Friday, December 12, 2008

The Wicked Warriors of Waianae

Rogues, Rascals and Renegades
The Wicked Warriors of Waianae
by the editor when he was a young minnow in the sea of life.

Long, long ago and far, far away in the land of leis, ti leaf skirts and shakes-in-the-grass, there was a magical place called Waianae. In this little bit of paradise, in a quaint, sea side apartment building, did abide several single sailors. For five days a week, when closely supervised, these sailors toiled long hours at West Loch which sapped their strength to the point of exhaustion. But the island gods demanded sacrifice and ritual of these sailors the other two days.

Saturday mornings began with the sacrifice of a couple of bags of grape or cherry Kool-Ade into the sacramental brown gallon jug followed by
two bottles of Ripple Pagan Pink and a quart of vodka. A small amount of water from the sacred stream on tap in the kitchenette completed the potion. This elixir was then shaken, not stirred, and served to the supplicants directly from the sacramental container. The incredible
liquid came to be known as “Shake-em-up”, for obvious reasons.

First taken in small sips, then increasingly hefty draughts, the potion stimulated the young sailors to display their physical prowess for the
steady stream of golden wahinis who drifted by on the heady aroma of Plumeria blossoms. The young men engaged in ritual contests of volleyball and other feats of physical skill to impress the wahinis. Being an island nation, everything had to be shipped in which made material for swimsuits expensive, but the wahini’s made do with as little as possible. This was appreciated by the young sailors and they stared approvingly... sometimes so hard that the tops of their eyeballs got sunburned.

Eventually, the magic elixir would overcome the young sailors and they could be found draped over most anything horizontal, or sprawled out
in the sand like road kill. In every case, the sacred circle of red or purple was prominently displayed beneath their noses, the vividness of the color an indication of their dedication and how long they would be communing with the gods. Other acolytes rolled the devotees into the shade before they became burnt offerings. One occasion, the Kahuna of the group, a
young man I called John, invited me up to share in the sacrifice, participate in the rituals and ogle the wahinis. It was an offer no sailor could resist. I begged leave of She Who Must Be Obeyed and rose up in the middle of the afternoon to join my shipmates in their celebration. I
took my young bulldog puppy with me. I arrived to find most in deep communion with the gods, some laying half in and half out of the gently breaking surf. It was a sight to behold. Such dedication. It was obvious that I was far behind them. I was offered a sip of the potent libation and carefully flipped the sacramental jug over my forearm and took in a great, honking gulp so I could catch up with the others.

In a split second, my toes curled, my chin left an impression in the sand, my tongue was stripped of its ability to sense flavor and the hair in my nose uprooted itself and ran screaming toward the sea. The religious epiphany was such that I was speechless for several minutes until I was able to breathe again. I could see why the young sailors had reported diving into lawn chairs head first, swimming vigorously in the sand to escape sea monsters, seeing visions and speaking in unknown tongues. Yea, verily, it was good stuff!

I remember little of the remainder of the evening. I do recall moving inside and one devotee prostrating himself in the middle of the temple walkway. Some acoylytes dutifully rolled him out of harm’s way and set the large coffee table over him to prevent accidents. I remember some time later the fierce and insistent banging on the underside of the coffee table and the terrified cry, “I AM ALIVE! I AM ALIVE! DON’T BURY ME! I AM STILL ALIVE. It took several draughts of elixer to calm him.

I awoke the next morning in my own bed not knowing exactly how I had gotten there and feeling like 500 pounds of homemade sin on a popsicle stick. My hair throbbed in agony. I slowly, and I mean slowly so my heels would not slam down on the floor and jar my head, made my way first to the medicine cabinet to get some aspirin and then to the kitchen for
some water. On the way, I saw my dog, feet up, laying in the sun and his tongue snaked out like a wide strip of bacon. All manner of bugs were traversing his tongue enroute to other places. Apparently his breath
was a bit stout for them. Even I didn’t hurt as bad as he looked. I gathered him into the house and administered one aspirin to him and four to myself. We lay on the carpet for the remainder of the day, suffering like the dogs we were.

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