“I, well, okay, you sure about that?”
He stood up. “Let’s go now.”
Once we got going he told me he’d retrieve my things and bring them up to his house. He said I could stay as long as it took to figure out and nail whoever was after me.
We made our way from town up Pacific Heights Road. After a mile or so, we pulled into what looked to be a brand new garage. As we walked up the path to the house, however, I could see that the garage must have been an afterthought. The house looked maybe twenty years older. In good condition, just older.
“I don’t know if my son’s home, Lanning. Let me show you the lay of the land.”
Chan opened the door and ushered me in. I followed him to a staircase, and just as we started down, a woman dressed in a nurse’s uniform came out of a room just off the kitchen.
“Oh, Mr. Chan,” she said, looking at me a bit nervously, “We thought that was you. We need to talk to you about something.”
Chan said, “Lanning, please wait in the living room,” and then he disappeared into the room with Chan and the nurse.
I stepped into the living room. It was large with some comfortable looking furniture. As was the case in lots of homes nowadays, most of the seating pointed toward a TV. It looked like this one was color. I’d never owned a color set. The one I’d had in Madison was black and white, my first TV as we’d never had one at home.
Shelving went floor to ceiling on every wall. Three things dominated: books, ceramics, and stuffed animals. I picked up a bowl that had a beautiful celadon finish. I noticed that many of the ceramic pieces were celadons, a very Korean vibe overall.
As an English major, I appreciated that Chan and his wife were into books as well. I pictured them having lively discussions about literature.
There was a knock at the door. I looked toward the room where Chan and the nurse had disappeared. The knock came again, but Chan still didn’t emerge. I went to the door and peered through the peephole. It looked like Dr. Kamaka from Queen’s Hospital.
I opened the door. The doctor showed some surprise at seeing me.
“Doctor Kamaka, right?” I asked.
He carried a black medical bag. “Why yes, yes. You’re Planning without the P, right?”
I laughed. “That does make it easy to remember, I guess.”
I wasn’t sure what to say after that.
“May I come in?” he asked.
“Oh, oh, yes, sure.”
I closed the door behind him. He walked straight to that room where the Lieutenant and the nurse were, obviously knowing his way. He knocked, then let himself in. I sat down again.
Finally, Chan emerged. “So sorry,” he said. “Let me take you downstairs.
The room was small but comfortable looking, and there was a bathroom adjacent. He set me up with towels and bedlinens.
“Get settled and then watch TV or do whatever you want to do. I’m going to wait for a uniformed officer to come and station himself outside. Then I’ll head over and pick up your things. Help yourself to anything in the fridge,” he smiled, “and that includes the beer.”
I thanked him, made the bed, took a shower, and then headed up. It appeared Chan was gone. I opened the front door and saw that there were actually two officers sitting on the low stone wall that ran along the road to the gate by the garage. Not quite knowing what to do, I went to the refrigerator and grabbed a beer.
Looking at the books, I noticed that there were rows and rows of mysteries of all kinds. It looked like there were complete sets of many of the authors, including, of course, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the novels and all of the short stories. They looked quite old.
I pulled out The Hound of the Baskervilles and opened it to the title page. There was an inscription. It read, “To my old friend. Thank you for helping me solve so many mysteries. With great affection and admiration, Arthur.”
I was struck by this. Conan Doyle himself had inscribed the copy. I put it back and pulled out The Valley of Fear, the last of the Holmes novels. Again there was an inscription: “You knew the end before I did, my old friend. As you say, Mahalo for the suggestions. Had you been on the case, I fear Moriarty would have been thwarted at the outset. With great affection and fond aloha, Arthur.”
Wow. These had to be worth a lot. To whom were the inscriptions written? Chan had mentioned that both his father and his grandfather were policemen. I did the math. It could have been Chan’s grandfather. One of them, at least. I, of course, had no idea what his wife’s parents or grandparents did.
It appeared they had every Agatha Christie. None of them were inscribed.
Then I ran across a set of Charlie Chan novels. Charlie Chan was the Honolulu detective made famous by Earl Derr Biggers. These, too, looked old, and they were not in alphabetical order. I leafed through the first one, The House Without a Key. It was inscribed as well: “Here’s to many more mai tais on your veranda. I will never forget the Honolulu vista from your home, nor the hours of spirited conversation. Thank you to you, and to Apana, for all the tales. Thank you as well for allowing me use of the accent, and for helping come up with all those aphorisms. Mine were atrocious, I know, and yours were not. With fond aloha, Earl.”
I looked into all of them. They were all inscribed.
Right at that moment, Dr. Kamaka emerged from the room, black medical bag in hand.
“Is someone ill?” I asked.
* * * * *
Aloha #WriterMonday, I hope you are well as you Strat your week. Today’s #WritingPrompt is
Use it to inspire a piece of writing of any type, and of any length, and then post that piece as a comment below. I would love to read it : )