Follie: The Disappearances of Honolulu — Chapter 10 (excerpt)

Sergeant Victor Yamamoto could have made Lieutenant by now.  He could also have been a happier man, but life hadn’t worked out that way.  After his divorce, which cost him his children and everything he owned, his unhappiness grew huge, and he lost all interest in making any effort at promotion.  He was satisfied with his work life.  His private life was another matter.

Past caring about dating women, he knew he’d never marry again.  What he did know was that women were easy to get in Honolulu, and his favorite establishment for doing that was Mina Yang’s cathouse.

Koreans disgusted him, as did almost any people who weren’t Japanese.  Men and women. No difference.  When he’d make one of his frequent visits to Mama Yang’s, he was bothered by the fact that there would very rarely be a Japanese woman available, or any kind of woman who didn’t reek of garlic.  Occasionally he got lucky, but mostly he had to settle for the FOB Yobo skanks.  Early on he’d tried to hold his breath as much as he could while having sex, but that strategy proved futile.  Since he wasn’t there for romance anyway, his encounters proved brief enough that he hardly ever gagged over the garlic stench.

Mama Yang and her women were afraid of him.  This amused him.  He wasn’t a crooked cop by any means, so he always paid, and he was never rough with the women.  It was his aura, the same aura that scared the hell out of perps who had to come face to face with him.

Tonight Yamamoto was upstairs finishing as quickly as possible,  dressing hastily, and then heading out the door.  As he walked down the hallway, he became aware of some muted crying coming from a room with its door ajar.  He stopped and peered through the crack in the door.  He could see a woman, naked, lying on the bed, a man sitting at her side, and what looked like a bit of a struggle going on.

Did he need this tonight?  he wondered.  Eh, even these garlic munchers deserved to be treated with some care.  Yamamoto pushed the door wide and stepped quietly into the room.  From his point of view now, he could see that the man with this back to him had a needle in the woman’s arm.

Yamamoto pulled his revolver.  “Eh,” he said, “stand up and move away from the bed.”

The man’s back straightened and he pivoted his head.

Great, thought Yamamoto, it was Jason Yu, Korean syndicate boss Yu Byung Ki’s son. What a dick.

“I said get da fuck up, you little shit.”

Yu rose from the bed, lip curled, dropping the syringe on the bed. The woman looked to have passed out.

“Get ova there, fuckah.”  Yamamoto gestured for Yu to move to the opposite wall.  Yu slid over, his hands in the air.

Yamamoto, an eye on Yu all the time, went and sat on the bed. Just at that moment, the woman gave out a low moan, took a deep breath, and wilted.

The Sergeant, still keeping Yu in his sights, felt the woman’s neck.  There was no pulse.  Brushing back the hair from her face, he gasped.  She was not Korean, he knew that instantly.  She was Chinese.

The normally angry detective instantly moved up the scale to the highest level of rage.  He stood, holstered his weapon, and walked toward Yu.  Yu paled.  He could see the end coming fast.

Yamamoto knew very well how to kill people.  In his line of work, this knowledge actually came in handy on occasion.  He wasn’t proud of the fact, but he did know how to hit a man so he’d never get up again.  With one deft blow to Yu’s throat, the little turd crumpled to the floor.

But this wasn’t the kind of blow that would kill.  Yamamoto knew this too.  Yu, out cold on the floor, could have passed for dead.  But he wasn’t. The Sergeant dragged him to the bed and cuffed him to the railing.

He sat back down on the bed for a moment, bent over and listened to the woman’s chest for any sign of life.  Nothing.  He felt for her pulse again, just in case, but he knew there’d be none.  Looking up out the window, he took several deep breaths.  An enormous sorrow displaced his rage, just as quickly as that rage had come upon him.

Yamamoto did not want to leave her in this place.  He picked her up gently then carried her out and down the hallway.  As he descended, he gave each one of the women seated in the parlor his glare that could wither.  Settling his gaze last on Mama Yang, he hissed, “Not a fucking word.”

He carried the naked body out and around the corner, practically running to his car.  He felt for the back-door handle, pulled the door open, and laid the young woman gently on the back seat.  It surprised him that he began to cry, but the tears were only momentary.  By the time he headed back to the front entrance he was in full rage mode again.

Once more Yamamoto glared at everyone seated in the parlor.  He saw that Mama Yang was in her office on the phone, but the reason for why this might be didn’t register with him.  He took the stairs two at a time and steamed-rolled down the hallway.

There was a pitcher of water on a side table.  He uncuffed Jason Yu, then threw the water in his face.

Yu came to and with one hand, Yamamoto yanked him by the collar to his feet.  He smiled at Yu, and the look of terror that smile raised in Yu’s eyes made Yamamoto smile even more broadly. The rush of adrenaline was huge.  This kind of high gave him the greatest pleasure on the job.

Victor Yamamoto then proceeded, with deft precision, to slowly beat Jason Yu to death.  The blood flew more with each punch, painting the bed, floor, and walls.  Long after the body would have collapsed, Yamamoto held it up, relishing each blow, one coming with methodic regularity after another, as if he were in a kind of deep meditation.

When he was done, the detective let the body fall lifeless to the floor.  His knuckles were raw and his hands throbbed.  He loved that sensation.  It was how justice should feel.

Yamamoto headed down the stairs.  “You got a mess up there.  You might wanna do something about it.”

Just as Yamamoto turned the corner into the alleyway, Yu Byung Ki and his men tore around the opposite end of the building. Mama Yang, fearing what might be happening to Jason Yu upstairs, had called his father at The Follies. The burlesque house, now barely operating in the city’s changing times and tastes, served the primary purpose of a front for Yu’s criminal operation. He’d been in a meeting, but the man who answered assured Mama Yang that he would relay the message immediately. Getting the message to Boss Yu, however, took longer than it should have, which was most unfortunate for his now deceased son.

“Are they still up there?” Yu shouted, heading up the stairs before Mama Yang could tell him that Yamamoto had just left.  The men rushed up the stairs and down the hallway.  When they came to the room just vacated by Yamamoto, Yu went ballistic.  His cry of outrage, however, was something Victor Yamamoto did not hear.  He sat in his car, wondering where to take the body.  Home, he thought. I should take her home.

Yamamoto turned and glanced at the young woman in the back seat. He pictured her as a little girl and cursed himself for not covering up her body before bringing her down.  Stepping out of the car, he opened the trunk and moved her there, placing her carefully. No one should see her naked. Not before he could take her home.

He closed the trunk and went around to the front door, opened it, and was about to step in.  Caught up in his grief and a whirl of thoughts, he did not hear Yu and his men come up behind him.

The blow to his head brought him to his knees, but Sergeant Yamamoto was not an easy man to take down.  <snip>

* * * * *

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