Old Flames Die (350 words)

I had a feeling I was not talking to the most public-minded citizen, but I tried that tack first.

“Instead of charging for the info, you could do your civic duty and report this to the police.”

“Mister Kim, I’m not the kind of person who likes to draw attention to himself with the authorities.”

“How about your half-assed civic duty and just give with the details?”

“Mister Kim, I am also not the kind of person who squanders a chance for remuneration.  This is one cow you’ll have to purchase.”

“Say what?”

“Mister Kim, do you want the information or not?”

I thought about how much we might have in petty cash.  Whatever it was, it was beneath petty.

“Yeah, yeah, I do.  I just can’t think of a way to pay.  I’m gonna have to figure out how to raise the money.”

“Very well, Mister Kim, I’ll call tomorrow morning at nine sharp.  Make sure you have the cash.”

The line went dead.

I’ll be damned if I knew where I could turn up that kind of kala by morning.  I looked in the cash box.  Three bucks and change.  Now all I needed was nine hundred ninety-seven more.

I could . . .

I dialed up Kama’s grieving widow.  No answer.  I decided to drive over there.  Kāne‘ohe was still a sleepy little town, unlike Honolulu.  The drive over the Pali soothed me.

The lights were on.  I knocked.  Nothing.  Letting myself in, I called out, “Amelia, baby, you here, honey?”

I walked through the living room and into the dining room.  There sat Amelia, head down on the table, a pool of blood like a red halo around it.  The gun lay at her feet, having fallen from her right hand.

I went to the phone and dialed up police headquarters.  It looked like a suicide, but it didn’t smell like one.  I asked for David Chan.  He said he’d be right out.  Now I wanted to tell him everything I knew.  Everything except maybe about the guy who wanted money for information about Kama’s killer.

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