Chan parked his car across the road and proceeded up the concrete walkway to the front entrance. Homes like this, small estates, were becoming more scarce as people subdivided their property in order either to build houses for family members, or to take advantage of a growing population that needed to buy real estate. There was big money to be made if you were willing to give up some space.
He rang the bell. If anyone answered, he’d flash his badge. Official police business.
After waiting a few moments, he rang it again, listened, then knocked. Still nothing.
It would be nice if the front door were unlocked. Chan tried the handle. No.
He took a few steps back to survey the front side of the house, then proceded around back to see if there were an open side or rear entrance. A rear door was locked as well. He tried a window to the right. It lifted easily.
Chan boosted himself up and through the opening. Once inside, he surveyed the room. A huge desk commanded the room, covered with books and papers. Chan, ever the literature major, noted the large number of beautiful books, as well as many exquisite pieces of Korean celadon pottery and other tasteful objet d’art. He moved cautiously into what looked to be the front hall entrance.
An enormous koa table sat front and center and could not help but catch his eye. Chan walked to the table and looked at the body of Jason Yu.
Chan realized the plastic sheet the body lay upon was the shower curtain missing from Madam Yang’s boarding house. He saw that the body was a mess. There had definitely been screaming involved; this had not been the silent killing about which they’d skeptically speculated. Just as the killing of Yamamoto had not been quiet either. He knew damn well there had been witnesses, but of course they were unwilling to talk about what they’d seen or heard. At this point, David Chan didn’t even really care.
He could have spent more time moving from room to room, getting the lay of the home, but Chan was dead tired. He’d noticed a nice collection of liquor in the study, went back in and poured himself a tall glass of what looked to be a very expensive single malt whisky. This guy sure knew how to live.
Chan took his revolver from its holster and laid it on the enormous desk. He sat down in the dark leather desk chair. He sipped, imagining Byung Yu sitting in this very spot.
The sun had gone down. Chan came out of his doze in the dark at the sound of a key in the front door lock. The light switched on in the entrance hall, and Chan saw Yu walk in. He stopped at the table to look at his son. After a moment, he turned and headed for the study. Chan could see that Yu carried a book of some kind.
Yu reached his hand in the doorway and flipped the light switch. Chan had to close his eyes momentarily, the sudden brightness hitting him all the harder for being at exhaustion point. Yu stepped through the doorway, looked up, and stopped.
“Lieutenant Chan,” he said, slowly, measured. “Good evening.”
Chan nodded, did not say a word. He lifted the glass of scotch and drained it.
Yu said, “I hope you’ve enjoyed my hospitality.”
Chan stood up, stepped to the side of the chair, and gestured for Yu to come and sit down. He picked up his revolver and stepped clockwise around to the front of the desk as Yu walked clockwise to his chair. His face showed no expression whatsoever.
“Please,” said Chan, “have a seat.”
Yu eyed the gun. He looked at Chan’s face again. Laying down the folder he was carrying, he sat down.
Chan took one of the two chairs facing the desk, rested his arms, still holding the gun in his right hand.
Yu cleared his throat. “Lieutenant, to what do I owe this honor?”
Chan stared at Yu’s face. “I came to offer condolences on the death of your son.”
A brief flame shot up in Yu’s eyes, then subsided. “I see.”
“It’s a terrible thing when a parent loses a child,” Chan said. “It’s unnatural. We know it’s not the way things should happen.”
Yu still watched him, said nothing.
Chan continued. “My grandfather was a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes. He and Conan Doyle actually met once, in London, when my grandfather was asked to assist in a Scotland Yard case with Hawai’i ties. They remained lifelong friends. I like to imagine that there’s a place in heaven where he and Conan Doyle sit and talk about the great detective.”
Chan paused, inspected Yu’s face closely.
He went on. “My grandfather practically memorized the novels and stories. He would constantly spout Holmes quotes. He used to say, even, that he solved some of his toughest cases by carrying on imaginary discussions with Holmes and Sir Arthur. I don’t know how true that may be, but he never had a case he couldn’t solve.”
Chan looked down at the gun resting in his hand, then back at Yu. “I remember one quote. It went something like this. ‘Don’t think of revenge, or anything of the sort, at present. I think that we may gain that by means of the law.’”
He gestured at Yu with his gun. “Yu, what do you make of that line?”
Yu said not a word. Chan saw him swallow. “Me,” he said, “I think it’s all mixed up with some romantic notion we have about the law, how the law will ultimately mete out justice. Criminals will get their due. Just desserts and all that.”
He weighed the heft of the revolver in his hand. “Unlike my grandfather, I’ve had cases I couldn’t solve. Well, let me rephrase that. I’ve had cases I’ve solved, but in the end, justice did not prevail. Criminals, under my watch sadly, have indeed escaped justice. Society’s revenge upon them, if you will, has not (snip)
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Today’s word is
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