The old ranch pickup left by the northern pasture and started for town by a different route.
Danny parked a block away from the small residential home that he and Carrie had recently bought. She'd move in from her apartment with plans that as soon as there was a buyer for the cottage and the wedding date set, he and the kids would move in. Danny had not been pleased about bringing Lonnie, but agreed that he was safer than with Steve or left behind in the barn with a .32 pistol. Danny donned a baseball cap and sunglasses as they exited the truck. They walked casually up the block, cut through the yard of the neighbor behind Carrie's, over the white picket fence and across the small flower-edged back yard to the back door. Danny knocked and waited. There was no response.
"Where is she?" Lonnie mutter with irritation.
Danny glanced at his watch, knowing it wasn't working hours for his fiancé. "She must be out shopping or something."
"Who would she be going out with anyway?" Lonnie demanded.
Danny gave him a wry look. "We're not married yet. Even if we were, she is still entitled to her own life you know." He got out his penknife and slipped the blade under the latch of the window screen.
"How come you don't have a key to this place?" Lonnie whispered angrily. "Sam's mom gave her boyfriend a key to her place. She let him move in. They're not even getting' married."
The blade slid the latch to the side and the screen popped loose. Danny carefully took the screen out and slid open the window.
"Cool trick," Lonnie remarked.
"I learned something in junior high, too," Danny responded.
"You learning breaking and entering in school?" Lonnie smirked.
Danny grinned, but did not give a reply. He quickly pulled himself up onto the windowsill and deftly stepped down inside into Carrie's kitchen. "Come on." He turned back and pulled Lonnie up through the open window, then slid the storm window shut.
Lonnie stood uncomfortably in the kitchen he had visited many times. He liked the small house much better than Carrie's old apartment. That had been too clean, too neat. He knew that this would someday be home and that was still hard to imagine. He picked up a flower catalog from the counter the flipped through the pages of wedding arrangements. He paused to look at the picture of the very young smiling blonde in a photo that focused on her bridal bouquet. Girls sure make a big deal about weddings and flower and stuff. He glanced at Danny who was carefully making his way towards the front of the house. Dad thinks Carrie is a big deal - but I don't think he likes weddings either. Maybe we'd talk about it if he did. Audrey talks about it. Carrie talks about it. We don't. It must be a girl thing.
Danny walked through the semi-lit house out to the dining room where the mail Carrie had collected for him was stacked on the table in a pile carefully organized by size. It took only a moment to spot the manila envelope. The address had been scribbled across the front in haste and Danny could visualize Richard trying to write as he attempted to evade his eventual killers. Danny picked it up realizing this was what Quinn had died for.
"Dad!" Lonnie whispered anxiously, "There's cops pulling up out front!"
A squad car had pulled to a halt outside. A door slammed as the officer exited.
Danny raced back to the kitchen dragging Lonnie with him and pulled the back door open. He cast a quick glance around, but the officers had not made it to the back yet. The father and son bolted down the back steps, over the fence and out into the back neighbor's yard. Once they had cleared three houses, Danny grabbed hold of Lonnie slowing them down. It took all of Danny's discipline to keep the pace at a casual walk.
"What happened?" Lonnie panted.
"Some nosey neighbor spotted us going in the window and reported it," Danny guessed.
"You're limping," Lonnie observed.
"Yeah," he grunted. The subject of the pin in his lower left leg was a delicate one. The temporary pin that had been placed to help the bones heal following the tragedy at Kipihulu Valley should have been removed a month ago. Danny kept putting the second surgery off.
"You told Carrie you'd get that pin out before your wedding," Lonnie declared sounding like a scolding parent.
"Yeah." They had reached the truck and Danny unlocked the doors. "Get in. Let's get out of here."
"So maybe you don't want to get married."
"Well, you didn't get the pin out," Lonnie concluded.
Danny made a face. "Will you stop with the amateur shrink hour?" He started the engine and pulled away from the curb just as the unwitting squad car cruised slowly around the corner, its occupants looking, thankfully, the wrong way.
Reggie Zito stalked Carrie's small house, rage just barely in concealed. He was furious with himself; he should have anticipated or remember her possible connection in this thing.
"Nothing is missing," Carrie was telling the uniformed officer.
"Are you sure?" the cop asked patiently. He wasn't quite sure why Five-0 had taken an interest in a routine burglary where apparently the crook had been scared away. Zito made him nervous. "Have you checked all your valuables?"
She gave a sweet smile to him. "I told you - everything is here. If someone was going to rob me, wouldn't he have started with the VCR and TV?" She pointed to those items. "And there was cash on my dresser - still there."
Because they weren't after your valuables, Reggie thought hotly. What were they after? Is she hiding something for Williams? Is he back? What was here? His gaze settled on the table of mail addressed to Danny. "Have you spoken with your fiancé?" Reggie suddenly asked, breaking in to the conversation.
A puzzled look crossed her face. "Who? Danny? No, why?"
"No phone calls?"
"No," Carrie felt her pulse begin to quicken. She could tell that Zito was fishing for something. "Hey, I am the victim here, Zito, not the criminal. It was my house broken in to, remember?" she fired back at him.
He glared at the table again and commented to the men dusting the back screen door for prints: "Do that table, too." He prowled from the kitchen back into the dining room again as if to gain something. Williams has been here, I'm sure of it. Whatever Quinn had must have been here. And now Williams has it. And has vanished. That means that Williams doesn't trust us…
Carrie watched Zito intently. He's upset about something. What is it? That big envelope I had to pay postage on is gone. Why? Who has it? The cops were here before I was. Do they have it? Somehow Carrie knew they did not. She also knew that it must be what Zito was after. Why? Has Danny been here? But he's on the mainland - or is supposed to be. If he is here, why didn't he tell me? The answer seemed obvious. Something bad is happening here and he is right in the middle of it. He's a teacher, not a crime fighter - or is he?
Zito handed the post office delivery route to Jackson DeWitt. The chief of Five-0 calmly accepted the rolled document, then spread it out across the desk, but his jaw muscles were flexing in rage.
"They lost Richard here - but just for a minute," Zito pointed to the freeway.
"You don't think he threw the evidence out the window, do you?" Jackson snapped.
Zito sighed. "Here, too, only a minute or two." He pointed to a side street.
Jackson's index finger jabbed at the public mailbox indicated on the postal map. "Your team screwed up, Reggie. That stupid Quinn was smarter than you."
Zito seethed silently.
"So, the future Mrs. Williams had the evidence," Jackson walked away from the desk and gazed out on the lawn of the state house. "Does she know what she had?"
"I don't think so."
"You don't think so? She is a reporter, Reggie - a reporter for the hottest news team in Honolulu and you don't think so?" Jackson shook his head. "Keep someone on her. Get her phone tapped. And Williams is back here - he has to be somewhere."
"Only if he's a fool. He's probably dug a deep hole and pulled it in after him. He was able to get into Honolulu undetected; he'll be smart enough to stay here undetected. He's got contacts all over the place."
DeWitt stopped to consider that. "Where is that buffoon?"
"He's organizing the memorial for Quinn like you asked."
"I want his place watched."
Zito nodded, but knew that his manpower was limited. He began to wonder how he could justify watching McGarrett's, Donogan's, and Kono's residences.
The phone rang on Jackson's desk. "Five-0, DeWitt…got it." He hung up. "That's your boy Sergie. McGarrett has left the airport and is on his way back to the ranch - alone. He threw us a red herring and we snapped it up. Williams has got to be here." Anger flashed in DeWitt's eyes. "Forget about that reporter, I want McGarrett."
Ordinarily the crime lab was a boring place for anyone but Ken Edwards. He was the specialist who picked apart everything from clothing lint to automobile air filters for little scrapes of information. It was a tedious job, but he enjoyed it. He liked details. Today had been unusual.
He could tell from the look on Gary Newman's face when he brought in the box that this was something big. Newman had said little, just to compare whatever he found in the garbage disposal to the remains of the body from the Williams' house fire. That seemed pretty grizzly. But the hand made finger print lifts with scotch tape Newman also gave him had really started Edwards' wheels turning. No one but amateurs ever turned in fingerprints on scotch tape, certainly not Five-0 officers. But Newman's parting words to keep the results quiet until he or Kono returned was the most curious of all. It was no secret there was division in the office and Newman and Kono were on the outs. Edwards was sorry about that: he liked Newman. Then again, he'd liked Quinn, too.
Edwards had spent about fifteen minutes picking out bits of rotted vegetables, bone fragments, a meat from the disposal when the door to the lab opened and Zito burst in, a fistful of professional fingerprint cards in his hand. Ken gently kicked the cardboard box under the desk.
"I need this now," Zito snapped holding out the cards. "I've got twenty-six prints. How long?"
Edwards quickly examined the quality of the work. "About half an hour, if the person's got a file on Hawaii."
"I'll wait." Zito had noticed Edwards toe the box and wondered what it contained, but did not ask.
The new state-of-the-art cards were computer coded, Edwards could drop them into the proper scanner, enter a few codes and anyone on the islands with a record or driver's license would come up. "What are you looking for?" Edwards asked to fill the time.
Zito picked his teeth with a fingernail. "Just a robbery of a lady's place."
Edwards shrugged. He didn't usually received fingerprints on robbery. Homicide was much more his line. The screen blipped it was ready and he fed the entry to scan the license file. He hit the print screen. "Here you go. Carrie Donagon."
"Her place," Zito snapped. "Check the rest."
"Hang on, it's still working. Some of those were partials you know." Edwards defended the computer. Another print ran. "Dan Williams."
Zito grabbed it off the printer.
"You're no social butterfly, Zito," Edwards remarked, "He wouldn't rob her - he's engaged to her. Computer's still working, so we have something else." A window finally came up claiming to have no file on the final prints. "These." Edwards brought the two up on the screen.
"Those came off the window sill," Zito remarked.
"They are probably your guy. I'll run them through criminal files."
Before Zito could object, Edwards launched the request. Reggie decided to play along, but knew he had what he wanted. Williams is back. No matter what DeWitt thinks, my guess is Williams will try to outfox us by being in the obvious place - McGarrett's ranch.
Edwards face lit up. "Told you so! We have a match."
"Huh?" Reggie's attention was pulled back from thought.
"Oh." Edwards's elation waned. "Never mind. It's just the juvenile record on Danny's son."
"What?" Zito looked over Edwards' shoulder. With a curse, he ripped off the print identifying Lonnie's prints. What if McGarrett knew about the envelope and sent the kid?
The sun had set shortly after Lonnie and Danny had snuck back into the ranch. They dared not turn on any lights just in case a surveillance team was still outside. Danny began to examine Richard's documents by flashlight. The phone rang and Lonnie jumped. On the fourth ring, the answering machine intercepted it.
"Steve?" It was Carrie's voice, edged with fear. "Steve, this is Carrie. Something really strange is going on here. Reggie Zito was here claiming that Danny is back in town. He acted like he was hunting him like a criminal."
Good observation, Danny thought.
"Please call me. I need to know what's going on." She hung up.
"You should have talked to her," Lonnie judged.
Danny glanced up at him. "Why?"
"She's scared. She doesn't know what's happening," Lonnie replied.
"Better scared alive than knowing and dead, which is what she'd be if Zito thought she knew anything. Besides there could be a tap on the phone."
Lonnie drew his legs up from where he sat on the floor. "Dad, is somebody trying to kill you?"
Danny wrestled with the truth. "Maybe, Lonnie. We need to be very careful."
There was the slam of a car door outside. Lonnie was startled by how quickly Danny was beside the door, gun in hand, peering around the edge of the curtain. The tension seemed to bleed away from Danny's posture and Lonnie knew it was okay.
A key jangled in the door and Steve opened it and entered. He motioned Danny and Lonnie down, then turned on light. Nonchalantly, Steve moved to the front window and slid the drapes closed. After double-checking all the other windows, he motioned the Williams' who rose from the floor.
"What did you find?" Steve asked motioning towards the pages.
Danny stacked up the papers. "Zito had his hand in a little of everything on the mainland. Accusations of evidence tampering on a drug case, but not enough to prove it. He took payoffs from three different prostitution rings for protection. Before Seattle, he was into the gambling bit in Las Vegas. Supposed to be inspecting the tables, keeping them straight. Sounds like the fox was guarding the hen house. Ms. Taylor unearthed a bank account he deposited $10,000 a month into weekly during that time."
Steve gave a low whistle. "Didn't know Las Vegas cops got paid so well. We're in the wrong town."
"He also took time to get married and divorced three times in the last six years. No kids. Was convicted of police brutality charges early on when he was at his first job in El Paso. They just slapped his wrist over it."
"What did he do?"
"How about running a guy's hand through a garbage disposal?"
Danny looked up. "What?"
"I have a feeling that's what he did last night. Gary said the burned body at the cottage was tortured first."
Lonnie made a face. "That's sick."
They both stopped and looked at him. Steve regretted that he'd forgotten Lonnie was there. Without another word, McGarrett turned and walked back to the kitchen where he began to pull out food for dinner.
Danny followed him, after assuring himself that the kitchen window blind was down. "We can't stay here, Steve."
Steve glanced at him. "We need to get Lonnie out of here."
"Where? I can't think of any place that they won't look for him," Danny replied in frustration. He shook his head. "Remember all those times we were glad Honolulu was an island? Only so many places for the bad guys to hide? Now we're the bad guys."
McGarrett shot a hot look at him. "We are not the bad guys."
Danny pursed his lips. "We'd might as well be."
Steve began to cut up a pineapple with great vengeance. "How did you get into this mess?"
"Quinn did not know where to go. He came to me."
"You couldn't bare to turn him away?" Steve snapped.
Danny stopped, open-mouthed. "You think I should have?"
"You have two children, Danno. Did you think of them?"
"Now you sound like Carrie," Danny remarked coldly.
Steve stopped the conversation, attempting to control the anger, the fear, and the frustration. He took a deep breath. "I'm sorry, Danno," he said more calmly. He carried the cut fruit out to the living room where Lonnie was sitting on the floor looking through the papers. Steve took the evidence away from him and handed him the fruit. He carried the papers back to the kitchen and Danno. "What else is in here? Anything recent?"
Danny accepted the stack of paperwork and sifted through several pages. "The work here is a little more sketchy. Some photos of Zito with Kumu leaders, but that doesn't say much."
Steve glanced at the pictures. One was of Zito with a blonde woman who was scantily dressed, pressed up next to him kissing his cheek. Zito was not objecting. "This is one of Cha La's girls. Getting kissed by a whore isn't exactly major league stuff."
Danny passed over a copy of a title deed. "How did he wing this?" It showed that Zito had paid $500,000 cash deposit on a beachfront property.
Steve knew he needed to talk to DeWitt as soon as possible. DeWitt had hand picked Zito himself, the new chief would really have to eat crow over this. Then it struck him: "Danno, is DeWitt clean?"
He looked at the floor. "There's about fifty pages here, I've only gotten through about thirty. I don't know - but I wouldn't risk my life on it."
Steve squinted. "Could he have missed Zito's history?" He found it painful to consider that Five-0 might be corrupt to the very top.
As if sensing Steve's reluctance to expand the case, Danny commented: "Maybe he's just been too busy to follow up with Zito."
Steve set his jaw and decided to face the possibility. "What did Richard think?"
Danny cracked a grin. "Richard didn't trust anybody. He didn't trust you."
"But he was on his way here when he was killed," Steve observed. "He was not on his way to DeWitt."
Danny nodded as he scanned the next page. "Okay, here's a tie with Reggie to the Kumu and a mainland organization called Fidel."
"Fidel? Are you sure?" Steve demanded sharply.
"Yes - out of New Orleans."
"DeWitt was chief of police in New Orleans for ten years before coming here," Steve commented.
End Part 4<