This arti­cle is part 6 of 9 in the series The Honolulu Retribution

I jot­ted down the infor­ma­tion that Raymond had pro­vid­ed and sat pon­der­ing what my next move might be.

The doubts I had expressed to Raymond were begin­ning to assume a promi­nent posi­tion amongst all my thoughts.

I could­n’t just cal­lous­ly take the life of some­one who might be inno­cent of all my assump­tions.  Yet, how else could I explain the mid-air dis­in­te­gra­tion of a com­mer­cial flight that I just hap­pened not to be on — but should have been?

For the time being how­ev­er, I would have to for­mu­late plans for find­ing Trane and try­ing to dis­cov­er how long he would be here on Oahu.

Tomorrow I would have to begin recon­noi­ter­ing Trane’s move­ments.  My first stop would be in his neigh­bor­hood in Pearl City.  I want­ed to see the house where he was liv­ing, how pop­u­lat­ed the area was, and how obser­vant the neigh­bors might be. 

In many work­ing-class neigh­bor­hoods, near­ly every­one is away from home dur­ing the day work­ing.  If this turned out to be a retire­ment neigh­bor­hood, there would be a good many peo­ple around dur­ing the day, which would tend to make my pres­ence more noticeable.

For the past three days, I had­n’t shaved and was begin­ning to devel­op a good growth of beard.

I thought it gave me some air of respectabil­i­ty, but it also pro­vid­ed a change of appear­ance, although it would take a few weeks to ful­ly accom­plish that.

Sleep came fit­ful­ly that night as my mind roiled with pos­si­bil­i­ties and sce­nar­ios… and doubts.

After a morn­ing show­er and a hearty dose of the Vive’s con­ti­nen­tal break­fast, washed down with copi­ous amounts of strong Kona cof­fee, I set out to find 1616 Kuahaka Street.

Driving in Hawaii is not par­tic­u­lar­ly easy.  Oh, the streets and roads are in good con­di­tion, but the street names, many steeped in island tra­di­tion, are not only some­times hard to pro­nounce but require the unfa­mil­iar motorist to fre­quent­ly slow down to read the street sign and make sure the spelling is the same as what one is look­ing for.

Kuahaka Street is a pleas­ant sub­ur­ban neigh­bor­hood of mod­est hous­es.  Sixteen-six­teen was typ­i­cal, with an open car­port and met­al roof.  It was a sin­gle-sto­ry home of brick, and the shal­low front yard was sep­a­rat­ed from the pub­lic side­walk with thick plant­i­ngs of native trees and shrubs.  All the hous­es were nes­tled fair­ly close togeth­er, and the side yards gen­er­al­ly con­tained noth­ing to visu­al­ly sep­a­rate one from anoth­er.  There seemed lit­tle like­li­hood of being able to clan­des­tine­ly work the house from the side or rear with­out arous­ing a neighbor.

I did­n’t tar­ry long in the neigh­bor­hood, sim­ply dri­ving slow­ly down the street as I observed the house, then turn­ing around sev­er­al blocks away and going by again for a sec­ond look.

There were no neigh­bors out on the street dur­ing either pass, so I felt rea­son­ably com­fort­able that I had not made my pres­ence sus­pect. But one could nev­er know who might be watch­ing the street from with­in a near­by home.

I head­ed back to the down­town area to find Ala Moana and the Federal Building.  It’s not dif­fi­cult to find, being a very large build­ing that screams “fed­er­al facil­i­ty” to any­one pass­ing by.  Also, the address — 300 — makes it easy to find by watch­ing the street address­es go by.  There’s no park­ing direct­ly at the build­ing, and I did­n’t want to park near­by any­way because it dimin­ish­es my abil­i­ty to con­trol my vis­i­bil­i­ty, so I drove anoth­er block or so until I found a pub­lic park­ing area where I left the car and walked back to the vicin­i­ty of the building.

I decid­ed not to approach too close­ly, not want­i­ng to acci­den­tal­ly bump into Trane com­ing from or going into the build­ing, so I walked the street near­by, appear­ing to be win­dow shop­ping while look­ing over the build­ing to see how peo­ple were com­ing and going.

It’s a busy place and obvi­ous­ly hous­es numer­ous offices to serve the pub­lic, but I noticed that there was a decent lev­el of secu­ri­ty being applied to those enter­ing.  Everyone was hav­ing to go through a met­al detec­tor and either show­ing iden­ti­fi­ca­tion tags or let­ting a recep­tion­ist know which office they were seeking.

This did not seem like a good place to attempt a con­fronta­tion with Trane, and that left either his res­i­dence or a chance meet­ing some­where else. It also prob­a­bly meant that I would have to wait around the build­ing for some time to ascer­tain his habits, and that could be dan­ger­ous if I attract­ed atten­tion as one who was “cas­ing” the building.

Further, I still did­n’t know how long Trane might be stay­ing on Oahu, which lent a cer­tain urgency to my task.

I decid­ed that I would have to con­front him at his house, and that meant know­ing when he would typ­i­cal­ly be there.

It’s fun­ny how serendip­i­ty pops into our lives at unex­pect­ed moments. As I was head­ing back to my car, I glanced across the street to the build­ing and saw Trane com­ing out.  Since I was on the oth­er side of a busy thor­ough­fare and par­tial­ly con­cealed by oth­er pedes­tri­ans and street trees, I was unseen by him — and he seemed not the least bit inter­est­ed in his surroundings.

As he head­ed along the street, I trailed behind him, keep­ing to the oppo­site side.

One block along, he turned the cor­ner and was walk­ing away from me.  I wait­ed for the traf­fic light at that cor­ner to change in my favor and crossed, keep­ing the side street between him and me. About half a block lat­er, he turned into a park­ing garage.

I nat­u­ral­ly assumed he was going to col­lect his car, but I was not about to enter the garage, not know­ing exact­ly where he might be and chanc­ing his see­ing me.  So I set­tled onto a low stone wall bor­der­ing the walk to see if I could spot him dri­ving out of the garage.  At least I might be able to find out what kind of car he was driving.

I with­drew a dis­card­ed copy of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser from a trash con­tain­er near­by, which would pro­vide me some cov­er as he emerged.

Sure enough, about five min­utes lat­er, I spot­ted him pulling out in a white Chrysler 300 convertible.

At least now I had one addi­tion­al bit of information.

  • Chuck Witt

    Chuck is a retired archi­tect, a for­mer news­pa­per colum­nist, and a life­long res­i­dent of Winchester.

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