ch9 pg 58-60

THE Study used to be your typical tropical bar decorated with tiki heads and fake plants. I got rid of the plastic palms and stuffed parrots that lined the walls. Now, three sides of the room were lined with bookshelves and reading lamps. The center of the room was occupied by a long magazine rack which held the most recent periodicals and newspapers. Above that was a three hundred gallon salt water fish tank stocked with local marine life. A four piece jazz combo played softly in the corner.
I spent a lot of time here.
The bartender, Jeff, saw me enter and gave me a nod. He was busy keeping two young ladies seated before him entertained. He was an ex-volleyball player who when dressed in his white shirt and bow tie never failed to attract the females.
A group of five workers were sitting at a table talking and having their off shift beverages. Three of the women I recognized were from the pool bar and the two men were from the dining room. The three waitresses saw me and started to giggle. In sing song voices, they acknowledged me as I walked by.
Most of the hotels here had rules about workers staying on hotel property. You were usually allowed only one half hour before and after your shift. Hotel employees ended up blowing off steam at other hotels. I thought that if they were going to have fun, they might as well do it were they were safe.
I took my seat at the corner of the koa wood bar. That stool was always unoccupied. Living here had certain privileges.
Jeff came over and placed a beer and a glass in front of me. I poured my own.
"I just finished this book you might like. I put it on your shelf."
He was an avid reader and often made recommendations. Every night, he took a new book home with him. His job description was bartender/librarian.
"I haven't finished the last one you gave me."
He smiled at me. "You should make time to read Mr. D. Some of the new stuff is pretty good." He went off to take care of his harem.
A guest came up to me and started to thank me for something I did. I smiled and nodded at her while I wondered what Ronnie had on me and what part of my story I was going to leave out.
"And next year we're bringing our daughter. She's just dying to meet you."
She kissed me on the cheek.
"I'm sure the pleasure will be all mine," I said. I sipped my beer feeling like I was so hopeless that even my guests were trying to fix me up.

Ronnie entered The Study followed by a short Japanese man wearing a pressed dress shirt and dark slacks. Ronnie wore the same clothes he had on this afternoon. I motioned them over to a corner table and ordered a round of beers.
"Darling, this is Cal Sakama out of vice. He works the "Six-Five" detail."
Sakama had short dark hair and a tan to match. His muscular arms and upper body filled the shirt he was wearing till the buttons looked ready to pop. He nodded to me as I shook his hand. Sakama was in charge of investigating the football betting houses.
"Cal and his boys have been watching this guy Michael Green. They know he runs gambling house."
Sakama sat up in his chair and addressed me. "We've been watching him for some time now. We were trying to identify any partners he had, but now he's dropped out of sight. No one has seen him for at least thirty six hours. We'd like to go and check his apartment, but we don't want him to know we're on to him.
You gotta love cops. I buy them a beer and they try to shine me on.
"You won't need a warrant to search. He's dead." I drank down my remains of my beer.
Ronnie and Sakama looked at each other. They both knew Greenie was dead before they came here. If someone like Freddie knew, everyone knew.
"You're the one who made the call?" Sakama asked, raising his eyebrows.
"Let's not play around. Greenie was up to something and you guys have no clue what it was. I think we're on the same page here."
"Obstructing justice is a serious offense," Ronnie reminded me.
"I didn't say how I knew he was dead. I just said he was. The way I look at, you guys wouldn't have known for at least another day."
The waitress appeared and placed two cloth napkins in front of them. She poured their beers and I thanked her.
I waited for the two officers to say something.
They looked at each other again before picking up their glasses. I noticed Sakama waited for Ronnie before touching his glass.
Ronnie took a sip of his before and cleared his throat. "Darling, a witness said some local guy was standing by his door this afternoon."
That would be the Chinese woman who passed me in the hall. I didn't think she would be able to make me with the dark glasses I had on.
"With those dark glasses you were wearing, I don't think she'd be able to I.D. you," Ronnie said.
I wanted to smile but instead I shrugged my shoulders. "You going to work with or against me on this?"
Sakama and Ronnie exchanged glances. All this cat and mouse was starting to wear thin.
"Cal, call me Cal."
"Look, I have no official capacity in this. What I can get is information from people that might not feel comfortable talking to you nice folks. I want to know what happened as much as you do."
Ronnie stood up. He was clearly the senior badge and he looked like he was sick of the games too.
"Okay Darling, the fact that you knew about the murder and knew enough to tip us off tells me you're willing to play ball. I'll give you a go at this one as long as you keep us informed. If not we gotta pick you up."
"Who said anything about a murder?" I asked.
Ronnie stopped and gave me a blank look.
Sakama shook my hand and followed Ronnie towards the door.
Ronnie turned and said in a low voice: "Next time you find a stiff, call."
I nodded my head and watched them leave.

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