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Bud Grossmann’s
Words of the Week
for the Week of
March 12, 2017
Previously unpublished fiction.
© 2017 by Bud Grossmann.
All Rights Reserved.

Small Shadow (2004)
  Small Shadow (2004)
© 2004 by Bud Grossmann


Years ago, David C. Fischer lived on Oahu in Hawaii and often visited the Island of Kauai, where he was acquainted with a man older than Fischer’s own father, and, like Fischer’s father, a decent, hard-working, church-going, soft-spoken haole man. When this Kauai man eventually retired from a long career of public service, he accepted an appointment to serve a term as a juror on the grand jury on Kauai. On one of Fischer’s visits, the gentleman offered a story.

“Maybe I shouldn’t tell this,” the old man began, “but I have been chuckling about it all week. It’s kind of a naughty story, and it’s a sad story, but maybe you’ll think it’s a little bit funny, too.”

Fischer made no effort to halt the teller of the tale.

“The prosecutor was seeking an indictment for a crime of non-consensual intimate activity, let us say. The defendant was not in court because this is the grand jury, you know. But the victim, the complainant testifying, was a middle-aged Filipino woman, and the prosecutor is a young Japanese fella, not too long out of law school,” the haole man told Fischer. “And this prosecutor got the woman to tell what had happened, and then he asks, about the man charged with the crime, he asks, ‘Was he hos-tile?’ Just like that, those three words: ‘Was he hos-tile?’

“Well, the Filipino lady didn’t understand what he was asking, the way the Japanese fella said it. She asked him to repeat the question. But then, instead of using a different word, he said just about the same thing again, ‘Was Mr. X hos-tile to you?’ And she looked uncertain, so the prosecutor said it louder, ‘Hos-tile! Was he hos-tile?’ And then the lady’s face lit up and she smiled a little and she looked over at the judge and then back at the lawyer and she answered, oh so earnestly, “Ohhh, yes! That’s right, yes! He do um hoss-style, yes! He do um hoss-style, dog-style, everykine-style!”

Tragic then, tragic now, but if this story reminds you, somehow, of current politics in the U.S.A., I will forgive you, I think, for smiling in your fear and in your misery.

Click for a list of other Words of the Week

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This page was updated Sat, Mar 11, 2017, 11:15PM CST.

© 2017 by Bud Grossmann