Cultural Emergency

Author’s Note: This is a response to a challenge to use the phrases in boldface. I meant to do something more serious, but I wrote this while looking off a lanai at Diamond Head, so all I could manage was fluff. :-P

Chin Ho Kelly sat in his office at Five-O headquarters poring over a list of HPD duty assignments for the upcoming Kamehameha Day parade, thinking back with misgivings on his recent conversation with Kono.

“Come on, it’s an emergency! If I say no, my tutu will never forgive me, and she makes the best lau lau in the islands!”

“Can you imagine what Steve would say?” the older detective remonstrated, shaking his head.

Steve will never know, I promise, Bruddah. I’ll make sure everything is all tidied up before he and Danny get back from fishing.”

“The last time I heard that it was Danny with that animal, and you remember what happened then....”


Chin sighed.

Steve McGarrett was not in the best of moods as his partner Danny Williams turned into the parking lot in front of the Iolani Palace, gusts of rain splattering against the windshield of the car. Their day off excursion had been cut short first by Steve having to stop by the office to deal with some last-minute changes in security, and now because inclement weather had forced them to return to port earlier than planned. He was looking forward at least to heading home for a relaxing afternoon after picking up his Mercury. I wonder what I should cook for dinner? he was musing, when his train of thought was interrupted.

“Steve, where’s the car?” Danny asked, puzzled, as he drove through the small parking area. “I could swear you left it right in front.”

“I did.”

“Surely no one would dare steal it. Maybe Chin or Kono needed to borrow it,” Williams suggested.

“If so, they’d better have a damned good reason,” McGarrett growled. As the car stopped he jumped out and ran up the steps through the rain, followed by his partner.

After hurrying up the koa staircase he flung open the door to the Five-O offices, then stopped so abruptly that Danny ran into him. Steve’s first impression was that their headquarters had been possessed by some sort of eternal feminine spirit of Hawaii.

As he walked the length of the room in something of a daze the impression resolved itself into at least a dozen young women. All around him were dark hair, dark eyes, billows of dark green fabric in a Hawaiian print and, over all, the scent of the masses of flowers adorning necks, wrists, and hair. He reached the door to his own office, seeking sanctuary, only to be met by a scene of greater bedlam and a shriek or two. Here the young women were still frantically working to achieve the state of readiness of their sisters in the outer office.

He looked at the scene in front of him for the longest time, before turning his back and walking away. “Kono. It has to be Kono,” he muttered under his breath as he returned to the outer office, looking around for the detective in question.

“Steve!” Danny called from where he stood surrounded by a cluster of the forest nymphs. “This is Kono’s cousin, and these are her hālau, all the way from Kaua‘i. They’re here because....”

Danny’s explanation was cut short by the arrival of Kono and Chin Ho, who stopped in horror when they caught sight of their boss standing head and shoulders above the sea of femininity. “I...I can explain!” Kono blurted.

McGarrett raised an eyebrow, looking expectantly at his flustered detective.

“Well, my cousin....” He waved over a slender young woman with big brown eyes. “Steve, this is my cousin Halia. Halia, this is Steve McGarrett, the big boss.”

“Oh, Mr. McGarrett, thank you so much for giving Kono permission for us to use your offices!” she said, directing a melting gaze at the head of Five-O.

Steve fixed Kono with a look. “Yes, about that....”

“Halia, why don’t you go see if anyone needs help with her hair,” Kono said, hurriedly directing his cousin towards the door to McGarrett’s office. “I’m really, really sorry, Boss, but they’ve come from Kaua‘i for the big hula competition at the Royal Hawaiian today....” he began, trying to gather his thoughts.

“So I hear,” his boss said. “But why have they come here?

“Well...they’re staying with friends and family all around Honolulu, and they were going to get ready at the community recreation hall by my tutu’s house, but you know there was that fire last night, and they’re still cleaning up, so they needed a place to go and my tutu said I had to think of something or she’d never make me lau lau again, and with you and Danny gone fishing I thought it would be okay and I’d have cleaned everything up, honest, but I guess you come back early on account of the weather, huh?” Kono said shamefacedly.

“Yeah,” Steve said drily. “Now, maybe you could explain where my car is.”

“It’s back right where you left it, Steve,” Chin assured him.

Kono hastened to explain, “The girls borrowed an old school bus from my uncle’s friend and now it won’t start, and the competition begins in forty minutes, so Chin and I just drove the kumu hula and the musicians over, and your car is bigger than mine....” He stopped and hung his head. “I’m really sorry about this, Boss.”

“I’ll deal with you two later,” McGarrett said, giving his detectives an ominous look. He took a deep breath, squared his shoulders, and returned to his office, trailed by an unhappy Chin and Kono.

In the office Steve saw that the frantic last-minute preparations appeared to have engulfed his partner. One young woman was looking over her shoulder and batting her eyelashes at Danny, asking, “Could you zip me?” and a further bevy of giggling dancers seemed to be waiting for his vital assistance.

“Forty minutes....” Steve muttered under his breath.

Crossing to his desk he said, “Excuse me, honey,” reaching between pairs of women perched on the edge doing something complicated with flowers and bobby pins. Having seized the phone receiver, he dialed.

“Central Dispatch,” came the voice at the other end.

“This is McGarrett. I need backup,” he said crisply. “Immediate transportation for approximately thirty people from the Iolani Palace to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.”

“Of...of course, Mr. McGarrett.”

Steve was amused that he had finally managed to surprise the Central Dispatch operator, normally unflappable in the face of the direst situations. “It’s a cultural emergency,” he assured her. The Governor did say to use all the manpower I needed for the Kam Day festivities....

McGarrett returned the phone receiver to its cradle, then started issuing orders. “Chin, you go down and get the umbrella and the bullhorn out of the trunk of my car and meet me on the palace steps. Kono, take charge here. Send everyone who’s ready down to wait in the lobby, and get everyone else ready now. Danno!” he called, looking over at his partner. “Come with me.”

“Hang on, Steve, I’m just working on this lei....” Danny replied, bending over one young woman’s neck.

“Yes, I can see that,” Steve said drily. “Leave that for Kono. There are going to be cars arriving shortly, and I need you to help get everyone loaded.”

On the palace steps McGarrett stood in the steady rain, directing operations with his bullhorn as a line of vehicles waited. “For the next car, I need four people. Danny, Chin, ready with those umbrellas!” He watched as the Five-O detectives escorted four scurrying young women from the lobby to the waiting car.

An HPD van pulled up next. “Seven! The next group is seven,” McGarrett called. “Wait for the umbrellas!”

As the last car moved into position, Kono joined Steve on the steps. “Just three girls left,” he reported.

“You go with them,” McGarrett instructed. “Danny and I will take care of things here.”

“Really?” the Hawaiian detective asked incredulously.

“Really. Chin, you go ahead and take the afternoon off, too,” Steve said, as Chin and Danny came to stand beside him.

“Thanks, Steve!” Chin said, hurriedly heading for his car as though afraid his boss would change his mind.

As Kono hurried down the steps to join the final members of the hālau in the car Danny observed, “So much for our day off.”

“I’ll see they make it up to us next weekend,” McGarrett reassured him.

“When maybe the weather will be better?” Danny said with a grin.

“Exactly,” Steve said, clapping his partner on the shoulder. “Now, let’s go put the office to rights.”

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