It stormed constantly, every day. Hawai’i was definitely sick of the horrible weather.
I wondered about it, then decided to ask Jon, who was riding shotgun, if he’d seen The Deer Hunter. He told me no, that he didn’t like to see anything about Vietnam. Serving in the artillery over there, he’d mentioned before that he’d lost some hearing.
“Pretty bad, huh?” I asked.
“Yeah. Real bad. One time we were running through these rice paddies, single file, on maneuvers,” he said. “A guy’s M16 accidentally went off. He emptied an entire clip into the guy in front of him.”
The windshield wipers could barely handle the sheeting water. It rained for so long that year the sun became a tribal memory, and blue skies turned the color of Forget Me. There was so little light for so long, maybe forty days, that the famous giant clam at the Honolulu Aquarium died.
We were driving through water that rushed in streams along Ala Moana, Auahi, Ward, Halekauwila. All the streets were rivers. I drove against the resistant tide, checking my wake in the rearview mirror, waves sometimes big enough for waterskiing, I thought.
My clothes would hang on the laundry line for a week, turning green along some seams, a growth of mold or algae that meant I had to wash them again, drive out that mildewed stink, too. Sometimes running out of underwear, I used my blow-dryer to burn my jockey shorts dry.
“What you was gonna say about the movie?”
“Oh. You sure you want me to talk about it?”
“Yeah, I wanna hear.”
“There are some pretty brutal scenes about Russian Roulette. They’re an important part of the movie. Folks who were over there say they never saw any Russian Roulette, that’s it’s all some made-up Hollywood bullshit.”
“Stupid,” Jon said. “They’re using it as a metaphor for what went on over there.”
I looked over at him. He stared straight ahead, watching the deluge come down.
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