|HAWAII FIVE-0 FICTION LIST|
IT'S HOW YOU PLAY THE GAME
By Peg Keeley
Kimo drifted in and out of wakefulness. He could barely tell when he was awake and when he was delirious. All sounds were deadened but he could faintly hear the pounding of rain and several hours into the hurricane, water began to drip into the box. He tried to turn to catch the dirty moisture in his mouth. At some point towards the wee hours of the morning, he finally got his left hand loose and began pounding on the cover of the box, but the dirt was now solid mud and there was no one to hear. Nevertheless, he beat on it till his hands were bloody and in exhaustion, he fell asleep in his tomb.
McGarrett paced his office like a caged animal.
Duke arrived close to midnight. "Partial print off the bus turned up as Walter King. He's our man."
"Have you raised the level of the APB?" Steve asked.
He nodded. "For all the good it will do." He glanced at the storm raging outside the shuddered window.
There were footsteps out in the hallway and Steve looked up to see Lawson, dripping wet, approaching. The FBI agent peeled off his soaked jacket. It was a useless act for he was just as wet beneath. McGarrett reached into his desk and pulled out a hand towel.
Lawson accepted it with mild surprise. McGarrett is ready for everything. He toweled off his hair as he spoke. "Knew you'd want to see this. Phone records from Chicago. The officer there telexed them here just before the power went off at HPD."
As if on cue, the lights flickered, then remained on.
Lawson wondered if Steve kept a camping lantern in that desk, too. "Notice the calls to area code 808---gotta be twenty of them in the last three weeks. Ten to the same number."
Steve had already made the observation. He picked up the phone and dialed up the phone company--the line was busy.
"Already tracked it," Lawson offered with his college-boy smile. "Know a guy named Tony Alika?"
Steve thought he'd fall through the floor. It was not often he was taken by surprise. "Alika?" he whispered. This doesn't fit at all. What's this all about if Tony is in on this? And that little act--was it real or another part of the game. He snatched up the envelope. No postage or post mark, but then none of the pictures have arrived through the postal service except Frank's.
The phone rang, but Steve did not move to answer it.
"Lukela," Duke said, picking it up. He gestured to Steve. "Pearl City Naval Station."
He grabbed it, hope flickering on his features. "McGarrett here." There was a long silence as that hope melted away. "Yes, Commander, I know....Thank you." He hung up.
Duke looked for some sign of good news iin his boss' face and saw none. "Steve?" He finally said.
He looked up, sorrow plain. "Lani Ka'chelauli'i was found dead. Shot once in the chest."
"No sign." He sat at the desk, head in his hands. Danny would have died before he let something happen to the woman he planned to marry. If Caputos have orchestrated this based on the Chaney incident, why haven't they mentioned Danny? Could he possibly have escaped? Escaped to where? Niihau isn't that big. Maybe they have taken him off the island. He could feel exhaustion taking its toll. He hadn't slept in three nights. Ben must be dead if they tossed him overboard at sea. Did they know he was a state finalist in swimming competitions? Most likely. How long till Kimo suffocates, if he hasn't already. "I want Alika and the Caputos. If he is in this--"
"We're watching Caputos. Their phones are tapped. If they're making a move they're doing it through someone else," Lawson assured him.
McGarrett rubbed his eyes. "Oh, they're making moves all right and it is through someone else."
"This Alika guy?" Lawson asked.
McGarrett mentally weighed the evidence, and his intuition. "Tony would have nothing to gain. He's already kingpin of the mob here, why share it?"
"But the calls were made to his office."
"Duke, who answers the calls in Alika's office?" McGarrett asked, an idea springing to mind.
"There's a new chick there every week it seems. He's got a lieutenant named---Wahiha who takes the calls a lot, too."
McGarrett picked up the phone and dialed the number off the paper. It rang twice, then an answering machine clicked on.
"You have reached the desk of Marcus Wahiha of Island Imports. I'm not in right now. Leave a message and I'll get back to you. Aloha."
McGarrett hung up. "Alika pays the bill, but it's Wahiha's phone. First sign of let up, we go get him."
Lawson turned and headed for the door.
"Where are you going?" Duke asked in surprise.
"My partner's downstairs waiting. We'll go get this Wahiha. Call you when we book him." .
"But the weather--" Duke started to protest.
Lawson looked over his shoulder with a grin. "Yeah, great isn't it? He won't run far."
Steve waited. The clock ticked off an hour, two hours. Part of him wanted to be in that car with the agents splashing through the rain after Wahiha, but he knew better. There were too many things he had to follow. He spoke very quietly and gently. "Duke, get hold of the men watching the Caputos. They get wind of Wahiha's arrest and they're gonna bolt. Tell them to keep them here no matter what. Tell them I don't care if they have to shoot them." In sudden explosive rage he slammed his fist against the desk top. "I'll nail those Caputos if it's that last thing I do!"
Duke never blinked, just continued his study of the view from the rain spattered window. "Storm's letting up," he said quietly. "Let's get back out there."
The phone rang. "McGarrett." His look set ever deeper. "On my way." He dropped the phone. "Come on, Duke. They've found Nick."
The rain was still a steady downpour but Steve didn't feel it as he knelt on the pavement by the dead body of his officer.
Che, half-buried in his raincoat, gestured to the needle-marks on Nick's arm. "They shot him up with cocaine. Overdosed him, then turned him loose. He made it this far."
"Almost," Steve whispered. Queens Medical Center was half a block away. "Duke, I want you take a detail and go over every inch of the coastline, scour it till you find Ben. Consider the currents from Maui and the effect the storm may have had on them. Caputo will want us to find the body. I'm sure he had him dumped where the current will bring him ashore. I'm going to find Kimo."
Within the hour, every available officer in Oahu was tramping through sand and mud. The rain had eased up some and the wind decreased. McGarrett, soaked to the skin, stubbornly sought for an improvised burial site while his mind concentrated on cornering the Caputo Brothers and their sleazy group. Up till now, he'd been trying to find his people. It was time to turn the tables. They needed King and Wahiha. He was aware that while he ran all over Hawaii, Eugene and Anthony Caputo were trenching themselves in, just as Tony said. Every underworld figure and two-bid hood was watching the outcome of this little game. He whacked his way through undergrowth, jamming a rod into the ground every couple of feet. That Lawson is an interesting sort. Totally dedicated. He'd make a good Five-O man. He's married, he reminded himself recalling the ring. How does he do it? I thought of marriage once. Maybe more than once. The next jab with the stick was harder. I decided I could never keep a family protected. There was always someone out there gunning for me. I couldn't risk the commitment. And what of this commitment? Isn't this the same thing? He remembered the guilt, the sense of shame when Danny had taken his bullet in the Royal Surf parking lot. I just wanted to keep him out of harms way. I never wanted to risk that guilt again, but I was wrong. I didn't want the guilt, or was it the responsibility? He gave the brush a hard whack with the rod. And here I am in the same place. These people are my family and they are being killed before my eyes because they are on my team. It is not my responsibility to protect them, but to ensure justice
...He stepped out and sank into deep mud, falling to his knees. As he rose, he recognized the large faint rectangular shaped depression in the soil. He rammed his rod into the rich dirt and it sank in almost three feet. He grabbed the radio on his belt, giving co-ordinates and yelling for shovels. He began to plow away earth with his bare hands. Within moments, the proper tools were there and heavy, black mud flew. In minutes, the shovels were scraping against the top of the wooden box. An officer jabbed his shovel under the edge of the lid and pried off the cover. Rain and mud spattered down on Kimo's silent face. His hands on his chest were raw from restraint, and bleeding from pounding on the box. He was unconscious. Trembling with emotion, Steve reached down, touched the left carotid and felt a strong pulse.
"Thank God," he murmured. "He's alive. Get him outta there!" Two officers stepped down and lifted Kimo out onto the wet ground.
Kimo's eyes opened slowly. Dear God, I am alive! He stared up at the beautiful black sky as the rain sprinkled across him. "Steve?" He turned to McGarrett who knelt beside him nearly overcome by the relief of finding him alive.
"Yeah, take it easy. You're all right," he said as much to convince himself as Kimo.
"Oh man," he whispered, closing his eyes again. "What a nightmare."
"Yeah, and you haven't heard the half of it."
An officer handed him a wet,muddy envelope, "Sir, was in the box."
Steve opened it, already knowing it contained another of Caputo's grizzly messages. Dammit, they knew we'd find Kimo. Did they know he'd be alive? His brief relief was transformed once again to fury. Then his heart skipped a beat as the impact of what he saw assaulted his exhausted emotional resources and the abhorrence and anguish brought tears to his eyes he could no longer keep back. It was a picture of Danny, staked out on the ground either dead or unconscious. Scrawled across the bottom was: SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST.
They got Carew wrapped in blankets into the back of McGarrett's car and with the heater going full blast, started for town. But Steve was unable to think about anything but getting to Niihau. How long has Danno been like that? The sun was shining in the photo so at least a day. How long could one survive that kind of exposure not to mention the onslaught of the hurricane. His thoughts were interrupted by Central Dispatch on the radio.
"See officers at Barbers Point. An ambulance has been dispatched."
Ben! An ambulance, not the coroner! It was too much to hope that they could have again beat Caputo. How could one possibly survive the waves of a hurricane in the sea all night? Steve did a 180 degree turn, and headed for the point. He arrived before the ambulance. Ben Kokua, beaten and battered from the sea, lay under a pile of blankets and raincoats.
Duke hovered over him as Steve ran up. "He came up on shore several hours ago," Duke offered. "Don't know how in the world he made it."
Steve huddled down over the battered man. Even by flashlight, Ben's skin color was gray, lips palid white. His teeth were chattering and he was shaking uncontrollably. Steve touched his shoulder just to convince himself Ben really was there. "Ben?" he said gently with hope.
"Steve." His tired voice was almost lost in the sound of the wind, rain, and surf. He mumbled a few incoherent things.
The ambulance could be heard approaching. McGarrett looked closely at him. "Ben, can you tell us anything?"
He looked up, trying to remember. "Caputo," he finally whispered. "Caputo..." He lost consciousness. His body shook with one more tremor, then he lay still.
The paramedics brought a stretcher over. They made no attempt to take an assessment in the rain on the beach, but quickly lifted Ben, raincoats and all onto the gurney and hurried him to the warm vehicle.
McGarrett backed away and exchanged looks with Duke. "Kimo's in the car."
"How is he?"
"I think he'll be all right. May have a broken arm. Let's take him to the ambulance and let them get him medical attention, too." He handed Duke the photo. "I've got a trip to make."
Between them, they pulled Kimo from the car. He had fallen asleep in the warmth of the vehicle and only roused partially as the two men half-carried him towards the rig. As they approached the ambulance, a paramedic met them. "McGarrett."
"Yeah?" he responded, turning Kimo over to the man.
"I'm sorry. Your other guy just died."
He stared at the man, water dripping down his face. No, no. This isn't possible. We got to him. I talked to him. He stared in shock into the back of the vehicle where the other medic was pulling a sheet over Ben's face. It was all he could do to keep from racing to Ben's side and yanking the sheet away to prove they were wrong. So close yet
Duke swallowed his own shock and grief recalling the exhilaration he'd experienced only minutes ago when Ben's leg had moved as they raced towards him. He bit down on his lip. It's not fair. He chastised himself immediately for the childish thought, but that didn't make it go away. He glanced at the muddy picture Steve had handed him. Will this never end? He remembered Steve's promise to Jenny that it would end.
"Duke, get Kimo taken care of." He hesitated. "Get hold of Lawson. See if he's getting anything out of Wihahi and tell him to use whatever we have to detain the brothers if they should try to leave."
"You don't want me to move on them right now?"
"Not yet. We still don't have King or Wihahi. And I doubt the DA will move on a dying man's last word. Wasn't even a complete statement. I want them nailed right. Don't do anything unless they attempt to leave the island. I'm taking a chopper to Niihau."
Duke glanced at the gray dawn. "In this weather?"
"Yeah. In this weather."
McGarrett stopped at his office long enough to change into dry clothing. All he had left clean was a pair of jeans and denim shirt. It would do. He commandeered a pair of boots from HPD and, as he laced them up, the phone buzzed.
It had become an instrument of torture. He hated to answer it, but knew he had to. It was the HPD dispatch officer. She tied him in to HPD's officer Banks. "I've been trying to reach you all night," the man said. The line was terrible.
"What can you tell me?" McGarrett called loudly into the phone.
"Walter King is dead. Found him slumped over in a john at the Shell station on Manahu Street when the roof blew off. "He's down at the coroner. Not much in the way of evidence. If there ever was any, it got washed away."
He got off the phone and went to meet his helecopter. Traveling by air was just marginal and he was glad that the best pilot on the Islands had volunteered to fly him in.
It had stopped raining, the clouds were swirling northeastward as Duke stepped around puddles and trash that had blown into the parking area at the FBI office. There were some power lines down, trees felled, but as a whole, Honolulu had survived the hurricane without much incident. Somewhere a chain saw was whining in the early morning air. As he stepped through the glass doors, he was gestured back towards an office. Lawson greeted him with a hand shake.
"Our friend, Wihahi, isn't much interested in helping us," he reported.
"We'll see," Duke remarked. He handed Lawson a ballistics report. "It was Walters' gun that killed two of the guys at the land fill." He walked into the small room where Wihahi sat at a table. Neither of them was fooled by the one way glass on one wall. "Hello, Marcus."
He gave a smirk. "I thought you dudes were all extinct."
"Really? Why would you think that?"
He just looked away.
"What do you know about Eugene and Anthony Caputo?"
"Just what I told the Fed. Ask him."
"I'm asking you," Duke stated. He had a way of sounding polite even in his interogations. His calm mannerisms had a way of disarming his suspects.
"Tony's been sweating up a storm about them guys. They threatened him somehow."
"In what way?"
"You ever spoken to the Caputos?"
He scratched his unshaven chin. Marcus was usually clean, sharp. He didn't like getting arrested during a hurricane. It just didn't seem ethical. "Don't know 'em."
"They called your phone at Island Imports."
"I didn't know that."
"Who did they talk to then?"
"How would I know. I never met them."
"Ever talk to them?"
He dropped a copy of the telephone log on the table. "See the ones highlighted?"
He barely glanced at the paper.
"They all came from Chicago. Know someone in Chicago?"
"No. Hey, Lukela, is this some kind of a set up?" Marcus demanded shoving the paper away.
"You don't know the Caputos? You never talked to them?"
"How about Walter King?"
"Okay, Marcus, you can go." He turned his back and walked to the door.
Wihahi blinked in surprise and doubt. "For real?"
He shrugged. "You don't know anything, right? Can't help us, so I guess you're free to go."
He scowled. This was much too easy.
Duke gave a quick grin. "Oh, I guess I really should tell you. A copy of that phone log was hand delivered to Tony Alika just about--" his glanced at his watch, "--twenty minutes ago. Have a nice day." He walked out of the room.
The man at the front desk waved a phone. "Lukela---phone call. I think they said it's Tahiti."
Duke accepted the receiver, taking a deep breath, wondering what the word would be on Kono.
Wihahi stood in the doorway of the questioning cell trying to decide what his life expectancy was and quickly calculating that he'd be dead before lunch. He sat back down to await Duke's return.
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