Chapter 121

Mosquito Flats. Taka stood next to its edge, looking at the piles of trash piled high against the unpainted back concrete wall of the Nippon Theater at the corner of ‘A‘ala and Beretania Streets. So different from the movie theater’s regal front entrance. A rat too big to fit into a shoebox showed its disdain by ignoring Taka’s footsteps and kept chewing on something smeared red. Ketchup, Taka hoped.

He glanced down at his notes detailing Candi’s circuitous route to her Cunha Lane home. Looking right as Candi’s hand-drawn arrow indicated, he studied the faded three- and four-story tenement buildings streaked with industrial soot and cooking oil. From postage stamp-sized länais, blouses, trousers, bras and panties danced on stubby clotheslines. Underneath the balcony’s bent rebars, wrinkled-faced Chinese men with long-hair queues and their aging picture brides with bound feet mingled with Japanese teenaged prostitutes in high heels. The whiff of sweet opium masked the stench of garbage. A shout in Tagalog caught Taka’s attention just in time to see a shirtless young man toss a pair of dice hard against a wall down a nearby alley. He shook his head thinking about how the Mosquito Flats families had arrived on the same boats as the Mö‘ili‘ili families — full of the same dreams. How did this separation happen?

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