The Punishment Fits the Crime
Disclaimer: All characters
are borrowed (with great reverence) and I promise to give them back after
I'm done. Didn't make any money doing this. Thanks and appreciation
to Karen Rhodes who beta read and advised. All feedback gratefully
There were sounds of men's voices and laughter mixed with a few musical tones from piano keys drifting up the darkened hallways of Princess Kapiolani Senior High School. The lights were ablaze in the auditorium as practice was in session for the Police Benevolent Association's annual show.
The three men on stage stood around playing with microphones like school boys while their lead singer, Rich Lawee, huddled over the piano with Dan Williams. "They keep missing their spot to come in," Rich fussed.
Danny scatched out a chord on the score with a pencil, then slipped the pencil back behind his ear. "It'll work."
"No, it won't." Rich looked up at the men on stage. "Jacko, this is an English song--try to make it sound that way. Gilbert and Sullivan weren't from Hilo."
Jacko waved an arm. "It's 9:30, brudder. I gotta get home and you gotta report on duty in forty-five minutes."
Rich scratched his head. "One more time, okay?"
Danny struck a major chord. "Start at the measure there---" He pointed it out. "That's the trouble spot."
"Okay." Rich hurried over and leapt up onto the stage. He listened as the piano played the lead in, then sang: "When the cut-throat's finished jumping on his mother..."
The other three chimed in: "Oh his mother."
"He loves to lie abasking in the sun."
"In da sun."
Rich winced at the Hawaiian accent he'd heard but kept going: "Ah, take one consideration with another..."
"The policeman's lot is not a happy one..."
"When constabulary duties to be done..."
"To be done."
"A policeman's lot is not a happy one."
The guys gave a hoop or two, satisfied with their performance. Jacko jumped off the stage. "Gotta run," he announced before Rich could suggest another run-through. The other two were right behind him.
Rich picked up his cap and twirled it once in his hands. "Well, I guess we all make sacrifices."
Danny stacked up the sheet music. "Guess so."
"Thanks for all the support."
"Any time, Rich." He watched Rich head down the hallway and grinned. Rich was a success story if ever there was one. Raised in the ghetto of Chinatown,no dad, a drug addict mom, Rich had gotten in PAL at the age of ten and beat the odds. Danny couldn't have been more proud if he'd been his own son. Now, one year out of the academy, Rich was well on the road to an outstanding career in law enforcement.
The panic bar on the heavy glass door clanged as Rich exited the rear door of the gymnasium. Still humming the song they had practiced, he headed across the south parking area towards his patrol car. He liked to leave it on the edge of the lot near the two story housing project in hopes that it would somehow impart a few hours of civil obedience by its presence. However, the two closest mercury lamps of the lot were burned out and Rich doubted that right now anyone even saw the car in the shadows.
"Cops, man!" warned a frightened voice.
Feet scuffled on the damp pavement as the
huddle of five people broke apart.
One jumped at him, thrusting a knife forward.
He drove it into Rich beneath the
"Let's got outta here, man!" one boy yelled. "Come on! Come on!" They scattered like ship rats.
Rich, clutching his abdomen, collapsed to the cement. He dragged himself towards the patrol car, gasping for breath. He managed to get the door open, sprawled half across the seat, half out of the door, and reached a bloody hand for the radio. "Officer down....officer...needs......" He lost consciousness.
The dispatcher's anxious voice came back. "Location please." With no response, she quickly announced: "All units. All units. Officer down unknown location. Repeat, officer down unknown location." It was the most difficult of messages.
Danny left the auditorium from the opposite side Rich had for he was parked along the street. Before he reached the car, he could hear dispatch on his radio giving the anxious all points bulletin. It was going to be a long night for somebody. He started the engine and switched on his lights, deciding to tour the town and help look. As he rounded the corner of the school, he noticed Rich's parked patrol car. He froze, his heart skipping a beat. This was wrong. With an all units call working, the young officer should have been long gone from here. Leaving his car in the middle of the street, Danny, gun drawn, approached the patrol car with cautious haste. Even before reaching it, he could tell the driver's door was open on the far side and he was praying this wasn't what he knew it had to be. He skidded around the side of the car. "Oh no." With one hand, he grabbed the radio while, with the other, he checked Rich's pulse. "Central, this is Williams. Officer down, Kapiolani Senior High, south parking lot. I need backup and an ambulance."
Her voice sounded less anxious. "Ten four. Any unit vicinity of Kapiolani High respond please...."
He tuned her out. Rich was alive, just barely. Danny dragged him out of the car and lay him flat on the pavement. He ripped open the shirt, noting that the attacker had been aware how to penetrate his victim beneath the bullet-proof vest. He glanced around the dark street. No one in sight. Aside from the sound of sirens in the distance, all was quiet. He turned back to Rich. He wasn't breathing. Danny positioned him and started artificial respiration. There seemed to be resistance when he puffed in. The skin was clammy. "Don't die on me, Rich," he murmured. "Hang in there, Brudder. Help's coming."
The sirens were louder.
anny continued the artificial respiration and attempting to control the visible bleeding, but he knew the massive injuries were inside where nothing but surgery was going to help. He glanced around again, knowing there had to be people in the apartments who knew what was happening. He caught sight of one silhouette. The person turned around and closed the curtain. He breathed again into Rich. "Anybody, I need help!" He hollered loudly, but knew there would be no response.
Headlights suddenly threw light into the parking lot as the first squad car pulled in. Two officers jumped out.
Danny breathed into Rich's mouth again. "Try to control the bleeding," he said between breaths as one knelt beside him.
The officer turned to his partner, hesitating a moment. The partner handed him the first aid box.
More sounds, light flashing red, blue, and white. The ambulance pulled into the lot and the medics came running with their tackle box.
Danny looked up, relieved. "Take over, will you?" he asked them.
One leaned over Rich for a quick assessment
and shook his head. "He's dead, Dan."
Che Fong's lab crew assembled everything they had in a line of shoe boxes; each piece of evidence labeled and placed with care into a ziplock bag. Steve McGarrett, Danny Williams, and Duke Lukela now stood before him awaiting his report.
"Lots of things were found at the site," Che started, "but probably most of them have nothing to do with Lawee's murder." He picked up one speciman bag containing a beer bottle. "Inside was dry; dust and dirt on the outside. Had probably been there a few days." He picked up a different bag containing a 3cc syringe. "Traces of heroin inside the needle and barrel. Blood type O positive taken off the needle. One thumb print on the plunger. Sent that for identification. It had been used recently--less than twenty four hours, but---"he shrugged, "--it doesn't mean that it was used by the killer."
"But it may have been," Steve replied.
"Rich must have surprised some kids shooting up," Danny commented.
"Maybe," Steve interjected.
"We did get hair samples--lots of them--from Lawee's clothing. Again, probably inconclusive. There was a smear of grease on his left forearm. I thought it was off the squad car at first, but I tested it. It's not what our mechanics use. So, that may be the only positive lead we have. It's G-359 grease. Used for military aircraft until a few years ago. It's not made anymore."
"Military still using it?" Duke asked.
"They replaced it with a silicone based product five years ago."
"Where could someone get it now?" Steve asked.
"You used to be able to buy it at Army Navy stores. It's possible the killer had it at his home. But lots of people do--some of your best mechanics," Che explained.
"Our killer may be a mechanic then?" Danny demanded.
"Easy, Danno. Things may be just a little
more slippery than that," Steve cracked.
Steve glanced at Danny and Duke. "Well,
if it's all we have, then we'll see where it goes. Duke, check the Army-Navy
store, see if anyone is still stelling the stuff. And see if they have
supplied any local car or aircraft shops." An idea occurred to him. "And
check with the high school--see if they use G-359 in their auto shop or
bus barn." He gazed at the small slide of grease in Che's hand.
It sure wasn't much.
Steve returned to the office with Danny
to await the findings of the coroner.
"You sleep at all last night?" Steve asked in sympathy.
He shook his head. "No point trying."
McGarrett raised an eyebrow. "Why don't you take the rest of the day off, try to get some rest. We're not going to get any quick breaks on this."
"We probably aren't going to get much at all," Danny responded bluntly. "These random killings happen all the time and most are never solved. We've got a file full."
Steve was going to try to find something encouraging to say when the intercom buzzed. "Yes, Jenny."
"Ms. Anna Marie Lawee is here."
He sighed. "Send her in."
Before he'd finished that last word, the door was open and the young woman rushed in. Anna Maria was determined and aware of how to get by in this world. She, like her brother, had escaped her poverty through determination and hard work. She had watched her mother and four older siblings slowly kill themselves with drugs. Her baby brother, Rich, had been her last living family member. Now, her composure was a mix of anger, sorrow, and fatigue. When she spoke, her voice cracked. "I just want to say this is all your fault," she announced to Danny.
"Anna Marie-" he said quietly.
"You and your--your great police society. Richie was your golden boy--ghetto kid made good. I told you something bad would happen! You all are so damned self-righteous; keeping Richie clean, showing him a way out of the poverty! No drugs for your golden boy! Well, drugs killed him anyway!" She started to cry.
Steve intervened. Taking her by the shoulders, he guided her to a chair.
She allowed him to seat her before continuing. "You killed him. Might as well have left him to the streets."
"You don't really mean that," Steve said quietly. "Your brother was making a good career for himself. He believed in what he was doing."
"He died because from the time he was ten
Danny filled his head with glorious ideas of saving society. Why didn't
you just leave him alone?" she pleaded at Danny.
She clenched her fists. "Don't you patronize me!"
McGarrett took over the conversation. "Every officer who puts on that uniform decides for himself to take the risks that go with the job. Rich was no fool. He knew the odds and made that decision for himself. And he was a good officer --the best. And right now the best we can do for him is to find his killer and bring that person to justice."
Her tear-streaked face turned towards him. "And have you?"
"Have I what?"
"Found his killer?"
He sat down on the edge of his desk, facing
her. "These things take time--and atience. There are leads and we are
following up on every one."
Bergman always seemed to be rumpled. Only once did Steve remember seeing him in a suit. He supposed corpses didn't mind if the doctor wore jeans and hadn't ironed his lab coat.
"Pretty cut and dried, Steve," Bergman remarked. "Lawee took a six inch blade in the abdomen, upward thrust through the duodenum, stomach, diaphragm. He died of massive hemorrhage as proven by the collection of over three liters of blood in the peritoneal cavity. The only unusual finding I have is this." He pointed to the microscope.
Steve peeked through the lens. "What is it?" he asked, looking at what resembled tiny translucent blocks.
"I don't know. It was in the body along
the knife pathway. It was on the knife before Lawee was stabbed. I'm sending
the slide samples on to Che Fong. Maybe he can ID it for you."
Gino Wang had not gone to school. He didn't go often, but today was a very good day not to attend. He didn't want to go past the parking lot. He lay in the sun on the roof of his apartment thinking about ways to run away.
"There you are," came the voice of Frankie Summon. He came out of the door onto the roof. "You didn't make school."
"Nope," he answered without opening his eyes. "Did you?"
Gino glanced at him. "You got more guts than brains."
Frankie sat down next to him. "Ain't nothin' gonna happen, man. I told you last night. Nobody knows nothin', so just act like everything's cool."
"Easy for you to say."
"Look, who can talk?"
"Do you know the guy we were buyin' from?" Gino demanded.
He nodded. "Artie? He's cool man."
"Cool, huh? He iced that cop, man. He knows we saw him do it."
"We don't know nothin'," Frankie hissed again, grabbing Gino's shirt. "You weren't there, you didn't see nothin'. You can't ID anybody. You got that?"
Gino slowly tugged his shirt free from Frankie grasp, scowling. "If I get away from here I won't have ta talk to anybody. I don't trust this Artie guy."
"What's to trust? He knows you won't talk." Frankie flashed a grin. "What're you gonna say? 'I was buying dope from this dude when a cop surprised us, so the seller stuck a knife in him.'?"
Gino rubbed the roof gravel off of his elbow. "But does he know that?"
"Gino," Frankie insisted, "everything is just fine."
"What if he says we did it? You hear all the time about guys getting picked up on drugs and gettin' off because they squealed on something bigger. It doesn't get any bigger than killing a cop."
Frankie was a little slower with a response. "He don't want trouble, Gino. All you gotta do as act normal."
Gino shook his head. "But it ain't normal, Frankie. That guy's dead."
"He was a cop, Gino. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Gino lay back down on the roof, eyes closed, his mind still working feverishly on a way out. He had no faith in Frankie.
Frankie seemed to read his mind. "Gino."
"Don't get any ideas about Artie, you hear
me? He's got bigger guys behind him you don't know anything about."
Che glanced up at him for the third time, wishing he was some place else. "I can call you when I have an answer," he offered.
Danny slumped down onto the stool by the door. "I can wait."
Che rarely expressed his feelings and now was no exception, but he was not happy. He pulled down a new text and examined the crystalline formation again. "I can get close--but I can't single out the compound. It's something like talc, but not exactly."
"Baby powder?" Danny muttered.
"Baby powder contains talc--so does make-up."
He gazed at Che. "Make-up? You think some girl toted a six inch knife in her bag and killed Rich?"
"I think it's too early to say that. I
said it's like talc, not that it is talc. It could be a make-up compound,
but I'm not sure. Make-up sticks together more. This is isolated blocks
that are no cohesive." Che thought for a minute. "Tell you what: Why don't
you run this down to Professor Wilson at the University. See what he thinks."
Wilson knew Danny. Most of the professors at U of H did. Danny came in to do seminars for both Criminal Justice and Psychology. Wilson was head of the chemistry department. He smiled when Danny handed him the slide.
"Let's see here." Before placing it in a microscope he held it up to the light and gazed at it. "How old is this?"
Danny shrugged, glancing at his watch. "Twenty hours."
He gave a grandfatherly smile. "Then I can assume it has been longer than that since you slept."
"Why is everyone so damned interested in my sleep patterns?" he grumbled.
"Looked in a mirror lately?"
He let it go by. "Can you help me?"
Wilson gave a chuckle. "Here." He handed
him a copy of Scientific American. "Go relax in my office. This'll take
a few minutes."
"I know what your compound is," he announced.
"Yes?" Steve replied.
"It's a fine sand--a special absorbing sort. Used to be used to absorb extra ink before the advent of quick drying ink and ball point pens."
"How long ago is that?"
"Seventy years. Maybe a little less."
"Is this that old?"
"Hard to say, but I'd assume so. There might be some artists who use it for special effects. To be honest, I don't even know that you can still buy the stuff."
"Thank you, Professor." Steve hung up the
phone and rocked back in his chair at the desk, jabbing a pencil at his
note pad. Two clues that somehow fit. Both G-359 and the absorbing sand
were old--no longer on the market, but Lawee's killer had access to both.
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