THIS IS A YEAR OF THE HORSE CONTEST ENTRY
The Cab Ride With Kaipo
The hesitant cab snakes down to the bottom of the road and stops in front of da hamajang rock wall covered with runaway vines. 461 words.
Trigger: But I knew better.
You know, it seems whenever we take the cab home from our usual Saturday night jaunt into Waikiki, first to drop off Kaipo, then myself, something really weird happens. I mean really weird. And I swear, I never touch cheap, maple-syrup Mai Tais when we go drinking in Waikiki.
The weirdness begins like this. We always end up with the same cab driver, don't quite know how that works out. Kaipo says we pick it up from the same spot at the same time. But we only do this jaunt once a month. Sometimes every other month, depending on the moon and if I decide to go crabbing.
So we jump into the cab, feeling no pain, and the driver looks back at us and says in his mangled English, "da same place?". I say, " Yeah, first we going make one drop off at Kalauhalawale Street, then to Makiki". He mangles Kalauhalawale even more, and off we go. Then I look at Kaipo, and just like the last Saturday we went drinking in Waikiki, he's the same young Kaipo I knew over forty years ago. The same "young" Kaipo. Neva change from surfing days, over forty years ago. His hair, his body, no more wrinkles, nothing like that. I look at myself in the rear view mirror, I'm the middle-aged man, old enough to be "young Kaipo's" dad. I look down at my beer belly, still there too. Time didn't stand still for me, it's flying at break-neck speed. I sit back in amazement and watch the lights of Waikiki fade as we approach Kaipo's neighborhood. It's at the foot of Diamond Head, yeah, millionaire's "land". But Kalauhalawale is a small Hawaiian enclave that keeps missing the greasy grasp of the wealthy "land" owners. The hesitant cab snakes down to the bottom of the road and stops in front of da hamajang rock wall covered with runaway vines. Kaipo shakes my hand, the same surfer way, and gets out. Butchie Girl, his favorite dog, wags her tail, waiting faithfully at the mailbox. Dried Squid, his not-so-favorite cat, jumps off the hamajang rock wall onto Butchie Girl's back, just to piss her off. Kaipo turns around and "shakas" me before being swallowed up by the moonless night.
And like clock work, the cab driver says, " I always get hard time turn da car around dis street".
Again, looking at my middle-aged beer belly as we work our way to Makiki, I wonder how and why I always see Kaipo as the twenty-something-year-old surfer. Skinny bod, sun-streaked hair. Is it all the beer I drank that night, playing tricks on me? But I knew better. Perhaps we all leave something behind, and every now and then, on a moonless night, it comes back.