Playing in Paradise (A Lieutenant David Chan Mystery, Chapter 1)

Nothing says paradise like be awakened in the early morning hours to show up for a display of bloody bodies.  Lieutenant David Chan had been dreaming about nothing in particular.  It was that kind of dead, restorative sleep that just begs to be interrupted by murder.

By the time he arrived on the scene, Lieutenant Chan was nearly awake.   His partner, Sergeant Robert Stillman, was already on the scene.  All sunshine and enthusiasm.  Ah, to be young again.

Chan grunted a hello.  Stillman smiled and slapped him on the back.  “Up and at um, boss.  The party’s on and we’ve been invited. WhoooHooo.”

Chan rolled his eyeballs.  It was blood for breakfast.

The scene was a vacant warehouse in the Māpunapuna industrial area out by the Honolulu International Airport, just mauka of Nimitz Highway.  The area, buzzing with all kinds of businesses, was generally well-utilized, so it was a little curious that this warehouse, in excellent condition, would be empty.

As the two detectives walked toward the scene, they were met by the owner of the warehouse, a Mr. Conrad Jones. Jones owned and leased a large number of warehouses in the area.

“Mr. Jones, how are you, it’s been a while,” said Chan.

“Lieutenant, yes, it has been.  Thank you again for helping out my family.”

“No problem,” said Chan, I was happy to do my part.”

Jones accompanied the two to the spot where three male bodies hung, each suspended by several feet of rope tied around their ankles.  Their hands were bound behind their backs, their mouths taped.

The only other objects in the place were two chairs a few yards away facing the three.

“Audience,” said Stillman.   “What fun, huh?”

David Chan had never become comfortably accustomed at the sight of blood.  He imagined these bodies, beaten nearly to a pulp, when that blood was inside the men, where it should be.  

Henry Lee, the coroner, busily inspected the corpses while Jimmy Doi took photographs.

“David,” said Lee, “these guys were beaten for a while.  Looks like a longer implement of some kind.  Maybe a baseball bat.”

Nodding, Chan remembered playing ball with his son at Pauoa Park.  That had been a good time.  It was long ago. His son, David the Third, was now a pre-med biology major at O‘ahu College.

Stillman said, “Do you think they were just beaten, or were they supposed to talk?”

“Well,” said Chan, “if whoever did this just wanted them dead, there are plenty of easier ways.  It takes a lot of energy to hoist bodies this size in the air like that.”

He took a 360 degree walk around the three.  They’d been hit for a long time, all right, and obviously not so hard as to kill them or knock them unconscious.  Not until the end.

“Yeah,” said Chan, “they were supposed to talk.  You don’t beat someone for that long for fun.”  He hesitated.  “Well, I guess I know a few people who might get their kicks that way, but let’s assume for the time being that these three unfortunate men knew something that someone else wanted to know. ”

“Hank, ready to lower the bodies?” Chan asked.

“Sure, David.”

Down came the three, one after another, looking like overripe mangoes.

Lee, Stillman, and Chan all donned gloves and proceeded to go through the men’s pockets.  All three had wallets and passports, and all three had hotel room keys.

Stillman said, “These three amigos are all from Mexico.  Obviously they’re connected somehow, but all three are staying at different hotels.”

“Yes,” said Chan.  “All three entered the U.S. via Los Angeles within the last three to five days.  I wonder if they all flew to Hawai‘i on the same flight?”

“Look at this,” said the coroner, having pulled back the sleeves or all three.  “Matching tattoos.”

“Mexican gangs,” said Chan.  “Like we don’t have enough gang violence already.  Why, would they come here?”

“Right,” said Stillman.  “And who do you think would want to beat them like they were busting open three piñatas?”

Chan looked at his partner, thought about candy and birthday parties, and wished he were at Pauoa Park playing baseball with his son.

* * * * *

Aloha #WriterSaturday, I hope your weekend is off to a good, safe start. 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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