All Hallows' Eve: The Unmaskings of Honolulu — Chapter 8 (excerpt)

Images of his son and grandson passed through Yu Kang-Ho’s mind.

“Who?” he asked.

“Victor Yamamoto killed Jason.  Byung took care of him.  He sliced him up.  I understand it took a good long while.  He suffered a lot, I’m sure.”

There was a pause.

Yu said, “That’s good.  He’s been on my ass for years.  Like a goddamn plague for all of us.  I’m glad the pain was prolonged. I wish I’d been there to do it myself.”

He rubbed his forehead, pictured Sergeant Yamamoto being sliced to ribbons.  Smiled.

Then, “And my son?”

There was a long pause.

“It, well, that one we can’t figure out.  Someone shot him at the Mānoa house.  Sitting at his desk.  Maybe someone he knew.  We’re working on it.”

“Work fast, my friend.  I want good news on this from you soon.”

“I will.”

Yu was thinking about business.  His Honolulu operations still pumped a lot of money his way.  His well-deserved generous piece of the pie.  What they owed him for all those years of building a solid foundation.  All the rivals with whom he’d dealt. All the law enforcement assholes he’d either bought or struggled with until his retirement.  Damn Yamamoto to hell.  That bastard, Chang Apana.  And those three goddamn Chans.  Like the hydra.  They were fucking tenacious weeds in his always near perfect garden. Weeds that needed killing.

“For the time being,” Yu said, “I want you to see that Richard Han and Tommy Choi handle my business.  Tell them to make damn sure that there are no interruptions, right?”

“Will do, Sir.”

Yu hung up.  To think he had to rely on Han and Choi to run his operations.  He shook his head.  If only he’d had more sons, more grandsons.  Now all he’d done would be handed over to . . .

Yu picked up the phone again and dialed.

Honolulu had been like the wild west when Yu arrived.  He’d been the sheriff who’d dealt with the problem makers, tamed his city.  Under his watchful eye, opium smuggling and gambling had grown to phenomenal proportions, and he’d advised his son in order to grow the prostitution end once the military had given it up after the war.  Everyone knew Yu was still the kingpin, even if he were 4000 miles away in Pusan.

The business was his, dammit. It was the Yu dynasty.  Why give it up to those two?  One was a hotheaded with a muscle for a brain. The other, at core, was a wimp who would droop like a wet noodle under any kind of pressure.

“Hello?”

“It’s me again.  I’m thinking about my business.  I’m thinking about Han and Choi.  I’m thinking they might not be the right people to be in charge of my business.  I’m thinking I’d rather you yourself tend my business for the time being.  Those two.  I want no wars, no struggles that might bring us to the attention of the press or the police.  Do you understand? This will be quick and quiet.  I want you to handle this transitional concern. Before any of them fuck me up.  Do you understand me?”

“Yes, Sir, I’ll take care of it immediately.”

“Good,” said Yu.  “I like that I can always count on your efficiency. Let me know when it’s done.”

“It will be very quick, Sir, I give you my word.”

Yu hung up again.  He was never much for goodbyes.  He walked downstairs to his den, poured himself a brandy, then sat at his desk.  Around the room were pictures of the family.  His wife had had many framed.  There were a lot of his son and his grandson.

Yu wondered, “Why are people all so happy when their pictures are taken.  Don’t they know?”

Yu closed his eyes, wondered who would kill his son and why.  If he could get his hands on . . .”

He picked up the phone and dialed.

“Hello?”

“It’s me again.  I am thinking I’m coming over.  I want to get the lay of the land up close and personal.  Make sure I come to a clean house.  I will redecorate.  See you as soon as I can get there.”

Yu hung up.  “Hey,” he said aloud, “Guess what, Lieutenant David fucking Chan. I’ll be back.”

He raised his glass to a photo of him, his son, and his grandson toasting a New Year coming. All their glasses are raised to the camera. They are smiling so broadly at life. The promise, frozen, of a moment. The living. The capture of the dead alive for eternity.

Yes, he thought. A new year is coming.  Retirement was still a priority.  This return to the working world was just a temporary one, he assured himself.

Yu drained his glass and went back to bed.  He didn’t wake up, until his wife shook him out of a deep dreamless sleep.

“It’s for you, the phone.”

Yu sat up at the edge of the bed.  “Yobosayyoh?” (snip)

* * * * *

Today’s word is

business

Use it in a piece of any kind of writing, then post that piece as a comment below. I’d love to read it : )

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