Nathaniel Cannon and the Panamanian Idol No. 36

“Ach, fresh air.” Iseabail threw her head back and breathed in deeply.

Cannon could hardly disagree. Honolulu was not an infrequent port of call for the Long Nines, and if any of his crew didn’t like the place, he didn’t know about it. The trees outnumbered the low, white buildings, and the streets were broad and uncrowded. It was early in the afternoon, and those few people joining Cannon and Iseabail on the sidewalk were an even mix of locals and out-of-town sorts.

The sun shone brightly. On the horizon, a towering stormcloud loomed over its closer, less-threatening brethren. Though Cannon and Iseabail were a mile or two inland, the breeze off the sea still brought the scent of saltwater to Cannon’s nose.

They walked into a sharp-edged shadow cast by an airship tailplane overhead. Some dozen mooring masts were placed more or less at random around the city. A mile or two to Cannon’s right, nearer the shore, the Red Banner swung lazily around her mooring lines over the Old Mission, bow pointing into the wind.

Iseabail grinned and elbowed Cannon in the ribs. “Ach, ye can say it now.”

Cannon raised his eyebrows. “What am I saying now?”

“I was righ’.”

“About what?”

“Abou’ comin’ off yon zeppelin for a day on the town. Hawaii’s aye lovely, every time we’re here.”

Again, Cannon could hardly disagree. They’d spent an hour or two at a tea house of Iseabail’s acquaintance, now half a mile behind them along Manoa Road, passing the time working their way through the finger sandwiches populating the tiered tray between them and chatting in what Cannon hoped was an inoffensively British fashion. They were, after all, still incognito.

They continued down the road, turning to the west as they neared the city center again. Cyrillic lettering caught Cannon’s eye, above a storefront with produce in bins on the sidewalk in front of it. He went in, and emerged a few minutes later with a bottle of vodka.

“For our hosts,” he explained.

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