Monday, April 25, 2011

Mahu Blood excerpt by Neil S. Plakcy

Mahu Blood by Neil S. Plakcy continues the relationship between Honolulu homicide detective Kimo Kanapa’aka and his partner, fire investigator Mike Riccardi. Just before the book starts, Kimo moves into Mike’s duplex… and sparks ignite as the two alpha males have to figure out a way to live together without committing homo-cide. This section comes toward the middle of the book.

Mahu Blood
MLR Press (February 2011)
ISBN: 978-1-60820-306-2 (print)
978-1-60820-307-9 (ebook)


When I got home, Mike was vacuuming the living room and running a load of laundry. “How was your day?” I asked Mike, after a quick kiss hello. “You and Roby have fun?”

He shut off the machine, and Roby came running out from the bedroom.

“Nah. Just cleaned up and ran errands. How was yours?”

“Frustrating.” I told him about all the dead ends we had run across. “And you won’t believe this. I found Gunter’s name in O’Malley’s address book. So I had breakfast with him at the Beachfront Broiler. He confirmed that O’Malley liked rough trade.”

“I believe Gunter’s name is in the address book of most of the gay men on this island,” Mike said. I couldn’t tell if the tone of his voice implied disdain or envy.

“Gunter suggested I go up to this picnic tomorrow with this group of gay guys he belongs to called Māhū Nation. One of them might know about a guy picking up marks at The Garage and mugging them.”

Mike crossed his arms over his chest, and I readied myself for a fight. “I’ve heard of them. They do these nudie swim things up in the hills. But neither of us are taking our clothes off.”

“You’re going?”

“Are you kidding? I’m not letting you go some place full of naked men by yourself.”

That wasn’t the fight I was expecting. Common sense told me to shut up, and for a change, I did. I kissed Mike’s cheek, stripped down to my boxers, and started cleaning with him. We grilled some steaks for dinner, and spent the evening on the sofa watching Shock to the System, a TV movie made from one of Richard Stevenson’s gay mysteries.

Sunday I called Gunter and got directions to the picnic, and an hour later, Mike and I followed them up Waimano Home Road, through the center of Pearl City and then up into the Ko’olaus. We parked on a cleared piece of land just off the road, along with a jumble of cars old and new, everything from gleaming luxury SUVs to beat-up Hondas and Nissans. I made sure my gun and badge were securely locked in my glove compartment before we left the Jeep.

A narrow, overgrown path led down the hill toward the natural pool at the bottom of the valley. The sound of Jason Mraz singing “I fell right through the cracks, and now I’m trying to get back,” from the song “I’m Yours,” floated up toward us.

I felt really happy being there with Mike, as if both of us had come back from tough times and were lucky to be together. But maybe it was just the second-hand pakalolo smoke, mixed with the aroma of a charcoal grill.

The path opened up into a cleared area of about a quarter-acre. On the far hill, water gushed over a tiny waterfall into a stone pool about twice the size of the man-made one in my brother Lui’s back yard.

A dense thatch of brown and dark green trees and vines climbed the slopes, and the place gave me the feel of a hidden paradise. A makeshift cabin stood next to the pool, with a small sandy beach leading into it. A half dozen guys were in the water, though I couldn’t tell if they were wearing bathing suits.

Gunter came romping up, wearing a pink t-shirt that read Māhū Nation, with tiny white shorts and matching rubber slippers. He grabbed me in a big bear hug and kissed me on the lips—something I thought he did just to piss off Mike. “I’m so glad you came,” he said, looking like a giant six-foot-two pink puppy dog with a spiky blonde buzz cut.

“Don’t I get a kiss?” Mike grabbed Gunter and planted a big one on his lips.

I was astonished. Mike doesn’t like public displays of affection, and he doesn’t like Gunter either. But I guessed the big dogs were trying to show each other up.

Gunter seemed surprised by the kiss, and even more by Mike’s hand squeezing his ass, but he rallied. “I just might start to like you,” he said.

He turned and introduced us to Ira, an a balding man in his sixties with a fringe of graying hair like a medieval monk. “Gunter said you might be coming,” he said. “Welcome.”

He hugged me and kissed me on both cheeks, but Mike short-circuited his own hug by sticking out his hand for a shake. “I’m Mike. Kimo’s partner.”

“Great to meet you,” Ira said. “Come on in. We’ve got hot dogs and burgers grilling over there, swimming in the pool. Dance if you want, or just hang out and enjoy the vibe.”

Another group of guys, mostly in their twenties, were dancing, but most were standing around talking in small groups, drinking beer from a keg. We’d brought a tub of cookies from Costco, and we dropped them on a folding table already groaning with potato salad, chicken wings, rice and potato chips.

It looked more like a church social of the kind I’d gone to as a kid with my folks, though everyone was male and there were no children playing. Gunter was deep in conversation with a gray-haired guy in his fifties who was thin to the point of anorexia, so Mike and I got a couple of beers and started making the rounds. “Not exactly a den of iniquity,” I said to Mike.

A group of a half-dozen men, mixed ages, was standing near the cabin whispering to each other as we walked up. I figured they were gossiping about me, sharing the news that there was a cop on the property.

A forty-something guy with tousled brown hair stepped up as we got close. “Hey, Kimo, great to see you!” he said, enveloping me in another hug.

“Thanks,” I said. “Ummm….”

“I’m Roy. We met a couple of years ago through the Hawai’i Gay Marriage Project.”

“Oh yeah. Good to see you, too.” I introduced Mike, and we met the rest of the guys.

“You’re not here to bust us for a little pakalolo, are you,” Roy asked, only half joking.

“Not my job. I won’t join you, but I won’t stop you, either.”

A young guy in the group pulled a joint from behind his back and took a drag, and the crowd laughed. We all stood around for a while, talking about ordinary stuff—the weather, new movies, and so on.

A Chinese guy discovered Mike was a fireman and wanted to hear all about his job. Mike told great stories, and quickly he had the whole group hanging on his every word.

I was happy to see Mike relaxed in a group of gay men. When we first met, he was so deep in the closet that he was uncomfortable around anyone who might be gay, afraid that something in his behavior would betray his secret. My high profile in the gay community was very tough for him back then, but he was getting more and more relaxed.

Gunter, Mike and I filled up plates and sat on the grass. “You had those guys eating out of your hand,” I said to Mike. I turned to Gunter. “He loves anybody who’ll listen to his stories.”

Mike kicked me and we all laughed. As we were finishing, two older men came by, naked, running for the pool.

“Come on, Gunter,” one called as they passed. “Everybody in the water!”

Gunter jumped up. “You don’t have to ask me twice.” He skinned off his T-shirt, kicked off his rubber slippers and dropped his tiny white shorts, then took off after them.

“Gunter can set a land speed record for getting out of his clothes.” I looked over at Mike and saw his dick stiffening under his shorts. I smirked and asked, “You enjoying the view?” Gunter’s naked body disappeared under the surface of the water, coming back up to romp with one of the younger guys.

Mike shifted his empty plate over his lap.

“You make a big show out of being straight-laced, but you’re just like me,” I said. “You have a dick and you like to use it.”

“I don’t like being naked in public. It reminds me of the locker room in high school. I was always scared I’d get a boner in the shower, from all those naked guys around me.”

“You were scared they’d know you were gay,” I said. “But I’ve got a news flash for you. Everybody here knows. They knew it the minute you walked in and introduced yourself to Ira as my partner.”

“Your point?”

“So what else are you scared of? Me? Are you scared if I get naked out here I’ll end up making out, or fucking some random guy?”

He looked away.

“That’s it, isn’t it? You still don’t trust me.”

It felt like the day had gotten a lot colder. I had struggled to trust Mike around alcohol; it still made me a little nervous to see him with a beer in his hand, knowing the trouble he’d had in the past. But I believed in him, and I knew it wouldn’t help him to think I was watching every bottle he drank.

It had to work both ways. If he didn’t trust my commitment, if he was going to get jealous every time I was around other gay men, that was going to be a big stumbling block.

He locked eyes with me. I didn’t know what he was going to say, but I was scared. Suppose he admitted that he’d never trust me? What would I say? Could I live that way?

Very slowly, he reached down and pulled his T-shirt over his head. A drop of sweat glistened between his hairy pecs. He smiled, and stood up. “Come on, baby,” he said. “Let’s go for a swim.”

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1 comment:

Victor J. Banis said...

nice scene, Neil. Okay, I confess, I'm jealous of Mike. I want Kimo for myself.

Which is not to say that I haven't had a three-way or two over the years, just to be friendly.