Safety First (950)

What the hell?  I glanced around the room, my heart beating like crazy, my breath coming in sharp, shallow stabs.  I thought I might pass out.  There looked to be no one around.

I picked up the phone, kept looking at Chan’s card, kept forgetting what number I’d dialed last.  The phone rang for hours.  Detective Stillman answered.

He must have thought I’d lost my mind, blurting out the story in non-linear chunks, back and forth in time, but he caught the drift, told me to get my ass out of there and run the block over to HPD headquarters.

Dropping the receiver, I tore out the door.  Rather than take the elevator, some irrational fear that maybe the bad men might be in it, I took the stairs, two at a time.

Not thinking that the bad men would be standing outside, I threw open the fire door and sprinted across Punahou, running the block to Kalākaua, and then on to HPD.  Coming through the door breathless, I panted up to the front desk.

“Sergeant Stillman, Lieutenant Chan,” I stammered, “I need them.”

The look on my face must have verified the seriousness of my request.  Stillman came running down the escalator.

“Lanning, Lanning,” he called.  “Come, come.”

I made it over to him, suddenly tired.  I needed to sit.  He helped me to a bench.  At that moment, Chan came through the entrance doors, spotted us, and came to sit on the other side of me.

“Lanning,” he said, “you found Jerry dead at the condo?”

“Yeah, yeah, someone killed him.  His throat.  Cut open.  All that blood.”

They both began patting me on the back, trying to calm me.  Stillman asked if I wanted something to drink.  I guessed he didn’t mean hard liquor.  I declined.

Chan said, “Lanning, we’ll take you upstairs.  Wait at my desk until you hear from me.”

They escorted me up, then left to go to the apartment.  It took a long while, but my whole system finally calmed down.

An elderly Chinese-Hawaiian man came up the escalator.  He said hello to the other detectives, walking around the room, seeming to know everyone.

Finally, he came to the Lieutenant’s desk.

“Hello,” he said.  “How are you?”

“Hi, I’m Lanning Lee.”  After I’d said it, I realized I’d answered the wrong question.  “I mean, I’m okay.”

Smiling, he sat down at Chan’s desk.  “I’m Wilbur Apana, David’s godfather.  I’m known as Suffy.”  He pulled out a handkerchief as if to show me, then said, “It’s because I have allergies.  I’d always blowing my nose.  Snuffy, you know.”

This was like too much extraneous information for me to process at the moment.  That he was Chan’s godfather, that I caught.

I said, “So you’re with the police?”

Apana nodded.  “No, not anymore.  I retired a few years ago.  David’s father and I were partners for many years.”

I said nothing.  He looked at me, staring at my face.  This odd sort of smile.  It was a little bit unnerving.  I looked away.

Finally, “So you are waiting for David?”

“Yeah, yeah, my friend.  I just found him dead in our condo.  David and Detective Stillman went over there.   I’m supposed to wait here.”

“Oh my,” Apana said.  “How terrible.  Is that the first time you’ve ever seen a body?”

“Uh, yeah, yeah, the first time, boy.”

“It’s hard for us, too.  We see so many, but we never get used to it.  My godson doesn’t care for the sight of blood.  Very unfortunate for him.”

He changed got off that topic.  “Is there anything I can do for you”?

“Ah, no, no thank you.  I just want to kind of sit here and try to relax until they get back.”

He place both hands, palms down on the edge of the desk.  “I understand completely,” he said.  And with that, he got up and walked away.

A few minutes after Snuffy Apana disappeared down the escalator, Lieutenant Chan came riding up.

He joined me at the desk.  “Lanning, how are you doing?”

“Okay, okay, I guess.  I’m a lot better now.”

“Good, good, that’s good.”

He paused.  “Lanning, did you notice coffee cups on the table?”

“Coffee cups?  No, I, why?”

“There were two cups half finished sitting there.  Whoever did that to Jerry, it wasn’t that they came in, killed him, and were out of there.  I think they were waiting.”

“For me?” I asked, my whole body getting worked up again.

“Easy, Lanning, easy.  Yes, I think they might have been waiting for you, but for some reason they left.”

“Oh Jesus.  Oh man.  Why?”

“Think, Lanning.  Do you know something, anything about that man, maybe what he said to you?  Anything that you might not have told me?”

“I’ve told you everything I know.  I’m getting a haricut, he comes in bleeding we call you, he mumbled a few things in English.  You, dead, most of it was rambling in Korean.  Then he tells me at the hospital that I’m his son.  Really, really, that’s all I know.”

Chan tapped a pencil on the blotter.  “Lanning, it must have something to do with them thinking that you’re his son.”

I couldn’t believe what was happening to me.

He said, “You know you can’t go back there, right?”

“Right, right, believe me, I don’t want to go back there.  Never.”

“What all do you have there?”

“Just a suitcase of books and my clothes.”

Chan nodded, looking at me.  “Well, you know, I want you to go to a safe place where we can watch you.”

“Okay.  So where’s that?”

“My place,” Chan said.  “I want you to stay at my house.”

* * * * *

Aloha #WriterSunday, I hope you are safe and well. Be careful as things open up. Take the same precautions you’ve be using. Today’s #WritingPrompt is

safety first

Use it to inspire a piece of writing of any kind, any length, and then post is as a comment below. I would love to read what you write : )

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