Typical Hawaiian Aloha

DISCLAIMER: The following is a work of fiction. I think. It includes language and images that some persons may find to be objectionable or disturbing. This is not exactly accidental.

* * * * *

The scientist was on his bicycle, riding to work on a hot August morning, heading to Honolulu.

He was in no hurry. The air conditioning to his windowless lab had broken down, a casualty of his employer’s deferred-maintenance program (he thought it was around $500 million’s worth by now), and the temperature in the lab had risen to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

He was going to have to get used to it. With programs being slashed to ribbons and only a court case preventing salaries from being slashed with them (for the moment), repairs were nowhere on the horizon. Not even the institution’s extortionate new parking policies would pay for them – not least, because those policies were a major reason why he was riding that bicycle. The last thing he needed was to arrive at work already overheated.

Besides. The traffic light ahead had gone to yellow. He, along with the three lanes full of cars and trucks to his left, prepared to stop.

Without any sort of warning, two guys on road racing bicycles and wearing store-bought team cycling gear raced by on his left – a few inches of wiggle on their part or his, and the scientist would have been sent sprawling onto the curb. They charged ahead, clearly intending to run the red light and expecting the crowd of cars to look out for them.

The lead car in the left-turn lane of the facing traffic had other ideas. The second its light turned green, or perhaps just an instant before, it charged into the intersection, tires squealing, and went straight for the cyclists, sending them sprawling onto the curb. They sprang up immediately (to the scientist’s not-unqualified relief) and marched toward the offending vehicle, which had screeched to a stop, blocking the highway. Its driver was standing by the door.

“Hey, asshole! Watch where you’re going!”

“Hey, fucking haoles. Next time, you stop at the light!”

“The hell with the light. You tryin’ to get somebody hurt?

“You don’t stop at the light, next time I ain’t stoppin’ neither. Two less haoles to fuck up Hawai‘i. You piss me off any more, I take care of it now.”

“You try it, bastard!” The two bicyclists made to rush the driver.

And found themselves staring down the barrel of an automatic weapon.

The driver’s voice was calm, not the screaming fury of before, but it carried from Koko Head to Waikiki.

“Get the fuck out of the road. Now. Before I change my mind.”

The cyclists backed up slowly until they reached their mangled rides at the curbside, hauled them up onto the grassy bank on the other side of the sidewalk, and stood beside them, mute, still, glassy-eyed.

The driver threw the machine gun into the front passenger’s seat, got into the car, and drove sedately down the highway, Ewa-bound.

For what seemed like an eternity, nobody moved. There was no sound but the idling of the engines of the cars piled up at the intersection.

Then, the traffic signal for the main highway turned from green to yellow.

And there was a mad dash to beat the light.

  – O Ceallaigh
Copyright © 2009 Felloffatruck Publications. All wrongs deplored.
All opinions are mine as a private citizen.


  1. Isn’t that the truth. It is the few that ruin it for the mass. I’ve seen plenty of cyclist do exactly that. I thought they had to obey the rules of the road. But most of them don’t. Sad but true. And of course the driver in the car…no one reported this? pffft

  2. Well, hon, I know that at least half of this story is true. And I am certain it won’t be long before the other half comes true.

    If it is any consolation, a police officer addressed a crowd of us at work not too long ago and said that the Honolulu police are issuing tickets to bicyclers caught disobeying traffic laws — tickets with the same fines a car driver would pay. They’re doing this in the hopes of having to scrape fewer cyclists off the grills of people’s cars.

    • Quilly, ssshhh! If the scientist’s institution (his workplace, not his mental health care facility – the two are not the same, at least not yet) should get the idea that a bicycle is the same as a car, and charge for parking accordingly …

  3. Fiction or not, I saw enough of that in NYC to know it’s pretty close.

    Very good story, are you sure you’re a scientist and not a novelist?

    • But, Brian, Honolulu is not NY … waitaminute … exorbitant rents, check; high prices for essentials, check; incredible levels of traffic congestion, check; corruption at all levels of government, industry, and daily life, check … sheesh. I guess Honolulu is NYC, except with palm trees and without the symphony. Sigh.

      Appreciate the thought. But science pays the bills, more or less. Writing of all sorts, not so much. Only wealthy societies can afford the luxury of paying artists. Especially with all these bloggers running around, giving away stuff.

  4. Wow, loved that ending after loving the story.
    Cyclists are the probably the thing I miss *least* from spending the summer away from Ireland. In our case they’re mainly tourists, but they ride along down the freaking highways, blocking traffic and nearly killing people who come around curves at the 100kph speed limit only to find a whole gang of slow-going bicycles. ARGH. It’s too tempting to just run them over.

    Especially if they’re Br—
    No, no n o no. I’m NOT going to say that.

    But I finally commented, instead of reading and running!

    • Susan, thanks. I’m glad that the occasional mad scribbling of mine can please a real writer.

      As for the cyclists, any two-wheeler who pretends, even for a second, that Hawaiian roads are like those of Eire is roadkill. The roads, and the people on them, are specialist in “passive aggressive”. They don’t necessarily do anything to get in your way, they just don’t do anything to get out of it. I was suspicious of aloha when I first got off the plane here, and events have confirmed those suspicions. Screw the tourist brochures, this is not a friendly place. I reckon it’s another 10% budget cut from erupting. And I don’t mean Mauna Loa.

  5. Wow. I’d heard about that; also read quite a few reports of beatings and native rage against the haoles. Yikes.

    But it’s an interesting thing for me to dwell on, because we do have the same thing in Ireland, a superficial welcome that hides (sometimes) our more usual xenophobia and intolerance of tourists…especially English ones. Smile at your face, stab you in the back: I hate it. Tony Blair’s father-in-law used to live a few miles away from where we live, and one day while he was in the post office someone spray painted “BRITS OUT” all over his car. There is a simmering resentment here even now, for all the years our own culture and language and religion and *everything* was outlawed by “them-next-door”, for all the people killed and for all that was suffered by the Irish for centuries. Of course we know it’s not a *modern* Englishman’s fault. Of course that makes no difference to how we *feel*, either. Forgiveness seems to some people to be the opposite of patriotism, and therefore disloyal.

    I admit, I hate tourists no matter where they’re from. It’s a love-hate relationship of course because know that we live in a tourism-based economy, but when you’re driving 60 mph on the highway on your way (late!) for an appointment or to pick up your kids from school, only to come around a bend to brake hard suddenly to avoid murdering some foreign shorts-clad backside waving in front of you at 7mph that WILL NOT pull over or allow you to pass, mile after mile after mile….ooooooohhhhhh…. YES I want to run it over!! But, when an Irish farmer is letting his cows out on the road and I know I’ll have a ten-minute wait while they get down to the next field, that doesn’t bother me at all. I tell myself that it’s the unnecessary pleasure-riding of a tourist, vs. a man’s living …. but I’m not sure that’s the REAL gut-deep reason. KWIM?

    So when I hear about the Hawaiian situation, I’m torn. I understand their feelings, but LOL I’m white and want to visit in peace. Looking back and wishing (or resenting) accomplishes nothing; the situation just is what it is now and we can’t change the past, so why not just get along and enjoy it together? Or is that just too hard for humans to do?

    Sorry for such a long rambling comment. It’s quite a topic.

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