installment 12

Faber-Brady Trust Executive Offices, Hilo, HI – 8:05 PM Hawaii Time

Kane relaxed behind his desk. A more perfect conclusion to his troubles was hard to imagine. It may have been slightly more desirable to have secured the boy, Noah, in lieu of Nachtmann. Children are more complaisant, after all, and acting as the boy’s regent would have given Kane absolute power over the trust for many years. Still, disposal of the child’s parents may have been messy. On balance, therefore, Kane felt quite satisfied with the day’s outcome.

He was rising to depart when his eye fell on an unfamiliar sheet of bright goldenrod stationery. The headline said ‘Urgent.’ He picked up the sheet, sat back down and began to read.

“Trask!” he shouted after a few seconds. “What’s the meaning of this?”

Trask hurried in from the outer office, crossed to Kane’s desk and plucked the page from his boss’ fingers. “Ah, yes,” he said. “This thing. I forgot to mention it.”

“Mention it now, damn it. How am I supposed to run this place if I’m not kept abreast?”

“It came from Mr. Devlin, sir,” said Trask. “You two have been in such close contact, I assumed you knew.”

“Well, I didn’t,” Kane snapped. “This is most irregular. The FBT building has never been closed. Ever.”

“I realize that, sir. The way Mr. Devlin described it, one final round of structural tests are required...vibration and frequency resonance or some such thing...and having the building unoccupied is the only way to effectively complete them.”

The explanation was unsatisfactory. “Why not conduct the tests at night, then?” he asked. “It’s a damn sight cheaper to evacuate a few security guards than to pay the entire workforce to loaf for three hours.”

“That’s just it, sir,” said Trask. “Expense. It seems it’s very costly to rent the testing equipment, particularly during off hours. Mr. Devlin showed me the numbers. As it turns out, evacuating the building between 8:00 and 11:00 AM actually saves $20,000.”

Kane grumbled. If Devlin said it was necessary, it probably was, and Trask’s rationale made sense. Still, the executive director was a creature of habit. Unpredictability upset him.

He pushed away from his desk. “All right, then,” he growled. “Eight to eleven it is.” Heading for the door, he stopped at the threshold.

“What about the Garrison woman?” he said.

Trask raised an eyebrow. “What about her?”

“Do we have to evacuate her, too?”

Trask pondered. “One woman and two men in the basement of a 24 story building?” he said. “I shouldn’t think that would interfere much with Devlin’s tests.”

Kane paused. “You’re right,” he said finally. “Probably not.”

1776 Wailuku Drive, Home of Puhi Okaoka Kapono, Hilo, HI -- 8:15 PM Hawaii Time

The rambling homes along Wailuku Drive date mostly from the early 20th century, though some are older. Primarily white, built off the road and hidden behind tropical landscaping, they overlook the sparse traffic below, evoking the languid indolence of a bygone era.

Seated in a wicker chair on the broad veranda back of one such dwelling, Jim Garrison stared out at the gathering darkness, listening to the crickets along the bank of nearby Wailuku River. A screen door opened and closed behind him.

“May I offer you some herbal tea?” It was Kailikane Kapono, silhouetted by light from the room beyond, a frosty glass in either hand. Garrison took one.

“Your home reminds me of places I used to see as a kid in LA, where I grew up.”

“It’s been in my family forever,” said Kapono. “It belonged to my grandfather.”

Garrison remembered now of whom she spoke; the man who had died so dramatically on the steps of the Faber-Brady Trust building.

He took a sip of tea. Its flavor was rough and dark, redolent of roots and tubers. Swallowing, he inadvertently sucked a drop down his windpipe and coughed.

Kapono leaned forward in her chair. “Are you all right?” she asked.

“I...I’m OK,” Garrison said haltingly. “It’s just...”

“The tea is strong, I know.”

“I wasn’t expecting it, that’s all.”

“It’s good for your nerves.”

Garrison took another sip. “I’ve had kava before,” he said. “I can taste that flavor. What else is in here?”

“Nothing special,” Kapono said. “Just old family recipe.”

Kapono’s houseman opened the screen door. “Dinner is served, ma’am.”

“Drink up,” said Kapono. “After dinner we’ll discuss my proposal.”

ITO, Hilo International Airport, Hilo, HI -- 8:20 PM Hawaii Time

No one aboard Aloha Airlines flight 32 raised an eyebrow at the sight of an Asian man and a 4-year-old white child traveling together. Neither had anyone aboard flight 15 from Maui to Hilo. This was Hawaii, after all, the most all-inclusive racial melting pot on earth.

Just now, the pair were boarding a rent-a-car shuttle.

“Are we going to find my mommy now, Uncle Lewis?” the boy asked.

Lewis helped the boy up the steps. “Not tonight,” he said. “But soon.”

Decades ago, Foo had believed that the fate of his country hinged upon the political gesture he had been sent to make. Was that still true?

As decision time drew near, Foo’s ambivalence intensified. Like Shakespeare’s Hamlet, he faced a terrible choice and couldn’t make up his mind.

Home of Moses and Alana Pukuli, Pahoa Town, HI -- 8:30 PM Hawaii Time

Beyond the deck, outside Pukuli’s living room, the tempo of the drums escalated. Against their frenetic cadence, a troupe of professional dancers whirled, gyrated and spun, telling, via movement, the tale of the heroic ocean voyage that had brought the first people to Hawaii.

Inside, Inspector Frederick was still waiting for an answer to his question.

“To understand the great secret, the ‘nui huna,’” Katherine Stanford was saying, “you must first understand ancient Hawaiian concepts of position and status. As in all cultures, rank was important to Hawaiians. Highly placed individuals, after all, got the best food, the best land, the best fishing...the best of everything.

“Status was achieved in two ways: prowess in battle and marrying well. Fighting skill is self-explanatory. A good Hawaiian marriage, however, requires a bit of clarification.”

“Meaning?” Frederick said.

“Like ancient Egyptians, Inspector,” Stanford replied, “Hawaiians believed that the greatest status in marriage was achieved by the union of siblings. This was especially true in ali’i families...the nobility.”

“You mean they practiced incest,” said the inspector. Stanford nodded.

“But the practice stopped, didn’t it,” Janet said, “When American missionaries arrived?”

“For the most part, yes,” said Dr. Stanford. “So did hula and nudity...for the most part. By 1832, however, King Kamehameha’s last remaining son, Kauikeaouli, now calling himself Kamehameha III, had developed deep resentments against the missionaries, especially against a Honolulu minister, Hiram Faber and his two sons, Asa, and Andrew.”

“Faber?” said Frederick.

Dr. Stanford nodded. “Deborah Garrison’s direct ancestor, several generations back. Kamehameha III believed, and not without some justification, that Reverend Faber was conspiring against the monarchy.”

“In what way?”

Stanford waved her hand dismissively. “Democracy, democratic ideals, reforms...something like that. In any event, by way of undermining Faber’s influence, Kamehameha III issued a royal edict rescinding the ban on adultery. He also reinstated the hula and is even said to have forced alcohol on a group of Hawaiian Christians.”

“That must have ruffled some feathers,” said Moses.

“It did,” said Stanford. “So much so that, in 1835, Christian ali’i, the Hawaiian nobility, forced Kamehameha III to revoke his edict. Afterward he returned to the Christian fold. Before he capitulated, however, the king committed an act that, had the Christian ali’i known about it, might very well have cost him his throne.”

“What was that?” Joe Chow asked.

“He slept with his sister,” Stanford replied.

“Is that it?” said Frederick. “The king committed incest? Is that the nui huna?”

“Part of it, yes,” said Stanford.

“What’s the other part, then?”

Stanford stared at Frederick for a moment. “Their union had issue,” she said at last. “There was a child...a girl.”

The room fell silent. Outside, even the drums and dancing, having reached a climax, came to a sudden stop.

“Fearing that his daughter would generate political complications,” Stanford continued, “yet unwilling to have her banished or killed, Kamehameha III secretly gave her to a Big Island ali’i family. Concealing her true identity, that family raised her as their own.

“In time, the girl grew to womanhood. Defective in neither mind nor body, gifted, graceful and well-spoken, her charms became the stuff of legend. Suitors from all over the islands competed for her hand. At nineteen, she met and fell in love with a young American man from Honolulu and, in 1855, they married.”

Stanford fell silent. Frederick cleared his throat. The doctor looked at him. “Yes, Inspector?”

“I’m still waiting,” he said.

“For what, exactly?” Stanford asked.

“For the other shoe to drop,” Frederick replied. “What’s the punch line?”

“You mean you haven’t heard it yet?” Dr. Stanford said dryly, “Really, Inspector, you do surprise me. I was under the impression you were a detective.”

Frederick frowned. His eyes narrowed. For a long moment he appeared deep in thought. Then he looked up. His eyes locked on Stanford’s.

“Do you have it?” Stanford asked.

“The king’s daughter,” Frederick said. “Her name was Kailani?”

“Very good Inspector,” said Dr. Stanford. “Kailani Kanae. Now fill in the blanks.”

“The king’s daughter married one of Deborah Garrison’s ancestor’s sons.”

“Exactly. Kamehameha III’s daughter married Andrew Faber, the youngest son of the king’s enemy, Hiram Faber.”

“And it’s her children,” said Frederick, “Kailani Faber’s children who sit on the board of the Faber-Brady Trust?”

“Yes,” replied Stanford. “It’s her royal children who sit on that board.”

“Meaning,” Frederick said, “that the Hawaiian monarchy, had it survived to the present day, might very well have crowned another queen.”

“Precisely,” said Stanford. “Deborah the First.”

At that moment, commotion erupted outside. “Stop him!” someone shouted. A woman screamed.

Moses leapt from his seat and rushed to the window, the rest of the room close behind. Outside, Joshua Keona, fleet of foot for one his size, ducked and ran over the lawn, eluding three uniformed policemen. Then, on the stage, the Hawaiian band scattered as his brother, Caleb, vaulted up, scampered across and disappeared into the undergrowth beyond it.

Sergeant Wicks of Pahoa PD appeared at the living room entry. “Sorry about this, sir,” he said. “We were trying to do this discretely, but they saw us coming.”

“Who saw you, Sergeant?” said Moses. “What’s going on?”

“We found Dickley Hooper’s body, sir.”

“His body? Where?”

“In the tank of a MOPS truck, sir. It had been signed out to Caleb and Josh.”

Pukuli could not have looked more thunderstruck had he been hit by lightning. That guests, let alone ohana, would knowingly bring dishonor into his home was shocking.

But the Keona boys’ betrayal would not be the final bombshell of his evening.

Moving past Sgt. Wicks, came four others, led by a raw-boned man in a seersucker jacket.

“Congressman Pukuli,” he said. “I’m Agent Schmidt, FBI. Special Agent in Charge of Pacific Rim Security.”

“Schmidt?” he said. Moses glanced at Frederick.

Schmidt held up a freezer bag, bulging with Puna Pow. “Several kilos of this drug were found in a minivan parked nearby, sir. The vehicle belongs to you.”

“Several my van? Now, hold on just a....”

A fifth man joined Schmidt and his team. He too, carried a bag of dope. “Sir,” he said to Schmidt. “This was in a drawer in the congressman’s study.”

Agent Schmidt took Pukuli by the arm. “Please come with me, sir.” He began leading Moses toward the door. Frederick and Congressman Chow dashed after him.

“I’ve known Moses Pukuli for over twenty years,” said Chow. “He’s no more a drug dealer than I am.”

Schmidt talked over his shoulder, never losing a step. “If I were you,” he replied, “I’d choose my friends a little more carefully. Not only have substantial quantities of a dangerous substance been discovered in this man’s possession, this afternoon, two of his employees brutally murdered a known supplier. If that’s not evidence of drug dealing, I don’t know what is.”

“Is that how Iggy Arnold would see it, Schmidt?” said Frederick. “Or Dickley Hooper?”

Schmidt stopped and eyed the inspector, then turned and continued outside. He put Pukuli in back of a car and came around to the driver’s side. Frederick was waiting for him.

“You and I both know Moses Pukuli had nothing to do with that dope,” he said.

“Really, Inspector?” said Schmidt. “How do I know that?”

“Because you planted those bags in Pukuli’s van. You set up those four dead distributors. You blew up Dickley Hooper’s shack. You tried to blow me up, too.”

“Those are pretty serious charges, Inspector. Got any proof?”

“I’m still looking.”

“Well,” said Schmidt, stepping closer, “while you’re looking, keep one eye on your back. You never know what might be coming up behind you.”

“You’ll never get away with this, Schmidt.”

Schmidt looked around. Moses Pukuli sat in the rear of his car. Caleb Keona was being led through a crowd. His brother, cuffed and ringed by agents, was right behind.

“Not going to get away with it?” said Schmidt. “Looks to me as though I already have.”

1776 Wailuku Drive, Home of Puhi Okaoka Kapono, Hilo, HI -- 9:45 PM Hawaii Time

Inside a paneled dining room, partially lit by candles, Kapono and Garrison sat opposite one another over dinner. Several times, Garrison questioned his hostess regarding his wife and child. Each time Kapono evaded the issue, Garrison became more restive.

His fingers began to tingle. He looked down at them and squeezed both fists tightly.

“Problem?” his hostess inquired.

Garrison shook his head. “It’s nothing,” he said. “Listen, I really must insist on hearing what you have to say about Deborah now.”

“Of course,” Kapono said.

“Where is she? And where’s my son?”

“As I said before, Mr. Garrison, I can’t say for sure. However, given recent events, I think I know who can.”

“Please, Ms Kapono. For the past week I’ve been dealing with one riddle after another. Talk plainly.”

“I’ll be as direct as I can, then. How much do you know about the Faber-Brady Trust?”

Garrison sighed. He was going to have to wade through some verbiage, whether he liked it or not. “Not much,” he said. “it’s some kind of charity my wife’s parents ran.”

“No, Mr. Garrison,” Kapono said. “It’s not a charity. It’s the last vestiges of the all the wealth that’s been stolen from the Hawaiian people.”

“What’s that got to do with me and my family?”

“Your wife and son are empowered to sit on the board that controls that fortune.”

Garrison’s hands continued to trouble him. He flexed them and wiggled his fingers.

“I didn’t know that,” he said. “But then, except for a few isolated facts, Deborah’s never said much about her family. If she and Noah are two out of three, who’s the third?” he asked.

“A man named Hubert Nachtmann, your wife’s cousin.”

“And if one of those three are not there, what happens to the board of directors?”

“They are legally dissolved.”

“And the money...”

“Becomes the responsibility of the Council of Kahunas.”

Until that moment, Garrison had not been aware that there was a rat in the room. Now he began to smell one. “Correct me if I’m wrong, Ms. Kapono,” he said, “but wasn’t your grandfather the head of an organization by that name?”

“Yes, Mr. Garrison,” she said, “and now I am. What of it? Don’t you think it’s proper that a resource owned by Hawaiians should be controlled by Hawaiians?”

Garrison paused, massaging an increasingly prickly piece of flesh on his forearm. “But Ms Kapono,” he said. “Deborah is Hawaiian. That much about her family, I do know.”

“No!” Kapono snapped. “She’s not Hawaiian.”

Garrison shook his head slowly. “She is, Ms Kapono, whether you agree or not. She has ancestors who were 100% Native Hawaiian. She loves this place.”

“How your wife feels, Mr. Garrison, is of no consequence. It’s what she is that matters. At best, she is a mongrel...a mongrel whose distant Hawaiian ancestors had the misfortune of being raped by predatory white people. She’s a haole, Mr. Garrison, just like you.”

“Ms. Kapono,” said Garrison, “you’re beginning to piss me o...” Garrison stopped short. A blaze of light flared before his eyes. “I’m feeling…strangely.”

“With all the tea you drank,” Kapono said. “I’d be very surprised if you weren’t.”

Garrison’s hands now refused to obey his commands. He was having difficulty distinguishing the arms of his chair from the arms of his body.

It was then that he came to a disturbing realization. “I can’t move.”

Kapono smiled. “I know,” she said.

Home of Moses and Alana Pukuli, Pahoa Town, HI -- 10:30 PM Hawaii Time

The Pukuli household was in uproar. Among their guests were scores of influential people eager to help Moses, but none had sufficient clout in the appropriate quarter.

The congressman’s attorney, too, was powerless. “FBI custody is to ordinary jail what the Gulag Archipelago is to high school detention,” he said. “And this isn’t just a simple drug charge. There’s a murder under investigation.”

Alana turned to her in-laws. “Surely, there must be something we can do,” she said.

Hannah placed her arm around Mrs. Pukuli’s shoulder. Frederick stood away, his face grim. “I have to go,” he said, turned and went.

Hannah called after him. “Hal?”

“Don’t worry, Hannah.”

He took Moses’ keys from the hall table and left. The Jeep Grand Cherokee was facing the road in the Pukuli’s drive. Frederick hit the keyless entry and reached for the door just a pair of passing high beams swept over the front of the vehicle and into his eyes. With a squeal of rubber, the beams stopped, pinning him in their glare.

Hand in front of his eyes he called out. “Who’s there?”

“Inspector?” It was a male voice.

“Maybe,” Frederick answered.

“Can we talk?”

“Only if you’ll turn those god damned lights off.”


Blinded, Frederick heard the slam of a car door followed by the crunch of advancing feet. Squinting, Frederick finally recognized a face.

“Wicks?” he said.

“Yes, sir.”

“What’s going on, Sergeant?”

Wicks came very close. “You left something back at the station,” he said quietly.

Frederick frowned. “There must be some mistake, Wicks,” he said. “I’ve never been to your station.”

“All the same,” said Wicks. “You’d better follow me.”

Pahoa Police Substation, Puna District, The Big Island, HI -- 10:50 PM Hawaii Time

There was just one 10 X 12 lockup in Pahoa Substation. Only once, when a busload of hard partying college students were arrested for disturbing the peace, did it ever hold more than four people. Tonight, however, holding but one man, it looked more crowded than ever.

Seated on a bunk, battered and bruised but big as ever, was Joshua Keona.

“What’s he doing here?” said Frederick. “I thought Schmidt had him.”

“For a while,” Wicks replied. “He broke free and we had to fetch him back. Took six guys to bring him down.”

“OK,” said Frederick, “Fine. Now, what am I doing here?”

“He wants to talk to you. Said he’d go quietly if he could see you first.”

“What does Agent Schmidt say about all this?” Frederick asked.

“Fuck Schmidt.” Wicks pulled a ring of keys out of a lock box, strode to the cage and opened it. Frederick walked in. The main source of light in the cell was behind the prisoner, and largely hidden by his bulk. The inspector’s head poked up out of the gloom. The rest of his body stayed in Keona’s shadow.

“You wanted to see me?” the inspector said.

Keona looked up. “Yeah,” he said. “I want to tell you something.”

“I’m listening.”

“I wanted to tell you that you were right.”

“That’s nice,” said Frederick. “What am I right about?”

“Everything you said in the van...when we were coming back from the airport...all that stuff was dead on.”


“Like about somebody with clout keeping those drug dealers out of trouble.”

“No kidding,” said the inspector. “Who was doing it?”

“Schmidt. He’s the one.”

“And you know this how?”

“Kailikane Kapono.”

Frederick’s brow furrowed. “OK,” he said. “I’ll bite. How does she know?”

“She just does, that’s all. The FBI’s one of her things. She used to say that all Hawaii’s problems could be spelled out in six letters: FBI and FBT.”

“The Faber-Brady Trust?”

“Yeah,” said Joshua. “That’s why she picked and Caleb...because of the Trust.”

“Say that again, slowly,” Frederick said. “I’m not from around here.”

“My brother and I…when we were sixteen we planted a homemade bomb in the FBT building. We never set it off. We got cold feet and called the cops.”


“Old man Kane put on pressure to get us tried as adults...wanted to set an example. When we were sent up for fifteen years, everybody went nuts, crying miscarriage of justice and falling all over each other to help out. That’s when Kailikane Kapono started coming to see us in Youth Correctional.”

“I’m not quite with you.”

“It took ten years for me to see it. While all the other people we knew, our family, our teachers, the Pukuli’s...all those people were trying to get us out, Kailikane wanted to keep us be a symbol for oppressed Hawaiians.”

“She actually said that?”

“Not in so many words, but she blew a lot of smoke. She said other things.”


“Like what big heroes we were. Like how there were grown men too scared to do what we did. Like how there were thousands of Hawaiians looking to us to fight for sovereignty.”

“And you bought it?”

“We were kids. She was a grown-up.”

“Not to mention a babe,” said Frederick.

“Yeah. And she convinced us. So whenever the parole board asked if we were sorry for what we did...”

“You said ‘no?’”

Joshua nodded. “That kept us inside.”

“And you figure you were set up as martyrs, is that it?”

“Of course we were, and we knew it, even then. But we believed in Kailikane. We were willing to do what she said. We thought she was a freedom fighter…like Che or somebody.”

“You don’t think that anymore?”

“Look at me, brah. I just got out of jail and now I’m going back. She used me. She used Caleb. And she’s not finished.”

“What do you mean?”

“She’s got something up her sleeve, that’s all I know.”

“Then you don’t know enough,” said Frederick.

“It’s the press conference tomorrow.”

“What about it?”

“Before I came to the airport to pick you up, she called me. She told me she was holding that press conference. She said Caleb and I had to be there.”

“Did she say why?”

“No, but it was creepy, man. She was talking the same way she used to talk when we were inside. She’s up to something. I know it.”

Sgt. Wicks came to the cell door with three uniformed officers. Wicks himself was wearing tennis shoes, jeans, and a black t-shirt. Over his shoulder, was a nylon rucksack. “Time’s up,” he said. “We gotta get him to Hilo.”

Keona took Frederick by his sleeve. “Do something,” he said. “Caleb and I already spent ten years inside for nothing. She’s gotta pay.”

“Maybe,” the inspector said, “but what’s right and what happens aren’t always the same thing, Keona. You might want to give that a little thought over the next couple of decades.”

Frederick stepped outside, giving Wicks’ civvies the once-over. “Going home, Sergeant?”

“No,” Wicks replied. “I’m going with you.”

“Where am I going?”

“I don’t know,” said Wicks, “but if I hadn’t stopped you, you’d be there already.”

Frederick scratched his head. “OK, Sergeant,” he said. “But first, I need a favor.”

“What’s that?”

“Tell your men to keep Keona here for another half hour before heading to Hilo.”

The sergeant’s frowned for a moment. “All right,” he said, nodding toward his men. “Where are we headed?”

“Us?” said Frederick. “Oh, we’re going to Hilo, too.”

Highway 130, near Old Cemetery Road, Pahoa, HI – 11:30 PM Hawaii Time

The Pukulis’ Jeep rolled up to the intersection of Pahoa Village Road and Highway 130, slowing briefly before turning left. Wicks was behind the wheel.

“Where to?” he asked.


“I know that,” he said. “Where in Hilo?”

“I’ll tell you later.

“Look,” Wicks said, “I’m not interested in picking your brain, Inspector. All I want to know is, what’s going down when we get there?”

“Hard to say.”

“Are we going to need firepower? Yes or no.”

Frederick studied the sergeant’s profile. “Couldn’t hurt,” he said.

“All right, then.” Wicks pointed a thumb over his shoulder. “Rucksack. Back seat.”

The nylon carrier bag was a good deal heavier than it looked. Frederick grunted as he hoisted it onto his lap. He unzipped the sack and whistled. Two PX4 Storm Berettas gleamed in the dashboard light. Alongside lay two extra clips and eight boxes of hollow point 9mm ammo. “Holy crap,” said Frederick. “You declaring war?”

“Better to have it and not need it than the other way around,” Wicks said.

Frederick picked up one of the weapons and checked the safety. “These suckers loaded?”

“Seventeen plus one apiece,” said Wicks.

The inspector made a sputtering sound with his lips. Most Berettas carried fifteen rounds, many only ten. “That ought to do it,” he said. “Seventeen in the mag and one in the chamber. That should do fine.”

“Do what?”

Frederick looked across the front seat. “I thought you didn’t want to pick my brain.”

“That was before you started talking to yourself. Now I’m worried.”

“You seem like a well-informed individual,” said Frederick. “Tell me something. Where’s the FBI field office in Hawaii?”


“Right. And how many satellite offices does Honolulu oversee?”

“In the state?” Wicks asked. Frederick nodded. “Two, I think,” he said.

“Right again. Each satellite is manned by three agents. Where’s the closest one to Pahoa?”

The sergeant’s features grew wary. Frederick could see his eyes darting around. When he spoke again, he spoke slowly. “It’s in Maui,” he said.

“Yes,” said Frederick. “It’s in Maui. On another island.”

Frederick yawned. They rode along in silence for almost thirty seconds.

“All right,” Wicks said. “You got me. So it’s in Maui. So what?”

“Call me paranoid, Wicks,” said Frederick, “but doesn’t it strike you as odd that the nearest three-man FBI office is over a hundred miles away, on a whole other island, and yet Agent Schmidt was still able to mount a spur-of-the-moment six-man offense against Moses Pukuli’s house?”

Wicks hesitated for a beat or two. “Fuck...shit...piss...god damn it!” He slapped the steering wheel for emphasis with each curse. “I thought there was something screwy about those guys. They aren’t FBI, are they?”

Frederick shook his head. “Uh-uh,” he said. “They sure aren’t.”

“But Schmidt is. I saw his badge and ID.”

“No matter. Whoever he is, it doesn’t change what has to be done.”


“We gotta get Moses out of there, Sergeant. Caleb Keona, too. Otherwise, they’re as good as dead. Problem is, I have no idea where they are.”

Wicks said nothing. Frederick turned sideways in his seat. “That leaves just one question, Wicks: Knowing everything you now know, are you willing to take me where I need to go?”

Wicks swallowed hard. Doing as the inspector asked meant putting his career on the line. As armchair speculation, Frederick’s theory sounded good, but it wasn’t a sure thing. If Wicks took a chance and lost, it could cost him everything.

“I’m a third generation cop, Inspector. I’ve got twelve years on the force. I just passed my exams. I could make detective any day now.” A long pause. “I’m married, too...I’ve got kids, for Christ sake.” Wicks took a deep breath and blew it out with a groan. “Shit,” he said. “All right, god damn it, all right. I’m in. I’ll take you.”

Frederick looked away, then reached across the seat and patted the sergeant’s shoulder. “You know, Wicks,” he said. “I’ve got to hand it to you. When you make detective you’re gonna be one hell of an interrogator.”

“Just shut up, will you?”

“No, seriously. When we first started out I did not want to tell you where we were going. It’s amazing how you got it out of me.”

Wicks rolled his eyes. “Fuck you, Frederick.”

Forty-five minutes later, on the outskirts of Hilo, the Jeep slowed. Off Highway 11 lay an uneven dirt road. Wicks turned onto it, immediately disappearing beneath the overhanging trees and onto a jarring patch of rough road. Twice, Frederick’s seatbelt was all that kept him from ramming into the headliner.

He shouted to make himself heard over the rattling undercarriage. “Did you know about this road before coming out here tonight?” he asked.

“Oh, sure,” said Wicks, also shouting. “A buddy of mine used to live around here.”

“And you actually believed an FBI facility was located here?”

Wicks looked sheepish. “They said it was a safe house,” he said.

“Right,” the inspector said. “How much further?”

“A couple of hundred yards, around the next turn.”

Frederick pointed toward the roadside. “Douse your lights and pull over.”

Wicks came to a stop and killed the engine. Silently, the two policemen checked their weapons. Frederick stuck an extra clip in his pocket. Wicks did the same.

“Listen up, Wicks,” said Frederick. “Put Schmidt’s badge out of your mind. He may be FBI, but as far as we’re concerned, he’s just another bad guy. You good?”

“I’m good.”

“All right, then. One: stay alive. Two: keep the hostages alive. Three: neutralize the bad guys.”

Wicks’ grunted.

“What kind of neighborhood is this?” Frederick asked.

“Old time islanders,” said Wicks. “Blue collar, but not many of them. About one house for every three acres.”

“What kind of structures? Big? Little? Wood? Stucco?”

“ bedroom,” Wicks replied. “Wood frame bungalows.”

“OK,” said Frederick. “Here’s how it’s going to go: we reconnoiter, locate the hostages and identify points of entry. If there’s one entry, we go in together. Two entries, front and back, means I take the front.”

“If you’re in front and I’m in back, how will I know when to go?”

“Don’t worry, you’ll know,” said Frederick. “One more thing: the odds going in are three to one against. I’m not looking for a bloodbath here, but when I say neutralize...”

“Don’t worry,” Wicks said, raising his Beretta. “I understand. Shouldn’t we take some extra rounds?”

Frederick shook his head. “If seventy-two slugs won’t get this done, a thousand more won’t make any difference.” He reached for the overhead switch and disabled the dome light, eased his door open and stepped out on the dirt.

The moon had begun to rise. Still, under the heavy foliage, darkness hung heavily.

Frederick tapped his chest and signaled that he would take the point. Wicks nodded and waved him forward, following a few feet behind down the path.

As they rounded the bend, window light began appearing through the bushes ahead, outlining the low-lying roof of a small, cottage. Frederick signaled to Wicks. Wicks advanced north, through the brush and toward the near end of the house. Frederick remained on the road, heading northeast to its far side.

Coming to within 75 feet, the inspector could just make out the shape of the building. Not quite square and fronted by a long, narrow porch, it sat dead center of an unkempt clearing. Frederick turned off the road, approaching it slowly, checking his footfalls lest he snap a twig or brush an overhanging branch.

Drawing closer, he began hearing noises from within; voices, laughter and the occasional clink of a glass. A radio played quietly.

At the edge of the clearing, Frederick stopped behind a clump of ferns. From there, twenty feet from the bungalow’s northeast corner, he could see four windows. One faced east, three south.

Two of the windows looked out of a corner dining area. Through the glass, Frederick saw the backs and arms of two men wearing shoulder holsters, leaning over a table top. One wore a blue shirt, the other green. They were playing cards. From their positions, he guessed that at least two other players were sitting out of sight, opposite them.

The card player in green was talking to someone across the room, saying something about a ukulele. Of the prisoners, nothing could be seen, nor was Agent Schmidt in sight.

To Frederick’s left, leaves rustled faintly as some tiny creature broke cover and scurried deeper into the underbrush. The inspector turned and looked toward the sound.

Twelve yards away, Wicks stood near the opposite corner. He held up two fingers and pointed toward a window on the far side of the building. He had located Moses and Caleb.

Frederick held up a hand, signaling “wait,” then hunched over and duck-walked six paces to the left, rising near the trunk of a coconut palm. He peered up and over through the first of the southern facing windows. He’d been right. Two more card players sat at the dining room table. Cigarette smoke rose over the head of the third man. The fourth man poured himself a shot of something and knocked it back.

“Aaaa-chooo!” A loud, belly-busting sneeze exploded nearby. Startled, Frederick turned as a figure emerged from the edge of the bungalow, just eight feet away. The man stopped to sneeze again. Had he not, the inspector would surely have been seen. By the third sneeze, Frederick was in the dirt.

Across the lot, Wicks froze.

From his new vantage point on the ground, Frederick squinted through the underbrush as the sneezer kicked around in the weeds near the bungalow’s foundation, then stomped up the steps and opened the door.

“Hey, Flip,” he said. “Were you bullshitting me? I can’t see no ukulele out here.”

Raucous laughter broke out around the card table.

“Ukulele?” someone whooped. “What a dumb ass.”

“There’s no ukulele, you stupid fuck.”

The sneezer grumbled something, banged the door closed and tramped over the porch to the far corner. Jerkily, he fished a pack of smokes from his shirt pocket and lit up. For almost a minute, he stood there, leaning on the rail, blowing smoke and muttering under his breath.

Then, abruptly, he flicked his cigarette into the yard and stormed back into the bungalow, throwing back the door to stand just inside the entry.

“Apologize for that,” he said.

“Oh, Christ,” someone said, “now you’ve done it. You’ve hurt his feelings.”

Between the sneezer’s legs, Frederick could see straight through the interior. On the far wall was a rear entry. He slid backward on his belly in the dirt, stood up and signaled to Sgt. Wicks: “Go. Circle around.” Wicks was gone before his hands stopped moving. Frederick gave him a five count, then made his move.

More nimbly than age would seem to allow, he bounded up the steps and through the doorway, raised the Beretta and hammered the back of the sneezer’s head. The man’s legs buckled under him. He fell forward, caromed off the table and collapsed.

“Police! Freeze!” The green shirted gambler dropped his cards. “I said freeze, god damn it.” The man’s hand flinched. Frederick’s Beretta swung toward him. “Don’t do it!”

“Do it, Flip!” said a voice in the next room. “Do it now!” It was Schmidt.

For a moment, time stopped. Then, from outside, Wicks kicked open the back door. The spell was broken.

Flip went for his gun, overturning the table in front of him. The three others scattered. Wicks and Frederick opened fire, the sound of their shots like one long roar.

Flip’s body instantly vanished beneath a pile of kindling that used to be furniture. Two of his comrades withered where they stood. The third man fired two random shots before multiple hits from both Berettas ploughed him into a corner.

Bullets from the next room tore chunks of plaster from the wall near Frederick’s head. He hit the floor, scrambling for cover.

“God damn you, Frederick!” Schmidt shouted. “I told you to stay out of this, but you wouldn’t listen. Now four FBI agents are dead!”

From where he squatted, hunched behind a bookcase beside the entrance to Schmidt’s stronghold, the inspector could see Wicks’ reaction. Flattened against the opposite wall, his head jerked in Frederick’s direction, his face twisted with shock.

“You said these guys were fakes, Frederick.”

Frederick winced and held up his hand, silently trying to calm the sergeant with gestures and facial expressions.

“Who’s that?” Agent Schmidt called out. “Wicks? Is that you?”

Wicks said nothing, his eyes still on Frederick.

“Sergeant?” said Schmidt.

Frederick shook his head and placed a finger over his lips.

Wicks hesitated. “What?” he said.

“Listen to me, Sergeant,” said Schmidt. “Don’t be a fool.”

Schmidt was stalling for time, but why? Out of the corner of his eye, Frederick saw a moving reflection cross a pane of glass in the dining room window. Before he could look up, it was gone. When he spoke again, the tone of his voice seemed to have changed.

“This man Frederick...he’s a loose cannon. His own commanding officer says so.”

A long shadow fell across the floorboards from the room beyond. Frederick suddenly realized that it wasn’t the tone of Schmidt’s voice that had changed, but its location.

“Don’t let him destroy your career, too.”

At the first of two brittle clicks, Frederick sprang from behind the bookcase.

“Down, Wicks! Down!” he shouted.

Wicks dropped to the floor, but not before a bullet from Schmidt’s single action revolver ripped through the wall behind him. Frederick dove at the doorway, his Beretta blazing. Schmidt spun around and cocked his weapon. That was as far as he got. Four of Frederick’s hollow point slugs pounded into the agent’s chest. He hit the wall and slid downward, smearing the plaster behind him like a broad, bloody brush.

Frederick lay still for a moment, then regained his feet, replacing his hat and brushing dirt from his trousers and shirtfront. Wicks, holding his arm, emerged through the smoke to stand beside him.

“Inspector,” he said. “I don’t know what to say.”

Frederick reached out and pulled Wicks’ hand away from his injury. It was slight. “Not counting this one,” he said, “how many fire fights have you been in, Wicks?”

“None,” the sergeant replied.

“Don’t worry about it, then,” he said. “You did good.”

From outside came the oscillating red, blue and white flash of a light bar and the crackling honk of a bullhorn. “You! You in there! This is the police. Put down your weapons and come out with your hands up.”

The inspector glanced over his shoulder. “Not only that,” he said, “but you’ve taught your men the most important element of law enforcement.”

“What’s that, Inspector?”

“Timing,” said Frederick. “Go give them the all clear. I’ll get Moses.”

Pukuli and Caleb Keona lay side-by-side on the floor of an adjoining room, bound and gagged, their heads wrapped in pillowcases.

Frederick pulled his brother-in-law into a sitting position and began cutting him loose. His hands free and gag removed, Moses massaged his wrists.

“Thank God you came. They were gonna kill us and make it look like an escape attempt.”

“I knew there was something hinky about those guys the first time I laid eyes on them.”

“You did?” said Moses. “Why in heaven’s name didn’t you say something?”

“Take a look in the next room, Mo,” Frederick replied, “then ask me that.”

Sgt. Wicks and another officer appeared in the doorway. “You were right,” Wicks said. “None of those guys had FBI ID. They did have these, though.”

Frederick reached out and took a plastic card from Wicks’ hand. On it was a photograph of the green-shirted gambler, identifying him as Phillip Crandall, security consultant. On the reverse side of the card was a magnetic stripe and the words “Property of Faber-Brady Trust.”

“If I remember right,” Frederick said, “one of those goons is still alive.”

“Yeah,” said Wicks. “The one you clocked on your way in. Still laying there like a lox.”

“Get him some medical attention, will you Wicks? I’ll be in touch.” He looked down. “Come on, Moses,” he said. “We’ve got stuff to do.”

Chapter Seven
Wednesday, April 14, 1993

Trade Wind Towers Apartments, Hilo, HI – 1:30 AM Hawaii Time

The scales were falling from Nachtmann’s eyes. Within the past few hours, dreams he had nurtured most of his life had begun withering under the ruthless glare of reality.

More painful than losing the fantasy, however, was the reason for its loss: Deborah Garrison did not love him. Among her finest feelings for him was pity; among her basest, revulsion. Neither did she share his ambition, as he had persuaded himself she did. Of that, he was now convinced.

In short, virtually every idea he had ever harbored about Deborah Faber Garrison had been either exaggerated, ill-conceived or just plain wrong.

Worst of all, to his everlasting shame, he had allied himself with the enemies of a woman he idolized and, through that alliance, had caused her untold misery and unhappiness.

It was for all those reasons, just seconds before the late night knock at his apartment door, that Hubert Nachtmann came to a decision which was to alter the lives of so many. It was upon answering that knock, moreover, that a means of acting on his decision began to take shape.

A slightly puffy man carrying a brown paper bag stood on Nachtmann’s doorstep. “How do you do?” he said. “I hope you’ll forgive the lateness of the hour.”

Nachtmann squinted into the darkness. Not much in the habit of receiving visitors at any hour, he hesitated. He knew he’d never seen this fellow before, yet there was something oddly familiar about him.

The stranger smiled. “I understand your uncertainty,” he said. “We’ve never actually met, but we have spoken on the phone a number of times. May I come in?”

It was at that moment that Nachtmann recognized the man’s reedy drawl. It was the blackmailer, the man whose photos had secured him his job at FBT and at whose request he had assassinated Dr. Crockett. He stood aside and held open the door.

“Of course, Devlin,” he said. “Come in.”

“From what I hear on the news, Mr. Nachtmann,” Devlin said, taking a seat on a sofa, “it seems that congratulations are in order.”

“Congratulations?” Nachtmann said, sitting down in an armchair opposite.

“Why, yes,” the man said, “on your appointment to the FBT board of directors.”

Nachtmann shrugged dismissively. “Oh,” he said, “that.”

“An unexpected turn of events,” said Devlin. “Most surprising.”

You’re surprised?” Nachtmann said. “It isn’t exactly what I had in mind, either.”

Devlin nodded sympathetically. “Fortunately though, it doesn’t affect your ability to complete our transaction,” he said. “In fact, it rather enhances it.”

Nachtmann blinked several times before coming to understand. He’d completely forgotten that he owed his guest one final favor in accordance with the terms of their agreement.

Devlin placed the paper bag he’d been carrying on the coffee table between them. Nachtmann opened it. Inside was a small electronic device, a green circuit board. Dangling from its back were two electrical wires, one red and one black.

“What’s this?” Nachtmann asked.

“The business end of a wireless switch.”

“To what?”

“A detonator, Mr. Nachtmann,” said Devlin “wired to a series of explosive devices on the superstructure of the Faber-Brady Trust.”

In his present state of mind, the fact that Devlin had just announced his intention to destroy Hilo’s largest building hardly made a ripple in Nachtmann’s consciousness. He went right past it, to the next logical question. “What am I supposed to do with it?” he said.

“Why, what do you think?” Devlin replied. “Help me set it off, of course.”

“Why me?” Nachtmann said. “You said yourself, it’s already wired to detonate the explosives. Anyone could activate it. You don’t need me.”

Devlin smiled slightly. “You don’t understand,” he said. “What I’m looking for, in this instance, is a bit of poetry.”

Nachtmann only stared. Poetry, he thought. What in God’s name was the man talking about? Devlin seemed to anticipate his confusion.

“Let me explain,” he said. “While, as you say, it would be possible for anyone to flip the switch that destroys the Faber-Brady Trust, my associates and I have become sentimentally attached to the notion of reserving that honor for a particular person.”

“Really?” said Nachtmann. “Who?”


Nachtmann’s eyes narrowed.

“Kane is dedicating a fountain tomorrow morning at FBT plaza,” said Devlin. “What we have in mind is wiring the device to the switch that turns it on. In your capacity as head of security, no one would think twice about your taking a moment to inspect the switch prior to the ceremony, would they?”

Nachtmann’s heart began to race. He took a deep breath to calm himself. “No, you’re right,” he said. “No one would give it a second thought.”

Devlin smiled. For one or two minutes more, he remained seated. His lips moved and sounds came out. Occasionally, he muttered in agreement or nodded as if following what Devlin was saying. But he wasn’t following along. Not at all.

In all his life, nothing so beautifully fortuitous had ever happened to him. The serendipity of the thing was breathtaking. Without so much as lifting a finger, Nachtmann had stumbled upon a means of accomplishing the most difficult of the two Herculean tasks he’d just set for himself. It was an astonishing turn of events.

When Devlin excused himself and stood to go, Nachtmann did not bother getting up to see him out. He was too busy ruminating.

I imagined it and it happened, Nachtmann thought. It’s a sign, an omen. I’m on the right track at last. This is what I was born to do.

1776 Wailuku Drive, Home of Puhi Okaoka Kapono, Hilo, HI -- 2:00 AM Hawaii Time

Jim Garrison lay helpless in a bed in on the top floor of Kailikane Kapono’s home. He was unbound yet, however much he tried, he was powerless over the effects of the drugs. He still couldn’t move.

At 2:00 AM, Kailikane came into the room. She placed an arm behind his head and held a glass to his lips. “Drink this,” she said. Garrison complied. It was impossible to do otherwise.

“Why are you doing this?” he asked afterward, his voice cracking.

“Still curious after all you’ve been through, Mr. Garrison? You must have a remarkable constitution.”

“What do you expect to gain, keeping me here?”

“Besides preventing you from going to the aid of your wife, I haven’t given the matter much thought. Still, I suppose there might be some propaganda benefit to be gained. I could have you renounce her.”

“I’d never do that.”

“Under the right circumstances, Mr. Garrison, you’d be surprised what people will do. No one who knew my grandfather, for example, would have ever thought he might someday commit suicide. Certainly he didn’t think so, right up until the moment he actually did it.”

A look of horror crossed Garrison’s face.

“You’re surprised, Mr. Garrison?” said Kapono. “What shocks you? That I would sacrifice a member of my own family for this cause?”

Garrison stared.

“I see it does,” she said. “Good. You can imagine, then, how comparatively easy it would be for me to sacrifice members of someone else’s family...yours, for instance.”

Kapono’s houseman came to the door. “Mr. Devlin is here, ma’am,” he announced.

“I’ll be right down.”

Garrison listened to Kapono’s receding footsteps.

The drink he had just taken was different, sugary and medicinal. He began feeling drowsy. In spite of himself, he drifted off to sleep.

Then, suddenly, he jerked awake, rolling his head from side to side and gasping. If I stay asleep, he thought, I will never see my family again.

He looked at the clock. It was 2:15. Unconscious for only a short time, he’d awakened feeling changed. Though sluggish and languid, he felt nonetheless, freer. Could it be that, while plunging him into sleep, the sedative was also suppressing the effects of Kapono’s other drugs?

Testing the theory was the work of a moment. He swung his legs over the bedside. While it was painful and slow in the doing, he could move again. He put his feet on the floor.

Unsteadily, Garrison made his way to the door and tried the knob. It turned. So confident had Kapono been in her concoctions, she had left it unlocked. He opened the door a crack, then closed it quickly. From outside, a man’s footsteps ascended the stairway and passed down the hall.

The houseman.

He held his breath and waited. A few seconds later, from the opposite direction, the same footsteps passed again, this time, by the sound, descending stairs. Garrison opened the door, looked around and, weaving slightly, stepped out.

An Oriental rug ran down the center of the hallway toward the staircase to his left. Muffled voices drifted up from the lower floor. Leaning on the wall for support, Garrison tip-toed toward the sound. At the head of the stairs, he stopped.

Below him was the central hall of the first floor. The entry to the parlor, where Kapono now entertained her guest, was just barely visible. Light from within spilled out onto a small square of carpet. The muffled voices grew more distinct.

Garrison took few cautious steps down the staircase. When he reached the third stair, the houseman, carrying an empty tray, suddenly appeared in the hallway. Garrison froze. The houseman passed just a few feet below, never looking up.

At the foot of the stairway was a coat closet. He broke for it, ducking inside just as the houseman emerged from the pantry, bearing two glasses and a decanter.

From the parlor came the gurgle of pouring wine and the clink of glassware.

“To Jericho,” said a male voice.

“May the walls come tumbling down,” Kapono replied.

Through some freak of acoustics, their voices rang clear.

Garrison heard the houseman speaking. “With your permission, Ms. Kapono,” he said, “I’d like to retire.”

“Of course, Steven.”

Footfalls passed nearby. For a few moments thereafter, all was quiet.

Kapono broke the silence. “It’s amazing, isn’t it?” she said.

“I know,” Devlin replied. “Things couldn’t have worked out better if we’d planned them this way.”

“You’re sure it was Deborah Garrison being locked in that basement room?” she asked.

“As sure as we’re standing here,” said Devlin. “And, less than eight hours from now, when the FBT building collapses, she’ll be underneath it.”

“Not only that, Nachtmann’s fingerprints will be all over the switch that made it happen.”

“Two out of three,” said Devlin.

“And one to go,” Kapono replied.

As their glasses clinked, Garrison choked with rage. He would have given almost anything for the satisfaction of bursting from the darkness and avenging their arrogance, then and there.

Almost anything.

He eased the closet door open and looked down the hallway, then slipped through the kitchen and out the back door.

Hawaii Belt Road, Hilo, HI – 2:10 AM Hawaii Time

Frederick pulled off the road near Makaala Street, glancing at a map briefly before driving on. Moses yawned beside him.

“Can’t we at least find some coffee?” he said.


“What’s the hurry? It’s the middle of the night, for Christ’s sake.”

The inspector checked the rear view mirror, then signaled a left turn at Molana Place. “I don’t get it, Mo,” he said. “A couple of hours ago, you were a bullet hole away from death. Now you need a nap.”

“I don’t get you, either,” Moses replied. “When’s the last time even closed your eyes?”

Frederick slowed beside an apartment complex, squinted at the sign out front, then threw the Jeep into reverse, backing down the street toward the driveway. “It’s a little thing called adrenalin, Mo. I’m on the scent. I don’t need sleep.”

Pukuli gazed skyward, addressing the gods. “Two billion men in the world,” he grumbled. “My sister falls in love with a hunting dog.”

Built courtyard-style with entries facing a central parking lot, the complex rose four stories, sixteen units per floor. Lights shone from a few scattered windows. Most were dark. Even through the gloom, the property showed its age.

Moses looked around as they rolled through the lot. “What a dump,” he said. “Are you sure this is the place?”

“513 Molana Place,” said Frederick. “Trade Wind Towers Apartments.” He nodded his head to the right and pointed. “And it looks like the tenant in 115 is up late.”

“It may not be him, you know,” Moses said. “He could have moved. The last time old man Kapono contacted this guy was over two years ago.”

Frederick swung into a space between an old van and a Chevy station wagon. Sixty feet to the rear, the lights inside 115 shone through the curtains. “I don’t think so,” he said, cutting the engine. “From what I read in his file, Nachtmann’s a man on a mission. Guys like that don’t move around much. It’s a waste of their time.”

Pukuli peered over his shoulder. “Don’t be so sure,” he said. “If that’s him, he’s moving pretty good now.”

The entry to 115 now stood open. Directly opposite the doorway, in the nearest parking space, a tall, red-haired man inserted a key into the passenger-side door of a Pontiac Firebird. Over one shoulder hung a rifle sling. He laid it on the seat, closed the door and went back in the apartment. The lights went out. Moments later, the man came out again, closed and locked the unit door and got into his car.

The Firebird backed up, cut its wheels sharply and headed down the row of parked cars toward Moses’ Jeep. Frederick put his hand on his brother-in-law’s shoulder.

“Get down,” he whispered. Hunched over, he angled for a look at the plates. “JGX 740,” he said. “John, George, X-ray, 7, 4, 0. You got a phone, Moses?”

“No, damn it.”

Frederick puffed out his cheeks and looked down the line of cars toward the exit. The Firebird was just pulling out.

“Nothing else for it, then,” he said. “We’re gonna have to follow him.”

“Hope it’s the right guy,” said Moses.

Frederick pulled away, keeping his headlamps dark.

Kamehameha Blvd at Kalanikoa, Hilo, HI – 3:15 AM Hawaii Time

He still wasn’t wearing socks, his trousers were torn and he hadn’t shaved for a week. Fortunately for Garrison, homelessness was not entirely unknown on the Big Island. So long as he kept moving, he remained invisible.

For the past hour he’d trudged steadily eastward, down the palm-lined streets leading away from the Boiling Pots Area toward Hilo Bay. With every step, his head grew clearer. With every breath, his anger intensified.

He had done nothing to Kailikane Kapono, to Agent Schmidt or the Faber-Brady Trust. He had hurt no one. Neither had Deborah. Certainly Noah was innocent. And yet all three of them were being persecuted. He no longer cared why. He was determined to make it stop.

Now, at the intersection of Kamehameha Blvd. and Kalanikoa, he could finally see his destination. A little over a mile in the distance, lit from above and below, stood the granite and glass premises of the Faber-Brady Trust.

Stop ‘n Go Gas, Kinoole Street near Haili, Hilo, HI – 3:45 AM Hawaii Time

The Firebird meandered back and forth across Hilo. Its first port of call was a fast food drive-thru. Then it cruised down Saddle Road to Mohouli Street, crossing on Kilauea, finally winding up on Saddle Road again. Presently, its driver was filling the tank at a self-serve gas station.

Moses leaned his arm out the open window and stared across the street, drumming his fingers on the door frame. “Do you think he made us?”

The inspector paused before answering. “Who knows?”

Moses nodded. “Yeah, right. This time of night, two cars on the streets of Hilo is practically a parade.”

Frederick’s head swung to the right. “Hey, Mo,” he said, pointing toward a small motor lodge. “There’s a phone on that motel wall. Go call Pahoa PD. Get them to run a make on those plates.”

Pukuli opened his door while peering across the street.

Meanwhile, the driver finished filling up and went inside the attendant’s kiosk. Frederick watched.

By the time Moses hung up, the red-haired man had finished paying and returned to his car. The Jeep swayed as Moses climbed inside and slammed his door.

At the station, the Firebird rumbled to life. It rolled forward, looking, at first, as if it were returning to the street. Then it stopped, turned and headed for the tunnel of the station’s automated car wash.

“What’d you find out?” Frederick asked.

“It’s not least it’s not his car.”

“Whose, then?”

“Belongs to someone named Dudgeons...Anthony Dudgeons.”

Frederick whistled. “Holy shit.”

The nose of the Firebird was just entering the car wash tunnel. Looking over, Frederick could just see another vehicle, still dripping, leaving the tunnel by means of a narrow side street behind the station. In anticipation of the Pontiac’s departure, he threw the Jeep in gear and pulled into the mouth of the alley. Within a minute, the Firebird rolled back into sight.

Thirty seconds later, it hadn’t moved.

“Taking his time, isn’t he?” Moses said.

Frederick pulled up next to the Firebird and squinted inside. No one was behind the wheel. It was empty.

Ray   Staar

Ray Staar

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