ch5 pg 33-35

WE passed the new police station and took left on Punchbowl Street. Kua navigated his way through traffic and turned left on Queen.
People visiting here often found the street names interesting. Either they seemed unpronounceable or were proper names of no significance. The fact was that in Honolulu proper, most of the street names were named after prominent business families or Hawaiian royalty. As of today, there was no Darling Street.
Elaine's was a small hole in the wall that catered to the off duty and sometimes on duty police officers. There were no booths or places to hide, all the tables were in the open and unobstructed. Large portions and reasonable prices made it a popular hang out. It was after eleven and the place was packed. Lunch time.
I scanned the crowd and spotted Ronnie in a light colored aloha shirt sitting with three other men. Ronnie's smile faded when he saw me. Good cops can smell trouble.
I walked over to their table and pulled up a chair. Four pairs of eyes locked on to me. I must have looked suspicious.
"Hi Ronnie," I said. It came out like he was my next door neighbor.
He smiled a big fake grin. "Darling? How you doing? Long time no see." He extended his large hand.
Ronnie was what local called Portuguese. Whether or not he had any genetic ties to Portugal did not matter. He liked to talk and live large.
He stood at a good five feet four inches and weighed in at around one fifty. Ronnie had a quick mouth and badge and gun to back it up. He method of breaking criminals was by sassing them into confessing. He slicked back his hair and looked at me.
"It's okay," I replied. "You still making trouble with the girls on Hotel?"
Ronnie laughed. "Hotel Street? Nothing going on down there. That's all small time. Waikiki now. Drugs, women, you put the two together you know what you got. You got to get out of your hotel more often." He seemed to loosen up. The three other guys with him laughed.
I laughed with them. Ronnie was good cop. Deep down, I don't think he trusted me. Maybe I was too straight.
"What brings you down here Darling? This isn't exactly your part of town." He paused. "Anymore."
"I was bored. Nothing like checking up on old friend." I tossed him a line. I wanted to know where I stood.
"Darling, I'm your only friend here. You been out of the game so long, I bet you don't know half the guys here." He waved his hand around the room.
He was right, I didn't. I looked around the bar and couldn't find one familiar face.
"Look, what you really here for?" Ronnie asked, leaning toward me and lowering his voice.
I smiled and patted him on the back. "Really Ronnie, I just wanted to see the old guys. I had some free time and decided to stop in. Hey, I gotta go. Why don't you drop me a line sometimes."
I tucked my chair under the table and shook Ronnie's hand. The eyes of thirty officers followed me out the door.
I got out of the rain and into the Rover. Kua pulled out of the parking lot back into traffic.
"Anything?" he asked.
"Just seeing if I still had any friends."
Ronnie would call me, I hoped. He knew better than to discuss business at the bar.
"Take us home."
As we rode through the relentless downpour, I wondered whether or not here would be any fruits for my labor. I started off at the two places i thought would bring immediate results. All it added up to was a staged search and a dead body. I sank back in my chair and watched the rain fall on the windshield.
I was in deeper than I wanted to be. I should have called the police as soon as I found Greenie. The only thing I could do now was wait to see what Willy came up with and figure out how I was going to deal with Ronnie.
Although it was only one in the afternoon, it looked closer to six. The horizon a light grey and getting darker.
Traffic slowed as we approached the Waikiki and the convention center site. Construction as still going on, even in the rain. There were deadlines to meet. The tall naked girders loomed over us in the darkened sky. The incomplete structure did not look like a building that was coming up. Instead it looked like they were tearing it down.

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