The State Street Robot Factory
He’s been building up inventory for a while in preparation for the gift-giving season. Phalanxes of pocket robots stand on his bookshelves, his eating counter,
I don’t really know why they called me, except that Auntie claims I “speak haole” better than the rest of the family. The guy’s not even in our ‘aumakua—hell, he’s not even in our pantheon. Which sort of proves Auntie’s point about being akamai, since none of the other bruddahs round here even know what a pantheon is. So, yeah, maybe I know why they called me. But let’s be clear, it wasn’t really voluntary.
Auntie knows my mama’s auntie, who’s part of the muumuu brigade—pretty much do what they say or got serious beef, if you know what I mean. So, when Kaipo wakes me up in the middle of the morning, crack of eleven, I answer my cell and do the proper thing. Next thing, we’re all sitting in the Honolulu Police Station, listening to Kaipo’s buddy’s cousin, Kawike, explain how bail works. Brah. We know how bail works, especially me, since talking haole and doing haole things is my kuliana. There’s the master’s degree with a doctorate on the way for proof. One of these years, anyway.
Meanwhile, I’m checking out Coyote. Seriously, the dude’s not even trying to hide. To me, he looks like an actual dog dressed in an Armani suit. Brah got some style. With these outlandish three-color brothel creepers and a tacky American Eagle belt buckle with rhinestones—both kind of kill the fancy. Still, Auntie says he’s ohana and that’s that. Me and Kaipo got to make the bail and bring him back for plate lunch, interrogation, and who knows what. Face it, Auntie’s old now and kind of cracked. Bailing out a god from jail seems right about her speed.
Worst part, Coyote checks me out right back. Looks me up and down. There’s things I keep from my family. Mahu stuff, private stuff, things that make it hard all round. Nobody ever having grandkids on our side. My sisters are both out of the game. Lily likes girls; Malia had the cancer. Which leaves me and Coyote, damn but he sees me. Right down to my gay bones. Which are conveniently located next to my drunk bones, my gambling tendons, and what feels right that moment like an injured Harvard spleen. I still have the acceptance letter on my dresser. Told no one, not even Lily.
But Coyote sees me. Winks that wild, leering wink and taps his tacky shoes on the sticky pale linoleum of the station floor, watching me squirm. Great. I do my part, make the haole talk talk and sign the forms, pay the small down payment which our family bondsman Icepick co-signs. He even signs it Icepick—a few years ago, I helped him legally change it from Louis Kwa-chen Chang to Icepick, mononym. Gets us some freebies and priority on the autodial. Plus, he doesn’t sweat da kine when we bail out a six-foot dog man wearing some serious pimp clothes. Might not even be the first time he’s seen something like this.
Coyote doesn’t talk until we’re in Kaipo’s truck, rolling down the H-1. Then he’s bumming a smoke, burning holes in the Naugahyde, and making chit chat with Kaipo about the surf report. My cousin loves exactly three things: surfing, wahines, and meth. So, when Coyote fiddles with the glove compartment, no one seems surprised by the pipe and Ziploc bag of powdered crystal that roll out from under a bundle of unpaid tickets. I give Kaipo proper stink-eye, but he’s immune. All the meth heads are. Occupational hazard, disappointing your family. But damn if Coyote doesn’t seem delighted by this. Before I can stop him, he’s got the bag open, dipping his paw into the mix. Except we’re hauling better than eighty on the open highway, windows down and the damned akua has crappy little stubs for fingers. Da kine, brah. Next thing, there’s meth everywhere, burning our eyes. Kaipo swerves, screaming about his lost love. Coyote laughs, and me, I know enough about Kaipo and his antics to be wearing my seatbelt. Still, we hit the sugar cane at bone-shattering speeds.
Truck does a few rolls, bounces the local god off my defenseless stomach and then something big and three-colored like a kaleidoscope of leather meets my forehead. Things get woozy, then fade into a comfortable black. So, of course, the police have to come and find us trapped inside a truck, smothered in methamphetamine dust with a man we just bailed from the local jail. Plus, Kaipo, being Kaipo, has to have the requisite stash of stolen junks, da kine drugs, some knives, and a shotgun my Uncle Roy, Portagee side, loaned him. Tho’ Unc’ likely never asked him to saw the damned thing down. So, yeah, Coyote lands us all in the clink.
Having been arrested a few dozen times, I can assure you there’s one thing we all dread more than every other inconvenience, indignity, and outrage combined. The Wailing. Starts after processing, when they’ve got you in local lockdown because, face it, drugs and weapons charges are like brushing your teeth for locals on Oahu; Big Island maybe some less, Maui they go all pale and fan themselves when something bad happens. Unless it’s Mary-Jane and then, hey, everyone grows that on the island. Maui no ka oi. But basically, unless someone was hospitalized, you all sit in a room with the prostitutes and drunk soldiers waiting for news, family, bond or whatnot.
At processing, Coyote does the talking—not that I can remember a word he said. Which might be the head trauma but might not. He winks again and pats the ass of the local DA, one of our cousins on the Chinese-Japanese side. Except May Watanabe ain’t nobody’s bitch. So, thanks to Auntie and her screwed up notions of family obligations, my little welcome party wins a special cell all our own to await the Wailing. Which is the only way you can describe the combination of shrieks, exhortations, insults, begging and carrying-on that our various relatives make upon arrival. Mostly women, some mahus in full do-up, so again women. Occasionally broken-down grandfathers or that one reliable Uncle. And all the keiki. Because traumatizing children early with visions of their relatives behind bars seems to be the modern Hawaiian tradition.
Our little contingent turns out to be genuinely little. Auntie, our mamas, and my sister, Malia, with someone’s baby in tow. Could be Lin-Lin—her mother is doing a rehab stint mainland. Could be a random kid, since Malia loves them like Coyote loves trouble. As my womenfolk arrive, he’s using a file produced from who-knows-where to slowly work the edges of a bar. Right under the surveillance camera. No one’s ever been shot for attempted escape, but something tells me Kaipo and I are about to find out how fast dem polismans can be. Joy.
It’s Malia who starts the fight. She marches right up, ignores the jailbreaking Coyote and shamefaced Kaipo, gets close to the bars near my face and waves an envelope. “You in da kine now!”
Not quite understanding what she had, I made the mistake of responding. Well, sassing back might be a better description. “So, the giant dog gets ignored?”
She looks over at Coyote, sweet and innocent with his file rasping at the jailhouse bars. “Don’t get all kros, brah. Jes cuz he patted May’s as no make him a dawg, dawg.”
Kaipo gives me some full stink-face, which baffles me. The aunties are just staring, arms crossed, eyes fierce. Like they going to burn the turtles out of the ocean. “He’s got fur, a tail. His name is Coyote. Kind of a major clue, huh?”
No one’s biting. Coyote gives me a look of pure bliss, winks again, and says something to my mama. I hear nothing, despite being less than ten feet away. She just shakes her head. “Head trauma ain’t no excuse, Cousin Mica.”
That’s when I get it. Got it. Hell, the time stamp on all this has been a bit fuzzy. Only I saw him as a coyote. I saw him true and suspected, but could not prove in absence of evidence, heard him true. Damn lying trickster couldn’t put two words together true. So, my ears heard silence or jumble or fuzz. My whole family saw somebody named Mica, who looked cousin enough to pass muster. So, dark and short like us maybe or sufficient to seem at least hapa.
Bottom line, the arguing and cross talk got intense as the Wailing began. Kaipo made his excuses, which brought another wave of anguish and kept me nicely out of their never-ending dysfunctional narrative until Mama and Auntie rounded the corner on that little passion play to turn their laser eyes upon me. The envelope turns out to be my acceptance letter for a full ride to Harvard. With an answer due in four days. We go from Wailing to Screaming. Except that Coyote has some choice words—no clue what’s said—that turn all the women a bright fusion of red and apoplectic, if apoplexy could be a color. Because I swear, in that jail it sure seemed like its own part of the visual universe.
Depending on which shrill invective I followed, the general list of complaints seemed to be: How Can You Leave Us; Why Didn’t You Tell Us; Why Are You Not Already There; What’s Wrong with You; Why Are There Women’s Clothes in Your Closet; Did You Get Someone Pregnant; Where’s My Grandchild; Harvard is a Haole School; You’re Too Hapa to be Ours; Why Hard?
Coyote, it would appear, had managed to not only get us arrested, he’d inveigled my own sister into outing me. In one moment, utterly at their mercy behind a wall of steel bars and rules, my sexuality had been stripped bare. Yes, Mother, I am gay, transgender, crossdressing and worst of all, an academic. Cue Kaipo puking and the women raising an alarm—seems he had some blood in his stomach. That raised a whole hell of a lot of panic with the cop folk.
It bought us a wild ride handcuffed to the insides of an ambulance as two paramedics pumped Kaipo’s stomach and invaded his squirming body with IVs, activated charcoal, and some kind of breathing aid that went down his throat. Coyote kicked off his shoes, revealing long feet ending in genuine claws. Because of course a god wears no socks. At least not on vacation in Hawai’i. Someone clever had painted his toenails a bright iridescent blue. Or are they talons? Damn, I know lots about nomenclatures and such, but very little about canines. Or animals altogether.
When the ambulance rounds a corner and starts up the hill towards the hospital, Coyote innocently unlocks the back door, flooding the street with various trays of scissors and needles, a couple of bags marked with big, red crosses and the screams of our medics. Worse, Kaipo’s sled, or cot, or whatever it is they call those things, starts to roll out, dragged by the gravity of the situation. Both paramedics jump into action, slamming me against the bulkhead as they try to keep my cousin inside the ambulance. But Coyote slips out. Was it the bump, the panic, the pull of the hill, or just one more trick from the wild god? I missed the escape while I was trying to keep my shoulder from being broken. By the time the driver stopped, they secured Kaipo and took stock, he was gone. Leaving us a pair of ugly shoes and a dangling pair of handcuffs. Cuffs, I noted, without a hint of pulled hair.
That meant Coyote was not really a dog—not here in Oahu. Or that he manifested as a man enough to leave skin cells rather than fur in his chaotic wake. But he appeared to me as Coyote, the god of the Sioux, the ultimate trickster and mischief-maker. Who was he really? We have no Cousin Mica. Or none I’d heard of in the endless weekend afternoons when the aunties went through the litany of our relations, gossiping, feuding, and dividing as of yet un-won spoils.
Someone ushered me into a waiting area, handcuffed me to a radiator that had never been used, and left. Minutes began to fade into what seemed hours, my head throbbing. I suspect I fell asleep. The exact wrong thing to do if one has a concussion. So the nice haole doctor told me, when they woke me some hours later. Seems Doctor Kawosa, someone new to their shift, had lost my paperwork and the paramedics, unwilling to admit they lost a prisoner, tried to foist the blame on the hospital for losing Coyote. Their boondoggle had earned us priority at the MRI machine and a few other expensive tests.
I found out about my test results the old-fashioned way: my mother screaming at the District Attorney, also a cousin, about my vasectomy. Thanks to now-famously-incompetent Doc Kawosa, my tests were delivered to the waiting room of my entire family, rather than my doctor, the police, and our now embarrassed cousin May. Seems even in the freewheeling Hawaiian judicial system, physical and medical abuse of a prisoner plus evidence tampering pretty much invalidate a case.
On the downside, my ohana now officially knew I liked boys, dressed up like a girl, would never have children, and, worst of all, had contemplated leaving Oahu to spend time in some nogut cold place go longskool nevah come back. Because that’s what Harvard means to them. Got no serious football team, so how could it be a serious college? On the upside, it relieved my cousins and sisters from the endless lying because they all know I’m a mahu, it made talking to my family about grad school inevitable rather than merely difficult and it got me off a string of terrifying drug and weapons charges.
On the wildly lucky side, it seems Coyote accidentally saved Kaipo’s life. The idiot had swallowed a stash of heroin for one of the local Tong smugglers. Something to do right after he dropped us off at Auntie’s. One of the balloons had burst before we even got in the truck. He’d have been dead by nightfall had we not made a meteor-sized dent in the sugar cane. Big Mahalo, Cousin Mica. Kaipo’s mama apparently punched him so hard she had to be handcuffed herself, which led to the arrest of two persnickety aunties, who got into a shoving match with the local officers trying to keep order. Then someone, no names mentioned, hung a mouse on the haole nurse’s eye and that was that. Aunties go to jail. Plus, Kaipo would be going back to jail for a while until they could sort whether they could charge him for heroin possession. Or just send him back to rehab. Or maybe both.
They set me loose the next morning when further tests, this time closely guarded by my haole doctor, confirmed me brain-damage-free. Still had bruises from the wreck, the shoulder slam, my mother whacking me with a cafeteria tray—which she fondly describes as “discussin’ tings”—and various small insults to my limited dignity related to falling asleep in a small chair, cuffed to a radiator. But did I go home, get changed, and try to sort out my newly wrecked life? I did not. Not with Auntie Foo Foo and Auntie Lelani rotting to near-death in jail.
No one being in the mood to drive me, I took Da Bus. Why we pander to tourists by calling it that, I’ll never know. But hey, da bus is actually pretty good, so no worries. So, I drag me one tired as onto da bus and sit. Because my head hurts, my heart has been through the frappe cycle on the relationship and emotions blender, and I’m a bruised husk of black-and-blue misery. Also, it’s easier to really sink back into blissful denial when you’re sitting on da bus. Everything hums, the world swirls by in blurs of color and shadow, people mostly keep to themselves. Work a fourteen-hour drudge shift in some luxury hotel sweeping up after the haoles and Japanese, you’re not up to talking to anyone about anything. On mahu nights, I ride the bus down to Waikiki without a hint of conversation. On the way back, I usually get a couple marriage proposals from the boys traveling back to Schofield Barracks. But still, no one wants to talk. Other things, sure. But good lighting, a fierce driver, and the gravity/alcohol nexus prevent more than an occasional grope, which raises a less-occasional eyebrow. Still, I shy from that scene. Gotta save it for my man, Santiago.
Which goes to show how screwed up Coyote has gotten my life in such a short time. Because he’s riding three rows ahead of me with Santiago and a couple other of our mutual friends. I check the time—9:17 a.m.—not the normal time for any of us, me or Santiago or the crew, to be on this bus rolling out towards downtown Honolulu. Plus, we’re coming from the wrong side of town on a bus we never take. So how is it they’re here? I can’t believe it’s a mistake that entering from the back of the bus I’ve got my own pandemonium-generating spirit asking all sorts of intimate questions within earshot of my beloved. I’m in for more fun.
Of course, of freaking course, I still can’t hear a word of what Coyote says. One of my boys, Wailua Kawike, calls him Jamul. They all nod. Still looks like a dog in a suit—though this one seems more like a Kiton bespoke. They retail around sixty thousand dollars. The Yakuza wear them around town and, lately, some Russian Oligarchs have been seen in Kitons and Westmacotts. Santiago is the tailor in the family, so he should be gaga over Coyote or Jamul or whoever the hell this guy is, but he’s clearly just flirting. And feeling up the suit. No wait, I’m watching my boyfriend of three years groping another man. On a public bus in front of our mutual friends. Who are not telling him off. They’re tittering like kawai girls. As if this happens frequently. As if this is, gah, business as usual.
So now I’m totally certain apoplexy is a color because I see it swimming before my eyes. The bus makes a stop, more people enter, and I miss a few snatches of the scandal unfolding up-front in the good seats. Portagee Tommy waves goodbye with double kisses and winks at Jamul, who, bless him, winks back while putting his arm around Santiago. Then they’re kissing for real, my man shoving his face like a distorted hamburger into the jaws of a beast, row after row of sharp teeth encasing his jaw and rolling towards his thin vulnerable neck. I find myself cheering for the bite.
But there’s no blood. Instead, Jamul smoothly ruins even more of my life. I hear Santiago say in his lispiest lisp—which makes no goddamned sense, since like, brah, he hasn’t normally got one—those three little words “Got no boyfriend.”
Sleepy, bless him, pipes up. “But what about Kupu?”
Yeah, sniffles me in the cheap seats: what about your dedicated boyfriend Kupu, sitting right here, watching you humiliate him? Santiago nods to something Jamul says and then shakes his head. It sounds somehow like a judge’s gavel at each turn. “He means nothing to me. C’mon, dresses up like some chick. I was never going to stay with a mahu.”
Sleepy just shakes his head, since he’s also mahu. Santiago never knew that; now he never will. Instead, my friend makes a fade, getting off what I know is three stops early. He’s walking back to the exit when he sees me. His eyes go wide like serving dishes at the tourist luau, choke big. We just share a moment and he touches my hand, gives me a sad smile. It’s a whole moment, like we would talk story later but for now it’s just two of us versus the cold hard world, even if that world is eighty-five and sunny every day. Fo reals. As my Auntie say, Das Why Hard.
So, he leaves me to watch my ex-boyfriend cavort with my supposed cousin all the way downtown to bail out my pernicious pair of pugilists. Ha. Still, that little turn of phrase distracts me long enough to make an exit from Da Bus without sobbing like a professional mourner. As I get off the bus, Jamul turns and faces me, his eyes locked on mine as if all time and space were cut away with the flick of hand. There’s just us, suspended over a vortex of black entropy, the kind that house the mo’o in the volcano tubes or live in the deep ocean—raw, endless chaos. I stare back, tears or no tears, he’s just crossed a major line. Because god or man, dog or whatevah, you touch my man, I will cut a bitch.
Coyote just looks at me, waiting. This time I wink at him. Because I know what color is on the other side of apoplectic. Ima call that one revenge black, because nothing darker is yet available. Darker than Vantablack and colder than the vortex churning under my helpless feet. I wink back at Coyote because I am going to shred his pretty suit and kick his furry butt, as soon as I make bail for Aunties. He nods at me and I hear a deep voice, a tenor of rolling waves and spray. “Fair enough.”
Then I’m on the curb, weeping. The whole front of the police station watches me. I swear one old wahine grabs crab crackers and watches like at the movies. It takes me a whole ten minutes to wipe the snot from my hair and get my face in some order before I’m out of tissues and aware enough of my dignity to try to put up my guard. No one talks to me. Plenty of people sob in front of the police station. Sixty percent of our women are freelance prostitutes, half our brothers deal meth, we’ve got nine-year-olds in rehab and our grandmas run night boats full of marijuana to make ends meet. Of course we’re outside the station crying.
I put on my game face, go inside, ready to talk haole. But there’s no need. My first cousin, blood of my blood, Rocky sits at the desk. Why we have so many cops and lawyers, no one knows, but we make three things in the family: coppers, robbers, and big messes. Guess which one I am? He just shakes his head and shoots me a serious shaka—one that says peace, love, respect, mahalos—word is out that I am finally out. He nods to the left and I follow as he guides me to the aunties, who are, bless them, still arguing with the haoles on the other side of the bars. Behind them, a trio of mahus watch. Likely rousted by the cops while trawling for men, charged with soliciting. It’s homophobia at its worst. Meanwhile, I have much more immediate social injustice to fight.
Auntie Foo Foo is fending off some s’kebei trying to touch her while the mokes in the corner stare off into outer space. But she’s also running backup on Auntie Lelani, who’s yammering fast while she bangs the bars for punctuation. Some unfortunate fool from the DA’s office has taken it upon himself to mansplain the legal system to her. Or maybe her charges. Or maybe how the weather works. He looks fresh off the boat—the man’s wearing suspenders for heaven’s sake. Serious poho.
“Enough!” We are surprised when the voice that shuts everyone up comes from my mouth. I point to the haole mansplainer. “You. Are you filing charges against my aunties or not?”
“Well as I was trying to explain …”
I cut him off with a vicious slash to the air, giving him the full on Mahu Hand. Talk to it, Bitch, because the head’s not listening. I’m nuclear at this point, no mo’ BS from no one. “Charges? Yes or no, haole boy?”
“No, Ma’am. Um, Sir. Um … no charges.”
I turn on my aunties to find Ol’ Coyote in the cell, looking delighted. Of course. “Auntie Foo Foo, knock it off. He’s just winding you up.” She turns back on the now sheepish trickster.
“Mister Chirich here tried to look up my skirt.” As if she didn’t likely invite him. We all know what a naughty freak ol’ Auntie Foo Foo be. Still, she sounds pious enough for two churches and a shrine. Nevah called no one mistah her whole life.
“Well you and Auntie Can’t Stop Arguing here are getting sprung from the pokey.” I hold up a furious finger and they stop short, their faces mirrors of astonishment. “If you two can keep your damned traps shut long enough for this nice gentleman to get the paperwork sorted.” I turn my laser eyes on the poor guy. Now carefully retreating into the anonymity of the clerks’ offices. “Isn’t that right?”
He nods. “Yes, Ma’am. Right away.” He starts to flee when I catch him by an alarmed arm. He’s trembling. “Y-y-y-yes?”
“Spring Chirich back there, too. Probably got a license says he’s Mica or something like that. He’s a cousin. And get those mahus out of there. Shame on you for harassing them.” He shamefacedly nods and skitters away.
Miracle of miracles, they do exactly what I tell them to. All of them. Coyote keeps his dirty old paws to himself. The aunties don’t say a word for close to fifteen minutes and the white lawyer who just discovered he’s not in Kansas anymore gets a clerk to shuffle some papers and spring the lot of them. I promptly forgo slashing him to pieces because it would be bad form, plus he makes the aunties thank me. Which is how, using Rocky’s truck, we got Coyote and the Aunties to my mama’s lanai and eating barbecue before sunset.
Of course, my mama’s lanai also houses the International League of Disappointed Women, AKA, Mama and Da Aunties, including my sisters and several older cousins. So, after I load up on two scoop rice, potato and macaroni salad, kalbi, and lomi lomi salmon, plus some taro and pork, there’s nothing to do but eat, wait, and when it’s quieted down, face the music. Sunset bleeds into early night, the ukuleles and singers start calling in the family. As the stars fight the hotel lights for control of the night sky, a contingent of women rises likes the Night March rolling towards me.
My mother stands first among the women. She eyes me and after the wild stare of Coyote, her stink-eye doesn’t even make me twitch. But she’s in no fighting mood. Behind her Auntie whispers to one uninvited member of the brigade—Coyote. He stands there, this time in something linen from what I suspect is Yves Saint Laurent. Except it’s a women’s summer suit. So maybe he’s gone mahu for the night. Why not?
Mama comes to me and brushes her soft hand on my face. Even with the scars from all that hard work at the Hyatt, scrubbing toilets and changing endless sheets, she’s the softest, warmest thing in the whole of the universe. She touches me as if I’m little. Then she kisses my forehead and, somehow, it’s a million times worse than if she yelled. Or talked story with the serving tray. “I always knew you were mahu.”
That wakes me up. “Always?”
She shrugs and somehow it seems as if the wall of women behind her shrug, too, like a Greek chorus of silent judges. “When you were seven, you insisted on doing the women’s hula. And we couldn’t drag you away. At eleven, we gave up.”
“Why you no say nothing?”
At this, someone in the background snorts and the Chorus rises in fire, whispering like snakes departing hell. My mother, she rolls her eyes and pats my cheek. “I asked you when you were seventeen: ‘Kupua my love, are you gay?’”
Right and I lied. Denied it. Denied being a mahu. Told her when she bailed me out of jail on my first set of prostitution charges that I’d been at a dress-up Halloween party. In May. Oh damn. There’s excuses on my lips but we all know the truth. That I still await my absent father, surely not kama’aina because my skin’s dark enough but my eyes are round and green. That I slid into the wider world seeking, certain as day follows night, that he’d not approve of my queerness. My body of lies. My lying body. Of me. So, I racked up a nest-egg in illegal dice games. And card games, sports betting, turtle races, whatnot. Until the rolls of hundreds spewed from my closet of dresses and heels.
That I bought my way into good graces. That I learned books, paid bail, ran errands, and lied my way through life. Waiting. Disappointed. Terrified of the reckoning. But he never came and now, faced with the silence of understanding, of the faces of my mothers and aunts, sisters and nieces, of my ohana, I am at last allowed to be ashamed.
I have to say something but I am without words. Instead, I cry on my mother’s shoulder and let her fold me in her arms. I sob and beg for forgiveness. But she just shushes me and the warm arms of a thousand Greek mothers reach from their distant graves, lend their shades’ pale force to my relatives, each brushing a blessing upon our skin.
Sometime in the morning, Auntie helps me mail the acceptance letter with all the right boxes ticked and helps me buy a plane ticket. Seems they took up a collection after Cousin Mica stole some wallets and jewelry. He’s going back on the same flight in the seat next to me. This time, I’m the cop. I know why they asked me, because my name is Kupua, child of Maui and his many monsters, half in each world. They named me true enough.
I see Coyote one more time before the flight. He talks to me now or rather, since I’m not lying to my family, I can hear him speak. Not that he says anything I didn’t know. But he’s cordial and rarely causes me much trouble. Tells me stories about my father from the mainland. From not that far north of Cambridge, as it turns out. Lies of course, but fun ones. In turn, I look away as he pickpockets the tourists and lets the air out of several bike tires. He is what he is.
We both know he won’t make the flight. Probably already cashed in the ticket to gamble on ponies. Only we don’t have horse racing in Hawai’i. Not that it would stop him. That’s a god for you. Unlimited by time or scope, masters of mastering reality. I guess that changes “Fo Real” on a lot of quantum levels or something. But it’s just Coyote, looking fierce in a suit, scamming and confounding his way across the resorts and beach cabanas.
The last thing he says to me lingers long after the flight lands and I find myself in the snowy wastes of academia. He looks me in the eye and without a wink says, “I’m proud of you.” Well, actually, it sounded more like “I’m proud of you Son/Daughter/Monster/Mahu/Apprentice/Mortal.” But how do you capture that in words? Da kine, mebbe. He’s handing me a bag of used suits—stuff he swears he’ll never wear again that, c’mon, you know how this works, fit me perfectly. Both women’s and men’s suits. Gorgeous affairs worth what feels like millions. Every one of them perfect for the wild range of weather I’m expecting over my many years of grad school.
I don’t really know why he gave them to me. Except, I kinda do. Because Coyote now wears a suit. She looks damned fine in them, thank you very much.
He’s been building up inventory for a while in preparation for the gift-giving season. Phalanxes of pocket robots stand on his bookshelves, his eating counter,
I feel the tack prick harder than it did this morning, because with T there was something abyss-like that might have swallowed me, had he
“I’m Fiona,” I say, holding out a hand. When she shrinks away, I back off. Some people who come to me don’t want to be