Chapter 22: Chapter Eighteen ‘The Hawaiian Wolverine is in the Building’ - Stalking Chickens: A Parker Robinson Mystery (2024)


‘The Hawaiian Wolverine is in the Building’

I turned in my lunch tray and went back to the exhibit floor. After checking in with Ms. Abercrombie, I followed the gadfly’s advice and began making the rounds as a roamer.

After completing a half circuit of the perimeter booths, I noticed a venue at the far end of the midway that seemed to be attracting a lot of visitors.

As I approached, I saw it was one of the largest installations, sponsored by a major corporation, this one an agricultural company, grouped around the dairy industry, specifically a well-known brand of butter and cream cheese.

Around the exhibit, its familiar packaging was everywhere: on posters, on give-away coupons, novelty refrigerator magnets. However, the centerpiece of the exhibit —the one that was attracting all the attention— was basically a form of performance art.

Working my way closer for a better view, at first, I took it for a still-life, featuring a mannequin display. But I quickly realized it was a living, breathing model. She was seated on a small bench with her knees tucked under her. The bench was on a raised dais, illuminated from two sides by spotlights and surrounded by polished chrome stanchions and connecting velveteen ropes—like the kind you see at grand openings of movie premiers. They were there to cordon off the model from the spectators.

The model was of a young age and healthy physical type. She wore long, black, braided-hair and an Indian-maiden dress made of the softest doeskin with 3 inch fringes at the hemline and at the shoulders. It was further accessorized by a single-feathered headdress, a beaded belt and beaded bracelets. Her hemline was hiked above the knees and she was holding the company’s touted butter product chest high, holding it up with both hands, in an exact mimicry of the product packaging. At the same time, she was gazing off into the middle distance with a sort of wistful, hopeful, expectant expression on her face.

Of course, the chief allure of the attraction, aside from her good looks, was the fact that she was remaining stock-still, as still as any of the motionless waxworks at Madame Tussaud’s.

Naturally, it was attracting many stares, particularly from males. Like other installations of performance art, the model strove to achieve utter stillness. Even down to and including her eyes, which betrayed no movement of any kind, nothing beyond the unavoidable blink every few seconds. Maintaining this pose must have been a strain requiring real concentration. I was sure they must have to rotate the models in and out every half-hour or so. True, she was seated and not moving but still the mere holding of the pose must have been aerobic enough in itself

There were snickers and giggles and comments coming from the peanut gallery surrounding her, but it wasn’t showing on this model’s face. Adding myself to the crowd filtering by, I began zeroing in on her face and I noticed a striking resemblance to another person well-known to me— my Polynesian girlfriend, Loni Kim Makaleha, whom I knew to be presently back at her home in Hawaii.

I kept zeroing in, leaning closer over the velveteen ropes. The closer I got and the more I peered, the more she resembled her. It was almost uncanny. Then, it ceased being that.

It was her; it had to be. She may be wearing cosmetics to heighten the theatrical effect of her costume, but underneath the makeup, everything was where it should be. Another few seconds and I was certain of it.

I said, “Loni Kim! What are you doing here?”

No response. Not a twitch, not a wink, not a glimmer of recognition.

“Loni, I know it’s you. What are you doing here? You’re supposed to be in Hawaii?”

Still no reaction from her, but the other spectators were turning their heads to stare at me now.

“Loni, I know it’s you. What are you doing here?”

The reaction I was receiving from her was exactly the same reaction in the Uncle Remus when Brer Fox tries to question the Tar Baby and the Tar Baby doesn’t answer back.

Undaunted, I continued, “You know, it’s a good thing you can’t speak to me because that means you can’t interrupt. Loni, is this getting to be a habit with you? First, you pop in on me on Cape Cod, pretending to be a raccoon. Then you drop in unexpectedly in New York. Now, here you are showing up unannounced in Minnesota. Am I going to have to go to the police and have you registered as a stalker?”

Inside of her, I knew she must be experiencing all sorts of emotional upheaval, but none of it was reaching the surface. I continued trying to crack her veneer, but it wasn’t working.

“If you don’t answer me, I’m going to tickle you.”

One of the other booth attendants came to her rescue, saying, “Sir, if you know the lady, as you can see, she’s not available right now. You’ll have to move along and talk to her later.”

I complied with the request, but not before briefly putting my immobile face up in front of hers, aligning our eyes exactly and attempting to engage her in a Stare Down to force her to stop gazing off into the distance. It proved futile; she won. I broke out into a smile first; whereas she had moved not a muscle.

Pulling me away, the attendant informed me I could wait for her in a lounge area outside the dressing rooms in the basem*nt, which was reached through a side door behind a screen. It led down a set of metal steps to changing rooms below.

I descended as far as the switchback landing and waited in the dim light for the door above to open. When it finally did, Loni was descending with a girlfriend. She didn’t see me at first, owing to the fact that, upon entering, everyone’s eyes had to make the same adjustment to the dim lighting. This allowed me to grab her around the waist and pull her to me.

Her friend reacted with alarm when I began kissing her. However, Loni didn’t resist. Far from it. Her girlfriend timidly asked if she was all right and Loni signaled with her hand that she was.

Our long dormant passion, now finally being released, we continued our ardent preoccupied, when the door above us opened again and the YWCA lady —her heels clacking on the metal rungs— came down the steps. Neither Loni nor I were interested in calling ‘time out’, but when I glanced and noticed it was the Gadfly —her face registering both shock and disapproval— I couldn’t help but ad-lib “Boy, you were right. That ‘self-confidence’ thing really works!”

Chapter 22: Chapter Eighteen ‘The Hawaiian Wolverine is in the Building’ - Stalking Chickens: A Parker Robinson Mystery (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Nicola Considine CPA

Last Updated:

Views: 6235

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (49 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Nicola Considine CPA

Birthday: 1993-02-26

Address: 3809 Clinton Inlet, East Aleisha, UT 46318-2392

Phone: +2681424145499

Job: Government Technician

Hobby: Calligraphy, Lego building, Worldbuilding, Shooting, Bird watching, Shopping, Cooking

Introduction: My name is Nicola Considine CPA, I am a determined, witty, powerful, brainy, open, smiling, proud person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.