Monday, December 17, 2012

Charlie Chan -- Mystery Superstar Part I

Charlie Chan - Hawaiian Super Cop
In 1904, the soft steps of policeman Chang Apana approached a multi-story building in the most dangerous part of Honolulu’s Chinatown. Along the beach houses of Waikiki, the sweet smell of plumeria floated in the ocean breeze. In this part of the city, the unsavory smells of fish, opium, and washing soap hung in the air. From his informants, Apana knew that in a hidden upstairs room, a group of men operated an illegal gambling den.
Alone and in disguise, he slipped by guards stationed around the building. In quietness, he climbed the stairs and slipped past another guard. At the top of the stairs he reached for the coiled bull whip that hung on his belt. He’d used the same whip to subdue cattle as a teenage paniolo cowboy on the Big Island. Standing barely over five-foot tall, he threw open the door to the gambling hall, and stepped into the smoke-filled room.
Forty rough and hardened men turned their eyes toward the open door, and saw Apana. They gasped. Several jumped up to escape. All forty men knew Chang’s reputation as a tough and fair cop. They had only one option. To escape the kiss of his leather whip, all forty surrendered without incident to that single Honolulu policeman.
Not all incidents ended so smoothly. In thirty years of service, this first ever Chinese Hawaiian policeman survived gunshots, knifings, and beatings. His fellow officers reported that after every such incident, he got back on his feet, and got his man. When historians looked back on the century, they named Chang Apana as one of the 100 most influential people in Hawaiian history.
Chang Apana (left) and Charlie Chan (Warner Oland)

May your days be full of good words.

For information on Alan Elliott's latest estory "Takeover" go to This short story, Takeover: A Writer’s Nightmare, is a romp through the messed-up brain of a creative writer that takes you on a bumpy joy ride with a twisted ending.

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