UNFINISHED DOCUMENTARY, STATE OF GRACE | Mid-1970s
Interviewee: CHARLIE DANGER
I had been surfing the late afternoon break at Milakale and the sun was starting to drop behind the mountain. The sharks off Kaua‘i always come in to feed when it gets dark, so I rode one last wave all the way to the beach and collected my stuff.
I mentioned once before that being alone on the Milakale property always made me feel paranoid, like I was being watched from the tree line. This particular evening was really bad. I had a serious case of chicken skin by the time I got back to the chopper. I had just lashed my board to the skid when I could swear I heard voices.
It’s embarrassing, but as a kid, I was deathly afraid of the Menehune, the race of little people who live …well, in remote forgotten places just like Milakale. I know they’re supposed to be friendly; they were the ones who came out at night and built all the ancient temples and fishponds, but for some reason, they freaked me out. Maybe it was because they only came out at night, but he fact that there were ruins of a heiau right there on Milakale Beach didn’t help matters.
I know it’s wasn’t really in keeping with the whole peaceful warrior trip, but I used to keep my service piece, a Colt Commander, in the chopper just in case I got bum rushed by a wild boar or some critter out in the deep country. I grabbed the gun and began a recon of the perimeter. By this time, the sun was down and one of the fattest moons I had ever seen was rising up, casting the courtyard in an unearthly light.
Across the clearing from the main house were the ruins of some smaller buildings, maybe worker’s quarters or something at one time. Behind that mess, was a dark tangle of jungle that made ’Nam look down right barren. That’s where the sound was coming from. Of course it was, right?
I have to say; I didn’t spend a whole lot of time down in the shit, not as much as the grunts, but the whole scene that night was bringing me right back to my time in country. I took a defensive position behind one of the collapsed walls and waited for the little fuckers to come out of the woods. To my surprise, it wasn’t Menehune at all.