Warning: This story follows Animals. For best continuity, read that first.

The Weasel

By Peg Keeley

Honolulu International was packed--as usual. During the winter months, tourists from the Mainland flowed through; resembling refugees escaping weather ravaged North America. Ookala noticed the monitor flashing the arrival of Flight #2361 from Seattle and glanced down at her daughter.

"Hurry up with those leis, Sandy."

The girl tossed six completed flower leis to her mother.

"Not those. The big ones--the real ones." Ookala moved the real leis made from sweet scented fresh flowers to the front. The silk ones sold for $15, the real for $45. Years of experience told her that the tourists arriving always wanted the leis and when they stepped off their planes, pockets loaded, they were suckers for the real thing. The first passengers were coming through the gate--pasty pale, tired, but eyes glowing with anticipation. She could pick out the ones who'd buy. Her gaze paused a moment on the tall, thin man coming in her direction. His look was hard, cold, his dark, disinterested eyes as black as his thinning hair. A business man, she deduced instantly, and her interest passed him by. She spotted the passenger behind him. The middle-aged, freshly permed woman beamed with delight.

"Buy beautiful lei, wahine?" Ookala called to her, exaggerating her accent.

The tourist clasped her hands in joy and started in Ookala's direction.

Frankie Donaldson had spent the last week living in the airport. He'd moved from gate to gate observing the arrival of every flight that had originally departed New York. This job was growing boring. He lounged in the chair near the gate of Flight #2361; sandal-clad feet propped up, dressed in jeans and flowered shirt with sunglasses perched on top of his head. He glanced at the photo he'd been keeping in his shirt pocket to refresh his memory, but by now, he knew the face well. The tall man Ookala had noticed exited the gate, dressed in a dark blue suit, brief case in hand. Frankie noted the olive complexion, the dark features, angular nose and knew he at last had his man. He remained as he was for several more minutes, knowing that he was not the only one awaiting the man's arrival. Finally, he rose from the seat and wandered off towards the row of public phones.

Dropping in his coins, he punched in the number and when the phone was answered, he muttered: "Cal, it's me. He's here."

Kimo Carew and Duke Lukela waited near the luggage carousel watching the people move in and out. "I met this guy once," Kim said quietly. "He works in a different way, but he's good--boy is he good. Nothing phases him and he's not afraid of nobody. He'd report on the President if he dug it up and he'd be the one who could. They call him 'The Weasel.'" He shrugged. "Maybe he looks a little like one, too. Supposed to be a full-blooded Cherokee. There he is." Kimo motioned towards the blue-suited man who approached.

They walked towards him. "Oliver Wetzel?" Duke asked.

The man turned, his penetrating eyes boring into Duke. Then he spotted Carew and there was a momentary flash of recognition across the somber face. "Carew, good to see you again."

He mumbled a response, the gestured towards Duke. "Duke Lukela, Oliver Wetzel."

"Lukela, huh?" Wetzel said and instantly memorized the face and name. He spotted his bag as it popped out of the chute and slid down onto the slowly turning carousel.

"I've heard a lot about you," Duke said, attempting to make conversation.

"Yeah?" Wetzel glared at him again. "Most have. And it's all bad."

Duke blinked, speechless, trying to decide if Wetzel was kidding or not. There was something disquieting about the tall man, as if he was guarding a deep secret--or power. Yes, he nearly dripped with the aura of total power. "Want to get a bite to eat?" Duke asked, attempting to recover.

"Frankly, I'm dog tired," Wetzel replied with a glance at his watch. "My body thinks it's 1:00 a.m. How about the hotel?"

The sun had set outside the windows of the state Capitol building as Governor Moyer sat placidly behind his huge desk hearing without listening to Steve McGarrett's argument.

"This isn't a good time for this kind of thing. I have two major investigations underway. One has been in progress with a man undercover for over two months. We're this close." Steve pinched his thumb and index finger together. "I don't have time to baby sit some celebrity. If you'd given me at least a week or two to plan, maybe we could have done something. Not now."

He's not a celebrity, McGarrett," Moyer replied, his placid facial expression never changing. "It's not just your department. Wetzel is here to check out the entire law enforcement division of the state."

"Is he even aware that we don't operate like the rest of the country?" Steve fired back. Without waiting for a response he added: "I'm in the middle of a major smuggling investigation--I don't have time to dabble in a rookie officer who might smoke a joint of marijuana. It's small potatoes. Let HPD deal with this Wetzel guy, but keep him out of Five-0."

"No can do," Moyer snapped back. "It was an all or nothing deal."

"Deal?" It's day like this I really miss Jamesson. I knew how he thought, he understood Five-0. He understood me. We didn't have these damned little power plays every week.

Moyer tried to look friendly, but it failed. "Look, Steve, Wetzel is a good man. At the Governors' Convention, we were all deeply impressed with what he's accomplished. He's rooted out drug operations functioning at the top state level in four states--including California. He spent nearly a year there cleaning house."

Good God, could I tolerate that guy here for a year?

"By the time the DEA and ATF got done singing his praises, we'd have looked like we had something to hide if we didn't invite him."

"When did you know he was coming?" Steve demanded.

Moyer pressed his lips tightly together as if to say he was not going to be challenged by his senior law enforcer, then seemed to change his mind. "I knew he'd be here sometime this month. He called me from Kennedy International twenty-four hours ago, announcing he was on his way. That's the way he works."

Steve ground his teeth. "How else does he work?"

There was a loud bang of the door outside to the secretary and the young woman's shrill voice proclaiming: "Wait! You can't just walk in there!"

The door to the Governor's office burst in with such force, Steve instinctively slid his hand inside his jacket for his pistol.

Oliver Wetzel blew into the room, Dan Williams at his heels. Wetzel glared at Moyer. "I got into town two hours ago--I wanted to sleep. What the hell is the problem here?"

Moyer good-naturedly extended a hand. "Al Moyer, and this is Steve McGarrett, chief of Five-0."

Wetzel ignored the hand. "What's the problem?"

McGarrett turned on him, anger flaring not only at Wetzel's rudeness, but his arrogance. Wetzel was as tall as he was, and they now stood in each other's face, nose to nose. "While you are in this state, you will operate my way," Steve declared. "I didn't ask you to come here, I have a full case load, so stay out of our way. Any questionable activity you unearth I was reported to me first--not the news media or anyone else-"

" Hold it right there!" Wetzel announced loudly. "Let me fill you in on a few things. I am a professional. I carry a badge." He flipped it out of his jacket and back in in a mere fraction of a second. "And I run my own investigations my own way. I don't answer to anyone here--except the Governor. This is, unless he turns out to be a user. I was invited here by Moyer who knew he was going to waive the rules."

McGarrett glared at Moyer. It's going to be a long four years. He shifted his seething expression back on Wetzel. "Who do you work for?" he asked in a menacing way.

"DEA, FBI, ATF, CIA, you can fill in the blank anyway you'd like, but if you're looking for my boss--I answer to no man--you got that, McGarrett? No man."

Dan Williams felt like he was watching two rams butt heads. "Heaven help us," he muttered.

Wetzel turned his attention to him and a quick grin broke across his face, then was gone. "He's right, McGarrett. Heaven help you all if you're hiding something. If you're not?" He suddenly turned away and gave an innocent shrug. "We're all on the same team then, aren't we?"

Steve slammed the door to his office so hard, the pictures on the wall by Jenny's desk rattled. He was beyond words to describe how he felt. The bulletin board that for two months had been collecting the tidbits of information about Mayan Shipping and Cargo stood before him. This is what I need to do, where I need to be, not playing politics with the like of Moyer! He heard the door open behind him but did not turn.

"We really going to put up with Wetzel?" he heard Danno's voice ask.

He did not move, but said with much more calm that he felt, "We are going to do just what we do every day, Danno." He gestured towards the board. "There is a ship full of drugs going to arrive a matter of days. Kono's been in there too long to take any risks with him now." He walked over to his desk, and finally looked in Danny's direction. "We do just exactly what we did before." He rapped a knuckle on the desk. "Get Kimo in here."

Carew appeared almost instantly.

"What do you know about this Wetzel?" Steve demanded.

He shrugged. "Just what I said before. Straight shooter. A bit unorthodox. The tenacity of a bull dog. Once he gets hold of something, he doesn't let go."

"He plays outside of the rules. How does he swing that?"

"He's got this angle with computers."


Kimo shrugged again. "Something about Arpant."

"Arpant," Steve murmured.

"He wrote a major work on this thing about a year ago. Claimed Arpant would be introducing the communications wave of the future." Kimo smirked. "Seems like a fad to me."

Steve thought about the idea. He was well acquainted with Intelligence and the Defense Industry's communications systems that had been developed to keep channels open in the event of war. He was not sure how this translated into law enforcement. "Get me a copy of that paper. I want you to keep an eye on him, Kimo. I don't need him stirring things up and accidentally blundering onto a crime scene."

Kimo looked less than pleased. "He is a cop, Steve, not some untrained novice. He might actually do some good. Are you so sure there isn't one dirty cop on all of Honolulu?"

McGarrett's look darkened. "The issue is not a dirty cop, it is unleashed, absolute power without restrictions. The ends do not justify the means."

Kimo decided to let go of this little debate. Nobody wins against McGarrett. "Well, I'll try to keep him out of your way." But he had no idea how he would do that and was aware that with Steve drawing the line and daring Wetzel to step over it, the latter would gladly do just that.

Kono stepped out of the forklift as the break whistle blew. His grimy T-shirt was soaked with sweat and oil. I thought I became a cop to get away from a life style like this, he kidded himself. He made his way along with the trail of fifteen other workers to the bank of vending machines in the shade of the large white warehouse. He dropped in his change, selected a Coke and guzzled it down in less than a minute. It did little to relieve his discomfort. "It's too hot," he muttered to a co-worker.

The man agreed. "Tell you, Big Joe, you gotta get yourself up to the imports. This domestic stuff too hot, too hard. Boss man, he picks the hardest workers to go up to imports. Dey sleep when it hot in air-conditioning. Dey work when it's cool."

Kono nodded. One of the first things he'd learned on this undercover was that Robert Bedson's front man picked the workers that were promoted to imports. These men actually lived on the dock in an air-conditioned building where they slept during the day and worked at night. Oddly enough, the import workers never stayed very long. Kono had never figured who except that there was general dissatisfaction about working nights. "That what I need to do, get me into that bunch." He eyed the older man. "You know how to do that?"

He smiled a broad grin that revealed crooked, stained teeth. "Aye. I have friends. I could help you--" he lingered over the end of his sentence.

Kono knew what he wanted. I handed the man a hundred-dollar bill.

He continued to stand there.

"I ain't made of money, man. Gi'me the money back and forget it," Kono snapped.

He jumped angrily away, money still clutched in his hand. "All right. You give me some time, yes?"

Kono nodded.

Andy's bar was for the locals. Tourists never heard about it, never came and the patrons liked it that way. And, unlike other bars, they had Rita. She made it worth coming. She'd shown up one night about two months ago and started singing as Tony, the hired piano player, had made his music. Andy liked it so much that after the first week; he'd hired her. He didn't pay much, but the guys all tipped her well.

Danny came in and Andy waved a hello and gave him a beer. "You late tonight," Andy observed. "Rita was starting to worry."

"Yeah, well it's been a bad day," he remarked and sat down on the bar stood to listen to her song. He knew himself well enough to know he was a sucker for singers.

The phone rang and Andy picked it up. "Rita!'

She stopped singing and went to it. "Hello?"

"This is Cal. It's time."

"Uh," she said slowly. "I don't know, Cal."

"You don't know what?" His voice was harsh.

"Well, I've done some thinking and-"

"No thinking, girl. You're getting paid and now it's time to come through. You got me? If you don't, it's not just me who's unhappy. Understand?"

She sighed and glanced around, hand clutching the phone anxiously. "Yeah, I know. Okay. How long do I have?"

"Now, Rita. We only get one shot at this."

She hung up, a scowl on her face, and slowly wandered back behind the bar to Andy. "Beer."

"Sure, Honey. Why the long face?"

"Oh, nothing." She looked up and spotted Danny at the counter. "Hey, when did you get here?"

"A few minutes ago."

She pulled a bottle of rum from under the counter with a shot glass and carried them to the counter with her beer. "You look like you could use your 'Hard-Day-at-the-Office' special," she offered, sympathetically, setting the bottle and glass down in front of Danny's beer.

"You don't look so great yourself," he observed, pouring the rum into the glass.

"My mama wants me to give up bar singing and go to the night clubs--make bigger money and a name for myself."

"Yeah?" He dropped the shot of rum into the beer. "What do you want?"

She waited as he drank the beer. "I like it here," she replied innocently. "I like singing with

Tony. People are friends here."

"You've got security here," he agreed, "but not much future."

She sighed. "I suppose so. If I was in a big club, would you come see me?"

He smiled. "You bet I would." The alcohol flamed through his gut, burning away the day's stress. He gave her hand a quick squeeze. She's a nice kid. Maybe the fame wouldn't spoil her too much. But he feared for her. Mali was once like this, a very very long time ago. The memory of Mali that always lurked in the wings of his mind made an attempt to come on stage. He asked for another beer.

Rita smiled and jumped up to fill his order, ignoring the disapproving expression on Andy's face. Danny is not what I thought. God, I wish I didn't have to do this.

McGarrett chose to ignore Wetzel. He knew he had more important things to deal with that Moyer wanting to play cops-n-robbers with the Lone Ranger.

It was before seven a.m. when Kimo reported. "Wetzel's got himself set up in a basement office under the capitol building. Just tappin' away on that computer of his."

McGarrett gave a slight nod. "Maybe we'll get lucky and someone will lock him in there."
"He's not really a bad guy, Steve," Kimo offered. "If you could put aside how this started, you might actually like him."

He delivered a sharp look. "It has nothing to do with how this started. The limitations are set up for a reason."

"Yeah, so smart lawyers can get crooks off," Carew interjected. "Everyone's clean, right? So, what's the problem?"

Steve wanted to argue the point, but just then Danny entered. Instead Steve gave him his attention. "Have you talked to Kono?"

"He thinks he'll get into the crew tonight. Says Bedson's man came looking foe recruits last evening and he put in his name."

"Keep in close contact with him," Steve advised.

"He says the workers are pretty talkative, just don't know much. The turn over in the import division is pretty quick. Usually gone in no more than three weeks."

"Gone where?"

"Nobody seems to know. Maybe Bedson has some of them ship out with the boats or pays them enough that they split town. Maybe they just disappear to drink up their pay. Given the local work ethic, it's hard to say. In any event, they aren't turning up on the docks talking." Danny poured a cup of coffee and popped two aspirin.

"Could he be knocking off two or three guys a month?" Kimo asked.

"It would be hard to keep that many bodies quiet," Danny answered, popping two aspirin that he downed with the hot coffee.

"Maybe we should send the Weasel in there," Kim kidded.

"Weasel?" Steve asked.

He grinned. "A nick-name."

Cal spotted Rita outside of Andy's at about three o'clock in the afternoon and waved her over to his car. She hesitated, a scowl on her face and cast a fearful look around. No one was in sight, no one to help. Resigned, she stepped closer to the car.

"Get in," Cal ordered.

She stood by the passenger door, making no move. "What do you want?"

"Get in--now."

"I'm doing what you asked. It takes time."

"Too much time with you. Get in," he repeated, sliding his hand inside of his jacket.

She opened the door and got in, her heart racing.

"Shut the door."

She tried to swallow her panic, knowing that once the door closed, she would be at Cal's mercy. "I said I'm doing what you asked. Now, what do you want? Andy is expecting me."

"If you don't shut the door, you won't live long enough to put your foot on the curb."

Defeated, she pulled it shut. Is he going to kill me? No, he needs me, doesn't he? "Why did you come here?" she asked, trying to mask her dread.

He pressed the accelerator and the car moved away from the curb and merged into traffic. "We need to be certain if your commitment," he commented as he made a turn.

"What do you mean?"

He headed for the entrance ramp to the expressway. "This is a one time chance, Rita. Perhaps you don't see the big picture." He gave a slight laugh. "Damn, you'd better not see the big picture." He stole a glance at her. Good, she's scared. She ought to be scared. "Don't take this so personal like. It's not your mark we care about."

"Don't call him a mark."

Cal scowled. "What?"

"I--I just didn't know I'd start to feel this way," she murmured, looking down at the car floor.

"Yeah," he muttered, "I thought as much. There's good money going to you, you know. Your mark's just the bait for something bigger."

"I know," she whispered. "I feel like Judas."

He chuckled. "Hell, girl, you are Judas! And you've already been paid your thirty pieces of silver. I told you to use the big, dumb Hawaiian dude."

"I couldn't, he's not been around."

Cal negotiated his way through the merge onto the freeway. "I'm telling you, Rita, you mess this up and there won't be any excuses. You little, dark wahine girls have a real weakness for hoale men. You made a bad choice."

There was silence in the car. Rita gazed out of the window as the car left the city. As the countryside became less populated, her panic grew. "Where are you taking me?" she finally whimpered, her attempt at bravado forgotten.

Cal glanced at her again and gave a grin. "If you ask me, you made a great choice--if you were a professional. But my boss thinks you are out of your league." He pulled the auto off to the side of the road. "So, I'm going to offer you a little help to make your story convincing."

She looked puzzled.

Cal punched her face with all his might. He hit her repeatedly as she threw up her hands to ward off the blows. Her screams and pleas went unheard.


Danny raced his car up to Andy's, slammed the brakes, and literally slid the last four feet half into the parking place. He left it where it was and dashed through the front door. "Where is she?" he demanded of Tony who stood there waiting for him.

"Back there," came the quick reply.

He burst into the back room behind the bar where Andy was applying a cold, wet cloth to Rita's face as she sat on a stool. He moved Andy's hand back and gazed at the damage. Rita's left eye was already swollen and purple, there were bruises on both cheeks, and scratches on the left one as well. "God, Rita, what happened?"

She simply sat there weeping as Andy pressed the ice back to her left eye.

Danny was no stranger to the effects a beating could have on a person. He'd seen victims of all sorts of violence and it never ceased to infuriate him. "Who did this?" he asked gently.

"Oh, Danny, I wish they hadn't called you," she whispered, whimpering from the cold.

"Rita, we need to get you to a doctor."

"No," she whispered. "No doctor."

"We need to get you checked out."

"I'll be okay, I told Andy not to call you."

"He did the right thing. Can you tell me what happened?"

"I guess he was robbing my place," she murmured slowly, not making eye contact. "I don't have nothing there except a little TV. I must have surprised him."

"What did he look like?"

She shrugged.

"Come on, Rita. Haole? Big? Young? Give me something."

"He wore jeans," she whispered. "That's all."

"No shirt?"

"No, that's all I remember."

He gave a slightly exasperated sigh and glanced at Andy

Andy offered: "She came runnin' in here scared to death. First thing I thought was to call you."
You did fine, Andy." He turned back to Rita. "We need to get HPD over to your place to file a report."

She shook her head. "No, Danny. I can't. Mama will make me move back home to Maui."

"Damn your mama. Maybe she's right. You could have been killed."
Rita began to sob. "Danny, I can't go back there."
Okay, I'll go. But we need to file the report. Andy can stay with you here. Give me your key."

"I-I'll go. Please, Danny. No police. Not now. Not yet. I'll go with you."

Rita's small flat was part of a duplex about three blocks from Andy's. It was in marginally inhabitable condition, in need of cleaning, landscaping, and paint. "Not much, huh?" she mumbled, embarrassed.

He shrugged. "It's okay." He unlocked the door and opened it cautiously.

The small front room looked untouched. There was none of the overturned furniture, dumped drawers, and other evidence he had expected to see. Except for Rita's purse spilled on the floor, all was in order. He slowly walked around the three-room place, his practiced eye searching for anything out of place. He noticed the 13" TV on the dresser beside her bed. He came back to where Rita stood, arms around her self, seeming very small and vulnerable.

"Do you see anything missing?" he asked her.

"I-I don't know," she replied, looking at the floor.

He raised an eyebrow. "You must have frightened him off just after he arrived."

She managed a grin. "I frightened him?"

He smiled back, but he was troubled. If not for Rita's obvious injuries, there would have been no signs of a crime. "Let's get you to a doctor."

"No, please. I'm all right. I just want this over. If I got to the doctor, he'll just say I've got some bruises and charge me a bunch of money."

He glanced around again. "Well, I tell you what." He gestured towards the flimsy front door. "We'll file that report, then I'll get you a deadbolt for that door."

"Can't the report wait? What are they going find? I guess he didn't take anything. I'm okay. What's the use?" She shivered. "Please, I don't want to stay here. Take me back to Andy's. I'll stay there for a few days. He's got a cot back in the washroom."

"That's not going to be very comfortable," he replied. "I've got this cottage out at the beach. It belonged to my aunt and I've been fixing it up with plans to rent it out again. There are two bedrooms there. I was going to work on it this weekend anyway. It'll be a lot more comfortable than Andy's and I'll know you are safe." And I can convince you to file the report later.

She hesitated. "I hate to put you out, you've already done so much."

"It's no problem. Hey, if you feel like you need to repay me, it really needs a lot of cleaning."

She nodded, hating herself, wishing things were not turning out as planned

The noon whistle in the shipyard blew its shrill tone. Kono gratefully jumped from the forklift and removed his hard hat, wiping the sweat from his brow. Not a moment too soon. How do guys do this all of their lives?

Most of the workers hurried to the open window of the silver canteen truck that had pulled up just minutes before. They began buying sandwiches and cold soda. Kono bought a tuna sandwich and Coke, and then picked out a nice piece of shade near a cluster of men he knew to be the loudest talkers.

Just as he got comfortable, the foreman called his assumed name. "Hey! Big Joe!"

He turned towards him. "Yo."

The man, clipboard in hand, came over and punched Kono's shoulder in a friendly way. "The word is that you want to go play with the big boys."


"Import division."

"Oh, yeah. Heard the money's good--and it ain't so hot."

He squinted at the paper on his clipboard. "Well, good money, but strange hours. You gotta wife gonna complain?"

"No, wife, Bruddah--on my application."

"Yeah well--" he shrugged, "--there's legal wives and there's other wives, if you take my meaning."

"Not me, man," Kono said firmly. "Dames too much trouble."

The foreman chuckled. "Tell ya what. You need to finish up this shift. But, you come around the office at 4:30 and they'll talk to you."

"Sure thing, thanks." Kono took a long drink of Coke.

Carew knocked on the edge of the open door frame and peered into the small, dank office where Wetzel worked away on the keyboard of his computer.

Wetzel looked up, punched a button, and the screen went blank. "What is it, Carew?"

He came in and took a seat without asking. "Thought I'd see how you're doing."

"Why?" It was more of a demand than a question.

He shrugged, still looking calm and relaxed. "Maybe cause I'm getting paid to baby-sit you."
McGarrett worried about something?"

"Should he be?"

Wetzel gave a thin smile. "Truth in the winner, Carew, always. That's what it is all about." He glanced back at the dark screen. He wasn't happy that Carew had made his appearance just now. He'd quietly put two DEA men to work for him that he had cleared through his own check earlier. They were out there doing the legwork. He was not anxious to have their identities revealed just yet.

"Why all the secrets, Wetzel? Why all this--" He waved a hand across the computer. "--stuff."

"You think this is just a gimmick? A game?" Wetzel glared. "No games, Carew. Serious business. I am here to clean the house. That's my job. The trouble with investigating crime fighters is they know all the tricks. So I have to keep coming up with new methods. Hence this--stuff."

"What does the computer do anyway?"

He shook his head. "You'd be surprised."

"Yeah? Surprise me." Kimo leaned forward.

He leveled his dark gaze on Carew. "You'll know soon enough."

"Ever try to clean a house that wasn't dirty?"

"Never happened yet, Carew. And it isn't happening this time either."

Kimo blinked. McGarrett isn't gonna like that.

Cal sat quietly behind the desk in the Mayan Shipping office sizing up Kono and poking a pencil into the desk blotter. The air-conditioner was so cold, goose bumps popped up on Kono's arms. "So, you're Big Moe, huh? Like the three stooges?"

Kono did not smile. "That's Joe, Sir."

Cal smiled through the pencil. "Right. Joe. You a hard worker, Joe?"

"Yes, sir."

"Well, I got hard work for the right guy. Are you the right guy, Joe?"

Kono shrugged. "I dunno. What you lookin' for?"

He tossed the pencil aside. "I like you already," he said sincerely. "You are a careful person--not quick to commit yourself. I like that in a man. And that is just what I need--a careful person. Our import merchandise is delicate. We don't want clumsy workers dropping cases, breaking them open and such. We bring the imports in, repack them, and ship them out. As simple as that. The work is at night. Sometimes I send men with the shipment to ensure its safe arrival. You follow me, Joe?"

Kono nodded. "I can be careful."

"Most of the time I won't accept a man until he's been around six months or so. But, I've heard good reports about you."

"Thank you, sir."

"Can you start tonight?"

Kono had just completed a full day's work. He knew Cal knew that. "Yes, sir."

He broke into a broad smile. "Splendid. We're going to work well together!" He slapped Kono's arm. "I'll have them get you a cot for an hour's nap." Cal watched carefully as Kono left, then went to his phone and dialed a number. "Mr. Bedson. We got him. Yes, sir. I'll be ready, sir."

Danny turned the car off the tarmac onto the crushed shell road and drove the last twenty-five yards up to the old cottage that used to belong to Clara Williams. It held many fond memories of his past that he normally would not have dwelt upon. After the incident with Mali Kanea he had decided to sell it. But Duke Lukela in his usual paternal fashion had convinced him to maintain the small income he got from the renters. Only the last one had completed her lease a month ago and he'd decided to use the opportunity to freshen the place up before listing it again. For the first time is many years, he'd found himself amongst the ghosts of his childhood. The paint on the white wood siding was half scraped off in anticipation of his painting the outside. The screens had been repaired already, fortunately, since he had not planned using this place for company when he'd begun renovation. He was a little surprised at how easy it had been to bring Rita here. The place was easier to deal with when he wasn't alone. Good thing there are no neighbors or the rumors would be flying long about now, he thought to himself as he opened the car door and pulled the sack of groceries out after him. He'd told Steve where he'd be for the weekend and made sure Kono could reach him.

"Rita?" he called as he came through the door.

"Hi, Danny!" she called back with a smile from where she was sweeping the porch that faced the shoreline. Her hair was tied back with a bandana and she wore one of his old flannel shirts over her jeans. "I did some cleaning up in here. I hope you don't mind."

He stood admiring the old dining room. It had never looked this good. The china had been washed till it shone and placed in perfect setting on the old white lace tablecloth of Aunt Clara's Rita had found in the attic and washed. The silver candlesticks had been polished and two small stubs of red candles were awaiting the match's light. "Look's great," he praised.

"I couldn't make a meal," she said apologetically. "There wasn't any food."

"I brought it," he said, gesturing to the grocery bags in his arms.

"What did you get?" She took one bag and peeked into it as if it held a treasure.

"I'll do the dinner," he declared. She started to protest, but he insisted. "I'm a good cook--really. I'll make you one of my specialties: stir-fried beef tips in red wine sauce."

"Sounds great!" she said with a smile. The swollen bruises from the day before had begun to fade just a little.
As they unloaded the bags he thought about the thousands of men who came home to
As they unloaded the bags he thought about the thousands of men who came home to the same woman every day, to a clean house and a meal waiting; maybe a kid or two playing ball in the yard. It must feel something like this. Get a grip! He scolded himself. It must be this house.

"I went by Andy's today to tell him I was okay," Rita announced as he cubed the meat and tossed it in flour.

"Did you tell him where you were?" The meat sizzled as he dumped it into the hot olive oil in the skillet.

"Sort of. He guessed."

He nodded and gave a smile. "Andy's known me since I was six years old. He was friends with Aunt Clara." He stirred the meat with a wooden spoon and added some salt, garlic, and chopped onion. The aroma filled the cottage.

"He said she was an actress," Rita commented, perching herself on a stool to watch as he chopped the vegetables.

"She was. Broadway and all." He checked the meat and stirred it again. He added the green bell pepper.

"How did she wind up here?"

"That is a very long story--too long." He dumped the egg noodles into boiling water. "You want a beer? I've also got some wine."

"Water's fine." But Rita was not going to let the other topic go. "Andy said she raised you with all the best--tennis racquet in your hand, ivories under your fingers."

He gave a chuckle. "But it took Andy to put a baseball in my pocket. And he talks too much."

"You still play piano?"

"Not as much as baseball." He opened the wine and poured it over the meat mixture. The steam hissed up.

"You've never played for me," she said in a fake pout.

"That's cause I like you." He checked the noodles.

"And who taught you to cook?"

He put a hand on his hip. "You ask too many questions."

After dinner, he took her for a walk out on the beach to watch the sun set.

"I could love a place like this," Rita whispered. "I can't believe you don't live here all the time. If I lived here, I'd watch the sunset every chance I could."

He didn't answer. He was a little ashamed to admit he rarely took the time to notice the natural beauty of the property. Darkness was starting to fall and they turned back towards the cottage. "You want to sing at Andy's tonight? It's Friday."

"Not tonight. My poor face is awful." She took his hand. "You've been so wonderful about all of this. Where have you been all of my life?" Even as she said it, her conscience reminded her of her mission. How can I be doing this? He's a nice guy. Maybe I should just tell him and maybe he could fix it. Fix it? God, he'd hate me. He'll find out soon enough.


She snapped her head up. "What?"

"You all right? You look like something is bothering you."

"I'm fine."

"This is insane," Cal declared.

"No, it's perfect," Bedson replied. "The Star of India will arrive tomorrow night, right under the eyes of Five-0."

"But we're taking a terrible chance!"

"No, the chance was taken when you guys started making McGarrett look in our direction. Now I'll see to it that he looks the other way. Tomorrow night he won't be thinking about Mayan Shipping, that I can guarantee." Bedson lit up a cigarette and dropped the match into the abalone shell ashtray on his desk.

"But he's got a cop on our docks and you just placed the guy on the inside!" Cal complained.

"Where you, my friend, can keep an eye on him. Five-0 thinks they've got this in the bag." He gave a chuckle. "Well, this is one cat that isn't gonna stay in their bag."

Cal left the office, not wishing to comment on Bedson's misused metaphors. He gazed across the domestic docks that were empty and silent towards the import docks ablaze in light as the men worked moving crates from the warehouse into the row of semi-trucks. Even from a hundred yards away, he could pick out Big Joe.

Kono's first observation about the import crew was that they were as silent as the other team had been talkative. They were careful almost to a fault, gently guiding every crate from its stack on the dock into the large bays. The crates were totally unmarked, which seemed a little unusual, but the foreman knew exactly where to place each one. The team only consisted of twelve men and a foreman who liked to be called Ak. Their precision was like a surgical team as the stacks quickly dwindled. By midnight, each crate had been placed in the warehouse on it's own large square with a number on it. The only physical record was on the tally sheet on the foreman's clipboard.

"Break!" Ak announced.

Kono followed the others into the break room where a large pot of coffee steamed beside a tray of donuts. No one seemed in much of a hurry to get back to duty. The television was playing in the corner and most of the men collapsed onto soft couches to watch wrestling. I can see why they'd like a job like this, in spite of the hours, so why the fast turnover?

It was almost two hours later when Ak reappeared and announced it was time to get back to work.

"We always get two hours off like that?" Kono asked one worker.

The man just shrugged and walked away from him.

The group returned to the large warehouse where they were instructed to move the crates from their squares into the backs of the trucks. The crates were still unmarked. Kono had the feeling he was watching an elaborate shell game. Each truck was identified by small a magnetic number on the left rear door. Again, Ak specified the placement of each crate. As a truck was filled, Ak pulled off the number.

Promptly at six a.m. the foreman announced the night's work was over. Kono could look across the chain link fence and by the rays of the rising sun see the domestic weekend crew just arriving. He followed the other workers across the yard to the one story chanson hut with blackout shades over the windows that served as the bunkhouse for the night crew. He picked out an empty bed and dropped onto it, still fully clothed.

Although exhausted from twenty-four hours with no sleep, rest did not come quickly. Kono's mind quickly raced through what he'd seen and how he could use it. The workers never leave the yard, that's why he's so careful to pick those without families. And the unloaded crates, what's in them? The long break would have been plenty of time for someone to go out, rearrange them, or add something to them. And why the trucks? Where did they take the stuff? It seemed so elaborate. He knew that tonight, he'd have to find out what was inside those crates.

Danny had spent most of Saturday working on the cottage. He enjoyed fixing the place up and Rita had made it all the more pleasant. He'd dug out old dead shrubs, she'd cleaned windows and washed curtains. He finished repairing the bath rub leak and found the break in the shingle of the roof. He determined he'd get that fixed tomorrow so that next weekend he could paint the back bedroom. He was exhausted, but felt the satisfaction of accomplishment that only comes with physical labor. Now, just past midnight, Rita had long gone to bed in the back and he lie on the couch barefoot, in jeans and an old gray T-Shirt with P.A.L. blazed across the front. As he sipped the cold beer, he listened to the sounds of the house and the surf. It was unusually warm, but the breeze whispering through the screens was cool. He lingered over some of his more pleasant memories of childhood and he wondered if it was better to sell than to rent. Or maybe I should just move back here. Who would I share it with? Rita? He smiled in spite of himself. Getting just a little ahead of myself here. He knew the idea was silly. Just what do I really know about her? Not much. She sings. I should have learned that lesson. I've only known her two months. Where does she come from? Her mother is on Maui. What brought her here? If it's singing, why doesn't she go for the big clubs? What happened at her apartment? What really happened there? What if her attackers weren't robbers, but were after her? After her for what? What do I really know about her? With an audible sign, he crumpled the aluminum can and tossed it into the waste can where it clunked noisily against the one he'd finished earlier.

He resolved that tomorrow he would insist that she file a police report. He knew he should have pushed for it Saturday. What if she is in danger and there is someone out there looking for her right now? Can they track her here? He checked his snub nosed .38 in the drawer of the end table where he could reach it in a flash. I should have made her file that report. He drifted off to sleep on the couch.

At just about the time Danny was falling asleep, Kono was going on break at Mayan Shipping. He filed into the break room with the rest of the crew, poured his coffee and collected a fistful of donuts. There was a roller derby on the set tonight. As the voluptuous women raced around the rink at breakneck speeds slamming each other into the railings, the men cheered and cat-called. Kono faked his involvement for a while, watching the foreman closely. Kono slipped quietly into the rest room where he waited another ten minutes. He would have loved to slip through the window, but his size made that out of the question. Cracking the door open an inch, he waited until the show came back on from a commercial, then carefully slipped across the back of the room and out of the door.

The night was invigorating; the air heavy with salt. Keeping his cover of shadows, Kono made his way back towards the warehouse. As he rounded the dock, he stopped in his tracks. A large freighter had tied up to the dock since they had left. The back end was partially covered by a sheet, but the last few letters were still visible. "--f India." Kono knew right away it was one of the three ships from Steve's list of possible drug runners. Star of India. Tempted to make a dash for the phone right away, he resisted that urge and made his way to the warehouse instead. He peeked over the edge of the window and saw the precious crates all standing open, seltzer half poking out. Kono blinked twice. It looked like a yard sale special. He'd expected to see bales of drugs, but instead there were lamp bases, rolls of rugs, skins, figurines. Then it hit him--smuggling contraband. The lamp bases were ivory as were several of the statues. The rolled rugs were actually tiger and leopard skins. We were so far off the mark, we might never have gotten this one. No wonder all the drug leads came back dry! Kono slipped away, knowing he had to get to the public phone on the other side of the yard.

There was a sudden explosion of sound through the serene little cottage as the door crashed off its hinges. Men were shouting words Danny could not understand as, still sleep dazed, he leapt to his feet, scrambling for his firearm. Just one thought pierced his confused mind. They are after Rita!

Men in black garb were leaping into the room, shouting jumbled words as Rita started screaming. Reacting on instinct, Danny grabbed the pistol with right hand, his ID in his jeans pocket with the left. The shouting and screaming escalated; there was a gunshot. Danny staggered, then fell. He felt the searing pain as the bullet grazed his left shoulder, then struck the lamp behind him, exploding the bulb and plunging the room into darkness. Instantly, five brilliant flashlight beams blazed through the night as the invaders stumbled and tripped. As Danny dropped between the couch and the coffee table, he squeezed off one shot that managed to hit one man coming through the door. The man fell back outside. Rita was still screaming. Someone found the light switch and the bright overhead light came on. The gun had fallen from Danny's right hand as he hit the floor and he now made an attempt to pick it up with his left.

One of the men kicked the coffee table violently away, shattering it to pieces, and stepped down hard on Danny's outstretched hand while kicking the gun out of reach. "Get her outside and shut her up!" The man yelled motioning to Rita who stood clad in an oversized T-shirt and cutoffs, still screaming. The man then leaned down and shoved Danny, not too gently, onto his stomach. "Move and you're dead!"

What the hell's going on here? Danny tried to see what was happening.

"What the hell's going on here?" demanded a new voice.

I know that voice. Who are these people? Danny tried to turn his head to get a view of the invaders. He thought he knew the sound. He could see corner of a black shirt. The man turned and the bold yellow letters jumped at him: DEA. "Oh, boy," he uttered.

"I told you this was a drug shake down, not a shooting gallery!" the DEA lieutenant, Carl Matthewson, was shouting at his team.

"He fired at us!" one of the officers defended them, gesturing to the officer Danny had shot who was just regaining consciousness, a bright metal circle plain dead center on his bullet-proof vest.

Carl moved to Danny's side. He noticed the blood on the shirtsleeve and tore the sleeve. "Just a graze, Williams. You'll be all right." He looked angrily back at his team. "One of you idiots call an ambulance." He looked back at Danny, but could not quite make eye contact. "Sorry about this, Williams." He picked up the ID that Danny had only half retrieved from his pocket and waved it towards the other officers. "You're all just damned lucky he's a better shot than you are."

They stared for a moment in confusion. "Then just what is this?" shouted the one who'd shot Danny. "You sent us in here. Why didn't you tell us? That's protocol."

"He wasn't allowed to," announced Wetzel stepping through the broken door.

Carl spun at the sound towards Wetzel. "You said this was a simple search and seizure!"

"And what did you tell these cowboys!" Wetzel fired back.

"I didn't expect somebody shootin' at me!" shouted the officer who'd fired. "How the hell do I explain this! All I saw was a gun, man. What would you do?!"

"Lieutenant, this is yours to explain," Wetzel said quietly and coldly. "I said a search and seizure, not gunfight at the OK Corral. Which of you jerks has the search warrant?"

They fumbled for a moment and one of them offered a folded piece of paper.

Wetzel glared at the officer like he was filth and snatched the warrant from his hand. He crossed over to Danny, bent down, and dropped the warrant on the floor beside him. "Here you go, Williams. Just to keep it all nice and legal." He pulled a pen out of his pocket and used it to lift the left T-shirt sleeve so as not to get blood on his fingers. He gave a grunt. "Flesh wound. You're fine."

Danny, still on his stomach, half-confused, half outraged, said nothing.

Wetzel turned his back, casting a glance at Matthewson. "I suppose somebody here has called for an ambulance."

It was all Matthewson could do to keep from punching him.

Wetzel flexed his jaw and observed the DEA men all standing around in apparent confusion and helplessness. "Do what you came for!" He exploded. "Search this place!"

Everyone started arguing and talking at once again that erupted into a bitter word battle about who'd fired first.

Matthewson stepped forward. "Hey! Hey! We are professionals here! We do our job clean and right and nobody gets hurt." He had meant it figuratively, but he regretted the statement immediately. The officers quieted down. "Drew, go question the girl. The rest of you--let's see what's here." He knelt down next to Danny; aware Wetzel's dark eyes were on him. "We'll get this sorted out, Danny."

"Why?" he asked, trying to regain some of his composure. "What is this?"

Carl looked away. "I wish I knew. The warrant didn't list your name, it was under a Joyce Richards."

"My last tenant."

He shrugged. "I think it was Wetzel's way to slip it past the judge for the warrant."

"Is that legal?"

Before Carl could respond, an officer appeared from the back bedroom with three small plastic pouches of white powder. Two more were found in the kitchen drawer. There were three in the car under the seat.

Wetzel turned to Matthewson in triumph. "You see!" he announced.

"What's that supposed to prove?" Carl shot back. "The girl could have brought them!"

Drew burst in the broken doorframe. "She's gone."

"Gone!" Wetzel shouted.

Drew, Carl, and Wetzel all started shouting at each other. There was a sound.

"SHUT UP!" Wetzel roared and it came again.

The phone rang. The faint sound of a siren approaching could be heard. The phone rang again. Wetzel cursed and stepped over Danny to get the phone. "Hello."

On the other end, Kono stood by the light of the public phone, the receiver in hand. Who's on Danno's phone? He hesitated. What do I do? "Who is this?"

"Who's this?" Wetzel demanded back.

In the flash of an instant, Kono wrestled with his options. "Wrong number." He hung up. He stood in the fluorescent light hand on the receiver, knowing he could not have dialed the wrong number. What's going on? I'll call Steve. He began to lift the receiver when he heard someone clear his throat.

"Got a girl friend, Big Joe?"

He turned to face Ak and Cal, flanked on either side by armed men, weapons pointed towards Kono.

"Or sound I say Kono Halahuana of Five-0," Cal completed.

He frowned.

"Hey, we bad guys have to have our eyes and ears open, too, you know. Can't be too careful now a days." Cal motioned him away from the phone and he obeyed. "Bring him."

The armed men directed Kono through the cargo yard out towards the truck pen. As they walked, Cal muttered to Ak. "You are just damned lucky we fond him when we did. You were supposed to keep him away. I'd love to let you fall for this, but I can't find a way that doesn't lead back to me," he hissed. "And if that actually happened, Bedson would have my head, too."

Ak did not respond. He was sufficiently terrified at their near discovery. And now he was willing to do anything.

Kono stopped before the pickup truck they motioned to. He had no choice but to allow them to tie his hands. The hemp rope cut into his flesh as one of the men squeezed the rope tight with all his might. "You can't kill me," Kono found the voice to say. "You'll get McGarrett down on you for sure."

"Kill you?" Cal laughed out right. "Oh, no, no. Mustn't do that now. Smuggling is one thing--murder another. I'm sure you would have been quick to point that out to me." He gestured to the bed of the truck. "Get him in."

That was no easy task. Kono was a large man and was beginning to realize it might be time to protest. A small struggle ensued with the two guards that quickly involved Ak as well.

Cal jammed the gun against Kono's ear. "I will shoot you if you insist," he snarled. As the action froze, one of the men called in two more helpers who had been standing by the gate of the yard. Cal opened a fifth of whisky. "Care to share a drink with me, Halahuana?" He took a sip and wiped his mouth.

It took the strength of four men to hold Kono down as Ak began to force whisky down Kono's throat. He spat, gasped, tried to shake his head away as the alcohol stung his throat, spilled over his clothing and face and onto the bed of the truck. He began to fear he'd drown in the liquor. They're gonna make it look like I was some kind of foolish drunk who got hisself killed. The first fifth was empty, some into Kono, but most on everything else. He gulped for breath the few seconds it took to open the second bottle. Ak kicked him viciously in the groin and as Kono cried out in pain, Ak quickly poured the whisky into Kono's mouth. Kono coughed, tried to spit it back out. One of the men grabbed Kono's nose roughly pinching it off, so he had to open his mouth to breathe and when he did, they pour in more liquor.

Cal stood outside the truck chuckling. "Hey. I heard these Hawaiians can't hold their booze."

One of the men laughed. "Let's do a scientific study here to find out."

By the time they were opening the third bottle, Kono had taken enough that he was beginning to fee dizzy. He was weakening in his struggle and, as he did, they were getting more and more into him. Towards the end of the fifth bottle, he finally passed out on the wet, slippery deck of the truck.

"Finish this business," Cal ordered and turned away.

Leaving one man in the back of the truck with the unconscious Kono, Ak and another man went around and got into the front seat. They pulled away from the shipping yard headed for the rocky beach a mile awhile where the riptide was strong. It did not take them long to drive down onto the beach and back the truck up into the outgoing tide. Dropping the tailgate, the three men rolled Kono out and his body splashed into the surf, landing on his side. One pushed him over onto his face. They got back into the truck and drove away.

Two unseen heads popped up over the boulders fifty yards away on the beach. "What's going on?" whispered the girl.

"I don't know," the boy answered. "They dropped something into the water."

Their curiosity won out over their fear and, after looking around to be certain the men were gone, they hurried unknowingly to the water's edge and became heroes.


Duke was startled from a sound sleep by the phone. His first instinct was to remind himself that all his children were home and accounted for. The dispatcher's voice surprised him, for he knew it was Danny on call for the weekend. Maybe she just called me because she couldn't find the call sheet and she's got her eye on my son. But with the message about Kono, he instantly forgot to quibble about on call. He staggered out of bed, turning on the bedside light, and grabbed his directory. He did not know the number to the cottage by heart, it was unlisted, and it took him a frustrated minute to find it in his small book.

Wetzel swore as the phone rang. Does Williams get phone calls all night long? A medic was checking Williams' graze wound. Another was telling Bill Franklin, the officer who'd been saved by his vest, he needed to be checked also, and the DEA officer argued back. Wetzel answered the phone as he had earlier. "Hello."

Duke paused, puzzlement on his face. "Wetzel? Is that you?" He could hear a voice arguing about the emergency room in the background. "What the hell is going on!" He cast a quick glance at Mary, who sat up in the bed suddenly. Duke flushed crimson. He was not a man who normally cursed, especially in the presence of his wife.

Wetzel pursed his lips, knowing he had to give some kind of answer. "Not right now, Lukela."

"I haven't got the time for games here. I need to speak to Williams," Duke fired back angrily.

Matthewson glanced back at Wetzel, knowing the rogue officer was about to encounter the wrath of Five-0. This will be interesting.

Wetzel took a deep breath. "He's in my custody. I'll speak with you later." He hung up.


Kimo met McGarrett at the door to the emergency room and could tell by his superior's approach; McGarrett's rage was not well contained. "Kono's blood alcohol level was 1.5, well above toxic," Kimo offered quickly. "They've started him on dialysis, but we'll just have to wait."

"Someone with him?" Steve asked.


"What happened? Where was Danno? Kono knew he was the backup."

Kimo had already heard the strange story from Duke, but changed the subject. "The two kids who saved Kono are in the squad car outside."

Steve allowed it to happen. Yes, I really do need to talk with them, find out what they know, and tell them how grateful we are.

The teenagers were huddled together, wrapped up in beach towels, and frightened half out of their wits. Courageously, the boy leaned forward, protective of his partner.

Steve appreciated the action. "What were you doing down on the beach?"

"Camping out," he replied.

Steve noticed the color of her cheeks flush.

"Your parents know where you are?" Steve asked, remembering to sound gentle.

"Hey, man. We didn't do anything wrong," the boy replied defensively.

Steve forced a kind smile he did not feel. "You two witnessed an attempted murder on an undercover officer."

Their eyes were growing wide and round.

"I cannot emphasize enough how important anything you can recall might be. And I want to assure you that you are not in trouble--at least with me. If the people who tried to kill Officer Halahauna learn about you, it could be very dangerous for you. We need to get you protected and we need to speak with your parents."

"My mother will kill me," the girl whimpered.

Strange way to put it. "The more you tell us, the sooner we can get these guys and you can be safe again." He was working hard at being friendly. "I'm going to have you answer some questions for us at the police department where we can tape your responses. You are not in any kind of trouble, but anything you can recall will help us. Do you understand?"

They nodded in unison.

Steve glanced at the officer. "Take them downtown. Get them some breakfast, call their parents, and get a transcriber." He stepped away from the car and the driver started the engine. As he looked up, his gaze fell on his Lincoln--and the man dressed in a black jumpsuit leaning, arms crossed, on the left front fender. Maintaining his attention on the car, he commented to Kimo: "See what they can tell you. Can forensics get some tire casts from the beach?"

"Yeah, they already got three good ones," Kimo replied, also seeing the man McGarrett was watching. "Isn't that Carl Matthewson?" I'd better say something quick or McGarrett will kill Matthewson.

Steve nodded. "What does he want this time of the morning?"

Kimo took a quick breath. "When Duke called Danny's cottage, Wetzel answered the phone."

"What?" Steve gave him his full attention. "What was he doing there?"

Kimo looked away. "He just said he had Danny in custody."

"How could that happen? You were supposed to be watching Wetzel!" Steve shouted.

Kimo was angry that Steve had jumped to the offense before hearing the facts. "Look, you'll have to find out what's going on from Wetzel."

"This happened at the same time Kono's surveillance went bad. Do you think that's just coincidence?" Steve commented firing another glare at Kimo.

"See what's going on. I don't think Wetzel is on the take," Kimo tried to calm McGarrett. "He's too good for that."

"Good? Crafty is more like it." Steve, fury obvious, fists clenched at his sides, stormed towards Matthewson in the pre-dawn light. He tried to recall all the good things Wetzel was supposed to have accomplished in other places, but just now he wondered at what cost. "What's going on, Matthewson?" he snapped upon reaching the car.

"I need to talk to you."

"What about?" Steve tried to temper the rage and give the officer a chance.

He looked uncomfortable and exchanges glances with Carew, who'd followed Steve. "Last night. Have you spoken with Oliver Wetzel?"

"Not yet." The tone conveyed the thought. But there will be no mercy on him when I do.

"Wetzel got a search warrant last night for a little cottage off Waupapau. It's owned-"

"I know who owns it." Steve snapped, not attempting to make it any easier. "If you are planning to tell me that Wetzel trumped up something to arrest Williams on, I was just headed for HPD now."

"Not just that," he said quickly. "The bust went bad."

McGarrett eyed him closely. "How bad?"

"Shots were exchanged."

He squinted in disbelief. "Oh my God."

"Look, it's going to be okay. My men were just following protocol," Carl announced defensively. "We didn't know. The warrant listed the occupant as somebody else."

"Damn your men. Is anybody hurt?" Steve demanded, his rage overwhelming his control.

"Bill Franklin is in the ER at Queens with a heart bruise or something. His vest stopped the shot." He looked away, glad it was out.

Steve stood still for a moment, trying to keep from saying something entirely inappropriate. "Who fired the shot?"

Matthewson gazed at the ground. "Williams."

"Are you trying to tell me that Dan Williams shot a DEA officer?" Steve roared in disbelief and rage.

"Well, it wasn't quite that simple," Carl responded miserably. "Williams took a graze on the arm."

Steve slammed a fist against the hood of the Lincoln. "Anything else?" he said in a threatening tone.

"That's all," Matthewson concluded meekly.

That's all? That's all! Steve paused, trying to contain his fury for the one who deserved it. Finally, he uttered much too calmly: "Where is Wetzel?"

"I-I don't know."

"All right. Find him. I don't care what you have to do, but get him over to HPD. Tell him we are going to have a little chat." He got into the car and slammed the door as Kimo scrambled into the other side. Steve burned rubber out of the parking lot. He glanced at his watch: just past 6:00 a.m. With a bit of a sadistic smile, he picked up the radio. "Central, this is McGarrett. Patch me through to the Governor's residence."

"His residence?" squeaked the young man on dispatch.

"That's right." There was a short delay. He rounded a corner, tires squealing.

"Governor's residence," came a dignified voice.

"This is McGarrett. I need to speak with the Governor."

"I shall tell him when he arises," he replied, unruffled.

"No. Now."


"Wake him up." Steve had to admit there was a bit of sadistic joy in tormenting Moyer.

"But, sir, it's Sunday." The man's tone had become down right fearful.

Steve wondered if Moyer had his office staff afraid of him like most of the rest of local government was. "I know the day of the week, now get me the Governor."

There was a long delay, greater than three minutes. Steve could envision the image of the secretary wringing his hands as he slowly made his way to the Governor's room, timidly tapped on the door, half-praying, perhaps, Moyer would remain asleep and he could tell McGarrett he had tried.

Apparently the man was not so lucky. Steve was just turning in to the parking lot at HPD when Moyer's crisp voice came on the line. "Steve, what's going on?"

If I woke him up, he'll never let me know. "That weasel, Wetzel, is what's going on."

"What?" There was a tone of mild irritation.

"Has he given you a report?" Steve knew he was not inquiring, but demanding and he didn't care.

"I haven't spoken with him since we met together that first day."

Steve did not think he would have called the earlier event a meeting, but he let it pass. He parked the car in what would be a shaded spot in an hour and turned off the engine. "Well, he sure has a lot of explaining to do now. He sent out the DEA last night. They raided Dan Williams' place. We've got an officer in Queens being treated for a gunshot wound inflicted by one of my men. Now, you brought Wetzel here. I thought you might like to be present when we discuss this."

Moyer was silent.

Deciding the right political action, no doubt, decided Steve and he missed Jamesson again.

"Yes, of course, Steve. Where shall I meet you?"

Where the hell do you think? "At HPD."

"Isn't that a bit public?"

Steve hung up afraid he might say something else. He began to open the door.

"Steve," Kimo said and McGarrett paused. "I know this looks insane, but I know that Wetzel wouldn't go off on some goose chase. He is a good cop."

"Yeah, you keep saying that. He'll get his chance. But he's wrong." He got out.

Kimo jumped out of the other side. "But you don't know that!"

The anger that had been barely in check boiled over. "I know that as well as I know myself! Dan Williams is a clean cop! As clean as they come! Whatever Wetzel did is trumped up and mostly likely illegal!"

"You aren't even going to consider he could be-" Kimo started as he chased Steve into the building.

"No, I'm not!" Steve shouted.

The officer at the city desk jumped from his seat like he'd been electrocuted. "Good morning, Mr. McGarrett. Right this way," he offered without needing instructions. As he led Steve and Kimo towards the second floor conference room, he murmured, "I thought you'd like to know that Bill Franklin is okay. They just released him."

"Thank you," Steve replied, civilly. How do I ever explain this kind of a near tragedy? I don't have to, Wetzel does. That's what comes from bending the rules. He stepped through the door of the conference room and beheld Danny sitting at the table, staring at a cup of coffee. "You okay?" Steve asked.

He nodded, but he looked terrible. Steve knew it had nothing to do with the bandaged graze wound on his upper left arm. "Unbelievable," Danny uttered.

Steve spent a long moment calming his anger enough to think. He sat down across from Danny and an officer hurriedly presented Steve with a steaming cup of fresh coffee. He sniffed the steam, then sighed and shook his head. "Tell me what happened from the top."

Kimo leaned against the wall, not really feeling a part of the exchange. I am never part of this. It's not just professional, or even friends; it's like a blood bond. I will never be part of this team, not really. And for a fraction of a moment, he was filled with jealousy and hoped Wetzel was right.

Danny leaned back in the wood straight back chair, never lifting his eyes from the table. "I don't know. One minute I'm asleep on the couch, the next people are bursting down the door yelling and shooting."

"Who fired first?"

"They did." Now he did look up, and met Steve's eyes. "I had my gun, but I was trying to get to my ID."

The DEA is going to claim they fired in self-defense. "What else?"

"They came looking for drugs--like they already knew they were there. They turned up some packets of white powder--I guess they're going to claim it's cocaine. I'd never seen it before."

"They test it?"

"Not while I was there. It was a setup. Had to be." As Danny retold the events, his anger started to grow. "It's that Wetzel. Sensationalism."

Kimo silently crossed his arms. Well, Williams has that one wrong. Wetzel likes to be stealth. Silent in and out. No press, no fuss, usually makes sure some local gets the public credit for his work. So who was supposed to get the credit this time? Carl Matthewson? And Wetzel did not plant the drugs, so how did they get there? He carefully scrutinized Danny's behavior. He's hiding something.

"I've got Carl Matthewson looking for Wetzel now. We are going to sort this out," Steve promised Danny.

"I want to be there."

"Fine. We can do this here."

"I don't mind telling him what I think." The color was rising in Danny's face. "That damned Cherokee is framing me and nearly got me killed! I damn never killed somebody else! I want to hear why!"

Kimo rubbed his chin. No sleep, unshaven, we all look a bit scruffy right now and no one is thinking very clearly. He wished he could speak to McGarrett alone and get him to see reason. He waited several minutes, then finally cleared his throat. "Um, Steve, I'm gonna, um, get a cup of coffee. Keep me company?"

Neither man moved from the table. Kimo decided that if looks could kill, he'd be pushing up daisies.

"You can say whatever you want to both of us," McGarrett said flatly.

Kimo was apprehensive. "I know we don't always get along," he said to Danny, feeling like he as suddenly all thumbs. "Well, I know you think that Wetzel is a jerk, but I'm gonna tell you, he didn't plant that stuff. He's not a sensationalist. Whatever went wrong, however drugs ended up in your house, he did not bring them. And if he thought there was a good reason to raid the place--well there was."

They were both silent.

"You need to hear the guy out."

"It's all a lie," Danny declared. "No matter what he says, it's wrong."

"It's bad enough he was permitted to come here, bad enough there are no restraints on him, bad enough he can use that unlimited power to mobilize DEA, but now he attacks Five-0 itself with no grounds!" Steve exploded.

"So that's what it's all about!" Carew yelled back. "Because he slapped the perfect Five-0?! Then maybe it's just as well that somebody decided we weren't God incarnate around here."

There was a timid rap at the door and an officer stuck his head in. "Steve--out here."

McGarrett stormed out into the hall. Wetzel stood downstairs by the city desk, fury in his eyes, hands clenched. Matthewson stood nervously behind him. "McGarrett, I've been up all night, can't this wait till I get some sleep?" Wetzel snapped annoyance plain.

"I've been up all night, too," Steve retorted. "I almost lost an undercover cop tonight because you denied him his contact. Thanks to you and DEA we had officers shoot each other!"

"Now wait!" Carl shouted.

"No, you wait, you wimp!" Wetzel exploded, turning on the DEA lieutenant. "You didn't like the outcome, there's dirt in the department, so you go running scared to each other--safety in numbers! Worried about what else I'll dig up, Matthewson? McGarrett?" He glared at each in turn, then sneered. "Bunch of babies."

"You listen here." Steve gripped him by the collar. "You are a danger to everything the law stands for. You come in here with your flowery promises to politicians, the pied piper to rid us of all evil if we will just look the other way. And what happens? You violate rights, innocent people are victimized-"

"Victim? What victim? There's no victim. Your buddy is charged with possession, resisting arrest, discharging a firearm--" Wetzel, flushed red, fired back.

"The safeguards are there for a reason--for the protection of all," Steve said more quietly. "They protect the innocent and the guilty alike. Nobody can be that damned sure. And when those safeguards are removed, society itself is reduced to anarchy."

"This isn't about noble society, McGarrett." Wetzel snarled. "It's about your friend getting busted and that makes you and your righteous department look bad."

Someone cleared a throat and all three men turned to face Governor Moyer. "I thought this discussion was going to wait for me," he said quietly. There were uniformed officers standing around all over the department staring at the show down.

Steve realized he still gripped Wetzel's shirt and let go. "We were just warming up," he muttered.

The Governor motioned towards the hallway where more personnel peeked around corners. "Well, let's find somewhere just a little less public."

"I have just the place," McGarrett retorted. "Danny wants to be a part of this."

Wetzel and Matthewson both started to protest.

"What's your problem? You're the ones who wanted to throw out the rules," McGarrett remarked, leading them back upstairs to the conference room.

As Steve opened the door, Danny was just hanging up the phone. "I just called John Manicote. He's three minutes away."

"You called the DA?" Wetzel asked.

"Sounded like we might need a referee."

"Sounds like we might need a bigger room," Matthewson commented.


Duke sat in the soft chair beside Kono's bed. The dialysis machine hummed softly as it pumped Kono's poisoned blood through its filtration system and back into the unconscious officer. Duke's eyelids were heavy from lack of sleep and comedown from the high of the adrenaline flow earlier. Kono is a good man. I was recruited to Five-0 on his recommendation. He would never have done something to blow his cover, how did they find out? Things are happening and I don't know what they are. Against his will, he eyes closed, his head dropped back in exhausted slumber.

"Hey, Duke."

He startled alert at the sound of Kono's voice and was out of the chair at his side instantly. How do you feel?"

"Can't sleep cause you're snoring," he mumbled.

Duke gave a grin. Even at his worst, Kono can still make a joke. "I'll tone it down," he agreed quietly, then repeated, "How do you feel?"

He slowly closed his eyes, then reopened them. "Mouth fulla sand. Got some water?"

Duke glanced around, not sure if it was all right, and spotted a pitcher and straw.

"Good stuff, that water," Kono approved after he'd taken a sip.

"You remember what happened?"

"Enough to know I'm swearing off whisky for life," Kono replied. "What was going on? Where's Danno?"

Duke knew that was not the issue right now. "It's okay. Do you remember anything about Mayan Shipping?"

"The Star of India came in last night. Unloaded nearly her whole hold. Crates all unlabeled. They contained stuff like ivory tusks, skins."

Duke scowled. "Drugs in 'em?"

"No, man. Contraband. Just about as valuable and you can buy off the customs officials overseas for that stuff. They play the shell game with those crates till the only way to track it is by the supervisor's clipboard. We can't get 'm if we can't find the loot."

Duke found it hard to accept that all the complicated ruse was about tusks and skins. "How can we find them?"

Kono shook his head. "We don't, Duke. The Star of India will have gone by this morning and probably with the guys who tried to kill me on board."

Duke did not answer right away. The possibility of Kono having risked his life on a case that would now escape was more than he wanted to admit. There would have to be a way.


While awaiting Manicote's arrival, Moyer took the opportunity to bully HPD into providing the conference room with coffee, juice and three dozen donuts.

"Looks more like a damned Sunday brunch than an interrogation," Carl muttered.

McGarrett also wondered if Moyer had any idea of the depth of complication that the incident at the cottage had created. "You aren't even going to consider..." Kimo had started. No, I'm not. I can't. I know Danno too well, better than anyone. Not him. But what if Wetzel's right? He glanced at Danny who sat glaring at the floor, an obvious black mood that had only deepened by Moyer trivializing the issue with the food. Wetzel is wrong, Steve concluded stubbornly.

When Manicote arrived, he brought with him that air lawyers usually do of being in control. He too gave a wry expression at the mountain of pastries on the walnut finish Formica. "What is all this?" he asked of the person with the most seniority--Moyer.

"I'd like to introduce you to Oliver Wetzel," Moyer said politely.

"Aha," he said slowly. "I heard you were here."

Wetzel glared silently and did not extend a hand.

"And," John pulled a paper from his jacket pocket, "this is a copy of Judge Suski's search warrant grant to Wetzel to search the cottage owned by Clara Williams' estate last night. It lists the occupant as a Joyce Richards. How am I doing so far?"

"He told us it was a search and seizure!" Matthewson jammed a finger towards Wetzel. "He didn't even tell us who it was!"

"There are leaks in the department, you jerk!" Wetzel yelled. "Someone could have tipped him off. They'd have been gone."

"They?" John asked, but no one listened.

"We didn't even know it was Williams' place!" Carl argued. "All we knew was that we announced ourselves and somebody started shooting at us!"

"No way! You did not announce!" Danny hollered, ignoring the painful arm as he jumped up.

"They did! They announced on the way through the door--just like protocol!"

"And since when is it protocol to shoot first!"

"Hey! Now see-"

"Who fired first?" John shouted to be heard.

"They did" Danny insisted.

"He shot Bill Franklin!" Carl accused.

"After Greg Hunter shot me!"

John rubbed her forehead. It wasn't even eight o'clock on a Sunday morning. "Gentlemen, if you please."

"DEA didn't do anything wrong. We announced. Greg told him to drop the weapon, he didn't. He was reaching in his pocket for something else."

"My ID!" Danny put in.

"Yeah, I know that now. Greg didn't know that." Carl stopped a second and added more quietly, "What would you have done in our place, Danny?"

Steve gestured to the blood stained T-shirt Danny was wearing. The letters P.A.L. were blazed in bold black lettering across the front. "Doesn't seem to me that anyone looked very closely."

"The damned light got shot out." Carl thew up his hands. "All I know is that we followed protocol. If we'd been told we were bustin' a cop maybe it would have been different. With the door bustin' and that girl screaming--"

"What girl?" John and Steve asked together.

Danny's face reddened. "Rita Prate, the singer from Andy's."

Good God, not another singer, Steve thought before he could stop himself.

"Can I ask what she was doing there?" Wetzel put in.

"Not what you think," Danny snapped.

"Yeah? You tell me what I think." Wetzel jutted his jaw out.

"I don't give a damn what you think. You're the one who's the cause of all this!"

John tried to bring about order again. "Danny, please. Wetzel, can we try to keep this civil?"

Danny slumped back onto the edge of his chair, tired, sore, angry, and embarrassed at having been dragged in HPD like a common crook and sitting here barefoot on the cold linoleum floor.

Wetzel walked to the far side of the room and stared at the paneled wall as if to divorce himself from the entire proceedings.

"Let's remember we're just trying to get to the bottom of all this," John sighed. "Okay, Danny, you had this girl, Rita, at your aunt's place."

"She needed a place to stay following an assault on Friday. She surprised somebody breaking in to her home. They beat her up," Danny explained. : I was just giving her a safe place to stay."

"You have the police report number, I assume," John interjected.

He felt like kicking himself. "She didn't want to file a report."

Steve frowned. "You let her get away with that?"

"I was going to talk her into doing it Sunday--today. Just talk to her, she'll confirm it."

"We don't know where she is," Carl informed him.

"What do you mean?" He looked alarmed.

Wetzel spun back. "They lost the damned girl! What a bunch of jerks!"

Carl's face now flushed. "Drew took her out to the car. He left her to check on Bill. When he got back, she was gone."

"The only witness and you let her walk away!" Wetzel hooted.

Carl jabbed a finger at him. "Don't you start with me again!"

Steve was moving towards the phone. "Danno, let's get an APB out. I assume neither of you has, right?" he remarked to Matthewson and Wetzel.

Danny gave the description. "Have them check at Andy's, maybe she went there. I had been thinking someone might be after her and she was afraid to tell me. Maybe she told Andy something."

"We'll find her," Steve said with determination.

Wetzel rolled his eyes and shook his head. "Unless she doesn't want to be found. She's facing possession charges, too, you know. That girl has disappeared into the sugar cane somewhere."

Steven spun towards him, anger just barely in check. "There aren't a lot of people I'd like to beat to a pulp. Congratulations, you've just made the list."

Wetzel never blinked, just stepped forward, eye to eye with Steve. "Name your place."

"For the love of God, what is this?" Moyer asked, throwing up his hands. "I haven't seen such childish behavior out of a roomful of men since adolescence!"

"See what happens when we decide to throw out the rules?" McGarrett remarked.

Moyer let it go by without further comment.

John used his handkerchief to mop his brow. "So far we have established that Danny had a--visitor--who's now missing--who may or may not have had an assault."

"That's for real," Danny blurted. "She was beat up."

"Okay." He raised his hands. "She was assaulted. She came to you for help and you took her out to the cottage instead of filing a police report because....." He looked at Danny to fill in the blank.

"She didn't want to go to the police," he filled in miserably, feeling stupid.

"And why did you go to the cottage?"

He shrugged. "I have two bedrooms there. Nobody knows about it--well, at least they didn't."

"You took a girl to a remote location alone and spent the night. Doesn't that sound like poor judgment?" John asked, sounding like a teenager's father.

"It does now," he admitted.

John turned back to Wetzel, who stood looking at the wall again. "You obtained a search warrant based on what evidence?"

Wetzel glanced at John with a grin, then back at the wall. "Research, investigation, bank records." He stopped.

When it became plain Wetzel was not going to voluntarily continue, Manicote said, "Would you be more specific?"

"Why? I don't have to."

"Well, you can't press charges in this state without it. No to mention the little issue about falsification on the warrant."

Wetzel turned towards him, looking ready to attack the smaller DA.

"You knew this Joyce Richards didn't occupy the house anymore, but you put her name on the warrant," John fearlessly stated to clarify the point.

Wetzel growled. "For security."

"It is still illegal."

Wetzel yanked the form from his jacket pocket. "You see this?" He shoved it first at Manicote, then Moyer. "You signed this," he snapped at the Governor. "Unlimited rights, remember?"

"It doesn't matter what he singed," Manicote declared, realizing that he was also starting to react to Wetzel. "You are still limited by the Constitution, Wetzel."

Wetzel sized up Manicote. "Very well," he said with a nod, as if pandering to nursery school children. He turned, hands on hips towards Williams. "You were followed for two days. In that time, you met with known drug dealers three times. I have photographic evidence of you giving money to two of them."

He scowled. "I am following the gang wars, Wetzel. I paid snitches a few times this week."

"Whatever you say," Wetzel replied coldly. "I have evidence of you giving drug dealers money. And records that 18 months ago you were treated for a cocaine overdose."

"You bastard!" Danny exploded.

"AND we found drugs in your residence, your car. Even a plastic bag of six packets buried outside the house. There was fresh dirt on your boots!" Wetzel shouted back.

"I dug up a dead bush! John, I'm not going to stand for this twisting of the facts!" Danny was on his feet and headed for the door. "I'm out of here!"

Wetzel blocked the door. "You're not going anywhere. Your're under arrest. Besides..." He paused and a sly smile creased his face. "...you haven't heard the rest. I know about the bank account at Hawaiian National."

"I don't have an account there," Danny refuted.

Wetzel gave a chuckle.

He's enjoying this, Steve realized, like a cat would play with a mouse before it moves in for the kill. Is that what Wetzel is doing? Moving in for the kill?

"Come on, Williams, I know it all, might as well fess up!" Wetzel declared.

"Somebody else--"

"Yeah, set you up," Wetzel finished. "Then they began the frame in 1949! That account was opened in 1949. No activity since 1952, it just puttered around adding interest to a principle of about $60. But, nine weeks ago, $50,000 was added." He assumed an innocent gaze. "Where's you find $50,000 on a cop's salary, Williams?"

He stood speechless.

"Money in the four zeros has been flying in and out of that account like crazy." Wetzel strutted to the far side of the room and turned back. "Well, boys?" He looked from man to man.

"But there is no bank account," Danny repeated.

Wetzel gave one more stuccotic chuckle of sarcasm. "Here's how it goes, folks. The man has a quiet habit. Only managed to get snagged once--or maybe that started him, hard to say." He shrugged. "But, about nine weeks ago, he makes a hooker girl friend. Now he's feeding them both, so to speak. He decided to get some freebies by pulling some drug jobs himself. Maybe a few payoffs. But to keep things quiet, he uses his old dime savings that has been collecting dust for thirty years or so."

"This is all a big sham," Danny stated. It'll never get to court."

"Really? How about when it gets to the press?" Wetzel said quietly. "Because if the Hawaiian legal system won't lock you up that's where it'll go. The press will eat you alive."

Steve watched the color drain from Danny's face. Williams gripped the back of the chair, hands shaking, eyes staring down at the table as the emotion melted away. Good Lord, he's going to come apart right in front of me, Steve realized in horror. Wetzel doesn't know. He can't possibly know, but right now Danny doesn't believe that. I should have made him talk about it. I should have made him get help. I need to get him away from this.

"Danny," Manicote tried to control the exchange again, "trust me. See this through." He had also observed the change in Williams, but could not have interpreted the cause accurately.

Danny looked up at Manicote, but obviously had not heard him. He suddenly bolted for the door. Wetzel moved in to block the way, but Danny's shoulder slammed against his chest, pitching him sideways into the water cooler beside the door. The twenty-gallon glass water bottle wobbled, then hit the linoleum spraying water and glass everywhere.

Steve made it to the door only seconds after Danny, but Danny was not to be seen. A secretary stood, open-mouthed in the hallway, a stack of forms still in her arms. Wordlessly, she pointed towards the firedoor of the stairwell leading to the roof at the end of the hall. The door was just clicking shut.

Steve burst into the stairwell, just as the thick steel door to the roof above clanged. "Danno?" His voice echoed in the well. Silence answered him. Steve raced up the stairway and burst through the door out onto the tar and gravel roof into the brilliant sunshine. The early morning air was still crisp and carried the salt of the breeze off the water.

Danny was standing at the edge of the roof, one bare foot on the ledge, looking down. If he knew Steve was also on the roof, he did not reveal it.

McGarrett's heart thundered in fear. This isn't really happening. It's a nightmare. What do I do? "Danno?" he said quietly, taking a few steps closer.

There was no response.

Caught between wanting to yell at him to snap out of it and wanting to hold him like an injured child, Steve waited. He finally found words. "Danno, look at me."

He did not.

"No one believes Wetzel."

Aside form the light breeze that ruffled his hair, Williams made no movement.

How many times have I talked jumpers out of their decisions? Yet, now when it matters the most, I cannot think of the right thing. "Danno, please. This isn't the way." Does he even hear me? What is he thinking? "Talk to me. What's happening? I am here for you."

A single tear dropped onto the concrete ledge of the roof.

McGarrett dared a step closer. If I lunge for him, what will he do? If I don't, what will he do? "Come with me. We can straighten this mess out. It's just a big misunderstanding. You know that, I know that. It'll be all right."

"It will never be all right," his voice whispered back.

Steve was surprised that he had responded and a bit relieved. At last. We can still reach each other. "Okay, let's talk about it," he offered. I must keep him talking.


"Because it will help."

"Nothing will help."

"Won't know if we don't try."

"Wetzel's right."

About what? "Danno, I know you aren't a dirty cop."

"Why didn't you had let me die when Chaney shot me? What's the point? Nothing has ever been the same. Lani----" He started to weep.

Steve wanted more than anything to put an arm over his sobbing friend's shoulder. "Give me your hand, Danno."

Instead he stepped up onto the ledge with the other foot.

"God, Danno, please!" Steve blurted.

"Why wasn't it me?" he whispered between sobs. "Lani died because of me!"

"You know that isn't true," Steve risked to counter. "You did all you could."

"I told her she would be okay! I told her...." His voice was lost in the pain once again. "I disgraced her memory! Mali---I thought I could help her. God, Mali......" He stopped talking again. It seemed like an eternity that there was no sound except the tears. "I should have died." He buried his face in his hands and his muffled voice said, "I should have let them kill me...how could I have done that...How could I? They were going to kill me---they said they would eat me. I should have just stopped them. There should have been something else. How could I?..." his voice trailed off.

McGarrett knew he was close enough. He grabbed hold of Danny from behind by both arms and pulled him back from the ledge with such force that they both landed in a tangle on the sharp stones of the roof. For a moment, Steve just held on for all he was worth, thankful that the most immediate danger was passed. When he found his voice he said quietly, "Danny, you've accomplished so much good. There's so much left for you to do. It will get better."

"I KILLED THEM, DON'T YOU KNOW THAT?" he suddenly screamed at the top of his lungs. From the rooftop, it seemed to echo throughout town. "WHAT KIND OF A MONSTER AM I?!"

"Danno!" Steve turned him so they were face to face. "I know everything that happened and I know why."

"You can't possibly know! I killed them! There was blood everywhere and he wouldn't die!" Danny was absolutely manic. He tried to pull free of Steve's fierce grasp unsuccessfully. Please just let me die! The blood was on my hands. It is on my hands. It won't wash off!" He held out his hands, rubbing them violently together. "It won't come off--won't-"

"Danno!" Steve shouted at him, this time roughly. "You did not do wrong by defending yourself."

"Defending myself?" he whispered weakly. He sagged back in McGarrett's embrace, helplessly. "Defending myself? I butchered that man--a human being. I cut him to pieces! I cut off his head!"

Steve wanted to tell him that human beings didn't contemplate cannibalism. Instead, he enfolded Danny in his arms as they both sat on the hot, sticky tar roof. What can I do to help him come back? God, I'll get him help, I'll see to it he goes, just let him get out of here with some kind of dignity intact. A movement from the corner of the roof caught Steve's eye and he turned.

Oliver Wetzel stood in the doorway, no emotion registering on his face whatsoever. None of the caustic remarks or patronizing looks--just standing there.

Steve would have given his own life for it to have been anyone else in the world. Rage exploded in his mind and portrayed itself in the hostile look that washed over his face. "Do something worth while, Wetzel. Call 911." Are you happy with what you've done?

Without a word, Wetzel turned away.

No, Wetzel didn't do this. Danny did it to himself. He should have gotten professional help. I did this because I let him try to handle it alone.


Steve did not care what became of the others who had been at the early morning meeting in HPD. He returned to the office exhausted, angry, and confused. Sometimes the office could be a point of refuge and right now that was what he needed. He was consumed with guilt and sorrow. Now one could have seen this coming, he tried to tell himself. It was just a freak of poor wording on Wetzel's part. Or was it? Was there something I missed? Does Wetzel know? How much did he hear on the roof? He opened the door to his office to see Duke Lukela standing there. Duke's expression was anything but serene. Steve wondered if he looked as bewildered as Duke did.

"Steve, what's going on?"

He stood there, unable to hide the pain. Duke never knew about the Fijian poachers either. The secret was kept from him, too. And this isn't the time, either. "Wetzel," he said, praying that Duke would press no farther.

He said nothing, but there was a look of disappointment in his eyes. Whatever this is, Steve won't even trust me with it. There has been the aura of tragedy in this office for months. It is so close to the surface, I can almost touch it. "Steve, talk to me. Something has been wrong here for a long time."

Steve sank down onto the couch, elbows on his knees, hand to his forehead. "I can't."

"I heard about Wetzel and his accusations. I knew Danny had problems, but I never imagined...I should have told you, but I kept thinking he'd find his way out. I'm sorry, Steve."

McGarrett looked up at Duke. "You knew?" Is that possible? Danny told him?

He nodded. "I should have reported him."

"Reported him?"

"I didn't think there were drugs involved, too."

"Drugs?" What are we talking about?

Duke was watching Steve closely. "We aren't talking about the same thing, are we."

Steve did not reply. You first.

"His drinking problem."

"Drinking?" Steve whispered.

"I knew he was drinking more and more, but he seemed able to keep it out of his professional life, so I didn't say anything. I was trying to get him to enroll in AA."

Steve just stared at Duke. Is there no bottom to this? Kimo's accusation haunted him. "You won't even consider the possibility..." "I don't think there is a drug problem," he said thickly. Am I sure? I don't know what I'm sure of anymore.

Confused concern etched across Duke's usually calm features. "I don't understand."

Steve's gaze drifted and came to rest on the board containing information about Mayan Shipping. He rose and approached the board. I haven't even remembered Robert Bedson. Is that what is behind this? Is there a connection? "Duke, get Kimo in here. I think I'd like Wetzel's services, too."


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 with 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. "Kono." 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.