In A Thousand Words


So we, like ‘we’ meaning Paul, Mal and yours truly the one and only moi…. Isaac!, we were walking down Alii in good old Kona Town, going from the library to meet up with Gloria when she finished up her shift at Basics Store by the pier. I think it was cruise day, and everyone was all boarding the trolley to go to Big Box to buy plastic pineapples and leis made in China and that, and I think Mal was just finishing up another hardly working stint selling his homemade pictures to all the tourists.

It was one of those days that if we were lolo enough to go for pau hana and if we were good little people, we were supposed to be like all happy little bobbleheads to all the tipsy travelers going on about “HAWAII!!!!!!” like they just saw Jesus walk on water (though I don’t even think Jesus would have had the same impact, IMHO).

Yeah, I know, it’s not politically correct or anything for some little bratty kane like me to go dis the money bags around here, but you know, this here be my story, and so, this be the story I write. Free country and all that, least it used to be before what’s his name showed up, and the other haole dude just went off and did the whole ‘some island in the middle of the Pacific’ lolo beans.

So anyway, I’m supposed to be this good little writer and say, the skies were sapphire blue with happy clouds of cotton balls dancing happy skits across their stage. It was like one of those insurance commercials where all the plumerias and birds-of-paradise were singing with the people and then someone slipped on a coconut palm frond. WHOOPS!

Okay, Boy Scout routine pau now. Let’s get back to reality, brah.

Anyway, we’re walking past this tweaker named George who almost collapses into these skinny haole wahines wearing all of these fancy sundresses and high heels who stagger around saying something like “EEEooooAHHH,” and then George stumbles into the street while this Wrangler with tripped out wheels screeches the brakes, and then all the vehicles in both directions go still and there you go, you got yet another traffic jam on Alii and we’re now in front of some dude in a dinky sedan with tinted windows and subwoofer that’s so loud they probably can hear it in Maui, which from the beat sounds like that mele by Drake, God’s Plan, which is a pretty chill tune so far as I’m concerned. And we’re standing there except for Jimmy and some other kane I don’t know who speed together past all of them doing cartwheels and wheelies with their skateboards darting from the sidewalk to the road.

So the three of us stop in the middle of all this, and as Jimmy’s buddy passes us it looks like he drops something black on the ground near Paul and our attention goes to this new drama.

“Dude dropped his phone”, Paul says. He calls after the kane, yelling “JIMMYYYY!!! BRAH!!!!! YOUR FRIEND DROPPED HIS PHONE!!!!” which times out right on par with the whole part of the mele going on about ‘bad things’ and you got that right brah as the sedan pulls away.

So our attention gets to where the phone was, and I see Mal taking a keen interest at a spot on the ground near the phone pole, squatting on the ground and looking at it like it was some kind of thirteen-day old sushi experiment.

“Dude, you see something wrong with dis picture?” he asks as I get to the ground and Drake’s mini-me minion drives off. Mal points at this writing near the pole, which in a very neat and tidy circle proudly and eloquently announces the word “POLE”.

“Dey forget to read, or did dey forget to clean up the scene of the crime here?” he asks.

“Too much pau hana, my guess,” I say, looking at Paul who still thinks staring at disappearing Jimmy will magically bring him and the other kane back so he can get the heavy weight of guilt dropped from his breaking back. “Brah!! Paul, CHILL!! Don’t worry about the friggin’ phone! We’ll just call Jimmy!”

Paul sighs, the weight of the world on him like usual, he’s got to give it up already. But somehow he takes his whole Atlas routine over to us. “Paul! Look what we found here. Look what we miss out on when we don’t come downtown, right?”

You know, Paul actually manages a smile? Wonder of wonders!!! Then he looks at me and says, “You should write a story about this, Isaac. For your memoir or gospel thing or whatever you’re calling it. You should.”

You know, he’s right!! I should! “You challenging me??”

“Yeah, Isaac. You got the gift of talk story. You could make a space opera out of dish soap. You can think of something, right?”

George the tweaker threads his way back to us, oblivious to the scene he caused and starts yelling curses, right near the forsaken “POLE” word with its pole partner several feet from it, never touching, forever condemned to be separated. George starts crying, and of course Paul goes to him but he runs away.

It’s like George had seen it all, the beginnings of a partnership that was never meant to be. I hear another sedan pull up in the accumulated traffic that’s just now unstacking itself, playing a bunch of sad synth violins of Vangelis while George is crying, and what a mele can say in five notes what a picture will say in a thousand words, as George starts laughing away the second Vangelis dissipates.

He points to the “POLE” logo suddenly, grinning big, “You’d think those dudes up in County would lay off the beer for one day, brah?”

Lucid as ever, George takes off. We just stand there, like one big LMAO ohana.


Copyright © 2022 by Jessica Kuzmier. Photo by JohnBdigital. All rights reserved.

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