The Blue Light Bar and Grill was jumping.
“Whoa, it’s Wednesday night, brah, wrestling night,” Jerry said. “When the Civic Auditorium lets out, all the guys come here.”
“So these are all wrestlers?”
Jerry looked around. “Not all, Lanning, but plenny. While you were away, wrestling grew into a huge sport.”
After scanning the place for Lieutenant Chan and not seeing him, we squeezed into a table in the far back corner.
“Oh cool!” Jerry said. “Look the right end of da bar. That guy with the black ski mask, that’s the Masked Executioner. And the one sitting next to him with the Stetson hat, that’s Cowboy Cassidy. Serious that guy, uh, how he no like take the mask off. I wonder if he’s someone we’d all know?”
Just then Lieutenant Chan walked in with a tall Korean guy and a wide Portuguese-Chinese-Hawaiian looking one. It seemed like they were talking.
“Oh boy,” Jerry said, “I wonder if he knows those two. The Korean guy is Han Lee, and the other one calls himself The Coffin Maker. They’re one of the big-time tag-team pairs.”
Chan looked around, saw us, and wedged his way to the table.
“Lieutenant, so you know those two wrestlers you came in with?”
“Who? No, I don’t know any of these guys except to say hello. You order yet?”
I said, “I don’t think they can see us back here.”
Chan turned, spotted a waitress, and flagged her down. She came over. “Hey, David, how’re you? The usual?”
“Sure, Rosie. Guys?”
We ordered Primo drafts.
Jerry said, “So they know you here, huh.”
“Ah, well, yeah. I come in.”
Jerry stood, announced he was going for autographs, and walked away.
Chan said, “I just found out something about your – about the missing man. Looks like he’s fresh from Korea. Word is he didn’t come alone. I gotta bad feeling there’s a turf war brewing with Kang Yu. Either he’s a Yu recruit, or he’s with the opposition.”
“That Han Lee, the wrestler,” I said, “is he some kind of informant?”
Chan looked at me, laughed. “Lanning, you should hear the woman who sings here.”
Rosie delivered our drinks. The Lieutenant introduced me, and I explained the spelling of my name.
“David, where did the man go?” I asked. “Who took him? Why?”
Chan looked at me, said nothing. The wheels were spinning.
“Any news with the job hunt?” he asked.
“Ah, I got an interview with the UH Mānoa English Department tomorrow.”
“Oh yeah? My department, like I said, and my wife’s too. Good luck with that.”
For sure he didn’t want to talk about the man anymore. Jerry came back with a sheet of paper covered with signatures.
Just then the lights dimmed and the stage lit up. A smallish Asian hapa-haole woman walked on, followed by two guys with guitars.
The woman tapped the mic and clicked her tongue a couple times, turned and said something. One of the guys fiddled with the soundboard. She announced that they were called Mānoa Road, then launched into a medley of 50s songs.
Chan leaned toward me and whispered, “She’s not the regular singer.”
We had two drinks, enjoyed the set. Lieutenant Chan stood and said he had to hit it. “I got this guys,” he said, turning and going to the bar to pay.
Jerry and I made our way to the door. The woman came up to start the second set. We heard her announce that she was filling in for Leimomi Sanchez because she was singing with some friends at the Jazzland Showcase Bar in Los Angeles. Everyone cheered.
We retrieved Jerry’s car and drove out of the parking lot. As we turned up Nu‘uanu past the Blue Light, we saw Lieutenant Chan talking to Han Lee off to the side of the building.
“Eh,” Jerry said, “I wonder if you related to Han Lee?”
I was wondering that too. Maybe I was related to everyone around here.
I went out like a proverbial light. The next thing I knew, I was headed for my interview. I met with a Professor Summerall. The meeting was brief, he was impressed, I guess, and he hired me on the spot.
He said the only thing was that I had to pursue an M.A. if I wanted to stay on.
“So you’ll let me teach this fall, but that’s it?”
“Spring and summer, too, but not beyond,” he said.
I said I would apply, then rode the bus back home.
When I got on the elevator, little Barry was riding it.
“Hi,” he said, “you went to University High.”
I laughed. “You have a good memory.”
“I’m going to Punahou. Not University High.”
“That’s good, Barry, good for you.”
The door opened.
“Watch out for the bad men,” he said as the doors closed.
Down the hallway I was smiling and shaking my head. The kid was definitely Punahou brain-washed.
The door was cracked open.
“Jerry,” I called out as I went in, “I got the job. Doesn’t pay much, but at least I got a Plan B if I don’t – ”
I stopped and stared.
“Jerry?” I went to the couch. “Oh shit.”
Jerry sat there, his head lolled to one side, a sock jammed in his mouth, blood down the front of his shirt. His throat had been slashed from ear to ear.
* * * * *
Aloha #WriterSaturday, I hope you are holding up well. Today’s #WritingPrompt is
Use it to inspire a piece of writing of any kind and any length, and then post that piece as a comment below. I would love to read it : )