So now that “Mele Kalikimaka” is out, I figured you, Constant Reader, should get a little taste of our story. And why not a section primarly written by Noah, so you can see just how good he is with setting up characters and scenes. Maybe you’ll get an idea why I was so excited to write a story with him?
Meet Micah Keolu, who has lived in Hawaii all his life….
Micah woke to the sound of the mynah birds right outside his window, chirping away and greeting the early morning. It was a far more pleasant sound than his blaring alarm that was set to go off in another few minutes. The clock read 3:50 a.m., and Micah wasn’t ready for another full shift of work.
Ordinarily, a cup of cheap store-bought coffee was enough to give Micah that morning boost. But on back-to-back work shifts like today, he needed something stronger. From the cupboard, he pulled out a half-full bag of Kope Farms brand Kona coffee and inhaled the deep, strong aroma. It was about the only luxury item he allowed himself, and that was only because his cousin worked on the coffee farm and was able to get it to Micah for a good price.
While the coffee brewed, Micah sat down to a breakfast of leftover rice and chicken from the restaurant. It wasn’t the best or most nutritious meal, but at least he wasn’t starving. He had food in his stomach, clothes on his back, and a roof over his head. Micah considered himself lucky.
After breakfast and a quick shower, Micah got in the elevator, toting an extra-large thermos of coffee. He braced himself as the elevator started with a hard jolt. Micah and most of the other long-time residents accepted this as normal, even though Micah had told Todd Bates, the building manager, about it several times. The building was over thirty years old—older than Micah—and in need of repairs from the basement to the penthouses. But, it seemed like Bates was more interested in keeping everything looking pretty than in how things ran.
“First impressions are very important.” Bates always gave the same kind of pep talk in the morning before Micah and the other maintenance workers started their shift. As a former real estate agent, Bates knew how to sell an apartment in the building but had no clue how the building functioned. “People coming to Hawaii for the first time want that famous ‘aloha spirit.’ We want to make their experience unforgettable.”
Micah would shake his head.
Bates, a transplant from Chicago or some damn place on the mainland, didn’t know the first thing about aloha spirit or anything truly Hawaii. Bates thought that everyone in Hawaii wore bright aloha shirts and leis and did the hula all day long. Or at least that was the commercialized image of Hawaii he wanted to spread to the tourists and renters in the building. It was bad enough the employees had to wear insanely bright blue flowery shirts that were uncomfortable and retained the heat. At least they didn’t have to wear the plastic leis that Bates had proposed.
After Bates’s meeting about the busy holiday season and news of more tourists arriving, he made sure they all knew—as if he hadn’t told them already at least a hundred times—to greet the guests with “aloha!” Micah rolled his eyes and could almost feel the other guys doing the same. The other workers had found a sneaky way to avoid it by speaking rapid-fire Filipino and pretending not to know any English.
Flashy Hawaiian shirts always gave tourists away, especially the ones who were visiting for the first time. They had that excited gleam in their eyes, and while Micah was usually happy for them, his enjoyment quickly waned when they showed their ignorance and privileged attitude.
But, Micah knew tourism was the lifeblood of Hawaii. And not all tourists were like that. Most were friendly, even if a little uninformed, and wanted to know more about Hawaii—the history, the culture, the language—and not where to find the best surf spot or mai tai.
In actuality, Micah didn’t mind talking with the guests. He liked finding out about where they came from and how their homes differed from his own. It made him wonder about the different places he might be lucky enough to visit one day. He dreamed about exploring famous places and seeing landmarks he had only seen in pictures and movies. Micah had never left the islands and wanted to explore the rest of the country, even the world. He would love to experience the changing of seasons—see the colors of the leaves in fall, experience snow for the first time, see spring flowers break through the earth. In Hawaii, it was sort of a constant season with periods of hot and not-so-hot during the year.
Micah knew it was still a long way off.
But he was getting there.
You fulfilled your dreams one step at a time.
Isn’t Micah a sweetie? He’s going to save Chandler Buckingham from a life time of near “social servitude” to his very wealthy family!
Hope you want to read more!