My name is McKenna. I’m a figment Terry Ambrose’s imagination, who fancies himself a mystery writer and was once a skip tracer. For those who don’t know, a skip tracer is someone that finds people who don’t want to be found. Sounds like an interesting job until you realize that what it involves is a whole lot of people lying all the time. Dru has asked me what I do in a typical day and my answer is simple—I wait around a lot.
Talk about boring. I’m an apartment manager at a small complex called the Honolulu Sunsetter. My particular unit has a stunning view of the Pacific, which allows me the opportunity to enjoy Mother Nature’s dress-up show at sundown. It’s like she’s wearing a red ruby necklace with a navy dress topped off by a pink and gray hat. Instead of creating a fashion faux pas, it all blends into a canvas that would make Rembrandt drool. Especially after a long day of doing landlord stuff—you know, waiting for the plumber or the cable guy, I take time to enjoy the show—and contemplate how much time I wasted waiting for people that day.
It’s the whole “island time” thing. If you’re not familiar with the concept, you’re lucky. I feel like a Triple A battery rattling around in a D-cell flashlight. A lawyer might say we have irreconcilable differences. I say, BS. Do your island-time thing on your time, not mine. Those of us who are Triple A’s, we’re the ones who make things happen. Forget Type A personalities, those guys are wimps. Give me a Triple A any day.
A Triple A doesn’t write to-do lists because that takes up too much time. For instance, if a tenant says she needs a plumber, I’ve got him on the line and I’m already watching for the truck before we hang up the phone. But, there’s the problem. Our plumber, Freddie, is a nice enough guy. The thing is, he isn’t a Triple A. He’s not even a Type B. He’s got personality-type disorder syndrome. It’s so common around here that I’ve taken to calling it PTDS.
Freddie is a cousin of my best friend—as is half the island, but that’s another story. Freddie is definitely a “no worries” kind of guy. Surfs up? Cool, he’s on it. Paperwork? No need worry, brah, why waste a tree? There are days when I’m sure Freddie was off surfing the day the teacher explained that the hands on the clock go round and round.
I admit I should lighten up on Freddie. He’s lived here all his life and only knows how to live the laid back lifestyle. I, on the other hand, have been here just over seven years and still wake up before my alarm goes off. I doubt that Freddie owns an alarm clock. I could be wrong. After all, he does run a business. He does show up for appointments—eventually. And he does get the job done—after spending an hour talking my ear off.
So, here’s the deal. I want to fit in, really. I’m going to dial back my personality type. With a little effort, I’m sure I can at least make it to a Type A. To get there, I’ll start by listing all the things I must do to make myself relax. I’ll also set my alarm for thirty minutes later. I’ll even stop calling Freddie when he’s ten minutes late for an appointment—well, not exactly stop. More like, delay. I’ll also scale down—by half—my tendency to get snarky with people who don’t cooperate in my murder investigations. I’m not sure how to measure that one yet, but I’ll work out something.
Granted, I’m only an amateur sleuth, but given how fast all these other personality types are killing each other off, my to-do list could be getting pretty long. Wait, I don’t keep a to-do list. Uh oh. This could be a problem. Maybe I should call Freddie and ask him for advice. Damn. We had a big southern swell today. He’s probably off surfing.
I could leave him a voicemail—but he might not check messages today. Better yet, I could go meet him on the beach. Uh oh, I don’t know which beach he’s at. Excuse me, I have to boot up my laptop. My mission is to track down Freddie. Fast. He can give me tips on how to relax. And maybe he can tell me what time island time is.
You can read more about McKenna in Big Island Blues , the third book in the “McKenna” mystery series. The first two books in the series are Photo Finish and Kauai Temptations.
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Meet the author
Terry Ambrose is a former skip tracer who uses that background to write real-life scam tips as well as mysteries and thrillers. Two of his novels have been San Diego Book Awards Finalists. Learn more about Terry on his website at terryambrose.com.