A journal of narrative writing.
The Pigs of Hilo
Page 3

I followed Tripp back into the car. 

“I don’t get it,” I said.

“Das why you was up on da hill,” Tripp said.

“Will I ever get it?”

“Do you want to?”

I looked out the window.  We had passed the Lapahoehoe gulch and were continuing north. 

“What happened to the pig?” I asked.

We are da pigs.  We are da pigs. We are da pigs.

“Let’s get to that party,” Tripp said.  The fifth of Sauza was nearly gone.  The remains swished from silver to gold in the moonlight.  The reggae returned with its cries of struggle and trust in whatever it was above that might someday take them to a land that was theirs.  

“Bra, your eyes are tripping me out,” Tripp said. 

“Red?” I asked.


The party roared to life when Tripp arrived.  The crowd parted and drew him in and closed behind him and he was gone, but it was ok.  I felt safe.  The emerald glow of Steinlager illuminated the faces of the party as far as I could see. 

I sat at a table and helped myself to the kalua pig buffet with rice and lumpia and teriyaki beef with a beer to wash it all down.  I bit into the food and my mouth salivated with so much juice that it dribbled down my chin.  There was laughter and people’s smiles melted like wax under the light.  I sat at a table outside of the party’s canopy and light. 

Outside in the dark, I shared the night with the gnats and mosquitoes and they hummed around my plate.  I shielded my eyes in search for Tripp but he was under the canopy with the rest of the party and I could not see far enough in from where I sat.  They skanked and sang underneath the protection of the tarp.  I smiled.

“Ho! How’s it?” someone asked me from behind.

I said hello and lifted my beer to him.  He grinned, wide and quietly, and I had seen that smile before.

“Welcome.  Can get you anything?” he asked.  “Passion Juice?”  But I looked at his hands which were balled in tight fists.  In his eyes, there I saw the tears ignite, glimmering even in the dark.  I looked around for any signs of Tripp.

“Tripp left bra,” the man said. 

“I think I’m alright.”

“You wen kill dis pig on da way ova hea?” the man said.  “Said you killed um.”

“It wasn’t me.”

“How would you know?”

“I guess I don’t.”

“Can sample some of your plate?” he asked.  He grinned and before I could respond he squeezed his hand around my entire serving, leaving only grease and cabbage.  He shoved the pig into his mouth, then reached across the table and wiped the grease onto my shirt, grinning wildly.  With his clean hand, he grabbed my beer and channeled it down his throat until the bottle was empty. 

“Can ask you one question bra?” he asked.

“I don’t have the answer.”

“Can name the birthday girl?” he asked. 

I looked around and took note of Happy Birthday signs and leis.  I was at a birthday party.  I had no answer, so I looked at the moon.

“Thought so,” he said. 

“Do they all know?” I asked quietly, and looked at the party.

“We know there is a war going on,” he answered. 

Just like Tripp said.

I watched their melting smiles, their faces warm with booze under the canopy with pig-dense air.  I noticed where I was sitting and understood what he meant. 

“And we know that in the war, we are the pigs.”

He walked away.  I didn’t touch the food again.

Tripp came and got me later, sweating from a long night of dancing and drinking.  “Bra we outa here.  Grab some pig for the road.  Gotta get more tequila.  Was the shit ah?”

“Whose pig is that?” I asked.

Tripp stopped in his tracks.  “I told you arready bra.  In this war, we are da pigs.”

I looked at my plate.  We drove away from the party.  Tripp swerved onto the wrong side of the road and screamed at the plastic palm trees.  He screamed at the bubbling sewage ocean and did donuts on the lawn of a church until its grass was ruined.

Eventually Tripp and I sat in his car, out of breath from screaming. 

“Tripp, are we friends?” I asked.

Tripp looked at me.

“Like a disease you learn to live wit.”