Cue the Maidens!
IS A JIGGER of tranquility really too much to ask for?
Standing behind a twelve-foot koa wood bar, Em Johnson, manager of the Tiki Goddess on
Kauai‟s North Shore, started prepping for the day ahead. After filling the ice bin, she
sliced fruit forthe sectional dish that held lime, pineapple, lemon slices, and maraschino cherries for the tropicalconcoctions tourists ordered in droves.
Across the room, Pat Boggs, better known as “Sarge,” struggled to wrangle an incorrigible
group of geriatric hula dancers into some semblance of order. The senior dancers, a.k.a the HulaMaidens, had stubbornly conned their way into becoming the featured act at the Goddess.
“Okay, you gol‟danged left
-footed boobies, shut up and get in line! You
know what a
don‟t ‟cha? It‟s show time!” Pat hollered.
Pat‟s voice grated on Em‟s nerves like nails on a chalkboard.
Em inhaled, closed her eyes, and slowly counted to ten. When she opened her eyes, she foundherself staring up at Nat Clark, a full time television script writer and part-time Kauai resident fromL.A. Nat owned the refurbished plantation cottage on the beach next door to the Goddess. A tallhedge separated his property from their parking lot.
“You look like you need a break already,” he s
“I was thinking about hiding at your place,” Em said. “It would serve you right if the cameracrew followed me over.”
Nat watched the commotion across the barroom where the Maidens were trying not to fidget while a cameraman balanced a huge handheld camera on his shoulder. He panned across them andthen filmed the three-piece band on the stage.
“You realize I haven‟t had a minute of peace since this whole thing started.” Em opened a new
box of colorful cocktail umbrellas and set it on the bar near the garnishes. Ever since the pilot for areality show based on the Goddess had aired, the lives of everyone connected with the place hadbeen turned upside down. The show had aptly been named
Trouble in Paradise
“Back the dancers out of the way. I want a close up of the Tiki Tones.” The cameraman foughtto be heard over Pat‟s hollering.
“She takes her job seriously,” Nat said.
“She does,” Em agreed. “With little success.”
They watched Pat try to herd the Maidens away from the stage. Outfitted for a full dressrehearsal, all of the dancers were garbed in pink cellophane grass skirts tied over neon-yellow spandex cat suits
very large, very neon, cat suits.
Pat waved her arms. “Move back, ya‟ll. Let the cameraman in, would‟ya? Back up, I say. Can‟tcha hear?”
The line of dancers fell apart as Pat urged them toward the center of the room. Dressed in the worn cowboy boots, white socks, cargo shorts, and baggy Aloha shirt over a bleach-stained, faded
tank top, Pat‟s appearance was gender non
-specific. Her close-cropped hair and lack of makeupmade it impossible to tell if she was a woman or a young man.
Pat was the first to admit she “Didn‟t give a good gol‟durned turd” about it.
“She was enlisted to save the Maidens from themselves, and despite the odds, she‟s bound
anddetermined to succeed . .
. whether they like it or not. Most of the time they don‟t,” Em said.
Nat watched one of the heftier Maidens adjust her cleavage by yanking at the neckline of hertop and heaving it up.
“I didn‟t know spandex had that much give,” he said.