UNDER A MAUI MOON

 

by

gm

 

edits by BH and AS

 

J

 

 

 

Spring 1974

 

Thankfully, the barbershop was not crowded at this early hour.  Steve McGarrett usually did not take the time out of his morning routine to make it over here, but it had been a busy few weeks lately and each time he scheduled (much to the annoyance of Jenny Sherman) an appointment (to make up for the regular trim he usually received every week), some crisis arose and he could not get to the shop.  Making the detour first thing, Eight AM, he was hoping to get his appearance back into shape without another work-related delay causing him minor annoyance. 

 

As Joe trimmed his hair, the Five-0 boss scanned the paper.  While the war in Vietnam and a local freeway accident shared the gaudy front page, he perused the back stories, listening with partial attention to the radio.  The audio news report ended with traffic for the metro area, then turned to entertainment news -- a subject that did not hold his attention.  If he needed to know something about local events, he checked the paper.  Or, better yet, asked the member of the staff who was apprised on all kinds of amazing trivia concerned with high and low society, music, plays, concerts, etc.  His second-in-command seemed to know the latest on even the most obscure show biz front. 

 

Today, the gossip centered on Sandy Manoa, the lounge singer who hit it big in Hollywood with a surprise pop success.  Maui Moon was at the top of the mainland charts.  Locally, every shop, every record store, every radio seemed to be playing the tune and several other cuts off the album.  A wave of Maui swim wear, shirts – endless accessories -- were hitting the Waikiki stores and seeping over to the Mainland. A phenomenal sensation that barely registered on the McGarrett-meter of interest.

 

Joe stopped his snipping as a very familiar tune came over the radio.  The barber sang along softly as he returned to his job.

 

‘Maui moon in a midnight sky, dancing in heaven as clouds roll by, rustling palms sing a hula tune, swaying mele to a Maui moon.”

 

“You like that kind of music, Mr. McGarrett?”

 

“It’s fine, Joe.”  In truth, he did enjoy listening to this new sort of home-grown Island composition for which this singer Manoa had pretty much set the style.  An upbeat, tropical flavor, the pop tune melded a modern music beat with the lyrical picture-painting phrases that could only be inspired by Hawaii.  “I like all kinds of music,” he elaborated, “but I do like this.”

 

“Like the old days, myself.  Can’t beat a crooner like Crosby or Sinatra.  And Benny Goodman, I can listen to him for hours.  But this new kid, Sandy Manoa, he’s all right.  Nice to know a local hapa-haole kid from right over here in Kaimuki can make it big in Hollywood.  Did a lot for that artist fella, too, over in Maui.”

 

“Keo.  Brilliant artist,” Steve admitted with complete admiration and perhaps a touch of envy.  He would love to be able to express his artistic nature like Keo did.  Well, maybe he could after he retired.

 

After the haircut, McGarrett ambled a few shops down to the bakery.  Knowing his staff was filling in while he came in late for his personal quest, he was going to treat everyone to a local breakfast favorite.  Buying enough malasadas for everyone, he waited for the sugary donut-like treats to be boxed. 

 

Sipping the complimentary coffee the owners insisted on giving the Five-0 staff, he was thinking about the warehouse thefts investigations, his top priority when he reached the Palace.  The moans and groans of other customers in the shop alerted him there was bad news on the radio.  The bakery owner handed over the pink boxes, and he stood still in the shop as he listened to the news that had so seriously affected those around him.

 

‘Repeat, this information is not confirmed, but a Lahaina policeman was overheard to comment there was no chance he could have survived the wreck of the boat.  For all of you just tuning in now, we join with all Hawaiians in praying these first reports are not true.  Keo was too young to be taken from us.  For those who have not yet heard, Keo, our great artist of Hawaii, is missing and believed dead after a boating accident near his home in Ka’anapali. Keo’s friend, Sandy Manoa, has issued no statement.  Our famous local singer Manoa, is of course, a great friend of Keo . . . .’,

 

Rushing out to the car, McGarrett was on the radio as he yanked the Mercury into reverse.  He ordered a patch to the Palace and was quickly connected to Sherman, then Williams.

 

“Danno, what have you got on this accident with Keo?”

 

“Just barely talked to the chief in Maui, Steve,” came the harried voice of his second-in-command.  “Where are you at?”

 

“On my way.  Be there in ten minutes.”

 

“I’ll have more for you then.”

 

More upset than he thought he should be over the death of a celebrity, McGarrett considered that Keo was more than just a famous native son.  He was a symbol, a rare and profound talent, a spiritual icon among the Hawaiians.  A true eccentric, Keo Kalapana dropped out of high school to pursue his quest as a painter.  Living in the garage of a buddy, he scratched out a meager existence selling his bold, bright renditions of Hawaiian sea life on weekends at the informal art displays along the fence of the Honolulu Zoo. 

 

For the last several years, McGarrett had seen the distinctive artist grow from simple designs to complex themes within the paintings.  The young man had a rich gift for color and bringing out the essence of Hawaii on the canvas.  Many a weekend McGarrett had jogged past the painters as they set up at the fence bordering the zoo and Kalapana always attracted a crowd of fellow artists.  Many tried to copy his style, but he soon outdistanced all the amateurs.  A few times McGarrett had returned later in the day and purchased a couple of the early pictures.  As if forever confident in his ability to become famous as an artist, Keo egotistically numbered each painting. 

 

McGarrett was pleased he owned two Keo originals that were then below the triple digit marks, one below fifty, he recalled.  They were already worth triple his original investment, but he was not about to part with the paintings.  For one, he liked them on the merit of style and taste.  Secondly, they fit in perfectly with his décor and his own painting style.  The mental meanderings brought him around to the promise he had given Danno to go over and check out his condo.  The Williams abode had been water damaged and after repairs McGarrett had volunteered to advise on upgrading his friend’s interior style.  It was certain Danno would never be able to afford an original Keo – not even he could manage that anymore.

 

Eventually, Keo Kalapana’s talent attracted the attention of Neil Olomana, the owner of a chain of small hotels in the Islands.  Olomana commissioned Kalapana to paint a stunning mural in a new hotel in Ka’anapali, Maui.  The rest, as the cliché goes, was history.  The elements all seemed to come together for the young Keo at that point.  Some said it was Maui, the magic isle; others that the raw talent, given a sponsor, was free to create beyond the mundane concerns of everyday life.  Critics around the world speculated, considering Keo’s amazing talent had finally matured and he tapped into an instinctive talent level where inspiration and skill combined to create that kismet of magic needed to craft great art.  Whatever the case, Keo transformed in Maui to become an innovator in the art world.

 

The mural utilized Kalapana’s special mixtures of vibrant color tones, his love of his native land, his seemingly spiritual connection to the sea that was the soul of Hawaii.  Whatever the case, he created a mural depicting life above and below the sea simultaneously.  The point of view; the upper half -- land depiction of Ka’anapali, the bottom half the abundant and beautiful creatures and landscape below the waves.  Moonlight glittered at the top of the sky, and sent mystical moonbeams through the water to illuminate the dolphins, whales and myriad other creatures.

 

Almost overnight, the mural made Olomana and Kalapana famous.  In reward, Keo – as he named himself in his art and forever after had decided was his professional moniker  – was given a luxury beach house at the edge of Olomana’s hotel.  Media, the famous, the rich, all flocked to be part of the sensation.  Olomana launched a chain of mega-resorts from the favorable publicity. 

 

Keo became the inventor of an entire trend in the art world with his above and below pictures, which he started pushing out at an amazing rate.  Some accused him of stockpiling his paintings until he became famous.  Not much of an accusation for someone who became an instant millionaire and celebrity.  Galleries in Ka’anapali, Lahaina and Honolulu sprang up overnight practically, all selling his amazing art.  To the people who loved him here, he was an island son who spoke from their hearts, their souls, of the beauty and magic of their home.  His mural inspired hulas, copycats, and even a pop song like Sandy Manoa’s Maui Moon.  Keo was many things to many people.  Right now, he was either dead or missing and that would put him right into the sphere of McGarrett and Five-0.

 

 

J

 

 

Hanging up the phone after the call from the Lahaina Police Chief, Steve McGarrett swiveled back in his chair in thought.  Drumming his fingers on the desk, he tapped a rapid beat in tune with his swift thoughts.  Not much crime in Maui came to the attention of Five-0.  A quiet island just to the south of Oahu, the Valley Isle was just beginning to blossom as a tourist mecca, but nowhere near the throbbing trade of Waikiki or even Hilo.  As a result, the population was low, and thus, the lower crime rate both in frequency and intensity.  

 

Now a celebrity was missing or dead.  Too big for the small station in Lahaina to handle.  Translation -- this looked to be a nasty, bad-press kind of case and the local PD wanted Five-0 to take the heat.  Part of the job of being the big dog on the block, Steve sighed.  The problem -- who could he spare to hop over to Maui for at least a few days?  No one, of course.  As always, the state police unit was up to its neck in hectic work.  Warehouse thefts plaguing the garment industry in Honolulu kept Ben's hands full.  The trial of the Chinatown gambling king Lu Chen tying up both Chin and Duke kept the force down to only Williams and him.  If he let Danno go to Maui that would drop to only him on top of the murder of a restaurateur in Waikiki, and any other new cases that sprang up. 

 

Go to Maui himself?  It was tempting, but he hated leaving his center of power.  Danno in Maui?  He smirked, knowing his friend would delight in the trip under other circumstances.  No matter what island Williams landed on, he reveled in the sun, the natural beauty (and tourist variety of pleasant scenery), and the aloha spirit unique to each rustic isle away from Honolulu.  Of course, there was always the stray possibility of surfing remote and secret locations only locals like Danno would know.  Not to mention blending in with the local cops in environs he was familiar with.

 

Keo missing.  His heart tugged at the sadness that phrase invoked.  Not sentimental, he felt a strong connection/sympathy/artistic bond with the talented Hawaiian.  He could not afford to be gone from Honolulu for long, but did he really want to give this over to anyone else?  At war with his duty versus his sudden personal interest in a case, McGarrett stepped out of his office and stood for a moment at the window dividing his colleague's cubicle from the rest of the room. 

 

Behind him, Jenny Sherman typed away and to his left two secretaries answered phone calls or conferred with HPD officers.  He noted Nick Kamakona was hovering at Jenny's desk again and he remembered the two were dating, according to Danno’s intelligence on the social climate around here.  Smirking, (amused and chagrined that the only single person in the office enjoying a healthy relationship was the secretary!) he turned his focus back to his second in command.

 

Williams was scribbling notes on a pad.  Loath to disturb him and take him away from important work here, Steve knew there was no choice -- if Five-0 didn't handle this it could blow up and explode in his face should things go seriously wrong.  But, scrambling to help put together the facts for McGarrett on the Keo case had put Williams behind in prepping a court case for tomorrow and leading a joint HPD investigation on a suspected drug lab.  Some days there were just not enough detectives for the workload.  That would be any day with a Y in it.   With a sigh, he tapped quietly on the glass and entered the office.

 

"Danno."

 

"Hi, Steve," the younger detective nodded, preoccupied with his activity.  "Just finishing up my notes on the eyewitness comments on that robbery at the Hilton."  His face scrunched with rueful acceptance.  "Three witnesses, three descriptions of the get-away car."

 

"Never changes."

 

“Did you talk with Chief Liahona?”

 

“I did.  He’s filled me in on the case so far.”

 

Williams nodded as he swiveled in the chair.  “Seems pretty simple, doesn’t it?”  When the boss said nothing, he glanced at him.  “Doesn’t it?”

 

“I don’t know, Danno.”

 

“Are we getting involved?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

The younger man smirked.  “Am I going to pack my bags and fly over to Maui no ka oi?”

 

McGarrett grinned.  "Maybe. You know Sandy Manoa, don’t you?

 

“Just to say hi to when he sang at the lounge at Trader Vic’s.”

 

“What do you know about him?”

 

“He’s rich and famous now thanks to his pal Keo.”

 

McGarrett sat on the edge of the desk, intrigued, knowing he was about to get a condensed education on the finer points of Honolulu society from the detective on the payroll who knew all those little tidbits.  Williams gave a brief sketch of Keo and Sandy – two young, struggling artists trying to survive in Waikiki.  Keo made it big first, then Sandy second with the huge song inspired by friend Keo’s painting.

 

“What do you know about Hawaiian music?"

 

"I can't sing it," he joked with a grin.  "Or play it.  And if you make me listen to Don Ho I'll call in sick."

 

McGarrett laughed.  “Well, you’re safe this time, Danno.”

 

The younger officer thoughtfully tapped his pencil on the desk as he studied the boss.  “You suspect Sandy Manoa of doing away with his friend?”

 

McGarrett shrugged.  “I don’t really know,” he admitted. “Manoa was with Keo at the time of the disappearance.  Wouldn’t be the first time two old buddies came to a parting of the ways and it turned violent.” 

 

“So, shall we flip for it?” Williams wondered. His face brightened.  “Be kinda nice to see Maui this time of year.  Missed the whales, but the surf ought to be pretty good at this great little spot I know.  Hmm, then there's Paia . . . .”

 

McGarrett cleared his throat, attempting to seem stern, and failed.  The temptation was too great, and he heartlessly smashed his friend’s mental plans.  “No, I’m going to fly over to check this out myself.”

 

Williams’ eyebrows raised in surprise.  “Okay,” he frowned, then the smirk returned.  “You’re just trying to get out of meeting with Chief Grover on those warehouse thefts,” he accused, pointing the pencil at his friend.

 

“Good luck with that, Danno.  I should be back later today so just hold the fort.”

 

“Good luck, yourself,” he sighed wistfully.  “Maui no ka oi.”

 

 

J

 

 

When nicknames were handed out for the major islands of the Hawaiian archipelago, Maui, an odd shaped plot with dormant volcanoes on each end and a valley dipped in the middle, became known as the Valley Isle.  As more tourists poured in, attracted to the perfect temperatures, pristine beaches and un-crowded, rustic, rural atmosphere, the name unofficially altered to the Magic Isle.  Personally, McGarrett appreciated the beauty here, but had never known it to exceed any other spot in the chain of islands.

 

In past visits, not work related, he had done the tourist bits on odd day trips through the years: the infamous road to Hana, Hasagawa’s General Store, the sacred pools, Haleakala, Ioa Valley, etc.  So far, though, he had never really touched on the Maui no ka oi thing.  Maui was undeniably a beautiful, tropical paradise, but he had failed to experience anything deeper than that in his previous forays. 

 

As the small, HPD propeller-engine plane soared above the arid desert of the interior valley, to the green hills beyond Lahaina, then over the water, McGarrett was captured by the amazingly deep blue of the ocean just off shore.  That was, perhaps, the magic of the island as seen through Keo’s eyes, he pondered – the sea.  The colors, the depth, the mysteries -- living not above ground in the volcano, the rainforest, or the red Maui dirt from whence came world renowned sugar cane and pineapple – but beneath the surface.  Maui no ka oi = Maui is the best.  Perhaps it was the ring of Pacific Ocean that lent this tropical paradise it’s magic. Keo had thought so.  McGarrett frowned, disturbed he was already thinking of this person he greatly admired as dead.

 

Circling into West Maui airport, McGarrett took note of the bevy of private jets and helicopters at the small, exclusive airstrip.  This small port was not open to commercial jets, but reserved for the exclusive clientele of the nearby resorts and the multi-millionaires who could afford the luxury of their own private planes.

 

Chief Liahona, a thin-haired, short, pleasant man who was well stuffed into his white-shirted police uniform, was the first one to greet McGarrett as the taller head of Five- emerged from the cramped plane.  "Steve, good to see you again,” he enthusiastically shook hands.  “Don’t know that you need to come out on this yourself.  Thought you’d be sending Danny.”

 

“Danno wanted to come,” his shadow-smile reflecting the light moment in the office when he had snatched this opportunity away from his friend.  “Something about Paia.”

 

“Surfing,” Liahona chuckled.  "Sounds like Danny."

 

“Thought I’d come on this myself, Chief.”

 

“Glad you did.  Reporters are already here from Honolulu.  The hotels are already getting swamped, and so are the airlines, with in-coming from Asia and the mainland.  This will be a media mess.”  His crooked smile revealed a gold tooth and a bit of a mischievous nature. “Guess that’s where you come in, Steve.”

 

“So you want me to handle the sharks, huh, Chief?  You don’t think there will be anything for me to investigate.”

 

“Looks open and shut.”

 

“I’ve heard that before.”

 

J

 

 

With no top on the Police Jeep, the intense Maui sun shone straight onto McGarrett’s face, the blustery west Maui wind sweeping through the valley whipping his hair.  The humidity and heat seemed a little more intense on this island just south of Oahu, and his dark blue suit and blue, long-sleeve shirt did not lend any comfort to the ride. 

 

The first stop was the beach where Kalapana’s boat washed ashore.  A natural, black lava reef of craggy rocks spilled into the azure ocean past a golf course and line of high rise hotels.  Driving along the sand to the sea, Liahona stopped at a small inlet where wooden, county traffic placards warned of a highway detour. 

 

“No crime scene supplies,” the Chief shrugged when McGarrett asked about the unconventional warnings.  “Got one of my men working on something better.”

 

“Whatever works,” McGarrett responded.

 

A dark-skinned officer in the sharply contrasting white shirt and blue trousers of the Maui PD was on duty and gave a friendly hello.  He was introduced to the head of Five-0 as Officer Muti.

 

What the head of Five-0 liked so far was that there were no crowds.  Somehow, on this rural island with a small-town feel, the lid was still in place for the crime scene.  Soon enough the coconut wireless would have this whole area marked as a tourist attraction.  If it was a crime scene, he mentally corrected, trying not to jump to conclusions.

 

“Tell me what happened,” Steve requested as he crouched by the sand still marred with splintered wood. 

 

Liahona relayed what Manoa had told him: Early that morning, before dawn, Keo and Sandy had been out in the boat.  Coming around the point they had struck a coral reef.  Both men were thrown into the water.  Sandy made it to shore; Keo had not been seen since.

 

Out beyond the reef, two boats with divers were scouring the area.  Several other boats, farther out, seemed to be acting as guards to keep unwanted visitors away and also help in the rescue effort.  Before he left Honolulu, McGarrett learned the Coast Guard was sending a ship over but it would not arrive until later in the day.  Maui PD had searched the area in helicopters and planes already this morning, and found no trace of Keo.

 

“Does this scenario strike you as odd?” McGarrett asked the officers.  “Two young men, natives, presumably swimmers, and one is missing, the other is not?”

 

“Happens,” Muti shrugged.  “There’s a riptide along this coast, warning to swimmers just down the beach.”

 

McGarrett looked in the direction indicated and saw metal signs posted along the shore.  Too far away to read the warnings, he accepted the officer’s statement that they cautioned about riptide hazards. “Seems a little strange to be building hotels here on a dangerous beach.”

 

“Who said tourists are not pupule?  Or hotel owners,” Liahona returned, his tone not really joking.  “We not even gonna talk about the developers.”

 

It was no news that Maui residents were adamant in their resistance to anyone changing the landscape of their precious aina, developers at the top of the list. As with every island in the Hawaiian chain, where there was a chance to alter the land from barren, to developed housing, hotels or businesses, there was a movement to stop the progress.

 

Liahona retraced the story of Sandy going for help – some maids just coming on duty at a nearby hotel found him on the beach.  Then Sandy called Liahona and the Chief rallied his men and all appeared within a half hour of the tragedy.  Muti, the first officer to arrive, went into the surf to see if Keo’s body was caught on the coral reef, but no evidence of the body was found.

 

“Chief, you keep calling Manoa by his first name.  You know him well?”

 

“Sure.  Have since he moved over here to live by Keo.  They like ohana.  Brothers.  Sandy wasn’t famous all the time. When he first came here, he sang in the hotel clubs and down in Lahaina at the luau.  Besides that, I see him every Sunday at church.”

 

McGarrett frowned, studying the affable Hawaiian.  He seemed to have no compunctions about his last statement, but it did not please the Five-0 chief.  “Chief, don’t you see that as a conflict of interest?”

 

The shorter man was obviously surprised.  “Knowing Sandy?  Nah, he’s a good kid.  Had his wild days but he’s reformed.  Even dated my oldest daughter for a little while, till she graduated high school and went to Oahu to college.”

 

Slowly, McGarrett shook his head.  “It wouldn’t be the first time someone has found religion then lost it.”

 

Now the Hawaiian was paying closer attention and the shock was clear in his expression and tone.  “You trying to accuse Sandy of doing something to Keo?”

 

“It’s a possibility we can’t ignore, Chief.  We have to stay open minded and build our theories on facts, not personal feelings.”

 

Adamantly the other lawman shook his head.  “Nothing doing, Steve.  They were tight.  Aikane.  Ohana, I’m telling you.  Brothers.  Think of you and Danny, that’s Keo and Sandy.”

 

The personalization of the relationships did not endear the young singer to him, but rather, made McGarrett suspect him even more.  To accept that other men found true, brother in arms companions in their lives was not uncommon, but comparing a singer and an artist to Danno and him was ridiculous.  He and his friend had been on the edge of life and death together and forged a closeness even beyond brotherhood or friendship – a bond he could not define.  Realizing he was prejudicing his opinions against Manoa without even knowing the youth, he stopped thinking about the young man at all.  Keep with the facts. Remember Sherlock – make the theory fit the data not his own ideas.  Just as he had advised Liahona.  Right now, he was not going to let opinions distract him from the case.

 

 

J

 

 

Lahaina PD was a nice building right on the edge of a bluff, just across the highway from the ocean.  To the back was a pleasant residential neighborhood.  The hill provided a platform so the building rose above the traffic.  The blue of the ocean and the rich, cerulean-dark mounds of Lanai far in the distance across the water were visible.  Edged by tall, swaying palms dancing in the Maui wind, it was a breathtaking sight.  To the side was a beautiful church building with a tall, magnificent stained glass window facing the sea.

 

After scanning the area, noting the large, plate glass windows in the reception/entrance of the police station, McGarrett’s eyes were naturally drawn to the incredible view of the sea.   A little disappointed that none of his colleagues could share this amazing location, he figured it was a good thing he had not sent Danno.  This would have been far too distracting for the surfer in his second-in-command.

 

“Nice, yeah,” Liahona nodded with a knowing smile as they pulled into the parking lot.  “Lucky for me not many want to pay the price for a cell with a view.”

 

Inside, the small station was utilitarian in it's functional simplicity.  Greeting them as soon as they walked in, was Melia, the receptionist, a young woman in her twenties, with long, dark hair and natural Island charm.  She handed him a message – an update from Danno – on the approaching media firestorm over the disappearance of the celebrity.

 

As he strolled past the detectives’ desks, he noted at Officer Muti’s post were trinkets from his native Fiji, including a picture of him and a bride at a white building that looked familiar.  A church on Oahu, he thought.  In a glassed cubicle at the far corner was Liahona’s office.  At a glance, the Five-0 chief took in the personal possessions that were telling clues of the taste of the occupant.  On a bookcase against the wall were diplomas and police certificates, but those were dwarfed by the photos.  Liahona, a dedicated, solid family man, very religious, had a large family represented in several photos.  As the chief leafed through some papers, McGarrett scanned the office, absorbing the character of the man.  An excellent officer, he trusted him completely, even if Liahona knew a potential suspect.

 

“Chief,” Melia called on the intercom.  “Sandy is here to see you.”

 

Liahona glanced at McGarrett, while responding. “Send him into the interrogation room, please.”

 

“Let’s go talk to him,” McGarrett suggested, wanting his own take on someone he could not ignore as a possible suspect.

 

Unlike Five-0 or HPD standard rooms, the interrogation room here – only one – was an old fashioned, small space where there was no one-way mirror.  It held a table, chairs, a tape deck and a portable fan.  He studied the surroundings with a glance, his focus being the distraught young man with elbows on the table and head in his hands.

 

In his mid-twenties, McGarrett guessed, the local boy with longish, curly dark hair, dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, could not contain his grief.  Manoa was broken up, had been crying, his face paled and tear-streaked.  The youth was still shaking and occasionally hugged his arms as if the warmth had drained from his body.  This was no act.  McGarrett had seen tragedy, watched victims, been party to sorrow and heartbreak himself.  Effortlessly, he made the unwanted transition that he also knew what it felt like to think you had lost your aikane and brother – in his own case, Danno -- his kaikaina. 

 

“You find anything, Paul?”

 

Liahona shook his head sadly and patted the young man on the shoulder.  “Sorry, not yet, Sandy.”

 

Shaking away emotional comparisons, he steeled himself to work with the facts.  “Mister Manoa, my name is Steve McGarrett, from Hawaii Five-0.”

 

The young man’s red eyes turned to him.  “Sure, yeah, I know you.”  He stared at the door.  “Danny not with you?”

 

“No,” he responded, sitting in one of the straight wooden chairs.  Danno mentioned knowing this kid, but only in passing.  Perhaps Manoa was looking for a friendly, familiar face.  Or someone who would sympathize with him?  “I’m here to find out your side of the story, Mister Manoa.  Please start from the beginning.”

 

The tale was recounted haltingly, through sobs hardly restrained.  Again, McGarrett felt this was not an act, but refrained from labeling it with anything until he had more data.

 

Keo and Sandy had been arguing – by Manoa’s admission.  They went out to do some early fishing and calm down.  They weren’t paying attention and the boat hit the reef.  That was the last he saw of his friend, he swore, tears rolling down his cheeks. 

 

“How did you lose sight of Keo?”

 

“It was dark,” the singer reminded.

 

“You made it to shore.”

 

“Yeah, over the reef.”  The violent, red scrapes on his arms, hands and exposed legs under his jeans-shorts were evidence of the wounds acquired while trying to save his life.  “The waves were strong.  I called and called for him.  I looked for him.  Nothing.”

 

“What was the argument about?” McGarrett asked quietly, pacing.

 

Sandy shook his stringy, long hair.  “Personal.”

 

His voice tightened.  “You were the last one to see your friend.  You’re out in the middle of the night, only the two of you, and the boat smashes against the rocks.  He’s gone.  You have to admit the circumstances are mysterious.  You admit you argued.  That makes this a little more than just a mystery.”

 

Liahona stared at him with narrowed eyes, which he noted from the periphery of his vision.  He was watching Manoa carefully, and the young man lifted his head in shock.  “What you saying?”

 

“I want to know about the argument.”

 

The youth glanced at Liahona, who nodded his head.  “Personal,” the singer maintained.

 

“Come on, Sandy –“

 

“I don’t want to talk about it.”  He ignored the Five-0 officer and looked to the local friend.  “Do I have to stay?  Can I go home now?”

 

The chief glanced at McGarrett, who gave a silent assent.  Liahona called Melia in to show Sandy out. 

 

Silently, McGarrett followed the chief back to his office. Sitting behind his desk, the chief studied him with a somber countenance.  “I’m trying to keep an open mind, Steve, but Sandy would never do anything to hurt his friend.”

 

Not inclined to belabor the point that they were supposed to remain objective, McGarrett started to pace, quietly going over the evidence with his counterpart.  Feeling like he needed an edge to keep his mind on track, he requested that Liahona have the secretary bring them in some hot coffee. 

 

Liahona smirked.  “Steve, we don’t have coffee here.”

 

“What?”  Belatedly, he remembered Liahona was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; nicknamed Mormons. As such, Liahona did not indulge in coffee, tea or alcohol.  Somehow, the head of Five-0 had assumed just the chief of this station would abstain, but now he remembered pictures on the desks of the staff indicated shared religious values.  Amusingly, there had been a few times he had been erroneously been pegged for a Mormon; because of his strict moral code, or when he refused liquor at parties or restaurants.  Then he would order his traditional black coffee and the mistaken affiliation instantly dissipated.

 

“Is your whole office Mormon?” he wondered, knowing employment could not be declined on the basis of religion, but if everyone here was LDS that certainly smacked of nepotism at the very least.

 

“Nah, just Muti and me, but the others decided not to drink coffee anymore.  Voluntarily.  It’s bad for your health, you know.”

 

“Yeah, I know,” he agreed, unable to argue with the logical position, but frustrated that his usual habit could not be indulged.  No coffee!  He told himself it was not an addiction; it just helped him stay awake, stay focused, clarified, and helped him think.  Mormons, yeah, he noted the diplomas from BYU-Hawaii and the pictures of the Oahu Temple, all of it coming together now.  Sandy, then was a Mormon, too.

 

“How well do you know Manoa?” he questioned again.

 

“You might remember I’m a Bishop in my ward,” Liahona replied.  “Sandy is a member of my congregation.”

 

Now that Liahona mentioned it, he did remember the chief was a Bishop, which meant he was the father of his congregation in spiritual matters.  LDS leadership within the congregations, called wards, was entirely structured by non-paid lay members who volunteered hours and hours in the service of their religion and others.  In community projects and disaster aid, the Mormons were always the first and best represented to offer assistance of incredibly efficient organization, variety, speed and volume.  He had always admired the selfless attitude and felt the LDS he knew not only lived their lives as good citizens, but as good examples of Christians in the true meaning of the word, following Christ’s footsteps in how they conducted themselves everyday, not just on Sunday.

 

Religion, however, could not interfere with a police investigation, and based on the integrity of Liahona, he didn’t think that would be an issue.  It was his job, though, to make sure.  “Chief, I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but I’ll be taking over the case so there will be no question of a conflict of interest.  I trust your integrity, don’t get me wrong, but the reputation of Maui PD and you and Five-0 are on the line now – open to the world – in the spotlight because of this case.  None of us can slip up.”

 

“I understand, Steve,” the chief nodded pleasantly.  “Wouldn’t have it any other way.  I don’t want my relationship with Sandy to muddy the waters.  Happy to have you at the helm.”

 

A little disconcerted that there was no opposition, McGarrett nodded, accepting that this transition of authority would be smooth, and was thankful for the small favor.  Or maybe it was a blessing? he wondered.  Conflict with the local PDs was distracting and annoying, and he was pleased they could move on to solving the case rather than stepping on each other’s toes.  Now, if only he could get a hold of some coffee . . . .

 

 

J

 

 

Borrowing the PD jeep, McGarrett drove over to Keo Kalapana’s beach bungalow.  Pulling onto the gravel drive that swept down slope from the highway, winding through thick trees to the beach, the cop’s first impression was that this was anything but a beach cottage.  A split-level wood and glass mansion, it angled toward the pristine Mahana Bay for a perfect view of the scenic ocean.  The rich, dark timbers set against the lava rocks and blue sea made it visually stunning.  The size and clean lines of the architecture gave it an elegance and class not always achieved even for the richest clientele.  Remembering the hotel mogul Neil Olomana had this built for Kalapana as a reward, he stood in the glistening sun to appreciate the beauty – both man-made and natural – of the beach.  Olomana was considered by some to be a sell out, considered by others to be a benefactor providing jobs and income for many locals.  Whatever his business controversies, the man had taste and style, and generosity.  Not many rich and successful friends would give away something as magnificent as this retreat.

 

A lean, freckle-faced, uniformed officer rounded the curve of the beach and ambled toward him.  Before words were exchanged, his expression changed, obviously recognizing the top cop of the islands.  "Mister McGarrett!  The chief told me you were coming over.  Welcome to Maui.”  He offered a handshake.  “Tom Sanders.”

 

“No trouble?” the taller detective asked as they strolled together up the wooden steps winding toward a double-doored entry. 

 

“Had to chase off a part time photographer from the Advertiser.  Expect we’ll get a lot of interest once the curious have time to get out here.  Dead celebrities are news.”

 

Observing the shorter haole with keen eye, he wondered, “You think Keo is dead?”

 

“That’s a nasty riptide out there over the reef,” Sanders informed as he turned to stare out at the azure sea.  “I’m a diver myself and never come around here.  Tourists are warned.  Keo and Sandy knew better.  They weren’t paying attention, I guess.”

 

“Then you know them both?”

 

“Sure.  Everyone on this side of the island knows them.  It’s not Hollywood or something.  We’re all kamaaina.  Keo had to buy groceries and go swimming and walk the dog just like everybody else.”

 

Stepping past the police warning signs, McGarrett opened the front door and asked the officer to remain on guard outside.  Reminding himself that this was a smaller patch than he was used to in Honolulu, he was still disturbed that the victim and obvious suspect – Manoa – were so familiar to the police.  Any high-profile case made him nervous, but the familiarity of this situation was giving him bad vibes atop the usual stress.  Knowing he could do nothing about the circumstances, he reminded himself to stay aware, alert, and objective.

 

Expecting a haven of orderly magnificence; large, well-lighted studios and immaculate tropical furnishings from which to appreciate the million-dollar view, McGarrett stood at the doorway of the foyer and took in a breath of unpleasant surprise.  He had expected a man of Keo’s genius, taste and style to keep the inside of his luxurious home matching the status of the exterior.  The cop was floored at the mess in the sunken living room before him.

 

The first impulse was to think the magnificent home had been vandalized; an obvious theory to spring from the cop’s naturally suspicious mind.  In connection with a disappearance, the idea was not out of line.  As he scanned the sparsely furnished room, aghast at the strewn canvases, the littered brushes, crumpled trash on the floor, he knew this was not a crime scene as he first thought.  Touring carefully past paper bags from a local taco joint, empty coffee cups, tipped over liquor bottles, and half of a very small bikini, his mind worked around the victim theory to angrily conclude Keo was a slob of the first order.

 

Zeroing in on a canvas backed against one of the huge glass walls facing the sea, McGarrett’s breath was taken away.  While the painting was only partially finished, the vibrant fantasy of the undersea world depicted on the white canvas was brilliant.  Dolphins and sea turtles in amazing pastels and bold greens cavorted amid the wreckage of an old sailing ship at the bottom of the ocean.  Above, the verdant emerald hills of Maui climbed into a cerulean sky to dominate the upper half of the scene.

 

Carefully checking the finished paintings leaning against the wall, he looked for anything that seemed unusual.  He noted only a messy scrawl of a signature, and some odd groupings near the corner by the artist’s sign.  It then occurred to him that each painting had a different numerical sequence of fish or coral or something that must be Keo’s code for dating his work without anything so obvious as a real number. 

 

Stunned at the evidence of a genius at work, the detective spun around and visually assessed the chaos about him, turning back again to the painting.  How could someone with such amazing talent be a wastrel and slob?  Genius had its eccentricities, he knew, but in this instance it was so wrong!  So many aspiring artists would give anything to have Keo’s life, and the young man seemed to be exploiting his fame and wealth in a life of debauchery.

 

Recognizing he was pushing his own exacting, rigid standards onto someone else's creative process, he knew he was working through his own prejudices and rage.  When he worked at a painting – in the rare times he managed to get to his spare room workshop – he envied those who could devote their lives to art.  Yes, envied.  He knew he would never be able to be anything but an occasional artist, but still wished for a greater level of talent to put his visions into dimensional art.

 

Knowing his conservative values and work ethic were at odds with Keo’s lifestyle – not his talent or taste – McGarrett forced himself to move on to the rest of the house.  He had to treat this as a suspect residence.  Keo’s fate, and circumstances surrounding his disappearance, were still questionable and nothing should be taken for granted.  He was here as a police officer, not as a fan.  Forcing himself to move on to do his job, he toured the rest of the house.

 

As he moved from sparse room to utilitarian room, he repeatedly counseled himself to resist judgmental opinions, but there was no way for him to accomplish that lofty standard.  Every room was unkempt and neglected, if used at all.  Castaway furnishings were haphazardly placed if there was any décor.  Every room, every wall, could have been utilized to express the unique talents of the painter; ceilings and floors could have been canvases, too, for murals and creativity unbounded.  What a waste!  This magnificent house could have been enhanced beyond belief with the magical touch of the artist.

 

Clearly, Keo lived for his art and that took up the front room with its majestic views.  A few rooms contained supplies, but even the bedroom was a disappointment with only a small bed as a forlorn statement of how little anything was valued to the artist but painting his craft.  He coursed back to the living room.  Pausing at the kitchen, he noted there was very little in the fridge and the cupboards were empty of anything but coffee and tea. 

 

An oblique thought entered and stuck in his mind as he stood by the tall glass panorama and stared out at the placid bay.  Fleetingly, he had compared himself to Keo – living for work – eschewing social opportunities and hobbies to dedicate himself to his work.  In Keo's case, art; in his own case, law enforcement.  He had admitted Keo’s sense of perfection and sacrifice for his craft.  Now, he felt balanced in comparison, and was grateful for at least one good friend who had spared him from isolation away from humanity.  As quickly as it came the speculation was gone, replaced by a firm acceptance that he was not anything like the missing artist.

 

Leaning on the counter, fighting the oppressive fog of depression, McGarrett wondered why he was so emotionally caught up in Keo’s disappearance and life.  Still possessing incredible respect for the artist’s abilities, he felt resentment and pity for the man who seemed empty.  He had considered this artist a hero.  At this beach house he had seen the brilliance and genius of the painter and felt stabbing jealousy he had not experienced before.  At the pinnacle of his profession, leaving NI at the top of his game, there were few elements in his life where he felt unfulfilled.  Until today, he had no idea there was a longing for success in one more arena.  He gave up his art for his career –dabbled a bit in Japan and when he first came to Hawaii in NI, but forsook it when he took over Five-0.  No regrets – never – but a desire to attain an achievement that could never be his without the sacrifice of something he could not surrender. 

 

Most weekend painters would kill for such talent – and McGarrett felt twinges of his own form of envy for the man’s abilities of expression on the canvas.  Perhaps, with single-minded focus on art, McGarrett could have been a world famous painter.  Maybe not.  Instead, he had channeled his energy into being a cop. Returning to the main living room with the spectacular view and the stunning art, he repeated to himself the adamant assertion that he would not trade any success or any career for the life he had forged.

 

Now, there was only an acknowledgment that Keo was someone who lived his life the way he chose and now needed the police to determine his final fate.  A victim like any other McGarrett came across in his duties.  Keo had made his choices – wasted his life or not – depending on the point of view.  It was just McGarrett’s job to try to close the case one way or the other.

 

 

J

 

 

Expecting another update from McGarrett, when Williams heard the governor was on the phone, he suppressed a groan of disappointment and immediately picked up the receiver.  More fall out from the disappearance, no doubt, he judged as he politely asked what he could do for the chief of state.

 

“Danny, I just received word that a journalist named Sheila Storm has landed here with a film crew.”

 

Sheila Storm.  Hollywood Storm Report.  An infamous gossip show that tried to scoop the latest dirt on celebrities.  Williams had never watched an entire episode of the half-hour packed with schmoozing and strutting by the rich and famous.  Always keeping a finger on the pulse of society and well-known luminaries, the detached-from-reality program devoted to everything glitz and glamour was too over the top even for him.  That the oh-so-California commentator (he just could not go so far as to label her a journalist) had landed in his state meant trouble for anyone connected with Keo’s case.  She would be all over them like wet seaweed.

 

“Yes, sir.  Are they here to interview you?”

 

“I understand they are here to see Steve first, then fly over to Maui.  I’m giving you fair warning that you have to do what you can to placate her in Steve’s absence.” 

 

He had a feeling that dreaded assignment was coming his way.  “Yes, sir.”

 

“Keep her from getting to Maui, Danny.  She will interfere with the case and Steve and we don’t want that broadcast on national television.”

 

When he hung up, he had Jenny patch him through to the police station in Maui.  McGarrett was not there, so he left a message that his boss needed to get in touch ASAP.  Pondering the dilemma, he knew he was damned no matter what he did.  Disobey the governor and let Storm slip through his fingers to head over to Maui?  Become a roadblock for a TV crew and famous reporter?  Obey the governor and bring the wrath of Tropical Storm McGarrett atop his head for taking orders from anyone but the head of Five-0? 

 

Grabbing his suit jacket, he shouldered into it as he skipped out of the office, telling Jenny to get in touch with him the minute she heard from Steve.  He decided to do his best to appease both superiors, with McGarrett coming first, then Governor Jameson.  Stall the press and try to keep them away from the volatile chief of the unit.  Baring that, he guessed he would be flying to Maui to act as a buffer between two typhoons on a collision course on the Magic Isle.

 

 

J

 

 

Returning to Lahaina PD, McGarrett was surprised there were no crowds of reporters clogging the small station.  Sweeping into the building, he did not have time to inquire of the receptionist.  As soon as she spotted him she reported an urgent call from Jenny that he needed to get in touch immediately. Commandeering a desk in the corner, he had a connection by the time he sat down.

 

“What’s the fire about, Jenny?” he asked her, propped on the edge of the desk.

 

“A reporter named Storm is heading for Maui to get an exclusive.  According to the governor she’s someone important.”

 

Thunderous, dark clouds building in his brain, he recollected all too clearly the unpleasant episode of Kiki Chee {fanfic – LIVE FROM HAWAII} in his life and felt his lip twitch with irritation.

 

“Danny went to the airport to try to stop her, but apparently he’s on his way to Maui with her.”

 

The disapproval was clear in the secretary’s astringent tone and he knew they were both thinking the same thing.  Last time Danno was enamored of a cute and cheeky reporter he was head-over-heels with Ms Chee before realizing she was a spoiled little fortune cookie.  The incident turned out badly for everyone involved with the vapid woman. That’s all they needed now was Williams distracted by a pretty face with a microphone.

 

“All right, I’ll handle it,” he sighed.  “Anything else?”

 

“Chin is handling the Franklin hearing.  Other than that, I’ve cancelled all your appointments indefinitely and that included a lady named Carly.”

 

Mmm, this case was going to cost him a lot of time he would have to make up once he returned to the office.  Not happy about the imagined late nights he would have to chalk up back in Honolulu, he thanked Jenny and hung up.

 

Chief Liahona had arrived with some food and when McGarrett sniffed the aromatic scents filling the small squad room, his stomach churned, evidence of hunger.  He had no idea it was well after noon, he realized as he glanced at the clock on the desk.  The chief handed him a paper box filled with a plate of lau lau, macaroni salad and rice.

 

“Anything new at the house?” Liahona asked as he invited the Five-0 leader into his office. 

 

They sat by the desk, using it as a table, and ate with chopsticks.  “Maybe,” he shrugged as he savored the delicious, tender pork wrapped in taro leaves.  “Mostly just a feel for the place and the victim.”  He tried not to grumble about the lack of coffee, and told himself that Hawaiian canned juice was healthier than the dreaded java.  And he could skip coffee anytime he needed to; he was not addicted.

 

“Quite a spread out there, yeah?  We didn’t see evidence of any crime, though it was kinda hard to tell the way he keeps house.”

 

Disenchanted thinking about the luxurious beach house that was not properly cared for by the wastrel owner, McGarrett changed the subject.  “It’s awfully quiet around here, chief.  I was expecting a press invasion.”

 

“They’re still coming,” the Polynesian sighed with a shake of his head.  “But Muti has them corralled at the Pioneer Inn Hotel in Lahaina.  Keep an eye on them better in one place.”

 

Amazed, he wondered how a single officer could manage to keep tabs of masses of unruly reporters.  Maybe Maui PD could teach a few tricks to the big dogs from Honolulu?  He asked how Muti was coping.

 

With a big smile, Liahona responded. “This is a small town, Steve.  Locals stay in line if they know what’s good for them.  And they all love Keo.  They don’t want no malihini tramping on Maui to get some news scoop.  Muti tells them what we need and we get it,” he winked.  “You know, no car rentals available.  No maps.  Suddenly no body knows where Keo lives, that kinda thing.  Helps us out and stalls the sharks.”

 

McGarrett had to admire the technique and in some ways wished for a tinier patch than Oahu.  The small police force here had a tight handle on a population they knew as neighbors and friends.  More casual of a relationship than the head of Five-0 would recommend, but here, on a less inhabited island, it worked.

 

The sound of conversation in the front office caught his attention and he turned to see Sandy Manoa standing by the receptionist’s desk.  He gave a tentative wave to the officers and walked back to join them.

 

“I was just down at the beach.  They didn’t find Keo yet.”

 

The distress seemed real, and Liahona led them to his private office where he had the young man sit down and quietly calmed the agitated singer.  Momentarily, McGarrett sympathized with the suspect – still not releasing the possibility that Manoa had something to do with Keo’s disappearance. However, the distress seemed so genuine, he felt a pang of empathy.  Imagining how he had felt in similar circumstances when Danno had been missing, or in danger.  Quickly forcing the images away, he insisted there was no comparison.

 

Liahona and Manoa, sitting across from each other at the chief’s desk, each folded their hands in front of them as if in a personal chat.  McGarrett noted both wore similar rings of different metals – one gold, one silver – but each had the initials CTR on them.  He decided he would inquire of the chief later about that detail, again worrying that perhaps the lawman’s objectivity was tainted because of a personal relationship with the suspect.

 

His tone harsher than intended, McGarrett questioned. “You claim you are Keo’s closest friend.  I was at his place.  It doesn’t seem a very comfortable house to hang out.  In fact, it looks more like a party spot for drinking and his women friends.”

 

Manoa flinched.  “I didn’t visit him much the last few months.”

 

“You are, in fact, not on friendly terms anymore,” he guessed, putting the pieces together as he spoke.  The estrangement, the admitted difficulties between the two men, the vastly divergent lifestyles that were apparent.  “Did he reject you because you found religion?  You didn’t want to party anymore?”

 

“No. I – I’m the one at fault.”

 

Liahona glared at McGarrett.  “It’s no secret, Steve.  I’ve been working with Sandy for a long time.  He made a clean break from his old life when he converted to the Church.  It’s not easy going from the hot young celebrity wild life to Christian standards.  It’s a big change.”

 

Irked that the chief was making excuses for someone he considered a suspect – unhappy that his threatening inquisition was being mitigated by a cop acting as ally – he glared at Liahona.  “So you went out on the boat and argued,” he tightly accused, staring at Manoa again.  “You wanted back into his inner circle –“

 

“I wanted him to change!” the young man shouted, glowering at the Five-0 officer.  “Keo passed out drunk one night last week and fell on the rocks.  He could have bled to death!”  There were tears in the dark eyes.

 

“He went to the ER,” Liahona nodded.  “Sandy went to see him in the hospital,” the chief nodded to the singer.  “Coconut wireless will spread the word, Sandy, you might as well level with Mister McGarrett.”

 

The young man flinched.  “We exchanged some loud disagreements at the hospital.” 

 

Eyes never leaving the musician, the Five-0 detective zeroed in for what he thought would pin the guilt on Manoa.  “You argued then.  Maybe he didn’t fall on the rocks, maybe you pushed him –“

 

“I wasn’t anywhere near him!”

 

“Keo was found by some fishermen, Steve,” the chief interceded.  “Sandy would never hurt Keo.  They were aikane.”

 

“I took him out last night to get him away from that cursed house!” the young man insisted.  “It was his refuge of obsession.  He camped in there and painted and drank and partied and excluded himself from life.  He used to be different before the success.  Everybody wants a mural or a painting or a gallery appearance now.  It was winding him up into a cycle, like a hurricane.  Swirling activities and obsession and he couldn’t escape.  It wasn’t the money, it was the never ending demands that drove him into a riptide he couldn’t swim away from.”

 

The evidence of the house supported such a theory.  Obsessed, driven to work; McGarrett understood that need.  Excluding society and contact with an outside world that did not encompass the successful career.  Uncomfortable with how well he comprehended the image, he pressed harder.  “So you found religion and your friend went in the opposite direction.  It angered you that he was wasting his life –“

 

“I wanted to talk to him away from his destructive path,” Sandy clarified.  “I gave up trying to talk to him about religion a while ago.  I just wanted him to stop driving himself to death.  He didn’t sleep much; he drank; he painted; he partied; he painted.  What if he hadn’t been found by the fishermen?  He would have bled to death on the rocks and no one would have known for days.”

 

Not dismissing the singer as a suspect, McGarrett couldn’t deny the regret, the desperate concern seemed genuine.  What rang truer than anything was the too familiar sentiment of a friend coming to rescue the other friend who could not find his own way away from too much work.  Too many times to count he had been the recipient of Danno staying late, urging him to leave the office and get a meal, or go home and get sleep.  He recognized the loyalty and care of a kaikaina and backed away, pacing to stare out the window.

 

The view here was stunning.  Vastly different from the Palace.  The glittering blue ocean across the highway beckoned like an alluring dream.  The tall palms scraping the azure sky, swaying in the ever-present Maui wind, bordered the scene like a picture frame.  Finding it hard to concentrate with the distracting scenery, he turned back and dismissed the young man.  Liahona walked with Manoa to the front desk.

 

After watching them for a moment, McGarrett turned back to study the rolling sets of waves crashing to the black-rock shore.  Why was his suspicious mind so anxious to affix the label of ‘crime’ to this incident.  It was a disappearance.  Keo had a history of drunken debauchery, maybe drugs.  In a foul mood because of Sandy’s attempts to save him from himself, Keo could have lost his temper and in a fit of rage tipped over the edge of the boat.  An unfortunate accident. 

 

Manoa’s suffering could be from a friend grieving for a dead friend.  Not from guilt, but love.  Caring for someone he hoped to save who had plunged instead into the night sea from his own instability and excess.  Deep waters, he sighed, not proud of the black humor pun. 

 

Suggesting Liahona take him to see Keo’s associates and lawyer, the head of Five-0 pondered the case as Liahona drove him along the brilliant blue water off shore of Maui’s coast.  Kahoolawe and Lanai in the distance, the breaths of clouds drifting in a bright, neon heaven, he wished he had his own friend and ally here to share the complexities of the disappearance. 

 

 

J

 

 

Through the accommodating kindness of a Hawaiian Air supervisor at the airport, and his badge, Williams managed to squeeze aboard Sheila Storm’s connecting flight from Honolulu to Kapahulu.  Through the same methods, and a lot of charm plied to the Chief Flight Stewardess, the cop managed to acquire a seat next to the notorious and famous correspondent.

 

Storm was older than what she appeared on TV, with heavy make-up plastered to a late-thirties face.  Her curly brown hair was pulled off the face with a tie-died headband, and her high heels glittered with some kind of rhinestones.  The tight jeans and sparkly brown blouse were a jarring costume that recollected that Hollywood and Hawaii were not on the same planet sometimes.

 

Reminded of his encounter with the lovely but annoying Kiki Chee, Williams decided he would take the vapid, but pleasant-on-the-eyes former Miss Hawaii over this Storm-shark anytime.  The flight to Maui was nothing short of miserable, but by the end, he had managed to trick/connive Storm that he might slip her an exclusive if she pretended to be hanging out with the other reporters and did not let on that Five-0 might favor her.  It wasn’t much, but it bought him a little time.

 

J

 

 

Managing to avoid the press gathered at the Pioneer Inn Hotel, the policemen drove the backstreets of the largest town in Maui.  They parked at the low, lava curb, just off the main street of Lahaina.  Stretching out of the jeep, McGarrett took in the quaint buildings styled after the Nineteenth Century Whaling center it had once been, but modernized, of course.  The wooden boardwalks and brightly colored facades fronted art galleries, tourist shops and eateries.  The main strip was crowded with rented convertibles, mopeds, bikes and local, beat up trucks and jeeps packed with kids and surf boards.  The casual atmosphere reminded him of the North Shore of Oahu, where the ambiance of the perfect waves and youthful visitors kept the tone light and easy, like an eternal summer. 

 

Before he followed Liahona up the old steps of the office building painted in a pale yellow, he paused to admire Hawaii’s oldest Banyan tree.  In the center of the town, the huge, spreading tree took up the whole square.  Patchy grass surrounded the block preceding the fishing harbor.  He noted hippies begging for handouts, a few guitarists singing for coins dropped into a straw hat on the sidewalk.  There were young people sitting on the lawn trying to sell homemade jewelry or original artwork to the passersby.  It was all a strange conflux of Hawaii’s society – those who tried to scrape out a living, those who came to enjoy the weather and ambiance, those who tried to exploit it all.  Keo had pulled himself from just such humble beginnings.  Had his success been his death?  Had he been happy with the fame and fortune he had scraped to acquire?  All McGarrett saw from his perspective was a brilliant genius burning so bright it might have seared out in a flaming comet of creativity too intense to balance with reality.

 

“Chief, I noticed you and Manoa wear similar rings.  CTR.  What does that mean?”

 

“It’s something the keiki at church wear.  They all get a ring like that when they are young.  It stands for Choose The Right.  Kind of a saying we have.”  He held up the silver CTR ring on his little finger.  “Big keiki like me wear them, too.  A reminder that when we are out in the world we all need to choose the right.  Make good choices.”

 

“A philosophy more people should adopt,” McGarrett approved as they walked down the sidewalk.  “If they did, we’d have more time on the golf course than in the office,” he offered with a smile.

 

“A nice thought.”

 

The law offices of Wagner and Thompson were the first doors on the left, and Liahona entered first.  McGarrett was intrigued that the lawyer for the famous artist had an office just above a gallery devoted to Keo’s works.  Lahaina WAS a small town.  A secretary in a very short Hawaiian print dress was watering a fern plant when he closed the door behind him.

 

“You’re early today, Frank,” she lilted as she finished her task with a little pirouette of showing more leg than necessary.  Turning, her flirty smile faltered as she realized neither of the visitors fit the expected arrival.  “Oh.  You’re not Frank.”  She demurely placed the watering can on the open windowsill behind her desk.  “Can I help you?”

 

McGarrett stepped forward and offered his ID.  “We’d like to see Keo Kalapana’s attorney.”

 

The beautiful Asian/Polynesian face twitched at the recognition of the impressive badge and card proclaiming her visitor as the head of Five-0.  He had seen it before in guilty suspects, in those worried that the top cop of the island was in front of them and might discern every hidden secret they hoped to conceal.  Rarely did an innocent citizen flinch at his arrival, and the reaction now pricked his ever-alert suspicious nature.  What did Ms – Ho – have to hide, he wondered as he glanced at her nameplate on the desk, then bore his intense gaze into her dark eyes.

 

“I think you can help us, Ms Ho,” he informed suggestively.  It was not a question.  “When was the last time you saw Keo?”

 

“I – uh – I can’t quite remember,” her false smile flickered, then faded away as she dropped back to sit in her chair.  “I’ll have to check the date book.  Uh – Mister Wagner isn’t busy.  Lucky for you he has a free morning.  I’ll send you right in.”  She fumbled for the intercom button and hit it, announcing the presence of the police.

 

If Danno had been beside him, the two of them would have exchanged a silent, brief glance of mutual conversation.  They would have traded eye contact that shared suspicions and the decision of methods.  The young and boyish second-in-command probably would have casually perched on the edge of the desk to flirt with the girl and put her at ease, subtly drawing her into a charmed confidence.  Then McGarrett would offer a few more probing questions, procuring more of a reading on her in her distracted state.

 

“Send them right in,” came the voice from the speaker phone.

 

McGarrett blinked out of his reverie, reading nothing from the straight-forward Liahona as the chief of Lahaina PD preceded him into the inner office.  Rushing over to meet them, Leonard Wagner gregariously thrust out his hand for shakes all around as he invited the men into his office and closed the door. 

 

Thirty-ish, wearing casual, but expensive gray slacks and a tastefully subdued Aloha shirt of a gray and green fern print, the man with thin, ash-blond hair seemed ready to step out of the room and onto a golf course.  He could have been an executive on holiday, or the proprietor of a high end clothing store.  “How can I help the police today?” he asked after refreshments were offered and declined.  His gaze flicked from the chief to the head of Five-0, staying there for a moment to assess the head cop of the islands.

 

Pausing, he allowed his colleague to field the question.  “We understand you’re Keo Kalapana’s attorney.”  Liahona took the lead, McGarrett settled back in his seat to observe.  Interesting the lawyer did not volunteer what had to be the obvious reason for the official visit.  Cagey and closed, he added to what he had already gleaned about the attorney.

 

“Yes, our firm handles all of Keo’s legal matters.  We are, of course, distressed at the mystery of his disappearance and hope he is found safe and alive.”

 

Acknowledging that this was a small town on an outer island, McGarrett gave allowance that the atmosphere here was casual.  Most businessmen in the Fiftieth State – even in Honolulu – did not adhere to the regimented dress code of business-suited Five-0 detectives.  It was not something to hold against the well-tanned lawyer, but it denoted character and style, both important impressions for any cop on an investigation.   “Has Keo had any legal business lately?” McGarrett wondered.

 

“Legal matters?  Such as?”

 

This guy was as tight lipped as a clam and making him work for every scrap of information.  Consistent with the worst attorneies he had come up against.  “Law suits, change in his will, anything like that?”

 

A flick of the eyes betrayed an infinitesimal reaction, which was quickly subdued by a smooth mask of a smile.  “Any legal business between a client and this firm is strictly confidential.”

 

“No details are necessary,” McGarrett countered with an urbane, but unmistakable firmness.  “Did he make any changes to his will lately?”

 

The friendliness in the manner frosted when Wagner responded. “You will have to ask him that when you find him.  I’m afraid I can’t help you with such questions.”  The man came to his feet and moved toward the door with a fluid grace that nearly denied his rush.  Holding open the door, he gave them another cool look.  “Good luck.”

 

McGarrett scrutinized the secretary as they left.  She did little more than give them a civil nod, her attention focused on typing.  Once back on the sidewalk, McGarrett stood in the doorway gazing out at the town square, but his mind still upstairs at the legal office.

 

“He couldn’t get us out of there fast enough,” Liahona signed with a shake of his head.  “I don’t know if he was acting suspicious or just like a lawyer, but he’s hiding something.”

 

Nodding, McGarrett was pleased his colleague was picking up the same vibes.  “You got that right, Chief.  And that secretary was amazingly uninterested in us.  Like she overheard everything we said.”  The chief agreed and McGarrett ordered. “When we get back to the station I want the book on both of them and the unseen partner, too.”

 

“Sure,” he agreed as he fell in step with the taller detective. 

 

When they approached a shave ice stand at the end of the block, they were hailed by a large, local woman wearing a bright muu’muu.  “Bishop Liahona!  Nice to see you!’ she called out.

 

The officer diverted to the stand and shook hands with the pleasant lady, who was introduced to McGarrett as a member of his ward.  Sister Ellen Marque started her machine and skillfully fashioned a cone full of fluffy flakes from the huge block of ice.  She manipulated the large snowball into a molded shave ice as she talked.  "I see you been to the lawyers.  Keo was there on Monday.  He came by and I made him a large mango and lilikoi.  I wouldn’t take his money.  Not everyday I make a shave ice for a celebrity.”

 

McGarrett, who had been scanning the square, studying the street painters and jewelry stands, took sudden interest.  “Keo saw them on Monday?”  Two days ago.  “Are you sure?”

 

“Not likely to forget that,” she laughed as she handed a huge, multi-flavored, rainbow painted ice to the chief.  She went to work on her next enormous, frozen project.  “I went home and wrote it in my journal.  Why? Is that important?” she wondered as she slathered brightly colored flavors onto the jumbo sized, icy treat.

 

“Maybe,” Liahona confirmed after it was clear the Five-0 detective was too lost in thought to respond.

 

She handed the shave ice to McGarrett.  “Got lilikoi and mango for you, Mister McGarrett, plus some nice Blue Hawaii and raspberry.  Bet you like the island flavors best, yeah?”

 

McGarrett was about to decline the dessert, but Liahona took it for him and handed it to his superior.  “Mahalo, Ellen.  What do we owe you?”

 

“Your money’s no good here, Bishop, you know dat.  Same with someone kaulana like Mister McGarrett.  Same with Keo.  He wanted to pay, I wouldn’t hear of it.  You just spend your time trying to find our kaulana kamaaina.”

 

“Mahalo. See you Sunday.”

 

“What did she say?” the leader wondered as the strolled away munching on the syrupy, cold indulgence that melted on his tongue.  “How did she know me?”

 

“She’s a little star struck I’m afraid.  You’re more famous than Keo, Steve.”

 

Grateful Danno was not here to tease him about the encounter, he crossed the street to wander by the seller shaded under the gigantic banyan tree.  The hippies and street people here were similar to their counterparts in Honolulu.  Some begged for money, some played guitars for change, some plied their wares in disinterested silence, reading or playing solitaire, ignoring potential customers.  One older man with a display of moderately interesting paintings, followed their progress as they approached his table.  When McGarrett studied the work, he jumped from his chair to confront the law enforcement men.

 

“I seen you go to the lawyers,” he accused to Liahona first, then McGarrett.  “Ain’t got no clue what happened to Keo, do ya?”  He was a short, scrappy man with lean limbs and weathered skin from many years in the elements.  “Whatever it is ya can stop wasting yer time.  Good riddance.  We don’t need him around clouding the Maui skies.”

 

Staring into the sixty-ish man’s hazel eyes, judging the old fellow earned his white hair, physical make-up and tough attitude by a hard life, the senior detective wondered most about the attitude.  “Jealous?” he accused as he ran his eyes over the landscape art pieces that were hotel-wall average.  His own talent he deemed was at a higher level, and he found himself unreasonably irritated at this man with mediocre talent who was attacking a great artist – one McGarrett admired.

 

The little man spat on the sidewalk.  “Of his talent?  Of course.  The rest of his life?  I spit on his memory.”

 

“Then you think he’s dead?”

 

“Karma,” the man insisted.  “Talent like his should shine like a beacon.  He was devoted to his art when he came here.  Bright young fella.  What did he do with it?  Sold out to the developers.  Took the money and threw it away on women and drink.  He don’t deserve the talent he wasted.”

 

Subverting his dislike of the man’s condemnations, irritated he had thought similar reprisals himself, McGarrett demanded. “Why do you dislike him so much?”

 

“I told you!  I seen a lot in my day.  Came here off a Navy ship, discharged to these beautiful islands, and try to show my gratitude in my work.  It isn’t much, I know, but it’s what comes from my heart.  Keo was like that at first.  Til he sold his soul to Neil Olomana.  He turned his back on his land, his people.  I say the ancient gods took him back.  Swallowed him up in the sacred sea that he used for profit.”  He looked to Liahona.  “You ask the chief here, he’s a holy man.  He’ll tell you all about karma.”

 

The chief led them to a trashcan where they threw away the paper cones and stood in the shade of the tree.  McGarrett asked for an explanation and with reluctance the officer agreed.

 

“Old Jack doesn’t have much tact, Steve.  He’s made it loud and clear he resents Keo and Olomana.  A lot of people feel the same about Olomana.  Developers are the big bad guys here in Maui.  Buying up the land for hotels and shopping centers, stripping the locals of farmland and the pristine beauty of the island.”

 

It was a sentiment rampant throughout the islands.  Numerous groups of activists had formed to counter the onslaught of progress.  Maui had resisted for a long time, but the inevitable conquest of money and investors was chipping away at the magic paradise.  The angle presented by the old painter was something Steve had not considered as a motive.

 

“Let’s go talk to Olomana.”

 

They walked down a few blocks to a new, three story building and requested an interview with the hotel mogul, but learned that Olomana was not in Maui, but would be returning later in the day.  The Five-0 head asked the developer to call when he returned.  On the drive back to the station, McGarrett stared out at the rolling green hills, the pineapple train, the balmy sea and the red lava dirt of an unspoiled landscape.  He thought of Olomana and Keo and the divergent attitudes of both men. 

 

Steve was upset at the attacks on an artistic genius – then wondered if he was jealous and resentful because he had talent himself and had chosen to ignore it.  Like old Jack in the park, he could have taken a creative path with much greater results, he was sure, ego aside.  Perhaps not attaining the level of success of Keo, but his gift would have gained him some acclaim and income. Yet, he had forsaken it for his career.  He chose to allow the skill to go fallow and did not use it or share it with others – which was the whole point of a talent.  Was he any better than Keo who used his aptitude for selfish gain?  Was he any better than old Jack, whose ability was elemental, but he used it, offered it to others, and spent his life giving of his gifts and loving his profession?

 

 

J

 

 

Sandy Manoa was back at the station waiting for them when they arrived.  Irritated at the constant barrage of pestering, McGarrett threatened to arrest him if he didn’t stop stalking them.  The warning cowed him enough to fade to the background so the officers could receive an update on the search.  So far no sign of Keo by the Coast Guard or any of the private parties who had set out to scour the coastline to find the celebrity.  McGarrett commandeered a corner desk and picked up the phone to dial the Palace for a check in with his office.  He wanted to know how Danno was handling the governor and other notable sources of pressure.  He also wanted an update on a few of the cases he had left in the air.  He had only dialed a few numbers when he saw Williams walk into the reception area.  Giving a friendly greeting to the secretary, he gave a wave to his boss and ambled back toward the desk. 

 

Surprised, but pleased to see his friend, McGarrett hung up the phone and met him with a lopsided grin.  “Danno, what are you doing here?”

 

“Putting out fires,” the younger officer smiled back.  “How’s things going here?”

 

“Still no Keo.  So what fires don’t I know about?”

 

“TV host named Sheila Storm is doing a Hollywood report on this whole mess. I tucked her in at the Pioneer Inn with the rest of the reporters.  The governor thought she needed my special attention.”  He held up a hand and surrendered a chuckle.  “And before you ask, no I’m not taking orders from the governor now, but she’s a real shark and I thought it was better I accompany her to the right location rather than let her run amok over here and get under foot.”

 

Reading him with absolute accuracy, his closest friend had correctly anticipated an angry reaction to the set up, but once explained, McGarrett shared in the levity.  As usual, when his second-in-command explained himself, his reasoning was right on target.

 

“Good thinking, Danno.”  He patted his friend’s shoulder, surprised at how complete he felt with his strongest ally at his side.  While there was no more than the usual stress and attention to this case than many other Five-0 investigations and there was no overt or ominous threat nipping at their heels, it was still immeasurably better to have his best officer at his back.  “Good to have you here.”

 

Sandy and Liahona emerged from the chief’s office and both greeted the new arrival with a warm welcome.  Manoa seemed relived to have a known ally – Williams -- here and fervently begged for help from the younger cop. 

 

“I’ve been thinking about the last few weeks,” he related to the others as they retreated to the chief’s office.  “Keo told me when things got bad to look to the paintings for the answers.  I don’t know what that means, but maybe you guys will.”

 

Like a flash of lightning inside his brain, McGarrett thought maybe he DID know what that cryptic comment might mean.  The numbers in the paintings could be clues.  The sequence a possible pathway leading somewhere?  Asking to borrow a jeep from the chief, McGarrett caught the keys tossed to him and tugged at Williams’ sleeve.  The younger officer followed his leader at a trot.  Not until they were driving, Williams behind the wheel since he knew the island better than the older officer, was the inspiration explained.

 

“When I was a Keo’s, Danno, I saw several of his paintings.  They had numbers in them.  Sequenced numbers.”

 

“Look to the paintings for clues when things go bad?” he questioned, paraphrasing Manoa’s comments.  “Is Keo that clever or mysterious?”

 

“He’s a genius, Danno, and who knows what crazy twists and turns such a creative mind can take.”

 

“Yeah,” the officer smirked.  “Sounds familiar.  So should be no problem with another genius on his trail.”

 

The light compliment was meant for him and again he was grateful his friend had chosen to come to Maui.  Thinking of the parallels suggested between them and the painter and musician, McGarrett related his view that Sandy was a suspect.  Expecting his friend to agree with him as usual, he was surprised that Williams had trouble believing Manoa of doing anything to harm Keo.

 

Not sharing his friend’s generous open-mindedness, McGarrett silently mused on the other possibilities of Keo’s disappearance.  They knew nothing of Olomana yet, but he seemed to have no reason to dispose of his created artist.  Wagner was oily, and his secretary questionable, but that did not mean much.  Old Jack and others who disliked the wild Keo – remote as suspects -- but again, worth looking into just to cover all the bases.

 

Williams swung the jeep into the driveway of the mansion and gave a long whistle of appreciation at the elegant spread.  For a moment he stood on the front lanai gazing out at the amazing view of sand, sea, sky and distant islands.  He gave a deep sigh and whispered “Maui no ka oi.”

 

Clapping him on the shoulder, Steve urged his friend to follow him inside.  The younger man stood at the door and studied the paintings, touring the room with the slow scrutiny of a trained professional.  He paused several times at the huge windows to take in the panorama of paradise, then finally joined McGarrett at the painting with the first number.

 

“Look at this,” McGarrett pointed to a canvas stacked against the wall.  “Three orange coral by the signature.”  He walked to another piece and gestured to the bottom right where the name was scribbled around five grouped fish.  “Check every painting, Danno, and see if you can come up with something.”

 

Every piece of art was studied and those with numbers were set in order.  Some paintings had words cleverly hidden on boats or mailboxes or garden gates, and those were set aside in another area.  In all, seven paintings had subtle, out of place, secret codes that Steve labeled clues.  Several of the canvases held both numbers and phrases or names.

 

“Do you recognize any of these places, Danno?”

 

“Sure, most of them,” he shrugged.  “They’re all here in Maui, naturally.  The one with the single sea horse, that’s over here in this neighborhood in Ka’anapali.  So we could probably guess that that is the starting point?  If this is some kind of crazy puzzle, and that’s what you’re leading to, right?”

 

“Right.  After what Manoa told you, I think we can take it that Keo was paranoid or worried about his safety.  He went to see his lawyers Monday.  He had become anti-social, except for his wild party lifestyle.  He knew something and wanted his friend to know.”

 

“Why the mystery?  Why not just come out and tell Sandy?”

 

“A quirk of genius,” the boss shrugged.  “Or maybe he didn’t trust Manoa.  Maybe someone else has the key to the code and Manoa was just taunted by it?  I don’t know.”

 

Slowly, Williams shook his head.  “They were tight friends, Steve.  I can’t believe Sandy would do anything to hurt Keo.”

 

“Friends can change, Danno,” he sadly reminded, refraining from listing their own personal disappointment in others they had known who had turned to criminal methods.  So many in the past had fallen by the wayside.  It always came back to the two of them, it seemed, and McGarrett preferred it that way.  Not surprised at Williams’ staunch loyalty – one of his best traits – he wanted to let his friend down easily.  "Let’s see what we can figure out.”

 

“The beach with the surf shack with the four boards, that’s on the other side of Lahaina, but a lousy place to surf.”

 

Leave it to Danno; Steve smiled in appreciation of his friend’s native knowledge of his island home.  He placed one and two together, bringing in the painting with the three fish as the last.  Soon they had all seven in a row.  Number six showed a colorful dance club called the SUGAR CANE SHACK; a local hang out by a sugar cane town.  At number seven, he crouched down and mused.

 

It was a beautiful spot by the ocean; verdant and lush forest behind, a quaint, thatched cottage near the black lava of the ocean.  On the gate was a small sign that gave no address, but a name:  Maui Moon Cottage.

 

“Steve, I don’t know where this one is, but I know what it means.  And this might give us some more clues.”

 

“What do you mean?” he joined his friend near the painting, picking it up and taking it closer to the windows to get the light from the bright afternoon sun.

 

“From Sandy Manoa’s song.”

 

“What?”

 

“The song that he’s famous for.  Under the Maui Moon.”

 

The older cop shrugged, having only a vague idea what his friend meant.

 

Not singing, but reciting, Williams clarified with lyrics.  Maui moon shines so bright, Silver streaks the moana's night, 'neath the stars the surf foams in, from our coconut hut we will sing.  Maui moon full and strong, light of mystery and of love, magic cottage by the sea, secret hale for you and me.”

 

It came to McGarrett clearly then.  “The Musgrave Ritual,” he smiled in wonder.

 

“The what?”

 

“A Sherlock Holmes story where there is a series of clues, obscure and cryptic numbers and phrases – “

 

“Oh, yeah, a treasure hunt.”

 

McGarrett almost laughed at the quirky brilliance.  “Yes.  A quest.  A treasure hunt.  In the story, there was a literal treasure.  Here . . .”  He sighed and studied the painting.

 

“What, Steve?”

 

“Keo is showing us the path.  And we’re going to follow it, Danno.”

 

 

J

 

 

Each painting was memorized and details noted by the detectives.  It became a search on the road as the colleagues set out in the top-down jeep for an unlikely treasure hunt.  At each stop they searched the area for signs of Keo.  The first three they found nothing, and continued. As they cruised along as the golden Maui sun set into the west, Williams talked about the local hot spots, the legends, the story of Maui the demi-god who harnessed the sun to make it slow down to make a 24 hour cycle.

 

While the ever-present case was in the back of his mind at all times, McGarrett relished the fantastic day, the baking humidity, the fresh ocean, the brilliant blue of the sky, the mint-green of the hills, the vibrantly hued rainbows, and the good companionship.  It was glorious to be out of the office and working like this in the expanded beauty of their islands. He could tell as they traveled, despite their failure to make any progress in the case, that his friend was reveling in the sojourn through the magic isle.

 

At the last stop, the cove where the painting had depicted three orange coral,  the location elicited no obvious piece of the puzzle, so they moved on to number four.  The painting had shown a small fishing shack on the jut of a black lava point.  In the background was the famous harbor of Lahaina, with the red-tile roof landmark of the historic Pioneer Inn, and the rigging of the sailing masts of the old schooner.  At the shack, there had been four surfboards leaning against the wall.  In reality, there were no boards, but inside the old, weathered building they did find a some fishing equipment and a shelf with scattered boxes of hooks and lines. 

 

“This looks like another waste of time,” sighed the younger man.  “Sure this isn’t a wild goose chase, Steve?” he teased.

 

“No.”

 

There was little light inside, and Williams pushed aside a few boards lopsidedly blocking a window.  While the surging surf captivated his interest, McGarrett scanned the small, single room shack one last time.  With the added light, his eyes caught some bright, white paint on the weathered shelf.  Moving a few of the boxes, he elicited a snort.  Williams joined him arm to arm as he leaned close to read the lettering.

 

“Hmm,” he groaned.

 

“Manoa,” McGarrett read, feeling no triumph in finding indicting evidence against the singer.

 

“This doesn’t prove anything, Steve.”

 

Admiring his friend for his eternal loyalty, McGarrett regretted that this cast suspicion on Keo’s closest friend.  He knew what it felt like to be betrayed by someone he trusted.  Every day he basked in the opposite example, of having his dearest ally alongside him in every circumstance, knowing with absolute certainty that many others – all others – might fall by the wayside, coming up short to examples of true friendship.  One man would not.  Not many people could say that, and he was blessed that he could.

 

Looking at him, Williams implored. “This could mean nothing.”

 

“Keo’s been leading us along on a path, Danno.  I want to know what Manoa has to say about this.”

 

“If he had something to do with Keo’s disappearance, why would he tell us about the warning he got from his friend?”

 

“We only have his word that Keo said that.”  At the reluctant nod, McGarrett urged, “Why do you believe he’s innocent?”

 

“He’s a decent guy who made something of himself,” the officer shrugged.  ”He’s always seemed a good friend for Keo.  I’d hate to think that was all a lie.”

 

McGarrett felt the same way, but didn’t indulge in expressing it.  He did nod as he thoughtfully studied the name boldly splashed on the rotting boards.  There was an affinity between Williams and Manoa, and as much as he tried to ignore it, the idea of a comparison between McGarrett and Williams, Keo and Manoa, persisted.  This case might end unhappily for the latter, and it made him uncomfortable to accept that truth.  In the back of his mind since he left Honolulu, he accepted Keo was probably dead.  Missing persons cases so easily shifted from absence to death/murder.  It was his job to determine whether this was a tragedy for a friendship, with one half dead, or if the true tragedy occurred long ago and drove one of the aikane to murder.

 

“Before we go any further with our Musgrave Ritual, let’s track down Manoa.  He might save us the trouble of searching the rest of the island.”

 

The agreement seemed reluctant, and the trip back to Lahaina was made in silence.  McGarrett sensed in his companion a disappointment with the singer he regarded.  The boss could understand the feeling – he was suffering under the same disillusionment about Keo.  Too often, after seeing the stark reality of the world’s crimes, they returned to the unsavory truth that their profession showed them the lowest dregs of humanity.  The bright spot in that was, at the end of the day, when they gathered as a team – an elite unit of sterling, honorable men – they knew that outside their small ohana, they might trust few, but within that noble circle they represented the best of the best.

 

Following the chief’s directions over the radio, they drove to Mahana Beach to talk to Sandy Manoa, but he was not at home.  Learning reporters had spread out from the Pioneer Inn to other Keo haunts on the island, McGarrett suggested they split up to save time.  Returning to the police station, the jeep was surrendered to the second.  Williams would check out the last known location in the paintings; SUGAR CANE SHACK.  McGarrett would take a chopper to investigate number five in Hana.

 

“You want me to go with you?” McGarrett wondered as he escorted his friend to the parking lot.  The atypical silence from Williams was getting on his nerves. 

 

“No, this is more efficient.  We won’t have long before the press is on our heels, so we better make the most of it.”

 

McGarrett nodded, a little disappointed he had made the suggestion to separate.  It felt good to have his friend here with him.  The investigation went smoother and quicker with their minds in sync and working in the same direction.  An embodiment of the unity they worked within daily. 

 

As he stood in the bright sun, the head of the unit was reluctant to carry out his own orders.  He wanted to part with some kind of encouragement to his friend who was taking the suspicion against Manoa a little personally.   Unable to think of any positive words, he gave a nod and backed away.  As the jeep rolled onto the main highway, McGarrett stood in the doorway of the police station and watched his friend cruise away, wondering if the comparisons between the officers and the two locals was having an impact. 

 

J

 

 

The theories purported by McGarrett were sound, but that didn’t make them any easier to accept, Williams mused as he drove the jeep along the sunny coastal road toward the junction.  Sugar Cane Shack was by the old sugar mill.  The red clay and green cane stalks along the side of the road made it scenic and typically Maui.  A nice side product of this case was at least he got to drive a top-down jeep in the Maui no ka oi sun.

 

At night, the rubble-laden asphalt road brought locals to this faded-paint little cabin to share drinks and Hawaiian music.  It was a place to forget their worldly cares and dance the night away with friends, in a last ditch effort to hold onto the old ways, start new traditions, and ignore the march of time and progress.  During the day, the Sugar Cane Shack was a sad, worn old wooden building with peeling, faded paint, perched on a hill overlooking vast fields of sugar cane on one side, and the ocean on the other.

 

For a hundred years the cash crop of this magic isle was the sweet sticks of pure sugar that thrived in the rich volcanic soil and balmy tropical sun of Maui.  Locals swore it was also a generous sprinkling of the mystic of the small island that gave C&H its special quality.  The latter half of the 20th Century, however, saw the decline of both pineapple and sugar cane exports due to the fierce and cut-rate competition around the globe.  Hawaii no longer held a monopoly on those prized crops and mills were closing, workers losing jobs at an alarming rate.

 

This was one of the places Sandy Manoa had started out as a singer, and while Williams did not expect to find the celebrity here today, it was clearly a clue in the painting and he was bound to follow it.  The activity, though he thought it useless, gave him something constructive to do, an active course in proving Steve’s theory right or wrong.  Although it rarely happened, he hoped his friend was wrong this time.  If Sandy had harmed Keo, it would be such a betrayal.  Williams held friendship as a sacred trust and hoped others revered it as much as he and Steve did.  That was idealistic and unrealistic, but it pleased him to believe that most people were capable of such noble ambitions.  Not to the degree that he shared with Steve.  The brotherly bond they developed had evolved to a near mind-reading level of closeness, but there were all kinds of variations on friendship, and many could attain some kind of good relationship. 

 

The officer was surprised that a sporty convertible Porsche was parked at the side of the Shack.  Sandy Manoa was sitting on the lanai facing the sea.  He looked up and waved as Williams parked the jeep and approached.  “McGarrett send you out here to arrest me?” the young man wondered, his voice higher pitched than usual.  It was almost a statement, but there was a hopeful element of doubt there to give him an out.

 

“I wanted to talk to you,” the detective offered with an easy shrug.

 

“He thinks I killed Keo, huh?  But you don’t, right Danny?  You know I could never do that.  Keo and me we’re tight.  Like brothers.  Like you and McGarrett, right?  You understand.”

 

Williams wanted to believe just because of those reasons; the similarities, the belief there was a solid trust between these old friends.  A bond that overcame the sudden shoot to stardom and the -- temporary? – parting of the ways.  He felt an affinity for Keo and Sandy.  They had become hanai brothers through a common struggle.  Working in the same direction, they overcame all the challenges to be at the top of the game.  A close enough parallel to his own link with Steve to understand.  He and his tough friend had experienced their own ups and downs, but the similarities were too strong to let anything separate them for long. 

 

“I heard there was an argument.”  It seemed the best way to crack this open and see if Sandy was leading him on, using sympathy to cloud a crime, or if he was innocent of anything but grief for a friend.  “What about?”

 

After some hedging, the singer admitted, “Keo – not as good a friend as I thought maybe.”

 

He could never think that kind of idea about Steve.  Nothing could ever tear him apart from Steve, he was certain.  Their brotherhood was based on ideals and a trust that could be born only of shared life-and-death circumstances.  Hard to compare the two detectives to a singer and a painter, so he pushed back the parallels and concentrated on the interview with a possible suspect.

 

“Tell me about the paintings Keo was doing.”

 

“He was selling them to some heavy buyers, that’s all I know.”

 

“You said Keo told you if anything happened to him to look to the paintings.  Was he expecting trouble?”

 

Manoa thoughtfully considered a response before replying that his friend never talked about threats.  The painter did, however, always have hidden little in-jokes in his paintings.  That some kind of mysterious clues were secreted in the pictures was not a surprise, he just didn’t know what they meant.

 

Steve did.  “We found some clues. In one of the paintings there’s a Maui Moon Cottage.  What do you know about that?”

 

“Maui Moon,” he smiled.  “That was the inspiration for my song,” he nodded fondly.  “We used to go over there to hang out.  Belonged to Keo’s grandfather.  It’s an old place where we could get away from bill collectors.  Wrote most of my first album there.  Why?”

 

“I’ll tell you on the way.  Let’s go.”

 

 

J

 

 

As they cruised along the coast road Williams allowed silence to cushion the thoughts of his companion.  The heat on their faces, the breeze blowing their hair, the rich aquamarine of the ocean on one side and the stark, red soil planted with green stalks of sugar cane on the other, the natural wonder of Maui, gave them time to meditate.  When he felt the time was right, the officer asked the musician to give over more information. 

 

With a huge sigh, Sandy revealed his friend had changed.  “Money and fame were some kind of trophy for Keo, yeah?  Like a validation for him.  He’d do whatever he could to make the big bucks.”

 

“And you don’t?” he countered.

 

Manoa glared at him.  “You don’t see me in Hollywood, do you?  I’m staying here.”

 

“And Keo wanted to move on?”

 

Leaning his head back against the seat rest Sandy shook his head in misery.  Slowly, the story of gradual differences surfaced.  Once-shared dreams were overshadowed by the allure of celebrity and lucre.  Sandy discovered an appreciation for his homeland and the beauty of music to express his feelings for paradise.  With it came a longing to preserve the old and protect Hawaii from overdevelopment and exploitation.  Keo created exploding worlds of fantasy from the natural elements around him, and used them to pad the pockets of Olomana and any other developer who wanted to use his talents.  Galleries, high end endorsements and commissions for future murals for hotels and office buildings flowed in for Keo.

 

“I disagreed.  So I stepped into the background.  Not enough room for me and Keo on that platform for Number One.”

 

Knowing part of the rest, Williams supplied, “You’ve become a spokesperson for Hawaiian Waters.”  A local preservation society working to protect native beaches, sea life, flora and fauna.  Williams was well aware of, and sympathetic to, the conservation group. “And if the rumors in the papers are right, you found a girlfriend, too.”

 

Smirking, the younger man looked away.  “Yeah.  She’s really great.”

 

“And she just happens to be Chief Liahona’s daughter?” he laughed.

 

“Yeah.  So I quit Keo’s big party scene and joined the Church and made myself all respectable,” he grinned, then grew serious.  “Keo ridiculed me cause I got religion and want to settle down.  He didn’t understand.  But I would never do anything to hurt him, Danny.  We went out there last night to talk.  I wanted him to understand why – why I was doing what I was doing.”

 

It sounded a little ominous.  “What is that?”

 

“Hawaiian Waters is gonna call for a massive boycott of Olomana hotels and projects.  It will affect all the islands.  We’re going to start it at the hotel they’re building in Ka’anapali.  The one that Keo is working on now.”

 

Two old friends on opposite sides of a controversial – volatile --- issue.  The fledgling singer, a fair success, intimidated by the big brother powerhouse of a rich and powerful friend who had gone in an almost diametrically opposite direction.  Motive enough for an angry argument to get out of hand.  Punches exchanged with insults.  Add the mix of a girl and religion into the little boat out in the ocean and a wrong shove, in a flash of insult, might mean a knock on the head for the painter, then into the ocean without a trace.

 

Viewing it as a cop, Williams considered things did not look good for Sandy.  As a person, he believed the kid, but how to prove it.  Find Keo’s mysterious trail of codes and symbols.  Even when they did find the cottage in the painting, would it give them any answers that were pertinent to the solving of the disappearance?

 

Manoa directed him to take a turn past Ka’anapali, and they traveled a winding, chunky-paved road through a forest that hugged the coastline along the island’s western rim.  There were few shacks or houses along here, and the rocky shore was not inviting to surfers, swimmers or developers, it seemed, preserving the isolation of the prime real estate.  Taking a short turn inland, then a sharp left through a shade-trimmed drive, they were suddenly upon the little grass shack that had been stylized in the painting.

 

In reality, the shack was a charming house that dominated a plateau of black lava. Overlooking a ring of crumbled rocks, with a thin strip of white sand in the center, it was a magic paradise. It hardly seemed the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but it was here they were supposed to find information on Keo’s mysterious life and possibly a sinister death.

 

“Wow,” Williams breathed as he stepped through the front gate rimmed by plumeria trees.

 

“Yeah, amazing, huh?” Manoa sighed heavily.  He led the way around the back where a wide lanai covered most of a lawned yard.  Taking a seat on the railing, he stared out at the sea.  “This is where I was sitting when I wrote Under A Maui Moon.  That was the first of several collaborations.  Keo gave me some ideas and I whipped them into hit songs.  Sounds so simple,” he shook his head.  “How did I lose such a treasure?”

 

Touched at the poignancy of the loss he could empathize with, Dan asked for more information on the house.  What mysterious clues had Keo left here to help them now?

 

Sandy shrugged. “It belongs to some old connection in Keo’s ohana.”

 

Curious and disappointed that the firm friendship had dissolved for the two young men, the officer asked when things started to fall apart.

 

“We came out here a lot in the old days.  Only a few years ago, it was like we would be like brothers forever.  He said as long as he could come here he would remember his roots.”  Manoa stomped on the wooden floorboards of the lanai.  “This old house meant a lot,” he smiled ruefully.  “There’s an old secret passage behind the fireplace.”

 

“What for?” Williams laughed, thinking that sounded pretty medieval for Hawaii.  “Like a priest hole?”

 

“Almost,” Sandy nodded.  “When this was the major whaling hub of the Pacific, it was pretty wild here in Maui.  Keo’s great grandfather was a bit of a pirate.”

 

“Pirates in Hawaii?” Williams scoffed.

 

“Smuggler, a kanaka on the shady side.  Used the caves down at the shore as holds for his loot.  Dealt with the whalers and low lifes who roamed the seas in those days.  He used to make his daughters hide in the secret room so the sailors wouldn’t find them.  He hid his money there, too.  The caves weren't safe enough for him.”

 

“Sounds colorful.”  Williams ambled into the house, which was unlocked in the back, and wandered around the simple, sparsely furnished rooms with windows looking out to the sea.  There were no paintings, nothing but old, wicker furnishings and appliances that looked left over from the forties.  If there were clues here, he was not seeing any.

 

The words to the song played in his mind and he considered that, yeah, this was quite a perfect piece of paradise.  He hummed the tune, thinking of the lyrics that fit this old place.

 

Maui moon full and strong

light of mystery and of love

magic cottage by the sea

secret hale for you and me.

 

 

J

 

 

Troubled at the niggling sense that he was missing something vital, McGarrett borrowed another vehicle from Chief Liahona and drove back out to Keo’s beach pad.  He had to look at the paintings again and maybe that would notch in the ethereal clue that was elusively floating just out of conscious reach.

 

Wandering through the rooms, ending up in the spare room, studying the paintings, he became aware that he was not alone.  His hand snaked subtly toward his revolver.  Catching a reflection in the picture-window glass, he gasped in a breath of initial, skin-chilling fear.  Forcing himself not to react to the impression that he was staring at a ghost, he slowly turned to face what he hoped was a live Keo. Only when he was face to face with the man -- not entirely sure until that moment that the obvious corporeal missing painter was alive -- Steve released a slow, subtle held-breath of suspended air and heartbeat.

 

“Keo,” he growled.  “Where have you been?’ he barked, not completely relaxing.

 

The artist, disheveled and ragged, offered a lopsided grin.  “Nice to see you, McGarrett.  Been hoping you’d figure things out.”  Standing in the doorway, he slid against the wall, casting a nervous glance over his shoulder.  “Don’t mind if I stay out of sight while I explain myself, do you?”

 

“What is it you’re going to explain?” the cop wondered warily.

 

“Why I made everyone think I was dead.”

 

“This better be more than a Tom Sawyer trick!”

 

“It is, I promise.”

 

The man already told him far more than the officer expected, so he kept his questions to a minimum, knowing the young artist was going to spill his guts without much provocation. He seemed a man on the run and desperate to share.  “Go on.” 

 

“I disappeared to save my life.”

 

“Manoa tried to kill you?”

 

“No!” Keo burst out in horror.  “He was trying to help me, the poor lolo kid.  He –” Keo shook his head and sank down to the floor.  “You need to protect me, man.  I’ll tell you everything.  Just, promise me you’ll keep me safe, McGarrett.  I remember you from years ago when you used to buy my paintings when I hung them on the fence at the zoo.  I trust you.”  He glanced again out the window.  “You think I could get something to eat while we talk?”

 

“Let’s go to the station –“

 

“No.  I want to tell you, McGarrett.  I trust you.  I don’t know who else in Maui is corrupted.”

 

McGarrett quickly went around the ground floor and closed the curtains, locking the doors and windows.  There was pathetically little to eat in the house, but he managed to find some packaged snack crackers in the cupboard. 

 

Stepping closer, McGarrett cast glances around the outside of the house, his instincts telling him this man was not worried about phantoms.  Something more sinister had spooked him.  “What do you have to say?”

 

As he munched, Keo explained, “I went out on the boat with Sandy last night.  I had been drinking and that only made him madder.”  He rubbed his thick, wavy hair.  “He always wants me to get straight and stop with the booze and the women.  I was tired of his moralizing and when the boat flipped over I just swam to shore.” 
 

“Were you trying to teach him a lesson?” he imagined, wondering how bad of a temper this artist had when he was drunk, or how long he could hold a grudge.

 

“Yeah, exactly.  I came back here intending to grab a few things and head out to my cottage in the West Country.”  His voice broke with unexpected emotion.  “I love that little place.  Better times,” he shook his head.  “Anyway, I passed out in the rocks not far from here.  When I come to it’s morning and that snake, Wagner, and his secretary, the perfect Ms Ho, were here going through my stuff!”

 

Wagner. “Your lawyer?  Why?”

 

“Because I’m a lolo kanaka,” he moaned, burying his face in his hands.  “I was so mad at Sandy about his preaching and everything, that I went to Wagner’s a few days ago to draw up a new will.”  Shaking his head, he leaned back and stared at the detective. “CTR.  That’s what Sandy always tells me.  Choose the right.  It’s easy, he thinks.  Well I’m going to do that now, McGarrett.  My head is clear for once.  Off the booze and thinking straight.  “You wouldn’t understand, McGarrett, but anger can drive you to do something impulsive and lolo sometimes.  You hurt the one closest to you because – I don’t know – because love and hate can be all mixed together sometimes.  I love Sandy.  We’re brothers.  But I can strike out at him like I hate him.  I don’t, I never could, but sometimes the drink makes me act pupule.”

 

McGarrett nodded, understanding the closeness of brothers, and how anger and selfishness could sometimes twist words and deeds. He was guilty of the same offense on more than one occasion with his kaikaina.  “Tell me about the new will.”

 

“I drew it up but didn’t sign it yet.  That was part of Wagner’s panic, see.  I was – I can’t believe I was such a lolo.  I – uh – was leaving everything to Olomana and Wagner.  I – uh – I was writing Sandy out of everything.”  He seemed to sniff back a sob.  “Wagner and Ho, they were searching the place to see if I kept a copy of the old will.”

 

“Why didn’t you go to Chief Liahona?” McGarrett snapped out, irritated that the artist acted so irresponsibly.  Fear and faint-heartedness could drive a man to be irrational, and that seemed a weak excuse.

 

“I was afraid.  See, it was almost dawn and they spotted me.”

 

“Wagner and Ho?”  He had never trusted the lawyer or the perky little secretary.

 

“Yeah.  Wagner came after me.  I might have been able to take him, but he had some kind of weapon – I’m not too clear.  I had this hangover and I just ran – ran into the surf.  I hope they think I’m dead, but I couldn’t be sure, so I stayed clear of here until I saw you come alone.”

 

Calmly, McGarrett assured the artist was now safe in his custody.  Liahona and the Maui PD could be trusted to keep the celebrity protected.  With only Keo’s unstable testimony, though, it would be hard to get the lawyer for much.  It would be Keo’s word against Wagner’s.

 

“First, I want to get my original copy of my will.  If he forged my signature then I need to prove it.”

 

“We can do that after we place you in safe –“

 

“No, I want to do it now!  It’s at the Moon Cottage.”

 

“The one in the painting?”  Curious, he gestured to the art work.  “What about those cryptic clues?”

 

“So you got those,” Keo smiled and nodded in appreciation.  “Yeah, you’re pretty akamai, McGarrett.  I’m not surprised.  Did Sandy tell you about the clues?”

 

“He said you claimed there was a puzzle to be solved.  If anything ever happened to you to –“

 

“Yea, follow the trail in the paintings.  See, I was being a little paranoid.  Goes back to my great grandfather.  He built Moon Cottage with a secret passage to hide valuables.  That’s where I keep a strong box of my papers and my best original works.”

 

“You don’t believe in bank vaults?”

 

“Not as safe as the secret chamber.”

 

McGarrett glanced around the curtain.  It was almost twilight.  The sun was sinking fast.  “Danno went to find the Moon Cottage.  I’ll radio him on the way, let him know where it is if he hasn’t found it yet.”

 

J

 

 

As tempting as it was to go exploring secret rooms in the old house, Williams felt they should go back to Lahaina.  Whatever mystery was here, they had failed to learn the whereabouts or fate of Keo Kalapana.  Stepping out the front door, his head exploded with pain.  He thought he felt the floor rise up to smack him on the back, but he couldn’t be sure.  His head echoed with shouts and his body buffeted with struggles, but darkness predominated.  Senses washing in and out of the black, he knew to sink to those depths might mean never waking again.  Struggling, fighting against the throbbing pain, he forced himself to surface to consciousness.

 

A haole man and a young Asian woman, who was a real looker, were standing back by the door, holding a weapon.  Was that his revolver?  Sandy Manoa was shouting.  The words rang in aching blurs, but he knew the situation was not good for him or Manoa.  Struggling up, he flinched when a bullet whizzed past his arm, the report of the gun stinging his ears.

 

“I’ll kill him with the next bullet!” the man shouted.  “Now tell me what you know!”

 

Manoa shouted back emotional and passionate entreaties.  They buzzed in Williams’ throbbing head.  When he was roughly grabbed by the arm he tried to fight back, but the effort was lost in his disorientation.  Holding his head, Williams knelt on the floor, confused that the brick fireplace had moved, and behind it a cavernous hole gaped open.  The secret room.  Williams struggled to his knees, totally agonized and disoriented, but aware enough to understand the predicament was grave.

 

“You – can’t – get –“ it was hard to focus his thoughts.  McGarrett.  McGarrett was going to save them.  Or avenge them.  “Can’t – kill – us – Steve – find . . . .”

 

“They’ll never find you because they’ll never know where to look, cop,” the man sneered and advanced on them, waving the weapon.  “With Keo gone, now you, Sandy, everyone will forget the old smuggler tales about his creepy shack.  Move, or I shoot the cop right here!”

 

 

J

 

 

Mild concern tightened in his stomach when McGarrett pulled the jeep in front of the bamboo and grass house set against the sea.  There had been no radio contact with Williams all evening.  As the long shadows melded into the mauve tones of twilight, the worry escalated.  His friend was supposed to be here checking out this cottage.  He had not returned to the police station, nor had he been seen or heard from since the parting hours ago. 

 

An APB on Wagner had yielded nothing either, and the two absences, while containing no visible connection, seemed linked in his mind.  It seemed ironic and completely unfair that the focus of the investigation – the disappearance of Keo – was now replaced by the – temporary – loss of his detective.  There was no real reason to think anything sinister had happened to Danno, but his gut was telling him something was wrong.  He always listened to his instincts, especially concerning his friend.

 

Silver streaks the moana's night

'neath the stars the surf foams in

from our coconut hut we will sing

 

Maui moon no ka oi

Brushing sugar cane is a song

Maui moon high and bright

strains of aloha sing along

 

Maui moon full and strong

light of mystery and of love

magic cottage by the sea

secret hale for you and me.

 

The words to the lilting tune now seemed to take on a ominous slant as McGarrett visually searched the area.  Keo did not even get out of the jeep, but dejectedly verbalized his disappointment that their friends were not here.  Exiting the vehicle, the cop checked the road before he even stepped foot onto the grounds of the scenic acreage. 

 

“Someone in a jeep’s been here,” he speculated.  Danno had been driving a jeep . . . .

 

The tracks in the dirt and the crushed leaves and branches of the unkempt road attested to a car with the same wheelbase had recently crunched along here.  Some of the debris on the lava stepping-stones was cleared in the shape of footprints.  Red volcanic dust on the front lanai was disturbed, and the door ajar.  Pushing the creaking door open, he drew in a sharp breath as he spotted brown smears on the dusty floor.  Crouching down, he tapped a brownish-red smear with a fingertip.  It was still damp and his skin was now shaded a deep crimson from almost-dried blood.  His own veins chilled at the discovery. 

 

“What is it?” Keo wondered just behind him.

 

“Blood,” he responded, his mouth dry.  “There was a fight,” he breathed out, assessing the clear evidence in the disheveled front room.  He glanced around the house, but came back to the main area, puzzled.  “There are smears,” his voice caught.  “As if a body was dragged across . . . . “ He placed a hand against the fireplace.  It didn’t make sense.  A body was dragged from here to the front door?  He walked the path, standing still as the dying sunlight cast purple hues against he old wood of the lanai.  “No smears out here.  So a body was carried –“

 

“The fireplace!” Keo shouted, pushing against the lava mantle.  “It’s a fake front!  There’s a secret room in here!” he cried in panic.  “Not dragged from here, but from the door!”

 

His own dread lending strength to the effort, McGarrett pushed, inhaling the musty odor from the small room, nostrils flinching with the mixed smell of dried blood. Light spilled into the small room and the dusty floor that showed recent disturbance.  But no sign of Danno or Manoa. 

 

 

J

 

 

Almost frozen with fear, McGarrett felt his heart pounding against his tight chest, his breathing strangled with confused dread.  Danno was in danger.  The blood, the evidence of a scuffle, the absence of the detective.  More than anything, the invisible and subtle sense that something was wrong.  It was an intangible he had felt before when his closest friend was in peril.  He trusted that indefinable danger signal now.

 

“What happened?” Keo voiced, his fear a mirror of the detective’s.

 

“They’ve been snatched.  And they didn’t go down easy,” McGarrett snarled, staring at the trickles of blood.  To reinforce his theory, he knelt down and touched one of the smears with a finger, his digit again coming away with a damp spot of scarlet.  Recent.  They had just missed them!

 

“You think they’re dead.”  His voice conveyed his hopes had already died.

 

Not Steve’s.  “No!” he shouted, the denial echoing in the small room.  “We have to find them.  They didn’t get far.”  He raced out to his vehicle and issued an APB on the Lahaina PD jeep and his missing officer, as well as Manoa.  While he was on the radio, he scanned the trail. 

 

The later afternoon sun glittered through the fluttering fronds, Maui’s high velocity winds blowing the palms in mighty sways.  A shiny object in the underbrush glistened with a flashing brilliance.  Dropping the mic McGarrett jogged across the trail and whipped aside the underbrush.  There was the PD jeep, crashed into the jungle.  A quick survey of the area netted no sightings of the missing men, which was only marginally good news to the cop.  Where was his friend? 

 

Keo asked the same thing in almost the same words.  “Where’s my aikane?” he moaned.  “He can’t be dead.  Why would they kill him?”

 

What had happened?  It was unlikely two hostages would be taken.  He couldn’t voice the rational and statistical realities.  “They have to be nearby,” he tempered.  “Why aren’t they here in the jungle?” he mused aloud.  Because the bodies would be readily found when the missing vehicle was discovered.  The killers wanted discovery of a cop and Manoa to be delayed so they could skip the country probably.  “Where could they stash two – bodies?” he asked, gulping down the knot in his throat.

 

Keo gasped.  “The caves!”

 

McGarrett was already racing up the embankment.  “Lead the way!”

 

 J

 

  

“. . . Danny . . . can you move . . . hands.  What about yours?”

 

“What happened?” Williams whispered, leaning against the blessedly cool wall.  He couldn’t see Sandy.  It was dark and his eyes were blurry. 

 

“When you walked out of the house, Wagner hit you on the head with a shovel.  Then he took your gun.  I’m sorry.  I didn’t know what to do.  It happened so fast.”

 

“Yeah, I know what you mean.  Where are we?”  He must have blacked out several times.  They were not inside the house.  They were in a – a cave.  Yeah – he could hear the tide, or was that the rush of blood throbbing in his ears?  Behind the fireplace?  No, this was a lava wall.  They were in a cave, not the secret room. He couldn’t move.  His hands were bound, that’s why he couldn’t move.  Feeling the struggle behind him, he knew Manoa was also a captive.

 

The loud crash of surf finally penetrated his foggy awareness.  The cold, bracing ocean bubbled around them, soaking his wet knees and legs.  Sandy was saying something about a cave between fervently whispered prayers.  Good.  Prayer was a good idea.

 

“Steve will come for us,” Williams decided, closing his eyes against the pain and seemingly inevitable death.  It was the only thing he could think of.  Sandy had faith.  So did Dan.  His faith, however, was in the more mortal and tangible form of an Irish cop who had never yet let him down.

 

J

 

 

When the water reached his shoulders, Williams continued the fight to get them away from the rocks.  Their kidnappers had been clever enough to secure them to the crags so they could not move, nor would their bodies was out to sea.  They were meant to stay here a very long time.  Steve had to be looking for them, right?  Or wouldn’t they be missed until later this evening, or even morning?  Faith slipping slightly, he fought against the grim reality that preyed on his optimism.  He had to keep believing.  Steve had to come through for him this time, as he had so many times before.

 

When the water bubbled around his chin, with some waves splashing into his face, seeping salty ocean into his mouth, Williams momentarily stopped struggling and tried to turn to his companion in execution.  “Sandy, how you doing?”  The young singer had grown silent and still over the last little while.  “It will be all right.  We have to believe we’ll be rescued.”  To prove his stubborn refusal to die here, he continued working the ropes against the jagged shelf of lava rock he was pressed against. 

 

“I know.”

 

The tone held a certainty even Williams lacked, and he wished he could see the face of the singer.  He could only glimpse Sandy’s shoulder at this angle. What did Manoa know that he didn’t?  Could he hear something?  Was he just trying to offer hope in a desperately deadly moment?  He had to realized that being taller than the cop, he would live slightly longer . . . . Dan flinched at that stark realism.  He didn’t like the idea of drowning – it was one of the more disagreeable ways to die.  A method he had been too close to numerous times while surfing.  He had not imagined his demise quite like this.

 

“Yeah,” he could only agree.  He still had his faith in McGarrett.  Maybe his companion was holding onto a belief in a higher authority?  “You sound like you have no doubts.”

 

“I don’t,” Manoa admitted heavily.  “I know I’m going to be okay.  My prayers are going to be answered.”

 

‘My prayers’, the young man specified.  A chill rang along the detective’s spine as a wave washed over his head and he coughed out seawater from his mouth and nose.  Maybe Sandy’s safety was taken care of by a God who would show mercy to a faithful follower.  For a shorter, not-so-faithful cop, this might be the end of the line.

 

J

 

 

High tide had already engulfed one small cave along the coastal cliffs.  From a craggy crevice above the path, McGarrett had checked the cave, relieved no one was in there.  Keo scrambled across the black lava rocks to another indentation in the shoreline, and while that cavern was not so deep or low in the surf, it was also empty.  As they raced to the next cave McGarrett thought he heard voices against the stiff wind and surging waves.  

 

“Danno!  Danno!”

 

“Sandy!  Are you here?” Keo shouted.

 

“Keo –“ came a gurgled reply, lost in nature’s crash of surf.

 

Jumping into the waist-high froth of ocean, he was sickened to see he had been right; the cries had been real!  A dark face and a swirl of curly hair was all he could see above the waves.  Keo swam past him and grabbed onto Manoa.  McGarrett reached the singer an instant later, watching in horror as the big painter tried to pry his friend free.

 

“We’re tied –“ Manoa choked as water surged into his face.

 

It was then that McGarrett realized Manoa was bound, secured to something under the water, and to something in back . . . . The light shirt and wavy hair gave him the answer he feared.  Grabbing onto Williams, he tugged to liberate his colleague.  Another two, desperate yanks freed his detective, and McGarrett struggled against the tide to get his friend’s head above water.

 

Williams was not breathing, and McGarrett swam out with the waves and grabbed onto the nearest rocks.  Keo and Sandy were helping him, and with the strength of three, they quickly brought Williams’ limp form to safety.    Doubled over, the younger cop coughed up water, hacking for air as McGarrett pounded his back.

 

McGarrett felt his heart jolt when he heard a groan from his second-in-command.  Releasing a held breath, he checked for injuries, wincing at the gash along the side of Williams’ head.

 

“Danno!  Danno.  Are you all right?”

 

The eyes blinked open slowly.  “Steve,” he smiled unevenly, taking a few deep breaths.  “Hi.”

 

The greeting was the best thing he had ever heard, and the older cop laughed with relief.  “You okay?”  The initial word seemed a little off – just like the not-quite focused eyes and the lopsided grin from his friend.  “Danno?”

 

“Yeah,” he whispered.  “Ache.  Headache.  Where’s the nearest aspirin?”

 

“I’m not surprised,” the boss commiserated as he checked out the wound.  It didn’t look too bad, but he didn’t like the disorientation of his friend.  At least he was breathing and talking and alert enough to hurt.  A few more minutes in the waves, and it would have been a much more tragic story.

 

“Sandy?” Williams wondered.

 

McGarrett glanced over to see Manoa was sitting up, Keo steadying him, both engaged in a quiet, deep conversation.  Both men seemed emotional and he was not surprised when an embrace was exchanged.  Whatever had happened between them before this, the life and death crisis changed their hearts.  Danger had a way of doing that, he considered as he fondly glanced back at his wet, but very alive, aikane.  Almost losing a brother made you look at things differently, made you appreciate friendship like never before.

 

J

 

 

“Not Musgrave Ritual.  Norwood Builder,” McGarrett commented as he watched Chief Liahona take Wagner and Ho to the cells at the back of the station.  The lawyer and his secretary had been stopped at the airport and arrested.  Williams’ account of the assault was bleary, but Manoa nailed the two culprits without a problem.  Standing next to a soggy Williams, who was wrapped in a blanket and held an ice pack to the side of his head, he glanced from the criminals to the victim, still worried about his friend.  “I’d feel better if you would go to the clinic.”  His stubborn friend insisted he was fine. 

 

“Just another bump, that’s all,” the younger man shrugged.

 

“We’ll see what Doc Bergman has to say about that when we’re back in Honolulu.”

 

Williams groaned.  “Don’t you think it’s more like The Dying Detective?” 

 

The reference to another famous Sherlock Holmes story surprised the head of Five-0.  Musgrave Ritual was an adventure about a missing treasure.  Norwood Builder about a man who faked his death and hid out in a hidden room.  Smirking, he sat down next to his kaikaina.  “I thought you never read Sherlock Holmes.”

 

“Of course I did as a kid.  I just don’t have them memorized like the modern-day Sherlock I work with,” he smirked.  “I don’t need to, you’re always telling me the plots real criminals copy,” Williams quipped.  “Dying Detective.  Sherlock fakes his fatal illness to smoke out a criminal.  Not an exact fit, but close enough.”

 

“Too close,” was Steve’s grim return, still worried about his friend’s health.  It had been close enough that it could have been a dying detective.  “Happy ending for both stories,” he cleared the catch in his throat and patted his friend’s shoulder.

 

Keo and Sandy joined them in the small office.  The two friends had patched things up and were starting on a new path.  While Keo did not think he would be falling into religion any time soon, he was going to mend his wild ways and get back to a decent life.  Manoa was convinced that all his prayers were answered, including the timely rescue from Hawaii Five-0.

 

“That was McGarrett being worried and me telling him about Moon Cottage ,” Keo argued, teasing.  “It had nothing to do with praying.”

 

Twirling his CTR ring, Manoa’s faith remained firm.  “How do you know Steve wasn’t responding as an answer to my prayers?”

 

Williams gave a chuckle.  “Yeah, Steve’s been an answer to prayers more than once.”

 

The same could be said of Danno, too, McGarrett pondered. 

 

J

 

 

Enduring the demanded visit to Doc Bergman had netted Williams a few days off.  He had no concussion, thankfully, but a persistent headache from the assault at the wrong end of a shovel earned him two days to relax and distance himself from the stress at the office. 

 

Unable to stand the patchy wall from the kitchen/dining room repairs (the leaky sink from the condo above him had ruined the stucco), he had taken it upon himself to buy paint.  Yesterday he had lounged around, taking a few laps at the beach, but mostly napping.  Today, he had to get something done in this condo before it drove him crazy.  The paint samples were not really what he wanted, and he had no good vision of what should be done with the formerly water-damaged wall that was now patchy plaster.  Maybe he should just fork over the money and hire a painter.  He couldn’t afford a decorator, and he had little sense of style now that some of his Japanese art had been ruined with the water damage on the wall.  His condo insurance would hike sky high if he had this covered, so he was determined to manage himself.  Too bad he wasn’t on speaking terms anymore with that nice girl who was an interior designer . . . .

 

When the doorbell rang he was grateful for the interruption.  He was not surprised to find Steve McGarrett on his doorstep, but was taken off guard when he saw no sacks of take out food in his friend’s hands.  And instead of the boss in the Five-0 standard suit, Steve wore casual clothes.

 

“I thought I’d take you out to dinner,” McGarrett answered the first unasked question as he entered.  For a moment he stood transfixed at the patched wall.  “I thought we’d eat at the Seafood Emporium.  They have a great design I thought might encourage you for this project.”

 

A flash of inspiration hit Williams with such force he wondered if a little bit of divine glow had rubbed off from Sandy.  Steve had been affected by Keo’s art and career.  There was a lot of bundled – hidden – talent buried deep within McGarrett.  Pieces of sensitivity and emotion that could only be brought out through the more subtle arts.  Not detection, but music, or painting.  It peeked out occasionally when McGarrett fit in time to practice his guitar.  Maybe it could show itself in a more obvious and lasting form now.

 

“No, Steve, it should inspire you.”

 

“What?”

 

”You’re a great artist, Steve.  Maybe you could do something for me for my wall.”

 

“Me?”  He was flattered, stunned, and uncharacteristically shy.  “No –“

 

Forceful, hiding his amusement, Dan insisted, “A nice nautical -- motif – something.  Like Keo, maybe, the dolphins and the coral beneath and Maui above. I know you could do it, Steve, I know you have the talent.”  Staring at his friend for a moment, trying to convey his faith and message, he smiled.  “You can do anything you put your mind, to.  I challenge you to try.”  His hand swept along the wall.  “I’m thinking of a big painting.  Or maybe even a mural.  Something Asian and ocean,” he pondered out loud as he wondered what his friend was thinking.

 

Serious and somber, the taller man stared at him for a moment.  “I should always have time to help a friend,” he responded quietly.  “And I should always have time to share my talents.  Especially with a kaikaina.”

 

Since their return from Maui Steve had seemed a little more quiet and introspective.  He wondered what had gone on with Keo and Steve.  He’d get him to spill it all over dinner.  For now, he was not going to let this moment on the brink of something important slip away.  The talented artist in McGarrett would be able to make this modest apartment seem very upscale.

 

"I'll supply the paint," he coaxed.  "You bring the talent."

 

“Danno, I – I’d like that very much.  Deal!” he smiled, and held out his hand for a shake.

 

Williams returned the firm grip and smirked, “So what is it going to cost me?”

 

McGarrett took a dramatic moment to ponder, but his eyes were twinkling.  “Material.  And you’ll have to feed me.”  His lips quirked.  “And manipulate the schedule so we have days off together until this project is done.”

 

“Chin and Ben won’t like that.”

 

“I’m sure you can handle it.  You have to, because you’re not getting out of the manual labor.  It’s your wall.”

 

While Williams cleaned up, the boss studied the condo, thinking less of Japanese screens and nautical/Hawaiian/Asian motifs than he was of friends.  He hadn’t utilized his artistic talents in years and didn’t really have time – make time -- to do more than offer a few tips before this.  How wrong was that?  He claimed to be a friend, but it had obviously seemed that it was too much to ask of him to share his skills and spend a little time helping out.  It was not a big thing – not like saving a life or searching for a friend that he was worried about.  Not like the dramatic rescue in Maui.  This was simple and almost too easy.  He had considered it a waste of his time – until this week.  Maui had changed him.

 

McGarrett took this redecorating seriously. Time and talent limited, he could provide only a portion of what Keo was capable of imagining; yet even his efforts would be profound compared to the finely-tunneled personal life of the famous artist.  On an amateur level, Steve could give more than the genius artist because he was willing to offer his abilities not for the gain of lucre, but for the benefit of a friend.

 

 

 

MAUI MOON

by gm

============

Maui moon in a midnight sky

dance in heaven as clouds roll by

rustling palms sing a hula tune

swaying mele to a Maui moon.

 

Maui moon no ka oi

Brushing sugar cane is a song

Maui moon high and bright

strains of aloha sing along

 

Maui moon shines so bright

Silver streaks the moana's night

'neath the stars the surf foams in

from our coconut hut we will sing

 

Maui moon no ka oi

Brushing sugar cane is a song

Maui moon high and bright

strains of aloha sing along

 

Maui moon full and strong

light of mystery and of love

magic cottage by the sea

secret hale for you and me.

 

Maui moon no ka oi

Brushing sugar cane is a song

Maui moon high and bright

strains of aloha sing along

©2006

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To learn more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

email me -- gm@solosojourn.com

or

go to:

http://www.lds.org/

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