The House of Missing Keys, Part 4

The first thing Chan did when he arrived at the Holo Holo Bar was call the King Surfrider Hotel. Yes, Sergeant Yamamoto was there; he was talking to Mr. Cooke, the day manager.

“Please get him on the phone,” said Chan.

A moment later Yamamoto was on the line.

“Vic,” said Chan, “ask each person you talk to if they have a car, and if they do, ask to see the key.”

Yamamoto said, “You mean you think someone without a car key could be the killer?”

“Exactly.”

“David, come on, everyone has a spare car key.”

“I don’t,” said Chan.

“For real? What do you do if you get locked out of your car?

“I’ll call you for a ride,” said Chan.

“That’s funny, boss, but how come you don’t?”

“I lost mine. I’ll have a new one made when I can get around to it.”

“Okay,” said Yamamoto, “but I still think that’s not going to get us anywhere fast.”

“Humor me,” said Chan.

The first person Chan talked to was Duke Goto, the bartender.

“Yeah, Kazu’s the barback on the night shift. He’s trying to learn enough to bartend. But to tell you the truth, he’s an asshole. I’ve never disliked a co-worker more.”

“So he’s your barback, too?”

“Yeah, I work Friday and Saturday nights. Same nights as him. A real jerk.”

“How so?” asked Chan.

“He’s lazy. We get slammed here on Friday and Saturday. We gotta have all hands on deck. Sometimes it’s like he’s only got one hand.”

Chan said, “Do you own a car?”

Goto gave him a surprised look. “Me? Yeah, sure, I got a car.”

“Can I see your car key?” asked Chan.

Goto frowned. “Sorry, I don’t have it on me.”

Chan’s heartrate shifted gears. “Oh really. Did you lose it?”

Goto gave him a curious look. “Well, no. My car’s in the shop this weekend. They have my key.”

Chan groaned inwardly. Maybe Yamamoto was right. This strategy might have some flaws.

Eventually Chan talked to all the servers on hand and one of the bouncers, Junior Kanalu, who came in early.

Like everyone else he’d spoken to, Kanalu also did not hold Kazu Hatanaka in high esteem. It seemed no one had anything good to say about him.

“He’s a real wise guy,” said Kanalu. “He canna answer one question straight. Always talking like one punk.”

Junior Kanalu was a big guy. Chan thought maybe he should have been named Senior Kanalu.

“So I guess you work out,” said Chan.

Kanalu gave him an odd look. Chan couldn’t tell what it meant, but he thought he might have pushed a button.

“Yeah, I lift,” said Kanalu.

”Whereabouts?”

”Central Y.”

Chan nodded. ”You have a car?”

Kanalu looked like he’d just received the second of a one-two punch combination.

“What?”

“A car. You have one?”

“Yeah, yeah, of course.”

“Of course? You think everyone has a car?”

Kanalu appeared as if he thought these questions were coming in out of way beyond the blue.

“I, well, no. I don’t think that everybody get one car. I just, well, yeah, I do.”

Chan nodded. “Can I see your key?”

“My car key?”

“That’s right.”

“I don’t have it on me.”

“Oh really,” said Chan. “You didn’t drive to work today?”

“No, I didn’t,” said Kanalu. “I live right around the corner. I walk here.”

Again Chan groaned internally. “Okay,” said Chan, “let’s go to your place. I want to see your car key.”

“What?” Kanalu shook his head. “Okay, yeah, sure.”

Unfortunately, Junior Kanalu was able to show Chan his car key.

“You have a spare key?” asked Chan.

“Yeah, of course,” said Kanalu. “Don’t tell me, you want to see that one, too.”

“I do,” said Chan, leaning against the front door jam.

Of course Kanalu produced the spare key.

After Chan managed to locate a parking space back at the police station, he found Yamamoto at his desk.

Chan said, “I’d say anyone Kazu Hatanaka worked with at the Holo Holo Bar could be the killer. I heard not one positive word about him. They all think he’s a jerk.”

Yamamoto shook his head. “Really? Geez, David, that’s amazing. Everyone at the hotel loves the guy. They all think he’s a hard worker and a nice person.”

“Wow,” remarked Chan, “what’s that all about? How could their opinions be so far apart?”

“I don’t know. Maybe he hates his job at the bar? That could make his attitude bad.”

“Yeah, I suppose,” said Chan. “Did you ask them about their keys?”

Yamamoto rolled his eyes. “Yes, boss, yes, I asked all of them about their car keys. They all had them on them.”

Chan sat back in his chair. “You know, I asked only the last guy I talked to if he had a spare key.”

“You’re kidding,” said Yamamoto. “And how were you going to confirm that?”

“He lived right near the bar. We went to his house. I saw both keys. I really should have asked all of them if they had spares.”

Yamamoto shook his head and gave Chan a pitying look. “David, what were you going to do? Go to everybody’s house to see the key?”

“What? What about it?” said Chan.

“Oh, come on, man. David, that’s ridiculous.”

“Why is that ridiculous?”

“Well for one reason, what if they had two spares, left one at the crime scene, so now only have two. That way, David, is crazyville.”

Chan nodded, agreeing. “Right, right. I don’t know what I was thinking. And I should talk, right? I mean, as I said, I don’t have one. I lost mine. I could’ve killed the guy and that could be my key under his body.”

“Okay, okay, okay, David, whoa. I think you and me had enough for today. Let’s go home and get some sleep.”

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to sleep tonight. I still can’t wrap my head around how Hatanaka could be loved in one place and hated in the other.”

“I got a suggestion for how to get to sleep,” said Yamamoto.

“What?” asked Chan.

Yamamoto smiled. “Try counting keys.”

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