The Stolen Cars (A David Chan Mystery, Part Eight)

Having had all but two or three minutes of sleep, Lieutenant Chan stumbled to his desk.  Sergeant Yamamoto could tell with one glance that his partner was in a foul mood.

“I won’t ask,” said Yamamoto.

“Thanks, Vic, cuz I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Oh, okay.”  Yamamoto was disappointed that reverse psychology hadn’t worked.

“That bad?” questioned Yamamoto.

Chan looked at him.  “Vic, seriously, I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Dinner didn’t go good?”

“Vic, please, enough.”

Yamamoto, who really did care, laughed.  “Sorry uh, Romeo.  Don’t give up that easy, brah.”

Chan had to actually laugh a bit.  “What’re you talking about, give up?  I had a rough night thinking about this case.”

“Right,” said Yamamoto.  “Any part in particular?”

“Vic, what’s the word on the cars?”

Victor, disappointed the ribbing session had been interrupted by work, said, “All the identifying marks were removed, so I ran the makes and models against stolen vehicle reports.  Eleven hits.  I called the owners to come down to Impound.  They should be there now.  I’m headed over.”

“Good job, man,” said Chan.  “Let’s go.”

On the way to the impound lot, Chan wondered aloud about the existence of Nina’s grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins.

Right in the middle of crossing Young Street, Yamamoto stopped and gave Chan a backhanded slap on the shoulder.  “You mean with all the time you had last night, you never used any of it to ask about other relatives?”

A horn honked and they hurried to the curb.

“What kind of detective you, lover boy?”

Chan could only shake his head.  “Yeah, I know, I dropped the ball.”

Yamamoto laughed.  “Yeah, I know, you sure didn’t drop your drawers.”

Chan shot him a disgusted look.  “Eh, it’s not what you think.”

“Yeah, yeah, right,” said Yamamoto, laughing all the more for Chan’s reaction.

They entered the impound lot.  Chan couldn’t remember seeing this many cars there.  The other thing he noticed was that all the people milling around were elderly.

“Folks,” said Yamamoto, “I’m going to lead you down the lines of cars, and I want you to tell me if you see one that’s yours.”

An old Filipino man said, “That is mine, right over there.”

“Oh, okay, good,” said Yamamoto.  “How long ago was it stolen?”

“Ai, maybe I think maybe four months already since then,” the man replied.

“Good,” said Yamamoto.  “Can the rest of you please follow me.”

It was a slower process than Chan had imagined.  Many of the people were using canes and walkers.  They had vision problems too, had to go right up to the cars to take a look.

How are some of these guys even driving? he wondered.

By the time the senior citizenry parade had ended, all eleven parties had identified eleven of the cars as theirs.  The most recent had been stolen just two months before, while the longest lost was over a year.

Yamamoto now had the unenviable task of walking these people through the paperwork involved in reclaiming their vehicles, which might not happen for quite a while due to all the cars being held as evidence.  Really, the only way these people would eventually get the cars back would be at the end of any trial that might be held, and if not, who knew?

While Yamamoto was thus occupied, Chan went back across the street and stared at his phone.  He had to call Nina, but his heart was definitely not in it.  Finally, after much cogitation and nervous irritation, he picked up the receiver.  After a few mistakes, he fumbled through the correct number.  Of course there was no answer.

Hanging up, Chan found the number of Waikīkī’s finest Chinese restaurant, Chow Yoo Chu.  Chef Nina, they said, would be in within the hour.  Chan left a note for Yamamoto that he was headed for the restaurant.

* * * * *

Aloha #WriterTuesday, I hope you are well. Today’s writing prompt is

stealing

Use it to inspire a piece of writing, any style, and length, and then post that piece on your site and link to me, or simply leave it as a comment below. I would love to read what you write : )

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