by Peg Keeley
There wasn't much to be said for Governor Moyer's idea
of an advisory committee to study handgun control except that it would
be expensive, politically correct, and would dominate Steve McGarrett's
time for the next week. He wasn't going far, not even out of town, but
operating his department would be impossible. He reported to the office
at six in the morning to brief Dan Williams before joining the committee
for a seven o'clock breakfast meeting.
"If you need me, you know I'll be at the Sheraton," he added at the
end as he picked up his brief case. "How about inventing a reason to
call me out some time this morning?"
"Sure," Danny replied with a laugh, "but I'm not so sure the Governor
would put my call through."
He grinned as he headed for the door. "Be persuasive."
After Steve left, Danny turned to glance over the files Steve had left
on his desk for him. He sipped on the day's first cup of coffee as he
relaxed back in Steve's leather desk chair a cluster of reports and
the to-do sheet in front of him. Steve has always had the most comfortable
chair in the place, but he never spends any time sitting in it.
A red sun was just beginning to creep above the horizon and cast a scarlet
glow through the wooden blinds. Danny looked up as the bundle of blankets
on the couch gave a whimper and moved slightly. These early mornings
were a little tough on a toddler. Daycare would open in another half
A little head of black, curly hair suddenly popped up amongst the covers.
Lonnie yawned, rubbed his eyes and looked around the office, not at
all surprised at his surroundings.
"Daddy?" He smiled.
"Morning, Lonnie," Danny gave him a grin back.
"Not here. He's busy," Danny answered. Naming McGarrett as godparent
to Lonnie had been the best thing ever for all of them. Even at the
young age of two, Lonnie worshipped the ground Steve walked on. Having
coordinated their days off so that either Steve or Danny had most weekends
free, Steve never tired of taking Lonnie to the park or the zoo. If
becoming a parent has made me feel like I had to grow up, it seems to
have given Steve a new lease on his youth.
"Juice?" The two-year-old scrambled off the couch clad in a diaper
and T-shirt and came over to the desk.
Danny pulled a sipper cup from the bag and handed it to him, then rooted
through the clothes and diapers till he found a donut in a plastic bag.
"Morning, Boss," greeted Virginia, Steve's secretary, as she came into
the office. Jenny, after twenty years of faithful service had retired
a month ago. Ginny had been rescued from the HPD chief's office and
had fit in like a natural at Five-0. Danny imagined there had been great
weeping and wailing from the young, single studs in uniform when the
twenty-five year old single woman had changed jobs.
"Hi, Ginny," Danny called back.
She had expected Steve's voice and now stuck her head inside the open
door. "Oh, hi, Danny. Steve's already gone, huh?" She dropped her purse
by her desk.
He nodded as he pushed the files out of Lonnie's reach. Lonnie zeroed
in on a new item of interest, the telephone. He picked up the receiver
and began to push the hold button at the bottom on and off to watch
the light blink.
Ginny giggled. "Morning, Lonnie."
He looked up at her, then back at the phone. There was now purple jam
from the jelly donut smeared on the phone buttons.
She came into the room and picked up the diaper bag. "I'll get him fixed
up and dressed." She took Lonnie by the hand and led him out of the
"Thanks, Ginny." Danny continued to look at the file, but his attention
It had been ten months since he'd instantly become a father. There were
still a lot of things that needed to be organized. He'd been amazed
at the amount of help he'd received. The first had come from Mali's
Aunt Sarah. But she was a large dominant woman with six kids of her
own living on welfare and in a matter of weeks; she had changed from
his strongest ally to his greatest threat. She had declared early on
that she didn't think a single man could raise a child. Every little
cough or running nose had received her fierce judgment. He was aware
that her vast network of cousins, second cousins, and siblings supplied
her with constant gossip about him and she had made it clear she would
love to have him declared unfit legally. It kept him always looking
over his shoulder. She had managed to get CPS to his apartment twice
already; once on a report of unhealthy conditions because he'd given
Lonnie McDonalds' three nights in one week; the other for reckless endangerment
when Lonnie had thrown a stuffed toy off the apartment balcony six stories
down to the pool. Danny had scrambled to cover his bases. It was Mary
Lukela who'd been his lifesaver. She'd helped him through the tough
times, helped him find a good day care, given him hand-me-downs. Everyone
in the office had been there for him and done what they could. Lonnie
had adjusted very well to the multitudes of people who had come into
care giving roles and quickly learned how to be the center of everyone's
attention. A bit of his mother in him, Danny sometimes thought
when Lonnie was putting on a show for the sole purpose of gaining attention.
At the advice of well-meaning friends, Danny had enrolled in a single
parent therapy group. The experience had lasted one class. He was the
only man and one half of the women viewed him as the personification
of the evil men who'd dumped them with their off spring. The rest looked
at him as an opportunity for a new relationship. He'd never gone back.
He knew there were those, like Sarah, who whispered behind his back
that he could never become a good parent; that Lonnie would be mal-adjusted
without his mother, but he knew in his heart that there would never
be anyone he was so totally devoted to as he was to Lonnie. For the
first time in his life, something came before his career. He wondered
if the day would come when he had to make a choice.
"Here we are," said Ginny a few minutes later returning with Lonnie
dressed, face clean and beaming. "Even changed his diaper."
Danny gave a grin and rose from the desk. "Now that's going beyond the
call of duty. Thanks for everything."
"I'll take him to daycare if you want," she offered eagerly.
"I'll do that," Danny answered and took Lonnie's hand as he picked up
the bag. The last thing I need is a report to Sarah that I'm sending
Lonnie off with attractive young women. "Be back in a little bit."
Danny had delivered Lonnie to Child's Play Daycare and was headed back
towards the office when he noticed two squad cars stopped at a gas station,
roof lights flashing red and blue. Curious, he pulled into the lot to
check it out.
The officers were standing in the service station office, talking to
a young woman who was crying hysterically as she attempted to speak.
Although words were coming out, and her hands and were flailing around
in all directions, not much sense could be made of what she said.
"What's happening?" Danny asked one policeman.
"The lady came in to buy gas, says a guy jumped into her car and stole
it," he explained.
"Really? Pretty upset over a car theft."
"Well, her kid was asleep in the back."
Danny raised an eyebrow.
The only sound for a moment was that of the mother's sobbing.
"Would you want to try to talk to her?" the officer asked hopefully.
Danny sighed. Is there anybody who doesn't know I'm working on my
thesis in criminal psychology? He approached the young woman who
sat weeping on the chair. "I'm Dan Williams, with Five-O," he introduced
himself quietly. "The officer tells me your child was asleep in your
car when it was stolen."
She nodded amongst her tears. "Cam was asleep. A man jumped in the car.
I was about to get gas." Tears strangled her words again.
"You hadn't filled it yet?"
"How close to empty was it?"
She shrugged as she twisted the strap of her purse. "Almost out."
He glanced at the officer. "Include that in the car description. Maybe
he didn't go far."
The officer nodded.
"Can you describe the man?" he asked of the woman.
"I didn't see him," she sobbed. "I was getting the nozzle from the pump
and he jumped in. It was so fast."
"How old is Cam?"
"Two -- he just turned two."
Danny could not help but think of his own two-year-old. "Have you given
a description of the car to the officers?"
She nodded, tears and makeup streaming down her cheeks. She tried to
wipe them away with her hand.
Danny offered a handkerchief that she accepted. He noticed a garage
attendant standing helplessly by. "Did you see anything?" he asked of
The mechanic shook his head quickly. "I just saw her come running in
here yelling and screaming. I didn't even know what was going on at
first," he said around the wad of chewing tobacco in his cheek.
Danny left the sobbing woman for a moment and took the mechanic out
into the garage bay. "You have air bells." He pointed to the black hose
stretched across the pavement. "Didn't you hear her pull in?"
The mechanic looked sorrowful. He pointed to an air drill lying on the
floor next to a car with a rear tire half off. "I'd just fixed that
flat. I was putting the tire back on with the air drill."
Danny picked it up and pressed the button. The shrill whine of the drill
vibrated through the garage. "It's sure noisy enough. You never saw
He shook his head again, wiping a greasy red bandanna across his sweaty
brow. Even as a bystander, talking to police made him nervous.
There was a loud ding of the air bell as a white panel van pulled up
into the garage. Danny was surprised at how loud it was and wished he'd
been running the drill when the van had entered. He looked outside and
recognized the logo of Channel 3 and the side of the van. He put down
the drill and walked outside. The reporter, Carrie Donagan, was just
getting out of the passenger side. Her cameraman was already pulling
his mini-cam from the back.
"Morning, Danny." Carrie smiled her professional nobody's-going-to-stop-me-from-my-story
"Morning, Ms. Donagan," he replied more formally.
"Can you fill me in on this missing child?" she asked casually.
He frowned. Why does the news always know these things before the
police? "Somebody sent you a fast tip."
She smiled. "Our new incentive program pays callers $100 when we get
the scoop on a news lead."
"You're kidding. Paid informants?"
She laughed openly. "Public awareness, Williams. Keep up with the times,
will you? Now, what about this missing child?"
He glanced back at the distraught woman weeping, face in her hands in
the window of the station. "No visuals. Talk to the officers filing
Her pleasant attitude vanished and she snapped with hostility, "Come
on! Give me something. I can get that much off my scanner."
He was already walking quickly away, headed for the garage office. He
gently took the crying mother by the arm. "I'd like to take you to Five-O
so we can piece this together," he said quickly, watching the reporter
closing quickly on the garage. The crying girl seemed confused, but
let him lead her outside.
"Is this the mother?" Carrie demanded forcefully, sticking out her microphone
as the cameraman jockeyed to get an angle.
Danny angrily stayed between them and the sobbing parent and kept moving.
He glanced around, relieved that two of the uniformed officers were
already moving in to block off Donagan. "Gregory! Deal with these reporters,
will you?" He opened the car door for the woman and pushed her inside.
The officer blocked the way as Danny ran for the other side of the car,
jumped in, and burned rubber out of the parking lot.
Donagan stood angrily by; hands on hips, watching them escape. She'd
have to settle for the police report--for now.
"Sorry about all that," Danny remarked as he drove to the Iolani Palace.
"The press can be a real pain."
She just stared at him. She'd noticed the car seat in the back of his
car and there was a light of hope in her eye. This officer obviously
has a family himself, maybe he will see to it something happens quickly.
"Is there anyone you need to call? Husband?" Danny asked giving a glance
at her. He watched for indications of anything that might be out of
She shook her head. "We're divorced, he lives in California."
He nodded. Suspect number one, an estranged ex-husband.
Ginny looked up as Danny entered the office with the mother, who was
no longer crying, but appeared in a state of shock. "Danny, Police Chief
Travis called," Gina informed him. "He wants you to call back right
"He can wait," he replied.
"Are you Amanda King?" Ginny asked of the woman.
She nodded in surprise.
"Call Travis," she repeated to Danny in earnest.
Danny motioned Amanda into his office. "Have a seat." He headed for
Steve's office to make the call. "Ginny," he pointed towards Amanda,
"do something to make her comfortable."
She nodded and went to attend Amanda.<>
"You can't just take over my officers' investigation," Travis argued
over the phone. "They had just started the questioning when you arrived.
There's a mountain of unfinished paperwork on this thing."
"I wasn't going to leave her there for the press to feed on," Danny
replied. "This was a judgment call."
"You Five-O guys are always throwing your weight around, Williams. You
act like you are the only real cops here. When are you gonna start team
He rolled his eyes. "I thought we were team playing--with the victimís
interests first," he replied, trying to sound patient. Travis, you
are such a pompous ass.
"We didnít even establish who the victim is--except that missing boy."
His implication made Danny uncomfortable. What in blazes is that
supposed to mean? "Your men are already searching for the vehicle
with an all points on the child, right?"
Travis paused. "Of course."
"Well, then, whatís the problem? Iíll file the Ďmountainí of paperwork."
He was more determined than ever to keep Travis and his officers away
Travis gave a grunt. "Iíll send you ours, too." He hung up.
Danny walked back to the office where Amanda King sat, dabbing his rumpled
handkerchief to her swollen, red eyes. "Ms. King, letís start over.
I know this is difficult, but I need the whole story again. Please."
Ginny came into the cubicle and deposited a steaming cup of coffee before
each of them.
Amanda did not touch the cup. She wrung her hands together. "I was going
to work--my God. Iíll lose my job! I need to call my boss."
Danny summoned Ginny again. Amanda gave the office number and Ginny
went to make the call.
Amanda continued. "I needed gas. I stopped at the station, got out and
walked around to the pump. I heard the door slam and the guy stole the
car." New tears slid down her face. "Cam was asleep. Heís going to be
"Did you see the thief?" Danny tried to keep her focused on the events.
She shook her head.
"How do you know it was a man?"
She stared at him. "I guess I donít." Her large blue eyes looked even
bluer as the whites were pink tinged from crying.
"Do you remember if the air bell rang when you pulled into the garage?"
"I never paid attention."
"Did the car burn rubber when it pulled out of the lot?"
She wiped another tear. "I think so. There was so much noise."
"What kind of noise?"
"Noise," she whispered. "Noise in the garage from the guy working there.
And a car blew its horn. I guess I was yelling."
"A car horn?" He was hopeful. "Someone else may have seen the car jump
into traffic. Weíll amend the release to include a request for witnesses.
What was Cam wearing?"
"Mickey Mouse T-shirt. Red shorts. White socks. Big Bird shoes. I told
that to the officers."
"Anything that would make him stand out? Scars? Speech pattern?"
She shook her head.
"Special places he likes? People you both know?"
She sighed. "There's just me and my room mate, Cindy."
"Cindy." He instantly memorized the name. A new player. "Tell
me about her."
She shrugged. "We share an apartment."
"Been friends a long time?"
"About four months."
"Where did you meet?"
She was becoming defensive. "You think Cindy.....No. Look, I met her
through a girl at work. We hit it off. Decided to split the rent."
"I'm just trying to look at everything we have, Amanda. Right now that
isn't very much. Do you have Cam's picture?"
She quickly rooted through her wallet and pulled out a photo of Cam.
His sandy blonde hair, blue eyes, fair skin beamed back from the picture.
The perfect child for a kidnapping. He glanced up from the picture
to see Amanda looking at the framed photo of Lonnie that stood on his
She seemed a little embarrassed.
"Your son?" she asked with a weak smile.
"Thanks. May I keep this picture of Cam?" He felt suddenly apprehensive
about her personal questions about Lonnie and wanted this to return
to the business at hand.
"Of course. Thatís a new picture. It was taken for his birthday last
week." She began to cry again.
"And heíd turned two," Danny recalled her information earlier.
She wiped tears and nodded.
He was silent remembering yesterday and the party theyíd had for Lonnieís
second birthday. "Ms. King-"
"Call me Amanda, please," she murmured.
He had no intention on being so familiar with someone who was already
calling attention to their similarities. "From what you told the officers,
your car is an older Chevy, you donít have wealthy connections, no unsettled
custody battle, as there anything you can think of that would make Cam
a target for kidnap?"
She shook her head violently now. "Nothing. Nothing. If I knew something
I would tell you."
"Have you spoken with his father?"
"No, not in a few months. He was going to pick him up next week and
keep him for a month. Weíve had a good relationship--as far as Cam was
"Well, if there really isnít a reason someone would target your son,
the most likely situation is that someone took your car for a joy ride
not knowing the boy was in the back. He and the car have probably already
been abandoned and will be located by the police within an hour or two."
He hoped what heíd said sounded encouraging and not callus.
There was a knock at the door. Duke Lukela poked his head inside. "A
Cindy Maku for Amanda King."
"Cindy!" her face lit up.
"Amanda!" The Hawaiian girl burst into the room and they embraced each
other in tears, both talking at once.
Danny observed the interaction in silence recalling Amanda's defensive
posture regarding her roommate earlier. There was no question but that
they were good friends. Cindy would be a strong support for Amanda.
She's going to need that.
Amanda recovered in a moment. "Hum, Cindy, this is Dan Williams, Cindy
They nodded towards each other. Cindy's look was one of wariness, wondering
if he was a good officer. His expression revealed nothing as he wondered
if she was somehow involved. They shook hands.
Steve left the hearings at lunch, anticipating a lunch at the Sheraton
at the Attorney Generalís expense. Instead, he found Dan Williams waiting
for him. "Couldnít even make it through the morning?" he commented.
They went to the restaurant where Danny explained the details about
Cam King, including that after five hours, the child and the car were
After listening Steve shook his head. "Is HPS running a sector by sector
search on the car?"
He nodded. "When it didnít turn up right away, weíve got to assume the
guy panicked and dumped the car and the boy in a less visible place."
He agreed. "Sounds like you need someone to interview the ex-husband
and that friend."
"Boyís dad is due in on the six oíclock flight. Kono has already left
to do a background search on him in LA."
"What about this Cindy Maku?" Steve asked.
"Seems to just be a good friend of Kingís. Nothing obvious."
Steve shook his head. "What you are looking for isnít going to be obvious.
Check her out, too."
"Howís the Mom holding up?"
"Not good. Her boss is a real charm. Fired her for not showing up this
Steve scowled. "Wish I could do an interview with him myself."
Danny finished off his salad. "Duke has an appointment with him at two
Amanda had worked for a textile plant where the fabrics were dyed with
the bright flowered Hawaiian patterns. The sweatshop was noisy and smelled
of formaldehyde and unwashed bodies. Most of the workers were oriental
and obviously poor. It did not seem like the type of place Amanda would
have worked in. Duke took Gary with him to meet Buck Landis, the owner.
Landis was a small, thin mouse of a man, but with a sharp mind and tongue.
"I know what you must think," were his opening words to the officers.
"You think Iím an inhuman monster."
They did not reply right away. Finally Duke remarked. "Any reason we
should feel that way?"
"That girl was never on time for anything. Always late and always with
one excuse for another. Her kid was sick, her car broke down. I really
just need someone whoís going to do the job. None of these stupid dames
does a good job. They donít pay attention, they miss-mix the dyes; they
spoiled three lots of fabric last week. I canít continue with this sort
of loss. I thought the King gal would be a little better since she wasn't
Gary's hands fisted at his sides. I'd like to dye this raciest Haole.
Duke found just the whining tone of the manís voice irritating, but
he carefully contained any facial expression that might reveal his sentiment
with Gary would do the same. "About Amanda King. How would you describe
His eyes narrowed. "Late. Irresponsible."
"Irresponsible enough to place a child a risk?" Gary asked.
Buck glared at him. "I didnít say that. She kept taking off to be with
her sick kid. She was irresponsible here."
"Ever drunk? Disorderly? Fight with other co-workers?" Gary continued.
"No," he replied. "Seemed to get along with them fine."
"But you fired her when she had to be late because her child was missing."
"See here. I have a business to run," Buck snapped.
"Youíre right," Gary remarked. "I do think youíre an inhuman monster."
Amanda's apartment building was a wood frame two-story building with
a rickety stairway to the second level where she lived. Someone had
made a passing attempt to beautify the place with red geraniums in a
white planter on the wooden walk. It seemed a hopeless effort. Danny
knocked at the door and Cindy answered. She seemed reluctant to admit
him and announced a doctor had given Amanda something to help her sleep
for a while.
"Thatís all right," he replied. "I really came to talk with you. Maybe
you can help me."
She scowled. "I doubt it."
Her attitude was unexpected, but he had encountered many supporters
of victims who looked at the police as just as sinister as the villains.
"Miss Maku, Iím trying to find Cam. Iím on your side," he insisted.
"I doubt that, too. The only thing you have to know is that Amanda worships
the ground that kid walks on. She would do anything for him, give anything
for him. He is her life. Now, if you want to find Cam, why arenít you
out there looking for him?" Her face was hard and tinged with anger.
"There is a whole department of officers doing just that. I need to
try to find out who would do this and maybe find some clues to where
he might be."
"I donít have to answer any questions for you," she announced, crossing
her arms as they continued to stand in the doorway. Her lack of common
grace in refusing him admittance sent a clear message that she did not
want to be connected with the authorities at all.
"Youíre right, you donít," he agreed, trying to maintain a friendly
pose. "Amandaís boss and several co-workers commented that Cam seemed
sick a lot. Is there something the matter with him?"
"Heís just a kid," she replied. "Little kids are sick all the time.
You wouldnít know about such things I suppose."
He thought about the amount of time he had spent in doctorsí offices
with ear infections, immunizations and the like in the last ten months.
"He doesn't have any chronic health problems then?"
She tossed her head. "Heís a fine, healthy boy."
He had the suspicion she wasnít being honest with him. "And Amanda,
sheís healthy, too?"
"Sheís sick with grief," Cindy snapped. "I think youíd better go, Officer
Realizing that short of a subpoena, heíd get no help from Cindy, he
turned to go. "Let Amanda know I was here."
She closed the door soundly behind him. And he began to feel there might
be something more sinister about the disappearance of Cam King.