Just An Old-Fashioned Love Song
by Peg Keeley
"So how does this work?" Danny was in his apartment with Chancy. He felt a bit uncomfortable and rather silly.
"You need to relax," Chancy advised. "Let's have a drink to unwind."
He went to the cabinet. "What's your pleasure?"
"Brandy?" she suggested.
"Good choice." He poured her drink then poured himself a shot of whiskey.
She gave small giggle. "You don't strike me as a whiskey kind of guy."
He smirked. "And what kind of guy is a whiskey guy?"
"You know. Just in off the back forty, unshaven, crooked teeth. Texan drawl. Whiskey people are dark and mysterious."
He poured a second whiskey. "Well, I can ride a horse -- how's that?"
She slid away the bottle as he drank the second shot. "I said relaxed, not drunk."
He felt mild irritation that she was correcting his drinking habits, then brushed it aside. "So what kind of drink do you think I should choose?"
"Bacardi and pineapple juice."
He walked away from the cabinet and sad down on the couch. "Well, there's some rum in there somewhere."
"Maybe next time," she declared. "Here, sit down." She motioned to the stuffed chair.
With a small sigh, he moved to the chair, settled himself and looked at her expectantly. "What happens next?"
She came around behind the chair. "Well, this isn't mumbo-jumbo time. You need to just unwind, relax, clear your mind." She gently massaged his shoulders. "Boy, you really are tight." She gently and firmly worked the hard neck and shoulder muscles.
He was a bit surprised at the hand strength in this small girl. The massage felt great.
"That's better, just close your eyes .relax. Close your eyes and just put everything out of mind," she whispered quietly in his ear. "Think about a place that makes you totally a peace and relaxed."
He found it nearly impossible to slow his mind. He was thinking of her delicate hands, her perfume
She brought her hands to his face and began to massage his forehead with her fingertips.
Danny suddenly stiffened, grabbing both of Chancy's wrists with such force she yelped. He released her and leapt to his feet, face crimson.
"Danny, what is it?" she gasped.
In moments his emotions had twisted through a sudden overwhelming rush of sensual desire to alarm and now settled on embarrassment. My God, I'm little more than Pavloff's dog! Chancy couldn't know that Mali's favorite entreaty for lovemaking was tickling fingertips across my face. I should have more sense than this. This is Kono's girlfriend, how could I even feel this way. He's lying in a hospital and I'm getting a hard-on over his girl! He managed to make eye contact with Chancy; afraid his eyes would betray him. "Maybe this wasn't a good idea," he muttered.
The phone rang, blessedly interrupting the painful moment.
Danny picked it up.
It was Lew. "Hey, Danny, the game starts in about ten minutes. Are you coming?"
"Are you okay? You didn't forget that tonight's the second game, did you? I've got a connection with a ham operator who's going to give us a play by play live." There was a momentary pause.
"Sorry, Lew. I've been -- occupied with this thing with Kono." He felt sweat running down his back. She's got me breaking out in a sweat? Next she'll tell me to relax!
Lew settled down. "Yeah -- I heard about that. Come on over and get your mind off things for awhile -- Koufax is pitching."
Danny stole a quick glance at Chancy. Just what I need -- to get my mind off things. "I'll be there in a few minutes. Thanks, Lew." He hung up the phone. "My friend, Lew," he muttered.
Chancy raised an eyebrow. "Is something wrong?"
"Uh, no. I forgot I was supposed to go to his house tonight," he murmured. He played uncomfortably with the phone cord. I am acting like a child.
Chancy remained quiet for a moment, then asked. "So, what do you want to do?"
"Look, maybe we can do this later," he suggested. Like never. He picked up the empty brandy glass and carried it into the kitchen.
"I was not trying to seduce you," she remarked.
The brandy glass hit the tiled floor and shattered into thousands of bits. He stood surrounded by shards of glass, feeling naked before her.
Without a word, he stepped through the broken pieces and got the straw broom from beside the refrigerator. "It was a mistake," he said apologetically. "I'm sorry, Chancy. I need to get some things sorted out."
"Look, you've been through a lot today. It's fine really." She tucked a strand of hair behind one ear. "I just wanted to help."
He focused on the cleanup for a few minutes, making no attempt to engage in conversation. As he slid the last of the broken glass from the dustpan into the trash he felt like he was prepared to face Chancy again. "It's not your fault."
Chancy gave a small smile. "So I guess you are a whiskey man after all. Dark and mysterious."
He managed a grin. "Maybe." He took a deep breath. "I want to try again."
"I thought you were meeting Lew."
"He'll wait. I still need to see if I can't somehow remember that shooter."
She gave a consenting nod. "Okay -- no more massages. I promise. Do you have any candles? And how about some kind of music that calms you?"
Minutes later, Danny was again settled into the soft chair, Schubert playing on the record player and a leftover red Christmas candle flickering on the coffee table before him.
Chancy sat down on the couch opposite him, so he had to look through the candle to see her. "Feeling okay?" she asked. "Take my hands." As he did, the handclasp straddling the candle, she whispered. "Close your eyes and listen to the music." She waited, watching the tension slowly melt from the corners of his mouth, feeling his pulse begin to slow, until it was keeping time to the music. "Can you think back to this morning?"
He nodded. "Yes."
"Keep your eyes closed, but try to see yourself in the car," Chancy instructed. "What do you see?"
"I was looking at the ceiling."
"How do you feel?"
"Annoyed. We were late. He was acting like he was in charge. It made me ticked."
"What color was the ceiling?"
"Was the dome light on?"
"Yes. Kono left his door open."
"Were you holding anything?"
"Radio transmitter. I called in the plate."
"Did you see the plate?"
"Where was the sun?"
"Behind us -- it was glaring off the back window of the corvette. Hard to see."
"So you looked at the ceiling?"
"Yes. I called in the plate, then looked at the ceiling."
"When you were looking at the plate, what else did you see?"
"Kono walked towards the car."
"Did the driver get out?"
He struggled with his mental image trying to see more. "The door opened I saw the door open." He scowled, still keeping his eyes shut. "Kono was walking over I looked away. I looked that damned ceiling." He slammed a frustrated fist against the arm of the chair.
"Danny, be relaxed," Chancy said quietly. "Stay with it. Just think. Remember the car. Remember yourself in the car." She stopped talking trying to recall the things she had seen her mother do. Aware that there were many hocus-pocus show tricks that meant nothing, she tried to think about what had mattered. Most people have their answer within them. "What were you doing when the first shot was fired?"
"The ceiling -- I couldn't believe there were shots. I needed to get to Kono."
"After the first shot, what did you do?"
He was silent for a moment, mentally remembering the glare off the window. It had been bright. "Kono stumbled, I saw him stumble."
"Where was the shooter?" Chancy asked, remembering Danny's term from earlier.
"Glare from the sun -- it was too bright. I opened the door. I heard the second shot. I had to stop him. I had to help Kono." His face was a demonstration of the fear, the memory of the shock, and fury. "Third shot real quick, right after. I remember Kono tried to catch himself on the front of our car. He was trying to grab his gun."
"Where was the other guy?" Chancy's voice was edged with anticipation.
"Facing Kono," he whispered, eyes open, but seeing into the past. "The gun. I saw the Beretta."
"Did you see the man's hand?"
Danny's brow furrowed with effort. "Yes, I can see the hand."
"Can you follow his arm back? Can you see his face?" Chancy encouraged. Wow, this is really going to work! I can't believe it.
Danny sat straight up on the chair. "Oh my," he whispered.
"What is it?" Chancy asked intently.
He looked at her and blinked once, as though he'd forgotten she was present. "I need to take you home." He got up and picked up his suit jacket. "Come on."
"Danny? I don't understand." Chancy faced him, confusion in her expression. "Did I do something wrong? Danny, we were getting somewhere."
"We got somewhere," he replied, no gratitude in his tone, just impatience. "I need to take you home."
Disappointment plain on her features, she picked up her purse. "I was hoping you'd - you know - tell me what you remembered."
He opened the door. "I remembered enough."
She squared her shoulders. "So I guess that's it?" Her feelings were hurt; it showed in her eyes and on her face.
As she stepped through the doorway, he suddenly grabbed her, embraced her and gave her a passionate kiss. Almost as suddenly, he let her go.
She blinked. I can't figure this guy out.
"Thank you," he
Steve needed to do something besides pace the hospital. He knew the value of patience but always managed to wait better if he was occupied by doing something. He returned to the office -- where he nearly always went when he needed to compose himself. If there is a place where my spirit is at rest and renewed, it is my office. He had been accused more than once of being married to his job. It's more than a marriage, it is part of my soul.
On entering the outer office, he noticed the light was on in Danny's cubicle. As he got closer, he noticed crumpled paper balls scattered generously about, open and closed books stacked and spread across the desk and floor. The window was open, the small fan sucking the telltale tobacco smoke out into the night air. Steve noted there were four cigarette butts in the ashtray on the windowsill. The young detective was sitting on the floor paging through what looked to be a volume from an encyclopedia.
"Danny," Steve commented, stepping closer. After the younger man's peculiar behavior earlier, it was gratifying to see him laboring over the case. "Do you have a lead?" He noticed the various composite drawings and picked some up.
Danny noticed Steve looking at the faces. "They won't help."
Steve noticed right away that none of them were anything alike. "So I see."
Danny held up a fistful of drawings. "Tattoo. There was a Tattoo on the inside of his right arm. I know it means something."
Steve looked at the sketches. They all contained crossed lightening bolts, some had a circle around them, some had a little box over the center, one had a poorly drawn grinning skull over the top of the cross. "Which one is right?"
He shook his head. "I'm not sure. I know it means something. I have seen this before. There were numbers."
"Yes, a series of numbers but I'm not sure where they were. I'm certain about the crossed lightning part."
Steve studied the drawings, mentally noting the passion with which they had been drawn. The pencil had dug deeply into the paper during the creation. There was no need to ask Danny if he was sure.
"Do they remind you of anything?" Danny asked, hopefully.
Steve sorted through them again. "Not the customary tattoo work done here," he offered. "Of course someone could have asked for the design. What can you recall about the numbers?"
He shook his head. "Don't remember what they were -- or even how many."
"Take these out to every tattoo artist on the island. See what you can find out," Steve said. "Good work, Danno."
Danny got up from the floor. "I cannot shake that this means something. It's more than somebody's artistic idea. But I don't know what it is."
They walked back into Steve's office where Steve started a pot of coffee. "If that is your hunch stay with it." He advised. "So you don't think the numbers are a girl friend's measurements or phone number, something like that?"
Danny shook his head.
"Then you must think is it part of a group of some kind," Steve concluded. "We did not find the license plate. Nothing even close."
"I messed that up, too," Danny admitted.
Steve waved a hand. "I don't think you did."
Danny looked at his quizzically. "What then?"
"The license plate could have been falsified -- created."
"But why drive so stupidly then? Somebody trying to remain anonymous enough to go to the trouble to create a license tag wouldn't be calling attention to himself burning rubber down King Street," Danny countered.
McGarrett lifted an eyebrow. "Good observation. Or perhaps a falsified plate because he knew he would be driving wildly down King Street, but did not anticipate an unmarked car chasing him." He stood by patiently watching as a thought was developing in his junior officer's mind.
"The old man," Danny declared with a snap of his fingers.
"What old man?" Steve fired back aggressively. If Danno is thinking I need to keep him that way.
"He bought flowers just before Kono -- he picked up an order. The corvette nearly ran him over. His address will be on file at the florist -- and he may recall the face of the driver," Danny answered, excitement on his face. He scooped up his jacket.
"Stay in touch," Steve cautioned as Danny headed for the door.
The floral shop was closed. Danny did not find that terribly surprising. It was nearly eight o'clock. It took only a few minutes to determine the owner lived upstairs. He knocked on the door, able to hear sounds of the first ball game replay through the door of the apartment next door.
An Asian teenage boy answered the door. "Yes?"
Danny showed his badge. "I'm looking for Mamiko Sye," he declared.
The boy's eyes widened slightly and he licked his lips. "Ma," he muttered, clearly wondering if he was in trouble.
"Easy," Danny said kindly, "it's not about you. At least I don't think so."
The flower woman came to the door, recognizing Danny instantly. "Girl no like the flowers?" she asked, worry on her soft face.
"Flowers were fine," Danny answered. "I need to get some information. The man who came in while we are there this morning -- I need to talk with him. I thought you might have an address."
Fear wrinkled her brow.
"He's not in trouble," Danny encouraged. "I just need to talk to him."
She nodded, got the shop keys from the hook and led Danny downstairs. The air of the shop was still heavy with floral scent, but in the semi-light, the dark foliage seemed to be reaching out in sinister fashion. Mamiko picked up the small file box and thumbed through the 3x5 cards. "He seemed like nice man," she whispered. "He no trouble."
"He's not in trouble," Danny assured her, but his mind was starting to turn through the events. Maybe he's not. What if what we saw was an attempted hit? Maybe the guy is dangerous.
She handed him a card and he quickly copied off the address. "Thank you," he told her quietly and headed back to the car. As he got in, he called dispatch. "I need information on an Everett Thornton. See if we have anything."
The man on dispatch acknowledged the order. As Danny pulled away from the curb headed towards Thornton's apartment, he doubted dispatch would find anything. Thornton had not struck him as the unlawful type, at least not the obvious kind. Yet several years in quiet service had taught Danny that things were often not what they seemed. He took the time to call Steve and report Thornton and his address.
"I'll meet you there," Steve offered.
"That's probably not necessary," Danny answered. I have got to prove I don't need a babysitter here.
"Okay, then, but let
me know what you find out." Steve hung up and sat in thought, tapping his
pen against the blotter. An old man buys flowers - that should be pretty
innocent. Was it co-incidence that he came in to the shop right behind Danny
and Kono? There was nothing that would have indicated they were the law. Then
the guy gets nearly killed on the street. How much time lapsed between Thornton
leaving and the hit and run? Why was he still there? Couldn't he have been long
gone? Why did he linger? And what about the flower shop? Still brooding
about the few things they knew, Steve took his master key to city hall from
his desk and headed for the public tax office to look up the history of the
Danny glanced at his watch as the elevator carried him up seven floors. It was nearly 9:00PM, almost too late for this kind of work. The small bell announcing arrival rang quietly as the doors to the car opened and he stepped out onto the plush green carpet. Sconces along the hallway gave a tasteful and lush atmosphere. He stopped before apartment 710 and rang the bell.
There was no immediate response.
He rang the bell again, and then knocked gently.
At last came a voice from inside. "Who is there?" it demanded.
Danny could hear fear in the tone. What is he afraid of? "Dan Williams. Five-0." He held the badge up to the small fish-eye lens in the door. He could hear three locks being turned, then the door opened just a crack.
"What do you want?" Thornton demanded.
Danny recalled the elderly man's pleasant attitude from the morning before. This seemed like a dramatic shift. "I wanted to ask you a few questions." He said trying to be calm and non-threatening.
"Questions? Questions about what?" If anything, Thornton's voice was even more panic filled.
"I was at the flower shop this morning -- remember?" Danny offered. "My friend was buying flowers for his girl. You came in to pick up your order."
"Flowers?" Thornton murmured. "Yes, I remember now. I did pick up flowers. So what?"
"When you left -- the man who nearly hit you with his car -- you did not report it."
"Why should I? He didn't actually hit me, did he?" Thornton still remained huddled behind his door.
"Mr. Thornton, may I come in?" Danny finally suggested.
"Inside here? No -- no that just will not do. I'm not ready for company," Thornton replied.
Danny paused. "Mr. Thornton, are you afraid of something?"
"Don't be impudent," Thornton snapped. "You must make an appointment. You cannot just -- just barge into a man's home in the middle of the night."
Danny pursed his lips. "Mr. Thornton, I am concerned for you safety. I need to know whatever you can remember about the man in the car."
"It was a very fast car -- it seemed very big. That is all. If you are quite done now, I want to be left alone."
Danny raised an eyebrow. "I can come back with a court order. Do you want me to do that?"
"Come back tomorrow," Thornton stated. "I shall see you then." He shut the door.
Jamming his hands into his pockets, Danny sighed and headed towards the elevator convinced of one thing -- Thornton was afraid. The question was: Of whom?
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