Jerry and I sat out on the lanāi drinking. We could see Central Union Church across Beretania beyond the monkeypod trees to the right, and off to the left the Mormon Tabernacle at the top of Kalākaua Avenue beyond a large banyan tree. Depending on how you looked at it, we were either the third wheel, or we were surrounded.
“So you still don’t know if that’s your dad, huh?”
“Not quite yet so far,” I said.
Jerry looked at me. “Whas that mean?”
I was totally emotionally confused. “I don’t know anymore. I mean, would you want to find out that your dad might be some kind of gangster? Like, you know, one of little Barry’s bad men?”
Jerry laughed. “Dude, I am telling you. This is the makings of a great new TV show straight out of Hawai‘i. Forget Hawaiian Eye. This could be some real authentic shit, brah. You’re an English major. Write it. I’ll shoot it. We’ll send our pilot to the networks. We’ll be rolling in it, man.”
From a writer’s standpoint, I could see this was kind of exciting, but from a real-life point of view, it sucked to be the character who’d find out he was some spawn of the underworld. The dad who was a magician and a gambler. Cool sounding when my mom had told me, but not so cool if she didn’t realize what her own husband actually was. What if she’d withheld the whole story? What if she knew that my dad was a bad man?
How could a wife not know that about her husband? That seemed impossible to me.
The phone rang. I went inside to answer. It was Lieutenant Chan. “Lanning, I, uh, I’m not sure how to tell you this, but you fa, ah, the man, he’s, well, he’s disappeared.”
“Disappeared? How could that be? Wasn’t Detective Stillman there with him? People were rolling him out of the hospital in his bed?” My agitation was high. If he were gone, I’d never know, maybe.
“Uh, yeah, he was, but there was a problem. He went for some coffee, and when he came back, the guy was gone.”
“The bed too?”
“Ah, no, the bed was there. It was, you know, empty.”
“Like he got up and walked away?”
The Lieutenant changed the subject. “Anyway, I just wanted you to know.”
He hung up kind of abruptly.
“Jerry!” I called out. “Can use your car, or what?”
Jerry came through the lanāi door. “Where you going?”
I explained to him what Chan had told me.
“Holy shit, Lanning! This is what I’m talking about. I’m gonna get my camera. I’m coming with you.”
I have no idea why I wanted to go to Queen’s. I mean, the guy was gone. What was there to do there?
Jerry and I went into the ICU. Maybe not surprisingly, both Chan and Detective Stillman were there. Jerry had his Super 8 in a bag he was carrying over his shoulder. The lens was mounted in this hole facing toward the front. He was shooting all of this. I wondered if that were illegal.
“Lanning,” the Lieutenant said, “what are you doing here?”
I shook my head and palm-slapped my forhead. “David, I have no freaking idea why I’m here. I think,” I pasued, “I guess I just wanted to see for myself that he’d vanished.”
Then I noticed that Detective Stillman’s right arm was havily bandaged from the wrist up to the elbow. He also had a bruise above his left eye.
I said, “What happened to your arm?”
He glanced quickly at the Lientenant then quipped, “I cut my self shaving.”
Jerry let out a big laugh. Stillman shot him a look hardly friendly. I decided not to ask about the eye.
“Who’s this?” Stillman asked. I introduced Jerry.
Stillman said, “Do you two know that you shouldn’t even be allowed in here? This is the ICU. It’s for family only.” He gave me a derisive look. “And since he wasn’t your father, that definitely applies to you.”
I felt some heat rising. Chan patted Stillman on the shoulder. “It’s okay, Bobby, I’ll take them out. You gonna be okay?”
“Yeah yeah sure,” he said, obviously disgruntled.
“Come on, Gentleman. I’m off duty and I want a beer. How about you?”
Jerry and I looked at each other and nodded. We walked out.
Chan said, “You folks know the Blue Light Bar and Grill?”
“Sure,” said, Jerry. “Chinatown down near the harbor.”
“I’ll meet you there,” the Lieutenant said.
Chan walked away. Jerry put his bag down, reached in, and switched off the camera. He chuckled and rubbed his hands together with great glee.
“Oh, yeah. Cinema verité, baby. This kind of footage is gold, Lanning.”
“I don’t think you’ll ever be allowed to use that.”
“Well, we’ll see, Lanning, we’ll see.”
We hopped in the car and headed to Chinatown. I’d never been to the Blue Light Bar and Grill, but Jerry said it was a great place.
“All the local wrestlers hang out there,” he said.
* * * * *
Aloha #WriterFriday, I hope you are well. Today’s #WritingPrompt is
Use it to inspire a piece of writing and then post that piece as a comment below. I would love to read it.