Giving himself a new name for his vacation in Waikiki, businessman Toshi searches for just the right experience to make his time off memorable. When he meets performance artist Kristopher at the beach, he thinks he might have found what he’s looking for, so he works up his courage and approaches the man. Kristopher is willing to play, and soon he and Toshi are indulging in an increasingly sensual game. Feeling bold and free where no one knows him, Toshi challenged Kristopher to have a little fun. Can they win at the game and find something that satisfies them both?
This is a delightful short story which packed a lot into 24 pages (10,000 words). Mahape a ale wala’au is the first book I have had the pleasure of reading by author Paul G. Bens, Jr. and I soon became addicted to his prose. The story is told in Toshi’s voice and I was constantly amazed at how much can be imparted about a character when a story is told from the first person POV.
Toshi’s shy personality is revealed through the layers in the story as the author peels back his emotions from the first day he arrives in Waikiki, trying to escape his stifling life in Japan as one of millions who toil every day to earn a living. His innocence and awe at his new surroundings and those around him as he realizes what he’s been missing helps to make this story a wonderful read. There is no HEA and I’m not giving away any secrets because Toshi makes it clear what he’s looking for in this exotic island paradise among the baked bodies lying in the sun. You can feel the atmosphere as he describes the smell of rain, the humidity, the tourists shopping for bargains, the natives with their wonderful firm bodies and the Waikiki regulars – several older gay men who take him under their wing.
The first time he sees Kristopher he is posing as a statue of Rodin for the tourists in the International Marketplace and during the hour he watched him their eyes met once and Toshi was hooked. He met Kristopher in person a few days later when he spied him on the beach and went over to make his acquaintance. They hit it off immediately and Toshi was entranced with his new companion who brought out an adventurous side to his personality that he never knew he had, as they explored each other. As they shared more of their stories and philosophies they got closer and Toshi knew that his companion was the key to realizing his dream of being “something more” and we, the readers accompany him on his sensual and sexual journey of self discovery.
As I went along with the characters on their ride I realized what a superb storyteller Paul G. Bens, Jr. is as he paints pictures the way an artist does on a canvas. I became so immersed in the story and the wonderfully drawn characters it was as if I was living it and experiencing all the “firsts” with Toshi, including the great sex. Toshi’s personality totally changed in the 24 hours he was with Kristopher, from the man he was when he arrived on the island to someone who became aware of his potential as a human being. Mahape a ale wala’au which means in Hawaiian “Don’t speak. Keep it in your heart” will always be a special story for me as I watched from the sidelines Toshi’s evolution into “something more.” Buy this book.
You can experience more of Kristopher from Mahape at http://www.paulbens.com/mahape.html “which is not really a short story as much as a tour of the Hawaiian islands from Kristopher’s point of view” (the author’s words).