What shadows we are and what shadows we persue-Burke
Scylla pushes the Cobra hard down RT 750. His son's car that they rebuilt from the suspension up, the supercharger whines as Scylla steps on the throttle. His son's Rottweiler is standing in the passenger seat hanging her head into the wind, tongue lolling out tail wagging hard and fast. The day is beyond beautiful, a perfect azure sky with a warm bright sun. Earlier Scylla had stretched out on his grass just to stare at such perfection and remember such a day.
Now driving down through the high Oahu plain towards Ewa large pinapple plantations on each side of the road, then the road west. It is still early and the road is empty so Scylla runs the Cobra hard, banging up against the rev-limiter in each gear. The top is down and Scylla can feel the heat building up in the dog's black coat as he reaches out to stroke her flanks, Paul Simon sings "A Mother and child reunion" over the stereo. The Cobra is either the worst type of car for Oahu or the best. It is too big and it's supercharged 5.4 litre engine sucks down gas (Premium $4.80 a gallon) at an alarming rate. It is also too fast, Oahu is a very crowded island (some neighborhoods have more then 86,000 people per square mile) and there is only a short stretch of highway where the speed limit is above 55 mph a three mile stretch on H-1 heading north-west. So even without a driver's license (a long story for another post) Scylla needs every so often, to take the Cobra out and drive hard, get those plugs hot burn the ethanol off the pistons, out of the heads. Today he laughs as the power pushes him back into his seat, top down the wind a rush and a roar, the day is beautiful and just for a moment, a second that can last forever Scylla looks over and can see his son, short red hair, browning skin, that wild, crooked grin on his face laughing as they bang through the gears. Scylla can almost reach over and as he's done a hundred thousand times, laughing rub his boy's head. Almost.
It's Sunday, Scylla and Brother Thomas watch football together on Sunday. Currently each one is suffering what the locals refer to as "the mainland wait". Thomas for parts to fix his truck and Scylla for a washer and dryer. So Scylla heads to his big brother's house to watch the games, clean his clothes and then take Thomas food shopping.
Thomas followed Scylla to the islands two steps ahead of a subpoena and arrest for some legal (bar fighting) nonsense. After a year or so Brother Thomas declared that Hawaii was where he planned to plant his sword and make his stand. So we bought a house. As Thomas's guardian Scylla had to handle the financial transactions. Buy the house in his name. Family. That's it just family. Prices for houses on Oahu are astronomical. So Thomas found a place up on the north-west shore next to the ocean in Makaha. Past Kapolei are Nanakuli, Waianae and Makaha. All "local's only" towns. No tourists welcome. No Haole's, (howlies) whites need apply. Even the real estate agent tried to change his brother's mind. These are the small towns of the working poor and the poorest is Makaha. Yards are filled with vehicles, fighting dogs on big link chains and fighting cocks, homes with 7-8-10 people sharing 2 or 3 bedrooms. On the weekend cock fighting is the rule and after 2300hrs the mayhem becomes general. Thomas fit right in as he does everywhere, his neighbors love him. It is hard to understand how a Bi-polar with violent schiziod tendencies blends in like Thomas.
After the games and food shopping Thomas tells Scylla to pull into the parking lot of a small store marked "Chop Suey House". As they walk in Thomas tells Scylla, "I need to see my bookie and collect my winnings." Thomas walks up to the counter, "Give me a lobster soup, duck in oyster sauce over fried rice and two spring rolls and do it twice friend." Scylla wonders if he was ever as cool as Thomas, long and lean, brown from the sun, tatooed up and down. Nope never. Even now with the past and present they share Thomas is now and always Scylla's big brother. The counter man is the bookie. "Where does he find them?", thinks Scylla. Yet he knows that if you would land Thomas on Mars within a week he would have made friends with every shady martian in a million miles.
The counter man fills a great paper sack with the order and then stuffs a smaller bag filled with Thomas's winnings on top all the while cursing in a pidgin-english dialect Scylla can't follow. The food is wonderful. A night without a cloud, stars uncountable above with clean folded laundry Scylla heads home. The top is still down, the dog still hanging her head into the breeze. A beautiful day.
Now Monday Scylla takes to the chore of his lawn. One can use string or blades for weed-wacking. Scylla prefers blades. Though weeding hurts him for days and Sarah had told him to forgo the tool and use weed-killer, Scylla as always tries to ignore his weaknesses. Almost finished this chore a bearing in Scylla's motorized tool goes bad. First a vibration, NOW a bang. Scylla shuts the tool off, he looks down; the head of the tool, blades and all is buried in his calf. Scylla can see that while bleeding heavily the blood is not spurting out, a good sign. He wraps his calf in two, then three, then four towels each one going to red fast. Living alone Scylla puts the tool away, to fix later, and drives himself to the doctor. Blood drenching the Cobra's carpet. 47 stiches later, from heel around to knee, Scylla is home with his leg elevated a large bag of ice, wrapped in an ace bandage watching football. He calls Thomas and they discuss why the Dolphins are so terrible, after pouring himself a large Glenlivet, both his dogs jump onto his lap and get comfortable. Night passes and God's good sun does rise, another beautiful day.
"I want to see these bad, bad, bad, bad men come to grips with their humanity."-James Ellroy