The Duke, a Novella by James Strauss

Several years ago I wrote a series of Short Stories
relating to some experiences growing up in Hawaii.

It was strange that we spent time thinking about ways to get OFF of the Islands and to the Mainland.
I found these up in the top shelf wandering around in my recuperation period from the Heart Surgery in January 2020.
Enjoy!

The Duke, Part One

The Duke, Part One

THE DUKE A Novella by James Strauss  Darren worked every Saturday morning at the Cannon Club to clean the place for evening dinner.  The Officer’s Club was not large so he was the only busboy, just as he’d been the only slop boy the year before.  The promotion had not...

The Duke, Part Two

The Duke, Part Two

THE DUKE Part II  Shimmying is what Jimmie called it.  Darren slowly worked his way across the cinder block wide expanse of stone they called the anvil.  Diamond Head. The mountain.  A small stretch of it required passing across a twenty-foot section of stone that...

The Duke, Part Three

The Duke, Part Three

THE DUKE Part III  Darren and Jimmy never climbed Diamond Head during the week, as there was simply too much else to do, what with school, homework and real work, but weekends were special. A small Army facility was located deep down in the bowl of Diamond Head crater...

The Duke, Part Four

The Duke, Part Four

The Duke Part IV  Darren was as little prepared for the awesomely frightening nuclear display as Jimmy had been. Star Black had actually taken it best, although her comment when they got down from the mountain neither understood “I don’t understand what’s such a big...

The Duke, Part Five

The Duke, Part Five

THE DUKE Part V There was only one person sitting in the room when Darren and Jimmy entered from the hall. Jimmy brushed against a lamp and had to settle it back on its table with both hands shaking in nervous anticipation about what he had glimpsed. A man sat at the...

The Duke, Part Six

The Duke, Part Six

THE DUKE Part Six Sunday dinner at the Cannon Club was the big event of the week.  Darren went in early, more to figure out how to accommodate, or at least survive, the rage Chef Wu would be expressing, than anything else.  There was always cleaning to be done so...

The Duke, Part Seven

The Duke, Part Seven

THE DUKE Part VII   Jimmy and Darren sat in dejection on the curb in front of the Moana Hotel in downtown Waikiki. Neither Judy nor Alice had come back to the front part of the closed-off rear bar area of the lobby where Elvis was filming. Star Black had been let...

The Duke, Part Eight

The Duke, Part Eight

THE DUKE Part Eight Jimmy pulled on both oars, his skinny body bending forward and then back like a single reed of bamboo in the wind. There was no discussion about whom would do the rowing.  Jimmy was so adept and happy at performing the seemingly simple task that...

The Duke, Part Nine

The Duke, Part Nine

THE DUKE PART IX  Darren slept fitfully in his bedroom at the house on 16th Avenue.  His brother had left for the Mainland, and St. Norbert College months before, so he had the whole room to himself.  Darren would be going to the same college if he lived that long. ...

The Duke, Part Ten

The Duke, Part Ten

THE DUKE Part X Jimmy pulled the Corvair Monza Spyder up to the curb, parking parallel, right in front of the steps that led into the Lewis of Hollywood hairstyling salon where Darren’s mom worked. Jimmy jumped out of the car without opening the door, one of his...

The Duke, Part Eleven

The Duke, Part Eleven

THE DUKE Part XI With the Bofors rounds safely tucked into the padded back seat of the Corvair, Jimmy drove the machine down Kalakaua toward the zoo, this time his driving so slow and careful Darren couldn’t believe it.  Jimmy’s moving of the rounds from the front...

The Duke, Part Twelve

The Duke, Part Twelve

The DUKE Part XII The rain came the following morning.  Jimmie’s dad’s Corvair wasn’t going anywhere.  Although the convertible top seemed secure when the levers were pushed to hold the canvas and metal rod lattice work down securely, the pounding rain and wind of a...

The Duke, Part Thirteen

The Duke, Part Thirteen

The Duke PART XIII Jimmy and Darren rushed back to Jimmy’s house through the pouring rain.  The rain, To Darren, felt warm and comforting simply because they were nearly invisible when they were out in it.  No one in their right mind, or on a serious mission, could be...

The Duke, Part Fourteen

The Duke, Part Fourteen

THE DUKE Part XIV   Jimmy headed the Corvair around the tip of Diamond Head, only slowing in an attempt to avoid deeper runnels of mud that had flowed down from the mountain and across the road, that had only occurred a bit earlier.  The mud, if it got on the Spyder’s...

The Duke, Part Fifteen

The Duke, Part Fifteen

The Duke Part XV   How had the cop known that Jimmy was a military brat, and therefore needed transport to the Naval Hospital at Tripler instead of Queens or some place closer and private? Why was the Army coming? And why were the cops acting so weird, like a...

The Duke, Part Sixteen

The Duke, Part Sixteen

THE DUKE Part XVI   Darren moved toward the Moana Hotel, using the hot sidewalk instead of the more protective cooler sand along the shore.  He’d left his flip flops in the car, but it had only occurred to him that he’d done so when he began his trek back to the...

The Duke, Part Seventeen

The Duke, Part Seventeen

THE DUKE Part XVII It was difficult to get through the night, and then stay on to clean up the club after almost everyone else had left. Jimmy’s condition was unknown and Darren had no way to find out, except to go to Jimmy’s house and talk to his parents. Jimmy was...

The Duke, Part Eighteen

The Duke, Part Eighteen

THE DUKE Part XVIII   Sunday took a long time in coming, as Darren lay in his bed, under a giant poster of the moon, carefully pinned to the wall above his head. The night had been long and filled with waking moments of terror. Terror that Jimmy might not make it back...

The Duke, Part Nineteen

The Duke, Part Nineteen

THE DUKE Part XIX  Sandy Beach was called Sandy, but only by Haoles and tourists.  It was Sandies Beach to the locals, just like the wonderful Bellows Beach further around the shore, just beyond Waimanalo, was called Sherwood Forest to them.  The tourists who visited...

The Duke, Part Twenty

The Duke, Part Twenty

THE DUKE Part XX Jimmy blasted the Spyder up the flank of Diamond Head, the Corvair’s turbocharger emitting a pleasing jet engine whine until taking the corner onto 16th Avenue.  Seconds later Darren was home and Jimmy took off again. With its strange rear suspension...

The Duke, Part Twenty-One

The Duke, Part Twenty-One

THE DUKE Chapter XXI   Darren’s father was in a rage by the time he got home from work.  The rages were all founded upon the same squishy ground.  Bacardi Light was the name of the ground. “Who’s this Kahanamoku character?” his father had started with. Darren was a...

The Duke, Part Twenty-Two

The Duke, Part Twenty-Two

THE DUKE Part XXII   The single thought that pervaded Darren's mind, and kept him from worrying about what Sergeant Cross might say to his request to get confirmation and a date and time for the Elvis dinner, was about the weekend and what Jimmy had said. “Sunday, we...

The Duke, Part Twenty-Three

The Duke, Part Twenty-Three

THE DUKE Part XXIII  Darren went back inside and began the real work of getting the place ready, the kind he made himself do well but didn’t like at all. The work he loved was with the people, not doing the scut work before anyone arrived, although nothing would be...