Mahu, page 1
Table of Contents
The Rod and Reel Club
Incident at the Makai Market
Born to Run
Keep it to Yourself
You’re a Champ, Kimo
Derek and Wayne
The Master of Handling
Talk Geek to Me
Lingerie and Gentlemen’s Items
Pack and Ship
Needle in a Haystack
Taking it Slow
St. Louis Heights
Never the Same
Kimo Comes Clean
Dinner with Friends
Fooling Around on Tantalus
End of Things
You Can Go Home Again
How Did This Happen?
Shopping Center Details
What He Left Behind
An Assemblage of Treasures
Setting the Trap
Someone is Watching
Boys’ Night Out
Men Will Say Anything…
It’s Who You Are
About the author
MLR Press Authors
NEIL S. PLAKCY
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright 2010 by Neil Plakcy
All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.
MLR Press, LLC
3052 Gaines Waterport Rd.
Albion, NY 14411
Visit ManLoveRomance Press, LLC on the Internet:
Editing by Kris Jacen
Cover art by Victoria Landis
The author acknowledges the trademark status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:
Longboard Lager: Kona Brewery LLC
Mazda Miata: Mazda Motor Corporation
Ford Explorer: Ford Motor Corporation
Jeep Cherokee: Chrysler Group LLC
Woolworth: Foot Locker Retail, Inc
Ford Taurus: Ford Motor Company
Rhino Chaser: Rhino Chaser Surfboards
Gordon Biersch: Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant Group, Inc.
Berlitz: Berlitz Investment Corporation
Armani: Giorgio Armani S.P.A.
Clairol: Procter & Gamble Company
Lexus: Toyota Motor Company
Rolex: Rolex Watch USA, Inc.
Big Wave Golden Wave Ale: Kona Brewery LLC
Brooks Brothers: Retail Brand Alliance
Fire Rock Pale Ale: Kona Brewery LLC
Polaroid: PLR IP Holdings, LLC
Foot Locker: Foot Locker Retail, Inc
Banana Republic: Gap Inc. Brands
The Limited: Limited Stores LLC
Gap: Gap Inc. Brands
Denny’s Grand Slam: DFO, Inc.
Magnum: Smith and Wesson Corporation
Smith & Wesson: Smith and Wesson Corporation
Dole: Dole Food Company, Inc.
Gucci: Gucci Shops, Inc.
IMAX: Imax Corporation
Prinivil: Merck, Corp.
Oreo: Kraft Food Holdings, Inc.
Rhino Chaser: KMF Group, LLC
This book is for Marc, my love and my inspiration, and for Sam, who gives us so much unconditional love, as well as in memory of Charlie, Pierre and Gus.
Thanks to Steve Greenberg, Pam Reinhardt, and Vicki Hendricks, my earliest readers, and to my mother, Shirley Plakcy, for all her love and support. Jim Hall, my MFA thesis advisor, read a very early draft of this book and convinced me I had to know more about Kimo before I could proceed. Lynne Barrett, Les Standiford, and John Dufresne are great instructors at Florida International University’s creative writing program, who provide instruction, mentoring and friendship in equal doses.
Thanks to Caren and Tom Neile and Ginny and David Wells, for all the encouragement, advice and editing over the years, as well as to all my FIU classmates and friends. Thanks also to Dan Jaffe, who gave Kimo his first literary exposure in Blithe House Quarterly. Other faithful friends and readers were David Beaty, Karen Blomain, Jessie Dolch, Lynne DuVivier, Jill Freeman, Sally Huxley, Christine Kling, Kathy Lawrence, Eileen Matluck, Stewart O’Nan, Barbara Parker, Ginny Rorby, Sharon Sakson, and Andrew Schulz.
Thanks to Maury Blitz and Morena Carvalho for help with the Mahu logo. Robert Phillips introduced me to the range of authors writing mysteries with gay detectives, for which I am quite grateful. Finally, thanks to Mr. Norman Haider, my tenth-grade English teacher at Charles Boehm Senior High, who first showed me how rewarding writing could be, and to all the other teachers who encouraged me.
When I first started writing about a surfer named Kimo Kanapa‘aka back in 1992, I had no idea that the character would take such a hold of my imagination. I have written nearly 20 stories, both mysteries and erotica, about his adventures, and I’m working on the fifth novel in the series.
Along the way, I’ve tried to understand Kimo’s appeal—both to me, and to the many readers who have written and emailed. I think the secret is that he’s a guy who’s trying to do the right thing, even when it’s difficult. Sometimes he succeeds, and sometimes he makes a mistake and tries to learn from it.
After I finished the final draft of Māhū and sent it off to my publisher, I couldn’t stop thinking about Kimo. Like him, I came out of the closet somewhat later in life, and I realized that the process didn’t stop the first time I told another person that I was gay. I thought it would be interesting to put Kimo through those same steps—first kiss, first date, first gay friends, first real boyfriend, and so on.
At the same time, I have tried to find cases for him to solve that force him to confront these issues, and to accept his place in the larger gay community. As a college professor, I feel it’s important to be a role model to my students, and I’ve given Kimo that same desire. He’s not just a cop, he’s a gay cop, and that extra designation carries a lot of responsibility, both to himself, the GLBT community, and his employers, the City and County of Honolulu.
This is the third version of Māhū to appear in print, and I’m grateful to Laura Baumbach and Kris Jacen of MLR for keeping Kimo’s story going. I also appreciate those at Alyson Books who brought out the previous edition: Dale Cunningham, Anthony LaSasso, and Paul Florez. Thanks also to Jay Quinn and Greg Herren, my original editors at Haworth Press, who gave Kimo his first chance to shine.
THE ROD AND REEL CLUB
The exchange was set for six o’clock, under the arbor that ran between the zoo and the old aquatic stadium where Duke Kahanamoku swam for his records. By that time, as the sun was beginning its nightly drop into the darkening sea, there were still enough strollers and fishermen to provide cover, but not enough people to make the place crowded. I was dressed like a moke, in a grubby T-shirt from a surfing contest I’d lost years before, a pair of low-slung shorts and
Tourists were packing up on the beach, toting their blankets and suntan lotion back toward the motels and time shares on the mauka, or mountain, side of Kalākaua. Japanese businessmen were stopping in at the chic boutiques, using their strong yen to buy European designer goods for neglected families back home. And somewhere in the distance I heard the rattle of an ipu gourd and the pound of a pahu hula, a sharkskin drum. That meant a hotel or bar was starting its hula happy hour for the Midwesterners among us, a chance for grandpa to get up and dance the hula with a pretty wahine while grandma trained the videocam on him for the folks back home, and everybody got brightly-colored drinks with little umbrellas.
Across the street, I saw my partner, Akoni, a beefy Hawaiian who went through the academy with me. We were an odd-couple pair, me tall and slim, Akoni short and stout. He had more pure Hawaiian blood in him, and darker skin. My father was half Hawaiian and half haole, or white, so even with a deep tan I was still fairer than Akoni. He wore an XXL aloha shirt in a bright pink and red pattern, shorts, and tennis sneakers, and he looked like one of those guys at the beach who rent out the surfboards. He looked pointedly at his watch. I nodded slightly, and crossed the street diagonally at Kapahulu, past the lovely Hawaiian-style Denny’s, with its second floor porch overlooking the beach, where you can get papaya with your Grand Slam breakfast.
I followed the shoreline under the big spreading banyan tree, walking along the beach called Queen’s Surf, which ran alongside Kapiolani Park. There was a volleyball net on the beach, and then a breakwater, and then the beach got really narrow.
That narrow section was the gay beach. There were about a dozen guys on the sand there, even though the tide was coming in, bringing with it scattered leaves and seaweed. There were fat guys and fit guys, guys wearing everything from the briefest of thongs to double XL swim trunks. Another ten or fifteen guys sat on the grass and benches, one group on towels under a palm tree. A guy with both nipples pierced winked at me and I quickly looked offshore, where a snorkeler swam toward Diamond Head, as if he was heading to the same rendezvous I was. Beyond him a range of sailboats and fishing boats cruised the glowing water.
A kid on a skateboard zoomed past, then stopped nearly in front of me to practice a jump, which he missed. I was jittery and I wanted to yell at him, flash my badge and give him the kind of scare he’d given me, but I held back. I headed along the narrow walkway behind the zoo, trying to concentrate on the shallow blue-green water, think only about the barnacle-encrusted pipe that rests on the sea floor and stretches out toward the horizon, bringing in deep, pure water for the aquarium behind me. But it didn’t work; I kept thinking of the bust.
Akoni was behind me. One of the fishermen along the shore, Lou See, was a member of the SWAT team, and he had a .357 Magnum in a shoulder holster under his baggy shirt, and a second in his creel. Evan Gonsalves, who was our link to the state’s import cops, was at the end of the path, waiting to monitor my conversation on a radio. I knew Evan carried a five-shot Smith and Wesson Undercover .38, with a two-inch barrel. The two young lovers leaning against a tree were beat cops from the Waikīkī station, Lidia Portuondo and Alvy Greenberg, and I wondered idly if they were enjoying this assignment. I think they were both carrying Smith and Wesson .38s, too.
I walked along behind the aquarium, where the pavement had been patched roughly. A single guard dog barked among the refrigeration equipment, which was poorly camouflaged behind a cluster of succulent hinahina plants with scattered white flowers. The low susurrus of the surf ebbed and flowed through my consciousness, and I breathed deeply, smelling salt air, car exhaust, and the low, sweet perfume of coconut tanning oil.
The week before a source had told me about a shipment of heroin coming in from Mexico, a kind they call black tar. It was cruder than the heroin produced in Asia, and sold on the streets for up to $100 per quarter-gram. It was smoked rather than injected, and that made it easier to get into, especially for teenagers. I was about to buy a pound of the stuff, with a street value of $150,000. If I didn’t screw anything up.
I got to the front of the stadium, by the big stucco gates sealed off with chain link fence, and waited. I looked up at the gates, thirty feet high, with Ionic pilasters and “The War Memorial” written on a lintel above. On either side of the Hawai‘i state seal above that were a pair of eagles, only the one on the Diamond Head side had lost his head, just a metal rod sticking up out of his neck. The gate was blocked with a chain link fence and signs that said “No Trespassing” and “Danger: Falling Rocks.” Through the fence I looked out at the pool and the ocean beyond, waves breaking on the deep blue water, the dying sun glinting off the crests of the surf.
A battered blue pickup stopped at the curb, and the two Mexicans got out. When I met them at a seedy bar down near Fort DeRussy, they presented themselves to me as college kids on vacation, doing a favor for the boy’s uncle. The boy, Pedro, had said it was a way to finance the trip. His girlfriend’s name was Luz Maria, and she was the one I didn’t trust. There was something cold about her mouth, a determination that was a little scary. I had the feeling she was along to keep Pedro in line.
As I started walking towards them, across the faded brown concrete worn down by sun and time, I heard a phone ring and saw the woman open up a portable cell phone. She spoke for just a moment, then turned to the man next to her and said something. They both turned and ran for the truck.
“Shit, something’s gone wrong,” I heard Evan say through my earpiece. Cops erupted from their hiding places and began to chase them, dodging mothers with strollers and tourists in aloha shirts so new they still had the original creases. I saw Luz Maria take the briefcase from Pedro and toss it in a high, sailing arc. It landed on the rail surrounding the truck bed, teetered there for an instant, and then fell into the bed. Almost simultaneously, the driver of the truck floored the engine and it squealed off down Diamond Head Road.
I was the closest, and I tackled Luz Maria just seconds after she threw away the briefcase. We scuffled for a minute, each of us struggling to get a purchase on the other. For those few minutes, everything moved in slow motion. I felt the sinews in her biceps, smelled her earthy scent, an accumulation of a day or two’s sweat. I heard the crackle of a radio behind me and the noise of running footsteps.
I hadn’t been that close to a woman in a long time. She twisted and turned under me, grinding her pelvis and breasts against me, simultaneously trying to get my gun and to knee me in the crotch. I outweighed her by fifty pounds and I was on top, but she was strong and lithe.
Then Akoni was there, wrestling her arms behind her back and into a pair of cuffs. I picked up her gun, a small .45, then stood up. I was still charged, feeling nothing but the rush of blood, the electric tension in my fingertips. I knew I’d feel the effects of that tackle the next day. I shook my arms out and did a couple of deep knee bends.
Evan had Pedro flat on the ground with his foot in the small of the college boy’s back, and Lidia and Alvy were running along Diamond Head Road, trying to get a plate ID on the pickup. Lou See was already radioing in for the paddy wagon.
Lidia and Alvy returned, empty-handed, and took over custody of the two Mexicans. “Shit, what went wrong?” I asked, as Akoni, Evan, Lou and I sat down at one of the picnic tables.
“Looked like the woman got a tip off at the last minute,” Lou said. “You saw her on the phone.”
“Can we subpoena the phone records?” Evan asked. “Find out who called her?”
I shook my head. “Not without some supporting evidence,” I said. “Peggy’s not going to be pleased about this one.”
Peggy Kaneahe, Assistant DA, was waiting for us at the m
There was an edgy tension between us even at the best of times, as though she was just waiting for me to hurt her again, and that night we hardly talked except for the bare details of the failed bust. A couple of the guys decided to go to a cop hangout on Kuhio Avenue, a few blocks mauka from the beach, and I went along. Peggy declined to join us.
I spent some time talking to Evan Gonsalves, over the blare of rock and roll from the bar’s speakers. It was nice there, under a thatched roof, with a cool trade wind fluttering the paper flyers on the table. Around us, couples cuddled in the shadows, and single men prowled the edges of the dance floor or stood idly around the well-lit bar.
“How’s Terri?” I asked Evan. Seven years before, he had married Teresa Clark, whose grandfather had founded Clark’s, the biggest department store chain in the islands. Nobody had been more surprised than I was. Terri and I had been friends in high school, but I’d always thought I was out of her league as boyfriend material. When she married a cop, the son of a Portuguese fisherman, I’d joined the crowd in wondering why.
Evan winced. “She worries a lot. You know.” He leaned over closer to me, his beery breath in my face. “Sometimes, I wonder what more I can do for her. She deserves a hell of a lot more than I can give her.”
Evan was a nice guy. He was handsome and well-built, with wavy black hair and intense eyes; he spoke well, and he was clearly on his way up in the police hierarchy. Like everybody else, I’d expected Terri to marry better, somebody with a mainland education and a lot of money. But so far, they’d seemed very happy, with a five-year-old boy they both doted on.
Other author's books:
- Dog is in the DetailsDog KnowsThree Wrong Turns in the DesertMahu Vice m-4In Dog We Trust (Golden Retriever Mysteries)The Cat Who Got MarriedDog Have MercyMahu Surfer m-2
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