epilogue to:

Wooden Model of a Rat

 

IN THE SHADOW OF THE RAT

by

GM

 

 


A cool evening wind blew through the open doorway and rifled the papers spread on the desk. Steve McGarrett smoothed out the afternoon edition of the Honolulu Star Bulletin. His hands shook slightly as his fingers passed over his name in print.

 

McGARRETT INDICTED.

 

Much had happened since that afternoon when the public learned of the indictment. His detectives at Hawaii Five-0 later discovered the true culprit responsible for the thefts, and for framing McGarrett for possession of a valuable rat figurine. It had been an elaborate deception to get Five-0 and McGarrett off the back of August March, so he could continue his lucrative international smuggling operations.

 

Again, McGarrett studied the headline. For a while, there, his future nearly faded to black. How easily a life could be altered -- destroyed -- he mused. Briefly, he reflected on the fear, his despair, when things seemed hopeless. Impossible to imagine his life as anything else than what he was -- a cop -- a Five-0 cop. Today, and several other times, his world seemed on the brink of collapse. He had ambitions beyond his occupation, but now, being the head of Five-0 was the best life, the only life, for him. Once more, hard work and truth came to his rescue. And three very special detectives.

 

The scheme had almost succeeded. If not for the tireless efforts of his detectives -- his friends who never lost faith -- the papers might be printing a different story for the evening edition. The thought brought to mind an old poem he had once read about how no man could be poor if he had friends. A true statement. His unit had stuck with him in tighter spots than this, never wavering in their faith in him, not only as a cop, but also as a person. Truly, his riches were in his colleagues blessed with die-hard tenacity. He wondered what it would take to shake Chin Ho, or Duke Lukela, or Dan Williams from his side. He knew the answer without hesitation. There wouldn't be a force strong enough to plant a wedge of doubt between his men and him. Not even a clever rat like March.

 

There was a quick knock at the door and Dan Williams entered without waiting for an invitation.

 

"Done yet?"

 

"Yeah, just finishing up."

 

McGarrett folded the papers and cleared the desk.

 

Williams tapped the headlines. "Kinda scary, wasn't it?"

 

"Yeah," McGarrett admitted with a released sigh. It had been a long day. Fatigue and anxiety had worn him down to exhaustion. There was no attempt to put up a defensive front for his friend. It wouldn't do any good with Danno anyway, who would crash through the facade and go after the truth anyway. "A day I'm glad is behind us."

 

"Yeah. Tomorrow it'll be back to the old run-of-the-mill murderers and burglars." Williams closed and locked the lanai doors behind the desk. As he stepped next to McGarrett, the boss put a hand on his shoulder.

 

"Thanks."

 

"For what?"

 

"For believing in me."

 

Williams scoffed. "Come on, Steve. No one could ever believe you knowingly received stolen property."

 

Williams made it sound like the most ridiculous idea in the world. McGarrett knew the press slant had made police corruption seem entirely plausible. There had been frames before. There had been blasts from the press and public about individual officers of Five-0, and the police unit in general. The detectives had weathered the onslaughts because they knew the integrity of each member of their unit, and trusted in their fellow officers, even in the face of damning appearances. They had stood together against the seemingly impossible, and always won. He knew those victories were because of the combined strength of rare men of character within this police unit.

 

In a world where black and white were becoming an ever-diluted swirl of grey, he would not belittle, or take for granted, the value of integrity and principle. In this office, those values would always be applauded and rewarded.

 

"Some believed it, Danno. Or wanted to."

 

Williams shrugged. "Maybe, but they don't matter."

 

That was the bottom line, McGarrett knew. The world was filled with rats. Those sleazy low-lives stopped at the door of this Palace. He was surrounded by people who never gave up, never gave in, and never doubted in him. They were the only ones who really mattered in his life.

 

  

PAU