Pretense of Justice
Ally Stamper sat on the barber's chair playing with a straw in the glass of orange juice while the makeup artist finished inserting thin wires into her braids to make them fall just as Hans would want.
Chin had chatted lightly with her for several minutes about what she thought of Hawaii, provided some advice for "must see" things when she found some free time. The mother had stepped out in search of her first martini of the day and he promptly changed his mode of questioning.
"You doing okay about losing your friend Ronnie Wiseman?" He asked her.
She looked over at him, looking older and wounded in spite of the makeup and attire that was planned to make her appear a child. "I don't understand it," she admitted. "He had everything to live for."
"According to Rickie his career was washed up."
She cracked a sad smile and shook her head. "According to Rickie everybody but him is washed up. Rickie is a kid and a jerk."
"Jack Moreland said the same thing," he added.
That seemed to impact her harder and a small pained look crossed her features. "Ronnie was a kind person. Way too kind for this business. He was deep, you know? He really thought about things."
"What sort of things?"
"He wanted to make a difference in this world. He wanted to make it better."
Chin waited a moment. "How did he plan to do that?"
She did not respond at first, but sat playing with her straw, then finally sighed. "I guess it really doesn't matter anymore. He wanted to join the Peace Corps. We were going to go away after I finished this film."
His ears perked up. There was more to the relationship with Ally and Ronnie. "Together?" he asked to clarify.
She seemed suddenly nervous and glanced at the make-up woman. "I don't know; it was just ideas, dreams."
Chin turned to the make-up lady. "Would you step outside for a minute please."
She started to protest.
Chin quieted produced his badge. "Step outside."
Ruffled, she left the trailer.
"Now, Ally," Chin said in a gentle fatherly tone. "It is important that I have the truth about Ronnie and you."
She took a deep breath. "We were going to run away. I just needed to complete this contract. Everyone saw him as a fool just because of his size. We just wanted to get away. I couldn't get out of the contract, my mother made it before I turned 18. I was going to help Ronnie get into one of those fat farm places in Europe so he could trim down and feel better about himself, then we were going to go into the Peace Corps and just disappear."
"If we were lucky."
"What about your mother?"
A look of detest showed in the artificially young face. "All she ever wanted was the money. She found a way to get it all. This -- young thing -- " she spread her arms, " -- it's all her idea. 'Men find little girls sexy' she says. I do a film where I'm a 12 year old, then because I'm really 18, she wants me to do a center-fold for Playboy. They'll pay two million."
"This is your mother's idea?" Chin asked in shock. Some mother.
Ally bit her lip. "I am just her pet human," she muttered. "If she could get the biggest buck, she'd have me in anything."
"Don't you have an agent?"
"Of course -- hand picked by her," she replied. "Ronnie was the only person ever to just love me for myself." Tears suddenly welled up in her eyes.
There was a knock at the door and Ally jumped. "Two minutes, Miss Stamper!" announced Tina's voice.
Chin could see she was frightened. "Allison, no one will find out what you have told me," he assured her. "What was your relationship with Ronnie Wiseman?"
"I loved him," she whispered. "He loved me."
"Intimate love?" he asked without blinking although internally he cringed to be asking such questions of such a young girl. He had to remind himself she was older than she looked.
"I am pregnant with his child," she said softly.
Talk about dropping a bomb, Chin's hand trembled slightly as he completed the one word note. "Who knows?"
She shook her head, wiping away a tear, then glancing in the mirror to see if her makeup had smudged. "Jack knows. I think Ronnie told him. Jack was a good mentor for Ronnie."
Chin recalled Steve's notes on the interview with Jack Moreland from the day before. The comments had not sounded in any way supportive of Wiseman.
Ally jumped up from the chair. "I've got to go."
"Thank you for your time," he replied, sticking his small notepad into his jacket pocket.
As Ally opened the door of the trailer, Chin spotted Ben at the bottom of the steps. Ally started to descend and suddenly slipped on a wet spot and started to fall. Ben leapt forward and caught her in his arms. As astonished as she was, she quickly wrapped her arms around his neck.
He set her carefully down on her feet on the ground. "You all right?"
"Yes, thanks to you!" She gave him a spontaneous kiss on the cheek, then hurried off towards the cameras.
Ben's face flushed from the moment, but as he turned to Chin his expression deepened. "Steve wants you to call Clara Williams and get over to the hospital," he said quietly.
Chin's expression did not change, although his body seemed to suddenly droop. "All right." He glanced around. "There are news teams all over here today. Two accidents in less than 24 hours -- they are all anticipating the next tragedy."
"Ally's slip almost gave it to them," Ben commented. He touched the wet spot that looked like water and rubbed his fingers together. "It's KY jelly."
Che Fong arrived at the hospital and located Steve outside of the ICU. "How is it going, Steve?"
He was grateful for Che's arrival, it would provide a moment or two of distraction. I have only Ben and Duke in the field right now -- I need to let Chin stay here and get back out, but somehow I just can't bring myself to leave. "What do you have, Che?"
"Ben's hunch was right -- we found remnants of dried lubricating jelly at the top of the stairway where Danny fell on the hand railing and on the step. Found traces on his left shoe also."
Steve gritted his teeth. "So we have a murder attempt after all."
"Looks that way -- and someone tried to do the same to Ally Stamper this morning." Che paused, then decided to say his mind anyway. "Steve, whoever had been on that stairway last night would have fallen."
But it wasn't anyone -- it was Danno. I wish it had been me. I wish it had been -- he stopped the thought. It's just that Danny is more capable than Ben. The department is hurting more without him than it would without Ben. But how could I think such a thing? And now we have to face that everyone in that cast is at risk. Steve scowled. What will the Governor say if I shut down the filming till this is cleared? But how can I do anything less?
"We also tracked the leak of the film clip to the media and there was no leak," Che continued. "It was another film. Somebody shot a home video and didn't turn it in. We're getting a copy from the TV station right now. It shows more of the window than ours did -- maybe it'll give us something new. And we have fingerprints on the marker -- came back blanks."
"Blanks?" Steve repeated. "Rickie Mattingly is the only person on that set who doesn't drive. Let's get him finger-printed and see what we find."
Che nodded and turned to leave. "Tell Danny we're all praying for him."
Steve nodded. Right about now I wouldn't mind finding a rosary somewhere and putting it to good use if I thought it would help. Superstition.
The heavy wooden door to ICU opened and Chin came out, spotted Steve and walked over to him. "Nothing new," he said before Steve could ask.
"Che found that the railing and stair tread had lubricating jelly on them. Someone also attempted to hurt Ally Stamper this morning on the set. I need to go shut the movie down and conduct more questioning," Steve said staring out of the window.
Chin stood besides him, also looking at the lush palms and blue sky beyond. "So why are you here?"
Steve gave a start. Why does he think I'm here?
Chin's usual stoic expression melted into one of frustration. "You think by being here you are going to make a difference to Danno in there?"
I had certainly hoped so, Steve thought, but was too astonished by Chin's attitude to reply.
"He's in a coma -- he doesn't know anything. You are here for yourself. Steve, I've known you fourteen years, but you got one hard head, bruddah."
What? He looked over at Chin in astonishment.
Chin turned to face him, anger blazing in his dark eyes, although little emotion was betrayed through his expression. "You are here instead of on the job because what's happening here is more personal to you. Being here with Danny is more important than Five-0."
"Right now what happens to Danny is Five-0," Steve attempted to defend himself.
"No it isn't -- he's your friend," Chin corrected. "And you feel responsible for him."
"I let him back on the job too soon."
"You think you could have stopped him? He's as pig-headed as you are," Chin snapped. "It is okay for you to put the job to the side for your friend -- but it's not okay for Ben to put it aside for the woman he loves."
"That's different," Steve retorted.
"Is it? Steve ." He hesitated. "I'm just gonna call this what it is: It's a stinking double-standard."
"How could --" He stopped, his earlier thought flashing to mind. I wished it was Ben who'd been injured. Is Chin right?
Chin turned his attention back out of the window. "If I didn't think so much of you, I wouldn't tell you. You need to make this right. You owe Ben Kokua a big apology."
Steve felt his pride balk at the thought and struggled to think the issue through.
"And -- " Chin added. "You need to stop acting like Danny's mother. He made his own choice; neither you nor Ben has to answer for it."
"Chin, you don't know --"
This time when Chin turned to Steve the anger and pain were plain on
his face. "You think I don't know how hard that is? I have children,
McGarrett, and some of them have made mistakes. And I watched Danny screw
his life up at the age of 18 and it was still following him three months
ago. And it kills me sometimes, but I am not responsible for it. And if
he dies from this, no matter what IAD thinks, he made this choice, not
you. But you are responsible for what's happened with Ben and Iliki --
and you need to make that right." His piece said, Chin stopped talking,
straightened his suit, crossed his arms and returned to staring out of
Steve arrived at the human resources office of HPD slightly late -- just by three minutes -- but for him it was unusual. He also had not had time to talk this over with John Manicote who now sat grimly next to him facing Hariett Balkin of HR and Chad Maxwell of IAD.
They were an unlikely pair. Hariett peered at him over her glasses, obviously used for reading, the beaded chain from the frames draping down around her neck. Her peppered hair was in tight permed curls -- similar to the tightness of her expression. The fifty-plus woman who looked like she might have made a wonderful doting grandmother glared at him with all the fierceness of a high school librarian.
Chad was all one would ever imagine from IAD. He was a young, ambitious Afro-American who, like Steve had arrived in Hawaii courtesy of the US Navy. Like Steve his history was in ONI, but he'd perhaps accurately seen his best advantage to be through Internal Affairs rather than on the street. His tailored suit was just slightly out of date, his shaved head adding to the premise of power.
"Mr. McGarrett," Hariett began, her hands folded on top of the file closed before her. "I would like you to explain for us what Mr. Williams' role is in the state police at present."
Without hesitation Steve replied. "Total disability."
Chad cleared his throat. "And what was it yesterday?"
Steve looked at him with a steady gaze. "Total disability."
Hariett assumed a puzzled expression. "And I must assume, as a department head, you attended the HR training program earlier this year regarding workman's comp benefits. It was a mandatory meeting."
"No, ma'am," he replied, aware she must already know this.
John spoke. "Five-0 is often excused from administrative meetings. They are a pretty active bunch."
Chad turned his icy glare on Manicote. "Are you here as McGarrett's legal representative?"
"Then why are you here at all -- officially?" he demanded. "This is not a hearing." A slight tight grin creased the edges of his mouth. "We're just doing some casual information gathering."
Casual? It feels like the inquisition, Steve thought.
"Then I am here as a casual observer -- at the request of Paul Jameson," Manicote replied calmly.
Hariett pushed her glasses up and opened her file. "It seems, Mr. McGarrett, that you have not attended an HR meeting in five years. Two years ago you sent Mr. Williams. That is the only time anyone from Five-0 attended."
He sat there without giving comment, an expression control on his face.
"So we must assume that Mr. Williams at least was aware of the restrictions of disability even if you were not."
If I agree, I will be admitting I did not know. If I claim I knew, I play into their hands. Steve wisely said nothing.
"Mr. Williams had injuries a little over three months ago that were initially submitted as work related. Upon investigation, HR decided the situation was not as a result of his employment," she advised.
"Excuse me?" Steve frowned.
"His abduction did not happen on the job. Nor was it related to his presence in Five-0. In fact," her voice grew more firm, "there are remarkably few words to explain exactly what did happen. But an abduction that does not happen on company time is not eligible for workman's comp."
This is old news, Steve thought. How does Chad fit into this?
"In the physician's report submitted by Dr. Bergman, Mr. Williams was placed on total short-term disability. I believe that benefit activated the second week of October, six weeks after his incident. When did he first return to work?"
Steve felt John's hand squeeze his knee. "He did not return to work, Mrs. Balkin."
Chad tossed up several reports onto the table. "Isn't this Mr. Williams' signature on these interrogation reports?"
"Yes," Steve admitted.
"And the date?"
He felt the color rising in his face. "November 1st."
"And this is a draft of a rather extensive project that was being conducted for Jonathan Kaye that was pulled from Mr. Williams' files in Five-0," Chad added. "There is work added two days ago."
Steve did not have to ask how he came to have it. Without a doubt, IAD had invaded Danny's office and pulled anything they thought of value. "He was volunteering his time."
"Volunteering?" Hariett repeated.
"As a volunteer he wasn't on the clock -- wasn't being paid," John explain. "If he wasn't being paid, then he did not violate his terms of disability."
Hariett looked smug. "Then the claim for nearly one hundred thousand dollars for care rendered in the last twenty-four hours will be disavowed by workman's comp. We don't pay workman's comp for volunteers."
Chad spoke up. "If Williams was well enough to be on volunteer duty -- then the claim for his total disability represents fraud."
Great. McGarrett stole a glance at Manicote.
John rose. "Okay. I believe this casual conversation is over. Five-0 is spread very thin right now and Mr. McGarrett doesn't have the time for your guesswork and hypothesis. When you have a specific grievance or charge, give us a call." Nearly pulling Steve with him, he left the room.
Sitting in the car outside in the hot sun Steve asked. "Is this as bad as it sounds?"
Manicote sighed. "It's worse than I hoped, but it's not that bad. It's really shell game -- who gets to pay the bill. Because Jameson is watching this, it is unlikely there will really be fraud charges. That is just a scare tactic."
"It's a good one," Steve replied.
Ben had called in four more uniformed officers in attempt to keep back crowds of the curious and photographer wanna-bes. The serious pavarotzi were beyond controlling. He had spotted several on rooftops, but their presence was not illegal unless the building owners complained. Jack Moreland had been less than his usual congenial self. When a helicopter buzzed the area, two shoots were ruined.
As soon as Andersen announced they were breaking for lunch, Ben spotted Rickie bolt for any place other than where he was. Tailing him was not particularly difficult, but Ben was mildly surprised when he followed him to a quiet park. He considered using this opportunity to talk with the boy, but just as he was about to announce his presence, heard someone call Rickie's name. The youth turned as Hans Andersen came down the path from amongst the shrubbery.
"Rickie," Hans said with a broad smile. "You look as though you have had a difficult morning." He motioned him to the wooden bench.
Rickie shrugged and sat stiffly down next to Andersen. "You followed me here."
"Yes," Andersen replied lifting his eyebrows. "I know you better than most. The 'bad boy' who is really a nature lover at heart." He gave a chuckle.
Rickie did not smile or laugh.
"Are you really such a bad boy?" Andersen asked softly.
Rickie placed his hands in his lap. "Why did you follow me?"
"Are you all right about Wiseman?"
"Wiseman? He was a fat slob," Rickie muttered. "But the word is somebody killed him."
"The word?" Andersen laughed again and placed an arm around Rickie's shoulder. "You know that gossip always abounds. Besides, do you care?"
"No," he replied, but not with conviction. "What about Ally?"
"What about her? Jack and she will make a nice pair, don't you think?" Andersen ran his fingers up and down Rickie's arm.
Rickie brushed him off. "Ally and Jack?"
"Oh come now -- you didn't for a moment -- " Andersen laughed. "She isn't your type."
Rickie frowned. "I thought --"
Andersen tisked and crossed his legs, leaning back against the bench, his face to the sun, arms wide, the left behind Rickie who sat at stiff attention beside him. He giggled and poked the boy in the back. "It is all going to be just fine. You'll see." When Rickie did not acknowledge, Andersen tickled his ear. "Come on, give me one of those charming smiles."
Rickie glanced at him, but did not smile.
"Who loves you, Rickie boy?"
"You do," he whispered looking at the ground.
"And won't I see to it you are safe?" Andersen asked. "And happy." He passed a small white packet to the boy, then leaned close to his ear: "And loved." He placed his hand between Rickie's legs against his groin area and squeezed gently.
Rickie nodded submissively. "Okay."
"Now, run along and play -- I'll see you back at the hotel in say an hour." Andersen rose.
Rickie continued to sit on the bench.
"And, Rickie," Andersen called as he left. "Don't be late."
The boy stuffed his face in his hands, elbows on his knees, staring into nothing.
Ben waited several minutes, then stepped out onto the path as though he had just happened along. "Afternoon, Rickie. Say, you look a little down."
He looked up, the act of defiance once again on his face. "Buzz off, fuzz."
Ben sat down next to him, a smile on his face. Okay, boy, you are in more trouble than you know. "Doing all right?"
"Just fine. Leave me alone."
"What's this?" Ben yanked the small envelope of powder from between Rickie's fingers. "Hey, is this what I think it is?"
"I don't know. What do you think it is," Rickie commented.
Ben dropped his friendly demeanor in favor of intimidation. "You are sitting on a park bench with crack in your hand. You think cause your some punk actor I can't stick you in juvie for that?"
He crossed his arms.
"Where's your father, tough guy?" Ben asked pulling Rickie to his feet.
"I don't know," he replied as Ben hand-cuffed him from behind.
"Well, my guess is you are going to want that attorney's help again."
And if I have him locked up that creep of a director isn't going to
be abusing him either.
"We did not find that hooker you mentioned yesterday," Ben told Rickie once the teen was secured in the interrogation room of HPD. He removed the hand-cuffs.
Rickie rubbed his wrists and gazed at the one way glass. "People watching us?"
"No," Ben lied. "You're pretty small time."
Rickie's expression was one of disappointment. "Oh."
"Kids and drugs are bad news -- but not big news, know what I mean," Ben commented.
"It wasn't my stuff," Rickie stated.
"In your hand."
"I was just getting it for my dad."
Ben smiled. "That's right -- your dad who was out looking for smack yesterday."
He nodded. "Yeah, right."
"Your dad agreed to take a drug screen, Rickie -- he's clean. How would yours turn out?"
He swallowed once.
"There wasn't a girl yesterday, was there?"
Rickie scowled again.
"This is a piece of crap," Duke declared flopping the movie script onto the seat of Steve's car as they headed for HPD. "It's a very weak attempt at a horror flick -- completely distorting the entire of Hawaiian heritage. Pele becomes a flesh devouring monster that tears people apart and eats them. What plot there is, revolves around Jack Moreland's character eventually blowing up this subterranean lair where the Pele beast lives and rescuing the character played by Ally. Somewhere in there Rickie's character gets eaten. The lava flows in and kills it -- maybe. Complete trash."
"Well, I appreciate your commentary," Steve remarked.
"Ben's got Rickie Mattingly locked up on a minor drug possession, so we have another media circus developing outside of HPD. Says he saw Andersen give the stuff to the kid -- and proposition him."
Steve navigated a turn. "Did you get a chance to dig up Andersen's past?"
"Married and divorced five times. No children. There has been stuff in the rag magazines for over a year about his freaky sex life." Duke shrugged. "Seems that he has a wide variety of tastes."
"Hum. Anything we can document?"
Called LAPD, they referred us to Santa Monica PD; they referred us to Pasadena -- you get the idea. Nobody talks about the folks down there that are making money." Duke shook his head.
By this time they were at HPD and the mob of reporters descended on the car. Steve and Duke forced their way out of the vehicle.
"McGarrett, is it true that you have arrested Rickie Mattingly?" one called.
"Is Mattingly tied to the death of Wiseman?"
"Is Mattingly being viewed as an adult?"
Steve ignored them all, without a word pushing through to the entrance of HPD. There were two very large shotgun armed officers on the doors who looked very determined. Even the toughest of the international news people weren't going to take them on.
Inside Steve exchanged looks with Duke and straightened his tie as the City desk officer called out to him. "McGarrett, I have Doc Bergman on the phone."
McGarrett turned to Duke as he headed for the phone. "Check in with Ben and get back to me."
Duke nodded and headed for the interrogation area.
"You want to be the real tough guy? Try the truth." The buzzer sounded and Ben went to the door.
"A minute," Duke from the other side commented.
Ben stepped outside closing the door behind him.
"Che reports the prints on the marker are Rickie Mattingly's. They got his prints from a soda can he used this morning."
Ben blinked. I've been thinking this kid is a victim. He doesn't fit the profile for a killer. "Does Steve know this?"
He nodded. "Says to stay at him."
Ben re-entered the room. "Why has Andersen been giving you the drugs, Rickie?"
He did not answer.
"In exchange for what?"
Rickie stared at the table top.
"I saw Andersen just about fondle you in public," Ben said quietly. "You trading sex for your coke?"
Rickie's eyes never left the table, but the knuckles of his hands, pressed together, were white.
"Rickie, talk to me now and we can keep things quiet. Wait for that attorney -- it will be harder for us to help you," Ben advised. "Tell me about Andersen."
"Nothing to tell."
"I saw him give you the drugs."
"I saw how he treated you. I'm not stupid. You are only 14. I can put an end to this for you. We can keep you safe."
He slowly shook his head. "I'd never act again. Just slap my wrist for the drugs. I can live with that. Everyone in Hollywood has a habit."
"You are a minor. Your dad will be arrested, too. What about that?"
He shrugged. "He's a jerk."
"Tell me where you were yesterday morning. It wasn't with a girl. Where was it?"
"I was clearing my head," he muttered.
"Clearing your head? Why?"
He shrugged and stared at the table.
He did not respond.
"Were you clearing it on the sixth floor of the Moana Surfrider?"
He looked up. "No."
"Your fingerprints place you in Ronnie Wiseman's room, Rickie."
His jaw dropped. "That's impossible."
"Why is it impossible?" Ben demanded.
"Because -- I wasn't there."
"Then you'd better be ready to prove where you were."
Steve felt his heart skip a beat as he snapped the phone from the officer's hand, Mattingly instantly forgotten. Oh please let this not be what I fear. Let it be word that Danny is improving. "Yeah, Doc."
"I have the results on the autopsy of Wiseman," Doc stated.
"What?" Steve asked, caught off guard.
"Che's hunch is right. He was dead before he went out the window. Cardiac stand-still."
"Can't find anything that would answer that. Heart was full of clots. If it wasn't for the dive out of the window, I would say it was natural causes."
"Will do," Bergman replied.
Steve wanted to ask about Danny, but resisted the urge. I have to look professional. If there is anything to say, Doc will say it. I must keep focused on the issues at hand.
Duke was waiting for information. "Everything okay?"
"Wiseman died from cardiac stand-still before he was tossed out the window," Steve explained. "Doc can't find anything that looks like it was unnatural. If someone could have killed him and left him to look like a natural death -- why throw him out of the window?"
"Maybe it was more about the sensationalism than it was Wiseman," Duke replied.
"Yeah." He paused. "Doesn't strike me as the mode or reasoning of a 14 year old. And Wiseman outweighted him at least three to one."
Ben looked up from his questioning of Rickie as Steve entered. He could feel his anxiety level immediately rise and wondered if Rickie saw it, too.
"Ben, let me visit with our young friend a for moment," Steve stated and Ben stepped back against the wall. Steve sat down opposite Rickie who gave him a less than interested look. "You get billed as the young rebellious type," Steve commented.
"Of course, that's just hype, right?" Steve leaned slightly forward. "After all, you told the officers yesterday you were missing from your scene because you were with a woman -- 'screwing' I believe is the term you used. That was a lie, wasn't it? You said your father was looking for drugs to support his habit -- that wasn't true either, was it? Perhaps your Dad was looking for drugs, but it is for your habit."
Rickie managed a slight grin.
"Or perhaps he wasn't buying drugs at all. Do you know where your dad was?" Steve waited. "Can he even verify where you were? Using drugs is one thing, murder another."
"I didn't kill anyone," Rickie said, looking up.
"Ronnie Wiseman had Allison Stamper's interest. How did you feel about that?"
He shoved his feet under his chair. "He was a slob."
"And as a slob, he did not deserve the cute girl. So you fixed that."
"No, I didn't do anything."
"You weren't on the set, Rickie. Your fingerprints are at the scene. You didn't like the guy. My guess is you wanted the girl for yourself. Why? Trying to get free from Andersen? You win both ways. You drop Wiseman onto the set, creating havoc and perhaps losing Andersen his film and you get to console the poor girlfriend left behind." Okay, Rickie, let's see what you will spill. You aren't as tough as you think. "You'd have a chance to get it on with her then. My guess is you've never been with a girl -- I mean really with a girl ever. Believe me -- it is better than what Andersen has given you."
Rickie raised his fists to the sides of his head, leaving sweaty palm prints on the slick table surface. "I didn't hurt Ronnie!"
"Because he was already dead before you dumped him?"
"No! I was never there!" he shouted. "I want my lawyer!"
"How do you explain your fingerprints in his room?"
Rickie's countenance was starting to crack. "I was there the day before. I went to see Ally."
"You saw Ally in Ronnie's room?"
"I wanted to see her. That was all. I just wanted to -- touch her."
"And did you?"
Tears were on his face. "She told me she knew I was a fag and said I was disgusting."
McGarrett adopted a sympathetic expression. Time to pull him in. "And that really made you angry. You weren't the one who was disgusting, Ronnie was. She hurt you."
He wiped the tears away. "I just wanted to be with her."
"She hurt you and someone needed to pay. Did you want Andersen to pay for all the terrible things he had done to you?"
Rickie sat, hands pressed to his face sobbing.
"Did you want to hurt Andersen by creating something that would stop production? You could get even with Ally and Andersen at the same time. It makes sense, Rickie."
He slowly shook his head. "I never went near Ronnie."
Steve leaned back away from Rickie for a moment, symbolizing he was giving Rickie a break. "Have you studied Edgar Alan Poe in school?"
He blinked. "What?"
"Edgar Alan Poe. Who was he? Ever hear of a poem entitled The Raven?"
He shrugged. "I think I've heard the name. Who cares."
Steve did not detect any changes, no nervous reactions or shifting of the eyes. Rickie appeared to be unconcerned about the reference to Poe. If that is true, he wouldn't be writing 'Nevermore' on the room wall. Rickie is a messed up kid, but he is a victim not a killer. He leaned closer again, this time an expression of concern on his face. "Rickie, I want to help you."
Rickie sneered. "Yeah, right. You think I killed Ronnie."
"I can help you get free of Andersen. Isn't that what you want?"
"Help me get free by sending me to jail for something I didn't do?"
Steve glanced over at Ben, then back at Rickie. "Officer Kokua knows Andersen has forced you to have sex with him. But unless you will help us, we cannot prove it and we cannot stop him."
There was a knock at the door. An officer stuck his head in. "Boy's father and attorney are here."
"Just a minute," Steve snapped. "Rickie, do you want our help?"
He was frightened, panicked, glanced at the closed wooden door, then forced his defense of bravado over his emotion. "I want my lawyer."
Steve gave a nod towards Ben who slipped out the door.
Rickie looked alarmed when the door closed and no lawyer appeared. "Hey! My lawyer's supposed to be here."
"He will be shortly."
"You can't do this."
"Yes I can." Steve replied coolly. "Rickie, everything we have suggests that you were involved in Wiseman's murder."
"I did not kill Ronnie," Rickie declared.
"The evidence says otherwise," Steve commented without excitement.
"What evidence?" Rickie sneered.
"Seen a marker like this one?" He held up a red sharpie. "One like it was found in Ronnie's room -- your prints were all over it."
He stopped and frowned. "So -- there are millions of markers in the world."
"Well, millions did not write the phrase 'nevermore' on Ronnie's wall. That one did -- there was plaster dust in the felt tip of it."
Rickie's anger slipped just a little. "But I didn't -"
"How did the marker get your fingerprints?"
"We use markers like that to make notes on the script. I probably used it."
"And then it just flew to Ronnie's room?" Steve looked up at him closely. "You're on record saying you didn't like Ronnie."
"That doesn't mean I'd kill him!"
"No, it doesn't. But the evidence does -- unless you can give another explanation."
Rickie sat still, out of words.
Steve came face to face with Rickie. "There is something you have to really think about. If you did not kill Ronnie, there is someone out there who wants to make it look like you did. Know anyone who would want you out of the way?"
His look was one of terror. "Someone -- no -- who would ."
"You tell me, Rickie. You have probably pissed off more than one person in your lifetime."
"But nothing serious -- it's just joking," the boy stammered.
"Well, no one's laughing now," Steve muttered. "You need to tell me everything you can about Hans Andersen. I know that he has received accusations of inappropriate behavior on three occasions, managed to get away with it every time. Somehow all his accusers seem to just change their minds. Why is that, Rickie?"
He rubbed his hands together nervously. "How would I know?"
Ben stepped out of the room and was confronted abruptly by Rickie's father and the attorney from the day before.
"I believe you are interrogating my client who also happens to be a minor without the presence of counsel or a responsible adult," the lawyer declared.
Ben glanced at the father. "Oh, he's supposed to be a responsible adult?"
"Everything Rickie has told you I will have suppressed," the lawyer said without missing a beat.
"Well," Ben gave a small smile, "I guess that depends on what he's telling us doesn't it? Mr. Mattingly, may I speak with you for just a minute?" He gestured towards the other interrogation room across the hall.
Larry Mattingly glanced at the attorney.
"Oh, he's welcome to come, too," Ben assured him. And while I have you two, Steve will have Rickie. Once the door had closed them into the room Ben motioned the two men to chairs. "Mr. Mattingly, Rickie is having some trouble accounting for his time yesterday morning. Were you with him?"
"You don't have to answer that," the lawyer snapped.
Ben shrugged. "He is, of course, right. You don't have to answer it. But your son could sure use some help if you know where he was."
The father crossed his arms. "Rickie tells a lot of tall tales. Whatever he told you about me -- or where I might have been is likely untrue."
Ben eased back in the chair, attempting to look harmless. "Well, we know he wasn't telling it straight about where he said he was. No hooker."
"Look, I don't know where the kid was. I slept in that morning. He took off."
"That's too bad," Ben said with a sigh. "You see, Larry, I don't think Rickie killed Ronnie Wiseman, but there is someone who wants us to think he did. Do you know anyone who would want to do that?"
Larry gave an open, innocent look. "No idea."
Rickie isn't the only actor in this family.
Ben looked at his notepad. "How many films has Rickie been in the Hans Andersen directed?"
"This is his third. Andersen likes the energy between Ally and Rickie on the screen."
Ben placed his hands on the table. "Andersen likes Rickie's energy all right, but it has nothing to do with the silver screen. Has Rickie ever told you that Andersen has been inappropriate with him?"
"In---" Larry's face went pale. "Sonofabitch, what are you telling me?"
"I am fairly certain that Andersen has been forcing Rickie to have sexual relations with him."
Mattingly leapt to his feet, fury on his face and hands fisted. "That's a lie! Rickie's gone too far this time!"
Ben had also risen in a hurry, taking a wise defensive step backward from Mattingly. "Rickie did not tell me this; I saw Andersen's behavior with him myself. We are trying to find out more from Rickie in order to help him." Dammit, this guy is madder at his son than at that pervert Andersen.
Larry started for the door, but Ben blocked his path. "Outta my way! I'll beat that little bastard!"
Ben forcibly held him back, with the lingering question in his mind of whether the father meant Andersen or Rickie.
The lawyer intervened. "I think this has gone far enough. I want to see Rickie Mattingly now or I will report that Five-0 is interfering with a suspect's right to counsel." He did not seem the least impressed by Ben's disclosure or by Larry's outburst.
"This is a frigging circus," Larry Mattingly snapped with a growl at Ben. He stepped back, attempting to settle himself.
The attorney and Mattingly followed Ben across the hallway where Ben
knocked on the door. As Steve opened it, he spotted the pair and opened
the door to admit them
Steve gave a grim smile. "He's all yours, counselor. And, by the way, the DA says he will be pushing to try Mattingly as an adult." He and Ben left the room.
The lawyer placed his brief case on the table. "What did you tell them?"
Rickie sat on the edge of the straight chair. "It's just the drugs, no big deal."
"They're going to accuse Andersen of all kinds of crap to get the attention off of Wiseman's stunt," his father declared.
"Stunt?" Rickie muttered. "They said somebody killed Ronnie. They say they have evidence that says it was me."
"Sensationalism, Rickie. Who would have cared enough to kill that fat tub?"
Rickie looked at his hands in his lap. "Ally liked him."
"Just a stupid girl, Rickie. Mark my words, when this blows over the girls will be all over you. All over -- you'll have your pick of any of them. Allison Stamper isn't anything. You'll have women in those tight little bikinis grabbin' at you, their knockers fairly poppin' out " Larry announced, mentally contemplating girls in tight little bikinis in his own future.
Rickie glared at the floor wondering what girl would want him if she knew of his experiences at the hands of Andersen.
"Right now we just have to get you out of here. Isn't that right?" Larry turned to the attorney.
"They will want him remanded with no bail -- if they go for murder one," the attorney declared. "If they had just charge him with drugs, there won't be a problem getting bail. He is a minor, a celebrity, not a flight risk. The producers would meet a million dollar bail and never flinch."
"So since he's a minor," the dad scoffed, "what can they do to him even if they decide he's guilty?"
"Dad!" Rickie declared in frustration. "I didn't do anything to Ronnie!"
The attorney ignored him, speaking to Larry. "There are occasions when a teen can be tried as an adult. I would like to hope this will not be one of them, but ." he shrugged his shoulders.
"But I didn't kill him, how can they say I did?" Rickie asked.
The attorney leveled an emotionless gaze on him. "This is the grownup world, Rickie. It isn't about the truth. It is about what can be proved."
Rickie's last vestige of tough guy melted away. He doubted that his lawyer believed him; he was sure his father did not. And if I told Dad about Andersen, he wouldn't believe that either. He looked like a frightened young teen. He swallowed once, and asked the attorney: "You can make this right , can't you?"
End part 4