An hour later, Chan’s phone rang. Chan picked up. “Victor,” he called to his partner, “it’s Titchner.”
“Lieutenant Chan, I, we need help.”
“Certainly, Mr. Titchner. Who are we?”
Chan could hear the man shake.
“I’m here with friends. We sell insurance. Well, three of us. One of us owns Aloha Fender.”
“Yes, Mr. Titchner, how can I help you?”
“We’re pretty sure, Lieutenant, someone’s going to kill us.”
“Mr. Titchener, I’m aware of the situation. You know that your colleague, David Hirai, is dead, correct?”
“And that both Cho Lai and Chris Smart are dead, too.”
“I’m guessing that you’re there with Richard Cardenas of Aloha Fender, Steven Calahan who works with you at Island Heritage Insurance, and Gerald Shimoda of Territorial Insurance. Am I correct, sir?”
“Yes. We’re here trying to figure out what to do, Lieutenant. We need help.”
“Mr. Titchner, we went to your house yesterday looking for you. Are you all there now?”
“No, we’re, well, none of us has been home or to work. We’re all at a hotel here in Waikīkī.”
Chan heard voices of the others rising in protest. This was too much information leaked for some of them.
“I see,” said Chan. “Who is it you’re hiding from?”
There was a long pause. “To tell you the truth, Lieutenant, we’re not exactly sure.”
“You’re not exactly sure who’d be trying to kill all of you?”
“No, not really.”
“Come on, Mister Titchner, you’re all part of this insurance scam, right?”
“Yes, since you’ve figured it out, yes.”
“So isn’t it your boss who’s trying to kill you?”
“Well again I have to say, Lieutenant, we’re not sure.”
Chan said, “But it’s Byung Yu, right? He’s running this scam, right? Isn’t he tying up all the loose ends now?”
The phone went dead.
“Hello?” said Chan. “Hello?”
“What,” said Yamamoto, “he hung up?”
Chan shook his head. “Maybe. Maybe he did.”
“So they changed their mind?” said Yamamoto. “Just like that they don’t want help?”
Chan looked at his partner. “I hope so.”
Chan buzzed the front desk. “Lou,” he said, speaking to the duty Sergeant, “any calls about disturbances in Waikīkī?”
“Yeah, David, just in. From the Surfrider on Lewers. Gunfire.”
Chan and Yamamoto raced downstairs. By the time they arrived at the Surfrider Hotel, there was a crowd. The place was crawling with police and ambulance personnel, and an audience of local residents and tourists had gathered to watch the show.
The two headed up to the sixth floor where they found four bodies. All four men had been shot multiple times. Preliminarily, it looked like some kind of automatic weapon, maybe one machine gun or more had been used. It looked like the bullets had flown so fast that none of the men were able to try to escape. They appeared to have died pretty much in place around a dining table. The phone, receiver sitting in its cradle, sat on the table top, waiting for Chan like an old friend.
“I canna fucking believe this,” said Yamamoto. “Now they got um all.” He slumped down on a couch.
Chan sat down heavily next to him, sick at having lost maybe the last leads they had, and sick too at the sight of so much blood. It was his Achilles Heel, the bloodshed. Always. he’d never acquired immunity to it. Hard to be a cop and be averse to blood. But he always managed to tough it through.
Snuffy Apana and his partner Curly AhYou arrived on the scene.
“David, what is this?” Snuffy said, seeing his godson and Yamamoto slumped on the couch. “You know these guys?”
Chan exhaled sharply. “These are the other four guys we know for sure were involved in that insurance scam we were working. The last of our leads.”
“Ah,” said Apana. “Curly,” Apana said to his partner, “this is the insurance scam they think Byung Yu might be heading up.”
Curly nodded, said nothing.
“Boys,” Apana said, “hang in there. In all my years I’ve come up against so many cases where I thought all my leads had been exhausted. But no worries, there are always more to be found.”
* * * * *
Aloha #WriterSaturday, I hope you’re enjoying a safe and relaxing weekend. Today’s #WritingPrompt is
Use it to inspire a piece of writing, and then post that piece on your site and link back to me, or simply leave it as a comment below. I would love to read it : )