This arti­cle is part 4 of 9 in the series The Honolulu Retribution

A trip to Pearl Harbor is a sober­ing expe­ri­ence.  The movie that is shown to vis­i­tors before a launch takes one to the Arizona memo­r­i­al dra­mat­i­cal­ly illus­trates the dev­as­ta­tion of the Japanese air assault that sank and dam­aged so many ships and killed some twen­ty-five hun­dred ser­vice­men and women, and civilians.

It seemed some­what strange to encounter so many Japanese vis­it­ing the memo­r­i­al.  I could­n’t help won­der­ing if, inward­ly, they were gloat­ing over the suc­cess of the Japanese air­men who car­ried out the attack or were remorse­ful that it engen­dered so much suf­fer­ing for the fol­low­ing four years.

Standing in the memo­r­i­al itself gen­er­ates a pro­found feel­ing of sor­row, read­ing the names of the sailors and Marines who died on the Arizona and know­ing that most of their bod­ies still remain inside the hull of the ship right below where one is stand­ing.  And look­ing off the side of the memo­r­i­al plat­form at the small oil slick that con­stant­ly bub­bles up from the innards of the ship below seems to sig­nal, “don’t for­get we’re still here.”

Visitors move around inside the memo­r­i­al, snap­ping pho­tographs and peer­ing over the side at the sunken sil­hou­ette of the ship below. They remain almost total­ly silent or, if they speak at all, do so in hushed tones — maybe as a sign of rev­er­ence that this is a hal­lowed place.

The day was get­ting warm, and I walked back to my car in the bright Hawaiian sun­shine and head­ed back in toward down­town Honolulu to the Punchbowl, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, which con­tains some fifty-three thou­sand interred dead.

It is a hum­bling place, a huge plateau cre­at­ed in the caldera of an extinct vol­cano. But it is a peace­ful place, fine­ly man­i­cured with grave mark­ers set flush in the ground — some­times a high-rank­ing offi­cer set adja­cent to a low­ly pri­vate, sig­ni­fy­ing that there is no rank among the dead.

I wan­dered the grounds for a cou­ple of hours, read­ing a mark­er here and there and vis­it­ing the memo­r­i­al on the grounds, which shows all the major Pacific battles.

I could not help but stop to won­der if my planned vengeance against Trane was not, in some way, a vio­la­tion of the sanc­ti­ty of this place.  But then my thoughts returned to the two hun­dred-plus peo­ple, some of them chil­dren, who died by the actions of one man.  And for no good reason.

Trane, by his actions, had become part and par­cel of that group of humans that I have spent many years try­ing to eradicate.

It was near­ing evening now, and I head­ed back to the hotel.  It was time to grab a show­er and a change of clothes and find a place for dinner.

Though I was a bit tired from the day’s tours, it was not like the pre­vi­ous day’s exhaus­tion.  My mind was clear, and I was mulling over the many pos­si­bil­i­ties which lay before me, all depen­dent on what Raymond could tell me.

My great­est hope was that I would not have to go chas­ing Trane across the coun­try.  On the oth­er hand, if he should still be in Hawaii, I would be faced with the prospect of round­ing up the nec­es­sary tools to deal with him once I had deter­mined the method of doing so.  It might be pos­si­ble that Raymond would have some con­tacts here that I could uti­lize if need be.  I would have to remem­ber to ask.

Down in the hotel lob­by, I once again approached the concierge desk to get rec­om­men­da­tions for a nice place for din­ner.  I have found that a hotel concierge is absolute­ly the best place to gath­er infor­ma­tion.  I’ve yet to encounter a concierge who was­n’t high­ly knowl­edge­able about just about every­thing in their area.

A dif­fer­ent young lady man­ning the desk sug­gest­ed the Ocean Front Restaurant and Duke’s Waikiki, both of which were only a short walk toward the beach from the hotel.

I also inquired about some­place where I might pur­chase some addi­tion­al men’s cloth­ing items as I had not ful­ly replaced my now-destroyed items while on Maui.

She informed me that I would prob­a­bly have to go into down­town Honolulu, as most of the shops in the Waikiki area cater strict­ly to vaca­tion wear. I was intent on get­ting some items that would see me back to the main­land when my busi­ness here was finished.

I was some­what dis­ap­point­ed as I had hoped to do a bit of shop­ping after din­ner, but I had no desire to dri­ve into down­town at night since it was unlike­ly that the stores there would be open as late as those which line the beach area.

I left the hotel and head­ed over to Kalakaua Street, which runs par­al­lel to the beach, a street on which almost every­thing in Waikiki is locat­ed, includ­ing Duke’s in the Outrigger.

The restau­rant is set up for casu­al din­ing, with a fes­tive atmos­phere, and has a wide vari­ety of choic­es avail­able for din­ing and an exten­sive wine list.

I ordered fresh fish — what else would one have in Hawaii — which, accord­ing to the menu, was “spicy sesame gin­ger glazed with sweet and spicy ko choo jang glaze and topped with Asian pear rel­ish” and a glass of Trimbach Reserve Riesling wine.

The wine was brought to the table in short order; as I was sip­ping wine and enjoy­ing the back­ground music in the din­ing room, a cou­ple of ladies were being ush­ered to a table adja­cent to mine.

One was a stat­uesque mid­dle-aged lady, prob­a­bly in her mid-to-late for­ties, light­ly tanned and wear­ing an island-style flow­ered dress, strapped over each shoul­der.  She was car­ry­ing a small woven fab­ric purse and wear­ing com­fort­able flat san­dals.  Her com­pan­ion appeared to be much younger, per­haps very ear­ly twen­ties.  She was not quite as tall as the old­er lady, and she wore her hair rather long, down onto her shoul­ders. Obviously, her hair had light­ened from being sun-bleached as she was also much more tan than the oth­er, and her dress was quite sim­i­lar with only a dif­fer­ent flower pattern.

As the host­ess was about to seat the pair, I rose and, in the most cor­dial man­ner I could muster, asked if they would care to join me as I was din­ing alone and would love to have com­pa­ny dur­ing the meal.

They glanced at one anoth­er, each men­tal­ly weigh­ing the invi­ta­tion, and accept­ed with only a slight hesitation.

  • Chuck Witt

    Chuck is a retired archi­tect, a for­mer news­pa­per colum­nist, and a life­long res­i­dent of Winchester.

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