It wasn’t possible for me to get back to my car and follow him, and there was really no need for that at the present.
But I had some information that would let me know that he was likely at home if I saw the Chrysler parked there.
I also had no chance of acquiring a gun on short notice. I didn’t have any contacts here who could provide me with an illegal weapon, and without identification showing me to be a resident of Hawaii, I couldn’t legally purchase a handgun at a reputable gun shop.
It looked like the only type of weapon I could legally acquire would be a knife of some sort. Knives are messy weapons and require close contact, which I usually try to avoid, but circumstance seemed to allow no other choice.
I have always appreciated the design of the Sykes-Fairbairn commando knife. It’s easy to conceal and can be used for cutting or stabbing. Maybe trying to find one would be worth the effort despite the urgency of my mission.
Before heading back to my car, I looked for a hotel where I could make use of a lobby phone book to look up military surplus and militaria arms stores, making note of half a dozen.
I sat in the car going over the Honolulu street map that I had been carrying with me and marked out the streets on which the various stores were located, tracing a line from the nearest one out, and headed out of the parking lot to my first destination.
The first store I visited dealt entirely with new firearms and new hunting equipment and had nothing similar to the S‑F knife. However, I did purchase a small container of pepper spray thinking it might come in handy if I needed to disable Trane momentarily. Then I headed to the second store on the list.
The second store was a treasure trove of antique and military firearms as well as daggers and knives, but he had no Sykes. He told me that he occasionally got one in but that he didn’t have one at the moment. I asked if he knew of any place where I could find one as I wanted to add it to my collection. Though he didn’t know of any offhand, he very graciously volunteered to call a couple of the other stores to see if he could find one for me.
On his second attempt, he reached a fellow arms merchant who said that he had two in stock.
Asking me if I wanted to go to the shop and purchase one, I eagerly nodded, and he told his friend over the phone that I would be there shortly and to please make sure that one was kept back for me. It was unlikely that the merchant would have sold two Sykes in the short time that it would take me to get there, but I thanked the proprietor for his kindness and departed.
As it turned out, the store to which I had been directed was the fourth stop on my list, and I hurried there.
The shop was fairly small, located in a strip shopping center. The walls were lined with racks holding a wide array of military rifles and some swords. It was obvious that many of the weapons on display were true collectors’ items and worth a good deal of money. In glass cases fronting the wall displays were pistols, knives, and an assortment of traditional Asian weapons such as nunchaku, shuriken, sais, and tonfu — as well as some reproductions of maces and axes.
The middle-aged gentleman behind the counter greeted me as I entered the store, “Good morning. Can I help you with something, or would you like to just browse for a bit?”
“Your friend over at Pacific Arms suggested that I could find a Sykes-Fairbairn commando knife here,” I responded.
“Oh yes,” he said. “I have two over here.” He walked toward one of the display cases, sliding a door behind it to the side to withdraw two slender, blued daggers.
“Both of these are authentic,” he pointed out, “but I only have a scabbard for one. It’s in pristine condition, unlike many of the scabbards that deteriorate over time. The leather gets dry and cracks, but you can see this one is in very good shape.”
I picked up both weapons, hefting one in each hand. It was obvious that they weighed the same. If one had been a reproduction, there would have been a weight difference. The bluing on both was in excellent condition, and both were honed to a keen cutting edge.
“I think I should like to have the one with the scabbard. How much are you asking for it?” I inquired.
“Considering its condition, I’ll have to get ninety-five dollars for it.”
“That seems fair. I’ve certainly seen some selling for a good deal more.”
“Excellent,” he beamed. “Would you like for me to wrap it up for you, or I could put it in a box if you like.”
“A box would be fine.”
He scooped up the knife and scabbard and disappeared for a brief moment to a room behind him, returning with a short, slender box. He placed the knife in the scabbard and then both into the box. I counted out five twenty dollar bills and a ten to cover the state tax.
He returned the change and asked if I had a large collection of knives.
“No,” I said. “I’m just getting started. Perhaps I’ll be back to look over some more of what you have.”
“Please do.” He waved. “Thanks, and have a nice day.”
Leaving the gun shop, I spotted a small fabric shop a couple of doors away. I placed the knife box under the passenger seat of my car, locked it, and walked over to the fabric shop to get one other item that I would need.