Monday, April 25, 2011

Aloha, My Lovely, Part 4: Lava Means Never Having to Wear Your Sari

From the case files of Sam Stain, Private Eye, who's been hired by Donald Trump to go to Honolulu and bring back the President's placenta

The roar of the surf became the drone of engines as I came to lying face down on a cold metal floor, vibration shaking my bones. Wind whipped my clothes and hair and bit the back of my neck. Groaning, I raised my head. I was in an empty cargo bay, in a propeller plane that seemed to be missing a door. Outside the doorway there was nothing but air, whooshing by. If I craned my neck just a little, I could see the ocean, blue and distant, blurring by a couple of thousand feet below.

Behind me sat the two hula boys who’d conked me with a coconut at the Department of Health. They were sitting in a pair of fold-down seats, watching me quietly through dark, placid eyes. I remembered Lulu’s voice, just before I slipped under. “Take the haole a-hole to the volcano,” she’d said. “Like the others.”

That’s when it hit me. They were going to throw me out of the plane into a volcano. I was about to become Magma, P.I. I’d stuck my nose where no noses should go, asked one too many questions about the President’s birth certificate, and I was going to pay for it, head-first into molten lava, unless I did something, quick.

Moaning, I staggered to my feet, then, steadying myself, I ran for the cockpit door, grabbed the handle, and yanked. Nothing. The door was locked tight as W’s flight suit on the deck of the Abraham Lincoln. I looked over my shoulder. Funny. The hula boys hadn’t moved. They just sat there, watching me and smiling.

“Relax, haole,” said Kong #1, his voice rising above the sound of the propellers. “We’ll be landing soon.”

“Landing? Landing where?”

“Molokai,” he said, his smile growing wider.

I felt the hairs rise on the back of my neck. “Molokai? Isn’t that a leper colony?”

Kong #2’s eyes lit up. “Kalaupapa,” he said. “Father Damien.”

So that was their game! Ask too many questions about Obama’s birth certificate and you end up a leper. And not just figuratively, like David Frum or Peggy Noonan, but a real, honest-to-goodness skin-falling-off leper, like that Scottish king in Braveheart. Sweet mother of Ben Hur! I sank down onto the cold floor of the plane, my back against the cockpit door. In a few minutes we would land, and I’d be face to face with the noseless ones. Was this the end of Stain?

A few minutes later we touched down. As the plane taxied down the airstrip, the hula boys tromped over and lifted me by the armpits, carrying me to the open doorway. The plane probably wasn’t going much more than 20 miles an hour when they threw me out. I bounced along the runway a few times and came to rest in front of a big black Packard, the kind you’d see in an old Bogart movie. Two pugs got out, picked me up and threw me in the back seat like a sack of pineapples.

The Packard started up with a roar and got rolling as I peeled myself off the old man’s lap. He didn’t look like much, but at least his nose hadn’t fallen off yet.

“Allow me to introduce myself, Mr. Stain,” he said. “I’m Neil Abercrombie, Governor of the great state of Hawaii.”

He didn’t look like a governor, with that scruffy white beard in need of a trim. “Must be tough, for a politician,” I said. “Being a leper and all.”

The governor’s eyes glinted behind wire-framed specs. “You’re a little behind the times. We haven’t had a leper colony on Molokai in decades.”

“Oh? Then why did your hula goons bring me here?”

“Let me be blunt, Mr. Stain. We know you’re working for Donald Trump. You’re the third investigator he’s sent to Hawaii to find President Obama’s birth certificate.”

“It’s worse than that,” I said. “Now he wants the placenta.”

“I see,” said the Governor. He looked out the window, gazing at the lush vegetation whirring past. “Trump’s an idiot, Mr. Stain. But, yeah, he’s right.” He turned back to me, his cheeks dimpling as he smiled. “The President wasn’t really born in Hawaii.”

He was smug about it. Too smug.

“No, really. See, when Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, a poor white girl living in Honolulu and attending the University of Hawaii, married a foreign student from Kenya in February, 1961, on Maui, she was already three months pregnant. Despite the fact that, as Mr. Trump himself puts it, ‘everyone wanted to become a United States citizen,’ she chose to fly all the way to Africa and have the baby there instead. Even though she somehow knew then that 50 years later he would become the first African-American President of the United States, and, in order to do so, would have to be an American citizen. So, with the help of her parents, a scheming World War II vet and his conniving bride, the homemaker who’d worked at Boeing during the war, she developed a cunning plan. First they bribed doctors, nurses and officials at the Kapi'olani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu, convincing the hospital to send a bogus birth announcement to the Hawaii state Department of Health, which, in turn, issued a counterfeit certificate of live birth. Next they bribed the editors of two separate Honolulu newspapers, The Honolulu Advertiser and the Star-Bulletin, to run identical phony birth announcements stating that the future President was, indeed, born in Honolulu. Not content to stop there, they bribed many friends of Ms. Dunham’s in Hawaii, including yours truly, and still more friends in the state of Washington, where she visited with little Barack one month after his birth, convincing us all to attest to their dastardly lie. It all worked beautifully, and would have continued to do so, if it weren’t for that meddling billionaire, Donald Trump. Congratulations, Mr. Stain. You got us. Too bad you won’t live to tell anyone.”

I stared at him, my mouth hanging open in disbelief. “The President’s mother was named Stanley?”

He nodded, smiling, then turned and looked out the window as the big Packard wheeled off the main road and turned down a lazy, palm-lined drive. In the distance, a brightly-lit sign flashed the words, “The Volcano House” in blazing neon.

The Governor turned back to me, patting my knee consolingly. “You do understand why we can’t let you leave the island, Mr. Stain. There’s simply too much at stake.”

We were approaching the front of a sprawling, plantation-style hotel. Leaning over me, the Governor unlatched the door.

“Goodbye, Mr. Stain,” he said. “I hope you enjoy your stay.” The car was still moving when he pushed me out.

I did my impression of a bowling ball again, rolling down the driveway. When I finally came to rest, I was looking up at a pair of long, bony, white gams that rose above me like tall stalks of sugar cane, disappearing into an orange sarong. I got to my feet and took in the rest of her. She looked vaguely familiar, and all wrong somehow, like Michael Dukakis driving a tank. A big yellow sunflower sprouted out of her long, blond hair. Her eyes were laughing sapphires in the leathery, crinkled map of her face. She had the sinewy, hard-scrabble shoulders of a champion bowler, and breasts the size of passion fruits beneath a string coconut bikini. Her turkey wattle neck jiggled when she spoke.

“Hello, Mr. Stain. You’re just in time for the luau. We have fresh Humuhumunukunukuapua'a.”

Her voice was deep. Too deep. It did things to me I’d rather not think about.

She reached up and played with her hair, the way girls do when they’re nervous. She had hairy wrists, for a dame. “Perhaps you’d like to clean up, and then join us for dinner. Would you like me to show you to your room?”

I rolled my tongue back into my mouth and said, “You had me at Humuhumunukunukuapua'a.”

I was still drooling when she took off the wig. I didn’t notice where she got the gun from. Maybe it was in the wig. All I know is that when I looked at her hand, there was a .38 Beretta in it, pointed right at my spleen.

“Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle,” I said, trying to look more relaxed than I was. “Joe Biden.”


No comments:

Post a Comment