ch4 pg 26-28

NUUANU Valley was where the Pali Highway snaked through the mountains to the windward side of the island. It's altitude and cool weather made it the perfect place for the royalty and wealthy of early Hawaii to spend their summers. Queen Emma's Summer Palace, the Royal Tombs and some of the older and larger estates had been built there in the cool and lush valley. It was also where Chucky Silva lived.
Kua proceeded to drive into the older section of the area. Most of the houses there were built in the forties and fifties; the architecture contrasted with the newer homes built since. We pulled up to number forty four and scanned the area. The small wooden house sat right off the sidewalk. A dull grey mail box hung on for dear life to a metal post. From the sidewalk, wooded steps led directly up to the front door. Curtains hung behind the two large picture windows above the front porch.
The left side of the house was were the driveway extended past it and behind. The garage was apparently located in back for it was not in sight. Numerous cars were parked on the cement all the way to the rear.
"Just stay here. If I run into trouble, just leave. Go back to the hotel and let Mark know where I am." This place just looked like trouble and I didn't want anyone else to get into it.
Kua nodded. "How long you want me to give you?"
I looked a the house again. "If I'm not back in fifteen, you better get some help. Call the cops and leave."
Drops of rain splashed the armrest as I got out and walked to the front door. I could barely see down the driveway the rain was so thick.
What I thought was music floated though the air as I knocked on the front door.
Through the thin material that served as curtains I could make out the furnishings of the front room. A couch, a recliner and a coffee table face the windows. From where I stood it reminded me of a photo layouts I saw in magazines of the forties depicting the perfect house of the fifties. Everything sat there like a museum display, untouched for what I imagined to be a long time. I waited before knocking again.
The diorama inside remained deserted so I walked down the driveway to see what was behind the house. I passed a four wheel drive truck and a couple of late model sedans parked along a fence. As I approached the back, I could hear the music getting louder.
I turned the corner of the house to see six locals sitting around drinking beer and playing music under the protection of the garage. A couple of coolers and a smoking hibachi, or charcoal grill, burned next to them. They were in the middle of grilling a large fish wrapped in foil. One guy had a guitar and another had a ukulele. The music stopped as I approached. I walked out of the rain into their midst and shook the water off my jacket. The smell of the fish cooking made my mouth water. I made a note to myself to buy a hibachi and to eat out more often.
I nodded to them. "I'm looking for Chucky Silva. Anybody here know him?"
They just stood there and looked at each other. A big local guy in the back reached into a cooler and opened another beer.
"What's it to you?" The beer bellied Japanese guitar player asked.
This was going to be hard. You didn't just walk into a gathering of locals cold and if you didn't know someone, you had no business asking questions. Then again, it never hurt to try.
"No troubles. Chucky and I have a mutual friend. I just want to make sure he's okay."
"No lie cop." A thin Chinese guy with his hair slicked back came out from behind the guitar player. The dark leathery skin on his face smoothed out as he scowled at me. On his lip was what passed as a moustache.
I shook my head. "I'm no cop. I just want to see Chucky. He might be in trouble."
"Well Chucky ain't here," Slick said. His eyes turned into slits as he watched me. I began to feel like I wasn't wanted around there. So much for island hospitality.
"Any of you know where to find him?"
They all laughed. The Japanese guy started to play the guitar again. He was accompanied by an even larger Hawaiian guy with the uke. I realized I was being ignored.
"You guys came here already. We told the other cop the same thing."
Surprise. "What other cop?" I directed the question to Slick. The lips beneath his thin moustache curled in a smile.
"Look, you going shake us down? By yourself? We told the other cop to take a hike too." He pointed down the driveway. "Beat it."
"You guys were questioned by the police?" What did the cops know about Chucky?
Slick laughed. "Yeah and we told him the same thing. Chucky ain't here. Ain't been around since Sunday. But that's normal for him. He got one girl. Don't hardly spend any time here. He come home, take one shower and he's gone again. So why no just leave us alone. Sheesh, you think you guys would get your act together."
"The other officer, he was a tall skinny haole?"
Haole was local speak for white person.
"Nah, he was one short Japanese guy like you. Only he wasn't ugly."
Slick and his crew broke out in laughter. I did my best not to laugh too.
"Just tell Chucky I'm looking for him. Tell him it's important." I handed him my card. Slick walked up and looked at it. He smiled at me and threw my card into the fire.
The rain soaked my windbreaker as I walked back up the driveway listening to their fading laughter. I wished I was partying with them.
I got into the Rover and closed the door. The large drops of rain falling on the windshield held my attention while I put things into perspective.
"You all right?" Kua asked.
I think I murmured something affirmative to him. A couple of things didn't make any sense. The cops had already been here to see Chucky, but they knew nothing of Samantha? Maybe it was for something unrelated.
As we drove on through the rain, I began to wonder about her. How deep was she in this mess? No one sent someone two hundred fifty large without some kind of message.
What was the money for and did she already know?
I decided that Michael Green was the one who could tell me.

1 comment:

  1. I liked his laid-back attitude when the guy threw the card in the fire.