David Chan dreamt of his wife Elaine less often than he wished. It had been six years since she’d died. He dreaded the day when he might realize that she’d been gone so long he would never dream of her again. He wondered if that could happen when you loved someone so much.
David Chan dreamt of his dead partner, Victor Yamamoto, more often than he wished. When Victor appeared, he always looked the way he had when Chan had found his body, his face and chest carved up. What was maybe more terrifying was that there was never blood, only that feathered, fileted face, sliced up so finely that if Chan didn’t know who it was, he could never have recognized him.
He finished his beer and pondered a brewing turf war. Was it possible that the still unidentified man in Queen’s Hospital was shot for trying to move in on Kang Yu?
Yu held Honolulu in thrall. This was why gangsters from other parts of Asia and America could never get a real foothold here. When they tried, they were up against not just a man, but an army.
Kang Yu had begun building his presence just after he arrived at the turn of the century. A true visionary, he’d begun importing friends from Korea immediately. There were more Kang Yu loyalists in Hawai‘i than there were bullets that could be manufactured to shoot them. Other gangs might have a toe hold here and there, but if Yu decided they were a problem, they were gone. Disappeared. Overnight silent deliveries to the cane fields or the wide Pacific Ocean floor.
Chan remembered too clearly a story from a Police department deep-cover survivor about Kang Yu in his younger days. Yu’s boys were interrogating two lower echelon hoods about their boss’s plan to establish an opium pipeline running from Shanghai to San Francisco via Honolulu.
When Yu felt the process was too slow, he brought a galvanized trash can to where the two beaten men sat. Everyone watched in amazement as Yu untied one, ordered him to stand in the can, and then proceeded to smash him down into it. When he could no longer do it with his own hands and feet, he retrieved a sledgehammer to finish the compacting job. He asked the second man if he wanted to start talking. The man couldn’t stop talking. That is until Yu had heard enough and then used the sledgehammer to shut him up.
Victor Yamamoto laughed when he heard this and said he’d add it to his list of interrogation techniques.
Sometimes Chan would dream about the man being smashed into the can. Sometimes he dreamed he was a man being smashed into a can.
Victor’s former wife came back to the bar. “Can I buy you another?” she asked.
Chan thanked her, declining. He wanted to get drunk, but he did that at home. Sometimes it killed bad dreams. Sometimes it made dreams of Elaine even better.
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Use it to inspire a 500-word piece, and then post that piece as a comment below. I’d love to read it.