“What is it?”
“Two things, sir. First, there’s an update on those gang killings. A woman, a Mrs. Anderson, ID’d her son Dennis as one of the bodies. He’s a local kid, McKinley grad. Twenty-two. All signs point to this gang being homegrown.”
Yu examined the ceiling. The name rang a bell, but he wasn’t sure. Was it a friend of his daughter’s? No, maybe it was the name of someone his son knew? It was too foggy to recall exactly.
“Okay, so what’s the other thing?”
“Mister Yu, I don’t know if you maybe read about that girl, Kathy Thurston, the banker’s daughter?”
Yu closed his eyes, thought about it. “Yes, you mean the one who was kidnapped?”
“Right, her. There’s no update on her whereabouts, but do you know Kevin Won?”
Yu sat up. “Kevin, yes, he’s one of Jason’s friends. What about him?”
“He asked me about her.”
“Kevin Won? And?”
“Yes, well, I thought it was interesting.”
“Yeah, that’s you, right? The thinker. So you’ve figured out that the most interesting part about it is why the hell he would be asking you about her?”
“I, well, yeah. His dad and I go way back. I’ve known Kevin since he was a kid.”
“And so he just always casually asks you for information about open police cases?”
“No, no. I mean that’s what’s odd. He’s never done that before. I’m not sure why he would do it now, all of a sudden.”
Yu’s mind was grinding on this. “Did he mention Jason at all?”
“No. I but know they’re friends.”
“How do you know?”
“Well, like I said, I’ve known Kevin since he was a kid. I’ve always known that he and Jason were best friends from elementary school.”
It irritated Yu, that a fool like this would know so much about his son and his son’s friends.
“Well, yes. The other interesting thing about Kevin, is that he’s got one of those tattoos. The spade with the diamonds.”
Yu froze. “Keep me posted on both situations.”
“Will d –”
Yu hung up. Getting up from the desk, he walked out of his den and went to the bottom of the stairs. “Jason, are you home, son? Jason?”
Yu was worried about his son’s best friend. Kevin Won was a member of this new gang. Would he have to eliminate him?
Climbing the stairs slowly, he called out again. Jason emerged from his room and came to the top of the stairs. “Yes, Dad, what is it?”
By this time Byung Yu was two steps from the landing. His son stood at the edge of the top stair. They were nearly face-to-face. Jason wore a white short-sleeved shirt. The father casually glanced at both his son’s forearms. There was no tattoo. Byung breathed a small sigh of relief.
Nothing like being straightforward about this. “Son, a friend of mine was asking about Kevin Won.”
Now it was Jason’s turn to freeze. He tried to show no emotion. “Kevin? Huh, what was he asking about?”
Yu tried to read his son’s face. “Ah, he was asking if you were still running around with him?”
“Running around with him? Me? Well, I see him from time to time.”
“Oh,” said Yu, hesitating. “I, ah, I thought you two were thick as thieves. You always used to be, at least until you went off to school.”
Jason Yu looked over his father’s head, then into his father’s eyes. “Yeah, well, since I came home we go out for a beer or two. I see him some, but not like back in high-school.”
Byung tried to see behind his son’s his face and into his mind. “I seem to recall it was even earlier. Elementary school actually, wasn’t it?”
“Oh, yeah, that’s true, Dad. A long time ago. I sorta lost touch with him. But, ah, why are you asking?”
Yu wasn’t sure what to say. He went with, “Oh, I only wanted to tell my friend whether you were still close friends with him. I’ll let him know you aren’t.”
Jason Yu was perspiring now. A trickle of sweat slid slowly down the side of his face. Byung Yu’s heart sank. He turned and walked slowly down the stairs. His son was lying to him. He closed his eyes when he reached the bottom, then turned and looked back up the stairs. Jason was gone.
Yu felt sick to his stomach. The idea of having to kill his son had never crossed his mind before.
Jason went back into his room. Now his shirt was damp with sweat. He wondered if his father had seen how nervous he was?
He stripped off his shirt, took a fresh one from his chest-of-drawers. Before putting it on, he went into the bathroom and grabbed a towel. Wiping his face and then his arms and chest, he turned to examine his back in the medicine cabinet mirror. The tattoo of the spade and four diamonds stood out like a nail that needed to be hammered. He shuddered. At least, as boss, he’d been smart enough to have it inked on his back, to be different, to indicate that he was in charge. He realized that his father knew about the gang now.
He put on the T-shirt and leaned heavily against the sink. Again a deep chill ran through him. He’d never wanted his father to know about his criminal activity. But in his bones he’d sensed that in a state this small, on an island this small, that hope was probably futile.
Opening his eyes, Jason Yu looked at himself in the mirror. He shook his head and closed his eyes again. The idea of being killed by his father had never crossed his mind before.