Talking Story

Lauele Town Stories

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Back in the kitchen, Kona opened the fridge, picked out a piece of raw onion from a plastic wrapped bowl, and ate it for luck, rolling the juice around with his tongue. He slipped the mango cobbler off a shelf and tossed the foil cover in the rubbish can. On second thought, he reached down into the trash and pushed the foil deeper, hiding it underneath the bloody meat trays and mango peels. He tiptoed down the hallway and set the cobbler on the floor inside his bedroom, hiding it from the den.

“Kona,” Mom called, “quit fooling around.”

From the hallway, Kona watched Mom turn another page; Dad watched the game.

“I’m  going to bed now,” he announced.

“Okay,” said Mom, not looking up. “Sweet dreams.”

“Yeah, Buddy, don’t let the bedbugs bite,” said Dad.

Dad looked away from the tv. Something…something…Dad couldn’t put his finger on it, but something was…

“G’night,” said Kona.

Nothing. The moment passed.

“G’night, Buddy,” said Dad turning back to the game.

 

To download the entire story, please click here.

Excerpted from Sniff by Lehua Parker. Copyright © 2013 by Lehua Parker. Excerpted by permission of Lehua Parker, LLC and Lauele Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher or author.

 

sniff_cover_blogAt dinner, Kona ate all the chili and only a little of the mango cobbler, even though he loved it. He knew he’d need it later.

“Kona, shower then bed,” called Mom.

Kona looked up from his computer. “Just a minute. I need—”

“Now, Kona. And hang up your towel this time. I’m not your maid, you know.”

Kona hit ctrl-S and powered down the computer. Arguing was useless. There were too many things adults didn’t get. 

In the bathroom, he ran water in the sink, wet his toothbrush, and added some toothpaste before rinsing it all down the drain. He turned on the shower and sat on the toilet lid, counting slowly to 100 hippopotamuses.

At 101, he carefully leaned into the shower, wetting only his hands, working his wash cloth into a lather and squirting shampoo down the drain before turning the water off.

Taking his wet hands, he ran them quickly through his bangs and behind his ears, brushing his thick brown hair away from his face. The built-up grease helped; his hair looked wet, at least from a distance.

Kona put on clean boxers and loose fitting shorts, ran his towel around the shower stall to dampen it, and dumped it on the floor for his mother to find.

To download the entire story, please click here.

Excerpted from Sniff by Lehua Parker. Copyright © 2013 by Lehua Parker. Excerpted by permission of Lehua Parker, LLC and Lauele Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher or author.

 

sniff_cover_blog“Mom, what’s for dinner?”

“Teriyaki steak with rice, steamed veggies.”

“Teriyaki steak! Tonight?”

“You’re complaining? You always beg me to make teriyaki steak. Tonight I made it extra sweet and gingery just for you!”

“I like it; I just… not tonight.”

“Too bad. It’s already defrosted and soaking.”

Kona looked at the thinly sliced beef swimming in sugary soy sauce, thinking hard. He tried again.

“But Mom, what about Dad? My teacher said that eating red meat is junk.”

“Robert Konahele, steak is not junk!”

“Not junk like junk food, Mom. I mean like the food pyramid. My teacher said people, people like you and Dad, need to watch what you eat. More fish and chicken.”

Mom paused her chopping, knife held aloft. “People like me and Dad?”

Sensing an advantage, Kona pressed his luck. “Yeah, you know. Older, rounder folks, the kind of people that need to stay away from beef and salt so your heart doesn’t explode. Maybe we can give the steak to the Nakamuras. Trade it for fermented tofu and kim chee. We can make a stir fry with lots of garlic. Easy and heart-healthy.”

Mom’s look curled his hair and chicken-skinned his arms. Too late he saw the smoke coming out of her ears as she grabbed a dish towel.

“Robert Konahele Inoye, you better engage your brain before you speak again or I guarantee you not going sit down for a week!”

He tried to scramble out of the way, moving like a cockroach when the kitchen lights come on.

“Sorry, Mom,” he mumbled, weaving from side to side as Mom snap, snap, snapped the dish towel at his feet. “Teriyaki steak sounds delicious. Never mind my teacher. I think she’s a vegetarian. Those guys are always a little crazy when it comes to meat. Too many mung beans and edamame for dinner.”

 “Eh, boy, you better show some respect for your teacher!”

Snap!

Mom turned to the sink and began wiping the spotless counter.

“But, hey, you’re worried about your heart, you don’t want to eat steak, your loss. You can eat the leftover chili, then. Lots of beans, no steak. Gotta be good  for your heart. But don’t blame me if no one wants to sit by you! Now stop futzing around and wash the rice. Your father’s coming home soon–unless he keels over in traffic from all this beef and salt!”

 

 

To download the entire story, please click here.

Excerpted from Sniff by Lehua Parker. Copyright © 2013 by Lehua Parker. Excerpted by permission of Lehua Parker, LLC and Lauele Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher or author.

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At recess, Kona couldn’t get anyone to play with him.

“Too hot, dude,” said Glen Miyabuchi. “I don’t want to run around. I’ll get all sweaty and stinky.”

“What do you mean get stinky? You’re stinky now!” snickered Brenda Chang.

“Knock it off, Brenda. You wanna fight?”

“Nah, Glen, relax. Just messing with you.”

“Come,” said Wendell Pacheco with a head jerk. “Let’s go play marbles in the shade by the library.” He held a big marble up to the sun, colors winking. “I have a new shooter. Green cat eye.”

“Sounds good,” said Glen. “Let’s go!”

“Not for keeps, right? Only for fun, yeah?” said Wendell, trailing Glen a little.

“Whatever, Wendell. You know you’re going to lose,” said Glen, rounding the corner to the shady side of the building.

“Hey! This marble’s new. I don’t want to lose it!”

“Whatever,” Glen said.

“Only for fun, okay?”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah…”

Looking back, Brenda saw Kona still standing near the classroom door. “Hey, Kona, you coming?” she called.

He shuffled his flip-flops on the cement, sliding his weight from foot to foot. “Uh, no,” he mumbled to the ground. “I didn’t bring my marbles today.”

“So? You can borrow some from me. I have a ton.” Brenda shook her purple Crown Royal bag, the marbles clicking.

“Nah, I’ve got other things to do. You guys go and play without me.”

“You sure?” she said, head tilted to the side. “I’ll loan you some. It’s only for fun.”

“Nah. I want to run even if you guys don’t want to play tag.”

The sounds of his friends’ rock-paper-scissors lingered in his ears as Kona started his long, slow jog all the way around the soccer fields, crossing in front of the Lauele Elementary School sign and back, working up a good sweat.

Man, it’s hot, he thought.  I’m sweating like a pig. Good.

“What’s up with Kona?” asked Wendell. “How come he’s always running?”

“He’s crazy. All he wants to do is play tag, even if no one’s chasing,” said Glen.

“Borrrr-ring,” said Brenda.

“Like we’re still second grade.”

 

To download the entire story, please click here.

Excerpted from Sniff by Lehua Parker. Copyright © 2013 by Lehua Parker. Excerpted by permission of Lehua Parker, LLC and Lauele Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher or author.

sniff_cover_blogKona hated making his bed. Walking around the edges and bending close to tuck in the top sheet made him feel…exposed.

From the doorway Kona leaped to the middle of his bed. Kneeling on the edge of the mattress and leaning down, Kona held the top sheet in his hands. With a bounce worthy of Ringling Brothers, Kona flung himself skyward and jammed the sheet between the mattress and the box springs before landing on his knees again. After inching his way around the bed tucking in the sheet and smoothing the blanket behind him, Kona’s last bounce sprung him almost out the door. He put on his Mom-eyes and glanced back for a final check.

As the bed’s dust ruffle settled, he saw something shimmer. Moving quickly, Kona kicked the empty Oreo bag deeper under his bed. His Mom-eyes spotted the telltale crumbs, and he brushed them off his desk chair before shouldering his backpack. Heading out his bedroom door, he almost didn’t hear the sh, sh, sh, soft and dry like sandy flip-flops on cement, a settling sound, a sound like empty firecracker papers scuttling along sidewalk before coming to rest on a dry, brown lawn.

Sh, sh, sh.

Kona didn’t turn around. He knew there was nothing to see.

To download the entire story, please click here.

Excerpted from Sniff by Lehua Parker. Copyright © 2013 by Lehua Parker. Excerpted by permission of Lehua Parker, LLC and Lauele Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher or author.

sniff_cover_blogBeing an only child, Kona was blamed for things he didn’t entirely do. The best he could figure, it was some kind of screwball adult logic that said if Mom didn’t do it and Dad didn’t either, it must have been Kona.

“Robert Konahele Inoye, get in here now!”

Kona groaned. Three names. He lowered his baseball cap and headed down the hall and into the kitchen.

“Yeah, Mom?”

“Kona, where are the Oreos?”

“Oreos?”

“Don’t play games, Kona. They’re not in the cupboard. I never had them; your father didn’t. Tell the truth. You snuck in the kitchen and ate all the cookies last night.”

“I just had a couple. With milk,” said Kona, pointing to the empty glass by the sink. “Just two. Not the whole package. Really.”

Mom narrowed her eyes. “Don’t lie to me, Kona. Who ate all the cookies if not you?”

He shrugged. “I dunno. Wasn’t me.”

“Those cookies were for the whole week! There are no more cookies. None for snack; none for dessert; nobody gets cookies now. Nobody likes a greedy pig, Kona. Whoever ate all the cookies is exactly that.”

Yeah, Kona thought, greedy, but not a pig.

Mom sighed. “Go get your backpack. Time for school. And don’t forget to make your bed.”

To download the entire story, please click here.

Excerpted from Sniff by Lehua Parker. Copyright © 2013 by Lehua Parker. Excerpted by permission of Lehua Parker, LLC and Lauele Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher or author.

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