The Whys of Love (A Lieutenant David Chan Mystery, Part 36)

“But why steal from old people the cars you use for the other old people to hit?”

“Well, boss, maybe these guys are trying to play the odds there too.  Old people are less likely to push for their cars to be recovered.  The less you look for a car, the less likely it is to be found, right?”

“Yes, Vic.  And the body places can keep chopping vehicles, making money on parts that way, and the people who steal the cars for the operation can keep a supply of new cars to use coming in.”

Chan sat back in his chair. “Geez.  I thought this whole thing would bring in money, but carried out long enough, we’d be talking hundreds of thousands of dollars, maybe even millions.”

The day had been long, and all through the excruciating length had been the suspicion, eating away at him, that Chan might be wrong about Yu, and Yamamoto might be right about Nina.

Grabbing the mail from the box, Chan entered his house needing a beer.  Sitting down at the dining room table he scanned the mail.  All bills except one.  No return address.  Postmark, Honolulu.

“Dear David,” it began.  Chan jumped to the end.  “Love always, Nina.”

Chan took a long sip of his beer and read.

Dear David,

I wanted to tell you how much I’ve admired you through the years.  I’ve followed your work with the Department, and I know that you’re held in the same regard as was your father and your grandfather before him.

You know, sometimes I wish I could be back at Roosevelt, you and I sitting on the lawn after school.  Those days with you – sorry to be sappy – if only they could last forever.  Last in the sense of wishing you were the last love I’d needed, or maybe more in the sense that it was the last time I ever loved anyone.

I know how you feel about the loss of your father.

I can’t say the same for mine.  Both my father and my oldest brother, when I was very young, did things to me I still can’t talk about.  Worse, my mother condoned their actions.  In fairness, maybe she just refused to believe it.  At any rate, I had, still have great hatred for them.  And rage.

A few years ago, I devised a scheme.  I saw you and Sergeant Yamamoto were well on your way to figuring it out.  My brothers Ed and Bobby went along with me, hating my parents and Alfred as well for what they’d done to me.

It was easy to get my parents and Alfred to go along.  I threatened to report what they’d done to me, and that was enough to keep them quiet.  Until recently.

Their threat to expose our scheme brought my relationship with them to a head.  I and my brothers, and some of my men, confronted them the other day, and that was when everything began to unravel.

It is a curious thing, killing your mother and father.  If I’d been able to do so, I’d have shot Alfred as well, but that honor went to somebody else.

Who’d have thought my father and brother would be so good with guns.  I lost a four of my guys there, and Bobby, was wounded in the process.

I managed to get both of them home.  Bobby died there.  Poor Ed was going to give up, wanted to call the police, turn himself in.  I couldn’t let that happen.

At that point, it was obvious the whole scheme would collapse.  With my remaining crew, I began to tie up all the loose ends.  We eliminated both the insurance and the body shop ends.

I was grateful for their help, but they were only loose ends as well.  I took care of the last of them with our celebratory breakfast on board our ship, the Li Kee Tae.

I want to apologize for nearly killing you and Sergeant Yamamoto in that process.  Believe me, while I watched the two of you I really prayed you’d get away before the explosion.  You were too good at your job.  I didn’t expect to figure out that angle so fast.

David, I’m good with a gun.  I’ve spent many hours at the range thinking about my parents and Alfred.  I want to apologize to the Sergeant for shooting him.  Please let him know that I merely wanted him taken out of the action.  If I’d meant to kill him, I would have.

I also want to assure you that I never meant to kill you that night you were at my house.  I simply wanted you out of there, so shot above your head.

My last apology is for invoking Byung Yu to try deflect your attention from me.  I know how you feel about that family, that you believe they’re responsible for your father’s disappearance.  I thought if I kept bringing him up, you’d turn all your attention to him as the person behind my scheme.  Maybe if I ever get back, I’ll kill him for you.

By the time you read this, I’ll be long gone from Hawai‘i.  I’m sorry, David, for everything.  I hope you find love again, and that you can somehow forgive me.

Love always,


A mental image of Nina froze him, his blood, his breath.  Chan grasped desperately for a vision of his wife, found it, then gasped for air as the way to breathe came back to him.

Laying the letter down, Chan cried for the first time since his wife had died.  He did not sleep at all that night, and for many nights to come.

* * * * *

Aloha #WriterTuesday. 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.

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