Michael G. Malaghan
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald

Editor’s note: We continue Michael G. Malaghan’s serialized historical novel, “Picture Bride — A Family Saga,” based on the Japanese immigrant experience. Malaghan’s trilogy takes readers from turn-of-the-20th-century-Japan to Hawai‘i in the picture bride era; the Islands during World War II, highlighted by the exploits of the Nisei soldiers; and beyond.

The novel, which is now available as a printed softcover book, opens with 12-year-old Haru-chan, fleeing her home in Amakusa, Kyüshü, for Hiroshima, where she becomes the picture bride of a Buddhist priest in Hawai‘i.

Author Michael Malaghan is a retired businessman who divides his time between Hawai‘i, Georgia and Japan.

Chapter 120

“Lies! Lies! Lies!” Grace Fortescue screamed, slamming the Hawaii Hochi down on the sofa.

“Mama, what is it?” Thalia cried, running into the living room from the kitchen. Her mother was visiting that afternoon. Neither woman could stand the other, which was why Grace had rented her own cottage after spending just two nights with her daughter and son-in-law.

“Another newspaper story from those . . . those colored people, making a hero out of the rapist, who got off with just a beating.”

“Let me see.” Thalia picked up the paper and read Taka’s article.” She wrung her hands. This boy reporter is such a source of trouble, she thought.

“Mama, I don’t think I can stand going through this again.”

“Of course, you can,” snapped Grace. “Our family honor demands it. You back out and everyone will think you made up the whole thing.” Her piercing eyes beat Thalia into submission.

“Yes, Mama . . .”

* * *

While Grace fumed, Governor Judd slapped his own copy of the Hochi down on his desk. Taka’s “Ida is a Hero” column stared back at him. Pafko’s “Ida was Lucky” editorial lay aside.

That reporter and Admiral Stirling, he thought, are as much to blame for this boy’s beating as if they had been on the Pali, flaying Ida with their own belt buckles. There are always violent-natured men, eager to break the chains of civilization if authority and society sanction their primeval urges. And, in this case, encouraged it. What’s next? he asked himself. A murder? But first things first. In the matter of police corruption and incompetence, he knew Stirling was right.

The cops — his cops — were rotten to the core. If the Massie complaint had been handled professionally, the case would never have seen the light of day. That Navy wife got her tit in a dalliance wringer and blamed it on the boys when the police served them up on a marriage-saving platter. How did it come to this? The question was self-incrimination rather than a search for a Paul-to-Damascus revelation. He knew the answer. Hell, everyone knew: The good ’ol boy system that had evolved since the early territorial days — all the top police jobs were political payoff appointees. He winced internally thinking of the incompetents granted his patronage. But the bungling of this alleged rape was the last straw.

He caught himself. Did he just say “alleged?” He knew the almost-certain truth. Dillingham knew it. But he had stuffed the truth in his back pocket in favor of the “bigger issue” — our right to rule must not be undermined, even if a few of society’s lower class must be sacrificed. He now knew what had to be done, what was right and what immediate action he must initiate to head off the Navy’s grab for control of Hawai‘i.

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