hanabuddah header

User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active

Chappy no was happy. His morning was definitely not going well. First da car neva like start in da garage. Da kids had left da car door open the night before and with the light on insai da car ... auwe! Can you say: "Ded Battery?'

Now he was going be late for work. Monday morning was NOT a day to be late to work. Da luna at the warehouse was watching out for ennybody who was late. Especially on Mondays, which was da day mos' workers called in sick or came in late.

He looked at his boy's bike leaning against the wall. "You know, sometimes you just gotta do wot you gotta do," Chappy was talking to himself. The visual, however, of him riding his kid's bike down the street in front of Bartalona's house was not a pleasant one. They had a pit bull they never bothered to tie up. He knew he had to sneak pass the house as quiet as he could. Of course, pumping up the hill to the highway was another thing that passed through his mind. "I will never make it up that freakin' hill" he muttered to himself as he put the bike back against the garage wall.

Also, it was rent day. Mr. Suzuki would be knocking on the door tonight. Chappy squeezed his eyes shut really tight forcing out the thoughts of making another excuse for not paying on time.

The sound of a honking horn snapped him out of his ponderings. "Eh Chappy, you need ride or wot?" It was Nobreiga from next door. "Wot you get, ded battery?"

"Yup", Chappy shrugged. "Shoots brah, I definitely can use one ride."

Chappy slammed the hood shut and reached for his lunch pail. It had pink bears on a ferris wheel on the cover and white fluffy clouds. "Eh ... dis da keiki lunch box ... wea is mine?" he said out loud. Sure enough one of "da kidz" was going get one good size baloney sandwich today. Chappy already knew the guava jelly sandwiches inside would be a poor substitute. But, what you gonna do ... be grateful you GET something fo' eat fo' lunch, some peepos no more. Period!

Nobreiga eased his large "land cruiser"classic Plymouth Fury out into the Monday morning traffic. "So wot you did dis weekend?" Nobreiga asked looking straight ahead at the line of cars backing up at the stop light.

"Took da kids to da ole man's house. He always brightens up when he sees dem." Chappy rubbed his eyes still trying to shake the cobwebs of too many beers the night before. "Him for tell dem stories too. Just like he used to tell me wen I was small kid. I remember some of his stories but I tink he change the names now to protect da guilty." Chappy laughed remembering that the stories were about him and his brother back in da "hanabuddah days".

Nobreiga had lost his wife the year before to cancer. They never had kids. Her relatives from Kohala wanted him to move Big Island but he decided to stay in the house they both lived in. Plus he had the shop. Was kinda sad. Chappy kinda wen hanai Nobreiga afta dat. During the months afta she died Chappy made shua Nobriega was eating. Nobreiga had a good collection of tupperware at his house now. Chappy's wife wen remind him to retrieve da bowls from Nobriega's "wit da cova too", he was told.

Although there was an empty lot between his house and Nobriega's, Chappy could see into the side living room window that the light was left on most of the night wit Nobriega sleeping in da over stuffed chair by da night stand. It appeared that he did not sleep in the bedroom he and his wife shared for over 20 years. He and Nobriega never did directly discuss her death. Chappy didn't really know what to say. "Jus' tell'em how you feel, babe" Chappy's wife said. "I dunno how I feel," Chappy answered, "da words no come out."

"Eh, tanks for da ride, brah," Chappy said after a few minutes of silence. "Damm kids left da door open and the dome light wen drain da battery, I tink."

"No problem, Chappy." Nobriega smiled behind those thick cokebottle glasses. Nobriega's Body and Fender Shop was across the street from the warehouse where Chappy worked. It was Nobriega's father's business that he got when his father had a stroke.

"How's business?" Chappy inquired.

"Kinda slow deez days, almost tax time eh?" Norbriega gestured with his right hand, "gotta jus' hang on until summah time."

"Yeah, us too," Chappy said, "I tink da boss going lay off some guys. Good ting I finga lift drivah eh? Onee get me and da japanee kid can drive and da kid miss plenny work. Das why I couldn't call in about my car. Fo' shua dey lay me off."

"If no was for da fleet contract I get with da used car lot, hoo ... I be sucking wind." Nobriega said. " dem guys always give me steady business. At least I get dem to rely on plus insurance jobs."

"Eh, Chappy, I hope you no mind, but I gotta stop fo' gas at da cornah, k?"

"No problem, still get plenny time. Eh, you know wot, lemme catch some of da gas." Chappy reached for his wallet as the car eased next to the gas pump.

"Nah, nah brah, I get'em" Nobriega said

Chappy was already out the door, dissappearing behind the slowly closing door of the FastGas place. "Um .. I like ten dollar on pump numbah five, k?" He handed the clerk the only bill he had in his wallet. He quickly did a secondary search of his wallet hoping for another sighting of something green, to no avail. "Das how it goes," he sighed to himself.

"Pump'em on five, brah." he said as he got back in the car. "She get ten bucks."

"Eh Mahaloz, Chappy, you neva have to do dat." Nobriega said leaning in the driver's side window looking over his thick glasses smiling at Chappy as the numbers on the gas pump clicked it's way to ten bucks..

"It's cool, Nobreiga. Mahaloz for da ride." he replied.

They eased out into the street and Nobreiga's Plymouth Fury purred through the gears. It was his father's car that Nobreiga was driving. It was his "baby" now. Nobreiga kept it impeccably tuned and maintained. The car smelled of Amorall and the sweetness of a strawberry auto deodorizer.

The car purred to a stop at the warehouse gate. "Again, brah, you one life save-ah...if no was fo' you mebbe I no have job today," Chappy said as he got out of the car.

"No problem. You need ride home?" Nobreiga click the Fury into "drive" with his foot on the brake.

"Nah, I can catch ride with one of da guys. Thanks doe."

Nobreiga gave da shaka sign. With that the Fury hung a wide U-Turn and humped over the curb into the parking lot of the body and fender shop.

Chappy put the pink lunch can under his arm and walked through the gates and the small loading dock. He hoped he wouldn't get "razzed" for having his kid's lunch box. Yet he had other things on his mind. Suzuki for one. He would be climbing the stairs up to the front porch and knocking on the screen door this evening fo' shua. Chappy let out a heavy sigh. "Well, I gotta just hando it when it happens." He shrugged his shoulders at his locker, putting the lunch box inside of it and slipping into his "SMYTH STORAGE" jumpsuit ... his "monkey suit" as he called it.

The day passed slowly. Chappy moved containers and unloaded trailers throughout the day. He even worked through his lunch. The warehouse foreman noted that Chappy showed "good initiative" and "worked without supervision" on the "worker's evaluation" sheet for the day.

It was pau hana time already. Chappy had a dull rumbling in his stomach to remind him he had skipped lunch. He mused that it was a good thing because he scored some points with the luna and he didn't have to take the ribbing from the other workers about the lunch can.

"Eh, mahalos for the ride, Ernie." Chappy said, jumping out of the Chevy 4x4. He had gotten a ride with Ernie Lum who worked with him and lived a couple of streets down. Chappy noticed Nobreiga's car was not in the garage and the house was dark.

The kids yelled their usual greeting while not looking up from the cartoons on TV. Chappy walked into the kitchen and hugged his wife from behind. She had her back to him stirring a pot on the stove. "Hey baby" he said warmly

She turned to him with swollen red eyes. "Did you hear?"

"Hear? Hear what, babe?" Chappy stepped back to look at her.

"About Nobriega .." she sobbed. "He's .....dead."

"Whatchu mean he's ..." Chappy stopped and stepped over to the window facing Nobriega's house. It was already pass six o'clock and the daylight was quickly surrendering to the night. There were no lights on at the house. The garage was a black empty hole.

"He put a hose inside his car from the exhaust pipe in his shop and..." She started sobbing again.

Chappy sat down at the dining room table. He leaned forward with his head in his hands and elbows on his knees. The rush of the morning flooded his mind. The flashes of Nobriega's face and voice fast forwarded through his head.

"Honey," she said.

"Honey," she repeated louder.

"Honey, what is this?" she asked urgently.

She was standing at the table with the pink lunch box open. An orange. A small bottle of apple juice. Two guava jelly sandwiches ... and twenty crisp one hundred dollar bills.

Chappy stood up next to her. They both stared incredulously at the contents of the lunch box. No words. They both hardly were breathing. A stream of tears rolled down his face. Bartalona's pit bull barked in the distance.

"There's a note, Chappy," she whispered

"Brah," the note began, "this is for all the tupperware and ono food your wife made and shared with me. This is for the beers we had together. This is for the silence times we had when neva need words. This is ju' becuz you was always there for me. Brah, dis is ...jus' becuz. Nobriega."

There were footsteps at the door. Mr. Suzuki. Chappy looked at his wife's tear drenched face. No words. There was none to be said.

"Daaaaaad, Mistah Suzuki at da doa!" one of the kidz yelled from the living room.

"Um...tell Mistah Suzuki....um... I be right dea." Chappy called out with a trembling voice.

About Author

Kamaka Brown was born and raised in Hawaii. Childhood years were spent in Waimea Valley on the North Shore of Oahu. Now a California resident he has not forgotten his Island roots. He is a published author and performs local style comedy at concerts and clubs on the West Coast, Honolulu, Las Vegas and the Pacific Northwest. He is a staff member on AlohaWorld.com.

Show comment form