Mother's Blue Dress
Stunned past reasoning by the events at Morgans, Danny went to the place he'd always known as home - Andy's Bar. Danny had known Andy long before he was of drinking age. As a boy, Danny had swept out the bar for Andy and Andy had been his baseball coach in little league. There had been a fairly large number of fatherless children following the Second World War, but Andy had taken special interest in him. Andy's never changed and that was a comfort. The corner bar still looked as it always had with its stucco front, and brown-red front door that stood open even at 10:00AM. Andy did not serve alcohol until noon, but many of the old men of the neighborhood would come by, talk politics and watch TV with Andy in the mornings. There was an old piano in the corner and every so often some aspiring young musician would come by and play a tune.
The screen door banged behind him as Danny entered, all the smells and sights flooding his memories with the security of childhood. "Andy?"
The large Hawaiian man burst from the back.. "Aih! Kauhale!" He gripped Danny's shoulders in his large hands and gave him a mild shake. "At last." His eyes narrowed. "You got pilikia, Keiki Li'ili'i?"
He flushed. "No trouble, Andy."
Andy shook his head and released him. "No trouble, huh? I know you boys - always some kind of trouble. Pilikia just follow you, Danno. You look like those haole - hakea, huh?"
"I guess I need a little sun," Danny muttered.
Andy grunted. "You pass, Danno." He gave a grin. "You still know a little of your Hawaiian, huh?"
"I guess I do," he said a little sheepishly.
Andy drew a mug of beer and set it on the counter before Danny. "Tell me all that has happened while you were gone."
He told some about college, knowing Andy's real interest would be in his female conquests. He mentioned the San Francisco Police Department. Andy grunted at that.
"They give you big work there?"
"Then why you come back here?" Andy demanded.
"I missed home," he admitted.
Andy shook his head. "No, I think something more. A man come looking for you here," he added.
"What man?" Did Lew come here looking for me.
"Him," Andy remarked as the screen door squeaked.
Danny spun towards the door as Steve McGarrett entered. Danny remembered McGarrett instantly. "McGarrett," he acknowledged uncomfortably, glancing back at Andy.
"It's not his fault," Steve said quickly. "I've had Andy's watched."
"You - why?" Danny asked, curiosity edging out over indignation.
Andy turned back to draw another beer.
"He doesn't drink," Danny called out towards Andy's back.
Nice touch, Steve mused.
Danny eyed McGarrett steadily, "But he does drink coffee - black, no sugar. Care for a cup, McGarrett?"
"No thanks," Steve replied and motioned towards a table on the other side of the room.
They slid into the seats and Danny remarked. "I don't think I've been in the Islands long enough to get into trouble with Five-0, have I?"
Steve issued a courteous smile. "No trouble. I wanted to talk with you. I heard you had returned to Hawaii."
"You heard? Have you had the airport watched as well?" he asked.
Steve managed a slight no shake of his head. "You did apply for a position at HPD."
He stopped. "And they never contacted me - and you had something to do with that?"
"Let's stop sparring, okay, Williams?"
Steve leveled a steady steel-blue gaze on the younger man. "I have an opening in Five-0. I would like you to consider it. We are a barebones department. Everyone works together, no frills, so prima donas. But you know we are the best."
Danny blinked once. "Just like that?"
"Yes," McGarrett replied simply. "I know of your history - at least the last four years worth. You've been a good cop for Mike Stone. You can be a good cop here."
"You've talked to-" He stopped, not really surprised. He gave a little nod. "The last we had dealings you were accusing me of murder."
"No, the last time we had dealings I was trying to decide if you were a spook," Steve corrected.
"Ah," Danny paused. "And what did you decide?"
Steve just grinned. "I think you will work out fine in Five-0. You want the job?"
"You will need to qualify at the range."
Danny glanced down at his beer. "I haven't said 'yes' yet."
"We start work at 7:00AM - sharp. You will need to qualify today." He handed Danny a triplicate form. "They are expecting you." He reached under his suit jacket, pulled out a snub-nose .38 and slid it across the small table towards Danny. "A gift to you."
"I don't need-"
"You left your weapon in San Francisco. Stone told me." Steve leveled a steady, non-flinching gaze on his would-be officer.
Williams purse his lips." Sounds like you guys are regular pals."
The gaze flared hot for a moment. McGarrett hated insolence. "You will need to stay armed here."
Danny gave an uncomfortable glare. "Stone told you that, too?"
Steve reminded himself again that he was trying to bring this young officer onto his team, not arm wrestle with him - at least not yet. He chose his words with care. "Mike told me that you prefer to talk your way through situations."
"Never shot anybody, never killed anybody. I'd like to keep it that way. And I can take care of myself."
McGarrett raised an eyebrow. "I don't question that. But let's just say a gun does a better job than a baseball bat of making the other guy more willing to talk things through."
Danny slowly picked up the pistol and dropped it into his jacket pocket.
Steve extended a handshake. "Welcome to Five-0."
The dingy little room that contained only a mat on the floor and a sink that was coated with black grime had not frightened mara. She was glad that Hajjid had gone away.
As soon as the door closed, Thanuja spun towards her, guarded excitement on her face. "Do you think Mr. Molland will hire us both?"
Mara's brow wrinkled with suspicion. "He did not say what kind of work he had for us. How does he know we can do it?"
"Maybe he will train us, or maybe he can tell how smart we are," Thanuja suggested, trying to bolster her courage.
An hour passed, then two. The girls huddled together on the small dirty mat. "Are you afraid?" Mara whispered to her friend.
Thanuja tried to look the brave one. Maybe, if I look not afraid it will be all right. "It will be fine, Mara. Mr. Molland is a very busy American. Did you see his clothes? He must have a lot of money - so he is very busy. Americans are always very busy." She tried to sound like the authority, but her eyes betrayed her own fear.
Mara said nothing else for a time, but she knew Thanuja was afraid as well in spite of the brave words. The sun outside was going down and there was no light in the dark room. "Maybe they forgot us?" she whispered.
At just that moment, the door opened and a fat man dressed in a print shirt, white slacks and sandals shuffled into the room with Hijjid who held a kerosene lantern high to provide better lighting.
The man rubbed his chin and gazed at the two girls. "These all you have?" he asked in Sinhala.
Haijid nodded with a shrug.
The man frowned. "Scrawny things. You -" he pointed to Mara, "-stand up."
Nervously, she rose to her feet, wiping the dust from her dress.
He walked over and looked at her closely. He lifted a tress of her hair to his nose and sniffed. He grunted. He suddenly grabbed her left breast and pinched her nipple.
Mara jumped back in shocked anger.
"No tits," the man grumbled.
Haijid mumbled something about Mara being new.
The man nodded and grinned, his large teeth showing. "Good point. We can share the adventure." He pressed a roll of cash into Haijid's hand. "Come along, girl."
Mara, fear obvious, exchanged looks with Thanuja.
Haijid grabbed Mara by her hair and the girl started screaming. He struck her across the face with his free hand. "Shut up!"
Stunned by the blow and pressing her hand to the blood that was springing from her split lip, Mara stumbled into the hallway and stopped short before the big man.
He gave her a kind smile. "There, child. You will have to come much quicker than that. You are mine now. I have paid for you."
Mara gave a confused look. "If you work well, someday you will earn your freedom. I have just given 50,000 rupees for you. You must pay me that much to go free. Do you have that?"
She just stared at him. She could even imagine that much money.
"I thought not." He patted her gently on the shoulder. "I will help you earn it."
Danny did not return to the Morgans' until close to 2:00PM being confident that Lew would be up by then. As Danny pulled his borrowed Toyota onto the drive, Lew appeared at the front door beaming broadly.
"Danny! God, you are a sight for sore eyes!" Lew embraced him in a fierce bear hug as he exited the car. "You need a couple of days at the beach! Mainlander white!"
"So Andy told me," he laughed. "Called me hakae."
Lew laughed. "Come grab a beer."
As they entered the kitchen, Danny glanced around but did not see Marjorie. He did not ask about her. "How's it going, Lew?"
"Good. I have the really good promotion in the works." He slid Danny's bottle of beer down the table and used the bottle opener to pop to metal cover off his own. He took a quick sip. "You remember that group the governor formed - Five-0?"
He gave a sudden stiff nod. Uh-oh.
"Well, word is that McGarrett is recruiting. He sent a message to Elliot and he was supposed to send recommendations." Lew gave a grin. "But I checked - there's nothing says I can't self nominate. So I did."
"Yeah, I sent my resume and history to him."
Danny swallowed once. "Hear from him?"
"He interviewed Ben Kokua yesterday. I got a call this morning to meet with one of McGarrett's men tomorrow."
Danny gave a nod he hoped was convincing. "Hey, I wish you the best." What a damned thing. Should I tell him? Maybe it's not the same job. Maybe there are more positions open. I feel like I've just betrayed my best friend.
"So, did you apply at HPD?" Lew asked suddenly.
"What?" Danno attempted to snap his attention to Lew and away from the sudden soul searching.
"Marj said that you were going apartment and job hunting. Any luck?" Lew grabbed a bag of pretzels and opened the top. He pulled out a handful and shoved the bag across the table towards Danny.
"I, um, have a lead in the department," he commented, trying to walk the narrow line between truth and injury. "I have to qualify today," he tagged on.
"Hey! Great I haven't been up to the range in a week or two. You need a weapon."
Danny shook his head. "I picked this up this morning." He showed the snubnose.
Lew scooped it up and examined it. "Nice piece. Not too heavy." He hefted it lightly in his hand. "Let's see how it shoots." He jumped to his feet.
Danny followed, a slight reluctance present in his gate that was completely missed by Lew.
Lew rambled and chatted as they drove out towards the shooting range about everything from Marjorie and her insatiable desire for motherhood to his determination to make detective before the end of the year. Danny barely listened to him. As the tropical vegetation flashed past the window, the weapon feeling heavy in his pocket, the memory that had already begun to form since speaking with McGarrett began to take shape. His mind was taking him back to where he did not really want to go…
… Lew laughed as he
slammed the door to the car. "Hey, Danno, you're a million miles away.
Let's go see if you can shoot that little pea-shooter."
End Part 3