A journal of narrative writing.
The Pigs of Hilo
Page 2

I looked at the pig as it shivered for life.

Its eyes dripped with the same glowing silver as Tripp’s. 

Tripp was next to me.

He held out his hand.  In it was a long black mag-lite.

“Cannot leave um like dat,” he said. 

The pig knew, and so did Tripp.  He shoved the mag-lite in my hand.  I looked at the pig.         

“Not me,” I said.

“Then who?”

“Wasn’t me.”

“Was you bra.  Just don’t know yet.”

I dropped the mag-lite in horror.  Tripp was grinning again.

“I can’t do it,” I said.  The hooves were clicking on the ground.  The pig was in pain. “It was not me.”

“Cannot leave um,” Tripp said and snatched the huge flash light from the ground.  “Cannot leave um like dis.  He’s fucked arready.”          

Tripp knelt beside the pig, lowered his head next to its face until his nose was painted with the warm blood of what remained of its snout.  He scraped his knees as he leveled himself with the pig, and then he brushed the hair out of its eyes.  Tripp apologized without saying a word.  He raised the butt of the mag-lite, and the pig looked at Tripp for the last time.

I saw remorse in Tripp’s eyes for the first time.

Then the boar’s mammoth skull shattered under the blows of Tripp’s mag-lite.  I flinched as its head flattened.  With each hit the pig’s eyes closed more and out of its ear seeped black fluid thick as tar.  The pig’s eyes were hanging out of its head.  That was how the struggle ended.   

“We go,” Tripp whispered out of breath, and I followed him back to the 4 Runner.

We returned to the reggae and Tripp sang along and passed the pipe to me.  I drank the tequila and thought about the boar in the road. 

The palm trees outside had become plastic and the Ocean a bubbling green stew of sewage.  Tripp went on singing, stating that was all he could do.  His arms were glistening, boiling in the humidity or the fury.  Something, perhaps the smell, struck me as oddly familiar. 

We were on the same road as before.  The same bends, the same scenery.  I rubbed my burning eyes and looked at Tripp to see if he was still staring and grinning at me.  I could only see his hair flying as if he was faceless.  Soon we would be traveling down the Lapahoehoe gulch again.  I could tell not by the placement of the moon that watched the unfolding history, but the crooked smell of blood in the air which struck me like the blood pressure of a nightmare.  This repeated nightmare.

“We are back where we started,” I said.  “What about the party?”

“My parents going want da pig ah?” Tripp said.  “Smoke um and dey last for months, especially that huge fucka.  We go back and get um.”

Tripp’s hair was whipping in the wind and his tattoo had returned to his arm.  We were going ninety again up Highway 19.  He hollered at the top of his lungs and poured the tequila down his throat.  I wanted Tripp to slow down, but instead I choked on the pipe.  My head was frying and this was not my home.

“Gotta help me get dat pig in da back of da car, ya?” he asked.  “Let you eat some too, bra you be droolin.”  I swallowed and thought about the blood seeping from the pigs ear.

Tripp turned to me and stared.  He pressed the gas pedal all the way to the floor.  His hair was whipping as if it were alive.  His head faced me, and his hands left the wheel.  I heard his words echoing from the trees and then louder from the sky.

We were going so fast that all the plastic palm trees were a blur.  The metallic smell was getting denser, strong as iron.  I grabbed the tequila.

“Things are different bra.  All fucked up arready.”

“Please slow down.”  My hands were shaking and my burning eyes were raging again.

“Like a disease you learn to live wit.  Or depends on how you like die.”

Tripp’s face spread slowly until I was staring at his grin again.  “Das why you ease da pain,” he seeped through his smile, grabbing the tequila.  “Get coke in da back.”

The car gradually slowed when we reached Lapahoehoe gulch for the second time.  The headlights stretched their arms and pulled whatever it was on the road into our sight.  The drizzle fell diagonally and distorted any clear image.  But there was the body, lifeless and curled seemingly for warmth or to escape the smell in the air that it was creating.

Tripp stopped the car and climbed out.  “Come on.  Need your help bra.  Not going be easy.”

I got out but before I could move I watched Tripp gasp and freeze mid step, choked on his words, and looked back at the source of his shock.  He fell to his knees.

“Kaliki?” Tripp stuttered.

The being on the ground moved and lifted his face.  Then he rose to his feet.  On the side of his head was a bullet wound surrounded by dried blood.  The face was pale and the flesh around the wound wilted like soaked fingertips.


The boy smiled. 

“My bradda,” Tripp let out and walked over to him.  “Bra lemme see you.”

The boy’s smile vanished and he touched the bullet wound on his temple.

“Sorry ah?” Tripp said.  “We missing you out here.  Could use you back on da boats wit us.  Can’t catch nothing without you.  Guarantee you was good lahk.”

Tripp’s eyes had become rippling diamonds.

The two looked at each other and shared a silence.  I looked around for the pig but it was gone, and so was the blood that it had spilled at the hands of Tripp.

“Been tough without you Kaliki,” Tripp said.

Then the boy opened his mouth.           

Kaliki touched his scabbed bullet wound again.  “Neva mean for none a dat.”

Tripp shook his head.  “No need for apologize.” 

“Towards da end, wanted just da boat.  Da fishin, and nothing else, you know what I mean?”


Tripp walked closer to Kaliki and examined him, and I could no longer tell whose hand was touching the bullet wound.

“Really you,” Tripp stated.

“Dat was da life,” Kaliki said and smiled.  Then he took a deep breath.  “But sometimes,” Kaliki said, then looked down as if shamed, “everything was too much, and the fishing was not enough arready.  Felt trapped.  And dis was not even our home, bra.”

Tripp nodded.

And right then, I was watching Kaliki’s funeral, something that had happened years before, before I ever moved to Hawaii or met Tripp.  But I was there right then, watching from the top of the gulch, one warm noon in the Pacific.  The sun shined bright on Kaliki’s favorite fishing spot where the funeral was being held.  I watched his family take turns being strong: one comforted while the rest cried, then that one would sob and need the comfort from another.  I watched people throw their flowers into the ebb and flow of the Hawaiian water.  Tripp wiped the tears off his face and threw his hibiscus lei into the water.  Back then his hair wasn’t as long; he hadn’t cut it since the loss of his friend.  I watched Tripp shake the tears from his face.  He took off his shirt and threw it into the Ocean.  Family members grabbed handfuls of the boy’s ashes and threw them out to the sea.  Tripp, burly and thick, comforted three of Kaliki’s aunties at once by smothering them with his arms.  And the wails of pain could be heard for miles, as I was miles separated from it all, perched on a far off hill where I belonged.

The ceremony lasted well into the night, and somehow I was returned to Tripp and Kaliki in the middle of the street. 

“Take care of yourself, bra,” Tripp said modestly.

Kaliki smiled.

“Come back from time to time, check up on us,” he said.  Kaliki laid back down on the pavement in the fetal position he was in when we found him.