The Weasel

By Peg Keeley

Part 5


Steve looked at the three men before him. Wetzel had arrived without so much as a smart comment, which Steve thought was remarkable. He wondered if the man actually had some kind of conscience after all.

"Duke spoke with Kono," Steve started. "The Star of India," he tapped the name on the board, "docked last night and unloaded a full cargo of contraband from the Far East. We were looking for drugs, but it wasn't drugs they were peddling. Kono attempted to reach his contact last night. If he had succeeded we would have caught Bedson and his operation red-handed. Danny was his contact and he was unavailable because you were busting him." He gestured towards Wetzel. "If it hadn't been for the two kids on the beach, Kono would be dead now and we would have nothing. As it is, that shipment is long gone. Two months of undercover down the chute. Now, Kimo assures me that you are a good cop, even though a bit extraordinary. Okay, let's have the details of your stuff on Williams."

Wetzel made a slight glance that might have been appreciation in Kimo's direction. "You sure you don't want a lawyer here?" he remarked.

"I just want the truth, Wetzel," Steve said with amazing lack of malice in his tone. "What made you single out Williams and what led you to that cottage?"

"I didn't single out Williams. It was methodical. I always start with bank records. Traceable. I was working my way down the Five-0 group when the account at Hawaiian National popped up."

"He says there is no account."

"McGarrett, what do you expect him to say? It's a dime savings. Hundreds of fifth graders open them every year for social studies and learn about banking and finance. A lot of them get forgotten. He's never reported it on a 1040 to the IRS. It's such a small amount the bank didn't even track it--until he dropped in $50,000."

"How do you know he was the one who deposited it?" Steve asked.

"I don't." Wetzel paused. "I don't," he repeated.

Steve paced the floor snapping his fingers. "Just suppose there is someone out there who wants Five-0 to be distracted. He knows Wetzel in coming."

"Nope," Wetzel spoke up. "I only give 24 hours notice. No one could have known for two months I was coming. That's what it would have taken. The account showed activity two months ago."

"But the visit was planned ever since that Governor's convention. When was that?"

"Three months ago," Wetzel supplied.

"And didn't money have to be budgeted?" Steve commented. "Someone in the Governor's office knew you were coming sometime. Maybe they didn't know when, but they knew you would come."

"That information is given to Bedson who begin shuffling money in and out of Danny's account electronically," Duke remarked.

"Next they get an operative to befriend Danny in a seeming innocent way," Steve continued.

"Enter Rita Prate," Kimo commented.

Steve nodded. "She does nothing for two months except be a friend. Then Wetzel arrives."

"And I did just what they did--accessed information from the banks via a modem. McGarrett, this is actually beginning to fit," Wetzel commented, his face set in grim intensity. "I got setup to find it."

"Rita somehow arranges to get beat up by on of the background players, doesn't file a report so there is no official link from her to Danno. He takes her to the cottage, she has plenty of time to plant the drugs, then carries out her role to the end, complete with screaming to add to the mayhem. When backs are turned, she vanishes just like she appeared--into nothing," Steve conjectured.

"And you haven't one shred of evidence to prove this," Duke warned.

"And who's the mastermind?" Wetzel added.

"Bedson?" Carew suggested. "But would he do all this over animal skins and tusks?"

Steve raised an eyebrow. "You must not be a reader of National Geographic. There is a lot of money to be made in the illegal import of protected animal products. The Star of India has a history of illegal trade--and gun running." He turned to Wetzel. "That modem of yours, can it trace where the funds came from that went into Danno's account?"


"Then you've got some work to do. Kimo, I want that girl. Duke, contact Port Authority. I want to know when the Star of India left port and where she was headed. And any other ship that put in to Mayan Shipping in the last few days."


Andy had been to early mass. A good Catholic, he made sure he confessed every week. Then, he hurried to the bar to get it ready for the Sunday afternoon group who came by to watch the football game replays. If anyone had already heard toe score from the mainland, they were under penalty of death if they revealed it to the viewers in his tavern. He finished sweeping up the bits of trash from last night. He spent the next half hour preparing for his patrons and by that time, a few of the regulars had already arrived. It wasn't long before the stools were all occupied.

Kimo parked the car a block away from Andy's to give himself the short time the walk would take to try to look casual although he doubted it would be effective. He came through the front door of Andy's and every eye turned to him. The boisterous talk stopped as they recognized an unfamiliar person had entered their usually comfortable bar. One by one, the patrons turned their attention back to the television. God, I hate this place, Kimo thought, I could live here a century and I will never be accepted. Never. He approached the bar, determining that it they weren't going to accept him, he would strong-arm his way through this if necessary.

"Can I help you?" Andy asked from where he was wiping out a glass.

He picked up a pretzel from the bowl. "Was told you have a girl who sings here."

Andy stiffened. "Sometimes."

He knows something. "Name's Carew. I'm a friend of Dan Williams. He sent me to find Rita."

Andy sized up the haole before him. I don't know you. "Haven't seen her."

He frowned. "She's in big trouble. And she probably told you that." He popped out his badge.

All the talk stopped in the bar again. One or two patrons quietly slipped out of the door. "Put that thing away," Andy growled. "You're spoilin' my atmosphere."

"I need to talk to Rita," Kimo repeated.

Andy was growing more nervous--and determined to protect her. "Told you, man, she isn't here."

Kimo glared at him. "Know where she is?"

"No." Andy was feverishly trying to decide if this was the right choice. Maybe he really is sent from Danny. Maybe he can help. But if I make a mistake--

Kimo placed his card on the counter, noting that Andy's gaze fixed on the Five-0 logo. "I told you, I am on the right team. I know you have ties with Danny that go way back. Rita Prate has gotten him into a lot of trouble. If we don't find her, it gets worse. You let me know if she shows up, savvy?"

"You say Danno is in trouble?" Andy asked.

"Big trouble. She is his only way out," he repeated.

Indecision was plain on Andy's brow. He gingerly picked up Kimo's card. "I let you know, Bruddah."

Kimo turned and with one glance towards the Eagles vs. the Cowboys, he left.

Andy waited for a moment, the hurriedly walked back into his stock room, slid his thick frame between the kegs of beer, cases of liquor, and pretzels to where Rita was hiding. "Rita." He handed the card to her. "You better come clean with me. You said bad dudes were after you, but it's the cops who want you. What did you do?" He demanded angrily. "I shoulda turned you in!"

She was staring at Kimo's card and turned a face full of sorrow and fear towards him. "Oh, Andy, the whole thing is crazy. I've got to get out of here and offa this Island!"

"You'd better tell me the whole thing," Andy declared.

"I can't do anything," she whispered. "If I stay, Cal will kill me. If I go, the cops, they'll arrest me!"

"Arrest you!"

"I didn't know what was going to happen!" she sobbed. "I didn't know what to do! I had to do it! I didn't want to!"

Andy was growing red with anger. "What are you talking about!"

"Cal was going to kill me if I didn't help him!"

"Help him do what?"

Kimo suddenly stepped into the doorway. "Yeah, Rita, tell him what you did."

They both jumped in surprise. Rita paled with fright and made one desperate dash for the door, but was easily restrained by Kimo.

"Hold it right there, girl," he said.

"Please! Let me go!" she begged. "They'll kill me!"

"Want the truth?" Kimo snapped. "I'd like to give you a bullet myself." Upon seeing Andy's astonished look he added, "Your singer set up Williams to take the fall on a drug bust, didn't you, sweetheart?"

She began to open her mouth.

"No wait," Kimo cautioned. "Don't you say a word until you get read your right and have a lawyer."


Duke located Steve standing along the wall in Kimo's office behind Wetzel who typed rapidly away, pausing to glare now and again at the black and orange computer screen before him. "How is it going?" Duke whispered into Steve's ear.

Steve shrugged. "Doesn't look like he is getting anywhere."

"Patience, McGarrett," Wetzel muttered. "Just like doing the legwork. It takes time. Computers can't think. Men think. Computers only report what men think. And men are fallible."

"What's the report from Port Authority?" Steve asked.

"Star of India set sail at 4:00 a.m. headed for the Philippines, a cargo of sandalwood, stuffed toys, and kitchen appliances."

"Fast turn around."

He nodded. "Supposedly, she arrived with a partial cargo of souvenir trinkets from Hong Kong."

"Anything else?"

"There is a Norwegian registered freighter, Guegenstat, that will arrive this afternoon. Nothing else since Star of India."

"Then the goods are still here on Oahu," Steve concluded. We could not have had such luck.

"Yes. But Kono doesn't think they are at the shipping yard. He said the night before, stuff was loaded up onto semi-trucks and driven away. Bedson must be driving the lot around the Island changing the registry every couple of miles. They will come right back into the yard under different name and be shipped back out on the Guegenstat."

"Then we can still take them," Steve said with satisfaction. "How about the tire casts?"

"Firestone radials. Pickup truck. Don't know with the cases will be helpful nor not." Duke paused as Wetzel tapped a key and the screen lit up with numbers.

"Here." Wetzel gestured to a series of numbers, the typed an access command. "The bank the funds were transferred from and the account from which they came." He entered two more series of numbers. "First Citizen's Bank of Oahu. Account is -- Garner Textiles."

"One of Bedson's front companies," Steve said with a nod.

"Do you suppose this is the wave of the future?" Duke mumbled.

"What?" Steve asked.

"Computerized detective work. Do all the research over the keyboard. Cops reduced to computer jockeys?"

Wetzel spun from the computer. "The computer is a tool, Lukela, not the brains. Deduction, application, that's what it's all about. Call me a damned jockey and I'll break your arm."

"Your personality could use an overhaul," Duke said bluntly.

Steve blinked in surprise. Mild-mannered Duke almost never took on anyone verbally. Good for you, Duke, he praised smugly. "So, is any of this admissible as evidence, Wetzel?"

"Admissible?" He scowled.

"Yeah, those of us operating in the real world need search warrants. We can't legally pursue this case."

Wetzel tugged his chin then shrugged and pointed to a column of numbers than were gibberish to everyone but him. "Well, it wasn't illegal to donate money to Williams' account. But it was illegal to take it back out. Get Williams to ask for a statement and the bank will investigate for us."

He shook his head, internally wondering when Danny would be able to do anything. "That couldn't happen before tomorrow. By that time the goods will be gone."

The door to the outside opened and Kimo entered, followed by Rita Prate and Andy. "Steve," Kimo called to him. He went out into the hallway by Jenny's desk where Kimo introduced Rita.

"Miss Prate, I suppose Officer Carew has told you, you have a lot of explaining to do," Steve stated.

She gave a meek nod.

Within moments, she was before a tape recorder in Steve's office. Steve turned on the machine. "Your name?"

"Rita Prate," she said in almost a whisper.

"Have you been advised of your rights?"

She nodded, then seemed to remember the recorder. "Yes."

"I'd like you to tell me as much as you can about your involvement with Dan Williams."

"I met him two months ago. I came in to Andy's bar." She did not seem to know how to get started.

"Was it by chance?" Steve asked

"No." Her voice was filled with remorse. "I met a man named Cal Freeman who promised to get my musical career started if I would do one job for him. He showed me pictures of three men and told me to make friends with one of them."

"Was Dan Williams' picture one of them?"

She nodded, her cheeks flushing. "And him." She pointed to Carew who looked surprised. "And a big Hawaiian. I picked Danny. I didn't know what Cal wanted, honest. Cal said just hang around and be friendly." She sighed. "This sounds awful."

"But you were being paid to gain his trust?" Steve clarified.


"Didn't you wonder why?"

She looked at the floor. "I'm sorry. I hoped Cal would never come back."

"You knew he'd come back. He was paying you."

She slumped lower in the chair.

"What happened last Thursday?"

"Cal came," she whispered softly. "When I said I didn't want to go through with it, he beat me up. I was afraid, so I put the drugs in the cottage. I didn't know what was going to happen."

"What did you think would happen?"

"I don't know."

Steve took a deep breath. She cannot possibly be that naïve. "Okay. So, what were you to do next?"

"If I was successful, Cal was going to give me a airline ticket for Los Angeles."

"And what was 'successful?'"

"I don't know. After Danny's arrest, I was afraid Cal would kill me instead. So, I skipped my meeting with him and hid at Andy's."

"Cal has a pretty good information system going," Duke remarked. "He seems to have known Wetzel was coming, how he'd operate. He discovered the long dormant account of Danny's, even knew about the cottage. He probably knows Rita is still in town."

"Count on it," Steve replied. "Miss Prate, in the eyes of the law you've committed several crimes. If you are willing to testify against Cal Freeman, I will speak to the DA about a deal for you. In the mean time, you are under arrest and we will be placing you in protective custody."

Tears began to slide down her cheeks. "I am so sorry," she whimpered. "Danny must hate me. Can I talk to him?"

"Not right now," Steve said cryptically, but wanted to say not ever. "Kimo, take her to HPD. And keep her safe."


Call Freeman noticed the frightened look on the day shift foreman's face as the man burst into the office. "Mr. Freeman, Five-0 is out here."

He smiled, hiding his own apprehension. "Don't keep Mr. McGarrett waiting. His time is valuable."

Steve stepped through the door, casting an analytical eye around. "Cal Freeman. You have three semi-trucks in your yard. I have a search warrant for inspection."

He shrugged. "No problem." He reached into the desk for the keys and tripped the silent alarm.

Out in the warehouse, the buzzer sounded on the foreman's desk. He snatched up the clipboard from the peg by the door and a set of magnetic numbers. He raced out into the yard to the first truck and yanked off the magnetic decal and slapped the new one on. He started towards an empty truck with the pulled magnet.

"Not so fast."

He turned to see Kimo step from between the trucks.

"I think your clipboard will prove interesting reading." Kimo extended a hand to take it. The foreman hesitated, trying to decide if he could win a fight.

"Want to try it?" Kimo egged.

The foreman's shoulder sagged and he handed over the board.

Kimo shook his head. "What a shame."

Cal, flanked by Steve and Duke arrived. Kimo gestured back towards the recently re-numbered truck.

"Open it," Steve ordered.

Cal gave a discouraged glance at the foreman and did as he was told. The unlabeled crates stacked tightly in the full cargo container of the truck. Steve took a crowbar to the edge of one and pried up the lid. He stuck a hand into the seltzer and pulled out a beautiful carving fourteen inches tall made of ivory. Cal sighed.


Bedson had been tipped off the police were in the yard as soon as they had arrived at Cal's office. Knowing that things were suddenly too hot, he quickly grabbed the small pouch from inside his middle desk drawer, a small gun, and his brief case. He kept a business jet at the airport and this seemed like a very good time to take a trip to anywhere but here. He ducked out the back door and raced for his Cadillac.

"Going out, Bedson?" Oliver Wetzel asked, walking up, a gun leveled on Bedson.

Bedson looked surprised. "Who are you?"

"You mean you don't know?" he said with a smirk. "I'd have thought you were much better informed than that. I'm the guy who is not real happy right now to have been used in your little game. Spread 'em."

Bedson slowly spread his arms out across the hood of the car. "Then you are Wetzel?" he guessed.

"Right you are, smart boy." Wetzel pulled the little pouch from Bedson's jacket. He tossed it lightly in one hand, noting the way it sounded. "Diamonds?" he guessed without checking. "Hedging your bets, eh, Bedson?"

"Take them. They are yours if you just let me get to my car."

Wetzel gave a sly smile. "Bedson, you've got to know me better than that. I'm Mr. Clean, remember? I spend my life cleaning up law enforcement offices. But for you I think I'll make an exception. I think I'll clean you up instead. Thanks to you, scum ball, I'll have to come back to this little hellhole of a fool's paradise in a couple of months. I am not happy." He emphasized each word of the last sentence. "I will make you unhappy, too." He waved the gun. "Let's go." He directed Bedson across the yard towards McGarrett's group.


Steve had been patient about accepting the reports about the events of the weekend. Duke's had, predictably, come in first. Short, to the point, avoiding any interpretation or self-imposed analysis of the events. It was the kind of document a lawyer loved to take into court. Kono would be another day or two and that was excusable. It was mid day by the time Kimo came into the office with his report. He lay the two-page report in the center of Steve's desk without comment, and turned to go.

Steve looked up from the letter he was composing to Jonathon Kaye, noticed the brief and a folded note on top. He picked up the note. "Kimo." He called him back.

He turned in the doorway.

"What is this?"

"My report," he said and started away.

"This." He held up the note. The short sentence had conveyed it all: Please accept my resignation effective immediately. "What's it all about?"


"I know that. Why?"

A mild frown settled on the detective's face. "It just seemed like the right thing to do."

McGarrett waited, then gently asked, "Right thing?"

"Look, McGarrett, let's at least be honest with each other once here, okay? I don't know what you thought I'd be, but I am not it. I can't do this anymore. I can't go on with this--this--impossible vision you have for Five-0. I am not part of this team, I never was. From the day I arrived, I had to try to fill an impossible role. I could not replace your friend, not could I abate your sense of guilt, or whatever it is. I've been the sixth man on the five-man basketball team for over two years. There is a bond, a chemistry of some kind that you guys have--and I don't have it, okay? I'm smart enough to see that."

Steve wasn't sure how to respond. Kimo had always played tough and hard. Was there a tender underbelly on the Boston cop? Have I been unfair? "I want you on the team."

"No you don't, Steve. I will never fit with these Islanders. You will always have to consider which assignment you send me on because they won't accept me. Maybe you can live with that, I can't. I want the freedom to be my own cop. I can't go on living in the shadow of Dan Williams."

"Is that what you think?"

Exasperation crossed his face. "You've got this image of Williams that he can do no wrong. I can't live up to it. Truth is--he can't live up to it. You knew he'd been through a cocaine experience eighteen months ago. For most users it only takes once. But you would not even consider the possibility of drug use! You were so damned sure he could handle everything thrown at him you almost let him kill himself." He hadn't meant to say it. It was obvious from McGarrett's expression of shock that the words had struck home. "Sorry, Steve," Kimo murmured, toning down. "I said too much. I need to be out of here. Okay?" He almost fled the room.

Steve wanted to follow after him, but could not. Is he right? Did I unintentionally force Danno to suffer in silence through all his has gone through? He seemed to be doing so well. I never saw the alcohol problem. I never saw the pain building. And he recalled the line from Shakespeare: He who will not mourn, will not heal. McGarrett allowed himself to open the door to the hurtful experiences he had been shutting away. The pain of the loss of his team members, the guilt, the anger. The afternoon ticked away as he sat nearly motionless in his office, the half written letter before him, his mind beginning to process all the sorrow.

The sun was turning orange in the far window when there came a knock at Steve's door. "Come." He issued the single word.

Wetzel stepped into the room.

Steve registered mild surprise since Wetzel had notoriously burst his way into rooms in the past.

"I have something for you," Wetzel said quietly.

"Oh?" Steve blinked.

Wetzel's abrasive demeanor had been replaced by a quiet reluctance. "You have a good group here," he started. "It was a bit humiliating to find that a scum wad like Bedson used me to cover for his activities. We made an arrest in the governor's office today. A clerk there was leaking to Bedson for a bribe."

Steve nodded, without saying anything. I wonder what Moyer will think about that. He was finding this new Wetzel to be an intriguing person.

"I've ,um, completed my study here. I'll be moving on tonight. Wish every place I investigated was like Five-0. We wouldn't need someone like me, then, would we?" A little of his arrogance peeked out. "Like it or not, I serve a purpose. I do my job--and I'm good at it." He paused, as if to remind himself to behave. "Well," he cleared his throat, "my report to the governor." He placed a thin binder on Steve's desk. "That's your copy."

Steve could tell he still held something else half behind his back. "What else, Oliver?"

Wetzel gave him a curious glance. Not many referred to him by his first name. "My investigation turned up something else." There was a moment of silence. He looked mildly uncomfortable. "I had a son. Good boy, never any trouble, played great football in high school. When the Vietnam War was in its height, he volunteered to go. Craziest thing. I couldn't understand it. He was always the gentle sort, he felt too much, cared too much--like his mother."

McGarrett wondered where this was going, but was amazed that it was coming from the rough Wetzel.

"He was decorated for heroism--Congressional Medal of Honor. Saved three soldiers. The details were never very public. Everyone was proud of him. A year later, he killed himself."

McGarrett now sat bolt right up like he'd been jolted by a cattle prod.

Wetzel lay a manila folder that had been bound in both directions by rubber bands, ensuring its contents to stay intact. There was a Coast Guard sticker on the front. "I made the mistake of believing that Kenneth was all right because he did not talk about it. Later, I discovered he had killed an enemy with his bare hands. Eventually, his pain outweighed his resources to cope with it. I didn't know until it was too late."

Steve still stared at the folder.

"This is every last bit of evidence there was in the Coast Guard about Williams' incident on that island last fall," Wetzel promised. "But burning it will not erase the past. You have the chance to help I never got. Before you choose to destroy this, consider giving it to Williams' doctors instead." Before Steve could utter a comment or thanks, Wetzel turned and left.

Steve slowly placed at hand on the folder, carefully tracing the Coast Guard decal with his index finger. He lifted the phone receiver and dialed the hospital number.


Andy's wouldn't be open for hours yet. The barstools were upside down on the counters as Andy wet mopped the floor. He had welcomed Danny's frequent visits. He was one of the very few who knew why Clara's boy had been on total disability for a month. During the last two weeks, Danny came to the bar every afternoon, but would leave before it opened. Andy only offered him Pepsi. That first day, Danny had seemed fragile, like the little boy who used to collect bottle caps from under the counter, but each day seemed to be gaining more of his old strength. Today he had told Andy he'd be going back to work in the morning.

"You okay about that, Bruddah?" Andy asked.

He flashed a grin as he slid onto the stool at Tony's piano. "Never better." He turned to the keys and burst into a sonata by Chopin.

Andy gave a smile and appreciated the cultured side of his many faceted friend. You gonna make it, Danno, he thought assuredly. Andy wandered back into the kitchen with the mop and as he did, noticed Rita coming in the back door. "What are you doin' here, girl?" he demanded a bit gruffly.

"I've been looking for Danny," she said meekly.

"Well, I doubt he's lookin' for you. You best beat it. I thought you were in jail anyway." Andy's protective instinct had flashed on at full alert.

"The charges were reduced because I helped the police," she explained. "I owe you a lot, Andy. I owe Danny, too. I just wanted to thank him and tell him I'm sorry."

Andy scowled. "I ain't his den mama, Rita. Do what you want, but if you really wanna thank him, leave him alone."

She walked out into the tavern and stood for a moment watching Danny play. He finished the piece and she gave a short, quiet clap. "I always wanted to hear you play."

He turned slightly, but did not face her. "I heard they let you out."

Remorse was on her face and in her voice. "I just wanted to say how sorry-"

"Don't." He cut her off. "Just don't, okay?"

"I owe you that much."

"You don't owe me anything." He closed the piano cover over the keys.

"Danny, please, I never meant for this all to happen," Rita insisted.

He rose, still facing the piano. "It wasn't your fault, Rita. They took advantage of you--you took advantage of me. It all comes out the same in the end. We were both played as fools."

"You weren't a fool!" she pleaded.

"Oh no?" He turned around now and looked her in the eye. "Look, Rita. Let it go, okay? I'm not angry with you. Don't beat yourself up. I'm glad they cut you loose. Just get on with your life."

"I-I came to say good-bye. I'm going back to Maui. Mama lives there."

"Your mama who wanted you to be a big star? Or was that made up, too?" he asked without anger.

She looked at the floor. "She just wants me to do what's right for me."

He nodded. "Well, me too. You'd better go then."

Having nothing left to say, she turned towards the rear of the bar. "Will you come see me sometime?" she asked.

"I don't think so, Rita."

She waited another minute, then slowly left, the screen door squeaking behind her.

Danny quietly left by the front.

Back to list

Contact the author