Surfing Detective 02 - Wipeout

Surfing Detective 02 - Wipeout by Chip Hughes

Book: Surfing Detective 02 - Wipeout by Chip Hughes Read Free Book Online
Authors: Chip Hughes
witness to his death, if not a suspect. And without her, even the tiny island of Lana‘i would seem like a huge place to hunt for one solitary map.
    A few minutes later Maya emerged with an overnight bag slung over her shoulder. Her sad face now showed an eerily vacant smile
.
Her hippie look had been replaced by Hawaiian chic: a hibiscus print sundress in blood red that echoed her fiery hair. The neckline was cut tantalizingly low, and she hadn’t bothered to wear a bra. It was easy to see how Corky might have been drawn in by Maya’s seemingly unconscious sexuality. She had a gypsy, footloose quality about her that seemed to lure one on an exotic journey.
    But even though she lived up to everybody’s intoxicating description, her empty smile so soon after the murder of her boyfriend—I wasn’t buying “husband”—made me leery of her.
What is this woman made of?
Was Maya simply trying to make the best of a traumatic event? Or was she traumatized herself— her face a plaster mask reflecting the numbness that covers pain?
    Maya slipped into the front seat of my rental car and we pulled away. With her sitting so close to me in that splashy red dress, it was a chore keeping the Nissan on Maui’s twisting upcountry roads. But I did. All the way back to Kabuli Airport.

Sixteen

    By mid-morning we were airborne to Lana‘i. Cotton candy clouds floated lazily above the pitched roof of
Lana‘ihale,
the three thousand foot volcano reigning majestically over the “Pineapple Isle.” Maya held onto her seat and her vacant smile as the Twin Otter shuddered through the clouds, then swept over Lana‘i’s towering sea cliffs to a tiny asphalt strip.
    Dwarf
kiawe
dotted the plains beneath us where pineapple once grew, the
kiawe’s
ashen, salt-bitten stalks rolling endlessly up to the horizon. Atop a distant slope, Norfolk pines marked off Lana‘i City and the grand sprawling Lodge at Koele.
    The Twin Otter bounced twice on the slender strip before settling into an even roll. At the cozy little airport on the Pineapple Isle you can’t hire a rental car; you must catch a shuttle bus upslope to Lana‘i City. We hopped off the Otter and onto the bus. The shuttle climbed the slanting plateau toward those statuesque Norfolk pines, providing sweeping views of the small island.
    Given my hurry to find that map, I was glad of these visual reminders that the teardrop-shaped island of Lana‘i stretches only about eighteen miles by a dozen. The austere, bone-grey landscape brought to mind Hawaiian legend portraying this as a forlorn, desolate place haunted by the spirits of buried
ali‘i
and, therefore, uninhabitable by mortal beings. Although since the 1990s two elegant resorts—the Manele Bay and the Lodge at Koele—have combined to employ more workers than did the nation’s largest pineapple plantation here. Away from the resorts’ lush golf courses and posh accommodations, this island still appeared more likely to be haunted by spirits than by high-end tourists.
    The shuttle climbed slowly toward Lana‘i City—too slowly for me. We didn’t have endless time. Sun would soon enough figure out, if he hadn’t already, that I had with me the only person other than Corky McDahl who could lead him to his stash. Maya wasn’t saying much about the missing ice, or her departed lover, though she spoke freely enough about herself through that eerie smile that hadn’t left her face since we left Maui.
    Maya was forty-six. She told me this with pride, since she apparently knew she looked ten years younger. A military kid, born “Mary Leavis” to an artillery captain and a nightclub dancer in Texas, she grew up in the Sixties bouncing from base to base. She later married and divorced twice, then changed her name to “Maya Livengood” when she became a free spirit in Hawai‘i drifting from island to island. Since then she had occupied herself swimming and diving and haunting the beaches of Hawai‘i’s famous breaks—and

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