Sunday, October 21, 2012

We May Be Old...

This is a great excerpt from the almost-beselling book "The Parrot Talks in Chocolate" (downloaded over 40,000 times at Amazon) which paints a great scene at the Tiki bar there.  Here's a little bit to enjoy now:

The next evening was about as spectacular as they come. The sky was brilliant and warm, replacing the previous day's rain with a mellow dry breeze. Several nearby planets were reflecting the sun without interference from any early stars, almost competing with the already lit Tiki Torches. A fresh load of farm shrimp from Kahuku, Oahu had been flown in that morning, Miho had brought up some Opihi from the cliffs and Gregorio his best fillets down from his upcountry ranch.
Our crowd was heavy, for whatever reason those anomalies occur, and the Crew was feeling almost giddy with excitement. Coco had said it many times, about her days as a skydiver groupie in Mokuleia: Skydiver funerals were the best parties she had ever been to. Death had a great talent for focusing appreciation in those left behind. An extreme appreciation.
The bar was filling up with a lot of happy voices. Turning up the iPod just a notch I soon found myself moving in time to Stevie Wonder's Pastime Paradise. The glasses came out of the coolers, sparkled soon with cubes of ice and then moved down the bar full of color, garnish and hope. My melancholy over Ococ was melting away under the music, the smiling faces and the sweat of making it all happen. It was OK. I knew. Knew it well. I had been to Mokuleia too.
The crowd was thick, moving in some kind of rhythm as people made their way to the bar, their tables or the bathrooms. Coco was flowing like lava downhill, moving and grooving to the music and the orders. Sandy was kicking it up a notch in the kitchen, singing so loud we wished she was out on stage, with us. Ma & Pa were acting like Mr and Mrs Claus, entertaining their Waikiki friends in true Tiki style. Tiwaka was in fine form as well, taking chocolates and giving advice. A true entertainer, I caught him putting some of the chocolate aside, so he wouldn't get sick. I was keeping up, making sure everyone had their first cocktail right away, and gearing up for a steady night. The bar was well populated and so far, everyone was watching the crowd. I got a few questions about this girl or that guy, but nothing philosophical. Yet. The night was quite young, and so was the mood.
Tiwaka was at the end of the bar, slightly hidden behind one of the Tiki lights obviously entertaining two lovelies from Lahaina. I kept peeking down to see if he was behaving, or worse, losing feathers. So far, so good. In front of my station was probably the most comfortable bar stool we had and it was occupied by an elderly guy I had never met before. He was nursing a Longboard Lager and occasionally smiling. An old Aloha shirt, with coconut buttons, draped itself over his light frame. As I moved down the bar, making sure all was well, he pushed his empty toward the trough. He was watching me, hoping to get my attention. In 2 seconds, I was there.
"Another Longboard?"
"No, thanks." He paused, looking up at our other selections, then back to me. "What do you have that is new, maybe something unheard of?"
I looked at him for a moment, to gather his mood, to frame his question and to think of something clever to respond with.
"Well. Let me see. Unheard of you say?" Best to throw that item back at him for some clarification.
He smiled, pushed his weathered hands through his white mane and sat up a bit before leaning forward. "You know, something you have never made before. Got anything like that?"
"Ha!" I exclaimed. "There's a wealth of things I have never made before!" Thinking, thinking, what did this guy want? I could offer him our Coco Loco Moco, in some unique variation, or risk making something so horrible it could haunt him for days.
I looked to see if I was falling behind, but Coco was not up yet with new orders and the bar glasses were all full. I turned back to this challenge. There had to be a clue, but I was getting nothing.
"I heard about your dog," he said, catching me by surprise. "What was his name? Something backwards I was told."
I smiled broadly. Now I knew what I would make this guy.
"Ococ was his name. He did everything backwards. So, sir, I will make you a new drink, right here in front of you. History in the making."
"Great!" He laughed at his luck and sat back to watch.
First, a large Tiki mug, one of the custom Lee Ceramic models we had been so fortunate to get. Second, the libation, 4 parts. Then, the mixer, this time a nice combination of lime, coconut water and several spots of cranberry. Finally, the ice.
"I present the Ococ. Made backwards, of course." Sliding the work of art toward the man, I knew I had something special. He held it in both hands, feeling the carve of the smiling Tiki in the sides of the beautiful mug, and slowly brought it up inhaling the subtleties. I stood back, letting him enjoy something new. Glancing down the bar at Tiwaka I saw he was now on top of someone's head, flapping his wings slowly like a shadow dancer.
"Tiwaka!" I chided softly as I quickly made my way down to rescue the scalp of whomever he had anointed.
"He's heavier than I thought," one of the lovelies from Lahaina said shyly. She was indeed a looker.
"Tiwaka, come down." I held out my hand, as he slowly gave me the left eye, then folding his wings in slow motion, the other eye. I tilted my head like him, closed one eye, then tilted the other way, reopened and then closed my other eye. Finally, I stood tall and said his name once more, a little deeper, holding out my hand, just above her head.
He took one long step, like bridging a puddle, coming back from what I already knew was a new infatuation. Sitting him down onto the bar, he turned and bowed his head a couple of times, saying, "Mahalo, Mahalo"
The girls giggled a little, feeling relieved of the unusual attention.
"Another few minutes," I mentioned, "And he would have made you his Queen." Her friend poked her lightly in the side, just as the Boys of Summer swooped in to fill the gap.
Walking back to my station, I found the old guy pushing his Ococ back toward the trough. He looked very satisfied.
Wiping the bar top in front of him, I smiled and asked, "So, how did you like it?"
He looked around to see if anyone was listening, as if anyone might, and back up to me.
"I'm an old guy, ya know."
I nodded, and waited.
"'I'm so stoked to be living in the future. It's so," he paused, trying to catch his emotions. "Awesome." He looked at me as if to discern any disbelief. He saw none, and so continued. "This new drink, this Ococ you made me, is yet another new thing that never existed for me before. It's something new, the future again, brought to me now."
He smiled again and leaned forward. "Isn't that the coolest thing?"
I didn't know how quite to make that, but I nodded. Maybe he had been drinking a little before he got here. Maybe not. I had seen stranger things that had less merit. The bar was still good, so I asked him, "So, let me see if I understand this future thing. You are saying that today is the future somehow. The future for someone in the past I guess?" I tilted my head in a habit I had learned from the parrot.
"Another Ococ, and I'll explain. Please."
Picking up his Tiki mug, I mixed him up, backwards of course, another signature Ococ, and slid it slowly toward him.
He watched it move across the monkeypod wood like a teenage boy watches his first hula dancer, reaching out to touch it, hesitantly, expectedly.

..... enjoy the rest either by obtaining this short here, or the full story at  "The Parrot Talks in Chocolate

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Man From T.I.K.I.

This 99c excerpt from "The Parrot Talks in Chocolate" takes you into a scene from the famous Maui Tiki bar in the jungles of the north shore.

The bartender is met by a bar inspector intent on confirming Tiwaka's Tiki Bar & Grill is authentically "tiki".

Read the entire book (downloaded over 40,000 times) @ "The Parrot Talks in Chocolate"  Here's a taste....

Gregorio was back the next week with a load of grass fed organic island beef that was so good vegetarians had to reaffirm their faith in its presence. We had the kiawe wood fires going early and by late afternoon the coals were dancing. Kegs of Kona brewed beer were being offloaded and the Kihei Ice Truck had made it all the way in this time on our gravel road. The weather was doing its best to impress even hard core islanders with clear skies and warm breezes. Just another day in paradise.
Our weekly luau was gearing up just nicely. Sandy and Coco were dressed in some kind of outfits that reminded me of Trader Vic meets Walt Disney. They were giggling and prancing around so much that it would have made burlap bags look good. Ma & Pa had friends in from Canada or some place really cold. These folks were breathing in the 72 degree air like it was some kind of incense. Hard winters were always good for business in the tropics.
As I was organizing the bar a gentleman walked up to where I had several hemp towels stacked. He stood silently, waiting to get my attention. Finally, he did.
I turned to see who was standing there. His hair was quite gray but had not yet made the leap to white. His eyes were well disguised behind some authentic looking Texas Sheriff sunglasses. His lips were drawn back in a half smile that hinted at sarcasm. On top of my hemp towels was a law enforcement style badge attached to a flip open wallet also containing his ID.
Glancing at all that in one brief moment, I offered a little solicitously, "What you drinking officer?"
He didn't bite.
"Are you the proprietor of this establishment?" His half smile faded a little.