Follie: The Disappearances of Honolulu — Chapter 11 (excerpt)

Chan downed the last of the Jack Daniel’s with one swallow.  It would be so good to sleep right now, but the need to see Victor Yamamoto’s car outweighed any fatigue.  A rainbow stretched out over Pauoa Valley as he descended from Pacific Heights.  In his bourbon daze, it looked more like a fogbow. 

What his partner’s car might reveal, Chan couldn’t guess, but it would be important.  If anything, Yamamoto had always made molehills out of mountains, taking everything in a straightforward, simple stride, hardly ever breaking a sweat, no matter how amazing or overwhelming something might appear to others.  If he said this was important, then it had to be very, very important.

Chan parked on Queen Street and headed down the alleyway.  He could see Yamamoto’s car at the dead end.  Before he could get to it, however, Officer Stillman, stepped out of a warehouse doorway.

“You’ll want to see this,” Bobby said.  “We were checking these buildings, and this is what we found.”  He gestured through the doorway of the warehouse.

Chan stepped inside and the scene instantly made him ill.  With the department expanding, the men were becoming more specialized in their assigned, or sometimes chosen, investigative areas.  Chan knew hed definitely be putting in for something other than homicide.  Anything else.  Bunko. Even Records.  Much less unpleasant.  Blood in any quantity made him nauseous, so scenes like this one were overwhelming.  Sergeant Yamamoto, he thought, would not have been phased in the least by this tableau.

“Four of um, all dead when we found them.”

Recovering himself a little, Chan asked, “Forensics finished in here?”

“Yes, sir. Just waiting for the okay from you to go over Sergeant Yamamoto’s car.  The meat wagon’s on the way.”

“Do we know any of these people?” Chan asked, kneeling to take a look at the first body, shot through the back of the head, most of its face splattered across the floor.  “Obviously not this one until we can run his prints.  Maybe we’ve got him on file.”

They walked to the two bodies near the wall.

Neither looked familiar to Chan.  “These two?”

“Nah,” Stillman said.  “Fingerprints and faces.  With these, at least we can run their photos in the newspaper.”

Chan moved to the last body, turning it over gently.  “Li Po,” he murmured.  “This one runs a Chop Suey house in Chinatown.  Fences on the side. I’ve had run ins with him.”

Suddenly Chan gasped, pulled back.  For a moment it seemed as if the old man had looked up at him, eyes glassy. Chan felt for a pulse.  There was none.  Po wasn’t looking at him. He followed Po’s gaze.

“Bobby, did you folks catch this?”

The young officer moved to his side.  “Catch what?” he asked.

“This.”  Chan pointed at a mark on the floor.

“Oh, ah, you mean that blood there?”

Geez, Chan thought.  Were they possibly training their recruits to be as unskilled as possible at the examination of a crime scene?  Mentally, Chan shook his head.  He’d definitely be putting in his two-cents’ worth regarding a little more intensive coursework on recognizing clues.

“Can’t you see it?” he said.  “Po.  He wrote something here.”

“I, uh . . . . “  Mystified, Officer Stillman’s voice trailed away. 

Chan stared intently at the mark.  And then it hit him.  The old Chinese man, with his own blood, in a last gesture, had written the letter U.”

As a general rule, David Chan did not hate people.  His partner, Victor Yamamoto, had really and truly loathed people, all kinds of people, regardless of color or creed. In that regard,  the Sergeant had been completely unbiased, ironically. He was an equal opportunity misanthrope.

Chan was the exact opposite.  He tended to give most people the benefit of the doubt, was very accepting of others.  He’d always had a kind of live and let live attitude.

The Lieutenant didn’t even hate criminals, in general.  As did Yamamoto. Sure, Chan had seen some pretty bad characters in his time, but hate them?  It was almost too much effort.  This was yet another reason why he wondered how he’d allowed himself to inherit the family business, take on the mantle of a career in the police force.

Unless, of course, the crime was heinous.  Rape and murder.  David Chan most certainly hated the perpetrators of these sorts of crimes.

And if there were one man in Hawaii that he despised above all others in this regard, it was Byung-hi Yu. Yu and his fucking son Jason. When it came to these two, he and Yamamoto were in 100% agreement.

On several occasions, Chan and his partner had come close to putting the father and son away.  The primary problem had always been that key witnesses either changed their stories or simply disappeared.

“It’s Yu,” Chan said out loud.  “It’s Yu.”

Officer Stillman stood silently, watching Chan, a confused expression on his face.

The bourbon buzz was beginning to wear off.  Chan rose to his feet a bit unsteadily, then walked slowly outside, cursing the two Yus in his mind.

Two men from forensics stood by Yamamoto’s car.  Chan put on a pair of gloves.  First he opened the passenger side door, leaning in, careful not to touch anything.  He looked over the dash.  Nothing.  He knelt on the pavement and peered under the seat.  Clean.  He went around to the passenger side, opened the door, and popped open the glove compartment.  Nothing unusual.  Again he went to his knees and looked under the seat.  Clean too.

Next he opened the rear passenger-side door and leaned in.  “Jimmy,” he said to the photographer, “We’ve got some blood on the back seat.”

“Roger that, Lieutenant.”

Other than the small traces of blood, there seemed nothing significant.

Then he went around to the trunk.  Feeling for the latch, he popped the hood.

For a moment, Chan thought he must be (snip)

* * * * *

Today’s word is

straightforward

Use it in a piece of writing, or to inspire a piece of writing, and then post what you write as a comment below. I would love to read it : )

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