Knight & Deigh started life as a retelling of The Orphans, from the point of view of the second lead character, Hannice Knight. It begins in Tanzania as I remember it from the early 1980s, but some of the technologies used are much more recent. To that extent, it is anachronistic. Don’t forget, though; it is fictional, made up, lies. All of it.
Hannice Knight had run the African operation of his father’s global business for many years, when a freak accident at home left him unable to walk. Together with physiotherapist Sophie Deigh, he tries to bring into his life the excitement and adventure he missed in his formative years, due to the need to be tied to the business.
A number of adventures and activities follow including scuba-diving, sky-diving, power-boating and camping, and a half-brother he never knew about; but even these can’t lift Hannice’s spirits.
What, or who can? Will the developing closeness between Hannice and Sophie come to anything, and what of the rumoured advances in medical technology?
Beginning on 12 February 2017, I am publishing Knight & Deigh here as a serial; one scene each Sunday.
The full list of scenes so far published is here
Knight & Deigh. Chapter thirteen, scene two: Back to Hawaii.
It was a bit of a rush to get to the airport in time to check in for our flight, but we made it. Just.
I was sorry to have missed the race. I’d always followed Formula One, but only on the television. I’d never actually been to see one in the flesh, as it were. I was not, however, sorry to leave that city. Rightly or not, I didn’t feel at my ease during the few hours we were there. I knew that thousands upon thousands visit São Paulo each year, and the vast majority enjoy a safe and pleasant time there. Our recent history, however, suggested strongly that Sophie and I stood a disproportionately high chance of falling into the small minority that didn’t!
The first leg of the flight, from São Paulo to Dallas, took ten and a half hours. At the end of that, we had a stop of almost five hours before boarding the flight to Honolulu, which took another eight hours and forty minutes. Five hours is a long layover between flights, but the alternative would have meant two changes, one of which had to be achieved in only eighty minutes. I considered that to be too short for comfort. We had time for a leisurely meal, then took in some classic movies before boarding our onward flight.
By the time Jason and Noelani picked us up from the airport, we’d been travelling for more than twenty-six hours, including the journey from the hotel. Despite having slept on both flights, our bodies needed more time to adjust to the eight-hour time difference between São Paulo and Honolulu.
Sophie was ecstatic when she met Noelani. She was truly beautiful, with Polynesian colouring and features, and when she spoke, a slight accent that attested to her background. At the same time, she was all American in her mannerisms and attitudes. I found the combination most attractive.
We spoke at length on the way to the hotel, keeping to personal conversation as Jason didn’t want us talking ‘shop’ and boring his wife.
When we reached the hotel and got out of the vehicle, Noelani turned to Sophie and said, “If you don’t have anything planned for tomorrow, you must come over for the day. I’ll get Jason to pick you up mid-morning, and we can have a proper Hawaiian Sunday. I’m looking forward to showing off what the word Aloha really means.”
“We’ll look forward to that, won’t we?” Sophie said to me.
“Of course,” I replied, “but we will have to spend a bit of time talking ‘shop’.”
Jason laughed, “I think my beautiful child-bride is used to that by now.”
Noelani looked at him and poked her tongue out.
Ten o’clock the following morning, Jason was at the desk waiting for us. We went out to his car, and Sophie helped me in whilst Jason folded my chair and put it in the boot of his car. Or the trunk. The bit at the back, anyway.
The drive to his home was interesting. We had driven the road before and noticed the large, expensive-looking houses with a view over the world-famous beaches, but had no idea that one of these could belong to a humble detective.
“You’ve done very well for yourself, Jason, to be able to afford a place like this,” I said.
Sophie reprimanded me, “Don’t be so rude,” she said.
“No, it’s fine,” Jason reassured her, “I didn’t marry Noelani for her family’s money. Far from it. In fact; I didn’t know, until we were engaged, that her family was what it was. I knew the name, of course, but it’s quite a common name on the islands and I didn’t make the connection. I’m not complaining, though.”
Jason’s car sent a signal to the gate, triggering it to open so we could drive through. It closed and secured itself behind us after we had passed. We pulled up at the house and Noelani came out to greet us, placing garlands of flowers around my and Sophie’s necks, with a kiss on the cheek and a cheery and heartfelt Aloha.
Inside the house, she had laid out plates of coconut balls, macadamia nuts (plain and chocolate-coated), Maui potato chips, shrimp chips and wonton chips and a wider range of chopped, sliced and whole fruits than I can recall seeing anywhere. All this with a choice of Hawaiian beer, Hawaiian wine and Mai-Tai.
“Don’t get carried away,” Jason advised, “these are just welcome snacks. Dinner comes later, and you’ll need to have your appetites ready for that.”
“Shall we just take a few things, and go and get our shop-talk out of the way? Then we can all relax and enjoy the rest of the day,” I suggested.
“Sure. Let’s do it here and now. Noelani will be busy in the kitchen for about an hour, so there’s no risk of boring her with our talk.”
“What’s the story, then?” I asked.
“The defence is suggesting that when we spoke in the bar, I was coaching you to set up a sting operation.”
“That is so far from true it’s laughable,” I said, “and Spikolowski and Cavendish know that. They heard us talking about hidden treasure before you did.”
“We know that, but we need to convince the judge and jury of that, too. All we can do is to stick to our version of the facts, stay calm and don’t be goaded by the defence.”
“I’ll have no problem sticking to my story, but I’m not so sure about the rest. I’ll do what I can, though,” I confessed.
“How do you feel about it, Mrs Deigh?” Jason asked.
“Can we drop the ‘Mrs Deigh’, Jason? I’m Sophie!” Sophie said, “I’m a bit worried that I may buckle under pressure, but I’ll do my best. We have the truth on our side, and that must count for something.”
“We sure hope so, Sophie, we sure hope so.”
The day continued in a most pleasant vein. The culinary promises of the snacks were as surpassed by the dinner as a Morris Minor is by a Maserati. How we managed to haul ourselves away from the table at the end of it was something of a mystery, but manage we did and enjoyed an impromptu performance put on for our benefit by a group of pupils from the local school. I say impromptu, but the kids must have come from somewhere, and the whole thing betrayed an impressive level of organisation. That Noelani arranged all that in less than twenty-four hours, as well as all that food preparation, spoke very highly of her skills in planning and execution.