I wrote a book, once, too long ago. It was called Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell (buy today!) and was my love letter to Hawaii. I’m working, slowly, on a second and having to flip through it today. Here’s my favorite part:
And when my American Airlines plane wheels skidded along the tarmac of Honolulu International airport Eddie Rothman was driving his jacked-up black Ford F-350 diesel.
He had left his compound at Backyards, a famously localized surf spot, after the sun set and drove south on O’opuola street before turning east on the Kamehameha highway, gripping his steering wheel with scarred knuckles. He passed Ted’s Bakery, known for its plate lunches, its cream pies, and its impossibly slow service. He passed the only Chevron for miles, run by a family of transgendered Samoans who flirt freely when handing over packs of cigarettes or change. They are each over six feet tall, two hundred pounds, with the daintiest touches of eye shadow and blush. He passed the rotting fruit stand selling fresh passion fruit and pineapple, Ehukai Beach Park and its just erected “Billabong Presents the Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons” scaffolding, set up for the contest that would run the next day. He passed sunset Beach Elementary school and then he abruptly turned right, without signaling, onto Ke Nui Road.
Ke Nui is the size of a small alley and runs parallel to the Kamehameha for a rough mile. Banyans and palms hover over it like a frescoed ceiling. There are no streetlights. Night can feel thick on Ke Nui. Dense. Eddie drove over the speed bumps without slowing and then slammed to a stop at its end. Directly in front of the Billabong house.
He got out of his car, went through the wooden gate and up the rock stairs and straight inside without ringing the doorbell and without the customary removal of slippahs.
Inside the house he paused briefly, glancing around, before walking up to Graham Stapelberg and fixing him in his dull gaze. Looking through him. Before reaching a scarred knuckled hand through time and space and grabbing his throat. The surfers and executives, those who had not yet left for Surfer Poll, froze. The horror. This horror. And Eddie reached his other hand back, back, back, and then, as if it was a slingshot, launched it forward. It smashed into Graham’s cheek with a painful thud. Eddie kept slapping him and then dumped him in a pile and went on a tear through the house.
God bless Eddie Rothman.