I'm spoiled for choice as to which little story I want to run this weekend. I've been inspired by a bunch of little ideas lately. Since baseball season is coming to the ninth inning and football is just kicking off I decided to run this one, featuring my first cargument.
I apologize in advance to those of you who are not familiar with these American sports, particularly our gridiron football. I hope you can enjoy the back and forth even if some of the finer points are lost.
Football vs. Baseball
"Ray Fifita!" Steve McGarrett exclaimed aloud while driving Danny's Camaro along Kalakaua Boulevard in Waikiki.
"Ray who?" asked Detective Danny Williams from the passenger seat.
"Ray Fifita. That's who Ono reminded me of. It just came to me," Steve explained, not that this was much of an explanation to the puzzled detective.
"The guy we arrested yesterday? The big fella who charged you like you were the buffet table at the Hilton Hawaiian Village?" Danny asked for the sake of clarification.
"That's the guy," Steve confirmed. "I had a flash of déjà vu when I saw him coming at me. I just realized why. He looked a lot like Ray Fifita."
"And who, pray tell, is Ray Fifita? And why was he charging you? Did you unleash your smirk at him?"
Steve smirked, realized it and tried (unsuccessfully) to wipe it off his face. "No, Ray played tackle for McKinley High when I was quarterback for Kukui. He sacked me three, no, four times during the season. He was 250 pounds, all muscle, blasted through my line like a freight train. Nice guy off the field, but the scariest thing I ever saw when he was coming at me on the football field," Steve reminisced.
"As a junior," Steve confirmed.
Danny pursed his lips in a soundless whistle. That was one big kid.
"The scariest thing I saw during high school was Sister Agnes and her ebony ruler," Danny said, grimacing and rubbing his knuckles in remembrance. "But during sports … I don't care how big the kid is, nothing in football is as scary as a 90-mile-an-hour fastball coming straight at your head."
"Did it hit you?" Steve asked, wincing in sympathy.
"No, I hit the deck instead," Danny replied.
"I got hit by Ray — four times," Steve said smugly.
"And you're proud of this?" Danny asked incredulously. "Listen, the reason baseball is superior is because we get hits, we don't get hit," the detective said, enjoying the wordplay.
Steve made a derisive noise. "There's nothing that compares to running, dodging tackles and diving for a touchdown."
"Rounding third, with a play at the plate, sliding under the catcher's tag," Danny countered.
"Hurling a long bomb."
"Hitting a home run."
"Football is fast and exciting. Baseball is slow and plodding," Steve said.
"Football is all brawn, no brains. Baseball is cerebral," Danny argued.
"Cerebral? How can you even use words like that talking about sports?"
"Terminus attained," Danny said.
"We're here, leatherhead," Danny said, pointing at their destination, the high school they were passing.
Steve swerved the Camaro, into the driveway they had almost passed, fishtailing and bouncing before he could reduce speed.
"Whoa, whoa! Watch the suspension, you lunatic! This isn't a football stadium. You don't need to dodge tacklers here," Danny protested, as he grabbed the safety bar above the window.
"Baseball wuss," Steve wisecracked.
"Football animal," Danny retorted.
There was no heat to either insult. Both men had diverted their focus to their target in the building.
School was out for the day and there were only a few people around. The partners walked through the quiet halls of the high school on their way to the gym.
The subject of their investigation, Uleki Brown, was a high school gym teacher, which may have been what triggered Steve's sports memories. Brown had been mentioned in connection with a heroin ring that Five-0 was investigating.
The idea that a teacher might be involved in selling drugs to kids made Danny's blood boil, but right now they just wanted to ask him a few questions.
Until they spotted him talking to Buck Tracy, the chief enforcer of the aforementioned heroin ring, who recognized them at the same moment.
"Cops!" the enforcer yelled, and took off running.
Like hounds after a hare, the Five-0 officers took after the running man, which spooked the gym teacher into running, too. In much better shape than the enforcer, Brown sped past the drug dealer, startling a janitor who was opening an electrical cabinet.
Hoping to slow his pursuers, Tracy shoved the janitor to the ground and slammed the panel door wide open as he passed.
But Tracy's delaying efforts delayed him as well. Danny slid feet first under the open panel door and swept Tracy's legs out from under him in a perfect takedown slide. Tracy's head clunked off the tile floor with a hollow thud.
Danny gestured like an umpire. "You're out!"
Steve hurdled the janitor, took three more long strides and left his feet. His arms wrapped the teacher in a sweet tackle that sent both men crashing to the ground. Brown was winded but still conscious.
Dusting off his pants, Danny stood next to his insensible prisoner. "Nice double play," he said, indicating the two captives.
Steve smirked. "I'd call it a fair catch," he agreed.
Danny called for HPD support and medical help for Tracy.
When he was done, Steve hoisted Brown to his feet and a small bag of white powder fell from the teacher's pocket. Danny swooped on it. Scooping it up in an evidence bag, he held it up for all to view.
"Brownie, Brownie," the detective said in pitying tones. "Possession is a good thing in football, not so good in criminal law."
After paramedics took the recovering Tracy to the jail ward, the commander ushered Brown to a patrol car for transport to Five-0 headquarters.
"Come on, Brownie," Steve said, picking up Danny's nickname. "You've been called for holding."
"Offensive holding," Danny said.
"Very offensive," Steve agreed.
Brown sat in holding for a while. When Kono finally escorted the handcuffed Brown into the interrogation room, Steve and Danny were already inside. Steve was seated at a heavy wooden table looking over some papers. A football sat next to his elbow, for no reason Brown could see.
Danny stood behind his partner, looking over his shoulder at the papers. Kono seated Brown opposite Steve and fastened his cuffs to a sturdy loop screwed into the tabletop.
"What…?" the prisoner started to ask, but Kono walked out without another word. As soon as she shut the door behind her, she scampered to an observation post. She didn't want to miss this.
The two Five-0 officers continued to study their paperwork. The suspect studied them nervously. He saw the detective was leaning on something and remembered hearing that he used a cane sometimes because of a bad knee. He really hoped Danny hadn't hurt himself taking down Tracy, because he really didn't want to make these crazy Five-0 guys angry.
"Are you a football guy or a baseball guy, Brownie?" Danny asked out of the blue.
"You're a phys. ed. teacher. Do you like football or baseball?" Danny repeated, as Steve picked up the football and began tossing it up just a few inches, making it spin.
Brown was afraid to make a choice.
"No preference?" Danny prodded. "See, my friend here is a football guy. He was a high school quarterback. Pretty good one, too." Steve smiled his thanks at the compliment, deftly spinning the football again. "I was a shortstop on my high school baseball team."
Unable to resist the opening, Brown opened his mouth. A stab of Danny's finger made the mouth snap shut again.
"If there's a short joke on that tongue, you'd better stop," the 5-5 detective ordered.
"Baseball, football, they're both great American sports," Danny continued. "But even my football-obsessed friend has to admit that baseball is superior in one important respect … weaponry!" Danny shifted his weight off his unseen crutch, swung it smoothly up, over his shoulder and slammed the baseball bat onto the wooden table inches from Brown's cuffed hands. The crack of wood on wood was thunderous in the small room. The wide-eyed suspect cowered away, but his hands were pinned in place.
"When you're right, you're right," Steve admitted. He made a "may I?" gesture. Danny bowed and let Steve take the bat.
The commander swung it to and fro, testing the balance and, incidentally, forcing Brown to duck repeatedly.
"No," Danny instructed. "You've got to hold it tighter than that or …"
The bat flew from Steve's hands, over the gym teacher's shoulder and crashed into the wall.
"Oops," Steve said.
"Enough," Brown begged, his face flat on the table between his arms. He didn't really think Danny and Steve would beat him with the bat, but the tension — and the bad comedy — were too much to take. "Enough, please," he begged. "What do you want?"
After Brown gave them a play-by-play description of the drug kingpin's game plan, Danny and Steve left the interrogation room.
"Touchdown," Steve said with satisfaction.
"Grand slam," Danny corrected.
They looked at each other. Then they both grinned and said simultaneously, "And the crowd goes wild!"