A man the right height approached, a baseball cap pulled down over his dark glasses. He carried a black case maybe a yard long and six inches wide. Chan walked over to him and realized up close that the man was not Wo Fat.
“What’s in the case?” Chan asked.
The man laid it down and opened it. It was a pool cue in sections.
“Please remove your hat and glasses,” Chan said, taking a step back and moving his hand toward his revolver.
The man did so.
“So you shoot pool?” Chan asked.
The man smiled. “Yes sir, I do.”
“Where are you headed?”
“Are you meeting someone? Anyone flying with you?”
The man smiled again. “Why no, I’m alone. Going to a big tournament in Shanghai.”
Chan let him go. A pool tournament in Shanghai. Right. What were the chances?
Another tall man approached. He too was carrying a case that looked the right size. He too had a cap pulled down over eyes hidden behind dark glasses.
Chan flashed his badge. “Are you headed for Shanghai?”
“Yeah,” the man answered, a bit surly.
“Pool tournament?” Chan asked.
Chan let him go.
A pair of tall men approached now, hats and dark glasses, in conversation, laughing. Both carried cases. Yes, they too were headed for this Shanghai tournament.
Cursing, Chan sat and watched passengers now boarding. Several more tall last-minute pool tournament bound Chinese passed Chan’s inspection.
When the gate closed, Chan went looking for the others.
“Some kind of game,” Chan said, describing the men he’d questioned. “What’s he up to?”
Waiting for the second flight to Shanghai, the four stood around the edges of the other passenger lounge. A dozen more tall men carried cue cases, but no Wo Fat.
Chan felt like arresting all of them, but on what charge? That they were colleagues of Wo Fat who all were participating in some supposed pool tournament in Shanghai?
When the flight departed, Chan and the others drove back to headquarters. Chan was silent, boiling.
They sat at the round table and wondered whether they should go back and check later flights.
“What about ships?” asked Chin.
“Yes,” said Chan, exhausted by his long anger and thwarted anticipation of an arrest. “He could get out of here too many ways.”
Just then a young Chinese boy ran in. “Is Lieutenant Chan here?” he asked.
“Yes, I’m Chan. What is it?”
“I have a message for you, sir.” He handed it over, turned around, and walked quickly out the door.
Puzzled, Chan watched him go, then sat back down with the others. He opened the envelope.
“Dear Lieutenant,” Chan read, “I thought it would be amusing to have a few of my friends fly to Shanghai this afternoon. Wasn’t it an entertaining idea for all of them to carry pool cues? I went as a woman in a mu‘umu‘u. I believe you overlooked her.”
Chan spat out the signature. “Until we meet again, aloha, Wo Lai Chan.”
“What an idiot,” said Captain Kauhane. “We’ve got him now. We’ll phone the authorities in Shanghai and have him arrested when he gets off either plane.”
Chan made the call. They wanted to know under what name the man dressed as a woman was flying. “Just hold any woman wearing a Hawaiian mu‘umu‘u. Do you know what that is?”
“You will be able to tell which one’s the man, right?”
“Yes, of course.”
And then the four waited. The phone call, given the time difference, would come in just under seven hours.
Chan was feeling happier now.
* * * * *
Aloha #WriterThursday. Today’s #WritingPrompt is
Use it to inspire a piece of writing and then post the piece where I can read it. I would love to see what you come up with : )