Maui Girl

These stories from Donna Austin come from her rich Maui history and heritage.

27 November 2006

Chapter 4: The Pirate Again

“Don’t tell on us please!” begged João as he stared at the fierce looks of the stranger.
“Don’t worry, I wouldn’t dream of it.” Assured the man leaning against a tree.
Tony studied the man carefully. His shifty eyes made him feel uneasy. When Tony eyed the gold earring, his heart skipped a beat! “Could this be the attacker?” thought Tony.
Thinking fast, Tony said, “I saw a sack filled with gold coins tied on a hook in the smoke stack rim, just out of my reach.” He lied. “I want to go get my father so he can go up and get it. My father’s arms are much longer than mine.”
The stranger’s face lit up with interest. “Say, I’ll guard this place for you while you go get help.” He offered.
Signaling João with his eyes, Tony said, “Thanks, I would appreciate your keeping an eye on things. It will take us awhile to get back. It is three miles to the sugar cane fields where my father works. We will hurry as fast as we can!”
Half-heartedly João agreed to go with Tony, although he knew it would ruin their day of fun and he would be caught for playing hooky.
Tony grabbed João’s hand and ran with him down the road. “Quick João! Lets get out of here. That man is bad. I recognized his earring! He’s my attacker from yesterday!”
João stopped in the middle of the road and said, “But that man will steal that sack of money before we get back!”
Tony laughed, “I made that story up to get him away from us.” He shook his head. “I guess he’ll be mad after he climbs that smokestack and finds nothing but an empty abyss. We better put a lot of distance between us and that guy.”
“Are you going to tell the constable about him? He might be able to catch him when he climbs down the stack,” asked João.
“Are you kidding?” answered Tony. “It would ruin our whole day of fun and get you expelled for truancy! Let’s go fishing with the natives liked we planned!” And that turned out to be the safest place for both boys because the ocean was one place the stranger wanted to avoid just now.

20 November 2006

Sugar Cane Mill Smoke Stack

Tony headed for the base of the 80 foot high smokestack. He climbed onto the roof of the lower buildings and found the rope ladder suspended by iron hooks to the chimney’s mouth. He scrambled up the shaky ladder, never looking down. His heart was pumping a mile a minute and hammering a rat a tat tat in his throat. When he reached the 80 foot rim, he looked down into its murky black depths, then, he looked over to the side and saw Tony looking so very small and far away. Tony froze, not because he saw another figure by the bushes, but because the realization dawned, that he was scared. He was more scared than he had ever been in his life. He felt like a rabbit pinned by a light, frozen with fright. Tony just couldn’t make his feet move to a lower rung in the ladder.
“Suppose this rope broke! Suppose the hooks give way! Suppose they do start their furnaces on Thursday! Why did I ever want to come up here? Rose will never know how brave I was and how cowardly at the end. She would despise me more than ever!” Tony thought as his whole life flashed before him.
João, standing below saw that Tony seemed frozen in space and time. He yelled, “Alright, you proved your bravery! Now come on down!”
When Tony still didn’t move, João climbed the lower buildings and stood at the base of the stack. Looking up, he yelled on the top of his lungs, “What’s the matter? Are you all right? Come on down. Don’t look down, look up and take one step at a time!” he coaxed and pleaded.
Heart in his throat, Tony carefully and mechanically lowered one foot and then the other, never once looking at anything but the big gray metal smokestack straight in front of him. It seemed like an eternity before he reached the last rung in the rope ladder and jumped the few feet to the ground.
“Thank God you’re down safely!” sighed João, “For a moment there, I thought I’d have to go up and rescue you and I sure didn’t want to have to do it. We might have both been stuck up there.”
A voice from behind them interrupted this speech. “Well done boys. You certainly have courage!” Both boys turned to the sound of the stranger’s voice and unfamiliar features and clothing.

17 November 2006

Playing Hookie

This suited Tony’s plans perfectly. He would sleep in until his father left for work and his sister went to do her housekeeping job for the Parker family in their beautiful mansion. Then Tony would slip out to meet his friend João by the mill.
The next morning all went according to plan. Even the weather cooperated by being beautiful and clear, for the boys day of adventure. João was there ahead of Tony waiting impatiently. “I thought you changed your mind about our plans at the last minute.”
“No way, I had to wait until my father and sister left for work. I was attacked yesterday and our house was robbed. My father thought I could use the rest, but I feel fine now,” said Tony.
“That must have been scary!” said João with eyes big and round. He had to hear all the details that Tony could remember before he said “Maybe you should take it easy today.”
“No! I’m fine. I’ve been looking forward to this day. Don’t you get all fatherly and over protective, too!”
Turning to the mill, Tony pointed to one f the smokestacks. “I dare you to climb that. I dare you for the love of Rose!”
“You’re crazy! I wouldn’t climb that. Suppose someone starts the fires up to boil the cane. I’d be fried like an egg on that smokestack!” argued João.
“Well, I have always wanted to climb that thing and today is the day I show you how to do it. You know perfectly well that the furnace is not fired up on Thursdays. See, there is no smoke!” Tony pointed out.

13 November 2006

Chapter 4: Tony is Followed

Tony skipped a little faster toward home, wondering what Rose, the girl of his dreams was doing now. Just as his thoughts reached the happy day of their wedding, he rounded the bend to Camp B in Punene. Rows and rows of unpainted simple houses lined the dirt roads. Farther back he could see the irrigation canals for the cane fields, glittering in the sun. Naked children were playing along the banks, trying to cool off with splashes of water. A bare footed Chinese man, wearing a pointed hat, walked by, carrying a pole across his shoulders with a bucket hanging from each end. “Peanuts for sale! Two Cents a bag!” he sang out.
Tony turned into the third house on the second street. No one was home yet. Adelina must be visiting one of her friends. Tony did not see his follower surreptitiously slip into the shadows of some nearby mango trees, nor did he realize how intently he was being watched and how glad the onlooker was to see that Tony was all alone.
Tony looked around the tiny house he had just entered. The living room, kitchen, dining room and family room and Tony’s bedroom all consolidated into this one front room. Two tiny rooms on the left were his sister Adelina’s and his father’s bedrooms. The outhouse and bath house were combined in a separate building 50 feet in back. This was called in Portuguese the casinha or little house.
Just as Tony started out the back door to the casinha, he heard the knock. “That couldn’t be Adelina”, he thought, “because she has a key. And it can’t be father because he doesn’t get off work until 6:00 p.m.” His first feeling was alarm that there may have been an accident!
Rushing unthinkingly to the door, he opened it quickly without first looking to see who it was. All Tony could later remember was a flurry of color, a knife, a gold earring and then a curtain of black nothingness.
When Adelina and Manuel, Tony’s father came home, they found him lying by the front door unconscious. Adelina ran to the pump for water, noticing that the house had been ransacked.
Manuel began chaffing Tony’s hands and saying, “Wake up Tony! Are you alive? Are you alright?” pleaded his father worriedly. He splashed the water Adelina gave him on Tony’s face.
Tony groaned, “Oh my head. Ow! What happened?” No one knew. Nor did they know that at this time Tony’s attacker was staking out the boys rendezvous for tomorrow!
Manuel Souza searched the house and yard and out house thoroughly. Seeing that all was clear, he went to report to the camp constable. Even after a thorough search of “Camp B, no stranger was found.
“All that seems to be missing is some food, a couple of blankets, and the $2, I had saved for clothes and soap. Thank God my Tony is safe and alive. You had better stay home tomorrow and rest,” admonished Tony’s father.

11 November 2006

Chapter 4: The Pirate

Tony threw a rock into a nearby silvery puddle and watched the circular rings made by the splash. “My hand is still tired from writing 5000 times, ‘I don’t know anything about who taught the parrot.’ What makes me madder though is that they took the parrot away to the brothers’ quarters and we’ll never see him again in our school courtyard. I really got to like that old bird. I sure agree that the brothers have absolutely no sense of humor.”
João shook his head uncertainly. “Brother Edward said, I’d be expelled the next time I got caught cutting school.”
“The secret is not to get caught!” answered Tony. “Come on, we deserve this break after all the writing we had to do.”
The two boys put their heads together and made plans, oblivious to the onlooker stealthily watching them from behind a kakui tree. He had dark swarthy features and a gold earring gleamed against his dark skin in the sunlight. He was not the type of person one would want to meet in the dark of night let alone the bright sun splashed afternoon. Yet here he was lurking behind a tree, listening intently to their plans.
He was hungry! He was tired! He was desperate! He was a hunted man! He had just escaped his ship, as the men clamored for his blood. He had slit one sailors throat and stabbed another man who tried to intervene. He had been running for hours!
Stalking the boys, he followed as they trudged along totally unaware of their surroundings. João arrived first at his ranch. “Come on in to the house and have a snack,” offered João to Tony.
“No thanks, I would love to, but I have to get home and help my sister Adelina clean the house and cook dinner. Since our mother died, we’ve been in charge of the house and it is too much for my sister to do alone on top of her housekeeping job. I’ll see you tomorrow by the sugar cane mill. Until then, adeus!”

06 November 2006

Chapter 4: Teaching the Parrot!

“I thought it would be fun to teach that parrot something other than the usual ‘Good morning’ or ‘Hello, Polly wants a cracker’ bit of boring parrot talk. It was hard work saying the same thing over and over again when no one was around. Of course you helped a lot. In fact I think you wholeheartedly endorsed the idea in the first place,” mused Tony.
“Yes”, confessed João, “I did think it was a great idea. But I never realized we’d get in so much trouble for it!”
Tony laughed and said, “I will never forget the brothers white, shocked faces looking on in horror as the parrot bellowed loud and clear, ‘Hello, you son of a bitch!’ I thought I would fall over laughing and then I was afraid I’d give myself away for enjoying the joke so much. But when I looked around, I realized I wasn’t the only one laughing because all the other boys were roaring with laughter too.”
“Yes, we were all looking bad and laughing together at the brothers faces. I was proud of the class when they kept their mouths shut and didn’t tattle on us. Brother Timothy stalked up and down those aisles asking for a confession and looking at each of our faces and deciding we all looked guilty. He must have asked ten times which one of us did it. All of our answers were the same. ‘I don’t know anything about who taught the parrot’ As he searched our eyes for a flicker of guilt.” Breathed João with a sigh. “That was tough to keep a straight face and look innocent.”

03 November 2006

Chapter 4: The School Parrot

As the two boys walked down the winding path, they barely spoke. João admired the view and beamed about with the serenity of one who has earned a holiday, although it was only midweek.
“Can you believe we got away with it, João? asked Tony with a chuckle. “I think this is the angriest I have ever seen Brother Timothy. I can still see his beet red face with the blood vessels bulging out in his neck.”
“Yes, Brother Timothy’s face was as red as his hair!” agreed João. “He sure doesn’t have a sense of humor and neither does Brother Edward the principal. They were so angry!”
“I didn’t think we’d get the whole class in trouble over that stupid parrot!” added Tony.
“Ha!” You should have taught that parrot to say one thing when the brothers were around and another thing when everyone else was there,” continued João. “I guess that parrot’s too dumb to tell the difference between Christian Brothers black robes and the kids bright blue uniforms though!” chuckled João.
The boys trudged along the muddy tracks feeling the squish of wet earth as it oozed between their bare toes. They walked along unaware of the surrounding beauty, through the wet ferns and coconut palms swaying in the breeze, both intent on their conversation.

02 November 2006

Chapter 4: Introduction

Chapter 4 is half truth and half fantasy. My uncle told me about climbing the smoke stack at the sugar cane mill in Punene, Maui. He froze at the top in terror. My Uncle also told me about the boys teaching the parrot bad words. That really happened and the parrot disappeared into the Christian Brother's house never to be seen again. The pirates are made up, but there really were pirates in the olden days in Hawaii. I keep hoping a publisher might read these stories someday and want to put them in a book.