The Murder of the Father, and the Muddle of the Son

“Have you heard of Phil Tico?” asked Bobby Stillman.
            Chan’s blood came to an instant boil. Not only did he know Tico, but the import-export mogul had been a raging spot on his radar for quite some time. And for his son, Jeffrey, the kid had been a classmate of Chan’s daughter Sarah, and Chan was sure the boy had raped her. And then the father. That damn father.
            Controlling his anger as best he could, Chan said only, “Yes, I know him,” not wishing to share any more information than that.
            “My source,” continued Stillman, “says the son, Jeffrey, may be behind this somehow.”
            Chan swallowed hard. “And did your source tell you why that kid might want to have me killed?”
            “Well, no. But my source is solid. He’s never steered me wrong yet.”
            Chan contemplated asking Bobby Stillman who his source was, but he refrained. Many people at HPD had secret sources, confidants who, for obvious reasons, preferred to remain anonymous, their names only known to the ones with whom they shared information.
            “So what, Bobby? You’re suggesting I go knock on Tico’s door and ask the son if he’s trying to kill me?”
            “No, no, of course not, David, but we can lean into the guy, can’t we? Check out any connections where you might have crossed wires with him.”
            It was time, Chan decided, to share more information.
            “Bobby, Jeffrey Tico went to Lualuna Academy with my daughter Sarah. In fact, they dated. And Bobby, if I could have proved it, I’d have him in jail for raping her. But Sarah would never speak of it, as if it never happened. And, of course, she’s dead –”
            Pausing, Chan cleared his throat and took a long beat. “And she’s dead, right, Bobby?  So it’s not as if I can get any more information from her about it.”
            Stillman was silent. “David, I’m sorry to bring up those hard memories.”
            “Then there’s the father,” Chan said. “Did I tell you that they found my dad’s car abandoned outside Tico’s house in Kāhala? Let me tell you, he’s been in the crosshairs since that moment.’
            “But didn’t they find your dad’s car out on the west side, out at Ka‘ena Point?”
            “That’s what I’d heard too, but after I joined the force, I followed up on all the information on my dad’s case. The files were a mess. They were loaded with all kinds of conflicting information. Someone, I’m sure, fabricated evidence and falsified reports to muddle the exact facts of the case.”
            Chan was so outraged at this point that he couldn’t go on.
            After many moments of silence, Stillman said, “I tell you what. I’ll look into the matter. You hang back. If I develop any kind of connection, I’ll let you know. Sound good to you, boss?”
            His mind whirling with thoughts of his daughter and Jeffrey Tico, and his father and Dr. Philip Tico, and the untouchable Kang Yu, Chan barely heard the question.
            “So does it sound good to you?” Stillman repeated.
            Chan took several deep breaths. “Yes, Bobby, yes. Please go ahead with that. Meantime, I’ve got to get back to my caseload. If someone’s going to try to kill me again, so be it. It comes with the territory, right? I mean, if a cop doesn’t have people wanting to do him in, then he isn’t doing his job.”
            Bobby managed to chuckle. “Yeah, that’s right, boss. It’s part of the job. And I’ll get back to you.”
            After Chan hung up, it was difficult for him to focus on the situation at hand. And that situation was whether he should believe anything that Bobby Stillman had said. Why was it he didn’t trust him?
            When he was calm enough to finally could focus, Chan went back outside and sat staring at the darkness of downtown Honolulu.
            Ever since he’d discovered some person or persons had tried to muddy the water in the case of his father’s disappearance, Chan had had a kind of dual focus. Could it possibly be true that the Yu clan had killed his father, or was Phil Tico the one? Or, were they working together?
            If it were Phil Tico, then planting Chan’s father’s car on the street outside his home would be the obvious way to get the heart off of him. No one would be stupid enough to kill someone and then leave the victim’s car outside his house. Or was it some kind of perverse reverse psychology?
            The report, heavily redacted apparently to conceal the identities of confidential sources, had been written up by Chan’s father’s partner, Wilbur Apana. It stated that after repeated questioning on several occasions, it was determined that Phil Tico had nothing to do with Chan’s father’s murder. It was pure coincidence that the car had been abandoned outside his residence.
            But it had always played out this way in Chan’s imagination. Someone had abandoned his father’s car at Ka‘ena Point. Then someone had found it there and moved it to Kāhala to center the focus on Tico.
            In his heart of hearts, Chan believed that the Yus had been behind his father’s murder. But was Phil Tico somehow involved?
            And what was the connection between Jeffrey Tico and a man sitting in the dark in David Chan’s house, waiting to kill him? Did Jeffery Tico and or Phil Tico try to blow him up a year ago?
            And then there was Bobby Stillman. He was going after Jeffrey Tico because a source had told him the son was the one trying to have David Chan killed. Could Stillman have merely made up that story? Was there in reality no source?
            Why did David Chan distrust his young partner, and where was Victor Yamamoto when Chan needed him?
            Chan downed the last of the Jack Daniels, looked around for Victor’s ghost, and then, not finding him, wove his way to bed.

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