A Glibertarians Exclusive: License to Kill, Part IV

It’s almost time.

The rustling in the brush-filled notch in the ridge grew louder.  A shape emerged, big, broad-shouldered – one of the muscle-heads.  And in his hands…  Paul’s jaw dropped.

Oh, shit.  How the hell did they get a tommy gun into Hawaii?  He considered what to do.  What the hell – might make what we are going to try more convincing.

It couldn’t be allowed to change their plan.  The others would have seen it, too.  Paul watched as the other big guy came into the open, a revolver in his meaty right fist.  Behind him, the smaller man emerged, also bearing a revolver.

Paul aimed his Springfield.  The goon in front turned somewhat, to talk to the two behind him.  They were only about seventy yards away; Paul and Henry had paced off the range the day before.


Paul knew he was the best shot in the group, and they had planned accordingly.  Now he had the perfect opportunity.  He aimed carefully at the big drum magazine of the submachinegun.


Honolulu, June 1946

Wednesday night at Mahalo, and while the group of old friends was ostensibly playing poker again, to keep up the appearance of their normal routine, they were in fact engaged in a sotto voce planning session.  Maggie, Apikala and Betty Kendall had pulled chairs up close by to join in.

“Too bad we can’t just shoot them,” Henry Houlihan opined to Paul. “Got a pretty good idea they’re here to shoot you and Maggie. Or at least you.”

“I doubt they want to take me back. Be a hard thing to pull an unwilling woman from Hawaii to Iowa, and besides, whatever deal they made with the Chicago group must be long gone now.  No, I’m guessing whoever is in charge of the Gilliard family back in Waterloo is looking to get some payback, and to send a message.”

Henry looked at Maggie.  “Seems like a lot of damn work for that, after all this time.”

“You never met my grandfather,” Maggie replied.  “He was the most determined son of a bitch ever hatched.  Could hold a grudge for decades.  I don’t know if he’s still alive – he’d be pretty old now – but whoever he turns the family over to would have to be the same way, or he wouldn’t have picked them.  They won’t be looking to scare us.  They’ll be looking to end us.”

“So what do we do?” Paul looked over his cards at the group of veterans around the table.  “I can’t imagine they’d try to hit us at the apartment.  Too many people around.  It’s a built-up area, lots of foot traffic that near Waikiki.”

“They came by our place,” Henry offered.  “Bet you anything they know about you visiting most Sundays.”

Sam Kendall tossed two cards aside.  “I’ll take two.  Think they know about the shooting range?  I’d think really hard about trying a hit on anyone who has their own shooting range in his back yard.”

“I wasn’t doing any shooting when they came past.  Kind of hard to even see it from the road, much less tell what it is.  Not like I leave any targets up or anything.”

“Figure they’ll only have pistols.  Henry, you have, what, three of those Springfields?”

“That, two carbines, a handful of .45s.”

“Damn,” Dugan Jefferson said. “Enough for a squad.  That oughtta do us.”

“What do you mean, us?” Paul asked. “You’re still on active duty.  You can’t get mixed up in anything like this.  You could get cashiered.  What would you do then?”

“What I was doing before the war.  On my old man’s farm, walking behind the north end of a southbound mule.  Don’t you try to leave me out of this, Paul.  We’re Marines.  Semper fi, you know what that means, right?”

“Means if you fuck with one of us, you fuck with all of us,” Henry chuckled.

“Damn right.”

Paul frowned.  He laid his cards down.  “Call.  Still, that brings us right back to the problem.  We can’t just shoot them.  I’m not too hot on the idea of letting them shoot at us first.  And even out at Henry’s place, there are still neighbors; not too close, but not all that far away, either.  Don’t much care for the idea of bullets flying around up there.”

“Me either,” Henry added.

“There’s got to be a better way to handle this.  We’ve pretty much turned over every stone, but there’s got to be a better way to handle this.”

Dugan Jefferson tossed his cards in.  “I got nothin’.  But as for those assholes; Maybe we could draw them off.  Up a little farther into the mountains.  Take care of things up there, where the woods are really thick.  These guys are from Iowa, right?  Stands to reason they don’t know much about jungles.”  He frowned.  “I sure as hell do.  Lots more than I want to.”

“So we draw them back in the jungle.  And then what?”

Apikala spoke up.  “I could call my uncle.  He’s a kahuna.  They know things, things about the island.  Things that could help us.”

“What sort of things?”

“All kind of things. About the winds, the weather, about the gods and goddesses.  The spirits of the forest and mountains.  Those things.”

Paul frowned. “Not sure how that will help us, but I guess it couldn’t hurt to talk to him.  What’s his name?”

“Sam.  Sam Pualani.  My father’s older brother.”

Paul looked at Henry.  Henry shrugged.  “Hell, why not?  Let’s go see him.”

The next day, Paul and Maggie met Henry and Apikala at a small house, about ten miles up the road from Henry and Apikala’s home.  The small clapboard house was little more than a shack, but it was clean and neatly tended.  An old man sat on the small porch, in a bench seat that looked to have been taken off an old school bus.

Apikala climbed out of Paul’s old Hudson and went to the old man, who stood up to embrace her.  “Aloha, ʻAnakala Sam,” she said.

The old man smiled.  “Aloha mai e ke kaikamahine, aloha,” he replied.  He looked at the others.  “Henry,” he said, switching effortlessly to English.  “And this is Paul and Maggie, do I remember right?”

“You do.  Good to see you, Sam.”  Paul shook the old man’s hand.

“Uncle, Paul and Maggie have something to ask you.”

Sam Pualani looked expectantly at Paul.  Paul quickly summed up the situation.

“So, were thinking of getting them back into the jungle, away from anyone who might catch a stray round or see something they shouldn’t.  These are bad people, Sam.  Nobody else needs to be involved.”

“Except me.  My family is involved,” he looked at Apikala, “so I am involved.  I am the elder.  But don’t worry, Paul, you already know what you need to do.  We will do just as you say.  We will act as through we are running away, and draw them back, into a certain big valley on the other side of that big ridge near Henry and Apikala’s home.  That is a special valley.  The kahunas have known this for a long time.  If we can lure them there, we need have no more worries about them.  They will run away, and they will never come back.”

“What?  Why would they run?  What in that valley is going to scare them?  What are we going to do to them?”

“We will let the ʻuhane nahele have them.”

“The Ooh-hane Naheelee?  Who are they?”

“They live in the deep jungle.  They are spirits, and if you pass through peacefully, they will leave you alone.  But one does not enter their jungle with bad intent.  Bad things happen then.”

Oh, great, Paul thought.  We’re going to bet all this on a ghost story.

“Paul,” Apikala said.  “This isn’t a joke.  They are real.  The valley is real.  My family has known about it for generations, long before you haoles came.”  She smiled.

Henry walked up and placed a hand on Paul’s shoulder.  “Old buddy,” he said, “have you got any better ideas?  Worst thing that could happen is we shoot it out back there in the woods, away from everyone, and if they want to shoot it out with Marines, good luck to ‘em.”

“All right,” Paul conceded.  “Let’s get to figuring out how to make this happen.”


Ya may be a noisemaker, spirit maker,

Heartbreaker, backbreaker,

Leave no stone unturned.

May be an actor in a plot,

That might be all that you got,

’Til your error you clearly learn.