HISTORICAL FICTION By Michael G. Malaghan
Oki Tama eased onto a cushioned armchair on the porch. Haru and Kenji sat on hardback chairs next to him. Tsutsumi, who had honed his speaking technique shouting over the pounding of Hawai‘i’s surf, placed one hand on the back of Oki Tama’s chair. He waited for the crowd to settle and then lifted his two-foot-long brass megaphone.
“You are going to bed hungry . . . because you want your children to have a better life. You are sleeping on the ground . . . so that after years of toil under the grueling sun, you might buy a farm or a fishing boat or a small shop. You have suffered disease and even the death of loved ones . . . because you are determined to live in Hawai‘i, permanently. In dignity — not as slaves tied to the company store and assigned to homes without running water.”