When The Song Dies
by Peg Keeley

Part 4

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 gate.
"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 her eyeliner.

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 their gain."

"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 deal."

"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. It's time."

"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 another way.

"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 scoffed.

"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?"

The darkened 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 the radio.

"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.

Randall 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, huh?"

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," he growled.

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' man."

"What are we gonna do with him?" Alf toed Danny's leg.

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 off?"
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.

Mali mellowed 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?"

"Yeah, Steve?"

"Work your way around to the stage area. Danno hasn't shown."

"Sure, Steve."

"And Kono--keep a low profile, let's not scare anybody off."

Alf and 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 yourself."

"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 protested.

"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 on this?"

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."

Danny felt 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.

Mali finished 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 area!"

The battered 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 up there?"

"Sure is, Boss," he replied as the uniformed officer joined him.

"Then bring Georgson and Higgins to Miss Kanae's room."

"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.

Danny could 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 next?"

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, pure, uncut."

Randall glanced at Alf who was beginning to look nervous.

Duke caught it first. "You doped him up, didn't you?"

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 out there."

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 now."

Part 5
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