Robin then spat out the whole story. He had concocted the entire scheme; authors do that you know. Knocking out Rene was a mistake when one of the painters got scared. The guy was most apologetic. It wasn't likely that Rene would press charges, as he was on the mend and no police report had been filed.
When the painters picked up Robin that morning they had driven around the block once again and entered at the rear of the working hotel across the street. Disguised in a coverall, Robin was just another painter.
And the empty paint buckets in the dumpsters? JR and his little band had arrived at the garage early and had cleaned out their van. Some people used the trash containers rented by others routinely. They had too. Throwing away Robin's cell phone was a change to the plan. Robin thought of it at the last minute.
"But why, Robin?" By now we were sitting on the balcony drinking cool drinks. Room service had responded quickly when Robin called the front desk. The painters were now back to painting the outer room and we were alone. The breeze brought the smells of the sea to the building. The sun was setting in the west and it was another nice evening in Honolulu. "Why all the intrigue?" In spite of the view I was still mad.
"I've been working on another novel. And somehow I just couldn't wrap it up. I was out of inspiration. I had to shelve that project. But I recently signed a contract with a producer for a screenplay. You won't believe the title 'The Lost Author.' How about that? Never having written a screenplay I needed some inspiration and you Magnum, well…" he held out his hands to me and laughed, "you fit the bill."
T. C and Rick practically fell out of their chairs laughing. But Higgins was upset. "Mr. Masters. Robin, I'm still not happy about Nick going behind my back."
"Jonathan, there are many things that I have asked you to do for me. Technically many of those were behind someone's back."
Higgins nodded. "Quite right, Robin. All is forgiven." He still looked a bit distressed. "But why couldn't you trust me?"
Robin grinned. "Higgins, you are still writing your memoirs, aren't you? If I distract you, you might never finish them."
"Hm, well, yes." Higgins sounded a bit happier. "I am now up to late 1976. It was the last time I saw David Worth. We were hiking on the Pali. We were photographing the rare…" he slowed and stopped. "But you don't want to hear about that."
"That's alright Mr. Higgins, you can tell me about it later," Nick said. "Mr. Masters, sorry I wasn't able to continue the game longer."
"That's alright son. I think you'll get sharper in time." Robin now turned to Rick. "Mr. Wright? I trust that your condo project is proceeding with enough financing? If not I could…"
Rick beamed. "Well, Robin, I mean, Mr. Masters, I'd be glad to talk to you about it some time."
Robin now looked over to T.C. "T.C? You have that little package I asked about?"
"Sure, got it downstairs." T.C. smiled his best smile. "A nice piece of work if you ask me. Finished it up today, just as you asked."
Robin hoisted himself out of his chair. "Well gentlemen, I think that's about it, let's go. I know a wonderful spot for dinner near the Ala Wai Marina. Let's go there."
Somehow I felt like my questions had not really been answered. But we piled into the elevator at Robin's bidding. Leaving the elevator, there was a stir outside the lobby.
Robin put his arm around me. "Thomas, I understand that you have retired from the US Navy again?"
"Yes, Robin. Once and for all. And I am happy about it."
"Good. You know I never sent you a retirement gift, did I?" He shook his head. "I'm unhappy I missed the event. Perhaps I can make it up to you."
"That's alright Robin." It really was. There was a crowd outside the lobby, clustered around a car. A red car.
T.C. and Rick grabbed my arms and pushed me through the crowd. Robin was beaming as he said, "Thomas Magnum, here is your car. The title transfer is in the glove box. A little present from me." He pressed keys into my hand.
Parked there was a bright red Ferrari 308GTS. "Oh come on! Robin, it can't be!" The roof panel was off and just sitting there it looked like it was going 70 miles per hour.
Robin laughed. "Yes, it is! T.C and his team did the work and I paid for the restoration. It's only fair. You've driven it far more than I ever did!"
I ran my fingers over the lovely red curves. I was absolutely floored. The Hawaii license plate read 'MAGNUM' in bold letters. This was too much. "Robin, I can't believe it! I can't accept it."
"Oh Magnum, of course you can," said Robin Masters. "That's what this whole escapade was about! I needed to get you here to take the car. Consider it a reward for finding the Lost Author. After all these years, I think I owed you. Maybe you'll stick around for a while." He laughed and climbed into a waiting limo. He waved to Nick, T.C. and Rick to join him. "See you at the Marina!" Then they were gone.
Higgins laughed heartily. "Come on, Magnum let's go dine! I suppose I'll have to ride with you."
I tossed the keys in my hand, opened the door and slid into the driver's seat. My hands felt like they'd never left that wheel or shifter. I started the engine while Higgins walked around to the passenger door. The V8 engine sounded sweet.
"Magnum this door is locked. Will you unlock it?" he asked.
I pushed the shifter into first and eased in the clutch, pressing the accelerator down. As the car started to roll, Higgins ran to keep up.
He yelled, "Magnum, blast it! Don't leave me!" I could hear him screaming over the whirling Italian machinery.
What would you do?
I took my foot off the gas, braked, and threw out the clutch. The motor purred to an idle. I opened the passenger door and yelled. "Come on, Higgins! Get in!" With a big smile, he climbed in and the two of us sped off.
- The End -
Thanks for reading and letting me bring Thomas Magnum into the twenty-first century!
This story sprang from my head, during a trip to Honolulu in Fall 2009, what Magnum would be doing in the present. The idea of setting the scene in a condo was given to me by an unhappy traveler on the plane home whose hotel was next to one undergoing a noisy and messy demolition and refurbishment.