When The Song Dies
by Peg Keeley


Mali hurriedly opened the door at the first knock. "My God, Danno, what did they do to you?"

"Nothing much." He came uneasily into the room.

"Mr. Athers?" She motioned to the lawyer.

He stood in the doorway. "Miss Kanae, your friend here is in a lot of trouble. I'm not sure you really want to be seen with him. His hearing will be next Monday." He hesitated a moment. "You might convince him to give the police the information they want. They seem convinced he's not behind this. It would be in his own best interest to co-operate. Well," he paused again, "good evening, Mr. Williams, we'll be seeing each other again."

She shut the door as he left, then pulled Danny to the couch. "Come on, sit down. Let me see that bruise."

"Don't bother," he answered, taking a seat.

She disappeared in the bath, then returned with a washcloth and ice from the ice bucket.

He flinched as she pressed it against his jaw and lip. "Interesting twist, isn't it?" he remarked.

"What is?"

"I've never had a day of trouble till you came back. You know those morons you've got working for you set me up."

"I know," she replied, sliding close beside him. "I'm really sorry about it all. Alf's such a jealous baby."

"Jealousy? You think that's all this is about?"

She shrugged. "Well, yeah. Alf just thinks he has to be the lead pack dog or something." She giggled. "You just have to get used to him."

"I'd rather not. Mali, I think they're pushing drugs."

Her eyes narrowed slightly. "What makes you say that."

He wrestled for an instant about telling her everything, and thought better of it."They got those drugs to plant on me."

She lowered her gaze. "They don't sell, they buy."

"For you."

She nodded, blushing. "It's really not a big thing, Danno. I just use a little from time to time. It helps me relax before a concert. I'm not a junky."

He didn't respond.

She hurried to continue her reasoning. "You know, just like some people use coffee to wake up in the morning. Alf and Randall are good guys really. They'd do anything for me."

Anything? "Coffee's not illegal. And you're fooling yourself, Mali, those guys are no good. Did they get you hooked?"

She frowned. "I'm not hooked." She tossed the washcloth to the coffee table, frustration suddenly venting. "Why are you so black and white? Most of life is really sort of gray. It's all relative, you know?"

He took her hand to draw back her attention. "Mali, I've spent twenty years trying to tell myself you're a pompous brat, but all the while, unable to keep from following your every move. I care about you. I don't want to see you get ruined by these guys. They're into something big. It'll get you hurt--maybe worse."

There was a silence for a moment as she stared at him with her deep black almond eyes. Then she giggled. "Oh, Danno, you are so dear--and so naive." She pulled her hand away. "Did you really think you could walk back into my life after twenty years and have me fall at your feet?"

He felt indignation rising. He rose. "I didn't ask to come here--that was your idea. I didn't have to do anything." He headed for the door. "I've gotta be going. Thanks for the bail out. I'll pay you back." It was not what he felt, but at this moment, he wasn't sure what he did feel. He yearned to tell her the truth, perhaps then she'd believe him about Alf and Randall. They'd killed one man, would they kill her, too? If the steaks were high enough he believed they would. He paused at the door, again uncertain of where Mali fit in to this whole picture. He could still see her as the child he shared popsicles with, the young girl he shared love with. "Mali, they're planning a big sale. That's why they set me up. They don't want me around when it goes down."

She came to him. "Who told you that?"

"It's pretty obvious, isn't it?" He shook his head. "It had to be something big for them to get me arrested. They wanted me out of the way. Alf got mad when you hired me. He is serious business. I could have got killed today. You could be in real danger."

She gave a little strangled laugh. "Alf? Dangerous? He's a big cuddly teddy bear. Alf would die for me. He loves me--maybe more than I desire. Without me, he wouldn't have a life."

He looked away from her. "Well, maybe so. I'd best just leave you with the guy who worships you. Godhood has to be tricky at best."

She hurried to him, pulling his hand back from the door. "Look, I'm sorry about all this. Really. It's not as bad as it seems." She carefully placed her arms around his neck. "We don't have a lot of time--let's not spend it fighting. I really do want to be with you."

He scowled, aware he had just experienced another of Mali's amazing mode shifts that seemed to change her entire being like turning on a light switch. In high school, I thought that was cute. I liked that spontaneity about her. It's not so cute anymore; something is really wrong with her. He felt the urge to protect her from Alf, Randall, the world, and herself. "Malama, you're a hard woman to know."

She smiled, this time seductively. "Isn't that when it's the best?" She kissed him gently on the lips, tenderly avoiding the injury. "You were my first love, Danny Boy, no one will ever change that."

He gazed into her dark face, wishing things were different, trying to keep it all in perspective. "Haven't you heard? You can't go home again." Does she even know who Thomas Wolf was?

She didn't seem phased at all. "I told you, didn't I? Your first love never really leaves you," she whispered into his ear, then nibbled his lobe.


"Ssssh." She embraced him and kissed him passionately. She drew him towards the patio. "Look, Danno. A full moon tonight. If only we had our beach."

He knew exactly what she meant. He recalled that warm senior prom night, the iridescent droplets of salt water reflecting the moon light on Mali's soft flawless skin. Every moment of that night of first love was fresh before him as the Mali of today stood in the full moon of this night.

She embraced him, running her fingers up through his hair, then pressed her mouth to his in a fierce passion as if to force the clock to turn back twenty years.

A small voice scolded him that he should put out this fire. This isn't the time, no matter what she says. She is still a suspect and this is an undercover assignment. I do this and it could blow the case. He started to pull away, but Mali held on tighter, issuing a tiny moan of protest. Her perfume enveloped him. The same scent he had always known to be hers. Her hands were stroking his neck, his face, his back. He could feel her body pressing against his, just thin sheets of clothing between them.

He took her in his arms and returned the kiss, immersing himself in her desire. It really did seem like the clock was turning back as he felt his better judgement yielding to hopes long dead and an old love that had never died. You never really leave your first love.

There was the clean sound of splashing water as Danny roused from a sound sleep. It took a moment to place his surroundings. The sun streamed through the open balcony sliding door and the curtain drifted lazily in the breeze. He glanced at his watch as he sat up. Nearly 10 o'clock. There was the smell of hot coffee and he realized he was hungry and hadn't eaten since lunch the day before. By the couch was a room service cart with coffee and danish. He half dressed, then helped himself.

I can't believe I was so stupid. Yet even as he considered the night, he felt a passion for Mali that he had known years ago. Maybe certain people really are just meant for each other. I would have chosen Lani to go through this life with. Lani. A wave of guilt washed over him. She would never have even considered sexual relations before marriage. What would she think of this? What opposites. Lani who was pure, honest, loving, giving to all with no thought for herself. Mali, a border-line schizophrenic, junkie, self-centered, ego manic. Yet I was drawn back to her like a magnet. What do I do now? Get off this case. How? Do I just walk away? Tell her what and who I am and what I know?

He took a sip of coffee. It was good, the nutty aroma filled his head and he tried to clear his mind. What do I really know? Is Mali a victim or a co-conspirator? She is at the very least into a drug habit. That could be dealt with later. Get her cleaned up--then what? Do I give up my life and chase her across the continents for the next umteen years? Or do I expect her to become the model wife with a houseful of little kids and dirty laundry? Neither of those scenarios seemed likely. He considered the night before and his feelings, not sure what to believe about himself. He would not ever have imagined he could become so intimately involved with her again. The old pain of rejection had been etched deeply upon his life for years--could it have really been so totally wiped away in one night? Had it ever existed? There is no future for us. Keep my mind on the job. The drugs. Where did they come from? How did Alf get them in? What does he plan to do with them? I could find them without problem. It's taking out Alf and Sanders together that will be the trick. And what of Mali? What of Mali.

He bit into a cheese danish. Mali sneezed twice in the bath and the flavor went out of the food. She'd just snorted her morning fix. The romance and charm was broken.

The bath door opened and she appeared in a lovely mint green sleeveless top and white shorts. She gazed at him. For some unexplainable reason, he felt suddenly embarrassed to be standing there bare chested with a danish in hand. She smiled and skipped giddily across the floor. "Isn't it a beautiful morning?"

He smiled slightly. "It's fine, Mali."

"Don't you wish we could stay here forever?" She ran a hand across his chest. Her finger hesitated a moment over the peculiar starburst scar over his sternum. For a moment, he thought she would ask about it and hoped she wouldn't. "We did it," she said instead, hugging him.

"We did?"

"We turned back time! It is all ours again!" She giggled. "You'll come with me now, right? There isn't anything for you here that could replace me, is there?"

He broke the embrace gently and turned to pick up his shirt. "Look, Mali, about last night-"

"Oh, hush, Danno, don't go and say something to spoil it. Don't tell me you have a fiancée hiding around somewhere."

"Nothing like that," he replied quietly.

"Good." As if that concluded the conversation, she raced around the room like a school child, threw open the curtains to the balcony and stood out upon it like a stage. "The world's at my feet! Tonight will belong to me!" She raised her arms towards the morning breeze. Her face was flushed with excitement--and cocaine.

He finished dressing, careful not to be noticed tucking the pistol he'd wrapped in his shirt back behind him in his belt. "I'd better go, Mali."

She spun in surprise. "Go? Go where? Just like that?"

"Your buddies are going to wonder where I am."

"I don't care; why should you?"

"I don't care about them. I care about you--now more than ever. They're bad business. I don't trust them. And I don't like seeing you strung out on cocaine. If you are serious about us being together prove it. Drop them and get enrolled in a drug rehab program. I will be there for you. I'll help you."

She laughed at him, gesturing to his coffee. "You get your morning fix, why shouldn't I?" She slapped her hand on her leg in sudden irritation. "You're just like Alf, just like him. One night and possessive as hell."

"This has nothing to do with being possessive. I'm interested in your future. Alf and Randall are headed for trouble and so are you unless you leave them right now. They will get caught. You know that. And when they tell the cops they're buying for you, what then? If they were your real friends they'd see you got help, not drugs."

She stood, hands on hips, face now flushed with anger. "My dear straight arrow, Danno. Out on bail for drug possession and still you sound like the white knight. You didn't squeal on Alf and Randall. I thought you might have changed a bit, but you haven't. You need to be a little more flexible. You need a nice little drug habit--help you unwind a bit."

He didn't answer for a moment. He, too, was realizing things hadn't really changed. Mali would never be what he wished. If he had been about to share the truth with her, he was thinking better of it now. Could it be she is in on this with them? He dismissed it. They are using her drug habit to hide what they do. Not even Mali would ever smuggle drugs. Didn't she do that commercial last year telling kids about the dangers of drugs? He couldn't look her in the eye, if he did he knew she would know something was happening. "I'd better go get some work done."

Mali was not accustomed to being put off. Her once loving eyes blazed with fury. Warmth a gaiety faded from her face. "You need to see the real world, Danny. I am a real person with big things happening. You couldn't possibly understand the pressure. Don't you judge me! I gave you a chance to be with me. I asked you. I've never asked that of anyone else!" She snatched up her purse. She yanked out a dry cleaning slip. "Well, 'go'fer,' know where the Sparking Cleaners is on Makapau? I left two dresses there yesterday. Get 'em to my dressing room."

Danny met Duke at the prearranged spot on a bench of a bus stop. Sitting side by side, Duke with newspaper spread across his knees, they were quiet for a moment.

"Heard you had a wild night," Duke remarked.

Danny looked over at him in shocked surprise. God, has he been tailing me?

"I meant at the police station," Duke added, but instantly concluded the truth. "Watch yourself, Bruddah."

He stared down at the pavement instead of at Duke. "I'm pretty sure they're going to transfer the drugs tonight. Alf's been nervous as a cat all day. I overheard his comment to Randall about being relieved after tonight was over."

"Well, the drugs are drying up on the street. Word is The Colonel flushed out his competition and is now going to drive prices up," Duke supplied. "How does the lady fit into this?"

He never lifted his gaze. "I don’t know for sure. I don't think she knows, but she is using."

Duke gave no response for what seemed an eternity. "Shall I tell Steve to pull you out?"

He shook his head. "I haven't gotten the drugs yet. Maybe I can prove she's innocent."

"Bad deal, Danny," Duke sympathized, "this may do in her career."

Danny recalled how Mali had told him that the cheering audience meant everything to her and she could never give it up. "Meet you at 8:00. You know where."

Duke did not watch him leave, he kept his eyes on the newsprint, but he wished Steve had chosen someone other than Danny.

McGarrett had waited patiently for action that did not come. Duke gave his report, what there was of it, and could see Steve was less than pleased. "It'll be all right," Steve finally told him.

Duke could not help but notice it sounded more like a wish than a promise. "Kimo reports there's not been anything going on at Sanders; he hasn't even could out to pick up his daily paper."

Steve cracked a smile at that. "He called over here complaining that all he'd observed was a fly doing pushups on the windshield."

Duke gave no response. Kimo totally lacked a sense of humor, so he doubted that had been the wording of the complaint. "I've got records on one of those managers off the telex," Duke announced. "Randall Higgens, alias Rudolph Higgens, alias Randolph Waites." He handed Steve the blow-up of Randall's driver's licence photo.

Steve noted silently that it came from Phoenix.

"Minor but consistent rap sheet over the last ten years. Possession of narcotics twice. Drunk and disorderly once. DWI once. And this one." He showed the report.

"Illegal sale of a controlled substance," Steve read.

"Marijuana. They let him go because it was such a small quantity."

"He may be moving up," Steve remarked offhandedly. He moved to the table where the blue print to the band shell was laid out. "I want plain clothes people at all exits, mixed in with the crowd. Make sure they all know the two managers photos." He handed back the glossies of Alf and Randall. He circled the delivery area behind the shell with his finger. "Takes a lot of guts to schedule a drug deal to go down in front of six thousand people. Maybe that's what makes it so perfect."

The atmosphere began to buzz with excitement. Wires were strung, scaffolding secured, lights tested and flashed. Some of the employees of the snack bars were arriving to warm up their grills. At five o'clock an armored car carrying cash for the concessions arrived. At 6:00 some patrons sat in their cars in the outer parking lot waiting. Scalpers moved quietly from car to car. Danny had been kept busy most of the day and under close observation by either Randall or Alf. If his apparent display as an unwilling snitch in HPD had given them confidence in him, it did not show. Danny had not seen Mali most of the day. She had locked herself in to her dressing room for the last several hours. A band member commented that was normal for her. Perhaps, but he was unhappy that their last exchange had been so unpleasant. He wished so much to spare her from what would fall on her associates. If he couldn't get her out, she'd be swept away with them, guilty by association. If he could only catch Alf and Randall in the act he could perhaps protect her. That would mean finding the stash of drugs and staking out the right spot. He had to get off by himself. At seven thirty, the gates opened and Mali's admirers began to stream in. The sun was dipping low, shadows lengthened. Danny had only half an hour to report by to Duke. He continued rolling wire as he glanced at Randall, less than twenty yards away from him. I've got to slip away from this guy.

Shelby, Sander's driver, entered the lot and made his way through the throngs of people to a security guard. "I have to see Alf Georgson or Randall Higgens."

"Who?" the guard murmured, disinterestedly.

"Mali Kanae's managers. I've got an important message."
Shelby glanced at his watch. Thirty minutes to show time.

The guard hesitated, then spoke into his radio.

Danny noticed Randall speak into his radio, then, casting a glance back towards him once, turn and disappear into the enlarging crowd. Danny dropped the coils of wire on the spot and dashed towards the storage area to the rear of the shell.

Randall recognized Shelby as he approached the gate. Glancing quickly around, he took Shelby by the arm and they ducked inside the door of a custodial closet.

"Why do you need to bug me now?" Randall snapped impatiently, kicking an empty mop bucket.. ""I'm not supposed to see you till eight."

Shelby wasted no time. "That beach-boy: he's a cop."

Randall froze. "Oh, man." He also was aware he'd just left Danny on his own at the worst possible moment.

"And not just any cop--a Five-O cop," Shelby continued. "That's the state's top. You don't mess with these guys. Tell your boss lady the deal's off. Sanders doesn't want your goods."

"You can't do that!" Randall snarled.
"Sanders is throwin' away all he's invested on the streets."

Shelby shook his head. "He's out. End of discussion. He didn't even want me to come back here, but---I thought I owed it to you."

"Why would you owe me something?" Randall sneered. "What the hell do we do with six million in cocaine?"

"Shut up, man," Shelby hissed, glancing around even though they were inside a closet. "You solve your personnel problems. I'll see what I can do. Meet you back here at 8:30."

Randall looked hopeful. "You've got another buyer?"

He shrugged. "Maybe. Haven't got much time. It's almost certain to be less than Sanders."

Randall jutted his jaw out. "I know this scam. Sanders is gonna cheat us."
Shelby smiled. "Your boss lady goofed. Risks go up, prices go down. Take it or leave it."

Cursing, Randall stormed away in search of Alf.


The sounds of thousands of fans in the shell were muffled through the cinderblock and concrete that divided the storage area away from the performance side of the shell. Danny had opened the three of the large sound crates on wheels with no luck. He rummaged through the contents; tangled cords and cables mixed with frayed electrical wire and a few small 3" and 5" speakers. Running out of time, he warned himself, not even wanting to take time to check his watch. He stood up, stuffing the contents haphazardly back into the crate. He glanced at the six crates remaining and did a mental "eany-meany-miney-moe." He took hold of an electrical box. It was locked. Encouraged since the rest had been open, he pried the simple lock off with his penknife and threw back the lid. It was empty except for one orphan light fixture. Half way down, was a false wooden bottom. He tapped it, then used the penknife to gently pry it up. Shining white plastic packages of cocaine glimmered in the faint light. If pure, it was easily valued over 12 million after cutting. Although he'd known this would be the find, he was stunned. He felt the thrill of the find, the bust pending, "the bad guys gonna lose," but at the same time, the pit of his stomach twisted with fear for Mali. He lowered the false bottom back into place.

"Looks sort of pretty, doesn't it?" Randall said suddenly.

Danny spun to face him.

"Surprise, surprise, surprise," Randall chuckled. "So, the beach boy isn't a beach boy after all."

"It's over, Randall," Danny announced quietly.

"You think so?" Randall grinned.

There was a sudden motion and Alf, who'd been in the dark on the other side stepped forward, a coax cable in hand.

Outnumbered and certain his cover was blown, Danny took his only option and made a start for his weapon, but in a sudden lunge, Alf had the cable taut around Danny's neck.

"Check him, Randall," he ordered.

Randall found the gun instantly. "Well, well," he smiled, turning it over in his hands. "What a clever toy."

Alf tightened the cable as Danny gasped for breath. Blood thundered in his ears and his face throbbed with each heart beat.

"You listen, cop," Alf muttered in his ear. "There's a lot of people out there. No doubt some of them are your friends. We're gonna take a nice leisurely stroll to see Mali. No quick moves. Randall here wouldn't think twice about shooting you in the back." He released the cable.

Danny breathed deeply, rapidly, rubbing his hand against his neck where a deep red welt had already sprung up. "Why not just kill me now?" he panted, afraid of them dragging Mali into this mess. "Look, leave her out of this."

"Last time we got creative with you, Mali nearly nailed me," Alf growled.

He glanced up, question on his face. What does that mean?