When The Song Dies
by Peg Keeley
Steve sat in his car in the parking lot. The area was rapidly filling
with cars and people of all sorts. It was 8:00 on the dot. He picked
up the hip radio. "Duke?"
"Hey, Steve," his voice came back. "Nothing yet."
He turned back to the car phone. "Central, get me Kimo Carew."
"Carew." His voice responded. He sounded bored and disgusted.
"Kimo, what's Sanders up to?"
Not a damned thing and you cut me out of the biggest deal to hit
this island since I got here. But he said: "Not much, Steve. Seems
to be having a barbecue for friends." His reply came from the eastern
slope of Sanders' estate.
"Watch him close."
"Will do." Yeah, watch him break into those lobsters while I'm munching
peanuts and drinking warm Coke.
Steve cut the line to him. He went back to the other radio. "Kono?"
"Everything quiet, Steve," he replied from his station near the main
"Saw that guy, Higgens, talkin' with a haole, but couldn't get the conversation.
He was sure mad though."
"Keep looking." He got out of the car, radio under his jacket and blended
in with the crowd.
Mali was at her mirror completing her
exaggerated makeup when Alf, Randall, and Danny entered. "What's all
this?" she snapped, not taking her eyes off the mirror. "It's ten minutes
to curtain. I need some peace and quiet."
"We've got trouble," Alf stated, sternly.
She giggled, not looking away from her
mirror. "You've always got trouble." She leaned forward, painting on
He tossed Danny's ID to her dressing table.
"What's th-" She stopped, staring at it.
"My God," she whispered. The shock quickly turned into anger. "You liar!"
She spun around and screamed at Danny. "You cheating liar! How could
you betray me like this!"
Mali, if ever you believed me, this
is the moment. Don't go with these guys. Get up and call that security
guard in here. Only you can save us. "I'm not the one who's betraying
you, Mali," he replied calmly, "it's these guys who are using you for
"You think they're using me?"
she snapped hotly.
"Look at you! It's the drugs that are
destroying you and your music! All of it!" he shouted intently, emotion
overriding his attempt to be in control. "These two are working out
drug deals with Sanders. They've been smuggling drugs in the equipment
cases! They're using your tour to do it! It's still not too late to
walk away. If you don't, you'll fall with them."
She stared at him, then, much to his shock,
burst into laughter. "You really don't get it, do you? She laughed again,
harder. "Five-O, huh? A little more successful than you let on."
He was stunned beyond reacting. No,
this cannot be for real. No.
She jabbed a finger in his face. "This
is my big chance to make it and you won't spoil it! You know what this
is? Twenty years ago revisited." She tossed her hair brush down. "You
haven't changed a bit, Danno. But I have. This time, I win. I have eighty
kilos of cocaine in a box that's gonna make me rich beyond your biggest
dream. You won't stop me now."
Randall spoke up. "Sanders canceled the
"What!" She spun. "He can't do that."
"He did. His man'll be back at 8:30 with
a new offer."
"This is your doing." She snarled at Danny.
"Well, your narcissistic bleeding heart is your undoing!"
He stood silent, the reality of Mali's
involvement slowly, painfully, sinking in.
She turned away. "I've gotta get out there.
"Mali, what do you want me to do with
him?" Alf asked.
She glanced back at Danny with a look
of contempt. "Get rid of him. I don't care how." She slammed the door
behind her. Outside, her look broke, melting into sorrow. She'd hoped
to recapture her youth and Danny had been part of that dream. How dangerous
it had been to hang onto half of a love for those years. She'd barely
known it for what it was. How could he do this to me? She tried
to fan the flame of hatred desperately. The cheering crowd could be
heard, but this time it did not touch her soul. Breathing deeply, she
forced all her feelings, those of love, of hate, away from her thoughts.
Biting her lip, she headed for the stage.
In the dressing
room, Randall snapped his gum and grinned. "Well, Alf?" He pulled out
Danny's gun. Alf pinned Danny's arms back. Breaking the large man's
grip would be impossible. Alf hesitated. As much as he disliked Williams,
he was not pleased with the thought of killing another man. The image
of the grotesquely contorted body of the dead Texas Ranger still haunted
his memory. He did not want to bare the guilt of another murder. Randall,
you told us nobody would get hurt. He wondered if there could be
"Wait a minute," Danny said hurriedly,
as if reading Alf's thoughts, "I wouldn't use that gun if I were you."
"Oh no?" Randall placed the gun barrel
against Danny's head between his eyes. "Don't wanna die by your own
gun? Wonder what it'll feel like, Beach-boy? Will you feel the bullet
split your skull and smash into your brain? Or maybe feel just nothing."
He chewed his gum and chuckled.
"You ever seen someone shot in the head
pointblank?" Danny asked, looking Randall in the eye. There was a moment's
silence. "Sort of like dropping a watermelon. Make a big mess in here.
Leave lots of evidence."
Randall hesitated, glancing at Alf. "What
do you think?"
Danny could feel Alf's grip lessening. "I don't know. What alternatives
do we have?" He paused, then said to Danny: "I don't suppose it's possible
to cut you in for a million dollars. You just keep quiet and disappear
from Mali's life forever."
"No chance," Danny replied. "Your best
bet is to turn state's evidence and see if the DA will give you a deal."
"That doesn't seem too rewarding," Randall
"You'll be alive. Kill me and you won't
be for long."
Randall gave a laugh. "For a little guy
he sure talks big."
"Just think about this," Danny argued.
"You whacked a cop in Houston--Five-O knows that. Now you kill me. Where
will you go? You won't make it off this island before you get arrested.
There's no way out."
Alf shifted his feet nervously. "Randall?"
He'd spotted Mali's cosmetic bag and a
big grin of an idea suddenly lit up his face. He scooped up the plastic
bag of white powder. "Hey, Alf. I got us an answer. This cop got himself
busted pushing yesterday. Today he happens to snort up a bit--who'll
believe him then? No murder charges. No cops gunning for us. Maybe he'll
take the fall for this. They can suspect all they want, but they won't
be able to prove a thing."
Alf grinned. And we don't had to kill
someone either. We make it out of this one and I'll quit. I'll
take my cut, go back to school and become an unknown director at some
high school teaching marching band. I've had enough of this. "I
like it, Randall. You always think of something."
"Yeah, I do, don't I?"
stage suddenly exploded with the light centered on the slender form
of Mali, a huge pink, purple, and yellow lei festooned about her shoulders.
A roar of cheering and applause erupted from the crowd. "Aloha ohana!"
Again the crowd roared. "Aloha kama'aina!" New cheers. "Aloha Hawaii!"
She burst into a loud Hawaiian folk tune about a bird of paradise, her
body dancing and weaving to and fro.
Steve watched for a minute, remaining
aloof from the wild exuberance of Mali's fans. "Duke," he said into
"Yo, Steve. He hasn't shown yet," Duke
answered, knowing what the question would be. He thumbed through the
program, glanced at the show for a minute, trying not to look out of
place. He was worried. Danny was five minutes late.
gently tapped the crystallized powder out of the folded slip of paper
into a drinking straw. "You know," he grinned at Danny, "you really
shouldn't knock what you haven't tried." The introductory music from
the stage filtered down through the walls. "I bet you thought Mali was
the same little school girl, didn't you? Did it break your heart, beach-boy?
Old girl friend is a drug dealer. Kind of gets you right in the heart,
Danny chose not to argue. There wouldn't
be much point. He was trying to decide what his chances would be once
Randall loaded him up on cocaine. He'd read about the effects, so suspected
he was ill-prepared for what he would experience. Hopefully I will
stay alive. He mentally decided right now that no matter what, he
would make his way to the his rendezvous with Duke and get help. It
was better than a lead slug in the cerebellum.
Alf pinned Danny's arm back tighter as Randall came over, the drinking
straw in his hand. Danny began to struggle and Alf punched him hard
in the kidney. He sank to the floor where Alf pinned him flat, knee
in his back. He reached down and grabbed Danny's hair, pulling his head
back, hyper-flexing his neck. "One more move and I'll break your neck,"
Randall knelt before them, slipped the
straw into Danny's right nostril and blew sharply. Danny winced as the
cocaine stung his nose and sinus. Alf released his head and waited.
Danny felt frozen in time, wondering what would happen. He was a bit
surprised when it seemed that nothing happened. Maybe it was a mistake.
A minute passed and he began to feel better about this. No wild thoughts,
no crazy imaging. These guys won't beat me after all.
Alf could feel Danny starting to relax
under his grip. He got up, leaving Danny on the floor. Danny rolled
to his back and lay there gazing up at them.
"Starting to feel better now, aren't you?"
Alf said with a grin.
He didn't respond. I can just play stupid here. It's going to be
all right. He felt unexplainably happy, almost to the point of giddy.
The music had gotten louder.
Alf glanced at Randall. "What time is it?"
"Almost 8:30. Time to talk with Sanders'
"What are we gonna do with him?" Alf toed
Randall handed Alf a silver belt of Mali's.
"Just tie him up a little. He's not gonna hurt anybody. We'd just better
get back here before intermission so Mali doesn't find him."
Danny calmly lay there letting Alf tie
his wrist. This is okay. I can handle this. They can't do anything
to me anymore.
Alf hesitated to leave. "Will he take
They went out and shut the door behind them. Randall gave a laugh. "He'd
have to untie himself. Even if he did get out, he won't be much good
to anybody. He got a pretty big fix."
"How big?" Alf asked suddenly, in alarm.
Randall only laughed. "Did you overdose him?" "Sure I did."
Alf seemed displeased. "I thought we weren't
gonna kill him."
"Naw, I never said that. Just I wasn't gonna shoot him. This is a perfect
crime, Alf. We can get the body and dump it down some field somewhere,"
Randall explained. "No coroner's ever gonna prove he didn't do it himself."
As soon as the door closed, Danny began
to worm his way against the leather belt. I can do this. Those guys
are mine. He'd remembered to flex his wrists, so the belt was already
loose when he relaxed. Within five minutes, he was free of it. He felt
a strange buzz and tingling in his limbs. I guess I have to expect
a little something. He sat down on the couch, listening to the music.
I have to go. I have to catch Alf and Randall--in just a minute.
into a quiet lovely tune, then charged into her favorite explosive piece.
She played her audience like a fine-tuned instrument and they were enraptured.
They stormed, they whistled, they screamed with adoration yet McGarrett
found no joy except to admire her showmanship. He was beginning to be
anxious at Duke's silence. It was 8:30. Thirty minutes late.
Duke's concerned voice crackled: "Want
me to circulate?"
"Stay put. Kono?"
"Work your way around to the stage area.
Danno hasn't shown."
"And Kono--keep a low profile, let's not
scare anybody off."
Randall met Shelby near the storage room where the drugs were hidden.
"I've got another buyer," Shelby announced. "Four million."
"Peanuts!" Randall fumed.
Shelby shrugged and started away. "Suit
"No, wait," Alf called after him.
"No dialogue. Take it or leave it."
"All right. All right," Alf said trying
to pacify Randall.
"No, man, this is a rip off!" Randall
"What choice do we have? You wanna try
to sell it on the street yourself? In twenty-four hours? We can't get
it back outta here. This is all we got."
"Just tell me one thing--is Sanders in
Shelby gave a broad smile. "Does it matter?"
"Yes, man, it does," Randall snarled.
He spread his hands and shrugged. "I'm
starting my own business. Now, you wanna sell your goods or talk?"
Alf and Randall exchanged looks. "You
got the money on you?" Randall asked.
Shelby snorted. "You take me or some kind
of ass? You get your stuff ready, I'll be back in ten minutes."
the initial euphoria passing like a slowly receding wave. I have
to go. It's the drugs that are slowing me down here. His hands tingled,
muscles twitched. He stumbled to his feet. His head buzzed. He needed
to get out--to walk off this strangeness. He couldn't concentrate. The
music he could hear seemed to intensify, catch him up and lift him away.
He tried to clear his head--he could hear his heart pounding rapidly.
He pulled hard on the dressing room door, fumbled with the knob and
finally got it open. The evening breeze was invigorating. He stumbled
outside. He wanted to run, stretch his tingling muscles, but he couldn't.
In trying, he fell on his face. I have to stop the drug deal.
He did not recall his earlier decision to seek help. He knew he could
do this. They would not expect him. He would stop them. He stumbled
and staggered his way back to the storage area.
her sixth piece, not disappointing her audience. They cheered, kindled
hundreds of matches and cigarette lighters that flickered like stars
in the night. She broke the mood and began a quiet, painful ballad about
a love betrayed. Her voice almost broke with emotion. The song mournfully
droned on, telling of a sorrowful, permanent ending of a lifelong friendship.
Mali wished she'd skipped the piece. The emotions were straining to
leap out of her, engulf her and burn her alive. The images of a lifetime
exploding upon her memory--two children chasing crabs on the beach;
drinking lemonade; sweet, romantic nights of adolescence. What had she
done? She struggled through the piece, just praying to make it through
and get onto the next song. Almost time for intermission. She needed
to put all of this behind her. She'd never return to Hawaii again.
The piece ended. There was total silence,
as if the crowd's heart was breaking with hers. But only for a split
moment--she pushed her way into a new ballad on an upbeat theme. But
McGarrett was aware of what had transpired. No simple love song had
it been. In sudden revelation, he put the pieces together as he grabbed
his radio. "Duke! Kono!"
"Yeah, Steve," Duke's response was instant.
"Move. Find those two managers and hold
them. Duke, check the dressing rooms! Kono, get down to that storage
panel truck pulled up to the door of the storage room and Shelby leapt
out. Randall met him at the door and they walked back into the store
room where Alf waited with the crate. Picking up one of the white packets
at random, Shelby opened one end and tested the contents against the
tip of his tongue. He nodded. "Good stuff, Randall. Help me get it loaded."
Moving the 80 packages took a few minutes,
but when it was completed, Shelby reached into his jacket pocket and
handed a thick envelope over to Alf. "Don't spend it all in one place."
He walked over and got into the van.
Alf fingered the envelope and grinned.
"Four million dollars doesn't weigh a lot."
Randall shook his head. "Only you could
get swindled and be happy about it."
In the shadows, Danny had arrived at the corner in the shadows just
in time to see the money exchange hands. All I have to do is just
arrest them. Before he could step forward, there was a shout.
"Hold it!" Kono stepped into the light,
gun extended. "Hands up--please."
Shelby glanced into the side mirror, spotted
Kono, then gunned the engine. Tires screamed and expelled gray smoke
as the vehicle tore across the pavement towards the exit.
Danny, still in the shadow and unnoticed by any of them, turned around
to the blue jag that sat less than ten feet away. He jumped over the
door, popping the keys out of the visor, and moments later, roared out
of the lot after the van.
Kono was yelling over the radio for Steve
and backup when the jag flew past so quickly he couldn't see the driver.
"I need black and white to intercept a 1967 white chevy van headed south
on route 92. And a blue 1980 jag may be involved, too." He kept the
gun leveled on Alf and Randall.
Even as Steve was receiving the call from
Kono another came in from Duke.
"Steve you'd better get over here to Miss
Kanae's dressing room right now."
"Kono," Steve radioed him. "Is your back
"Sure is, Boss," he replied as the uniformed
officer joined him.
"Then bring Georgson and Higgins to Miss
"Sure thing, Boss." Sirens screamed by
on the highway as the black and whites sought to overtake the van. Kono
hoped they'd succeed, but the guy had a big head start.
see the van ahead as it wormed its way through the Saturday night traffic.
The engine of the little sports car throbbed beneath him as he tried
to close the distance. He had no thoughts of danger to himself or others
as he ran through two red lights sending other cars careening out of
the way. The van was closer. They were almost on the edge of town. He
gunned the accelerator again. His head throbbed, sweat was pour off
him and saturating his shirt. He suddenly felt very ill. He lost control
momentarily and the jag weaved to the sidewalk, striking a large postal
box and sending it flying through a shop window, letters scattering
across the pavement. He yanked control back, narrowly missing a phone
pole. Gotta catch that van.
Shelby was in a hurry to get some distance
between himself and Waikiki band shell. He was unaware of the pursuer
and was feeling a bit pleased with himself that he'd chanced to make
this buy. He'd stolen the funds off Sanders' books, but felt confident
he'd get it replaced in less than a day when the goods hit the street.
His first major investment. His future looked bright. He gasped in shock
as a small blue convertible cut in front of him. He slammed on the brakes.
The little car lost control as he struck it broad side. The heavier
van fishtailed to the side, hitting two more cars before it flipped.
Had Shelby been wearing a seatbelt, he might have been spared but he
wasn't. He died on impact with the road. The rear doors popped open,
plastic kilos of cocaine spilled out onto the roadway. The squad cars
arrived on the scene, sirens still blaring and rescue teams were summoned.
Upon entering the dressing room, Alf looked
around quickly, surprised to see Williams gone.
"Looking for something?" Duke asked. "I've
already radioed Che." He handed Danny's gun and ID to McGarrett.
"Where's Williams?" Steve demanded.
"I don't know," Alf answered truthfully.
McGarrett looked at him closely, then Randall. "You gentlemen think
this is some kind of a game? You are in serious trouble here."
"You got nothing on us," Randall said
confidently. "That money is investments and ticket receipts. I dare
you to prove otherside."
Duke sucked in his breath and lifted his
eyebrows. There is one foolish young man.
"You dare me?" Steve said with an ominous tone. "Your equipment
is all impounded. Forensics will go through everything with a fine tooth
comb--starting with this." He pointed to the small bag of cocaine on
the dressing table.
Randall shook his head. "You planted that stuff."
It was all Steve could to do keep from
reaching out and strangling the skinny wise guy. "Okay, Higgens, you
have a colorful past. Was this whole thing one of your schemes? Smuggle
drugs in what? Packing crates? My guess is Sanders was giving a fair
price--that is until he made Williams for you. Am I right so far?"
Randall didn't answer.
Kono was pushing the drug paraphernalia
around the dressing table with a pencil. "Whose fingerprints do you
suppose is on this stuff?" he added.
There were footsteps as Che Fong came to the door, attaché in hand.
He went to the table and checked the bagged cocaine first.
"So," McGarrett paced the floor. "What's
Randall shrugged. "Your story, man."
"Where's Williams, Higgens?" he asked,
trying to control his temper.
He spread his hands. "He'll probably turn
up. You hear he got busted yesterday? Maybe he got stoned or something.
You just can't trust nobody today."
Che turned from his chemistry set. "Cocaine,
Randall glanced at Alf who was beginning
to look nervous.
Duke caught it first. "You doped him up,
They didn't respond.
But Steve saw the whole picture. "Did
you OD him, Higgens?"
"All fiction, Cop," Randall commented, but he was sweating heavily.
"I don't know nothing."
It was Alf who cracked. "I didn't wanna
kill him. I just wanted him outta the way!"
"Shut up, man!" Randall yelled.
"Where is he?" Steve demanded.
"I'm trying to tell you," Alf pleaded.
"We left him here. I don't know where he is."
McGarrett turned to Duke. "Get everyone
looking for him. He may have made it out of here, but he won't be on
his feet for long."
"Steve there's a hell of a lot of people
An officer burst through the door. "Mr.
McGarrett, there's just been a four car pileup on Rte 92. The van and
the jag we were after are both involved. Fire department wants you right
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