Guilty Party 
by Peg Keeley
onenerveleft59@hotmail.com


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 an hour.

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.

"Unca' 'Teve?"

"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 office

"Thanks, Ginny." Danny continued to look at the file, but his attention followed Ginny.

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?"

"No."

"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 man.

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 the car?"

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 smile.

"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 their report."

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 the ordinary.

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 away."

"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 playing?"

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 from Amanda.

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 so frightened."

"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 desk.

She seemed a little embarrassed.

"Your son?" she asked with a weak smile.

"Yeah."

"Cute boy."

"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 concerned anyway."

"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 Maku."

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 still missing.

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."

He nodded.

"Howís the Mom holding up?"

"Not good. Her boss is a real charm. Fired her for not showing up this morning."

Steve scowled. "Wish I could do an interview with him myself."

Danny finished off his salad. "Duke has an appointment with him at two oíclock."

--------------------------------------------

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 an Islander."

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 her?"

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." Gary clarified.

"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 Williams."

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.

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