Irving, TX – Curtis Kaloi is a dahkine police, a working man from the big island of Hawaii, with kin folks from all through the archipelago.
He makes his case with tones of wonder. “Did you hear about Lanai?” Waiting for effect, he says, “Huh?”
One conjures up images of the little island, clouds and mist enveloping its steep green slopes, a mountain top protruding from the Pacific, half forgotten, never visited.
“Some billionaire bought it. Just bought it. How do you do that? Huh? How can that be possible?”
But there is new hope for his people, he explains.
“We are registering, just like the Native Americans.”
Just like the tribes of North America, the polynesians are poised to claim tribal rights not covered by the treaties with the monarchs made by diplomats from across the waters, men in striped pants with fancy ties and funny ways.
It's true, the Kau Inoa movement is purposeful and directed toward a remembrance of those who came so long ago in outrigger canoes with lateen sails, from places in paradise that time forgot. Polynesia. Islands of refuge, plenty. Hope. Respite from the vastness all around, the sky above the ocean below, and below its surface, a world unknown, largely unexplored.
Will there be gambling, like Oklahoma? New York? Washington State?
“I hope so,” he says, a dream in his eyes.
One conjures up images of unknown worlds, spotted from the air, from car windows speeding past on ribbons of concrete and paths of macadam, tin huts, coconut palms, free range chickens, kids playing in the surf, women standing, poised on one foot, the other pointing toward their interlocutor, locked deep in gossip, a child on their hips, another tugging at the skirt of their garment. One thinks of row upon row of hotels and condos owned by foreign investors, their coffers offshore, their income sheltered, untouched by taxes.
It's not too late, one says. Ever. Never.
So, the operative question is, what do those local boys think about Captain Cook – and company?
“Well, you know, those local boys don't much like haoles, anyhow.” The look of scorn recedes quickly, leaves the muscle tension around his eyes, when the roast beef says, “I ain't no haole, man. Not me. Sailor man.” Pointing to my chest.
Laughter, all around.
And, then, back to the drill - Urban Shield - a slaughter of innocents in a school for little kids - a place of carnage, of blood and torn flesh caused by the bullets of some mad man bent on the destruction of human life.
In laughter, roast beef and local boy come away from the conversation with a single dream of no more bad days, a good life built on chance. Fortune.