Victor Yamamoto was hardly an enigma. That he was sour on life was well known. Everyone assumed that much of his attitude toward people, including plenty of Japanese due to his uncle’s involvement in the engineering of the attack on Pearl Harbor, had to do with his internment during the war. They accepted that; it made perfect sense.
Victor was never one to hold back on his opinions about everything racial and about the stupidity of human beings in general. Every criminal was an idiot. He enjoyed taking these morons off the street. David Chan knew that the other thing that brought any kind of joy to Victor Yamamoto was his wife, Chieko.
Having worked with Yamamoto for many years now, David knew him pretty well. But something happened this day that President Kennedy was shot. That news seemed to affect Yamamoto in a way Chan did not think Yamamoto could be affected.
Those in headquarters were barely working this morning in November. They sat around watching the few black and white TVs scattered throughout the offices. As the details unfolded, minute by minute, less and less got done. Everyone was stunned nearly to inanimate silence.
Chan and Yamamoto sat at their adjoining desks, and there was little talk about anything. The room was eerily quiet, the TV and the whir of the air conditioner almost the only sounds. Chan gave the report he was working on a cursory glance from time to time, but all he and the rest could think about was the horror of what was unfolding in Dallas.
When Kennedy was finally pronounced dead, the silence became complete. The old Sears building had become a tomb.
All of a sudden, Victor Yamamoto slammed both hands down on his desk, and without saying a word, threw his chair back against the wall and stormed out of the station. Everyone looked around in surprise. They’d never seen that kind of emotional outburst from the man whose affect was so flat, you sometimes wondered if he had died sitting at his desk with his eyes open.
David Chan was actually the most surprised by his longtime partner’s outburst. He had not even suspected that Victor cared about this President, or any President, or even about politics. Obviously, however, he did. Kennedy had meant much more to Yamamoto than anyone might have known.
Victor Yamamoto pounded his car door shut as if he meant for it never to open again. He was crying, something he swore he would never do again after he was told his father had died in Arkansas.
He reversed out of stall like a madman, then burned rubber out of the parking lot. With little rest for trying to sleep in the backseat of his car the night before, his vision was a bit bleary to begin with, and the tears did not help his negotiating the streets up into Mānoa Valley.
After he’d seen Chieko last night, he had not gone home. He would not go home. Never again. As far as he was concerned, there was no home anymore. The woman he’d trusted his heart to had sliced it to ribbons. He was dead to her, so she to him. Once you betrayed Victor Yamamoto, you jumped on his permanent shit list. Chieko had shot to number one with a bullet. His shit list was long, but besides his Country, he could think of no one else on it who was there for betraying him. Just his wife.
He tore up the driveway and screeched to a halt before the front door. Banging his way out of his car, he drew his revolver, checked to make sure it was loaded, then used it to hammer on the front door.
There was no answer. He applied even more force to the next battering, and it went on for a good thirty seconds. The paint chipped away and a sizeable dent was growing larger with each blow.
There was no one home. Victor leaned against the front door and sobbed. Then he sunk to his knees. It was if he were releasing a lifetime of pent up grief in an instant.
Of all the people on Earth. Why him?
Victor felt a hand on his shoulder, and he spun around to shoot.
“Whoa, Vic, Vic, hold on, take it easy.”
It was David Chan.
“David, you stupid Paké, I could have killed you. You followed me, brah?”
“Yeah, I was worried. I’ve never seen you explode like that. I figured you were heading out to do something stupid.”
“Killing this asshole ain’t stupid, David. It’s necessary. If anyone in this town needs killing, it’s this miserable fuck. And he needs it right now.”
David nodded. “Vic, I couldn’t agree with you more, but you can’t do it this way.”
Chan helped his partner to his feet. “You kill this guy and what? You go to prison for life. What’s that going to get you?”
“What’s it gonna get me? Hey, it’ll get me a lifetime, hopefully one nice long one, so I can think about how I wiped this piece of shit off our collective ass and flushed him down the fucking toilet. Would make my day, David, I no joke you. I would laugh about it every day I woke up. It would bring me happiness you would not believe, brah.”
David walked Yamamoto to his car. “Vic, I hear you, man, but this is not the way. We’re not a bunch of vigilantes. We’re here to enforce the law, to bring guys like this one to justice. We’ve vowed to uphold the law. When we get him, we do it the right way.”
Yamamoto put out his arms and leaned against the car. “Fuck vows. Fucking right means a lotta things to different people. Right now, I know what right means to me.”
Chan asked, “Victor, what the hell about Kennedy getting killed brought this on?”
Yamamoto turned to look at him. “Kennedy? Kennedy get nothing to do with this. David, this asshole is fucking my wife.”
Chan stared at him, open-mouthed. The words didn’t quite register. “I’m sorry, Vic, he’s, he’s sleeping with your wife?”
“Sleeping? Shit!” Victor spat on the ground. “What a great way to talk about sex. I love that,” Yamamoto said. “Yeah, Chinaman, they’re sleeping together. And I’m here to wake this bastard up.”
Chan continued to marvel at this news. It seemed incredible. Of all the men in Honolulu she could possibly choose to cheat with, why this guy? Really? Possibly the worst criminal in all of Hawai’i? How could this be?
“Victor, how do you know this?”
Yamamoto explained about the vasectomy and how Chieko had surprised him with the announcement that she was pregnant. He told Chan how he’d watched for her after work, and how she’d come out of the Swing Club with him. Their embrace.
“God, Victor, that’s, that’s, I don’t know what to say.”
“Exactly,” Yamamoto said. “No more words, brah. I’m gonna do my talking with this.” He held up his gun.
“Vic, I tell you you cannot do this. You must not do it, man. We’ve come close before and lost, I know, in the end. We don’t know who all he owns. Judges, lawyers, politicians, law enforcement people. We don’t know how he snakes his way out. But I give you my word, Vic, we’ll get him. But under the rule of law, man, we’ve got to operate that way. We’ve sworn to do it that way and we must.”
Yamamoto laughed. “You are a piece of work, Charlie-so-polite-Chan man. You are so squeaky clean that I bet I could slide you under that door and leave you there, what, to put a bullet in his head? No, of course not. To talk him to death. That’s what you’d do. Intellectual ammunition. Death by discussion. By da end you’d have him begging for the death penalty to be reinstated so he wouldn’t have to listen to you anymore. Thank you so much.”
Chan let him rant. He didn’t take any of it personally. Victor Yamamoto was his friend, as much as Victor would allow friendship, and he was his absolutely loyal partner.
If Elaine had done that to Chan, he wondered how he’d have reacted. This all seemed impossible.
Finally, Yamamoto stopped. He opened his car door and sank into the front seat. Looking up at Chan, he said, “David, thanks yeah. You, you know I’m a stupid fuck who canna shut his mouth. I don’t know how you take all my shit.”
Chan leaned on the hood and patted him on the shoulder. “Can I buy you a drink?”
“Nah, nah, I gotta get back to work. You’re right, it’s just a matter of time. I wanna get on dis bastard right now. We gonna nail dis asshole, if it’s the last thing we ever do, right?”
Chan nodded. “You better believe it. See you back at headquarters?”
“Roger that, David.” Yamamoto drove off down the driveway. Chan watched him go.
Then, stepping back, he looked up and surveyed the full extent of the front of this incredible mansion built on blood money.
Chan imagined Yamamoto’s surprise the day he would walk into the station and tell Victor that he’d just killed this punk with a barrage of very unkind words.
Talk him to death? David Chan thought. Yeah, I like that. Maybe one of these days I’ll be back to do that.
When he got to the station, Chan was surprised not to find Yamamoto there. No one had seen him. God, Chan thought, what if he was bullshitting me and he’s gone after that asshole? His phone rang. It was Yamamoto. “David, I’m at Mama Yang’s boarding house. You gotta (snip)
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Today’s word is
Use it to inspire a piece of writing and then post that piece as a comment below. I’d love to read it : )