Crimes of the Fay II, Chapter 22

“Is it a little problem that can wait ‘til after I buy one of these bags from this nice cashier for wasting so much of her time?” I petitioned Aidan with an iota of hope in my voice. He shook his head, and I bemoaned, “Dammit! I knew you wouldn’t have asked if it was!” I handed back the purses to the cashier and requested, “Save the purple one for me!” Aidan started walking out the door, but I paused to change my mind. “No, the pink! No… the purple one would match more things! But the pink one is cuter…” Aidan re-entered the facility and dragged me towards the exit, so I told the cashier, “Just hold on to both of them! I’ll be back!”

“Have a good night!” the cashier politely regarded me, though her expression indicated that she didn’t really believe that was feasible for me.

When we returned to the boulevard, I inquired to Aidan, “Alright, what was so important that we had to abandon a promising lead?”

Aidan replied, “Apparently the dude Minna was hitting on has a girlfriend, and she’s a little bonkers…”

“More bonkers than Minna?” I know that sounded like I was trying to deploy some insult comedy, but I truly felt perplexed by that notion! Seriously, who could have been behaving more irrationally than a serial stalker?

“She got into a pretty aggressive argument with Minna, and she’s threatening to call for backup!” Aidan reported. “Wow, I never thought I’d ever be rushing to go rescue my crazy ex, but here we are!”

I questioned him, “Why are we gonna get involved with this? Couldn’t we let her spend the night in jail? She’d do fine! She’s better at acting natural with our cover story than us!”

Aidan responded, “That’s ‘cause she’s deluded herself into believing she’s a part of the family for ages! If she was on her own, I wouldn’t bother, but I’m worried about the rest of the bunch! They’re innocent bystanders to… whatever a woman crazier than Minna would do with her friends!” I grasped his point, and I agreed that we needed to intervene! As we made our way down the street, I inwardly prayed that the nuts wouldn’t be too hard to crack!

By the entrance of the bar, we heard Minna shout, “Listen, I realize that you’re taking this breakup pretty hard, but there’s no need to resort to violence!”

“What? We’re not breaking up!” a man whom I could only assume was the object of Minna’s affection objected to Minna’s characterization of the situation. He then turned to his girlfriend and negotiated with her, “Come on! Let’s go home! Do you really wanna have police witness this?”

“Oh, they called law enforcement! It shouldn’t be so bad in there then as long as Samena didn’t pick up on this incident and decide to assist!” I assessed. Aidan and I opened the door, and we were shocked to see Samena throw a chair against the wall with enough force that it splintered into pieces! “Hide!” I directed Aidan.

Samena howled at her boyfriend, “Is this what you do when I let you tag along on my cases, Makoa? You let any old floosie come on to you?”

Makoa refuted that accusation, “I didn’t let her! She wouldn’t take no for an answer! I’m the victim here, why are you yelling at me? If anything, you should go arrest her for harassment!”

“That won’t be necessary!” my mom interjected. She seized the handles of Minna’s wheelchair and relayed to Samena, “We’ll take her home, and we’ll make sure she keeps her distance!”

“Oh, am I getting another restraining order? Man, this is becoming a weekly thing!” Minna remarked.

Mom pushed her away from the scene and threw Samena an awkward smile as she departed. As Laraleigh corralled her crew, she brought up, “Wait, where’s my brother? I better text him again!” Aidan’s phone chimed, and Laraleigh heard it. “That’s weird! It sounds like he’s in the restaurant…”

Samena gazed towards the table Aidan and I were hiding under, and we momentarily panicked! I mean, it’s not like we were breaking any laws- it simply would have been super uncomfortable to confront her under these conditions! And we did not need another reason for Samena to harbor venom towards us! I wasn’t sure what we were going to do until… “Whoops!” Harper cried out as she fell forward. Her wand accidentally discharged a spell that flew behind her and landed on some decorative bottles hanging from the ceiling, which busted open and dowsed Samena in a ton of liquid! I was grateful for all of the commotion that this caused because no one could hear Aidan and me snickering!

“I am so sorry!” Harper apologized in a manner that almost seemed completely sincere.

“What did you do?” Laraleigh rushed back in and became horrified at the sight before her! It felt so tempting to stay and watch this drama conclude itself, but I realized that we had the perfect diversion, so I nudged Aidan and we left.

We espied the remainder of Laraleigh’s kids by the truck, and I surveyed the group, “Where’s my mom and Mi… I mean Grace?”

Kinsey recounted, “Your mom convinced Grace to magick them home by saying Clifton was gonna check in with us there. Mama said to… Hold on… You guys were in the bar the whole time?” 

“Not exactly…” Aidan shifted his stance guiltily.

“Where have you two been?” Laraleigh roared loudly enough to make us jump in fright. “I could’ve used your help back there!” 

Aidan shot back, “How would we be of any use? We’re mere farmers here!” Laraleigh glared at him, and I foresaw a bit of sibling rivalry until we spotted Samena leaving the building. Aidan swiftly darted into the vehicle and beckoned the others, “Let’s go, guys!”

While I hopped into the front seat with my boyfriend, Harper peeked in through the small window in the rear and commented, “Looks like my distraction worked! You’re welcome!”

“Thank you! We hid ourselves ‘cause… Well, we…” I stumbled on my speech a little.

“It’s okay! I’m not about to pry into why you were alluding authorities!” Harper assured me. “Do you know how many times I’ve had to do that recently?”

Her assistance was very much appreciated, but I didn’t like where this conversation threatened to head to! “I don’t wanna know!”

Harper acknowledged, “Good point! If anyone ever interrogates you on it, you can honestly say you don’t know a thing!” Harper sat down in the bed of the truck and pantomimed buttoning her lips, and Laraleigh appeared as though she had questions, but she decided to let it go and rolled her eyes at the ridiculousness of this circumstance.

On Monday, Mom as well as Laraleigh, Aidan, and I headed to the field. Kaleo and Kalani were standing at the other end waiting for us, and I was mentally preparing myself for the discussion that needed to be had when something unexpectedly hopped in front of our path! I pulled out my wand and readied myself for a perilous battle, but to my surprise, it wasn’t Wade ambushing us- the intruder was just the goat from next door! “You again! Go home, Anela!”

Anela stuck her tongue out at us, and I didn’t want to start my morning by getting bitten by a goat, so I decided to do a jinx. Prior to me performing any sort of hex though, Lopaka peered over the fence in the distance and asked, “Why do you have a child’s wand?”

“Why is your pet in our yard?” I retorted.

“Touché!” Lopaka hopped over the rail and retrieved the animal. “Forgive the intrusion! She’s rather stressed out since we had strangers exploring the property.”

Mom wondered, “You have tourists coming to your ranch?”

Lopaka explained, “No, no! The folks who bought the egg farm down the road were interested in expanding their land, and they gave me a great offer! A part of me doesn’t wanna give up the place that I dedicated my whole life to…” He glanced over at the Hekekias and added, “Another part is cool with it though! I lā maika’i!” 

He ushered Anela back under the fence, and secretly, I thought that if Lopaka did decide to stay, the Hekekias ought to goat-proof their perimeter! As soon as we ensured that trespassing critters had vacated the vicinity, we renewed our effort to begin our workday. It felt fairly flustering though after our brief but somewhat negative interaction with their neighbor, and while we didn’t really exude any true friendliness towards him, he acted more kindly to us than he did them! When we grew closer, I could discern agitated scowls on their faces, and I feared an awkward shift ahead! Kaleo let out an exasperated sigh, and then…

“So, how was your weekend?” Kaleo cheerily posed to us as if nothing out of the ordinary had recently transpired.

“Fine,” I tersely expressed. How could I have summed up everything that occurred in the last sixty hours or so in a few words? I could’ve gone until our clock-out time with all that went on during this period! And then there was the stuff that we couldn’t reveal to them…

Mom jumped in and supplemented that, “We explored some of the cities close to here! It’s bizarre that we’re within driving distance of a desert and a rainforest!”

Kalani chuckled, “Yes, Pele certainly created a unique space! So the children all have school today?”

“Yeah,” Laraleigh confirmed. “Mina is tutoring them.” She espied the startled looks on the Hekekias’ visages, so she clarified, “She’s a PhD candidate, so they’ll do fine with her unless one of the distance learning teachers is hot…”

“Would she get a tad distracted?” Kalani tittered.

With as much stoicism as she could muster, Laraleigh asserted, “Just a tad.”

The Hekekias clearly found that concept amusing. None of us did, but we also didn’t have the patience to explain it to them. Once they absorbed this merriment, Kaleo instructed us, “Well, we couldn’t afford any more saplings, so we used the last of our money to buy seeds. So, today we’re gonna work on tilling the soil and do some planting. Everyone, grab a shovel!”

We all trudged towards the shed, but Mom stopped me in my tracks, “Sophia, you can’t do any strenuous labor!”

“Why not?” Kaleo wondered.

“She may have… a stomach problem!” Aidan illuminated them in a technically true rationale of my possible condition. “Oh, that reminds me… We gotta take off early on Wednesday for a doctor appointment.”

Kaleo shrugged. “Alright. Don’t hurt yourself here- we can’t afford any workman’s comp! Although, the Department of Agriculture would probably cover it… Oh, nevermind! Still don’t get hurt! Sophia can help tend to the saplings.”

Kalani grabbed a bag of plant food, and I trailed her as she traveled between the trees. As we stationed ourselves between the greenery, I recognized that I had the ideal opportunity to quiz Kalani on the mo’o! If I played my cards right, I thought I could have wrangled more facts about the disappearing lake from her too! I mulled over how to subtly bring the subject up, but then she conversed, “Do they still sell those adorable purses at the Hekekias’ Hut?”

“They call it the Bamboocha Bungalow now, but yeah, they do!” I informed her. “I had the cashier hold the purple and pink ones ‘cause I couldn’t decide between them!”

“Tell you what… When we get Lani Noni profitable again, I’ll take the pink and you can have the purple!” Kalani proposed.

I grinned at that prospect. “Deal!” I paused for a moment, and then I put forward, “Oh, that cashier holding our purses said something kinda strange…”

Kalani raised her eyebrows upon hearing that. “Oh?”

“Uh-huh,” I confirmed. “When I mentioned Lake Ana Wai, she began telling us that the water dried up ‘cause the mo’o got something stolen from it. She didn’t have a second to spare o go into more detail than that though. Do you think you could clear that up?” Kalani’s lip twitched nervously, and…

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