Detective Stillman drove. Their first destination was the Oceanside Inn, a cozy little place two blocks mauka of Waikīkī Beach. Mr. Jose Martìnez had a room key for that hotel.
On the way, Stillman asked to what kind of help it was that Conrad Jones had been referring.
“Several years ago,” Chan said, “Mr. Jones’s son got into some difficulty. He was fourteen then, and Mr. Jones asked me if there were anything I could do about the case.”
“You mean influence the outcome?” asked Stillman, a bit taken aback.
“No, not that. He asked me to look at the case. See if I could find anything the court might consider in sentencing.”
“So he was asking you to interfere with someone else’s investigation?”
“Bobby, if I thought I was going to step on toes, you know me. I wouldn’t do that. I asked permission after the team finished. It was collegial.”
“What’d the kid do?”
“He broke into the Honolulu Camera Center and stole some cameras and other photo supplies and equipment,” said Chan.
“Five thousand dollars worth.”
“Whoa. So this kid was in deep kimchi.”
“Well, he didn’t steal to sell. He wanted to do photography. It’s his dad’s hobby. He admired his dad’s photos. Mr. Jones has lots of cameras, his own darkroom. But he was real possessive of his stuff, said the kid couldn’t use any of it. Real stingy.”
“But for real,” said Stillman, “you must’ve told Jones the kid had to take whatever consequences the court handed down, right?”
“Right,” said Chan, “and I told Mr. Jones after I’d looked into it that the kid was guilty. I didn’t see any wiggle room.”
Stillman glanced at Chan. “So that’s it? You looked into the case and decided the kid had coming to him whatever was gonna come to him? That’s what Jones was thanking you for?”
“No, Bobby, he was thanking me for afterward. The kid did time at Ko‘olau Boys’ Home. When he got out, I sort of took him under my wing. The most important thing I did, though, was get him together with my son. You know how Dave lives for Kung Fu, right? So he got the kid hooked on Kung Fu, and that really straightened him out.”
Bobby took this all in, silent for a bit. Then, “Why’d you do it?”
“Take care of the kid?”
“I mean, why’d the dad come to you in the first place?”
“He and my folks go to the same church. If my dad had still been alive, I’m sure he’d have asked him. I think he might felt a little awkward, my not being a churchgoer, but they were old friends. I had to help.”
They parked in the Oceanside Inn lot. At the front desk, Chan showed his badge and inquired about Mr. Jose Martìnez. Yes, he was registered there, had been for two days, and he was supposed to check out today.
Chan asked if they could look at the room.
Indeed, Mr. Martìnez was packed to go. His suitcase contained everything personal in the room. Nothing in the drawers, closets, bathroom.
The only other item was an airline ticket. The arrival had been two days before, and the departure was scheduled for that evening.
Taking the ticket and suitcase, Chan informed the clerk that Mr. Martìnez had indeed checked out for good, and apologized that the room key would have to be held as evidence.
The next stop was another of the smaller Waikīkī hotels called the Surf and Sand. Mr. Diego Flores was – had been – staying there.
* * * * *
Aloha #WriterMonday. 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 : )