ch10 pg 68-70

"Darling, I got the scoop on Green." It was Ronnie.
"Probably nothing you don't know about," he said sarcastically. "The way we figure, there was a struggle of some kind and he fell. There was some bruising on the body, but the blows didn't kill him. Forensics thinks he hit his head on the way down. The dent in his head matches the corner of the coffee table. Coroner thinks he was alive when he went down, expired when he hit his noggin. We're still waiting for toxicology. We swept the place, the only thing we found that wasn't consistent with the crime scene was a piece of jewelry."
"Jewelry." I repeated. He was talking about the pendant. I wondered if he would tell me about the note pad.
Ronnie paused. I think he was wondering what I could do with the information. Or maybe he was wondering why I was asking.
"A Hawaiian pendant."
"With a name on it?" Come on Ronnie, you gotta trust me.
I could hear him thinking over the phone. "Yeah, Pika."
Samantha looked at me with some concern. I shrugged.
Ronnie went on. "The coroner estimates the time of death to be either late Sunday or early Monday morning. Hard to tell with his air con turned on so high. This Green guy lived like an Eskimo. Security tagged a car out front at one thirty in the A.M. on Monday. Right now we're trying to track down a white van that was seen leaving the scene at about the time of the killing. Witnesses say that three guys illegally parked out front and entered the condo. They disappeared about then minutes later."
"Descriptions?" I asked.
"Well, two guys were big. The other guy was skinny, kinda small. The big guys looked Polynesian."
The same van that was at Samantha's place? "Anything on the van?"
"Darling, do fishermen drink? Stolen from a Kaneohe parking lot on Saturday night."
"Any connection to the Tiger Sharks?"
"The apartment was clean except for some betting sheets. But that could have been personal. We've got nothing to connect Green to booking or anything else. Apparently, Green, if he was making book, kept it all in his head. No notes, no books. Nothing."
They hadn't found his ledger either. Without the book, neither I nor the police could trace the money. if he had died Sunday night, he wouldn't have had time to go do the bank.
"Anything about partners?"
Ronnie paused again.
"No, just some girl that visited him once or twice a week. Probably his girlfriend, we're checking that angle now. Darling, if you got something, you better let me know about it. Since murder and maybe gambling is involved, the word has come down to wrap this up fast. Read the paper, you'll know what I mean."
"Ronnie, if I get something, you'll be the first to know." For what ever reason, he had held back on the note with the three initials.
"Look Darling, the vice guys had Green under surveillance for some time. They were ready to take him down. If you know anything more, you better let me in on it."
I let his threat go in on ear and out the other. Something didn't sound right. I wondered if Ronnie could be trusted.
"What team was the first on the scene?"
"What are you talking about?" he asked.
"Who was the first on the scene?"
"Vice was watching his place, the gambling detail was the first through the door."
That made me wonder about the note. Ronnie worked homicide, but sometimes they weren't always first on the scene. There was a lot of time to tamper with evidence.
"Ronnie, who else did they have their eyes on?"
"Sakama's supposed to give me a full report today. By the way, we're holding back on releasing his name. Gotta let the family know first."
"You'll fill me in right?"
"Darling, you remember what we talked about last night?"
"I remember."
"You wanna tell me what your angle is? There are a couple of cops on this case wondering why an innkeeper's so interested in all of this."
So far there was no reason for me to to divulge Samantha's name. It would come up sooner or later. What worried me was the more smoke I blew there way, the more suspicious I would become. "I told you earlier, just helping out a friend."
There was a long pause on the line.
"Look, I don't need to give you jack. But I'll tell you this: what ever you're into is big. You're on your own."
"Ronnie, you do what you think you have to do, just like me. The difference is that I'm a civilian, you gotta play by the rules. As soon as something goes down, I'll get back to you." I hung up.

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