.1
She hung up and I turned to the $artender. 1How old are youN1 I asked him.
He tensed up% $ut said nothing.
I smiled at him. 1>ou pro$a$ly dont remem$er me%1 I said% 1$ut I used to $e the
Go5ernor.1 I offered him a Aunhill% which he declined.
1Go5ernor of whatN1 he asked% dropping his hands to his sides% and turning to face us.
Skinner "uickly stood up. 1Lets ha5e a drink for old times%1 he said to the $artender.
1This gentleman was the Go5ernor of American Samoa for ten years% may$e twenty.1
1I dont remem$er him%1 said the $artender. 1I get a lot of people in here.1
Skinner laughed and slapped a twentyBdollar $ill on the $ar. 1Its all $ullshit anyway%1
he said. 1+e lie for a li5ing% $ut were good people.1
He leaned o5er the $ar and shook hands with the $artender% who was happy to see us
lea5e. 2n the way to the lo$$y Skinner handed me a mimeographed copy of the
,arathon schedule and said hed meet us at the party. He wa5ed cheerfully and
signaled the $ell$oy to $ring up his car.
!i5e minutes later% as I was still waiting for the ele5ator% I heard the nasty coldBsteel
roar of the GT2 outside in the dri5eway% then the noise disappeared in the rain. The
ele5ator came and I punched the $utton for the top floor.
Ralph was $eing massaged $y an elderly
?apanese woman when his wife let me into the suite. His eightByearBold daughter was
staring $alefully at the TO set.
1=ow you mustnt upset him%1 Anna warned me. 1He thinks his $ack is $roken.1
Ralph was in the $edroom% stretched out on a ru$$er sheet and groaning piteously as
the old crone pounded his $ack. There was a $ottle of Glenfiddich on the side$oard
and I made myself a drink. 1+ho was that 5icious thug you introduced me to in the
loungeN1 he asked.
1That was Skinner%1 I said. 1Hes our contact for the race.1
1+hatN1 he shouted. 1Are you madN Hes a dope addictQ Aid you hear what he said to
1A$out whatN1 I asked.
1>ou heard himQ1 he yelled. 1The +hite AeathQ1
1>ou should ha5e offered him some%1 I said. 1>ou were rude.1
1That was yo#r work%1 he hissed at me. :Yo# put him up to it.1 He fell $ack on the
ru$$er sheet% rolling his eyes and $aring his teeth at me% wracked $y a spasm of pain.
1Aamn you%1 he groaned. 1>our friends are a"" sick% and now you5e picked up a
$loody dope addictQ1
1.alm down% Ralph%1 I said. 1Theyre all dope addicts out here. +ere lucky to meet a
good one. Skinners an old friend. Hes the official photographer.1
12h my God%1 he groaned. 1I knew it would $e like this.1
I looked o5er my shoulder to see if his wife was watching% then I slapped him hard on
the temple% to $ring him $ack to his senses. He collapsed on the $ed .. . and Just at that
Anna came into the room with a pot of tea and some cups on a wicker tray that shed
ordered up from room ser5ice.
The tea calmed him down and soon he was talking normally. The twel5eBthousandB
mile trip from London had $een a fiendish ordeal. His wife tried to get off the plane in
Anchorage and his daughter wept the whole way. The plane was struck twice $y
lightning on the descent into Honolulu and a huge $lack
woman from !iJi who was sitting ne/t to them had an epileptic sei0ure.
+hen they finally got on the ground% his luggage was lost and a ca$ charged him
twentyBfi5e pounds for a ride to the hotel% where their passports were sei0ed $y a desk
clerk $ecause he had no American money. The manager put the rest of his pounds in
the hotel safe% for security% $ut allowed him to sign for snorkeling e"uipment at the
surf shack on the $each $y the Ho Ho Lounge.
He was desperate for refuge at this point% he said% wanting only to $e alone% to rela/
$y himself in the sea ... so he put on his flippers and paddled out toward the reef% only
to $e picked up $y a wa5e and $ashed on a Jagged rock% punching a hole in his spine
and lea5ing him to wash up on the $each like a drowned animal.
1Strangers dragged me into a hut of some kind%1 he said. Then they shot me full of
adrenalin. By the time I could walk to the lo$$y I was pouring sweat and screaming.
They had to gi5e me a sedati5e and $ring me up in the ser5ice ele5ator.1
2nly a desperate call to +il$ur had pre5ented the manager from ha5ing him
committed to the Jail ward of a pu$lic hospital somewhere on the other side of the
It was an ugly story. This was his first trip to the tropics% a thing hed $een wanting to
do all his life . . . and now he was going to die from it% or at least $e permanently
crippled. His family was demorali0ed% he said. <ro$a$ly none of them would e5er get
$ack to Mngland% not e5en to $e properly $uried. They would die like dogs% for no
good reason at all% on a rock far out in the middle of an utterly foreign sea.
The rain lashed against the windows as we talked. There was no sign of a $reak in the
storm% which had $een raging for many days. The weather was worse than +ales% he
said% and the pain in his $ack was causing him to drink hea5ily. Anna cried e5ery time
he asked for more whiskey. 1Its horri$le%1 he said. 1I drank a litre of Glenfiddich last
Ralph is always gloomy on foreign assignments. I e/amined his wound $riefly and
called down to the hotel gift shop for a ripe aloe plant.
1Send it up right away%1 I told the woman. 1And well need something to chop it up
with@do you ha5e any $ig kni5esN 2r a meat hatchetN1
There was no answer for a few seconds% then I heard sounds of shouting and
scuffling% and a male 5oice came on the line. 1>es sir%1 he said% 1were you asking
a$out a weaponN1
I sensed at once that I was dealing with a $usinessman. The 5oice was Samoan% a
deep croaking sound% $ut the instinct was uni5ersal Swiss.
1+hat do you ha5eN1 I asked him. 1I need something to pul5eri0e an aloe plant.1
There was a pause% then he was $ack on the line.
1I ha5e a fine cutlery set@se5entyBse5en pieces% with a $eautiful $utcher knife.1
1I can get that from room ser5ice%1 I said. 1+hat else do you ha5eN1
There was another long pause. In the $ackground I could hear a woman yelling
something a$out 1cra0y ...1 and 1chopping our heads off.1
1>oure fired%1 he screamed. 1Im tired of your stupid whining. Its none of your
$usiness what they $uy. Get out of hereQ I should ha5e fired you a long time agoQ1
There were more sounds of $rief scuffling and a $a$$le of angry 5oices% then he was
1I think I ha5e what you need%1 he said smoothly. 1Its a car5ed Samoan war clu$.
Solid e$ony% with eight power points. >ou could pul5eri0e a palm tree with it.1
1How much does it weighN1 I asked.
1+ell . . .1 he said. 1Ah . . . yes% of course% could you wait Just a momentN I ha5e a
postage scale.1
,ore noise came through the phone% a sharp rattling sound% then the 5oice.
1Its 6ery hea5y% sir. ,y scale wont handle it.1 He chuckled. 1>es sir% this thing is
hea6y* Id guess a$out ten pounds. It swings like a sledgehammer. Theres nothing in
the world you couldnt kill with it.1
1+hats the priceN1 I asked.
12neBfiftyN1 I said. 1!or a stickN1
There was no reply for a moment. 1=o sir%1 he said finally. 1This thing I ha5e in my
hands is not a stick* Its a Samoan war clu$% perhaps three hundred years old. Its also
an e/tremely $rutal weapon%1 he added. 1I could $reak down your door with
1=e5er mind that%1 I said. 1Send it up to the suite immediately% along with the aloe
1>es sir%1 he said. 1And how should I $ill itN1
1Howe5er you want%1 I said. 1+ere e/tremely rich people. ,oney means nothing to
1=o pro$lem%1 he said. 1Ill $e there in fi5e minutes.1
I hung up the phone and turned to Ralph% who was ha5ing another spasm% writhing
soundlessly on the greasy ru$$er sheet. 1Its all taken care of%1 I said. 1+ell ha5e you
on your feet in no time. ,y man from the gift shop is coming up with an aloe plant
and a 5icious Samoan war clu$.1
12h GodQ1 he moaned. 1Another oneQ
1>eah%1 I said% pouring myself another $eaker of Glenfiddich. 1He had that sound in
his 5oice. +ell pro$a$ly
ha5e to humor him.1 I smiled a$sently. 1+ell get into your stuff sooner or later%
Ralph. +hy not right nowN1
1+hat stuffN1 he shouted. 1>ou know I dont use drugs.:
1.ome on% Ralph%1 I said. 1Im tired of your hoary lies% where
V $* 1I 1
Before he could answer there was a knock on the door and a giant Samoan $ounded
into the room% shouting 1AlohaQ AlohaQ1 and wa5ing a huge negro shin$one.
1+elcome to the islands%1 he $oomed. 1,y name is ,aurice. Heres your weapon.1
It was an awesome thing to $ehold% easily capa$le of smashing a mar$le toilet $owl.
1And heres a present.1 ,aurice smiled% pulling a fat% ripe mariJuana pod out of his
pocket. 1Theres plenty more where this came from.1
1AnnaQ1 Ralph screamed. 1AnnaQ .all the managerQ1
I tapped ,aurice on the shoulder and led him out to the hall. 1,ister Steadman is not
himself today%1 I told him. 1He went snorkeling and $roke his $ack on a coral head.1
,aurice nodded. 1Let me know if you need any help. I ha5e many relati5es in
Honolulu. I know many doctors.1
1,e too%1 I replied. 1I am a doctor.1
+e shook arms again and he $ounded off toward the ele5ator. I went $ack to the
$edroom and pul5eri0ed the aloe plant% ignoring Ralphs senile complaints. His wife
watched ner5ously as I carefully packed his wound with green mush. 1Theres nothing
wrong with his $ack%1 I told her. 1Its only swollen. He picked up some poison off the
fire coral% $ut this aloe will cure it.1
Ralph passed out after the aloe treatment% $ut twenty minutes later he was ra5ing
again and I persuaded him to eat a $ag of 5alerian root% which calmed his ner5es
instantly. The spasms tapered off and he was a$le to sit up in $ed and stare at the
e5ening news on TO% unfa0ed $y scenes of hoodlums kicking chunks of flesh off a
tourist on a pu$lic $each near <earl Har$or. His eyes were dim and his face was
sickly pale. Arops of spittle ran down his chin. His speech was slow% and when I told
him a$out the limo that would $e picking us up in three
hours to take us to a party% he seemed happy. 1It will gi5e us a chance to meet
people%1 he said. 1I want to make a deal with Budweiser.1
I let it pass. Thats the 5alerian root talking% I thought. ,ay$e I ga5e him too much.
He was drooling again% and his eyes were $eginning to cross. He tried to roll a
cigarette% $ut spilled to$acco all o5er the $ed and I had to take the rolling machine
away from him.
He seemed not to notice. 1Is it still rainingN1 he muttered. 1I cant stand this terri$le
weather. Its killing me.1
1Aont worry%1 I said. 1This is Just a freak storm. All we ha5e to do is ha5e a look at
this race% then get o5er to Iona and rela/. The weathers fine o5er there.1
He nodded% staring down through the hea5y rain at a tiny red golf cart mo5ing "uietly
along the fairway of the +ailalee .ountry .lu$.
1IonaN1 he said finally. 1I thought we were going to Guam% for the politics.1 1+hatN1
1Guam%1 he said. 1Some chap in 2regon rang me up .. .1 1Thats <erry%1 I said. 1!rom
R#nning*: 1Thats right. The editor. He said wed $e off to Guam% to ha5e a look at the
$loody election.1 1+hatN1 1=e/t Sunday.1
1=o% Ralph%1 I said finally. 1The Hono"#"# Marathon is ne/t Sunday. Thats why
were here.1 1,arathonN1
I stared at him. His teeth were Jutting out of his mouth and his eyes were red slits in
his face. The 5alerian root would $e wearing off soon% $ut may$e not soon enough. In
the meantime% he might die without some kind of stimulant.
I offered him the Glenfiddich $ottle% which he eagerly grasped with $oth hands%
whimpering softly as he raised it to his lips. He swallowed once% then uttered a low
animal noise and 5omited all o5er the $ed.
I caught him as he was rolling off onto the floor and dragged him into the $athroom.
He crawled the last few feet on his own% then collapsed on his knees in the shower
I turned on the water% $oth kno$s up to ma/imum% and closed the door so his wife and
daughter wouldnt hear his degenerate screams.
The party that night was awkward. +e arri5ed too late for dinner and there were 1=o
Smoking1 signs e5erywhere. Ralph tried to mingle% $ut he looked so sick that none of
the guests
would talk to him. ,any were worldBclass runners% fanatics a$out persona7 health%
and the sight of Ralph made them cringe. The aloe had halfBcured his $ack% $ut he still
walked like a stroke 5ictim and his physical presence was not cheerful. He limped
from room to room with his sketch$ook% still deeply confused on 5alerian root% until a
man wearing a sil5er =ike Jumpsuit finally led him outside and said he should check
himself into the leper colony on ,olokai.
I found him leaning against the trunk of a monkeypod tree at the far end of the
redwood deck% arguing $itterly with a stranger a$out the price of mariJuana.
1Its a $loody awful ha$it%1 he was saying. 1The smell of it makes me sick. I hope they
put you in prison.1
1>ou shiteating winoQ1 said the stranger. 1Its people like you that gi5e mariJuana a
$ad nameQ1
I stepped "uickly $etween them% dropping my full cup of $eer on the deck. The
stranger Jumped $ack like a li0ard and went into a karate crouch. 1Aont touch meQ1
he shouted.
1>oure going to prison%1 I said to him. 1I warned you not to sell drugs to this manQ
.ant you see that hes sickN1
1+hatN1 he screamed. Then he lunged at me% kicking sa5agely at my legs with a
cleated running shoe. He missed and fell toward me% off $alance% and I pushed my
cigarette into his face as he staggered $etween us% slapping wildly at the fire on his
1Get awayQ1 I shouted. 1+e dont want any drugsQ Ieep your goddamn drugs to
2thers restrained the man as we hurried off. The lirno was waiting at the top of the
dri5eway. The dri5er saw us coming and started the engine% picking us up on the roll
and careening out of the dri5eway with a long screech of ru$$er. Ralph had two
spasms on the way to the hotel. The dri5er $ecame hysterical and tried to flag down
an am$ulance at a stoplight on +aikiki Boule5ard $ut I threatened to put a cigarette
out on his neck unless we went straight to the hotel.
+hen we got there I sent the dri5er $ack to the party% to pick up the others. The
Samoan night clerk helped me carry Ralph up to his room% then I ate two $ags of
5alerian root and passed out.
+e spent the ne/t few days in deep research. =either one of us had the 5aguest idea
what went on at a marathon% or why people ran in them% and I felt we should ask a
few "uestions and perhaps mingle a $it with the runners.
This worked well enough% once Ralph understood that we were not going to Guam
and that R#nning was not a political maga0ine. ... By the end of the week we were
hopelessly $ogged down in a ma0e of gi$$erish a$out 1car$oBloading%1 1hitting the
wall%1 1the running di5orce%1 1heelBtoe theories%1 along with so many pounds of
$affling propaganda a$out the Running Business that I had to $uy a new <ierre .ardin
sea$ag to carry it all.
+e hit all the prerace e5ents% $ut our presence seemed to make people ner5ous and
we ended up doing most of our research in the Ho Ho Lounge at the Hilton. +e spent
so many hours talking to runners that I finally lost track of what it all meant and
$egan setting people on fire.
It rained e5ery day% $ut we learned to li5e with it ... and $y midnight on the e5e of the
race% we felt ready.
+e arri5ed at ground 0ero sometime around four in the morning@two hours $efore
starting time% $ut the place was already a madhouse. Half the runners had apparently
$een up all night% una$le to sleep and too cranked to talk. The air was foul with a
stench of human feces and Oaseline. By fi5e oclock huge lines had formed in front of
the $ank of chemical pri5ies set up
$y Aoc Scaff and his people. <rerace diarrhea is a standard nightmare at all
marathons% and Honolulu was no different. There are a lot of good reasons for
dropping out of a race% $ut $ad $owels is not one of them. The idea is to come off the
line with a $elly full of $eer and other cheap fuel that will $urn itself off 5ery "uickly.
. . .
.ar$oBpower. =o meat. <rotein $urns too slow for these people. They want the starch.
Their stomachs are churning like ratB$om$s and their $rains are full of fear.
+ill they finishN That is the "uestion. They want that 1!inishers1 TBshirt. +inning is
out of the "uestion for all $ut a "uiet handful# !rank Shorter% Aean ,atthews% Auncan
,acAonald% ?on Sinclair. . . . These were the ones with the low num$ers on their
shirts# 3% ''% 'F% and they would $e the first off the line.
The others% the R#nners@people wearing fourBdigit num$ers@ were lined up in
ranks $ehind the Racers% and it would take them a while to get started. .arl Hatfield
was halfway to Aiamond Head $efore the $ig num$er people e5en tossed their
Oaseline $ottles and started mo5ing% and they knew% e5en then% that not one of them
would catch a glimpse of the winner until long after the race was o5er. ,ay$e get his
autograph at the $an"uet. . . .
+e are talking a$out two 5ery distinct groups here% two entirely different marathons.
The Racers would all $e finished and half drunk $y (#:C in the morning% or Just a$out
the time the Runners would $e humping and staggering past +il$urs house at the
foot of 1Heart$reak Hill.1
At G#GG we Jumped on the tailgate of Aon Iardongs II*A radio press 5an% the $est
seats in the house% and mo5ed out in
front of the pack at e/actly ''.G miles per hour% or somewhere around the middle of
second gear. The plan was to drop us off at +il$urs house and then pick us up again
on the way $ack.
Some freak with four num$ers on his chest came off the line like a hyena on speed
and almost caught up with our 5an and the two do0en motorcycle cops assigned to run
interference . . . $ut he faded "uickly.
+e Jumped off the radio 5an at +il$urs and immediately set up a full wetB$ar and
.ommand .enter ne/t to the cur$ and for the ne/t few minutes we Just stood there in
the rain and heaped e5ery concei5a$le kind of 5er$al a$use on the Runners coming
1>oure doomed% man% youll ne5er make it.1
1Hey% fat $oy% how a$out a $eerN1
:R#n, you silly $astard.1
!Lift t"ose legs.1
1Mat shit and die%1 was Skinners fa5orite.
2ne $urly runner in the front ranks snarled $ack at him% 1Ill see you on the way
1=o% you wont. >oull ne5er make it $ack. >ou wont e5en finishQ >oull collapse.1
It was a rare kind of freedom to $elch any kind of cruel and $rutal insult that came to
mind $ecause the idea of any$ody stopping to argue was out of the "uestion. Here
was this gang of degenerates hunkered down $y the side of the racecourse with TO
sets% $each um$rellas% cases of $eer and whiskey% loud music and wild women%
smoking cigarettes.
It was raining@a light warm rain% $ut steady enough to keep the streets wet% so we
could stand on the cur$ and hear e5ery footfall on the pa5ement as the runners came
The frontBrunners were a$out thirty seconds $ehind us when we Jumped off the stillB
mo5ing radio 5an% and the sound of their shoes on the wet asphalt was not much
louder than the rain. There was no sound of hard ru$$er soles pounding and slapping
on the street. That noise came later% when the Racers had passed and the first wa5e of
Runners appeared.
The Racers run smoothly% with a fineBtuned stride like a +ankel rotary engine. =o
wasted energy% no fighting the street or $ouncing along like a Jogger. These people
f"ow, and they flow 5ery fast.
The Runners are different. Oery few of them flow% and not many run fast. And the
slower they are% the more noise they make. By the time the fourBdigit num$ers came
$y% the sound of the race was distur$ingly loud and disorgani0ed. The smooth rolling
hiss of the Racers had degenerated into a hell $roth of slapping and pounding feet.
+e followed the race $y radio for the ne/t hour or so. It was
raining too hard to stand out $y the cur$% so we settled down in the li5ing room to
watch foot$all on TO and eat the $ig $reakfast that .arol +il$ur had fi/ed 1for the
drunkards1 $efore lea5ing at four in the morning to run in the ,arathon. 6She finished
impressi5ely% around :#GC.7 It was Just $efore eight when we got a call from Iardong
in the radio 5an to $e out on the cur$ for a rolling pickup on the way to the finish line.
Auncan ,acAonald% a local $oy and pre5ious twoBtime winner% had taken command
of the race somewhere around the 'GBmile mark and was so far ahead that the only
way he could lose this race would $e $y falling down@which was not likely% despite
his ma5erick reputation and goodBnatured disdain for traditional training ha$its. M5en
drunk% he was a worldBclass racer% and a hard man for any$ody to catch once he got
out in front.
There was no$ody near him when he passed the 93Bmile mark in front of +il$urs
house% and we rode the final two miles to the finish line on the tailgate of the radio
5an% a$out 'C yards ahead of him % .. and when he came down the long hill from
Aiamond Head% surrounded $y motorcycle cops and mo5ing like Secretariat in the
stretch at .hurchill Aowns% he looked a$out 'C feet tail.
1?esus .hrist%1 Skinner muttered. 1Look at that $astard run.1
M5en Ralph was impressed. 1This is $eautiful%1 he said "uietly% 1this man is an
+hich was true. It was like watching ,agic ?ohnson run the fast $reak or +alter
<ayton turning the corner. A Racer in full stride is an elegant thing to see. And for the
first time all week% the Running Business made sense to me. It was hard to imagine
anything catching Auncan ,acAonald at that point% and he was not e5en $reathing
+e hung around the finish line for a while to watch the Racers coming in% then we
went $ack to +il$urs to ha5e a look at the Runners. They straggled $y% more dead
than ali5e% for the rest of the morning and into the afternoon. The last of the finishers
came in a few minutes after si/% Just in time to catch the sunset and a round of
applause from the few rickshaw dri5ers still loitering in the park $y the finish line.
,arathon running% like golf% is a game for p"ayers, not winners. That is why +ilson
sells golf clu$s% and =ike sells running shoes. The Mighties will not $e a healthy
decade for games designed only for winners@e/cept at the 5ery pinnacle of
professional sportK like the Super Bowl% or the Hea5yweight .hampionship of the
+orld. The rest of us will ha5e to adJust to this notion% or go mad from losing. Some
people will argue% $ut not many. The concept of 5ictory through defeat has already
taken root% and a lot of people say it makes sense. The Honolulu ,arathon was a
showcase e/ample of the =ew Mthic. The main pri0e in
this race was a gray TBshirt for e5ery one of the four thousand 1!inishers.1 That was
the test% and the only ones who failed were those who dropped out.
There was no special shirt for the winner% who finished so far ahead of the others that
only a handful of them e5er saw him until the race was long o5er . % . and not one of
them was close enough to ,acAonald% in those last two miles $efore the finish% to see
how a real winner runs.
The other fi5e or si@ or e5en se5en or eight thousand entrants were running for their
own reasons .. . and this is the angle we needK the raison !etre as it were.... +hy do
those $uggers runN +hy do they punish themsel5es so $rutally% for no pri0e at allN
+hat kind of sick instinct would cause eight thousand supposedly smart people to get
up at four in the morning and stagger at high speed through the streets of +aikiki for
9F $allB$usting miles in a race that less than a do0en of them ha5e the slightest chance
of winningN
These are the kind of "uestions that can make life interesting for an allBe/penseBpaid
weekend at the $est hotel in Honolulu. But that weekend is o5er now% and we ha5e
mo5ed our $ase to Iona% 'GC miles downwind@the 1gold coast1 of Hawaii% where
any$ody e5en half hooked in the local real estate market will tell you that life is $etter
and $igger and la0ier and .. . yes . B. e5en richer in e5ery way than on any one of the
other islands in this harsh little ma0e of 5olcanic 0its out here in the middle
of the <acific 2cean% G%CCC miles from anywhere at all.
Theres no sane reason at all for these runners. 2nly a fool would try to e/plain why
four thousand ?apanese ran at top speed past the *SS $ri9ona, sunken memorial in
the middle of <earl Har$or% along with another four or fi5e thousand certified
American "i%era"s cranked up on $eer and spaghetti and all taking the whole thing so
seriously that only one in two thousand could e5en smile at the idea of a 9FBmile race
featuring four thousand ?apanese that $egins and ends within a stones throw of <earl
Har$or on the morning of Aecem$er )% '(8C. . . .
ThirtyBnine years later. +hat are these people cele$ratingN And why on this
$loodstained anni5ersaryN
It was a weird gig in Honolulu% and it is e5en weirder now. +e are talking% here%
a$out a thing with more weight than we know. +hat looked like a paid 5acation in
Hawaii has turned into a nightmare@and at least one person has suggested that we
may $e looking at the Last Refuge of the Li$eral ,ind% or at least the Last Thing that
Run for your life% sport% $ecause thats all you ha5e left. The same people who $urned
their draft cards in the Si/ties and got lost in the Se5enties are now into r#nning*
+hen politics failed and personal relationships pro5ed unmanagea$leK after
,cGo5ern went down and =i/on e/ploded right in front of our eyes .. . after Ted
Iennedy got Stasseni0ed and ?immy .arter put the fork to e5ery$ody who e5er
$elie5ed anything he said a$out anything at all% and after the nation turned en masse
to the ata5istic wisdom of Ronald Reagan.
+ell% these are% after all% the Mighties and the time has finally come to see who has
teeth% and who doesnt. . . . +hich may or may not account for the odd spectacle of
two generations of political acti5ists and social anarchists finally turning@twenty
years later@into r#nners*
+hy is thisN
That is what we came out here to e/amine. Ralph came all the way from London@
with his wife and eightByearBold daughter@ to grapple with this odd "uestion that I
told him was 5ital $ut which in fact might mean nothing at all.
+hy not come to Aspen and ha5e some fun with the =ew Aum$N
2r why not skewer HollywoodN If only to get e5en with that scum. ... 2r e5en $ack to
+ashington% for the last act of 1Bedtime for Bon0o1N
+hy did we come all the way out here to what used to $e called 1the Sandwich
Islands1 to confront some halfBwit spectacle like eight thousand rich people torturing
themsel5es in the streets of Honolulu and calling it sport<
+ell . % . there is a reasonK or at least there was, when we agreed to do this thing.
The !ata ,organa.
>es% that was the reason@some wild and elegant hallucination in the sky. +e had
$oth retired from JournalismK then years
of working harder and harder for less and less money can make a man kinky. 2nce
you understand that you can make more money $y simply answering your telephone
once a week than $y churning out gi$$erish for the pu$lic prints at a pace keyed to
something like three hours of sleep a night for thirty% si/ty%
or e5en eightyBeight hours in a stretch% it is hard to get up for the idea of going %ack
into hock to American M/press and ,aster .harge for Just another lowBrent look at
whats happening.
?ournalism is a Ticket to Ride% to get personally in5ol5ed in the same news other
people watch on TO@ which is nice% $ut it wont pay the rent% and people who cant
pay their rent in the Mighties are going to $e in trou$le. +e are into a 5ery nasty
decade% a $rutal Aarwinian crunch that will not $e a happy time for freeBlancers.
Indeed. The time has come to write %ooks@or e5en mo5ies% for those who can keep a
straight face. Because there is money in these thingsK and there is no money in
But there is action, and action is an easy thing to get hooked on. It is a nice thing to
know that you can pick up a phone and $e off to anywhere in the world that interests
you@on twentyBfour hours notice% and especially on some$ody elses ta$. That is
what you miss# not the money% $ut the action@and that is why I finally drilled Ralph
out of his castle in Ient for a trip to Hawaii and a look at this strange new
phenomenon called 1running.1 There was no good reason for itK I Just felt it was time
to get out in the world . . . get angry and tune the instruments ... go to Hawaii for
+e fled Honolulu the ne/t day% getting out Just ahead of a storm that closed the
airport and cancelled the surfing tournaments on the north shore. Ralph was half cra0y
from the pain in his $ack and the weather% $ut +il$ur assured him that Iona was
sunsoaked and placid.
The houses were all set and the agent% ,r. Heem% would meet us at the airport. *ncle
?ohn would $e o5er to see us in a few days% with the family. ,eanwhile take the sun
and do some di5ing out in front of the house% where the sea would $e calm as a lake.
Indeed. I was definitely ready for it@and e5en Ralph was e/cited. The constant rain
in Honolulu had $roken his spirit% and the wound on his spine was not healing. 1>ou
look sick%1 I said to him as he staggered into the airport with a huge IB, Selectric
that hed stolen from the hotel.
1I am sick%1 he shouted. 1,y whole $ody is rotting. Thank God were going to Iona.
I m#st rest. I m#st see the s#n*: 1Aont worry% Ralph%1 I said. 1+il$urs taken care of
e5erything.1 +hich I $elie5ed at the time. He had no reason to lie% or at least none I
could see at the time.
It was ... as if the ships had $y chance arri5ed at some culmination in the li5es of this
community% a clima/ that would affect their destiny. <olynesian e/citement was one thing%
and they were familiar with that. In this $ay the whole population ga5e the impression of
$eing on the $rink of mass madness. . . .
The canoes directed .ooks $oat to Iealakekua 5illage on the eastern arm of the $ay. As soon
as they were ashore .ook% Iing and Bayly were conscious of the silence $y contrast with the
$edlam surrounding the ships. They were conscious% too% that the atmosphere was "uite
different from any pre5ious ceremony% as if they were at the same time 5enerated yet
restricted# half god% half capti5e. Ianina took .ook firmly $y the hand when they landed on
the 5olcanic rock shore and led him away as if he were his prisoner. A nati5e walked ahead
of them incanting a dirge which was repeated again and again. The word Lono was
predominant% and when the nati5es who had come out to greet them heard it they prostrated
The party proceeded along the length of a wall of la5a rocks% through the 5illage% towards the
mora", here called a heia#* It was huge and impressi5e% a rectangular $lack $lock set among
the wa5ing coconut trees and a$out 9C $y 3C yards in si0e% surrounded $y a fence in a state of
disrepair on which were set 9C human skulls. .rudely car5ed grotes"ue wooden images
grinning down at them from poles added to the threatening aspect of this holy place% which
also featured an ela$orate $ut dangerous looking scaffold with '9 more images set in a semiB
circle% and a high altar upon which lay some sacrificial offerings% among them a lot of fruit
and a huge half decayed hog.
!our nati5es had now appeared% ceremonially dressed and $earing wands tipped with dogs
hair% and chanting the word Lono.H
Richard Hough
The Last Voyage of Captain James Cook
H2r .rono, as Hough actually makes it out to $e. 12rono1 has $een changed to Lono throughout.
But he did. Almost e5erything he said was a lie. 2ur li5es were a$out to $ecome a
li5ing hell. 2ur .hristmas would $e a nightmare. !ear and loneliness would go5ern
our li5es% which would wander out of control. And we would all feel sicker and sicker
e5ery day. There would $e no relief% no laughterK only cra0iness% despair and
,r. Heem% the realtor% was waiting when we arri5ed at IailuaBIona Airport% a palmy
little oasis on the edge of the sea% a$out 'C miles out of town. The sun was getting low
and there were puddles of water on the runway% $ut ,r. Heem assured us the weather
was fine. 1+ell sometimes get a little shower in the late afternoon%1 he said. 1But I
think youll find it refreshing.1
There was not enough room in his car for all our luggage% so I rode into town with a
local fisherman called .aptain Ste5e% who said he li5ed right up the $each from us.
+e loaded the luggage into his Ml .amino pickup and I sent the others on with ,r.
Ralph was agitated a$out lea5ing me alone with a stranger. 1I can see it in his eyes%1
he said. 1Hes a dope addict. Its no accident that he was sitting here like a troll when
we got off the plane.1
1Ridiculous%1 I said. 1Hes picking up his girl friend. <eople are friendly o5er here%
Ralph. Its not like HonoluluQ1
12h GodQ1 he moaned. 1>oure lying again. Theyre e5erywhere%
like pods@and youre one of themQ1
1Thats right%1 I said. 1And so is this man Heem. He slipped me a package the minute
we got off the plane.1
He stared at me% then "uickly pulled his daughter to his side. 1Its horri$le%1 he
muttered. 1+orse than per5erts.1
The highway from the airport into town was one of the ugliest stretches of road Id
e5er seen in my life. The whole landscape was a desert of hostile $lack rocks% mile
after mile of raw moonscape and ominous lowBlying clouds. .aptain Ste5e said we
were crossing an old la5a flow% one of the last eruptions from the '3%CCCBfoot hump
of ,auna Iea to our left% somewhere up in the fog. !ar down to the right a thin line
of coconut palms marked the new western edge of America% a lonelyBlooking wall of
Jagged $lack la5a cliffs looking out on the whiteBcapped <acific. +e were 9%GCC miles
west of the Seal Rock Inn% halfway to .hina% and the first thing I saw on the outskirts
was a Te/aco station% then a ,cAonalds ham$urger stand.
.aptain Ste5e seemed uneasy with my description of the estate he was taking me to.
+hen I descri$ed the $race of elegant ?apaneseBstyle $each houses looking out on a
$lack mar$le pool and a thick green lawn rolling down to a placid $ay% he shook his
head sadly and changed the su$Ject. 1+ell go out on my $oat for some serious marlin
fishing%1 he said.
1I5e ne5er caught a fish in my life%1 I said. 1,y temperament is wrong for it.1
1>oull catch fish in Iona%1 he assured me as we rounded a corner into downtown
Iailua% a crowded commercial district on the rim of the $ay with halfBnaked people
running $ack and forth through traffic like sand cra$s.
+e slowed to a crawl% trying to a5oid pedestrians% $ut as we passed the Iona Inn a
pot$ellied man with white hair carrying a $eer $ottle in each hand came running out
of the dri5eway yelling% 1>ou dirty $itchQ Ill $reak your neckQ1 and crashed against
the car at full speed% smacking my arm against the door. He fell $ack on the street and
I tried to open the car door to get out and stomp on him% $ut my arm was completely
num$. I couldnt lift it% or e5en mo5e my fingers.
I was still in shock when we stopped at a red light and I noticed what appeared to $e a
cluster of garishBlooking prostitutes standing in the shadows of a $anyan tree on the
sidewalk. Suddenly there was a woman leaning in my window% yelling gi$$erish at
.aptain Ste5e. She was trying to reach in and get
hold of him% $ut my arm was dead and I couldnt roll up the window. +hen she
reached across me again I gra$$ed her hand and Jammed my lit cigarette into her
palm. The light changed and .aptain Ste5e sped away% lea5ing the whore screeching
on her knees in the middle of the intersection. 1Good work%1 he said to me. 1That guy
used to work for me. He was a firstBclass mechanic.1 1+hatN1 I said. 1That whoreN1
1That was no whore%1 he said. 1That was Hilo Bo$% a shameless trans5estite. He hangs
out on that corner e5ery night% with all those other freaks. Theyre a"" trans5estites.1
I wondered if ,r. Heem had $rought Ralph and his family along this same scenic
route. I had a 5ision of him struggling desperately with a gang of trans5estites in the
middle of a traffic Jam% not knowing what it meant. +ild whores with crude painted
faces% $ellowing in deep 5oices and shaking $ags of dope in his face% demanding
American money.
+e were stuck in this place for at least a month% and the rent was R'%CCC a week@
half in ad5ance% which wed already paid ,r. Heem.
1Its a $ad situation%1 .aptain Ste5e was saying% as we picked up speed on the way out
of town. 1Those freaks ha5e taken o5er a main intersection and the cops cant do
anything a$out it.1 He swer5ed suddenly to a5oid a pearBshaped Jogger on the
shoulder of the highway. 1Hilo Bo$ goes cra0y e5ery time he sees my car%1 he said. 1I
fired him after he had a se/Bchange operation% so he got a lawyer and sued me for
mental anguish. He wants a halfBmillion dollars.1
1?esus%1 I said% still ru$$ing my wounded arm. 1A gang of 5icious $ull fruits%
harassing the traffic on main street.1
1>eah%1 he went on. 1I made a real effort with Bo$% $ut he got too weird for the
clients. Id get to the $oat in the morning with a terri$le hango5er and find him asleep
on the ice chest with his hair dyed orange and lipstick smeared all o5er his face. He
got real $itchy and strange after he had his operation% and he started drinking a lot. I
ne5er knew what to e/pectS2ne morning he showed up with the ass cut out of his
Le5is% $ut I didnt notice it until we were out of the har$or and I let him take the
helm. I had a family of ?aps on $oard% and they all went cra0y at once. The
grandfather was a famous fisherman% a$out ninety years old% and theyd $rought him
all the way to Iona
to catch his last marlin. I was up in the tower% still halfBsick
and asleep% when I heard a lot of screaming down in the ca$in.
It sounded like Bo$ was $eing killed. I came down the ladder
with a loaded fortyBfi5e in my hand% and got. hit in .the face
with a spear handle $y an old +oman a$out four feet tall.
It knocked me out cold. By the time I woke up the $oat
was running in circles and Bo$ was o5er the side%
fouled in the outrigger lines. He had two hooks in
his $ack and the water was full of $lood% $ut they
wouldnt let me stop to pull him $ack a$oard.
The old man wanted me to shoot him in the
water. I had to gi5e% them fi5e hundred
dollars in cash $efore they% let me pick
Bo$ up% then they sta$$ed him three
or four times on the way $ack
to port.1 He laughed $itterly. 1It was the worst e/perience I5e e5er had at sea. They
reported me to the .oast Guard and I almost lost my captains license. The story was
on the front page of the newspaper. They charged me with se/ual assault and I had to
defend myself at a pu$lic hearing.1 He laughed again. 1?esus .hristQ How do you
e/plain a thing like thatN The first mate walking around the deck with the seat cut out
of his pants.1
I said nothing. The story made me uncomforta$le. +hat kind of place had we come
toN I wondered. And what if Ralph wanted to go fishingN .aptain Ste5e seemed okay%
$ut the stories he told were eerie. They ran counter to most notions of modernBday
sport fishing. ,any clients ate only cocaine for lunch% he saidK others went cra0y on
$eer and wanted to fight% on days when the fish werent $iting. =o strikes $efore noon
put $ad pressure on the captain. !or fi5e hundred dollars a day% the clients wanted $ig
fish% and a day with no strikes at all could
flare up in mutiny on the long ride $ack to the har$or at sunset. 1>ou ne5er know%1 he
said. 1I5e had people try to put a gaffing hook into me% with no warning at all. Thats
why I carry the fortyBfi5e. Theres no point calling the cops when youre twenty miles
out to sea. They cant help you out there.1 He glanced in the direction of the surf%
$ooming up on the rocks a$out a hundred yards to our right. The ocean was out there%
I knew% $ut the sun had gone down and all I could see was $lackness. The nearest
landfall in that direction was Tahiti% 9%FCC miles due south.
It was raining now% and he turned on the windshield wipers. +e were cruising slowly
along in $umperBtoB$umper traffic. The highway was lined on $oth sides with what
appeared to $e unfinished apartment $uildings% new condominiums and raw
construction sites littered with $ulldo0ers and cranes. The roadside was crowded with
longBhaired thugs carrying surf$oards% paying no attention to traffic. .aptain Ste5e
was getting edgy% $ut he said we were almost there.
1Its one of these hidden dri5eways%1 he muttered% slowing down to e/amine the
num$ers on a row of tin mail$o/es.
1Impossi$le%1 I said. 1They told me it was far out at the end of a narrow country
He laughed% then suddenly hit the $rakes and swung right through a narrow slit in the
shru$$ery $eside the road. 1This is it%1 he said% Jamming the $rakes again to keep
from running up on the $ack of ,r. Heems car. It was parked with all the doors open
in a cluster of cheap wooden shacks a$out 'G feet off the highway. There was no$ody
in sight% and the rain was getting dense. +e "uickly loaded the $aggage out of the Ml
.amino and into the nearest shack% a $arren little $o/ with only two cots and a
Sal5ation Army couch for furniture. The sliding glass doors looked out on the sea%
like they said% $ut we were afraid to open them% for fear of the $ooming surf. Huge
wa5es crashed down on the $lack rocks in front of the porch. +hite foam lashed the
glass and water ran into the li5ing room% where the walls were ali5e with cockroaches.
The storms continued all week# murky sun in the morning% rain in the afternoon and
terri$le surf all night. +e couldnt e5en swim in the pool% much less do any di5ing.
.aptain Ste5e was $ecoming more and more frantic a$out our ina$ility to get in the
water% or e5en go near it. +e conferred each day on the phone% checking the weather
reports and hoping for a $reak.
The pro$lem% he e/plained% was an offBshore storm somewhere out in the <acific@
may$e a hurricane on Guam% or something worse down south around Tahiti% In any
case% something we couldnt control or e5en locate was sending $ig rollers across the
ocean from some faraway place. Hawaii is so far out in the middle of nothing that a
mild s"uall in the straits of ,alacca% :%CCC miles away% can turn a si/Binch ripple into
a si/teenBfoot wa5e $y the time it hits Iona. There is no other place in the world that
so consistently $ears the $runt of other peoples weather.
The Iona .oast is on the leeward side of the Big Island% protected $y the towering
humps of two '3%CCCBfoot 5olcanoes from the pre5ailing northeast winds. The whole
east coast of the island is a Jagged wasteland of ferns and $lack $oulders% lashed $y
the same Arctic winds that make the north coast of 2ahu a surfers paradise.
But the same wa5e that picks up a surf$oard can also pick up a $oat and send it
rocketing toward the $each at terri$le speeds. =o$ody who has e5er taken that ride
wants to do it again. 1Theres no way you can ride it out%1 .aptain Ste5e told me. 1If
you try to keep it straight youll get smashed on the rocks like some kind of flying egg
@and if you try to turn out of the wa5e% the $oat will $roach and start rolling. Mither
way% youre doomed.1
+e hear all our li5es a$out the 1gentle% stormless <acific%1 and a$out the 1smooth and
delightful route to the Sandwich Islands%1 and a$out the 1steady $lowing trades%1 that ne5er
5ary% ne5er change% ne5er 1chop around%1 and all the days of our $oyhood we read how that
infatuated old ass% Bal$oa% looked out from the top of a high rock upon a $road sea as calm
and peaceful as a syl5an lake% and went into an ecstasy of delight% like any other greaser o5er
any other trifle% and shouted in his foreign tongue and wa5ed his countrys $anner% and named
his great disco5ery 1<acific1@ thus uttering a lie which will go on decei5ing generation after
generation of students while the old ocean lasts. If I had $een there% with my e/perience% I
would ha5e said to this man Bal$oa% 1=ow% if you think you ha5e made a sufficient display of
yourself% ca5orting around on this conspicuous rock% you had $etter fold up your old rag and
get $ack into the woods again% $ecause you ha5e Jumped into a conclusion% and christened
this sleeping $oyB$a$y with a girls name% without stopping to in"uire into the se/ of it.1
!rom all that I can disco5er% if this foreign person had named this ocean the 1!our ,onths
<acific%1 he should ha5e come nearer the mark. ,y information is to the effect that the
summer months gi5e fine weather% smooth seas% and steady winds% with a month and a few
days good weather at the far end of spring and the $eginning of autumn and that the other
se5en or eight months of the year one can calculate pretty regularly on head winds and stern
winds% and winds on the "uarter% and winds se5eral points aloft the $eam% and winds that
$low straight up from the $ottom% and still other winds that come so straight down from
a$o5e that the foreBstuns'BspankerBJi$B$oom makes a hole through them as clean as a
telescope. And the sea rolls and leaps and chops and surges 1thortships1 and up and down and
foreBandBaft $y turns% when the gales are $lowingK and when they die out% the old norwest
swell comes in and takes a hand% and stands watch% and keeps up the marine earth"uake until
the winds are rested and ready to make trou$le again.
In a word% the <acific is 1rough1 for se5en or eight months in the year@not stormy%
understand meK not what one could Just call stormy% $ut contrary% $affling% and 5ery 1rough.1
Therefore% if that Bal$oaBconstrictor had constructed a name for it that had 1+ild1 or
1*ntamed1 to it% there would ha5e $een a maJority of two months in the year in fa5or and in
support of it.
,ark Twain Letters from Hawaii
It happened to a friend of his once% he said. 1He was coming in with a party of tourists
one afternoon. They were in an ugly mood $ecause no$ody had caught a fish% so he
was keeping an eye on themand talking to his wife on the radio at the same time% not
watching the wa5es@when all of a sudden he reali0ed he was ten feet out of the water
and coming into the har$or so fast that all he could do was Jump. The $oat kept on
going and he said he could hear those poor $astards screaming all the way into the
rocks.1 He smiled ruefully. 12ne guy was down $elow changing his pants when the
$oat finally flippedK he was trapped in an air pocket under the $oat for two hours
$efore we could get him out. +e had to come up underneath him with tanks% then get
hold of his legs and drag him down a$out eighteen feet $efore we could take him up.1
He shook his head% no longer smiling. 1?esus%1 he said% 1I hope I ne5er ha5e to see a
thing like that again. He was stark naked and completely hysterical $y the time we got
him to the dock. It was a terri$le scene. The whole crowd was laughing at him% and
that made him e5en cra0ier. 2ne of the guys who tried to help him out of the dinghy
still has teeth marks all o5er his arm. Then he locked himself in a car and we had to
$reak a window to get him out.
1The $oat was a total loss%1 he added. 1<ro$a$ly fifty or si/ty thousand dollars. +hat
was left of it finally sank and $locked the entrance to the har$or for fi5e days.1
+a5es like that are rare on the Iona .oast% where the waters
are usually more placid than anywhere else in the islands@
e/cept when the weather turns around% as they say% and the
winds $low in from the west.
,ark Twain did not lie@at least not a$out the <acific 2cean
in winter. The Iona .oast in Aecem$er is as close to hell on
earth as a halfB$right mammal can get@and this is the "eewar
side of the 1Big Island1# this is the ca"m side. God only knows what happens o5er
there on the windward side% around
Hilo. .. . That is the 1wet coast%1
they say% and e5en real estate agents
will warn you against going o5er
there, for any reason at all. But they will not warn
you a$out Iona ... so
that will ha5e to $e my Jo$K for as long as the grass is green and the ri5ers flow to the
sea. The Iona .oast of Hawaii might $e
a nice place to 5isit for a few hours on the hottest day in ?uly@$ut not e5en fish will
come near this place in the winterK if the surf doesnt kill you% the Surge will% and
any$ody who tries to tell you anything different should ha5e his teeth gouged out with
a chisel.
#$#%#& -!m ca""ing a%o#t a wa6e warning - A#st hear on the raio* ;e!re 6isiting o#t
here, to#rists in fact*
C'P& Yeah@where yo# staying at<
#$#%#& -!m o#t past Magic 7ans*
C'P& Right on the %each<
#$#%#& Right smack on the %each*
C'P& .kay@we are e@pecting high s#rf a%o#t fo#r o!c"ock this morning,
#$#%#& ;hat oes this mean to meN ;e!6e ha some pretty high s#rf o#t here*
C'P& Yeah, we"", it means it!s going to possi%"y crest at se6enteen feet this morning at
a%o#t fo#r*
#$#%#& 7e6enteen feet< -s that meas#ring $ehind the wa6e< That!s act#a""y @ah@that!s
a rea" high sea, isn!t it<
C'P& Right* 7omething a%o#t a storm to the north of the is"ans or whate6er* Howe6er,
right now, they!re on"y ad5ising. =#t if there!s any "oose gear, it sho#" %e sec#re*
#$#%#& )s this going to pick rocks o#t of the ocean an p#t them into my %eroom<
C'P& No, not G#ite that %a we hope* $hHof co#rse if it worsens, if the sit#ation
worsens, the C5, the Ci6i" 5efense wi"" %ecome in6o"6e*
#$#%#& ;e"", if it!s fo#r o!c"ock in the morning most of #s wi"" %e as"eep, hopef#""y* How
wi"" we know when it gets serio#s<
C'P& ;e"", we!"" pro%a%"y #se some po"ice cars or the fire epartment with "o#speakers
an go own $"ii 5ri6e recommening e6ac#ation* =#t right now it!s A#st an a6isory*
#$#%#& This is that same storm from the North< $n it!s going to get worseN
C'P& $t fo#r this morning the high ties wi"" %e at their worst*
#$#%#& The worst*
C'P& Right* =#t right now it appears fair"y ca"m*
#$#%#& -t oes* - was A#st owntown @it "ooke 6ery ca"m to me*
C'P& The wa6es in Eai"#a =ay are r#nning fi6e feet' Eaheo =ay, nothing@no wa6e
action at a""*
#$#%#& ;hat was the si9e of the wa6es we ha a%o#t two weeks ago< That!s when we
ha some tro#%"e #p here* They came #p to the porch*
.2<# I rea""y on!t know, - wasn!t working at that time, apparent"y, %eca#se - on!t
reca"" it*
#$#%#& There was no a"ert* -t wasn!t that high* May%e eight or ten feetH- was f#st trying
to compare* ;e"", we!"" see, won!t we<
C'P& Yeah, as - sai, right now they!re A#st a6ising if yo# ha6e any gear on yo#r %ack
porch or whate6er, make s#re it!s sec#re*
#$#%#& 6laughs7 7ec#reBBBBB
C'P& $n they wi"" take steps to a"ert
the pop#"ace near the %each*
#$#%#& 7teps< ;hat kin of steps<
8hone ca""s< 7irens< How wi"" we
know< Like - sai, we!"" pro%a%"y %e
.2<# ;e"", as - sai, they!"" either
#se the "o#speakers on the po"ice
cars an fire epartment 6ehic"es or
they!"" %e #singH6<A*SM7@ they!"" %e
#sing the Ci6i" 5efense siren@which
wi"" wake yo# #p, g#arantee*
#$#%#& .kay, %#t we won!t %e taken
o#t of o#r %es %y a tsunamiN
C'P& No ts#nami* 5on!t worry a%o#t
#$#%#& .kay, thank yo#*
C'P& Yo#!re we"come* =ye*
All work ceased on ray side of the compound as the
holiday season approached. - hunkered down for the pro foot$all playoffs% $etting
hea5ily with +il$ur on the telephone and s"uandering away my winnings on
fireworks. The .hristmas season% in Hawaii% is also the time of the annual !east of
Lono% the god of e/cess and a$undance. The missionaries may ha5e taught the nati5es
to lo5e ?esus% $ut deep in their pagan hearts they dont really like him# ?esus is too
stiff for these people. He had no sense of humor. The ranking gods and goddesses of
the old Hawaiian culture are mainly distinguished $y their power% not their purity% and
they are honored for their 5ices as well as their awesome array of 5irtues. They are
not intrinsically different from the people themsel5es@Just $igger and $older and
$etter in e5ery way.
The two fa5orites are Lono and <ele% the randy Oolcano goddess. +hen <ele had a
party% e6ery%oy cameK she was a lusty longBhaired $eauty who danced naked on
molten la5a with a gourd of gin in each hand% and any$ody who didnt like it was
instantly killed. <ele had her pro$lems@usually with wrongBheaded lo5ers% and
occasionally with whole armies@$ut in the end she always pre5ailed. And she still
li5es% they say% in her ca5e underneath a 5olcano on ,t. Iiluea and occasionally
comes out to wander around the island in any form she chooses@ sometimes as a
$eautiful young girl on a magic surf$oard% sometimes a Jaded harlot sitting alone at
the $ar of the Oolcano HouseK $ut usually@for some reason the legends ha5e ne5er
made clear@in the form of a wi0ened old woman who hitchhikes around the island
with a pint of gin in her kit$ag.
+hether <ele and Lono e5er got together is a "uestion still shrouded in mystery% $ut
as a gam$ler I would ha5e to $et on it. There is not enough room on these islands for
the two powerful deities in Hawaiian history to roam around for '%CCC years
without coming to grips with each other.
Iing Lono% ruler of all the islands in a time long $efore the Hawaiians had a written
language% was not made in the same mold as ?esus% although he seems to ha5e had the
same $asically decent instincts. He was a wise ruler and his reign is remem$ered in
legend as a time of peace% happiness and great a$undance in the kingdom@the Good
2ld Aays% as it were% $efore the white man came@which may ha5e had something to
do with his ele5ation to the status of a god in the wake of his disappearance. Lono
was also a chronic $rawler with an ungo5erna$le temper.
a keen eye for the naked side of life and a taste for strong drink at all times. This side
of his nature% although widely admired $y his su$Jects% kept him in constant trou$le at
home. His wife% the lo5ely Wueen Iaikilani Alii% had a nasty temper of her own% and
the peace of the royal household was fre"uently shattered $y monumental arguments.
It was during one of these spats that Iing Lono $elted his "ueen across the hut so
5iolently% at least once% that he accidentally killed her. Iaikilanis death plunged him
into a fit of grief so profound that he a$andoned his royal duties and took to
wandering around the islands% staging a series of $o/ing and wrestling matches in
which he took on all comers. But he soon tired of this and retired undefeated% they
say% sometime around the end of the eighth or ninth century. Still $ored and
distraught% he then took off in a magic canoe for a tour of 1foreign lands1@from
whence he would return% he promised% as soon as the time was right.
The nati5es ha5e $een waiting for this moment e5er since% handing his promise down
from one generation to another and faithfully cele$rating the memory of their longB
lost GodLIing at the end of each year with a twoBweek fren0y of wild parties and
industrialBstrength fireworks. The missionaries did e5erything in their power to wean
the nati5es away from their faith in what amounted to a kind of longBo5erdue alterB
.hrist% and modern politicians ha5e $een trying for years to curtail or e5en $an the
annual orgy of fireworks during the .hristmas season% $ut so far nothing has worked.
+e learned these things@or at least a few of them@
from .aptain Ste5e% the local charter fisherman SSS who $efriended us when we
arri5ed at the IailuaBIona Airport and su$se"uently $ecame our main man on the
island. .aptain Ste5e had a fullyBrigged fishing $oat and was determined to take us
out and catch a marlin@a gesture of fine hospitality that promised to make our stay in
Iona e5en richer and more e/citing than wed known it was going to he% all along.
+il$ur also had a fishing trip lined up for usK and Stan A0ura% an old friend from
.olorado% had a $oat that hed offered to let us use any time we wanted.
It had seemed up to that point% that we were definitely in good shape% and as the
winter solstice approached I felt optimistic enough to in5ite my son% ?uan% o5er to
Hawaii for a week or so of the finest water sport. The Iona .oast is one of the
worlds $est gameBfishing grounds% regarded $y serious anglers as the e"ual of
anything to $e found in the Bahamas or the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
Both Ralph and I were pleased at our une/pected run of high luck. In addition to
ha5ing our own pool and a pri5ate $each right in front of the compound for
swimming and skin di5ing% now we also had our own $oats to get out on the ocean
and stalk the mighty marlin. ,oney was no pro$lem% .aptain Ste5e e/plained.
.harter $oats in Iona normally go for RGCC a day% $ut for us that fee would $e
wai5edK all we had to do was $ring our own food and drink. . . .
Indeed. ?ust the sight of these words on paper sends a shudder up my spine e5en now%
long after we finally escaped and mo5ed on to other ordeals. +e will get to the details
later% $ut the main $earings of the story and all we need to know for now are these#
'7 Marly in Aecem$er we mo5ed into a kind of seaside estate containing a pool and
three wooden houses@one for the caretaker% one for Ralph and his family% and
another for me% Laila and ?uan. 97 .aptain Ste5e% who li5ed not far up the $each from
us% $ecame more and more o$sessed with getting us out on the sea to catch fish. :7 In
Aecem$er of that year the Iona .oast was lashed $y a series of terri$le storms that
made our li5es a li5ing hell. And 37 our social $eha5ior turned so ugly and rude that
we were shunned $y the nati5es and e5entually turned to e/cessi5e use of fireworks%
whiskey and $ad cra0iness in the compound.
The Iona fishing fleet stayed safely in port during this period% lea5ing .aptain Ste5e
and the other seafaring types with a lot of time on their hands@which most of them
spent on $arstools% $itching endlessly a$out the weather% the dearth of paying tourists
on the island and the first $ad signs of what some of them saw as the imminent
collapse of the local real estate market. Hawaii had $een the only state in the *nion
that didnt 5ote for Reagan% so there were a lot of people hanging idly around the $ars
who kept saying 1I told you so1 to any$ody who would listen.
This was the situation we found oursel5es mired in% and the only escape@for me% at
least@was watching foot$all on tele5ision% which I did with a 0eal that got more and
more on Ralphs ner5es. His lifelong hatred of sport made it impossi$le for him to
share my preoccupation with gam$ling on the games% and we slowly drifted apart@he
to his kinky $rooding% and me to the TO set% usually far up the mountain at Stan
A0uras house. 2n the few occasions when we all went into town together% Ralphs
eccentric $eha5ior so offended the nati5es that some called him 1the "ueer1 and
others called him 1+olfman.1 By the time we had $een there two weeks he was
known e5erywhere we went as 1The Wueer and !amous +olfman%1 and he was not
much fun to $e with.
2ne $y one% we all got off the $oat. Ralph went first% as always@and% as always% he
$lamed it on me. +hich was true% in a way. The whole thing was my fault. It was my
plan that had gone wrong% not Ralphs% and now his whole family was in the throes of
a profound psychotic e/perience. Some people can handle ten days in the eye of a
hurricane% and some cant.
Ralph was $ecoming more and more concerned a$out this aspect of our situation% as it
daily $ecame more desperate. His primiti5e +elsh ancestry would allow him to cling
almost indefinitely to his own sanity% he felt% $ut he was not confident a$out the
a$ility of his wife or young daughter to sur5i5e a shock of this magnitude. 1How
many days of a$Ject terror can an eightByearBold girl endureN1 he asked me one day as
we shared a pint of hot gin in his kitchen. 1I can already see the signs. Shes
withdrawing into herself% gnawing on $alls of twine and talking to cockroaches at
1Thats why we ha5e insane asylums%1 I said. 1+hen your neigh$ors start talking
a$out their children at 2/ford or .am$ridge% you can $rag that you ha5e a daughter in
He stiffened% then shook it off and laughed harshly. 1Thats right%1 he said. 1I can 5isit
her on weekends% in5ite all my neigh$ors to attend her graduation.1
+e were half mad oursel5es% at this point. All of our desperate efforts to flee the Big
Island had come to naught. +e couldnt e5en get seats on a plane $ack to Honolulu%
much less to anywhere else.. .. And our +ill to !lee was rea"( - would ha5e
written a $ad check for a charter Jet to Tahiti% 9%FCC miles% one way@$ut the storm
had knocked out our telephones and there was no hope of getting through to any$ody
more than a mile or two away. The only place we could $e sure of reaching was the
$ar at the Iona Inn.
The long and tedious ceremony and feast were at last o5er% and .ook indicated that they
would like to set up an encampment at the heia#* .hiefs <area and Ianina understood at
once% and when .ook selected a walled field of sweet potatoes% with many assurances of
compensation for the owner% the priests stuck their wands on the wall to consecrate and
1ta$oo1 it.
They now returned to their $oat and as they passed through the 5illage% .ook in his red cloak%
men% women and children all dropped onto their knees and lay with their heads to the ground
until they had passed. LonoQ . . . LonoQ . . .
+hat he did not know% and ne5er did learn% was that he had $een acknowledged as the
incarnation of the god Lono. His arri5al was the greatest e5ent in Hawaiis history. Lono
mak#a was die Hawaiian god of the season of a$undance and rela/ation% who was said to
process clockwise a$out the island to $e greeted $y white $anners and ela$orate ceremonies
of o$eisance. .ook had arri5ed% at the appointed time% and $y reason of his decision to sail
slowly offshore for $etter trading% had indeed progressed slowly and clockwise a$out the
island% his standard at his masthead a di5ine acknowledgement of the white $anners ashore.
And properly% and according to tradition% he had corne to rest at Iealakekua% 1the path of the
gods%1 in his miracle giant canoe opposite the heia# in the middle of the gods season% in time
for the great ceremonies of worship annually accorded to him for the a$undance of riches he
caused the soil to grant them.
.ook may ha5e $een late for the Arctic summer $ut the timing of his arri5al off Hawaii could
not $e faulted. His su$se"uent actions did ha5e a nearBdi5ine 5erisimilitude% and the clima/
had now $een reached with the ceremonies he had Just undergone. M5erything that he
e/perienced o5er the following two weeks conformed with the legend of the god Lono. It is
little wonder that his reception@1this remarka$le homage1 as Iing descri$ed it@here at
Hawaii was so different from that at any other <olynesian island% and that the nati5es had
$een thrown into a state of nearBhysteria. =ot e5en the oldest citi0en with the longest memory
could recall hearing from his oldest ancestor of the appearance in incarnated form of the great
god Lono.
Richard Hough
The Last Voyage of Captain James Cook
It is ,onday night on the Iona .oast% two days $efore .hristmas. Three oclock in
the morning. =o more ,onday night foot$all. The season is o5er. =o more Howard
.osell and no more of that shiteating lunatic with the rain$owBstriped afro wig. That
freak should $e put to sleep% and ne5er mind the reasons. +e dont need that kind of
cra0iness out here in Hawaii% not e5en on TO . .. and especially not now% with the surf
so high and wild thugs in the streets of +aikiki and this weather so foul for so long
that people are starting to act cra0y. A lot more people than normal for this time of
year are going to flip out% if we dont see the sun $y .hristmas.
They call it 1Iona +eather1K gray skies and rough seas% hot. rain in the morning and
mean drunks at night% $ad weather for coke fiends and $oat people. ... A huge ugly
cloud hangs o5er the island at all times% and this goddamn filthy sea pounds
relentlessly up on the rocks in front of my porch.... The $astard ne5er sleeps or e5en
restsK it Just keeps coming% rolling% $ooming% slamming down on the rocks with a
force that shudders the house e5ery two or three minutes.
I can feel the sea in my feet as I sit here and type% e5en in those moments of ner5ous
"uiet that usually mean a Big 2ne is on its way% gathering strength out there in the
darkness fpr another cra0ed charge on the land.
,y shirt is damp with a mi/ture of sweat and salt spray. ,y cigarettes $end like
ru$$er and the typing paper is so limp that we need waterproof pens to write on it ...
and now that e5il white foam is coming up on my grass% Just si/ feet away from the
This whole lawn might $e halfway to !iJi ne/t week. Last winters Big Storm took the
furniture off e5ery porch on this stretch of the coast and hurled $oulders the si0e of
TO sets into peoples $edrooms. Half the lawn disappeared o5ernight and the pool
filled up with rocks so $ig that they had to $e lifted out with a crane.
2ur pool is a lot closer to the sea now. 2n the night we arri5ed I was almost sucked
into the surf $y a wa5e that hit while I was standing on the di5ing $oard% and the ne/t
day an e5en $igger one rolled o5er the pool and almost killed me.
+e stayed away from the pool for a few days% after that. It makes a man "ueasy to
swim laps in a pool where the sea might come an get yo# at any moment% with no
warning at all. It is like getting hit $y a moeter 6moeter7. ,eptprN ,eotorN ,eteor
. . . yes that sounds right# like getting hit $y a meteor while dri5ing to work on the
Ralph is hunkered down ne/t door in a state of a$Ject terror.
The whole family is sleeping on the li5ing room floor with all their $aggage packed
and ready to flee for their li5es on a moments notice. +hen I tried to get in and steal
Ralphs TO
for the late $asket$all game I almost stepped on the childs head as I came o5er the
edge of that slimy wooden porch. % +hy do they lie to usN
That% is what haunts me now% the weird fishhook in this story that keeps me from Just
leaping on it like some kind of $rute on the run coming up on a high polished $rass
fire pole and suddenly% X yes% a way outX
Ioom* ** * Gra$ the pole% through the floor% out of sight% $ig $lack ru$$er pad at the
$ottom. And after that% run like a $astard and ne5er look $ack ... $ecause whate5ers
after you is pro$a$ly in $etter shape than you are% and it pro$a$ly wont slow down.
Those $uggers run 9F consecuti5e fi5eBminute miles. But not e5en that is fast enough
to stay ahead of that thing that keeps gainingX
+hy dont they ride motorcyclesN +hy indeedN
+e will ha5e to deal with that later% for good or ill. All we know% for now% and all we
need to know% is that this goddamn rotten surf is Bstill thundering up on the lawn at
fi5e in the morning and this dirty Hawaiian nightmare has $een going on for thirteen
straight days.
After two weeks on the Iona .oast I found myself
looking for stray dogs to run o5er% e5ery time I dro5e into town . .. and the drunker I
got% the more dogs I wanted to kill.
The only other thing that makes sense is %om%s, and we reached that point in Iona on
.hristmas M5e. Here is a wild scrawl that I found on a page in my note$ook% dated
Aecem$er 9G#
This fi"thy goamn sea is sti"" raging an po#ning on the rocks in front of my porch*
7omewhere to the west is a monster storm *of some kin, with D4?knot wins an J0?foot
seas* That is a typhoon - think* ;e are paying C1,444 a week to sit o#t here in the rain on
the ege of this sa6age %"ack rock an wait for the ann#a" typhoon@"ike the foo"s they
know #s to %e*
;e"", f#ck these peop"e* They "ie to #s, an their "ies ha6e ca#se #s to s#ffer ** * which
means we m#st go to the mattresses an %om% them into the sea* ;e!6e %een cro#che
"ike #m% wet anima"s in this p"ace for fifteen ays now, an that!s at "east ten too many*
;e are "i6ing on the ege of the sea, %#t we can!t go near the water* To i6e off those
rocks in front of the ho#ses wo#" mean instant eath* &ifty feet in front of my typewriter
is a "i6ing th#nering he"" of white foam an ripties an h#ge %"asts of spray that not
e6en a shark co#" s#r6i6e in* The time has come for 6engeance*
The time came yesterday in fact. +e finally got weird enough% around midnight on
.hristmas M5e% to set off a huge .hinese $om$ on the front porch of a local charter
fishermans house. It went off with a genuinely terrifying $last a$out threeBtenths of a
second after I put the match to the fuse.
I ha5e set off a lot of firecrackers% $ut nothing I5e e5er lit had a kick like this $astard.
I tried to run% $ut the fuse was so "uick that I was only a step and a half into my stride
when suddenly the whole world turned $right scorching yellow and I was tum$ling
around in the $ushes a$out ten feet across the dri5eway. I wound up on my knees%
with all the hair $urned off my legs% staring $ack at the house as it disappeared in the
eye of a wild fire$all that I remem$er thinking at the time would $e the last thing Id
e5er see.
This thing was no firecrackerK it was a flatBout Bom$@9%3(C $right red .hinese
firecrackers packed into a 'CBpound lump and nicely wrapped with a timeBrelease fuse
that makes the e/plosion seem to go on fore5er. ,ost firecrackers e/plode and die
instantly% $ut this thing went off like Gods own drumroll .. . and it kept going off% and
it kept getting louder% until finally I got The !ear. The noise was too intense% and the
fire$all was getting $iggerK the porch seemed to $e coming apart in 5ery slow motion%
and I heard a scream from inside.
There were two of them in there% and the eerie pitch of that scream told me that one
had already gone mad@while the $om$ was still happening@and the thought of it
filled me with horror. I was slumped on my knees in the dri5eway% so close to the
edge of the fire$all that I knew it would make me $lind if I kept my eyes open@$ut I
couldnt close themK I was paraly0ed with awe% $y this terri$le thing I had wrought.
This is not what I meant% I thought. =ot what I meant at all. It was supposed to $e a
Joke% a sym$olic gesture of sorts . .. the time had come% I felt% to reesta$lish the
ancient Hawaiian 1Law of the Splintered 2ar.1
%"e La( of the $)lintere* 'ar
At the time@$efore Hawaii was unified@a series of interBisland wars pre5ailed among ri5aQ chiefs.
Iing Iamehameha I% himself% made a series of destructi5e and senseless raids upon peaceful coasts
and peopie. In one of these raids% he attacked some fishermen% and in return% one man hit
Iamehameha on the head with an 2ar. The force was so great that a second $low would ha5e $een
fatal. Later% when the fisherman was captured and $rought $efore Iamehameha% he did not kill the
man% $ut admitted that his own attack had $een wrong% and that all such wanton attacks were wrong.
As a result% the Law of the Splintered 2ar came into $eing% pro5iding protection for peaceful citi0ens
from raids and senseless pillaging $y ri5al chiefs.
The notion had come to me fast% as good notions will% and I immediately went to the
phone. It was ele5en oclock on .hristmas M5e% our fourteenth day on this foggy% surfB
whipped rock% and life was getting tense. But no$ody had lied to me for three or four
hours and I was Just into the second stage of trying to rela/% when all of a sudden the
drunken caretaker 5eered into some kind of slea0y rap a$out selling me a tin $oat that
he had stashed on a $ay somewhere in Alaska% for R'9%CCC@ so I could fish in the
ocean for herring and make RGC%CCC a day.
2nce I had the $oat 6along with a 1permit1@another RFC up front7 I could go out with
the fleet and drop my net with the others. Right. And for the ne/t three weeks we
would stay awake twentyBfour hours a day% ramBfeeding each other with handfuls of
speed and hauling constantly on the nets.
1+e get a little cra0y out there%1 he said% 1$ut its worth it. !ifty thousand dollars a
I nodded and stared out to sea% feeling the $ile rise. ?esus% I thought% these people
ha6e no shame* !irst the Iona .oast% and now a herring scam in Alaska. 2n
.hristmas M5e% for R'9%CCC cash....
I stood up suddenly. 12kay%1 I said. 1The Jokes o5er. Its time for the $om$.1
1+hatN1 he said% 1you want a $om$N1
1I ha6e a $om$%1 I said. 1I ha5e si/ goddamn $om$s and a long white $eard and these
lies are dri5ing me ma +heres the phoneN1
He pointed% and I dialed the first num$er that came into my head. It was .aptain
Ste5e% who had taken us out on his $oat the day $efore and caught no fish. =o fish at
all@which was not a surprise to me% $ut Ralph took it hard. They had strapped him
into the fighting chair at dawn% facing $ackwards into our wake and a thick fog of
diesel fumesK then they put a gigantic rod and reel in his lap and told him to hang on%
$ecause the $ait he was trailing would $e swallowed at any moment $y a fish the si0e
of a $ull moose% which would then erupt from the deep like a missile and 1take off
across the top of the water at se5enty miles an hour.1
Ralph nodded solemnly as we tightened the straps% 1+ell% well%1 he said. 1Thats
$loody fast, Id say.1
I laughed. 1Aont worry% Ralph% its all $ullshit. +e wont catch a fucking thing.1
smiled ner5ously. 1Thats a $loody fast fish%1 he muttered.
Se5enty miles an hour on the surfaceN And you say its the si0e of a $ullN1 He glanced
down at the reel in his hand. 1Ao we ha5e the proper e"uipmentN11
1Aamn right%1 said .aptain Ste5e. 1?ust $e sure to keep your
hands off the reel when he takes off. That line will go out so fast that the reel will get
hot enough to e/plode in your hands% like a $om$.1
The fish ne5er happened.
But the $om$ did. It was nothing personal% $ut I felt it had to $e done. . . B
Ralph and his family had ne5er $een west of San !rancisco and the only palm tree
theyd e5er seen was on the *ni5ersal lot in Hollywood. . . . But now% as .hristmas
approached% they found themsel5es marooned in a wooden shack on the edge of some
$arren wa5eBwhipped $lack rock in the middle of the <acific 2cean% with no$ody
speaking their language and estranged from e5en their closest friends.
The British are 5ery sentimental a$out .hristmas. They want the snow and the slush
of Mngland% diseased $eggars ringing $ells on e5ery street corner% news of food riots
on the telly% the familiar sickening chill of a stone home with no furnace and the
family huddled cheerfully around a pot of $urning coal on .hristmas morning. They
are not comforta$le with the idea of Saint =ick coming in on a surf$oard with a sack
full of cockroaches and a TV +#ie filled with nothing $ut incomprehensi$le
American 1foot$all1 games for the ne/t two weeks.
Some days later .ook learned that the king of Hawaii% no less% had arri5ed at Iealakekua and
was to 5isit him. ?ames Iing was at this time stationed ashore in command of the
encampment to ensure its security. He had had no trou$les at all from the nati5es. The nati5es
would sometimes sit on the wall watching the incomprehensi$le acti5ities of Bayly and his
assistants and the impressi5e acti5ities of the carpenters with their wonderful tools that could
work tim$er with such seeming ease and accuracy.
The escorting chiefs% dressed in ela$orate cloaks and hats% $egan to sing as they approached
the Resolution% chanting with great solemnity% and then standing up. As they came near% the
reception party on $oard o$ser5ed that the second canoe held also High <riest Ioa% hunched
and shaking as always% ela$orately attired and surrounded $y hideous $usts made of
$asketwork. These were co5ered with multicolored feathers% the eyes represented $y pearl
oyster shell% the distorted mouths filled with the teeth of dogs.
The king himself remained seated when his canoe came alongside the gangway. He was
dressed in a magnificent cloak and with an e"ually magnificent feather cap on his head. The
chanting died% a 5oice called out. It was suddenly clear that the king had come out only to
escort .ook to the shore% where the ceremonies were to take place% and would not again $e
corning on $oard.
.ook was pulled ashore in his pinnace% Iing had already turned out the marines guard% who
made their usual dishe5elled and sloppy showing. The formal meeting was to take place in
Baylys largest tent% and the lieutenant o$ser5ed carefully the king and his entourage as they
approached from the shore. !lanking the king were his sons% and following $ehind a num$er
of chiefsK the kings nephew .hief Iamehameha% a ferociousBlooking indi5idual with his long
hair plastered all o5er with paste and powderK a particularly 5igorous and important looking
.hief IalirnuK another muscular indi5idual% .hief Iua% and se5eral more. A parade as
formida$le as it was $i0arre.
Iing watched .ook wailing patiently for the ceremonies to $egin% a weary e/pression on his
face% towering a$o5e all these islanders in spite of his middleBaged stoop. Then the king
stepped forward% standing erect and without assistance $ut shaking all o5er as $adly as High
<riest Ioa.
It was not until this moment% when in turn the king tore off his cloak and put it around .ooks
shoulders% and then lifted his hat and placed it oil .ooks head% that he e/posed his face for
the first time. Like the high priests% it was peeling and co5ered in sores% the eyes were red
and watery% $ut the e/pression through the ra5ages of ka5a was happy and $enign.
To the lieutenants astonishment% the Iing of Hawaii was none other than the Terreeo$oo
they had met off ,auiK it was Iing Terreeo$oo recei5ing the great god Lono himself.
Richard Hough
The Last Voyage of Captain James Cook
+e had $een trying to take his $oat out for almost a week% $ut the sea was so rough
that there was no point in e5en lea5ing the har$or. 1+e could
pro$a$ly get out%1 he said% 1$ut wed ne5er get $ack
After a week of $ad drinking and $rooding% .aptain Ste5e finally came up with a
plan. If it was true that the weather was really turned around% then logic decreed that
the normally sa5age waters on the other side of the island would now $e calm as a
1=o pro$lem%1 he assured me. 1Its South <oint for us% Big Guy. Lets get the $oat
ready. . % .1
+hich we did. But the surf got worse% and after fi5e or si/ more days of grim waiting%
my $rain $egan to go soft. +e dro5e to the tops of 5olcanoes% we drank hea5ily% set
off many $om$s.... ,ore storms came% the $ills mounted up% and the days dragged $y
like dead animals.
As =ew >ears M5e approached it was clear that we were going to ha5e to do
something desperate to get in the water. In lieu of di5ing% fishing or e5en swimming%
?uan and I had $een forced to take up golf% a game I hadnt played in twenty years@
not since the days when me and Bill Smith anchored the ,ale High School Golf
Team $ack in Louis5ille and lost e5ery match we played. +e all ha5e our winter
dreams% and $ad golf is one of mine . .. $ut it is not the kind of thing you want to ha5e
to resort to as a final retreat from the surf.
2n the night $efore ?uan was scheduled to fly $ack to his holdingBpen in .olorado%
we had a kind of final family sendBoff dinner for him at the Iona Inn. .aptain Ste5e
had called earlier that day to say that the swell was finally down enough so that we
could pro$a$ly risk getting out of the har$or tomorrow% $ut $y this time no$ody
$elie5ed anything he said and the trip to South <oint would need two days anyway . . .
so e5en if it happened% we would ha5e to do it alone.
Ralph was off the water completely and fore5er. His one trip on the $oat had $een
such a nightmare that he had focused all his remaining energies to whate5er could $e
found on the shore. His trip to the Oolcano House had not yielded much% so now he
was determined to confront $oth the ghost of .aptain .ook and the legend of Iing
Iamehameha at the same time. M5er since Id told him that the official 1.aptain .ook
,onument1 on the wrong side of Iealakekua Bay was in fact a deeded piece
of Mngland on *.S. soil% he had made up his mind to go there and do whate5er
Mnglishmen do when they find some far corner of Mngland to cling to on the edge of
some foreign isle.
The access $y sea was easy% $ut not in Iona weatherK so he said he would take the
whole family in $y the land route% a tortuous fi5eBmile hike down the cliffs from the
highway. The walk own was not $ad% $ut getting out was something else again.
Anna and Sadie were ready to make the hike and worship at the only shrine they had.
It was a nasty trip% and I wanted no part of it. .aptain Ste5e and I had seen it from his
$oat% the Haere Mar#e, on an earlier trip down the coast. The .ook monument was a
small mar$le pillar like a miniature +ashington ,onument perched out on the edge
of the $lack rocks. The *.S. go5ernment officially and formally ga6e this tiny piece
of land to Mngland% as a gesture of diplomatic gratitude for all that .aptain .ook had
done# he had gi5en his life% in fact% to disco5er a pile of rocks in the middle of the
<acific that would later $ecome the GCth state of the *nion and our only real $ase in
the <acific.
The history of Hawaii is so fouled with greed% $ungling% and dum$ cow$oy
diplomacy% that the decadent gang ruling Mngland at the time should ha5e $een hung
$y their heels like ,ussolini for letting these islands go in e/change for a pillar of
concrete. Mngland might ha5e controlled the whole <acific for the ne/t two hundred
years% if the Marl of Sandwich hadnt $een so deeply in5ol5ed at the time with
sponsoring Iing George III for mem$ership in the Hellfire .lu$ that he couldnt see
anything $eyond the end of his own gnarled organ. The Marl was into orgies that year%
and the Iing was trying to cope with a nasty little insurrection called 1The American
Re5olution.1 By the time .aptain .ook hit the $each at Iealakekua Bay the British
Army was mired down in Oirginia at a place called >orktown% the Marl of Sandwich
@the first Lord of the Admiralty and the patron for whom these islands were
originally named@ was so $usy running women in and out of the Hellfire .lu$ that
he $arely had time to think a$out anything else.
=ot e5en Sir !rancis Aashwood% one of the most infamous degenerates e5er to walk
the streets of London or anywhere else% saw the need to take time out from his talks
with BenJamin !ranklin to consider the implications of the fact that his friend
Sandwich had in fact disco5ered a place that might ha5e allowed Mngland to control
the whole <acific 2cean.
Iamehameha seems to ha5e $een early distinguished $y enterprise% energy% decision of
character% and unwearied perse5erance in the accomplishment of his o$Jects. Added to these%
he possessed a 5igorous constitution% and an unri5aled ac"uaintance with all the warlike
games and athletic e/ercises of his country. To these "ualities of mind and $ody he was
pro$a$ly inde$ted for the e/tensi5e power and protracted dominion which he e/ercised o5er
the Sandwich Islands.
Iamehameha was undou$tedly a prince possessing shrewdness and great strength of
character. Auring his reign% the knowledge of the people was much enlarged% and their
comforts in some respects increasedK their ac"uisition of iron tools facilitated many of their
la$orsK the introduction of firearms changed their mode
of warfareK and in many cases% cloth of Muropean manufacture was su$stituted for that made
of nati5e $ark. But these impro5ements appear to $e rather the result of their intercourse with
foreigners% than of any measures of their so5ereignK though the encouragement he ga5e to all
foreigners 5isiting the islands was% no dou$t% ad5antageous in these respects.
He has $een called the Alfred of the HawaiiansK $ut he appears rather to ha5e $een their
Ale/ander% am$ition and a desire of con"uest ha5ing $een his ruling passions during the
greater part of his life% though toward its close a5arice superseded them.
The Jo#rna" of ;i""iam )""is
The first person I saw when we walked into the Iona Inn that night was Ackerman.
He was sitting at the Iona Inn $ar with a slea0yBlooking person in $ellB$ottom Le5is
whom I recogni0ed as a notorious dope lawyer from .alifornia% a man wed met at
one of the ,arathon parties in Honolulu where he was passing out his $usiness cards
to e5ery$ody within reach and saying% 1Hang on to this@youll need me sooner or
?esus% I thought. These leeching $astards are e6erywhere* !irst they only smoked the
stuff% then they started selling it% and now theyre gnawing at the roots of the whole
drug culture like a gang of wild moles. They will $e standing like pillars of salt at all
our doorways when the great $ell rings.
2ne of the reasons Id come to Hawaii was to get away from lawyers for a while% so I
herded our party in the other direction and down to our ta$le looking out on the
Ralph and Anna and Sadie were already there% and Ralph was ra5ing drunk. As we
approached the ta$le% he looked up at .aptain Ste5e and snarled# :Yo# againQ +hat
lies are you selling tonightN ,ore fish storiesN1
Ste5e smiled ner5ously. 1=o% Ralph. =o lies tonight. I5e learned my lessonB@youre
a $ad man to lie to.1
1=ot like me%1 I said. 1Im easy. +ere off to South <oint tomorrow.1 I sat down at the
ta$le and lit a Joint% which no$ody seemed to notice. Ralph was staring at me with a
look of shock and disgust on his face.
1I cant $elie5e it%1 he muttered. 1>oure really going out on that silly $oat againN1
I nodded. 1Thats right% Ralph. +e finally figured it out@if this side of the island is
rough% then the other side m#st $e calm.1 .aptain Ste5e smiled and shrugged his
shoulders% as if the logic spoke for itself.
1And South <oint%1 I continued% 1is the closest place we can get to the other side%
thats where the weather $reaks.1
1>ou should come with us% Ralph%1 said .aptain Ste5e. 1Itll $e calm as a lake down
there% and its a real mysterious place.1
1Its the land of <o%1 I said. 1A desolate $ottomless pit in the ocean% within sight of the
cliffs on shore.1 I nodded wisely. 1>ou5e $een looking for Iing Iams $urial place
@may$e South <oint is it.1
Ralph ga5e me the stinkBeye% $ut said nothing. He had already fallen in lo5e with
Iing Iamehameha@mainly on the $asis of what little he knew a$out the 1Law of the
Splintered 2ar1 @and he was con5inced that our story lay somewhere in the ancient
$urial ca5es around the .ity of Refuge and Iealakekua Bay. In any case% it was not at
sea. 1There are no fish%1 he muttered once again% 1not e5en on the menu. All they
ha5e tonight is some kind of fro0en mush from Taiwan.1
1Aont worry% Ralph%1 I said. 1+ell ha5e all the fresh fish we can eat when I get $ack
from South <oint. 2nce we get around the corner down there to some calm waters I
will plunder this sea like no man has e5er plundered it $efore.1
,y fiancee was gi5ing me the stinkBeye now. ?uan was staring up at the ceiling fan
and .aptain Ste5e was grinning like it all made good sense.
?ust then I felt a hand on my shoulder. 1Hello% Aoc%1 said a 5oice $ehind me. 1I5e
$een wondering where you were.1
I swung "uickly around in my chair to see Ackerman smiling down at me% and the
arm he e/tended was still $lue. I stood up and we shook hands% then I introduced him
around the ta$le. =o$ody really cared. +e had already met too many strange people%
$y Ralphs count% and it was clear that Ste5e already knew him. Laila eyed his $lue
arm and ga5e a curt nod% as if some odd and distur$ing scent had wafted through the
I was glad to see Ackerman% and now that hed shaken the dope lawyer I stood up and
took him aside. +e walked out to the lawn and I handed him the Joint. 1Hey%1 I said.
1Howd you like to make a run down to South <oint tomorrowN1 1+hatN1 he said.
1South <ointN1 1>eah%1 I replied. 1?ust you and me and Ste5e. He says the weather
should $e okay% once we get around the point.1
He laughed. 1Thats insane%1 he said% 1$ut what the hell% why notN Ste5es okay. Hes a
pretty good sailor.1
1Good%1 I said% 1lets do it. At least well get out on the water.1
He chuckled. 1>eah. +e wi"" do that*: He finished off the Joint and flipped it into the
sea. 1Ill $ring some chemicals%1 he said. 1+e may need them.1 1.hemicalsN1
He nodded. 1>eah. I ha5e some powerful organic mescaline. Ill $ring it along%1
1Right%1 I said. 1Thats a good idea@ in case we get tired.1
He slapped me on the $ack as we walked inside to the ta$le. 1+elcome to the Iona
.oast% Aoc. >oure a$out to get
what you came for.
I took ?uan to the airport the ne/t morning for the flight to Honolulu. Hed had a good
time% he said@especially with the $om$s and the highBspeed dri5ing lessons@$ut he
was not unhappy to $e lea5ing. 1Theres too much tension%1 he said. 1M5ery$ody
seems Just a$out to go cra0y. I couldnt stand li5ing this way 5ery long.1
1>oull learn%1 I said. 1>ou get used to it after a while.1
12r else you go nuts%1 he said with a grin. +e were walking down the $ree0eway
toward the Aloha Airlines loading gate% surrounded $y do0ens of ?aps.
1>eah%1 I said. 1Thats right. Totally nuts.1
+e walked the rest of the way in silence. The look on his face was pensi5e% 5aguely
amused. +hen we got to the gate the plane was a$out to lea5e% so he had to run for it.
I watched him loping across the tarmac toward the plane and smiled. How long has he
known@I thought@that *ncle Ralph is cra0yN
2n the way $ack to town I stopped $y the Haere Mar#e and found .aptain Ste5e
already on the $oat% wrestling tanks of compressed air off the dock and into a storage
locker near the stern. He looked up as I scram$led down the ledge of $lack rocks to
where the $oat was tied up. 1Ackerman was Just here%1 he said. 1I guess hes serious
a$out making the trip.1
1>eah%1 I said. 1I ga5e him the grocery list.1
1I know%1 he said. 1Hes gone to Tanagughis to get the stuff. All we need now is
1And ice%1 I said% turning to clim$ $ack up the rocks. 1Hows the weather lookN1
1=o pro$lem%1 he said% glancing out toward the sea. 1The storm finally $roke.1
+hen I arri5ed at the *nion ?ack Li"uor Store in the middle of downtown Iailua%
Ackerman was waiting for me in a Aatsun pickup full of grocery $ags. 1I got
e5erything%1 he said% 1>ou owe me three hundred and fiftyBfi5e dollars.1
1Good God%1 I muttered. Then we went into the *nion ?ack and loaded up my OISA
card with four cases of Heineken $eer% two "uarts each of .hi5as Regal and +ild
Turkey% two $ottles of gin and a gallon of orange Juice% along with si/ $ottles of their
$est wines and another si/ $ottles of chami cocktail party that night.
The plan was for Ralph% my fiancee and The !amily to meet us at South <oint around
sunset for an elegant e5ening meal on the fantail of the Haere Mar#e* It would take us
si/ hours to get there% at trolling speed% $ut it was only an hour $y road@so they
could spend the afternoon at the .ity of Refuge and still get to South <oint $efore we
did. .aptain Ste5e had arranged our meeting point@a small $each in a co5e at the
southernmost tip of the island. Hed e5en arranged a radiotelephone contact through a
friend of his
who had a ranch near South .<oint. Aont worry%1 he told Ralph. >ou can dri5e your
car right down to the $each. And when you see the $oat% Just $low your horn and
.flash the headlights. +ell come in and
you up.1 !or dinner. And cocktails. Then they would dri5e $ack to the compound%
while we spent the night on the $oat and did our di5ing in the morning. After that% we
would troll $ack up the coast and .arri5e at the ?ionoahou around dusk%
for another cocktail party and a $ig fish dinner at home.
That was the plan. =o pro$lem at all. +e would cruise down to South <oint and na5e
dinner on the fantail.
+e left the Honokau not long after tenBthirty% poking carefully through a crust of
smoking driftwood in the har$or. A $oat had caught fire the night $efore and $urned
to the waterline. It was the ="#e 8acific, Lee ,ar5ins old $oat. There had $een some
kind of long dispute a$out ownership% Ackerman e/plained% and now the dispute was
1?esus .hrist%1 said .aptain Ste5e as he eased his own $oat through the dirty smoking
de$ris. 1They wont collect any insurance on that one. I can smell the kerosene from
out here.1
The two charter $oats on either side of the ="#e 8acific were $eing soaked down with
hoses $y pot$ellied Hawaiians aiming no00les from the dock. They wa5ed cheerfully
as we idled out of the har$or. .aptain Ste5e wa5ed $ack and yelled something a$out
the surf $eing up. The smoke in the har$or put a ha0e $etween us and the hot morning
sun. As we passed the main channel $uoy I looked $ack and saw the peaks of $oth
Ma#na Lea and Ma#na Eoa in the sky for the first time since Id $een there. The
whole island is normally co5ered with a ham$urgerBshaped cloud for most of e5ery
day% $ut this morning of our departure for South <oint was a rare e/ception.
I took it as a good omen% $ut I was wrong. By nightfall we would find oursel5es
locked in a death $attle with the elements% wallowing helplessly in the worst surf Id
e5er seen and half cra0y with fear and strong chemicals.
+e $rought it on oursel5es. =o dou$t a$out that. Ackerman knew it was cra0y from
the start@and so% I suspect% did .aptain Ste5e. I was the one whod fallen for this
lunatic scheme# right% well Just make a si/Bhour run down the coast% then duck around
a corner to some rumor of a protected co5e and di5e in a forest of $lack coral. =o
pro$lem. In5ite the whole family down for dinner. +ell Just go in and pick them up
on the $each. .. .
+e had $oth the ;a"" 7treet Jo#rna" and 7o"ier of &ort#ne on the $oat. I had put
them on my card at the *nion ?ack% $ut the run down to South <oint was not calm
enough for reading. +e staggered around the $oat like winos for most of the trip%
keeping the $oat headed due south against a crossing sea. The swell was coming
strong out of the southwest. At one point we stopped to pick up a rotted life preser5er
with the words 1S"uireL?a5a1 painted in the cork.
.aptain Ste5e spent most of his time at the wheel high up on the flying $ridge% while
Ackerman and I stayed down in the cockpit smoking mariJuana and waiting for the
reels to go off.
I had long since got o5er the notion that Just $ecause we were
fishing we were going to catch fish. The whole idea of trailing $igB$ore lines from the
outriggers and rum$ling along at trolling speed was a$surd. The only way we were
going to get any fish% I insisted% was $y going o5er the side with scu$a tanks and spear
guns% to hunt them where they li5ed. M5ery once in a while either Ackerman or I
would take a turn at the wheel% $ut ne5er for 5ery long. .aptain Ste5e was con5inced
that we might hook a marlin or at least a $ig ahi at any moment% and he wanted to $e
at the controls when it happened. He spent most of the afternoon on the $ridge%
staring down at the $arren% deep gray water through polari0ed fishing glasses.
Ackerman seemed to share my aggressi5e pessimism a$out the possi$ility of catching
fish% $ut he kept a professional eye on the lines anyway. 1I am the first mate%1 he
e/plained% 1and I ha5e a certain professional pride.1 I had almost forgotten that he
was a part of that tight little tri$e of licensed charter captains that forms the only real
elite on the Iona .oast. 1+ere all e"ual in the ocean%1 he e/plained. 1Thats surfer
talk% $ut it makes a weird kind of sense.1
I agreed. It was understood% in some way that has only to do with the sea% that either
of us would $e capa$le of getting the $oat safely $ack into the har$or if .aptain
Ste5e% for some reason% could not.
Ackerman was o$5iously at home on the $oat. He knew where e5erything went% and
why% and not much was going to surprise him. Id in5ited him to come along without
gi5ing it much thought% $ut only after hearing Ste5e say se5eral times that they were
1pretty close friends.1
There were no fish. +e trolled all the way down% $ut the only signs of life we saw
$etween Iailua and South <oint was a school of porpoises and some $irds. It was a
long hot ride% and $y midBafternoon all three of us were Ja$$ering drunk on $eer.
It was Just $efore sundown when we finally rounded the corner at South <oint. The
sea had $een rough on the run down the Iona side of the island@$ut it was nothing
compared to what we encountered when we came around the point.
The sea was so high and wild that we could only gape at it. =o words were necessary.
+e had found our own hurricane% and there was no place to hide from it.
At sundown I switched to gin and Ackerman $roke out a small 5ial of white powder
that he sniffed up his nose off the tip of a num$er 'C fish hook% then offered the 5ial
to me.
1Be careful%1 he said. 1Its not what you think.1
I stared at the 5ial% e/amining the contents closely and $racing my feet on the deck as
the $oat suddenly tilted and went up on the hump of a swell.
1Its .hina +hite%1 he said% gripping the $ack of the fighting chair as we came down
hard in the slough.
?esus% I thought. Im out here with Junkies. The $oat rolled again% throwing me off
$alance on the wet deck with a cup of gin in one hand and a 5ial of heroin in the
I dropped them $oth as I slid past Ackerman and gra$$ed the ladder to keep from
going o5er the side.
Ackerman lunged for the 5ial with the speed of a young co$ra and caught it on one
$ounce% $ut it was already wet and he stared at it $alefully% then tossed it away in the
sea. 1+hat the hell%1 he said. 1I ne5er liked the stuff anyway.1
I pulled myself o5er to the chair and sat down. 1,e either%1 I said. 1Its hard on the
He eyed me darkly for a moment and I planted $oth feet% not knowing what to e/pect.
It is $ad $usiness to drop other peoples heroin@especially far out at sea with a storm
coming up@and I didnt know Ackerman that well. He was a $ig rangy $astard% with
the long loose muscles of a swimmer% and his mo5e on the $ouncing 5ial had $een
impressi5ely fast. - knew he could get me with the gaffing hook $efore I reached the
I resisted the urge to call .aptain Ste5e. +ere they %oth JunkiesN I wondered% still
poised on the edge of the white naugahyde chair. +hat kind of anglers carry .hina
+hite to workN
1Its a good drug for the ocean%1 Ackerman said% as if Id $een thinking out loud. 1A
lot of times its the only way to keep from killing the clients.1
I nodded% pondering the long night ahead. If the first mate routinely snorted smack at
the cocktail hour% what was the captain intoN
It occurred to me that I didnt really know either one of these people. They were
strangers% and now I was trapped on a $oat with them% twenty miles off the far
western edge of America with the sun going down and deep $lack water all around us.
The land was out of sight now% lost in a desolate night fog. The sun went down and
the Haere Mar#e rum$led on through the wa5es toward South <oint% the terri$le Land
of <o. The red and green running lights on our $ow were $arely 5isi$le from the stern%
$arely thirty feet away. The night closed around us like smoke% cold and thick with
the smell of our diesel e/haust fumes.
It was almost se5en oclock when the last red glow of the sun disappeared% lea5ing us
to run $lind and alone $y the compass. +e sat for a while on the stern% listening to the
sea and the engines and the occasional dim crackling of 5oices on the shortwa5e radio
up a$o5e the highB$ridge% where .aptain Ste5e was perched% like some kind of
ancient mariner.
The sea was not getting any calmer as we approached our destination% a small $each
at the foot of sheer $lack cliffs. .aptain Ste5e took us in a$out halfway% then slowed
to a crawl and came scram$ling down the ladder. 1I dont know a$out this%1 he said
ner5ously. 1The swell seems to $e picking up.1
Ackerman was staring at the $each% where huge $reakers foamed.
The first alarm came from .aptain Ste5e% up a$o5e% when he suddenly shut down the
engines and came $ack down the ladder.
1Get ready%1 he said. 1+ere in for a long night.1 He stared ner5ously into the sea for
a moment% then darted into the ca$in and $egan hauling out life Jackets.
1!orget it%1 said Ackerman. 1=othing can sa5e us now. +e may as well eat the
mescaline.1 He cursed .aptain Ste5e again. 1This is your fault% you stupid little
$astard. +ell all $e dead $efore morning.1
.aptain Ste5e shrugged as he swallowed the pill. I ate mine and set a$out assem$ling
the hi$achi Id $ought that morning to cook our fresh fish dinner. Ackerman leaned
$ack in his chair and opened a $ottle of gin.
+e spent the rest of the night ra5ing at each other and P wandering distractedly
around the $oat like rats cast adrift in a shoe$o/% scram$ling around the edges and
trying to keep away from each other. The casual teamwork of the sundown hours
$ecame a fe5erish di5ision of la$or% with each of us Jealously tending our own sector.
I had the fire% Ackerman had the weather% and .aptain Ste5e was in charge of the
fishing operation. The hi$achi was tilting dangerously $ack and forth in the cockpit
$ehind the fighting chair% $elching columns of flame and greasy smoke e5ery time I
hit it with another whack of kerosene. The importance of keeping the fire going had
$ecome paramount to e5erything
else% despite the o$5ious and clearly suicidal danger.
+e had three hundred gallons of diesel fuel in
the tanks down $elow% and any "ueer pitch
of sea could ha5e spilled flaming charcoal
all o5er the cockpit and turned the
whole $oat into a fire$all@
putting all three of us in the water%
where we would $e instantly picked up in the surf and dashed to death on the rocks.
=o matter% I thought. +e m#st keep the fire going. It had $ecome a sym$ol of life%
and I was not a$out to let it die down.
The others agreed. +e had long since a$andoned any idea of cooking anything
!or dinner BB and in fact we had thrown most of the food o5er$oard $y that time%
thinking to use it for $ait@$ut we all understood that as long as
the fire $urned% we wo#" sur5i5e. ,y appetite had died around sundown%
and now I w as co5ered with layers of cold mescaline sweat. M5en once in a while a
shudder would race up my spine causing my
$ody to trem$le In these moments ny con5ersation would suddenly collapse% without
warning% and my 5oice would "ua5er
for a few seconds while I tried to calm down.
1?esus%1 I said to .aptain Ste5e some time around midnight% 1its lucky you got rid of that
cocaine. The last thing we need right now is some kind of crank.1
He nodded wisely% still watching the flashlight in the water% then suddenly spun around in the
chair and uttered a series of wild cries. His eyes were unnaturally $right and his lips seemed
to flap as he spoke. 12h yesQ1 he $lurted. 12h hell yes. Thats the "ast thing we needQ1
I $acked away from him% not taking my eyes off his hands. Ackernian was nowhere in sight%
$ut I could hear the staccato $leating of his 5oice from what seemed like a hundred miles
away. He was up on the $ow% pacing around with a gaffing hook in his hands% watching for
shifts in the wind and screaming at the lights on the faraway cliff.
1>ou $rainless ?ap $astardsQ1 he yelled. 1Aouse those goddamn lightsQ1
.aptain Ste5e was now leaning o5er the $ack of the $oat sinking another hot dog down on
the end of our line with the flashlight. 1+hat the hell is wrong with those ?apsN1 he muttered.
1Are they trying to signal us inN1
1>eah%1 I said. 1Its an old Iey +est trick@set up a false lighthouse and lure $oats onto the
Suddenly he leaped $ack and shouted% 12h my God% a sea snakeQ1 1+hatN1
1A sea snakeQ1 he said% pointing down at the water. 1Lethal poison% instant deathQ It came
right up to my handQ1
I shrugged% firing another stream of kerosene into the hi$achi and sending another $alloon of
yellow fire up into the night. I gra$$ed the $ucket of water that I was keeping on the deck for
emergencies. .aptain Ste5e staggered sideways% shielding his face from the flames. 1Be
carefulQ1 he shouted. 1Lea5e that fire aloneQ1
1Aont worry%1 I said% 1I know what Im doing.1 His hands were clawing ner5ously at his
pockets. 1+here is itN1 he hissed. 1Aid I gi5e you the $ottleN1 1+hat $ottleN1
He fell sideways and gra$$ed the chair as another $ig wa5e picked us up. 1The kin : he
screamed. 1+ho has the goddamn kin<:
I was hanging on to one tin leg of the hi$achi% which had almost turned o5er. !inally% the
wa5e passed and we settled $ack into the slough. 1>ou fool%1 I said% 1its gone. >ou took it
o5er the side.1
1+hat are you talking a$outN1 he screamed. :;hat sie<: I watched his eyes for a moment%
then shook my head and
went $ack into the ca$in for a $eer. .aptain Ste5e had ne5er tried mescaline $efore% and I
could see that it was reaching his $rain. It was o$5ious from the confusion in his eyes that he
had no recollection at all of taking our last $ottle of stimulant down with him% in the pocket
of his trunks% when hed gone down with the scu$a tanks to secure our anchor line around a
$ig rock on the $ottom% a$out (C feet down. I had gra$$ed the $ottle away from him when he
came up and drunk a$out half of the salty $itter mi/ture in one swallow. Ackerman% "uickly
understanding the nature of the tragedy% had drunk off the rest.
+e had no choice. There is no point trying to sa5e cocaine after you5e mi/ed it up with salt
water. .aptain Ste5e had missed his share@which was fair% I thought% and pro$a$ly Just as
well. Any fool who will di5e to the $ottom of the <acific 2cean with two grams of cocaine in
his pocket is capa$le of anything at allK and now he was losing his grip to the psychedellcs.
Bad $usiness% I thought. Its time to collect the kni5es.
I woke up at sunrise to find Ackerman passed out like a dead animal from an o5erdose of
Aramamine and .aptain Ste5e wandering frantically around the cockpit% grappling with a
tangle of ropes and saying o5er and o5er to himself% 1Holy ?esus% manQ Lets get out of hereQ1
I came awake and stum$led up from the ca$in where Id spent two hours sleeping on a
cushion co5ered with fishhooks. +e were still in the shadow of the cliffs and the morning
wind was cold. The fire had gone out and our thermos $ottle of coffee had cracked open
sometime during the night. The deck was awash with a slimy mi/ture of kerosene and
floating soot.
But the wind had not shifted. .aptain Ste5e had $een awake all night% he e/plained% ne5er
taking his eyes off the anchor line and ready% at any moment% to leap into the surf and swim
for it.
1Ill ne5er understand how we sur5i5ed%1 he muttered% staring up at the cliffs where the
colony of mean ?aps was still clustered around their campfires. 1=ow I know what they mean
a$out South <oint. It is a dangerous place.1
1The Land of <o%1 I said.
1>eah%1 he said% reeling in the last of our allBnight fishing lines. All the hot dogs had $een
gnawed off $y eels% $ut the hooks were otherwise clean. =ot e5en a sea snake had taken our
wrongBminded $ait% and the water all around us was littered with floating de$ris# $eer $ottles%
orange peels% plastic $aggies and mangled tuna fish cans. A$out ten yards off the stern was an
empty +ild Turkey $ottle with a piece of paper inside.
Ackerman had tossed it o5er some time during the night% after finishing off the
whiskey and stuffing the $ottle with a sheet of Iona Inn stationery on which I had
scrawled# 1Beware. There ARM no fish.1 I thought it would $e halfway to Guam $y
now% a warning to other fools who might try to fish in the Land of <o.
.aptain Ste5e was staring glumly o5er the side of the $oat at the anchor line. 1All we
ha5e to do now%1 he said% 1is haul up the anchor and get the hell out of this place.1 He
shook his head and made a ner5ous whistling noise. 1Let me tell you one thing for
sure%1 he added% 1we are "#cky to %e a"i6e right now. Thats the worst night I e5er
spent in my life.1 He pointed in the general direction of land% where the surf was still
pounding and foaming against the rocks. 12ne shift in the wind%1 he said% 1could ha5e
swung us around so fast that I couldnt e5en ha5e got the engine started. +ed $e
driftwood $y now.1
He was still staring down at the anchor line. The other end of it% I knew% was tied
securely around a rock far $elow% and we $oth understood what would ha5e to $e
done. There was no way to haul it up% or to maneu5er it loose with the $oat% +e
would ha5e to either chop the line and lea5e the anchor $ehind% or some$ody would
ha5e to go down with a tank and untie the knot.
+e stood there for a while on the fantail% staring down at the cold $lack water.
Ackerman was out of the "uestion% so it was either me or .aptain Ste5e. He had gone
down the night $efore% and I knew it was my turn now. That was fair. That was the
rule of the sea% a true cornerstone of the macho way of life.
I 0ipped up my Jacket and opened a $eer. 1How much do anchors costN1 I asked him.
He shrugged. 1+ell ... with ninety feet of line% at% say% a$out two dollars a foot. . . .1
He seemed to $e adding it up 5ery carefully in his mind.
1>eah%1 he said finally. 1.all it four hundred% may$e four fifty.1
1Thats cheap%1 I said% reaching for my $elt knife. 1Ill gi5e you a check.1 I leaned out
to gra$ the anchor line with my other hand% preparing to cut us loose. =othing short of
e/treme physical 5iolence could ha5e got me in the water that morning.
.aptain Ste5e stayed my hand $efore I could slash the line. 1+ait a minute%1 he said.
1I cant go $ack to the har$or with no anchor. Theyd laugh me out of town.1
1!uck those people%1 I said. 1They werent on the $oat last night.1
He was strapping on the tanks.
I watched him go o5er the side and disappear.
It was 3 !e$ruary% a fine% warm early morning. The nati5es of Iealakekua Bay were up early
for the word had got a$out that the great ships were lea5ing. The shores on $oth sides%
di5ided $y that great $lack sla$ of cliff% were thick with dark $odies% some wa5ing white
!or .ooks men there was a strong measure of regret at parting after the contentment
occasioned $y this 5isit. !or the Hawaiians% it had $een a strange two and a half weeks% $usy%
emotional% traumatic e5en% like no other period in their li5es or their history# an unpredicted
di5ine descent upon the steady round of the seasonsK an e5ent of great satisfaction paid for at
a great price.
By the early morning of F !e$ruary they were at the northern e/tremity of a deep $ay Just
south of the northern tip of Hawaii% *polu <oint. They had all $ut completed their clockwise
circumna5igation of the island% in accordance with the legendary annual practice of Lono.
Then it came on to $low 5ery hard for :F hours.
2n 8 !e$ruary% three years to the day@almost to the hour@ since .ook had 5olunteered at
the Admiralty to command this 5oyage% the Reso"#tion!s foremast split. . . . They could not
proceed in this condition% especially as the old leak under the $uttock had opened up again
like an unheala$le wound.
In the stormBswept dawn light% .ook had to make the critical decision on where to put in for
repairs. Should he continue to ,aui and trust that he would find shelter on the west or southB
erly coast% which he had not yet tracedN 2r perhaps to another islandN Iauai and =iihau had
already pro5ed unpromising. In all their sailing among these islands% Iealakekua Bay was the
only safe anchorage they had disco5ered.
To gi5e himself time. .ook sent Bligh across the stormBtossed waters to ac"uaint .lerke of
their situation. =ow $oth ships companies were conscious of their dilemma. They had
already $een too long at Iealakekua Bay. They had cleared the whole area of its immediately
a5aila$le food. All those hogs could not ha5e $een gi5en to them without depri5ing the
people of supplies. Repairs would take at least a week% pro$a$ly two weeks.
.ook set himself upon the safer of the two courses open to him% and at 'C a.m. on the
morning of 8 !e$ruary% the two sloops $ore away south for their old anchorage% 1all hands
much chagrined%1 wrote Iing% 1and damning the foremast.1
Richard Hough
The Last Voyage of Captain James Cook
Ackerman woke up while .aptain Ste5e was down and I told him the story. 1That
cra0y $astard%1 he muttered% reaching down for a di5ing knife that he kept in a sheath
around his leg. 1Start the engine. Let him swim $ack.1 He $egan to cut the line% then
hesitated and pulled $ack. 1=o%1 he said% 1the minute we start the engine% hell hear the
noise and come up like a rocket. +ell ha5e a case of the $ends on our hands.1
.aptain Ste5e finally emerged from the depths and signaled me to haul in the anchor.
Twenty minutes later we were out of the surf and running north at easy trolling speed.
The .aptain had gone groggy while we were hauling him $ack into the $oat and
dropped his scu$a tank on Ackermans foot% crushing his $ig toe and putting $lood all
o5er the deck. Ackerman go$$led another handful of Aramamine and fell into a deep
stupor. +e put his foot in an ice $ag and stretched him out like a corpse on a cushion
in the shade of the $ridge.
I took the helm while .aptain Ste5e set the outriggers. 1Are you out of your goddamn
rnindN1 I yelled down at him from my perch on the tuna tower. 1Get away from those
linesQ Go to sleep.1
1=oQ1 he shouted. 1This is a fishing $oatQ +e m#st catch fish.1 The strain of the long
night at South <oint was $eginning to tell on him. His eyes had swollen up like rotten
eggs and he had chewed his own lips so se5erely during the night that now he could
$arely talk. +hen he tried to clim$ $ack to the $ridge he lost his grip on the ladder
and fell on his $ack in the cockpit% where he thrashed wildly around on the deck in a
puddle of $loody filth.
It was an ugly thing to see. !rom my seat on the $ridge I could look straight down on
the main deck of the Haere Mar#e and see $oth the captain and the first mate $adly
disa$led. 2ne appeared to $e dead% with his mouth hung open and his eyes rolled $ack
in his head% and the other was twitching around like a fish with a $roken neck.
The ma0e of human wreckage down $elow looked like something Iing Iam might
ha5e $rought $ack to Iona in one of his war canoes that got caught in an am$ush on
,aui. +e were 5ictims of the same flaky hu$ris that had killed off the cream of
Hawaiian warriors in the time of the Great +ars. +e had gone off in a fren0y of
con"uest@to the wrong place at the wrong time and pro$a$ly for all the wrong
reasons@and now we were limping $ack home with our decks full of $lood and our
ner5es turned to Jelly. All we could hope for% now% was no more trou$le and a
welcoming party of good friends and $eautiful women at the dock. After that% we
could rest and lick our wounds. I couldnt lea5e the wheel% or the $oat would start
in circles and tangle its own propeller in the long fishing lines we were trailing. In
order to keep the lures on the surface I had to maintain a constant engine speed of
')GCrpm and keep mo5ing straight ahead. Any 5ariation in either the speed or the
course might $e ruinous. If we fouled the prop and lost power it would mean calling
for help on the radio% then wallowing helplessly around in the wa5es for eight hours
until a rescue $oat arri5ed to tow us in.
That was unaccepta$le. The crew was in no condition to endure another day and night
at sea. I aimed the $oat closer to shore and put a $it of weight on the throttle. If a
straight line is the shortest distance $etween two points% I reasoned% then a straight
line at top speed would $e e5en shorter.
I was still congratulating myself on my $reakthrough into higher mathematics when I
was startled $y a s"uawk from $elow. I looked o5er the rail to see .aptain Ste5e on
his knees in the stern% pointing frantically $ack at his carefully set lures@ which were
now almost air$orne% $ouncing across the water like flying fish. 1Slow it downQ1 he
was screaming. 1Are you cra0yN1
.ra0yN I thought. I almost hurled a $eer $ottle down on his neck. The course he had
set would ha5e taken us far out to sea through the marlin grounds% a la0y para$olic
loop that would V ha5e added another two or three hours to the trip. He was still
o$sessed with the notion that we were going to catch fish. I could see it in his eyes%
the fe5erish gleam of Aha$.
1!orget it%1 I yelled down to him. 1The Jokes o5er. Its time to go home.1
The anguished look on his face told me it was useless to argue with him. There was
no room in his mind for the idea of coming $ack to port without a fishK and I had a
feeling he might go o5er the side at any moment with a knife in his teeth% if thats
what it took to get one.
And it was% after all% his $oat. I was not ready for mutiny% so I eased off on the throttle
and altered our course. This seemed to satisfy him. He went $ack to fussing with the
lines and drinking $eer. I settled $ack in the cat$ird seat and listened to the radio for a
while% feeling drowsy as the sun got hotter and hotter. M5ery once in a while some
out$urst of gi$$erish on the radio would wake me up#
1... calling H#minger, do you read meN1
Long pause and crackling of static% then#
1Goddammit% goddammit% yes% goddammit% yes% this is H#minger* - read you% whats
your locationN 25er.
1The wrong place% o5er.1
6Harsh laughter and more crackling static . B.7
1+ell goddammit you stay there% you $astard% dont come anywhere near me.1
1+hatN Say that again% H#minger*:
1Stay awayQ I got two nekkid women on $oard.1
6<ause and crackling.7
1+hats your location% H#minger< Im nekkid myself. Lets get together.1
The $anter went on for a while% then I lashed the wheel so the $oat wouldnt wander
and went down the ladder for a $eer. .aptain Ste5e had crawled into the ca$in and
passed out on top of the ice locker. I watched him for a while% making sure he was
really sleeping% then I walked $ack to the stern and reeled in all the lines. Ackerrnan
still looked dead and he seemed to $e $arely $reathing% so I rolled him o5er on his
side and hung a $ell around his neck so I could hear him if he started 5omiting.
Then I went $ack up on the $ridge and aimed the $oat straight for the har$or% taking it
so close into shore that I could almost read the signs up on Highway 2ne. I turned up
the radio to co5er the engine noise% then slowly increased our speed until we were
planing across the wa5es like some kind of mongrel .igarette $oat. Ah ha% I thought%
now this is the way to fish@Just run the $astards down% chop their $rains off with the
prop and then circle $ack to pick up whate5ers left.
Three hours later I stopped $y the $uoy outside the har$or and reeled out the fishing
lines% then I twisted Ackermans leg until he came thrashing awake like an alligator
caught in a trap. 1Time to work%1 I said. 1+ere home.1
He sat up and looked around% then slowly stood up and reached for the $ottle of rum
in the tool $o/. 1+heres the .aptainN1 he asked.
I pointed to Ste5e% still asleep on the ice locker% only inches from the rail. Ackerrnan
walked o5er to him and put a foot in the small of his $ack% and sho5ed him 5iolently
o5er the side.
.aptain Ste5e gra$$ed wildly for a handBhold% then disappeared into the sea. He came
sputtering to the surface% still not completely awake% and clawing desperately at the
slippery side of the $oat.
Ackerrnan wanted to drag him in with a gaffing hook% $ut I
restrained him.
After we hauled .aptain Ste5e $ack a$oard he sulked tor a while in the cockpit% then
clim$ed up to take the wheel. He eased the $oat into the har$or% s"uatting darkly in
his seat on the $ridge and a5oiding the eyes of the smiling Ianakas on the
gasoline dock.
=o$ody was there to meet us% $ut it didnt matter. +e were warriors% returned from
the Land of <o% and we had terri$le stories to tell. But not in the har$or% or at the $ar
in the Iona Inn. 2ur tale was too grim.
.aptain Ste5e was still hunkered down on the $ridge when Ackerman and I finished
offBloading our gear and prepared toS lea5e. 1+herere you guys goingN1 he called
out. 1To HuggosN1
I shrugged% too weak and whipped to care where I was going% Just as long as it was
away from the sea. I felt like dri5ing up the mountain to +aimea and applying for a
Jo$ as a cow$oy on the <arker Ranch. Get $ack to the land for a while% drink gin all
night and run around naked with the menehunes. But when I mentioned this to
Ackerman he shook his head. 1=o%1 he said. 1Theres only one place for us now@the
.ity of Refuge.1
It was time to lea5e. Ackermans notion of fleeing to the .ity of Refuge had seemed
like a good idea at the time% $ut the scene we found $ack at % the compound on our
return from South <oint was too rB
ugly to cure $y anything as simple as a dri5e
down the coast to some temple of ancient superstition where we may or may not ha5e
found refuge. Right% I thought% ne5er mind that silly nati5e $ullshit. +heres a
telephoneN +hat we need now is a "uick call to Aloha Airlines.
Ackerman agreed. +e were $oth stunned $y the chaos we saw when we turned the
little O+ con5erti$le into the dri5eway. The same storm that had almost whipped us
to death in the ocean off South <oint the night $efore had mo5ed north and was now
pounding the Iona .oast with fifteenBfoot wa5es and a $linding monsoon rain. 2n
the way in from the Honokohau wed seen cars and mopeds a$andoned all along Alii
Ari5e% which was littered with driftwood and Jagged $lack rocks. Huge wa5es were
$reaking o5er the highway at Aisappearing Beach@which
had long since disappeared% once again@and it took us almost two hours to get from
the $oat to the compound which was taking a serious surf.
Both houses were empty% the pool was swamped% the surf was foaming up on the
porch and deck chairs were scattered around the lawn in a ma0e of what looked like
red seaweed. 2n closer e/amination it turned out to $e the slimy wet remnants of two
or three hundred thousand .hinese firecrackers% a flood of red rice paper from the
do0ens of .hinese ThunderB$om$s wed $een amusing oursel5es with. I thought it had
$een washed out to sea@which was true% for a while@$ut it had not washed out far
enough% and now the sea was tossing it $ack.
Ralph and The !amily were gone. The door to their house stood open% and the place
where hed parked his car was ankleBdeep in salt water. The fronts of $oth houses
were gummed up with a layer of red slime and there was no sign of life anywhere.
M5erything was goneK $oth houses had $een a$andoned to the ra5aging surf% and my
first thought was that e5erything in them including the occupants had $een sucked out
to sea $y riptides and $ashed to death on the rocks.
M5eryone noticed the profound change in the atmosphere in the $ay% and the contrast with
their first arri5al. The waters were empty of canoes% the $lack lowering line of cliff re5ealed
not a single spectator along its crest. Some of .ooks men were uneasy% others% as Iing
o$ser5ed% felt their 5anity hurt that they were so disregarded. ?ust as they were concluding
that the entire population had $een e5acuated or struck down $y some plague% a single canoe
put off and headed for the 5isco6ery* *p the sloops gangway there clim$ed a ferocious
looking chief wearing a fine redBfeathered cloak. He was the kings nephew% Iamehameha%
whose appearance had so alarmed them three weeks earlier when he had introduced himself
with Terreeo$oos two sons. .. .
The sailmakers% carpenters and the marines% with Iing again in command% found no o$Jection
to their reinstalling themsel5es in the old field with their tents $y the heia#* Bayly e5en got
his clock and telescopes ashore with his tents. The priests seemed as friendly as $efore% and
were ready to ta$oo the area again% and the carpenters were a$le to go a$out their special craft
of cleaning out the masts heel% dealing with the sprung fishes% shaping
new ones from some hard toa wood they had pro5identially kept from ,oorea.
2n the following morning Iing Terreeo$oo arri5ed in the $ay as he had $efore% in great style
and at a fine pace. At once the waters of the $ay were unBta$ooed% and suddenly it was almost
as if nothing had changed since those days when there were always num$erless canoes plying
$etween shore and ships% and the noise and $ustle of trading lasted from dawn to dusk.
But things were not the same. ?ust $elow the surface% 5iolence now lurked among these
Hawaiians. A great $lack seam of hostility had $een thrust up close to the surface as if ,auna
Loas 5olcano had erupted again and a la5a stream of hatred were a$out to flow.
Iing Terreeo$oo% shaking and held steady $y his two sons% came out to the Reso"#tion* +hy
had they returnedN +hat were they doingN How long this timeN 1He appeared much
dissatisfied%1 noted ?em Burney.
Richard Hough
The Last Voyage of Captain James Cook
Ackerman disagreed% saying they had all pro$a$ly taken to higher ground long $efore
the surf $egan hitting the porches. That was standard procedure on Alii Ari5e in
winter storms# first sirens% then road$locks and panic% and finally forced e5acuation of
all $eachfront homes $y .i5il Aefense rescue teams 1It happens e5ery year%1 he said.
1+e lose a few houses% a few cars% $ut not many people.1
I was still rummaging through the $edrooms% looking for signs of life with one eye
and watching the sea with the other. A $ig one% I knew% could come at any time with
no warning at all% rolling o5er us like a $om$. I had a 5ision of Ralph clinging% e5en
now% to some Jagged $lack rock far out in the roaring white surf% screaming for help
and feeling the terri$le Jaws of a wolf eel gripping his leg.
+hat would we do if we suddenly heard his screams and saw him thrashing around in
the sea a hundred yards awayN
=othing. +e could only watch% as the wa5es tossed him up on the rocks% time after
time. By morning he would $e ripped to shreds.
I was tempted% for a moment% to get a $ig spotlight and look for him out there in the
sea% $ut I didnt want to do it. +hat if I spotted himN The sight would haunt me for the
rest of my life ... I would ha5e to watch him die% fi/ed in the $eam of my own
spotlight until he finally disappeared% wild eyes gleaming in the foam of a crashing
wa5e% then sinking out of sight.. . .
I heard Ackermans 5oice Just as a monster wa5e hit the pool and $lasted ten thousand
gallons of water straight up in the air.
I scram$led o5er the porch railing and ran for the dri5eway. High ground% I thought.
*phill. Get out of here.
Ackerman was calling from the $alcony of the caretakers cottage. I rushed up the
stairs% soaking wet% and found him sitting at a ta$le with fi5e or si/ people who were
calmly drinking whiskey and smoking mariJuana. All my luggage% including the
typewriter% was piled in a corner of the porch.
=o$ody had drowned% no$ody was missing I Accepted a Join from my fiancee and
$reathed deeply .Ralph had flipped out sometime around noon% they e/plained% when
the sea hurled a fiftyBpound stalk of green $ananas up on his porch followed $y a
wa5e of red slime. Hundreds of dead fish washed up on the lawn% the house was
suddenly filled with thousands ot flying cockroaches% and the sea rolled under the
The caretaker said Ralph had taken his family to the Iing Iamehameha Hotel on the
pier in downtown Iailua% after
failing to find seats on a night flight $ack to
Mngland. +here s the dogN1 I asked. I knew Sadie had $ecome strongly attached
to the $east% and there was no sign of its corpse in the general wreckage of the
1They took it with them%1 he said. 1He asked me to gi5e you this note.1 He handed me
a crumpled piece of hotel stationery% damp and dark with Ralphs scrawl.
1I cant stand it anymore%1 it said. 1The storm almost killed us. Aont call. Lea5e us
alone. The hotel doctor will take care of Rupert and send him home after "uarantine.
<lease make all arrangements. Ao it for Sadie. Her hair is turning white. It was a
terri$le e/perience. Ill get e5en. Lo5e% Ralph.1
1?esus%1 I said. 1Ralphs gone. He went soft on us.1
1He knew youd say that%1 said the caretaker% accepting the Joint from Ackerman and
inhaling deeply. 1Thats why he left you the dog. He said it was the right thing to do.1
I refolded the note and put it in my pocket. 12f course%1 I said. 1Ralph is an artist. He
has a 5ery keen sense of right and wrong.1
+e sat on the porch for a while% smoking fresh mariJuana and listening to the
Ama0ing Rhythm Aces% then we dro5e up to Ackermans for the night. The compound
was flooded and water had soaked all the floors. There was no point in trying to sleep
Ralph was gone and I was too tired to call him on the phone. Soon the whole family
would $e on a plane $ack to Mngland% clinging desperately to each other and too
e/hausted to sleep for more than two or three or four minutes at a time@like
sur5i5ors of some terri$le shipwreck% only half understanding what had happened to
them% distur$ing the other passengers with sporadic moans and cries% finally sedated
$y the stewardess.
Life is s"ow on the Eona Coast these ays* The fish sti"" fee an
the s#n sti"" shines an the win sti"" %"ows #p from Tahiti.....
=#t there is a new kin of sti""ness in the air, which has nothing to o with the weather* =a
angst is rampant* 8eop"e are A#mping ship* The who"e coast is for sa"e, an e6en the wi"
an %ea#tif#" Chang sisters are ta"king a%o#t a mo6e to the main"an* The Eona =oom has
gone %#st, for a whi"e, an the skimmers are p#""ing o#t*
Nothing - say wi"" change their mins* 8eop"e "ike me here, %#t they are re"#ctant to tr#st my
7o - spen my nights on the %a"cony of 040, the K#een Ea"ama 7#ite in the Eing
Eamehameha Hote", which has a 6iew of e6erything@the who"e Eona waterfront, Mo
snowcappe 6o"canos, an especia""y the m#nicipa" pier on Eai"#a =ay, where the action
ne6er stops*
- "ike it #p here* - am c#"ti6ating a taste for the %a"cony "ife* The %i"" is sti"" in Ra"ph!s name,
%#t no matter* The management wi"" co6er it* They ha6e mae themse"6es "ega""y responsi%"e
for a"" pro%"ems in6o"6ing Ra"ph!s og, which is sti"" #ner internationa" G#arantine* -t went
ma in the kenne" from f"eas whi"e #ner the persona" s#per6ision of the hote" 6eterinarian,
an now they are "ega""y responsi%"e* Not on"y for R#pert %#t a"so for any %rain amage,
swe""ing, %"inness, misse ea"ines, "oss of income an any other grief, pain or menta"
ang#ish res#"ting from my %eing st#ng in the eye %y a wasp at the poo"sie %ar* The creat#re
f"ew into my face an got trappe %ehin my s#ng"asses, then it st#ng me three times in the
eye socket* My hea swe""e #p angero#s"y an a"" they ga6e me to c#re it was a fi"thy sock
f#"" of ice, which h#rt far worse than the sting* $n when - aske for he"p they referre me to
5octor Ho, a :"arge anima": 6et*
-n any case, they ha6e me on their hans now* - contro" the high gro#n, as it were, an -
ref#se to check o#t #nti" we reach a sett"ement*
- ha6e hire a Eorean "awyer from Hono"#"# to negotiate my c"aim, which is h#ge * * * an in
the meantime - ha6e "earne to enAoy this hote", which is not a %a p"ace to "i6e* There are
many fine shops ownstairs, an three %ars* There is a"so a %ig %"#e poo" own %e"ow to my
right, the H#"ihee 8a"ace on the waterfront to my L "eft across the %ay, an thick green "awns
r#nning o#t a"ong the seawa"" to the Ho#se of Lono an the f#nera" site of Eamehameha
Lthe +reat*
He ie own there in a thatch?roof h#t #ner the roya" pa"m trees on the eighth ay of May,
1312, at the age of >1* His %oy was %#rne in a firepit an his %ones were %#rie in a secret
ca6e %y his main kah#nas, who ne6er isc"ose the site* Eing Eam has many mon#ments in
Hawaii, %#t no tom%stone* The same kah#nas who %#rie his %ones a"so ate his heart, for the
power that was in itHA#st as Eamehameha himse"f once fe on the heart of Captain Cook*
At the end of the Iailua ,unicipal <ier is a huge set of scales% maintained $y the ?aps
from the local icehouse who routinely $uy e5ery fish $rought into the har$or and send
it off to Tokyo% to $e chopped up into s#shimi, then refro0en and sent $ack to Los
Angeles. Sushimi is $ig $usiness all o5er the <acific% and ?apanese fish $rokers
control most of it.
A license to run sushimi out of Hawaii is $etter than ha5ing a slot machine concession
in the Las Oegas airport. There is always more demand for sushimi than the marketB
fisherman can supply. The only thing that 5aries is the price@which ranges from fi5e
and sometimes ten dollars a pound at .hristmas% down to twenty cents a pound at the
peak of the sportBfishing season% which runs from ,ay to Septem$er on the Iona
.oast and yields $etween fi5e and ten thousand pounds of sushimi for the market
e5ery day.
Ahi% the $ig yellowfin tuna% is not a real crowdBpleaser on the pierK $ut it sells for a lot
more money. Ahi is s#shimi@in LA and =ew >ork% as well as Tokyo@and in the
weeks $efore .hristmas when demand is running high% the dockside price for a $ig
ahi in Iona can run up to fi5e and sometimes ten dollars a pound.
*sually it is down around a dollar% which makes it a nice fish to come in with. But ahi
is not the glamorous fish in Iona. This place is famous for marlin. =ig marlin. And
thats what the crowd on the pier wants to see. Any $oat flying the traditional dark
$lue marlin flag on its fantail will change the mood of the crowd 5ery suddenly.
The Iona .oast is the fishing capital of Hawaii% Iailua Bay is the social and
commercial a/is of the Iona .oastK and the huge gallowsBlike rig of fishBweight
scales on the pier in front of the Iing Iam Hotel is where the fishing pros of Iona
li5e or die e5ery afternoon of the week@in full 5iew of the pu$lic% such as it is.
Sport fishing is $ig $usiness in Iona% and four oclock on any afternoon at the end of
the city pier is showtime for the local charter captains. That is where they $ring their
fish in to $e weighed% and to ha5e their pictures taken if theyre $ringing in anything
$ig. The $ig scales at the end of the pier are where the 5ictors show their stuff% and the
5an"uished dont e5en show up. The $oats with no $lood on their decks dont e5en
come in to the pierK they take the short way home@to the har$or%
eight miles north% and those last few miles in from the $uoy can $e a long and surly
ride for a skipper with a $oatload of clients who paid RGCC a day to catch nothing at
all. The Honokohau at sundown is not a happy place to $e. As each $oatload of
failures ties up% the har$or curs rush to the edge of the $lack la5a cliff that looks down
on the dock and start $arking. They want the lefto5er lunch meat% not fish% and it is an
ugly scene to confront at the end of a long day of failure at sea.
2n any gi5en day most $oats will go $ack to the Honokohau. But the few return to the
pier% where the scene is entirely different@especially on a 1hot day%1 when half the
town has already $een alerted $y triumphant radio calls from far out at sea to prepare
the scales for serious action when the fleet comes in.
The crowd will $egin gathering on the end of the pier around three. ?immy Sloan% the
commercial photographer who has the pier concession% will $e there with his camera
to make the moment li5e in history on 8 / 'C glossies at R'C each. And there will also
$e the man from Greys ta/idermy% Just in case you want your trophy mounted.
And if you dont% the little $lue Aatsun pickup from the ?ap icehouse is there to haul it
off for cash. ,arlin goes cheap# twentyBfi5e cents a pound% $ecause only the ?aps will
eat it and the main market is in Tokyo% o5er three thousand miles away.
The $oys who run the scales almost always know what is coming in% $ut they dont
know when . . . which makes them act ner5ous% as four oclock rolls around. Any
skipper who has already reported a $ig fish on $oard will $e in $y dark% which doesnt
lea5e much time.
The crowd knows this too. Rumors spread and tourists $egin loading cameras. The
$oats will come in from the west% directly out of the sunset. 2n a calm day in summer
you can stand on the end of the pier and see a $oat coming from ten miles out at sea.
At first it is Just a white spot on the hori0on.. . . Then a small glint of sunlight%
reflected off the highest point of the steel tuna tower.... And soon the white spot of a
roostertail of white spray churned up in the
wake of a fastBapproaching hull.
Soon the $oat is close enough for people with good $inoculars to see the color of the
flag the $oat is flying on the outrigger pole. The $lue stands out $etter against a
$ackground of reddening <acific sky than the white flag of the ahi@and it will get the
crowd mo5ing toward the scales a lot faster% when the first cry of 1$lue1 goes up.
M5ery successful charter $oat captain understands the difference $etween the !ishing
Business and Show Business. !ishing is what happens out there on the deep $lue
water% and the other is getting strangers to pay for it. So when you come swooping
into Iailua Bay at sunset with a $ig fish to hang up on the scales% you want to do it
slowly. Mase into the $ay in a long graceful arc% against a $ackground of sail$oats and
5olcanos% then $ack your $oat down on the pier with e5ery ounce of style and slowB
rum$ling $oatBhandling drama that you and your crew can muster.
The skipper is up on the flying $ridge% facing the crowd and controlling the $oat with
$oth hands $ehind his $ack on the wheel and throttle. His deckhand and the clients
will $e standing down $elow on the stern% also facing the crowd and trying not to do
anything wrong or awkward in these last crucial moments% as the $oat $acks slowly
up to the scales and the chainBhoist swings out to pick up their fish.
,ost of the 1anglers1 who ha5e paid for the pri5ilege of fishing for the $ig ones with
the $ig $oys in the worldBrecord waters off Iona dont gi5e a hoot in hell what
happens to whate5er fish they5e caught% once they5e had their pictures taken
standing ne/t to the $east as it hangs $y its tail from the steel gallows on the end of
the pier. The Bringing in of the !ish is the only action in town at that hour of the day
@or any other hour% for that matterK $ecause $igBtime fishing is what the Iona .oast
is all a$out 6ne5er mind these rumors a$out mariJuana crops and $i0arre real estate
Iicking ass in Iona means rum$ling into the har$or and up to the scales at sunset
with a =ig !ish% not three or four small ones% and the crowd on the pier understands
this. They will laugh out loud at anything that can $e lifted out of a $oat $y anything
less than a crane.
There is a definite $loodBlust in the air around the scales at sundown. By fi5e the
crowd is drunk and ugiy. <eople on their first 5acation out of <itts$urgh are standing
around on the pier and talking like Jaded e/perts a$out fish the si0e of the compact
cars they Just rented out at the airport.
!o( $ig is that thing% HenryN1
1Its rea" $ig% dear. The sign on the scale says oneBtwentyBtwo% $ut thats pro$a$ly Just
the head. The $ody looks a$out the si0e of a cowK Id guess a$out a thousand.1
The action around the scales on the pier in Iailua Bay at sundown is serious drama%
and the tension picks up as each new $oat comes in. By fi5e oclock on a good day
they are yelling for thousandBpounders% and woe to the local charter captain who
shows up with anything small.
But there is no escape from the Judgment of the crowd% $ecause e5en a 'CCBpound ahi
can $e sold off to the icehouse ?aps for R9.)8 a pound in ?une@enough to pay off the
whole days fuel and cruising costs@and the price of not $ringing it into the scales for
the crowd to see and the ?aps to $uy is too high for any serious skipper to pay. They
charge a lot of money for ser5ices rendered% and one of these ser5ices is getting their
clients photographed on the pier with any fish they caught@ e5en a fine little (CB
pound marlin that might ha5e almost torn the arms off the person who caught it and
that e5ery$ody on the $oat has $een telling him@right up to that moment of truth on
the scales@1must $e at least fi5e hundred.1
All fish look huge when they Jump 9C feet straight up in the air on the end of your
line and 9CC yards aft of the $oat. And a hundred pounds feels like a million% after
you5e fought it for two or three hoursK and% for RGCC a day% most clients ha5e already
fallen in lo5e with the thing anyway% $y the time they reel it in.
They want that 8/'C color photograph that comes with $ringing it into the pier and
ha5ing it hoisted up on the gallows in full 5iew of the whole crowd% for good or ill.
The only thing worse than coming in with a 1rat1 is coming in with nothing at all.
?ames Iing was e"ually trou$led. He had $een the first of the shore party to learn of the theft
of the cutter. He had $een hailed $y Burney as he was rowed close $y the 5isco6ery en route
to the Reso"#tion* .lerke had Just returned to his ship% and Iing arri5ed on $oard at the
critical moment when .ook had decided on the more positi5e and dangerous action.
+hen Iing $egan to recount the details of the pre5ious e5enings occurrences% .ook had
interrupted him 1with some eagerness%1 as Iing reported. 1It is my intention% ,r. Iing%1
.ook had announced grimly% 1to $ring on $oard and detain the king and some of the chiefs as
hostages against the return of the cutter.1 .ook completed to his satisfaction the loading of
his musket. 1>our $usiness is to "uiet the minds of the indians on your side of the $ay.
Inform them that they will not $e hurt. And% ,r. Iing% keep your party together and on their
Iing stepped into his $oat Just $efore his captain em$arked in the pinnace. He watched the
pinnace% escorted $y +illiamson in the launch and Lanyon in the small cutter% proceed north
from the Reso"#tion towards the landing place at Iaawaloa. Iing landed on the $each $y the
heia# and was met $y Bayly% who was an/iously awaiting news. The hostile murmur was
scarcely audi$le here% $eing carried away on the easterly wind. But there was an atmosphere
of tense e/pectation among the marines% carpenters% sailmakers and others in the
encampment% as well as among the nati5es who stood a$out uneasily.
Se5eral canoes had $een launched% including one under the command of that important and
5igorous .hief Ialirnu% $ut had $een deterred from paddling far out into the $ay $y the fate
of the canoe from Iaawaloa. Iing remem$ered .ooks last words% ordered Ledyard to post
his men with muskets loaded with $all% and to open fire under pro5ocation% and then
proceeded to High <riest Ioas house.
Ioa and his priests were in a ner5ous condition. 1I e/plained to them% as well as I could% the
o$Ject of the hostile preparations%1 Iing wrote in his report. 1I found that they had already
heard of the cutters $eing stolen% and I assured them that though .aptain .ook was resol5ed
to reco5er it% and to punish the authors of the theft% yet that they and the people of the 5illage
on our side need not $e under the smallest apprehension of suffering any e5il from us.1
Richard Hough
The Last Voyage of Captain James Cook
Ralphs tragic and une/pected departure from the islands had left me with a swarm
of odd pro$lems% some of them far more serious than 5 i the fate of Sadies
dog. Half of Ackermans mariJuana
r crop had $een ripped off sometime during the night when he was on the $oat
with us at South <oint% $y cops or some$ody else. Mither way% he said% it was time
to har5est the rest of it and get out of town for a while. 1Theyll $e $ack% for sure%1
he said% 1and if it was the cops theyll ha5e a warrant ne/t time. I ha5e to yank it
now* +ere talking a$out two hundred thousand dollars.1
There was also the pro$lem of ,r. Heem% the realtor% who wanted the rent for the
compound@at least two thousand in cash% and "uestions would certainly $e raised
a$out the crust of red scum on the property. 2nce it hardened% only an industrial
sand$laster could get it off.
I liked the color% myself. It $rought $ack oriental memories. There was a strange
red glow on the whole property in the afternoon hours. I dro5e past it a few times
and noticed that e5en the grass on the lawn seemed to glitter. The swimming pooQ
appeared to $e hill of $lood% on some days% and the dense green foliage on the
lemon trees seemed a$out to $urst into flame. The place had a different look now%
an air of mystery and magic. Strange and powerful things had happened here. And
perhaps they would happen again. There was a certain $eauty to it% $ut the effect
was 5ery unsettling and I could see where Heem might ha5e trou$le renting it to
decent people.
1<ay him off and dont argue%1 Ackerman ad5ised. 1Two thousand is cheap to get
rid of swine like Heem. He can cause you a lot of trou$le. A lawsuit could drag on
for years.1
Heem was a powerful figure in local politics. He had once $een the president of
the Iona Real Mstate Board% $ut a scandal caused him to "uit. 1He was selling
none/istent condos to pension funds%1 Ackerman e/plained. 1Zero/ing deeds in
triplicate% stealing from old people. ?esus% half the dead construction proJects on
this island are Heems work. Hes so crooked that he has to screw his pants on
e5ery morning% $ut hes rich and he keeps gangs of lawyers on retainer to put
people like you in Hilo <rison.1
I agreed that it would $e a far far $etter thing to pay ,r. Heem off at once% $ut I
didnt ha5e the money. I had gi5en him two thousand up front% and the rest of the
de$t was Ralphs.
1Good luck%1 said Ackerman. 1+ere $oth in trou$le now. 2ur
only hope is the crop. All I ha5e to do is put it in gar$age $ags and get it to the
1+hy notN1 I said.
It made no sense at all% $ut my mood was getting loose and my fiancFe had gone off
to .hina for a few weeks% lea5ing me alone in a weird situation. I rela/ed on
Ackermans deck with a thermos of margaritas while he super5ised the last few hours
of the har5est% and came up with a foolproof plan. He was talking a$out a lot more
than two hundred thousand dollars. It was more like a million. +e would $ag the
whole crop and mail it to a post office $o/ in rural Te/as% where a man whod once
cheated me maintained an a$andoned ranch. A load like that% I figured% would attract
either a massi5e amount of attention or none at all% and I could li5e with it either way.
If we got there in two weeks and found people hanging from telephone poles% we
would know not to go to the post office. But if the coast was clear% wed $e rich. I
knew people in Houston who would pay a hundred thousand Just for the rights to pick
it up. There are people who wait all their li5es for one chance to do something like
1Howdy. Im AeLorean% new foreman at the Triple Si/. Any mail for meN1
The ne/t few seconds are the ones people pay for% a high wild rush in the ner5e ends
and your whole life hanging. +hate5er happens ne/t will $e serious. There is nothing
in Oegas or e5en drugs that comes close to that kind of high% they say. There are only
two ways to lea5e a post office in east Te/as% once you5e signed for a hundred <rimo
$eer crates filled with Hawaiian mariJuana. Some people get am$ushed $y GBmen%
hauled off in chains or gunned down in a pu$lic shootout% and others $uy stamps or
read the +A=TMA posters while the hired hands load up the truck% under the
watchful eyes of the postmaster.
Ackerman said the risk seemed accepta$le to him% so we dro5e down the mountain to
the Iing Iam Hotel and checked in. Ralph had made all the proper arrangements for
the care of his dog% $ut he hadnt mentioned keepers and the desk clerk was ner5ous
when I said wed $e mo5ing into ,r. Steadmans suite for the duration of the crisis. I
had already spoken to the hotel doctor% who said hed $een drinking when he signed a
statement of ,edical Responsi$ility for the animal and now regretted it. 1This is not
your normal pot dog%1 he told me. 1Its a monster chow of some kind. +hen I
weighed it today it was fi5e pounds hea5ier than it was yesterday. The $ody is
growing like a mushroom $ut the whole central ner5ous system is gone.1
1Aont worry%1 I said. 1I raised the $east from a puppy. It was my .hristmas present to
,r. Steadmans daughter.1
1>e gods%1 he muttered. 1+hat did she gi5e youN1
1=othing half as 5alua$le as Rupert%1 I said.?This dog will sire a whole line when we
get him to Mngland.1
1Thats a horri$le thought%1 said the doctor. 1If I had a dog like this% Id ha5e it put to
1The decision is out of our hands%1 I said. 1,r. Steadman has left his instructions. 2ur
Jo$ is to carry them out.1
The doctor agreed. And so did the desk clerk% $ut some of the details eluded him.
1Some$odys going to ha5e to sign for this%1 he said% 1and it cant $e the dog.1 He
looked down at the $ill in his hands. 1+ho is RupertN1 he asked. 1Thats the only
$illing signature I can authori0e.1
+ho indeedN I thought. I stared intently at the $ridge of his nose. Rupert was the
dogs name% $ut I knew the clerk wouldnt stand for it. Ackerman was out in the
parking lot with ten gar$age $ags of raw mariJuana% ready to load it onto the ele5ator
and up to Ralphs room on a dolly. There was no going $ack now. 1Aont worry%1 I
said. 1,r. Rupert will $e here soon. Hell sign whate5er you want.1
?ust then Ackerman appeared in the lo$$y% gesturing angrily as he came toward the
desk. 1Ah ha%1 I said% 1,r. Rupert.1 He looked pu00led.
1>oull ha5e to sign%1 I said. 1The dog is too sick.1
12f course%1 he replied% 1I ha5e the cure for the poor $east right here.1 He reached
into his shopping $ag and $rought out a handful of red and yellow flea collars@Alii
colors. The clerks 5oice took a different tone.
1Ah yes ... the dog. I remem$er now. 2f course. Ar. Ho was 5ery concerned. The
animal in GCG.1 He checked the computer. 1And also GCF%1 he said "uickly% with a
hint of $ad ner5es in his 5oice.
1+hatN1 I said.
1That animal should $e put to sleepQ1 the clerk yelled suddenly. 1Hes co5ered with
mi""ions of red fleasQ +e cant e5en go in those rooms% much less rent them outQ That
stinking animal is costing us three hundred dollars a dayQ1
1I know%1 said Ackerman. 1I ha5e to "i6e with the poor $rute. ,r. Steadman made me
swear, Just $efore he went $ack to London. He wants that dog on a plane Just as soon
as it s fit to tra5el.1
1Rupert is o#r responsi$ility now%1 I said to the clerk. $""
of us.1
1RupertN1 said the clerk.
1=e5er mind%1 Ackerman snapped. 1Ar. Ho has arranged for special care. Aont worry
a$out the cost. ,oney means nothing to ,r. Steadman.1
1Thats right%1 I said. 1Hes the richest artist in Mngland.1
The clerk nodded respectfully. . . .
1And were the ones who made him that way. ...1 I pulled Ackerman up to the
1This is ,r. Rupert%1 I said. 1,r. Steadmans personal manager. Hell handle any red
Ackerman smiled warmly and e/tended his hand% which was still a faded $lue color.
The clerk hesitated% clearly distur$ed $y the corpseBlike coloration of ,r. Ruperts
flesh ... $ut there was $lond hair on the arm% and it was wearing a gold Role/. The
clerks eyes were wary $ut I saw his ner5es rela/ing. +e were clearly people of
su$stance% despite fits of eccentric $eha5ior.
1,y pleasure% ,r. Rupert%1 he said% reaching out to shake Ackermans hand. 1+ell
help you in e5ery way.1
1Thank you%1 said Ackerman. 1+ell ha5e a real tragedy on our hands if this animal
cant $e cured.1
1Aont worry%1 said the clerk. 1Ar. Ho is highly respected. Thats why we chose him to
$e the hotel physician.1
1Indeed%1 I said. 1Hes still treating my infection from the wasp stings.1
The clerk nodded $lankly% then reached under the counter for an American M/press
form% which he preferred discreetly to Ackerman. 1=ow if youll Just sign this%1 he
Ackerman scrawled "uickly on the form and accepted two keys from the clerk.
1GCG was ,r. Steadmans room%1 the man said. 1But we5e opened the connecting
doors to GCF@so now you ha5e the whole Wueen Ialama suite% with a wet $ar and all
the room you need for that filthy dog.1
+e thanked him and walked away toward the ele5ators% $ut he called after us# 1>ou
understand% of course% that the entire Wueen Ialama suite is off limits to hotel
Ackerman stopped in midBstride% then turned slowly around on his heels like a ro$ot%
not smiling this time.
1+hat do you mean@off limitsN1
The clerk was shuffling again. 1+ell ... ah ... I think its a medical pro$lem% ,r.
Rupert. Red fleas are a health ha0ard. +e cant ha5e our employees e/posed to
infectious disease.1 He was getting e/cited again. 1Those goddamn things carry
germsQ1 he shouted. 1Red fleas are worse than ratsQ They carry smallpo/Q They carry
choleraQ They carry syphilisQ1 +hat a$out our room ser5iceN1 I asked.
The clerk hesitated. His eyes were not focused. 1Room ser5iceN1 he echoed. 1Ah yes .
.. well ... ah ... dont worry a$out room ser5ice. Thats no pro$lem at all% ,r. Rupert.
>oull ha5e all the room ser5ice you need@well Just ha5e to lea5e e5erything outside
the door.1 He nodded happily% clearly pleased with his own "uick thinking. 1Thats
right%1 he went on% 1the rooms are off limitsK $ut the hallway% of course% is not@so Ill
simply ad5ise our room ser5ice people ne5er to enter your rooms% for any reason.
They can $ring anything you want to your doorway% $ut not across the threshold@is
that all rightN1
Ackerman nodded thoughtfully% as if pondering gra5e medical
implicationsPPPThen he smiled at the clerk and said% 12f course.
Thats our only solution% isnt itN +ell do $usiness at the door@no risk% no
They led .ook and <hillips straight to Terreeo$oos house% a thatched hut $uilt without
ostentation or decoration and little larger than its neigh$ours. The two officers waited outside
for the king to appear% and when he failed to do so after some minutes% .ook said% 1+ould
you please in5estigate% ,r. <hillips. It would not $e suita$le for me to do so% and I dou$t the
old gentlemans $eing inside.1
<hillips ducked into the house. 1I found the old gentleman Just awoke from sleep%1 said
<hillips later. He then told the king that .ook was outside and wished to see him. Slowly%
hesitantly% $ecause of his age and condition% the king arose and put on a cloak. <hillips
helped him outside% where Terreeo$oo showed e5ery sign of pleasure at seeing god Lono%
and $etrayed no e5idence of guilt. .. .
D.ookE turned to <hillips and said in Mnglish% 1He is "uite innocent of what has happened% of
that I am con5inced.1 Then he asked the king in <olynesian if he would come on $oard the
Reso"#tion with him. Iing Terreeo$oo at once agreed and got to his feet again% with the aid
of a son at each el$ow% and the party $egan the walk to the shore. .. .
M5ents now mo5ed forward at an accelerating rate towards a disaster for which only .ook
himself appeared unprepared. His first reaction to the detention of the king was one of anger
@a fierce out$urst which neither the king nor his wife had e5er witnessed $efore. The king
himself had in fact suddenly $ecome a pathetic and unBregal figure@1deJected and
frightened1 were the words <hillips used.
At the same time the news of the death of .hief Ialimu off +aipunaula arri5ed with the four
canoeists who had witnessed the shooting% and spread with the speed of sound through this
emotionally charged gathering. They closed in% two or three thousand already% the sound that
had once $een like a distant murmur now rapidly growing in 5olume and undisguised
hostility% and with a new sharpness now added to it@the mournful shriek of conchBshells
$eing $lown. M5en .ook could no longer disregard the great press of num$ers a$out them%
and their menacing mood. =ot one of them e5en the nearest% was now prostrated. 2n the
contrary% they were wa5ing clu$s and spears% and some of them held high the newlyBac"uired
and pri0ed pahoas from the ships forges% some with $lades as long as 9C inches.
Richard Hough
The Last Voyage of Captain James Cook
It sounded 5ery precise% and the clerk nodded eagerly.
So did I% as we mo5ed once again toward the ele5ators. 1A $asic canon of all MnglishB
speaking Jurisprudence%1 I muttered. :No%oy would argue with that logicQ1
1Right%1 said Ackerman. 12/ford Law% one of the first things they taught us.1
1Oery clean%1 I replied. 1Oery legal@,r. Steadman would want it that way.1
Ackerman shrugged. 1+ell see%1 he said "uietly. 1+e could run up a hell of a $ill
$efore this thing is o5er@may$e fi5e hundred dollars a day with room ser5ice and
doctors. Hell% I Just laid out fortyBeight dollars in cash for these flea collars. +e
should ha5e put them on Steadmans plastic.1
1How many did you getN1 I asked as we stepped into the ele5ator.
1Two do0en%1 he said. 1Twel5e for you and twel5e for me. +e can wear si/ on each
arm% like $racelets.1
1Thats good thinking%1 I said.
The ele5ator door opened and we stepped inside.
1+hat name did you signN1 I asked him.
1Rupert%1 he said.
1Thats allN1
1>eah% $ut I put a lot of long swirls in it% plenty of old Mnglish filigree.1 He shrugged.
1+hat the hellN Its a dogs signature anyway. ,y names not Rupert.
1It is now%1 I said. 1>ou are ,r. Rupert and the first time you forget it well $e in
Hilo <rison for defrauding an innkeeper. Thats a felony.1
He nodded% turning the key in the lock of GCF. 12kay%1 he said finally. 1>oure right.
That dog Just got a new name@what is itN1
1Homer%1 I said. 1The dogs name is Homer. Ill ha5e Ar. Ho put it on some kind of
1Thats right%1 he said. 1Those $astards down at the desk dont care what our names
are% anyway. Theyll gi5e us whate5er we want if Ralphs plastic checks out.1
1?esus%1 he added. 1Is Ralph the kind of guy who pays his $ills on timeN1
1<ro$a$ly not%1 I said. 1How much time do we needN1 1=ot much%1 he replied. 1I can
$ag the whole crop in three days@and I like that off limits gigK we wont ha5e to
worry a$out the maids coming in.1
I nodded. This was a whole different side of the coin and it worried me. +e could
deal% I felt% with the Aog <ro$lem@or e5en the risk of signing a young chows name
on Ralphs credit card% $ut I was not entirely at ease with Ackermans plan to use the
$est suite in the Iing Iamehameha Hotel% in the heart of downtown Iona% as a $agB
house for his whole mariJuana crop. He wanted to hire a gar$age compactor and crush
a whole orchard of mariJuana trees into fiftyBpound cu$es a$out the si0e of a TO set.
1How much do you ha5eN1 I asked him. 1=ot much%1 he said. 1,ay$e fi5e hundred
pounds.1 1+hatN1 I said. 1!i5e hundred poundsQ Thats too much. Theyll smell it.
+ell $e $usted.1
1Aont worry%1 he said. 1The whole suite is off limits. They cant cross the threshold.1
1Balls%1 I said. 1They can cross anything they want for fi5e hundred pounds. The last
thing we need right now is a parade of dope dealers in and out of this place. The
whole town would come down on us. It would $e a ci5ic outrageK red fleas are one
thing% $ut . . .1
1=e5er mind%1 he said. :- nee the fleas. +e couldnt ask for a $etter co5er.1
I thought for a moment% then put my worries aside. This was% after all% ,r. Ruperts
suite% not mine@and it was ,r. Rupert who would $e signing all the room ser5ice
chits. I was only here as a personal fa5or to my old friend Steadman% the rich and
famous British artist. He had flown $ack to London on short notice and left us to care
for his dying dog. The $east was too sick to touch. Its $rain had shorted out a long
time ago from the constant plague of red fleas that it had o$5iously picked up in
Hawaii@perhaps in this 5ery hotel. +e had no choice% as I saw it% and I knew Ar. Ho
would agree.
1Aont worry a$out that cra0y little "uack%1 Ackerman assured me. 1Hes the worst
coke whore on the island. I5e known him for years. He works for me.1
1+hatN Ar. HoN1
1>eah. He has friends in +aikiki. They ship a lot of dog medicine.1 He smiled. 1And
they ship it in real $ig crates.1
Big cratesN I thought. Aog medicineN Indeed. Ralph would want it this way.
By the end of the second week at the hotel% it was clear that we needed a $reak. The
tension was running high. +e had $een there too long and the locals were getting
ner5ous. The real estate $und had $een worried from the start a$out the harmful
effects our story might cause in their market% and our horri$le e/perience in the
?ackpot Tournament had done nothing to ease their fears.
And neither had we% for that matter. ,y own mood% in the aftermath of the fishing
tournament% was too foul to hide. .aptain Ste5e was drinking hea5ily% =orwood had
gone into hiding% the $each thugs were still chasing Laila% and Ralphs sudden
departure for London@lea5ing% as he did% in a highly 5isi$le wake of shame% failure
and pu$lic humiliation@was a sure sign to e5en our friends that whate5er we finally
pu$lished would not $e good for $usiness.
+hich was% after all% the whole point. That had $een understood from the start@
although not properly% $y some people@and the $usiness of Iona is $usiness.
Specifically% the selling of real estate. There are FCC registered realtors in the Iona
.oast alone% and the last thing they need right now is an out$urst of $ad pu$licity in
the mainland press. The market is already so o5erpriced and o5ere/tended that a lot of
people are going to ha5e to go $ack to fishing for a li5ing% if things dont change
pretty soon. The $ull market of the early Se5enties is Just another Hawaiian legend
now% like the hu$ris of .aptain .ook.
+hen Ackerman got $ack from Honolulu we decided to lie low for a while. M5en our
fishermen friends at Huggos were getting ner5ous a$out why I was still hanging
around% three weeks after Ralph left. The rumors filtering down@or up% as it were@
from the real estate $und were $eginning to take root all around us. I knew we had
reached a $reakpoint when e5en the $artenders at the Iona Inn $egan saying 1I
thought you left last week1 e5ery time I came inK or% 1+hat kind of story are you
rea""y writingN1
1=e5er mind%1 Id say% 1well know soon enough.1 It was my ha$it% at the time% to
hunker down in the afternoon at the far end of the Iona Inn $ar to read the
newspapers and drink cold margaritas while I kept an eye on the scales across the $ay
@ Just in case I saw signs of a crowd gathering% which was usually the sign of a $ig
one coming in.
!rom my perch at the end of the $ar% with the $ig wooden fans whirling slowly a$o5e
my head% I could look out on the whole waterfront. It was a good place to rela/ and
read the papers@with the hula class practicing on the lawn% tall coconut palms along
the seawall% $ig sail$oats out in the $ay and a whole 0oo of human weirdness
churning "uietly all around me.
+e were drifting into a macho way of life. There was no dou$t a$out it. And no help
for it% either. +e were li5ing with these people% dealing with them twentyBfour hours a
day on their own turf@which was usually out at sea% on their $oats% meanBdrunk $y
noon and ne5er feeling "uite comforta$le with these tightBlipped seafaring $astards
and all their special knowledge% $eing always in some$odys way as the goddamn
$oat lunges along in the water. ...
!orty thousand feet deep in some places% within sight of the Iona .oast. Might miles
straight down% like falling off a cliff. It would take a long time for a $ody to sink eight
miles down to the ocean floor. It is pitchB$lack down there% a$solute darkness.
=ot e5en sharks swim that deep. But they will pro$a$ly get you on the way down%
somewhere in that ha0y $lue le5el around :CC feet% where the light $egins to fade.
Bo$$ing around on a $oat the si0e of a pickup truck in 3C%CCC feet of $lue water is not
a good place to get weird with any$ody% much less the captain of the $oat. 2r e5en a
deckhand. =o$ody at all.
These are the rules. >ou do what they say% no matter how cra0y it seems e5en if the
captain locks himself in the head $elow decks at nine oclock in the morning with a
"uart of +ild Turkey while the $oat runs in circles for fortyBfi5e minutes and the
deckhand has passed out in the fighting chair with his eyes rolled $ack in his head like
white mar$les.
M5en then% it is risky to "uestion anything. These people are professional fishermen%
skippers% licensed captains% and they take themsel5es 5ery seriously. +ords like
1macho1 and 1fascist1 take on a whole new meaning when you lose sight of land.
=othing will turn a man into a na0i any faster than taking a $unch of ignorant
strangers out to sea on his $oat% regardless of how much they pay. It is almost a rule
of the sea% with these charter captains% that 1the clients1 will panic and do e5erything
wrong at the first sign of trou$le% so that is the way they play itK marine insurance is
hard to get once you5e lost a few clients o5er$oard in water eight miles deep.
1=ot one of you swine could get a Jo$ in the .ari$$ean%1 I said one night to a ta$le
full of professional fishermen on the whiskey deck at Huggos. 1>ou couldnt e5en get
work in !lorida.1
Their reaction was sullen. The mood of the ta$le went sour% and Ackerman called for
the check. It was something like RGG% which he paid with his ,errillBLynch credit
card while the others wandered off to look for fights.
1Its time to lea5e%1 I told him as we pulled out of the parking lot. 1Im losing my
sense of humor.1 1So are they%1 he replied.
The traffic was $umperBtoB$umper on Alii Ari5e% Jammed up $y a crowd of thugs
who had swarmed onto the road to stornp the dri5er of a motorcycle that had gone out
of control and plowed into a gang of surfers. There were forty or fifty of them% all
cra0y on mariJuana.
I made a "uick *Bturn and aimed for the hotel% a5oiding the madness outside.
,oments later% from the $alcony% we heard the familiar howl of police sirens.
Ackerman opened a new $ottle of scotch and we sat down to watch the sunset. It was
low tide% with no surf% and the melee out on the highway had cleared the ra$$le off the
$each. It was time% I felt% to rela/ and ponder the sea.
Ackerman was smoking hea5ily. His face had taken on a sort of gla0ed appearance
that made con5ersation awkward.
1+ell%1 he said finally% 1lets go to the 5olcano. Theyll ne5er look for us up there.1 He
laughed and suddenly stood up. 1Thats it%1 he said. 1+ell make a run for the high
ground% may$e run the Saddle Road.1
1The Saddle RoadN1
1>eah%1 he said. 1>oull like it. +e can go for the record@ one hour and se5enteen
minutes from Hilo to +aimea.1
1How farN1 I said.
1!iftyBthree miles% at top speed.1
;hen in o#%t, %ore it o#t*
@Harley Aa5idson
+e were coming into Hilo 5ery fast% running downhill in the rain through a
residential district at Just under a hundred miles an hour. The speedometer went up to
'8C% $ut I was not in the mood for unnecessary risks at this point% so I hit the
accelerator and shifted down into second gear. . . . Ackerman screamed something at
me as a tin mail$o/ suddenly appeared right in front of us% $ut I missed it and
punched the gas again as we hit the inside of the cur5e on a straight $ounce and kept
going. I had ne5er dri5en a !errari $efore and it had taken me a while to get the hang
of it ... $ut now that I finally felt comforta$le with the machine% I wanted to push it a
$it% lean $ack and let it run. 6Any car that costs RFC%CCC%' felt% was $uilt for some
special purpose@and until now I had not understood Just e/actly what this one had
$een $uilt for% what it really wanted to do.7
The num$ers on the speedometer had fooled me% for a while% into thinking that the
!errari :C8 was made to go fast. But I was wrong a$out that. A lot of cars will go fast%
and I ha5e dri5en
most of themBBBBBut I ha5e ne5er dri5en anything that I would
dare to put through a fi5eBmile stretch of downhill SBturns at 'CC miles an hour in the
rain on a twoBlane $lacktop highway from 'C%CCC feet a$o5e sea le5el down to 0ero in
less than ten minutes.
The drop is so steep and so fast that e5ery once in a while% at 'CC miles an hour% you
get an eerie sense of freefall. It is almost like flying% or falling off a cliff. All the
outside noise fades away and your eyes feel $ig in your head and the focus gets 5ery%
5ery sharp.
+e had already $roken the record@or at least I tho#ght we
had@$ut I couldnt $e sure and Ackerman had gone rigid in the passenger seat% no
longer keeping track of the stopwatch. He had $een yelling num$ers at me e5ery ten
or fifteen seconds for almost an hour% $ut now he was getting ner5ous. His eyes were
wild and his hands were $raced on the $lack leather dash$oard. I could see that his
confidence was slipping. +hat he wanted now was a handle% $ut that was out of the
"uestion. +e had left all our handles at the top of the hill% in the shadow of Hilo
<rison% two minutes ahead of the record and miraculously still ali5e.
.oncentrate% I thought. Stay on the fall line% dont touch the $rakes% use the gears and
dont $link.. .. This is dangerous% we are almost out of control.
But not "uite% and the car had ama0ing $alance. It was finally on its own turf%
functioning at the top of its form% and I didnt ha5e the heart to slow it down. !ar out
in front of us I could see% through the clouds% a white line of surf hitting up on the
rocks around Hilo har$or. It stretched off in $oth directions like a line drawn with
chalk% the lush green coast of Hawaii on one side and the deep gray swell of the
<acific on the other. The $ay was full of whitecaps% and no $oats were out ... a $leak
Sunday morning in Hilo% the capital city of the Big Island. The population is mainly
?apanese% who tend to sleep in on Sundays% and not many of whom are good
I had already taken this into account% along with other ethnic
factors% when the Speed Run was still in the planning stageBBBB
A$out si/ hours ago% in fact% when the $ars closed in Iona and Ackerman let slip that
he was planning to lea5e for a Tuna Tournament in Bimini the ne/t day% or at least
5ery soon . . . which alarmed me% $ecause I had 5ery definite plans to use his new
yellow !errari to set a new landBspeed record for running the Saddle Road.
J#ne D, 1231 Eona
5ear Ra"ph,
- am h#nkere own in my p"ace at Th#g Centra", watching the sea p#ppies o#t there on the
%reak an r#nning #p h#ge %i""s whi"e* - postpone my epart#re one ay at a time an hang
o#t "ike some
kin of f#nky Chinook r#nkar #p here on the %a"cony waiting for the %ig one to strike,
"ike - a"ways knew it wo#"* ** *
$n - can a"most sme"" the %astar now, circ"ing o#t there, A#st a few feet away from the
hook *** %#t this time he!s acting ifferent' this time - think he!s intereste*
Things ha6e change since yo# "eft, Ra"ph* - sha6e my hea again, for one thing* $n -
a"so roppe o#t of sight* ** %#t not o#t of min, at "east not for Captain 7te6e* - ca"" him
constant"y, a%o#t any pro%"em or e6en any ranom iea that happens into my min(
H#nting wi" pigs< Typewriter ri%%ons< 5eep 5i6ing on aci< ;hy is the Tanag#chi
market o#t of 5#nhi""s< ;ho rents Aeeps< How far to the 6o"cano< ;here is 8e"e< How
fast can a white man ri6e on the 7a"e Roa at s#nset< ;hy am - here< ;ho has 5a
Eine< ;here are the fish< Has R#pert ca""e< Can yo# cash another check for two
h#nre< ;hy won!t Norwoo ret#rn my ca""s a%o#t sacking the gra6esites< ;ho was
7pa#"ing!s mother< ;hy can!t yo# get a Ao%<
,s#a""y it is Lai"a who ca""s him to ask these G#estions* ;hich makes him o#%"y
ner6o#s, %eca#se in his heart he knows it!s weir* =#t he a"ways ret#rns her ca""s* $n
then she ca""s him %ack, for more etai"s *** so they spen a "ot of time together, oing
%#siness an te""ing Aokes*
$n getting things one* ;hich frees my %rain a %it an gi6es me time to foc#s* - type a""
night an prow" the roas %y ay, "ooking for 8e"e* 7he hitchhikes a "ot, they say, #s#a""y
in the form of an o" woman* 7o - o a "ot of ri6ing an - pick #p many hitchhikers,
especia""y o" women * ** %#t age is a har thing to %e s#re of at 00 mi"es an ho#r' an
the "a9y shamef#" tr#th is that on any hot afternoon - can %e fo#n cr#ising $"ii 5ri6e in
my T?top M#stang picking #p women of a"" ages*
$n - gri"" them, whi"e we ri6e* 7ome of them can!t han"e it( they weep, they "ie, they
sing a"ong with the raio an show me their tits, an a "ot of them swear they!re in "o6e
with me %y the time we get to the Eona 7#rf parking "ot*
That!s where - take them, no matter what they say or where they want to go* - take them
a"" the way o#t to the en of $"ii 5ri6e an own the hi"" to that spooky "itt"e %ay, an a""
the whi"e - keep offering them a rink of hot gin o#t of a pint %ott"e with no top on it that
- keep on the seat %etween my "egs*
Most of them say they!"" o A#st a%o#t anything, A#st as "ong as it!s not rinking gin with a
/44?po#n %a" psycho in an open car at high noon on $"ii 5ri6e or in the Eona 7#rf
parking "ot* ;hich is where - a"ways #mp them* )@cept for the ones who rink gin ** *
J#ne 14, 1231 Eona
5ear Ra"ph,
.kay *** Things are rea""y ifferent now* -t took a %it "onger than - fig#re, %#t - think the
Eona n#t is fina""y cracke* $%o#t si@ ho#rs after - finishe the "ast raft on ri6ing the
7a"e Roa, - was sitting in the fighting chair on a %oat ca""e the H#minger an
"ocke into a esperate str#gg"e with a h#ge fish@an 1B min#tes "ater - ha it ree"e #p
so c"ose to the %oat that - was a%"e to reach o#t an shatter its %rain with one cra9e
swooping %"ow from the +reat 7amoan war c"#%*
No%oy patroni9es me anymore, Ra"ph* - can rink with the fishermen now* The %ig %oys*
;e gather at H#ggo!s aro#n s#nown, to trae "ies an rink s"ammers an sing wi"
songs a%o#t 7c#r6ey* - am one of them now* .n the night we ca#ght the %ig fish - was
:c#t off! at H#ggo!s, an "ast night - was 3>! from the Eona -nn* for kicking the owner in
the n#ts, for no goo reason at a""* The "ast thing he sai@after in6iting #s for inner
an picking #p the ta% for C/B>@was :;hy i yo# o this to me<: Then his eyes ro""e
%ack in his hea an he sank own with a terri%"e groan on that %"ack?rock "ege in the
entranceway, where he staye for an ho#r an a ha"f an sai nothing at a"" to any%oy*
That!s what - hear toay, when - ca""e to fin o#t if he! recei6e the roses - sent, %y
way of apo"ogy** * * Yeah, it was that %a* -t was the first time in my "ife that - e6er sent a
o9en re roses to a man*
The %oys at H#ggo!s went wi" when they hear the story* They "a#ghe "ike "oons an
s"appe me a"" o6er my %ack, an e6en restore my %ar pri6i"eges* They on!t "ike
MarianHthe man - kicke in the n#ts@%eca#se one of the first things he i after
%#ying the Eona -nn was to wa"k into H#ggo!s, where the fishermen rink, an say he
was going to p#t the p"ace o#t of %#siness in si@ months, an any%oy who in!t "ike it
co#" s#ck on his %"ack %e"t*
He is 6ery serio#s a%o#t his karate, an he wi"" pro%a%"y kick my hea off my %oy the
ne@t time - go in there to rink** ** =#t - "ike those fine margaritas at s#nset, Ra"ph, an
the Eona -nn is the on"y p"ace in town that wi"" cash my checks for cash*
So m#ch for that, eh< - think it!s time to "ea6e*
=#t %efore - go - want to te"" yo# a fish story* The working tit"e is :How to Catch =ig
Mar"in in 5eep ;ater,: %#t - might want to ca"" it something e"se %y the time we go to
This is a weir story, !Ra"ph* -t has %een weir from the start an it %ecomes re"ent"ess"y
weirer with e6ery passing ay* They can!t #nerstan why -!m sti"" here* $n neither
can -, for that matter@e@cept that it seeme to %e working, espite the %r#ta" e@penses*
$n they are %r#ta"* ,n"ess this %ook is a %est se""er - wi"" ha6e to get a Ao% o#t here as
either a charter?%oat captain or a rea" estate agent, or may%e e6en %oth* That wo#"
gi6e me a footho" of sortsH%#t not for rea", an certain"y not for "ong*
- co#" han"e the fishing en, %#t *the rea" estate market in Eona is so wretche these
ays that - co#" own e6ery %#i"ing on $"ii 5ri6e an sti"" go %ankr#pt?%y Christmas*
The who"e coast, is for sa"e to the highest %ierHor to any %ier at a"", for that matter*
No%oy is %#ying anything for more than a ime on the o""ar* There are >44 rea" estate
agents in Eona, an %etween them they ha6e mae on"y fifty M04N escrow c"os#res since
yo# "eft here in ear"y Jan#ary, si@ months ago*
That is not what yo# ca"" a %#"" market*
Then one nati5e $roke from the crowd following him% ad5anced with a clu$% withdrew for
fear he might turn% ad5anced again% raised the clu$ and struck him a fearful $low. .ook
staggered for se5eral yards% and fell onto a hand and knee% his musket rattling onto the rocks
$eside him.
The captain was clearly not killed $y this $low% though seriously stunned. Another nati5e did
the murder. He was recogni0ed $y se5eral onlookers. The muscular .hief Iua leapt onto the
$ig stooping form% raised his pahoa, and plunged it into the $ack of .ooks neck. Ro$ust to
the end% e5en this did not kill him. The shock of the $low caused him to fall into a rock
cre5ice full of water from the high tide. Iua leapt onto him again% sta$$ing him repeatedly
while others who had Joined the murderer attempted to hold him down under the water. In
one last gesture of defiance% .ook raised his head. Those in the pinnace saw his $ig craggy
face clearly $ut momentarily. His lips were forming an unheard cry and he was wa5ing an
arm fee$ly towards them. He attempted to rise% recei5ed a second fearful clu$ $low. And now
it was all o5er@all finished e/cept for the dreadful performance of mutilation.
Henry Ro$erts from Shoreham% Susse/% masters mate% was among those who were unwitting
eyewitnesses in the pinnaceK and the sight would haunt them all for the remainder of their
li5es. The nati5es fell on the corpse like wol5es upon a fallen moose% sta$$ing it% gra$$ing
anothers pahoa and thrusting it in again% sta$$ing with spears% too% and hitting it with rocks
and clu$s. At one point a num$er of them raised his $ody from the cre5ice and $eat his head
repeatedly against the rock face.
+ic"ar* oug"
The Last Voyage of Captain James Cook*
=#t it is o#r market, Ra"ph* The chickens are a"reay roosting here, an more come home
e6ery ay* -f we ha6e any rea" cash %y La%or 5ay we can %#y the who"e goamn p"ace, an
mete o#t o#r own kin of A#stice*
Right* Yes* $n so m#ch for that* -t is time to get %ack to %asics* ;e can a"ways %#y rea"
estate, Ra"ph* $n we can a"ways p#nish the g#i"ty* *** =#t right now - think - sho#" te"" yo#
the story of what happene when - fina""y ca#ght a fish*
-t was, as yo# know, my first* $n it came at an awkwar time* - was reay to "ea6e* ;e ha
an eight o!c"ock f"ight to Hono"#"#, then an o6ernight ha#" to L$ an Co"orao* &#ck these
peop"e* Their "ies are costing #s money an - was "osing my sense of h#mor*
That was when - ecie to ha6e one "ast ta"k with the remnants of Team /44( a %#siness
meeting, of sorts' ten o!c"ock sharp at the Yacht C"#%HA#st ask a few critica" G#estions, get
the answers on tape, then get o#t of town the ne@t ay*
=#t the who"e iea went wrong, #e to %oo9e, an %y minight my moo ha t#rne so #g"y
that - ecie@for some gen#ine"y per6erse reason@to go o#t an fish for mar"in once
again* -t wo#" %e my "ast ay in Eona an the p"ane in!t "ea6e #nti" eight, so why not<
- was sti"" typing in a fit of co" rage when the s#n came #p an - rea"i9e that it was time,
once again, to ri6e own to ,nion Jack LiG#ors for another two cases of Heineken, then
%ack in the T?top M#stang for another high?spee r#n on the highway o#t there to the
Honokah#a an another "ong ay at sea*
That wi"" te"" yo# a"" yo# nee to know a%o#t my attit#e at that point* - in!t pack that
goamn %r#ta" 7amoan war c"#% in my sea%ag for the p#rpose of cr#shing ice* There is a
fearf#" amo#nt of "e6erage in that %#gger, an - knew in my heart that %y the en of the ay -
wo#" fin a reason to #se it* * * * .n something( may%e a fish, or may%e the fighting chair*
There is a "ot of mahogany to work with on a thirty?si@?foot Ry%o6ich*
-t was a"most ten when - came rocketing into the parking "ot at something "ike si@ty in "ow
gear an ha"f o#t of contro" in a serio#s fo#r?whee" rift* - misse that %#me?o#t h#"k that
once %e"onge to Lee Mar6in %y si@ feet or so, then straightene it o#t an aime the front
whee"s at the %ig t#na tower of the H#minger* 1 co#" see 7te6e!s %"#e )" Camino parke
right on the ege of the c"iff a%o6e the %oat** **
They hear me coming, they sai "ater, %#t there was nowhere to r#n e@cept #p to the front of
the %oat or into the water* 7o they ran* =#t not soon eno#gh* The ne@t so#n they hear was
my %rakes "ocking #p an the awf#" roar of tires skiing sieways on gra6e"* * . an then a
sharp meta""ic %ang as my front %#mper nicke the rear of the )" Camino A#st har eno#gh to
make it "eap a%o#t three feet straight forwar, so G#ick that it "ooke "ike a frog A#mping*
The who"e thing happene in mi""isecons, so fast that it seeme "ike a ream* No amage,
no pro%"em ** * %#t when - wa"ke o#t to the ege of the c"iff with the first case of %eer an
"ooke own on them, no%oy spoke* -t was "ike ta"king to pi""ars of sa"t*
:5on!t worry,: - sai, :- ha6e another case in the car*:
7ti"" no%oy spoke*
Jes#s, - tho#ght* These %astars are r#nk*
Then - rea"i9e that they were not "ooking at me, %#t at the front %#mper of 7te6e!s )"
Camino, which was 6ery c"ose to the ege* &rom where they stoo, it "ooke a"most reay to
fa"" straight own
on the %oat, which wo#" mean certain eath for a"" three of them@either cr#she %y the
fa""ing car, pinne in the wreckage an rowne as the %oat sank, or %#rne a"i6e in a
ho"oca#st of f"aming gaso"ine an e@p"oing iese" tanks that wo#" pro%a%"y estroy the
who"e har%or an %#rn o#t of contro" for three ays*
These things happen* ** * Yeah, an "et!s A#mp this one forwar a %it an pick #p the story*
;e ha the fish in the %oat %y noon* My time was 1> min#tes an 00 secons on the "ine,
an another fi6e secons to whack it stone ea with the c"#%* The %east fo#ght sa6age"y*
-t was in the air a%o#t ha"f the time - was fighting it* The first "eap came a%o#t ten
secons after - c"ippe myse"f into the chair, a wi" %#rst of white spray an %right green
f"esh a%o#t J44 yars %ehin the %oat, an the secon one a"most Aerke my arms off*
These %#ggers are strong, Ra"ph, an they ha6e an e6i" sense of timing that can %reak a
man!s spirit* J#st a%o#t the time yo#r arms go n#m% they wi"" rest for two or three
secons@an then, in that same sp"it secon when yo#r m#sc"es %egin to re"a@, they wi""
take off in some other irection "ike something shot o#t of a missi"e?"a#ncher*
-t is not "ike fishing for tro#t* ;hat we are ta"king a%o#t here is a %east the si9e of a
onkey that is fighting for its "ife on its own t#rf* $ ten?po#n tro#t might p#t #p an
e"egant fight, %#t a J44?po#n mar"in with a hook in its throat can rip yo#r arm?%ones
right o#t of their sockets, then "eap right into the %oat an snap yo#r spine "ike a
toothpick* The mar"in is a 6ery mean fish, an if it e6er e6e"ops a taste for h#man f"esh
we wi"" a"" %e in tro#%"e* 8eop"e who fish for %"#e mar"in on!t e6en consier %ig sharks
"ike the mako an the hammerhea a sporting proposition*
Most sharks won!t e6en p#t #p a fight* Yo# can ree" a %ig hammerhea right #p ne@t to
the %oat in ten or fifteen min#tes* No pro%"em*
,nti" yo# get to that si@teenth min#te* That is when the rea" f#n starts, with a
hammerhea* They are harer to ki"" than most =#icks, an getting, one into the %oat
witho#t ki""ing ha"f the crew is a trick that 6ery few mar"in fishermen wi"" e6er want to
"earn* =#t that is a ifferent story, Ra"ph, an right now -!m not in the moo for it* 8eop"e
who fish for %ig sharks #s#a""y o it at night, for their own reasons* 7ome peop"e want to
catch fish, an others want to ki"" them*
7harks are not hate an feare in Hawaii "ike they are in the Cari%%ean* These Eanakas
spen ha"f their time in the water, %#t yo# ne6er see anything in the newspapers a%o#t
:shark attacks*: Not e6en the eep cora" i6ers seem to worry m#ch a%o#t sharks, e@cept
at night, when they ten to get h#ngry@an - ha6e ne6er?hear a s#rfer e6en say the
wor :shark*:
;hich co#" mean nothing at a"", as yo# know* They are not %ig on wors, an they
rare"y e6en ta"k to each other* =#t any%oy who spens twe"6e ho#rs a ay thrashing
aro#n in the s#rf "ike a %ait?fish is either ha"f?shark himse"f or knows something a%o#t
them that we on!t*
$n it occ#rs to me, now that - think on it, that they on!t e6en worry me* ;hich is #m%,
%eca#se - know the %astars are own there* - ha6e seen them #p c"ose, in the waters off
the Eeys * ** an now that -!6e sai this, the ta%oo is %roken an the ne@t time - go own
with a tank anywhere in Hawaii some %"oo?h#ngry rog#e mako wi"" pro%a%"y rip %oth of
my "egs off*
.E H*7*T*
High <riest Ioa had $een told that he was not to return to the ship without the $ody of .ook.
Se5eral days passed $efore he fulfilled his promise. !rom accounts pro5ided $y the girls% it
appeared that Iing Terreeo$oo and his family and entourage of chiefs had retired to some
ca5es high up in the clifftops. There% the captains corpse had $een shared out among the
highest chiefs% the hair to one% the scalp to another% the skull to a third% the hands to another@
and the lions share% so to speak% $eing retained $y Terreeo$oo. High <riest Bretannee Ioas
difficult task was to e/tract these pri0ed parts from the chiefs% and arrange for their return in
one parcel.
It was not until '( !e$ruary that <riest Hiapo sent a message that the $ody was on shore and
awaited collection. .lerke in his pinnace and Iing in the cutter put off from the Reso"#tion,
and under strong guard approached the shore at Iaawaloa. Beneath flags of peace% a party of
priests and chiefs in solemn and ceremonial state paraded on shore with a massi5e pile of
fruit and hogs from the king. . . . <riest Hiapo carried in his hands a large parcel wrapped in
plaintain lea5es and co5ered with a mourning cloak of $lack and white feathers.
2n opening it% wrote Iing% we found the captains hands% the scalp% the skull% wanting the
lower Jaw% thigh $ones and arm $ones. The hands had $een pierced and salt rammed in to
preser5e them.
Iing Terreeo$oo himself at last made a reappearance after recei5ing assurances that he and
his family would $e safe and that the "uarrel Dwould $eE $uried along with the $ody of the old
god Lono. .lerke was a$le to recei5e him $riefly.
Tears were falling from the $loodshot eyes of the king as he $egged to know if they would $e
friends again when they returned to lea5e $ehind% as promised% Lieutenant Iing% the new god
Lono. .lerke reassured him% and as he wrote later% he e/pressed great satisfaction and
appeared 5ery happy.
And when will Lono returnN asked Terreeo$oo.
Lieutenant Iing replied that he would return $efore long.
Richard Hough
The Last Voyage of Captain James Cook*
J#ne /1, 1231 Eona
5ear Ra"ph,
Yes ** , the fish was "ooking me straight in the eye when - reache far o#t o6er the sie an
%ashe his %rains "oose with the 7amoan war c"#%* He ie right at the peak of his "ast "eap(
one min#te he was %right green an thrashing aro#n in the air with that goamn spear on
his nose trying to ki"" e6erything within
reach* ...
$n then - smacke him, Ra"ph* - ha no choice* He went "imp with the first hit, a%o#t two
inches %ehin the same eye he was #sing to "ook at me * * * an in fact my first instinct was to
go for the eye itse"f, %#t - a"tere my swing at the "ast sp"it secon, %eca#se - knew that kin
of hieo#s m#ti"ation wo#" raise #np"easant G#estions at the pier*
$nyway, that sho#" answer yo#r G#estion* $fter DB ays an DB nights of #m% shame an
f#ti"ity, that %astar might as we"" ha6e %een %"in in %oth eyes from %irth, for a"" the mercy
he was going to mi"k o#t of me with one fina" piteo#s stare* $t that point, -! ha6e %ashe the
%rains o#t of a ki""er wha"e, if we! got it #p ne@t to the %oat* ... A terri%"e %"oo?"#st came on
me when - saw him "eaping right %esie the %oat, so c"ose that he a"most "eape right into it,
an when the captain #p on the %rige starte screaming :+et the %at! +et the %at! He!s
gone wi"!: - sprang o#t of the goamn fighting chair an, instea of gra%%ing that si""y
"itt"e a"#min#m %ase%a"" %at they norma""y #se to finish off these %easts with ten or fifteen
whacks** **
That!s when - reache into my kit%ag an %ro#ght o#t the war c"#% an kicke 7te6e o#t of
the way an then, with a terri%"e shriek, - hit the %east with a r#nning shot that roppe it
%ack into the water "ike a stone an ca#se a%o#t si@ty secons of a%so"#te si"ence in the
They weren!t reay for it* The "ast time any%oy ki""e a %ig mar"in in Hawaii with a short?
han"e 7amoan war c"#% was a%o#t three h#nre years ago * ** an "et me te"" yo#, Eing
Eam was "#cky that fisherman #se a pa"e on his hea, instea of that thing
- sw#ng on the fish' we might ne6er ha6e ha any ta"k a%o#t :Laws of the sp"intere etc* * * *:
$nyway, here!s a se"ection of photos* - wish - co#" sen yo# more, %#t it a"" happene so fast
that - ha a he"" of a time getting any pict#res at a"" ... ) not on"y ha to #se the %#siness en
of a ro an ree" for the first time in my "iAe to rag a J44?po#n monster o#t of the sea in
"ess than twenty min#tes an then ki"" it in the mist of a fren9y right in front of my face, %#t -
a"so ha to r#sh %ack into the ca%in an get the camera an shoot a who"e ro""Opack in "ess
than J4 secons*
Very fast an sa6age work, Ra"ph* Yo#! ha6e %een pro# of me*
-nee * ** %#t the rea" story of that high?str#ng %"oo?spattere ay was not so m#ch in the
catching of the fish Many foo" can o thatN@%#t in o#r arri6a" at the pier, which freake
e6ery%oy, e6en Lai"a*
;e came in wi" an %e""owing, Ra"ph* They sai they co#" hear me screaming a%o#t a ha"f
mi"e o#t *** - was shaking the war c"#% at the r#nken %astar Norwoo on the pier an
c#rsing e6ery %oo9e?cra9y incompetent son of a pig?f#cking missionary %astar that e6er set
foot in Hawaii** ** 8eop"e cringe an shr#nk %ack in si"ence, as this terri%"e r#nken
screaming came c"oser an c"oser to the pier* * * *
They tho#ght - was screaming at them* No%oy on the pier ha any iea that - was ta"king Mat
the top of my "#ngsN to Norwoo@ an the r#m%"ing of o#r iese" engines was so "o# that it
seeme to me that - co#" %are"y make myse"f hear*
;hich was not the case* They co#" hear me at the %ar in the Eona -nn, 044 yars across the
%ay * * * an to the %ig afternoon crow on the pier, Lai"a sai, it so#ne "ike the secon
coming ofLono* - ra6e for fifteen min#tes, the who"e time it took #s to tie #p** * *
The crow was horrifie, an e6en Lai"a trie to act "ike she in!t know #s when - h#r"e a
10?po#n ahi at her from a%o#t 14 yars o#t* -t hit on the concrete pier with a nasty wet
smack, %#t no%oy picke it #p, or e6en spoke * * * they hate e6erything we stoo for, an
when - A#mpe #p on the pier an %egan whipping on the fish with the war c"#%, no%oy e6en
J#ne J4, 1231 City of Ref#ge
5ear Ra"ph,
)nc"ose p"ease fin some pages - i in Eona, a"ong with a photograph s#ita%"e for
Yo#r "etter of /DO> arri6e toay, a"ong with the %ook on shark care, which - s#spect we can
#se* * * * $n - a"so "ike yo#r notion of the Cro?Magnon man reemerging on the point of a
new -ce $ge, %oth ahea an %ehin his time* ;hich is?a serio#s trick to p#"" off, as yo#
know, an it has gi6en me no en of tro#%"e, in %oth the persona" an the professiona"
arenas* &ew peop"e are comforta%"e with this concept, an e6en fewer can "i6e with it* Thank
+o - ha6e at "east one smart frien "ike yo#*
=#t there is one thing - fee" yo# sho#" know, Ra"ph, %efore yo# take yo#r theory any f#rther(
- am Lono*
Yeah, That!s me, Ra"ph* - am the one they!6e %een waiting for a"" these years* Captain Cook
was A#st another r#nken sai"or who got "#cky in the 7o#th 7eas*
.r may%e not@an this gets into re"igion an the rea"m of the mystic, so - want yo# to "isten
caref#""y' %eca#se yo# a"one might #nerstan the f#"" an terri%"e meaning of it*
$ G#ick "ook %ack to the origins of this saga wi"" raise, -!m s#re, the same inescapa%"e
G#estions in yo#r min that it i in mine, for a whi"e* ** *
Think %ack on it, Ra"ph@how i this thing happen< ;hat mi@ of G#eer an M#nti" nowN
hope"ess"y conf#se reasons %ro#ght me to Eona in the first p"ace< ;hat kin of awf#" power
was it that ca#se me@after years of ref#sing a"" Man e6en the most "#crati6eN maga9ine
assignments as cheap an #nworthy@to s#en"y agree to co6er the Hono"#"# Marathon for
one of the most o%sc#re maga9ines in the history of p#%"ishing< - co#" ha6e gone off with a
p"ane"oa of reporters to roam the wor" with $"e@aner Haig, or own to 8"ains for a ta"k
with Jimmy Carter* There were many things to write, for many peop"e an many o""ars@
%#t - sp#rne them a"", #nti" the strange ca"" came from Hawaii*
$n then - pers#ae yo#, Ra"ph@my smartest frien@to not on"y come with me, %#t to
%ring yo#r who"e fami"y ha"fway aro#n the wor" from Lonon, for no goo or rationa"
reason, to spen
what might t#rn o#t to %e the* weirest month of o#r "i6es on a treachero#s pi"e of %"ack "a6a
rocks ca""e the Eona Coast * * *
7trange, eh<
=#t not rea""y* Not when - "ook %ack on it a"" an fina""y see the pattern * * * which was not so
c"ear"y apparent to me then, as it is now, an that!s why - ne6er mentione these things to
yo# whi"e yo# were here* ;e ha eno#gh pro%"ems, as - reca"", witho#t ha6ing to come face
to face with the +en#ine"y ;eir* Mere"y getting on an off the is"an reG#ire tho#sans of
o""ars an h#nres of man?ho#rs' an the simp"e act of sening a packet from Eona to
8ort"an, .regon, was a f#""?time Ao% for %oth of #s, for three or fo#r ays*
$n then, when yo# "eft, the massi6e shame an h#mi"iation - s#ffere at the hans of those
foo"s mae me %oth too cra9y to ta"k a%o#t what - was on"y then %eginning to #nerstan was
the rea" reason for it a""* * * an in fact - fai"e to see it c"ear"y, myse"f, #nti" "ast night*
Many things happene after yo# "eft, Ra"ph, an that is why - am writing yo#, now, from
what appears to %e my new home in The City' so make note of the aress(
cOo Ea"eokeawe
City of Ref#ge
Eona Coast, Hawaii
Yo# remem%er the Ea"eokeawe, Ra"ph@it!s the h#t where yo# to" me they were keeping
Eing Eam!s %ones' the p"ace where yo# are to c"im% o6er the wa"" an pose in the yar for
some 8o"aroi shots, "ike the %#ggering foo" yo# are an a"ways wi"" %e* * * * * ;hat<
5i - say that<
;e""* * * yeah, - i * * * %#t ne6er min these i"e Aa%s, Ra"ph' yo# weren!t there when the
ea" went own*
The tro#%"e %egan on the ay - ca#ght the fish@or, more specifica""y, it %egan when - came
into the har%or on the f"ying %rige of the H#minger an starte %e""owing at the crow on
the ock a%o#t :fi"thy r#nken sons of missionaries: an :"ying sc#m: an :oome pig?
f#ckers: an a"" those other things - mentione in my "ast #pate "etter*
;hat - in!t te"" yo#, o" sport, is that - was a"so screaming, :- am Lono!: in a th#nering
6oice that co#" %e hear %y e6ery Eanaka on the who"e waterfront, fram the Hi"ton to the
Eing EamHan that many of these peop"e were eep"y ist#r%e %y the spectac"e*
- on!t know what got into me, Ra"ph@I in!t mean to say it@at "east not that "o#, with a""
those nati6es "istening* =eca#se
they are s#perstitio#s peop"e, as yo# know, an they take their "egens serio#s"y* ;hich is
#nerstana%"e, - think, in the mins of peop"e who sti"" sh#er at the memory of what
happene when they %#ng"e Lono!s "ast 6isit*
-t was not s#rprising, in retrospect, that my Eing Eong?sty"e arri6a" in Eai"#a =ay on a hot
afternoon in the spring of 1231 ha a %a effect on the nati6es* The wor tra6e"e swift"y #p
an own the coast, an %y nightfa"" the owntown streets were crowe with peop"e who
ha come from as far away as 7o#th 8oint an the ;aipio Va""ey to see for themse"6es if the
r#mor was rea""y tr#e@that Lono ha, in fact, ret#rne in the form of a h#ge r#nken
maniac who ragge fish o#t of the sea with his %are hans an then %eat them to eath on
the ock with a short?han"e 7amoan war c"#%*
=y noon the ne@t ay these r#mors of nati6e #nrest ha reache o#r friens in the rea" estate
%#n, who saw it as the :"ast straw,: they sai "ater, an reache a consens#s ecision to get
me o#t of town on the ne@t p"ane* This news was con6eye to me %y =o% Marian at the %ar
of the Eona -nn, which he owns*
:These g#ys are not kiing,: he warne me* :They want to p#t yo# in Hi"o 8rison*: He
g"ance ner6o#s"y aro#n the %ar to see who was "istening, then graspe my arm firm"y an
"eane his hea c"ose to mine* :This is serio#s,: he whispere* :-!6e got three waitresses who
won!t come to work #nti" yo#!re gone*:
:+one<: - sai* :;hat o yo# mean<:
He stare at me for a moment, r#mming his fingers on the %ar* :Look,: he sai fina""y*
:Yo#!6e gone too far this time* -t!s not f#nny anymore* Yo#!re f#cking with their re"igion* The
who"e town is stirre #p* The rea"tors ha a %ig meeting toay, an they trie to %"ame it on
- ca""e for another %race of margaritas@which Marian ec"ine, so - rank them %othH
whi"e - "istene* -t was the first time -! e6er seen Marian take anything serio#s"y*
:This Lono thing is angero#s,: he was saying* :-t!s the one thing they rea""y %e"ie6e in*:
- noe*
:- wasn!t here when it happene,: he went on, :%#t it was the first thing - hear a%o#t when -
got off the p"ane@!Lono is %ack, Lono is %ack*! : He "a#ghe ner6o#s"y* :Jes#s, we can get
away with a"most anything o#t here?@%#t not that*:
The %ar was G#iet* 8eop"e were staring at #s* Marian ha o%6io#s"y %een chosen@%y his
own peop"e@to e"i6er an #g"y
J#"y 1, 1231 City of Ref#ge
M/D ho#rs "aterN * * * - m#st %e getting o", Ra"ph, eight pages is a%o#t a"" - can o in one
night' so - took a %reak an got some s"eep* - a"so fe"t - sho#" %ack off an ha6e a "ong "ook
at this - am Lono %#siness, %eca#se - was wary of %eing foo"e %y another fa"se awn*
That was the pro%"em, Ra"ph* ;e were %"in* The story we wante was right in front of o#r
eyes from the 6ery start@a"tho#gh we can %e e@c#se, - think, for o#r fai"#re to instant"y
#nerstan a tr#th %eyon rea"ity* -t was not an easy thing for me to accept the fact that -
was %om 1,B44 years ago in an ocean?going canoe somewhere off the Eona Coast of Hawaii,
a prince of roya" 8o"ynesian %"oo, an "i6e my first "ife as Eing Lono, r#"er of a"" the
$ccoring to o#r missionaryOAo#rna"ist, ;i""iam )""is, - :go6erne Hawaii #ring what may
in its chrono"ogy %e ca""e the &a%#"o#s $ge: * * * #nti" :M-N %ecame offene with my wife,
an m#rere her' %#t afterwars "amente the act so m#ch, as to in#ce a state of menta"
erangement* -n this state M-N tra6e"e thro#gh a"" the is"ans, %o@ing an wrest"ing with
e6eryone M-N met * * * M1P s#%seG#ent"y set sai" in a sing#"ar"y shape !magic! canoe for Tahiti,
or a foreign co#ntry* $fter MmyN epart#re M-N was eifie %y MmyN co#ntrymen, an ann#a"
games of %o@ing an wrest"ing were instit#te in MmyN honor*:
How!s that for roots<
5on!t arg#e with me, Ra"ph* Yo# come from a race of eccentric egenerates' - was
promoting my own fights a"" o6er Hawaii fifteen h#nre years %efore yo#r peop"e e6en
"earne to take a %ath*
$n %esies, this is the story* - on!t know m#sic, %#t - ha6e a goo ear for the high white
so#n * * * an when this Lono gig f"ashe in front of my eyes a%o#t JJ ho#rs ago, - knew it
for what it was*
7#en"y the who"e thing mae sense* -t was "ike seeing The +reen Light for the first time* -
immeiate"y she a"" re"igio#s an rationa" constraints, an em%race a New Tr#th*
-t has mae my "ife strange an - was force to f"ee the hote" after the rea"tors hire th#gs to
finish me off* =#t they ki""e a "oca" hao"e* fisherman instea, %y mistake* This is tr#e* .n the
ay %efore - "eft, th#gs %eat a "oca" fisherman to eath an "eft him either f"oating faceown
in the har%or, or strang"e to eath with a %rake?ca%"e an "eft in a Aeep on the street in front
of the Hote" Manago* News acco#nts were 6arie* * * *
That!s when - got scare an took off for The City* - came own the hi"" at ninety mi"es an
ho#r an ro6e the car as far as - co#" o#t on the rocks, then - ran "ike a %astar for the
Ea"eokeawe@ o6er the fence "ike a %ig kangaroo, kick oi6n the oor, then craw" insie an
start screaming :- am Lono: at my p#rs#ers, a gang of hire th#gs an rea"tors, t#rne %ack
%y nati6e 8ark Rangers*
They can!t to#ch me now, Ra"ph* - am in here with a %attery?powere typewriter, two
%"ankets from the Eing Eam, my miner!s hea"amp, a kit%ag f#"" of spee an other 6ita"s,
an my fine 7amoan war c"#%, Lai"a %rings me foo an whiskey twice a ay, an the nati6es
sen me women* =#t they won!t come into the h#tHfor the same reason no%oy e"se wi""@so
I ha6e to sneak o#t at night an f#ck them o#t there on the %"ack rocks*
- "ike it here* -t!s not a %a "ife* - can!t "ea6e, %eca#se they!re waiting for me o#t there %y the
parking "ot, %#t the nati6es won!t "et them come any c"oser* They ki""e me once, an they!re
not a%o#t to o it again*
=eca#se - am Lono, an as "ong as - stay in The City those "ying swine can!t to#ch me* - want
a te"ephone insta""e, %#t 7te6e won!t pay the eposit #nti" Lai"a gi6es him C>44 more for %a
;hich is no pro%"em, Ra"ph' no pro%"em at a""* -!6e a"reay ha se6era" offers for my "ife
story, an e6ery night aro#n s#nown - craw" o#t an co""ect a"" the Aoints, coins an other
strange offerings thrown o6er the stakefence %y nati6es an others of my own kin*
7o on!t worry a%o#t me, Ra"ph* -!6e got mine* =#t - wo#" nat#ra""y appreciate a 6isit, an
perhaps a %it of money for the o e@pense here an there*
-t!s a G#eer "ife, for s#re, %#t right now it!s a"" - ha6e* Last night, aro#n minight, - hear
some%oy scratching on the thatch an then a fema"e 6oice whispere, :Yo# knew it wo#"
%e "ike this*:
:That!s right*!: - sho#te* :- "o6e yo#!:
There was no rep"y* .n"y the so#n of this 6ast an %ottom"ess sea, which ta"ks to me e6ery
night, an makes me smi"e in my s"eep*
Skinner $rought me some whiskey last night. He flew o5er from Honolulu with two
girls from the agency and fi5e or si/ litres of hot Glenfiddich Scotch% which we drank
on the $each in paper cups with some ice I got from the Rangers. The moon was dim
and the clouds were low% $ut we had enough light from my porta$le hurricane lamp to
see each others faces when we talked. The girls were not comforta$le here% and
neither was Skinner. 1Im sorry%1 he said later% 1$ut its too weird to laugh at.1
+e were sitting on the floor of my house in the .ity of Refuge% a$out thirty miles
south of Iailua on the Iona .oast of Hawaii. The girls had gone swimming in the
$ay% and from where I sat I could see them splashing around in the surf% their naked
$odies shining in the moonlight. 2ccasionally one of them would appear in the small
doorway and ask for a cigarette% then laugh ner5ously and run away again% lea5ing us
alone to our $aleful con5ersation.
The sight of these longBlegged nymphs prancing around on the $lack rocks outside
my door made concentration difficult. Skinner could not see the girls from where he
sat% and his rnood was $ecoming so grim that I tried not to see them myself. .. .
Because I understood that this was not a social 5isit% and we didnt ha5e much time.
1Look%1 he was saying. 1+ere $oth in trou$le.1
I nodded.
1And we will $oth end up in Hilo <rison if we dont put an end to this madness@
That got my attention. 1+ell ... ah ... may$e so%1 I agreed. 1>eah% youre pro$a$ly
rightK its Hilo <rison for sure. . . .1
,y mind flashed $ack to realities# fraud% arson% $om$s% assault% conspiracy% har$oring
fugiti5es% heresy ... all felony charges.
He shook his head and leaned forward to hand me a cigarette. +e were $oth sitting
crossBlegged on the floor% each on our own tapa mat% with the dull glow of the
hurricane lamp like a tiny campfire $etween us ... and $oth our necks $owed with
serious pro$lems that could only $e sol5ed $y serious men thinking serious thoughts.
A noise outside the hut distracted me and I glanced out the door. 2ne of the girls was
standing high on the rocks with her hands on her hips and her nipples pointing up at
the moon like some ancient Hawaiian goddess curling into a swan di5e all the way
down to the Land of <o . . . and I was stunned $y the sight of it% some elegant 5ision
from a halfBremem$ered past . .. with the sea lapping up on the rocks and the moon
rolling o5er toward .hina.
1=e5er mind the girls%1 Skinner snapped. 1+e can always take them with us1@ he
paused% looking up at me@1if we can e5er get you out of this place.1
He was right. I shifted my position on the floor so I wouldnt ha5e to see the girls% and
tried again to focus on what he was telling me. .. .
Sometime around midnight we
ran out of ice and I had to use the $ullhorn to call for
more. Skinner was worried a$out waking up the nati5es across the $ay% $ut I assured
him they were used to it. 1They lo5e the $ullhorn%1 I e/plained. 1Mspecially the
children. M5ery once in a while I let one of them use it.1
1Thats dum$%1 Skinner mum$led. 1Stay away from children. Theyll $etray you $y
accident. ?esus%1 he muttered% 1a $ullhornQ Are you out of your fucking mindN These
nati5es are ner5ous enough% as it is. If they decide youre a per5ert% youre finished.1
1But I ne5er turn it on%1 I said% showing him the 2=B2!!BO2L*,M switch under a
piece of duct tape on the handle. 1The little $astards can yell into it all day and it
wont make a sound. But when I use it%1 I said% 1it sounds like this*:
A terri$le screech of feed$ack and distorted lowBend rum$le filled the heia*it as I
punched the sound le5el all the way up to 'C watts and aimed it out the door at the
Ranger station $ack in the palm Jungle. The sound was un$eara$le. Skinner leaped to
his feet and rushed outside to calm the girls% who were screaming hysterically. . . . But
I couldnt hear them nowK their 5oices were completely $lotted out. And then% as
thunder follows lightning came the strange crackling roar of my own 5oice@saying
5ery gently and calmly#
And then% repeated o5er and o5er again% like a 5oice from the Land of <o% 1I.M .*BMS%
,AHAL2% >MS% I.M .*BMS ... I.M .*BMS . . . ,AHAL2 ... I.M .*BMS ... I.M .*BMS . . .
The relentless screech of the feed$ack rose and fell like wild electric music along with
my words% $ellowing across the "uiet little $ay like the 5oice of some monster coming
out of the sea with a diesel meatBgrinder and a $rain from another world.
I uttered one final wa5ering $urst of oriental gi$$erish% then tossed the $ullhorn aside
as Skinner appeared in the doorway.
his eyes the si0e of $ase$alls. 1>ou cra0y $astardQ1 he screamed% 1now well ne5er get
out of this placeQ1 He gra$$ed his Ho$ie sea$ag off the floor and $egan frantically
Jamming things into it.
1.alm down%1 I said. 1The ice is on its way.1
He paid no attention. 1!uck ice%1 he muttered. 1Im lea5ing.1
1+hatN1 I said% still not understanding his fren0y. He was crawling around on the
floor like an animal frantic in heat.
Then he stood up and wa5ed a sharp stick at me. 1!uck off, dum$oQ1 he screamed.
1Its Hilo <rison for youQ >oure not e5en sane, manQ >ou want to get us a"" $ustedQ1
He shook his stick at me again% as if to ward off a demon. 1But not me, you $astardQ
Im o#t of hereQ I ne5er want to see these goddamn islands againQ 2r you either.
?esus%1 he said. 1>oure worse than cra0y. >oure dum$Q1
1So whatN1 I said. 1It doesnt matter here.1
He stared at me for a moment% then lit a cigarette.
I opened another $ottle of Scotch and scraped the rest of the ice out of the cooler.
1+ell ha5e more in a minute.1 I said.
+hich was true. The night ranger@pro$a$ly my friend ,itch IamahiliB@was e5en
now on his way along the path through the palm trees with a gar$age $ag full of ice
cu$es. In a moment I would see the $right $eam of his flashlight sweeping the $ay%
and I would signal him $ack with my own light . .. and then I would walk carefully
across the rocks to the old canoe $eside the main heiau when I knew he would lea5e
the ice$ag . . . and %in its place I would lea5e my own $ag .. . the one from the last
nights deli5ery@full of empty $eer $ottles% cigarette $utts% dead $atteries and
crumpled wads of $lue typewriter paper.
This was our nightly routine% and the rangers seemed to enJoy it. All they asked was
that I stay out of sight during the daylight hours when the tourists were roaming
around. That would $e a flagrant 5iolation of the main kapu.
The gra5ity of the situation had $een e/plained to me more than once $y ,itch% the
young ranger who normally worked the gra5eyard shift. 2n some nights@when he
was sure I had no 5isitors@he would $ring the ice all the way out to the heiau and we
would sit for a while% and talk a$out what was happening.
2r not happening% as hed $een 5ery careful to e/plain to me. 1>ou are not here,: he
told me. 1The heiau is kapu. No%oy can $e here.1
I listened carefully% with all three ears% knowing in my heart that he was far cra0ier
than I was.
I was dealing% night after night% with a *.S. =ational <ark Ranger in full uniform who
also $elie5ed% without "uestion%
that any shark he saw in the $ay might $e his uncle ... in a different form% perhaps% $ut
still fami"y*
2n some nights% as we sat there on the edge of the sea drinking $eakers of iced malt
whiskey and sharing a pipe of the local weed he would suddenly stand up and say%
1See you later% $oss. Im going home for a while.1
+hen he got in these moods% ,itch would roll a huge green cigarette and go off to sit
$y himself. I would see the glow of the cigarette for a while% and then I would hear a
splash as he slithered o5er the side% lea5ing me to $rood drunkenly in the dim glare of
the hurricane lamp% hunched on the rocks like a stranded ape.
25er the side. Into the deep% $lowihg air like a porpoise as he slid away from the
rocks and out to the open sea% disappearing into the ocean with the ata5istic grace of
some mammal finally remem$ering where it really wanted to $e.
The Song of ;aahia
. the "ong knife of the stranger*
.f the stranger from other "ans,
.f the stranger with spark"ing eyes,
.f the stranger with a white face!
. "ong knife of Lono, the gift of Lono'
-t f"ashes "ike fire in the s#n'
-ts ege is sharper than stone,
7harper than the har stone of H#a"a"ai'
The spear to#ches it an %reaks,
The strong warrior sees it an ies!
;here is the "ong knife of the stranger<
;here is the sacre gift of Lono<
-t came to ;ai"#k# an is "ost,
-t was seen at Lahaina an cannot %e fo#n*
He is more than a chief who fins it,
He is a chief of chiefs who possesses it*
Ma#i cannot spoi" his fie"s,
Hawaii cannot %reak his nets'
His canoes are safe from Ea#ai*
The chiefs of .ah# wi"" not oppose him,
The chiefs of Mo"okai wi"" %en at his feet*
. "ong knife of the stranger,
. %right knife of Lono!
;ho has seen it< ;ho has fo#n it<
Has it %een hien away in the earth<
Has the great sea swa""owe it<
5oes the ki"o see it among the stars<
Can the ka#"a fin it in the %owe"s of the %"ack hog<
;i"" a 6oice from the an# answer<
;i"" the priests of Lono speak<
The ki"o is si"ent, the ka#"a is #m%*
. "ong knife of the stranger,
. %right knife of Lono,
-t is "ost, it is "ost, it is "ost!
The Song of +aahia% A Renowned <rophetess
+aahia li5ed during the '9CCs A.A. Although it is claimed that +aahia was of chieftain lineage%
nothing is positi5ely known% e5en of her parents. Through an almost unde5iating 5erification of her
prophecies% in lime she $ecame rioted and feared $y the people% not only as a fa5ored de5otee of *li%
the god of the sorcerers% $ut as a medium through whom the unipihili% or spirits ot the dead%
communicated. She li5ed alone in a hut in a retired part of the 5alley of +aipio% and it is said lhat a
large puco% or owl% which was sacred and sometimes worshipped% came nightly and perched upon the
roof of her lonely ha$itation.
The Legens an Myths of Hawaii %y His MaAesty Eing Ea"a?Ea#a 6'88'7