Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Honolulu Stories, reprise by Mark Troy

Today I am reprising a post from my other blog, Hawaiian-eye, because a storm last night fried my modem at home and I'm unable to post what I had planned. This article was originally posted as a lead up to Left Coast Crime in Hawaii. Although LCC 2009 has come and gone, the stories in this anthology are timeless.

In a previous post, I mentioned Honolulu Stories, a newly released anthology of short stories, poems and essays about Honolulu. I lamented that there were no selections from mystery authors. There are, however, stories with crime or mystery elements.

One such story is "Stalking Haunani" by the great Hawaiian musician, Keola Beamer. It's the story of a hapless auto mechanic named Honey Boy Rodrigues whose problems with his ex-wives, his sisters, his boss and his cat are hilarious. Then, while looking through his binoculars into apartments in Waikiki, he discovers the beautiful Haunani Freitas.

As I said there is no mystery here, but there are crimes aplenty. Besides the stalking crime of the title, we have peeping tomism, terroristic threatening, destruction of property, lying to a police officer, and substance abuse. The substances that are abused are pomade and Brut cologne.

The story is told in the first person by Honey Boy in his pidgin dialect. If you've never heard or read pidgin, this will be a little slow at first and some of the words will be confusing, but the speech rhythms are dead on and delightful. Read it out loud. It's full of hilarious exchanges as this one between Honey Boy's ex-wife and the divorce judge:

"Was he hostile?" the judge wen acks, all serious and formal like.

"Ho, judge," Su Yen wen hiss tru her pouty lips. Steam was comin out her eeah, like da funnel of da smoke stack from one model train. Da pooah ting was strugglin wid her mean tempa. She wen rake da hair from her forehead, an stand up quickly from da chair.

"Hostile, dogstyle, anykine style," she yell out. She point at me. "An den, right afta dat, all da time, ZZZZZZZ, ZZZZZZZZZZ, like one chain saw, yoa honah. I res my case!"

If you are going to Left Coast Crime and you want to familiarize yourself with the local culture and dialect, this is the story to set you on the right path. While you're at it, get some of Beamer's music. "Honolulu City Lights" is still my favorite after all these years.

Mark Troy

1 comment:

Morgan Mandel said...

So, even in paradise they have storms!

Anyway, that quote is too funny!

Morgan Mandel