Jim and Artemus stepped out of the palace onto the lanai and stood for a moment enjoying the cool breeze wafting through the roofed veranda. "Well," said Artie, "all's well that ends well, eh, James my boy?"
"I think the new king will be a lot easier to deal with than the old one," Jim replied.
"I hear that!" Artie's eyes sparkled as he took a sip of his tropical drink in its coconut-shell cup adorned with a tiny paper umbrella. "It was a fine coronation," he added.
"Mm-hmm," Jim agreed. "I'm glad Captain Liggett was able to go to the Pearl Island and bring all the missionaries back home in time for them to attend it."
"Not to mention bringing the King of the Pearl Island here to see his new son-in-law crowned."
"And the king was so happy, he announced immediate plans for King Bob's daughter to marry his own Crown Prince."
"Yep," said Artie. "A happy ending all around." He raised his coconut shell and toasted, "To King Keoki Ku'i Ke'auwae - King Punch-the-Chin - and his Queen Melelani! May they enjoy a long and peaceful reign!"
Jim lifted his coconut shell and added, "And may no one ever plot a coup against them - especially not any of their own family."
"I'll drink to that," said Artie, and did.
Jim laughed. "Artie, you'll drink to anything."
"Too true, too true!"
They turned and looked back into the palace's banquet hall filled with happy revelers celebrating the new regime. Paul and Evelyn, along with Kaniela, Malana, and their children, were smiling as they took part in the festivities. Hokulani and Pualani were wandering through the crowd with their arms full of leis, bestowing a flowered necklace or three on everyone they met. The beaming King of the Pearl Island in his royal regalia stood near his daughter, his chest swelling with pride.
And in the midst of the merrymaking were the royal newlyweds themselves, Keoki in his tall headdress, feathered cloak, and floral sarong, with Melelani at his side in a sunny floral mu'umu'u that matched his attire, blushing and giggling as her husband held her hand.
"You know, Jim," said Artie, "it occurs to me…"
"Well, you remember how King Creepy told us that the fire goddess was traditionally placated by the sacrifice of members of the royal family, and the higher the rank, the better?"
"And we know the little weasel at first had in mind to sacrifice his Queen Mother and her father, and later amended that to his half-brother whom he named the Crown Prince, along with Keoki's new bride the princess of the Pearl Island…"
Artie grinned, a devilish sparkle in his eye. "Well, as things actually turned out, ol' Pu'u Ahi got the best deal of all. She didn't have to settle for anyone less than the king himself!"
"She nearly got the Crown Prince as well," Jim pointed out.
"Mm. Yeah, I'm glad she wasn't greedy," Artie said somberly. "She also could have helped herself to someone I consider to be a prince among men, and I'm glad she didn't take him either." He reached out and gave his best buddy a little thump on the shoulder.
"Thanks, Artie. I'm glad she didn't too," said Jim. "And as the late king is likely to be the last sacrifice she ever gets, I hope she'll be content with him."
"Hear, hear," said Artie, taking another sip of his drink.
"Mm," said Jim. "It looks like we have company."
Hokulani and Pualani stepped through the doorway out onto the lanai. "Mr West," said Hokulani, dropping the rest of her leis over his head. She smiled at him and took the drink from his hand, setting it down on a nearby table. Then she slipped her arms around his neck, said, "My hero!" and kissed him.
Artie grinned at his partner and the pretty little island girl. That Jim, always gathering kisses from the ladies!
"Mr Gordon!" sang a dulcet voice.
And now Pualani settled the remainder of her leis around Artie's neck and took the coconut cup from his hand. Suddenly Artie realized the hefty girl was planning to do for him the same as her more svelte cousin was doing with Jim. "Um…" he said, feeling panic arising as the chubby maiden said, "My hero!" and took his face between her hands.
"Ah, Pualani, you don't really have to… How about a handshake?"
She laughed and kissed him.
Artie's first reaction was to try to extricate himself from the kiss, only to find that… that… um… oh… mmm…
When she at long last let him come up for air, Artie said in a daze, "Great jumping balls of…! Where did you ever learn to kiss like that?"
Pualani grinned with a mischievous twinkle in her eye and wagged a finger at him. "You don't want to know, Mr Gordon!" she said merrily.
"Call, uh… call me Artemus," he found himself saying.
"Artemus," she said, and kissed him again.
And as Artie slipped his arms around Pualani's ample waist, he thought how the men of the Coral Island might not be wrong after all about a big girl being so much more to love.
Inside the palace, Melelani caught sight of her cousins in the arms of the American agents and whispered something to her husband. Keoki took a look as well, said, "Seems like a good idea to me!" and pulled his queen into an enthusiastic embrace, his headdress tumbling to the floor as he gave her a magnificent kiss, much to the delight of his people.
Out on the lanai, the two cousins paused for a second, shot each other a look and a wink, then threw themselves back into the beguiling business of kissing Jim and Artie.
~~~ FIN ~~~
My Dream Cast:
Wally Cox as Paul Davenport
Mako as Kaniela