I was sitting by the phone at 8:30, just in case the greedy bastard was anxious to get his $1000. But the phone rang at 9:00 by my watch. His precise timing matched his precise voice.
“Mister Kim, do you have my money?”
“Yes,” I lied.
“Do you know the Woolworth’s on Fort Street?”
“Sit at the lunch counter at noon today. Have the money in a paper bag on the counter.”
I cut up a stack of newspaper to dollar-bill size. With a heavy heart, I put my only twenty on top and wound a rubber band around the money. Placing it in a brown paper sack, I headed out the door to go see David Chan.
I told David about the call and the meeting time and place. He said they’d have plain clothes cops stationed on the street and inside the store. He’d be parked across the street.
At 11:45 I walked into Woolworth’s, sat at the counter, and ordered coffee. I’d finished it by 12:10, and the guy still hadn’t shown.
At 12:45 I got up and walked out to the street. I spotted David’s car.
“This guy’s not coming,” I said. “He’s the kind of guy who’s going to be on time. He’d’ve been here at noon on the dot.”
“You think he could have spotted us?”
“I don’t know. I’m going back to the office to see if he calls again.”
I headed to my car. When I got in, the passenger side door opened up and a big man wearing sunglasses slipped in.
“Mister Kim,” he said. I knew the voice. “You invited your friends along, I see. But I was happy to wait for you. I’m glad you have the money.”
“I do,” I said. “It’s all there in twenties.”
I breathed a sigh of relief when he didn’t look inside. Maybe this clown wasn’t as precision oriented as I thought.
“Well, Mister Kim,” he said, “Now that we’re friends, I want you to drive us to Kāne‘ohe.”
“And if I say no?”
“I do have a gun,” he said.
“Whereabouts in Kāne‘ohe?”
“My friend,” he said, “just drive.”
I headed up to Pali Highway. It was like déjà vu all over again.
He directed me to a place near Bayview Golf Course. We pulled into a garage off Kāne‘ohe Bay Drive. When we got out of the car, he patted me down.
I sized him up: a tall Haole, maybe 6’3”, 280.
He gestured me up the front steps. My main concern now was that he’d check the cash once we got inside. If it came to a fist fight, I figured I could get at a piece of him.