Man in Black (400)

It was nearly closing time.  I was the last customer, and Margie was the only barber still there.  As the ensuing scene erupted, Margie stopped clipping, and we both watched in wonder through the enormous plate-glass window that ran the whole front of Sheena’s.  It was like watching TV, a reality show.

An enormous brawling boiling mass came flowing out onto Hotel Street from Club Swing across the way.  There were military involved, Honolulu being the number-one R&R location for soldiers currently fighting in Vietnam.  There were loads of people in aloha shirts, both tourists and locals, and last in the mix were Asians dressed all in black.  Of course that meant only one thing:  the Korean Mafia.

Even though police headquarters had relocated from downtown to lower Makiki, the old Sears building at the top of Kalākaua Avenue, police presence was heavy in Chinatown.  They and the Military Police were all over the scene quickly, but it took a good long while for the authorities to stop the riot and disperse the crowd.  We could see arrests going on, but mostly the people just fled the scene.

Eventually, Hotel Street retuned to its normal nighttime hustle. Mostly silent through the whole thing, I returned to the chair and Margie continued cutting my hair.  She and I discussed the amazing outburst casually, almost as if hardly anything had happened. 

All of a sudden, a gentleman dressed in a black turtleneck sweater and black pants, maybe in his mid to late 50s, came through the front door and sat down heavily on the bench where customers would wait to be called to be served.

Margie said, “I’m sorry, sir, but we’re about to close.  You’ll have to come back tomorrow.”

The man cried out, then fell to the floor.  Margie screamed and ran to his side.

 “Oh my God, Lanning, he’s bleeding,” she said.  “Lanning, go call an ambulance.”

I ran into the back and did so.  When I returned, Margie was pressing a towel against the man’s stomach.

He kept mumbling things.  I caught some words, “run” and “you,” but most of his rambling was incoherent, half in Korean.

All at once his eyes opened and he looked at us.  He gave me a long hard stare, then reached out and grabbed me by the wrist.  I involuntarily tried to shake him off.  He relaxed his grip, then passed out.

* * * * *

Aloha #WritersTuesday, I hope you are well. Today’s #WritingPrompt is


This is National Police Week in the U.S. Use the prompt to inspire a piece of writing, and then post that piece as a comment below. I would love to read it : )

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