All That Jazz (A Lieutenant David Chan Mystery, Chapter 23)

I struggled more with writing up this case than I did the last.  Because I myself wasn’t part of the case, I of course knew fewer of the exact details.  Because there was no trial, I had no transcripts to review.  The newspaper articles were actually quite numerous which aided me immensely, however.  The press conferences that Lieutenant Chan held helped, but they were intentionally short on detail, as are most police department press briefings.

Fortunately, there was one Hawai‘i Bulletin reporter covering the case, an Anderson Gomez, who speculated quite ingeniously about the details as he saw them, and because his ideas seemed to dovetail quite well with what information David did let out to the papers, I followed Gomez’s lead.

When I was satisfied with the draft, I decided to take it to the Lieutenant at his Pacific Heights home.  Neither David nor his son were in when I arrived, so I simply left the manuscript on his doorstep.

Several weeks went by with no word.  I began to worry that I’d angered him with some of the details where I stretched my imagination perhaps a bit too much.  Worse yet, I wondered if he’d been so bored by what he read that he didn’t even wish to bother with a response.

Then one day when I came home from teaching my composition classes at O‘ahu University, there was a package sitting outside my apartment door.  I recognized Chan’s handwriting, and tearing off the brown paper wrapping, I was intrigued to see that it was a 78 record album.  Here’s what he wrote on the enclosed letter:

“Lanning, aloha, the story surprised me.  As I was reading it I had some odd moments watching me – my character, that is – and wondering what he might do next.  I hoped he’d make the right choice at several points in the story.

“Bobby Stillman was a good kid.  To this day I have no idea why he might have confronted Wo Fat.  It’s a tragedy.  Maybe you, my character, and I can bring Wo Fat to justice one day.

“Anyway, I’m flattered that you’re taking the time to write these.  I’ll try to keep up my end, working the cases to the best of my ability, since I know that any screw-ups might be exposed to the world in a future story.

“I hope you like jazz.  I learned from my wife to appreciate it.  This particular 78 is a favorite.  It’s a recording of Wilbur C.S. Sweatman, a clarinetist, playing a number called “Down Home Rag.”  This was recorded in 1916, and it’s been argued by some to be the first true American ‘Jazz’ recording.  It’s certainly something people like my wife could debate for hours.

“Lanning, I sense you have an affinity for jazz.  I’ll look for my further adventures should you continue to write about them.

“Aloha and take good care, David Chan”

* * * * *

Aloha #WriterMonday. Today’s #WritingPrompt is


Use it to inspire a piece of writing, and then post that piece somewhere I can read it. I would love to see what you came up with : )

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