Pine Nuts: Page one of a short story

Just for fun I decided to write a short story and preview it here in this fine family journal. It’s called, “A Pictorial Story Of One Long Party On The Tropical Island Of Maui ‘73-’83,” and it’s a true story, mostly …

Long about 1973, like a piece of driftwood, I washed up onto the shores of the Hawaiian Island of Maui. Twenty-nine years old, and full of bravado, I went hunting for a job, and as God looks after fools, shortly found one.

To celebrate my good fortune I wandered into the first tavern I came to and bought myself a drink. A fellow at the bar welcomed me with this greeting, “I don’t trust a man who walks into a bar smiling.” I thought it a rather peculiar way to welcome a stranger, so I boasted, “Well, I just killed a man.”

This unofficial Maui greeter, Kelly Dean was his name, smiled and responded, “So, who was it you killed, I might buy you a drink.”

That was yours truly’s welcome to one lucky day in paradise. After a couple Mai Tais, Kelly and I were hugging each other like lost brothers and crying tears down each other’s backs, when he invited me to accompany him to a party at Tsunami Estate in Sprecklesville, a party I would not leave for a calendar year, a party that looms like a shot tower in my memory these many years later.

Tsunami Estate in Sprecklesville was teeming with school teachers, five of whom lived there in that sprawling six-bedroom home right on the water, and they were the warmest-hearted teachers you ever met. Cordial? I never saw their likes for teachers, and they could talk the warts off a frog as the saying is.

Long about midnight Kelly said he was leaving and asked if I might like a ride home. I told him I didn’t have a home and one of the school teachers piped-up and offered with some urgency in her voice, “No home? Well we have had a Peeping Tom here of late, and we’ve got this extra bedroom … it sure would be nice to have a man around to chase-off our Peeping Tom.”

Of course I was quick to respond, “Well, that’s what I’m about! I was born to chase off Peeping Toms. You could not find a better Peeping Tom chaser-offer than yours truly if you searched the world over, and that’s the petrified truth.”

I slept that night, and for most of the next year, with the rhythm of the Maui surf in my ears. And just outside my window stood a night-blooming jasmine, whose delicate scent painted my dreams with every possible patchwork of color.

What a noteworthy day, landing on Maui, getting a job, and attending a party at Tsunami Estate that had no end. Yes, God looks after fools. Though how could I ever imagine that the first day on my new job would be more interesting yet …

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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