Talking Story


The following is an excerpt from One Shark, No Swim available everywhere September 21, 2013.


When Kalei’s shark head broke the surface of the large saltwater pool at Piko Point, all he was thinking about was raw ahi tuna sliced thinly and spread like a fan on a bed of green cabbage. He smacked his lips remembering the last time—how the hot wasabi paste and shoyu burned his tongue and how the flavor of wood from the chopsticks lingered in the back of his throat long after he’d swallowed each morsel of fish.

Remember to chew, he thought. Humans chew.

For Kalei, eating fresh ahi was no big deal, but having someone else catch, clean, and serve it sashimi-style on a platter was once in a blue moon special. When a spicy sashimi craving hit, there was only one place to go: Hari’s in Lauele Town, Hawai‘i.

So really, how big could Hari’s new tv be? Kalei thought. Last night, Pua kept raving about how it’s just like being in the picture. Right. As if that’s even possible sitting at my table way off the lānai in the shadows of the oleander bushes. But with Pua, you never know. She’s so fascinated with humans, she’s becoming one. He scowled, annoyed that his sister Pua planned to live as human when her daughter Lē‘ia started school in the fall. Even if I thought Father would agree, I’d be against it. Whatever. No matter how she pleads, Pua can’t make me visit or stay, and I won’t, even if she promises to keep shoyu and wasabi in the boathouse and gets a big screen tv with premium sports channels. I’d still have to catch my own fish. And no way Pua’s ever gonna slice it and serve it to me on a platter. He nodded to himself. Regardless of what Pua does, I’m keeping my special table at Hari’s. It’s the only place I’ll ever be able to watch a football game or sumo match in peace.

Sumo! If that new tv of Hari’s is as big as Pua claims, I’ll have to make sure I’ve got more than a sashimi platter of fish in my gut before watching, something like a couple of monk seals or a huge chunk of pilot whale. All that sumo meat in slow motion is like catnip if I’m not careful and with Pua and Lē‘ia living in Lauele, we can’t afford another missing tourist rumor.

With only the moon as his witness, Kalei gracefully shifted from Niuhi shark to human form and started treading water, working his way to the edge of the tide pool. Pausing to wipe newly human eyes, Kalei inhaled his first breath of air, pulling the oxygen deep into his lungs. Forcing the last tang of seawater from his body, he paused.


All excerpts and short stories copyright © 2012 by Lehua Parker. Excerpts from the Niuhi Shark Saga by permission of Jolly Fish Press, LLC. All rights reserved. Illustration by Corey Egbert. No part of these excerpts may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. No part of these short stories may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the author.

Sign up for

Talking Story Newsletter

and receive free Lauele Universe bonus material and tips from the Lehua Writing Academy.

Click here to go to
The Niuhi Shark Website.

Get the Books

Barnes & Noble

When you’re allergic to water,
growing up in Hawaii
isn’t always paradise.

With Niuhi sharks,
even out of the water,
you’re not safe.

Everything you thought you knew
about Zader is a  lie.