aerial photography of buildings during daytime
This arti­cle is part 8 of 9 in the series The Honolulu Retribution

I drove back into the down­town area, intent on find­ing a men’s cloth­ing store where I could sup­ple­ment my wardrobe.  I spot­ted some like­ly prospects as I cruised the streets and was able to find an on-street park­ing spot nearby.

There were a cou­ple of nice stores that offered pos­si­bil­i­ties and, between the two of them, I pur­chased four more shirts, four pairs of trousers, six pairs of socks, some under­wear and a pair of shoes which were suit­able for casu­al or more for­mal wear.  Singleton’s charge account was get­ting a good workout.

It was now late after­noon.  I decid­ed to head back to the hotel and grab a nap until din­ner­time since I had got­ten to sleep late last night and had been awak­ened by the call from Raymond, after which it took me a good deal of time to get back to sleep.

I lay down on the bed ful­ly clothed and, with­in min­utes, had drift­ed off to sleep.  Apparently, I had been more tired than even I real­ized and I awoke about 6:30 for a quick show­er and a change of clothes. 

I decid­ed just to stroll along Kuhio and find some place to have din­ner. I set­tled on Chuck’s Cellar on Kaiulani, just off Kuhio. I had a real­ly great prime rib while lis­ten­ing to live music.

I fin­ished off the meal with one glass of Cabernet Sauvignon — but only one.  I want­ed a clear head for tonight.

By the time I left Chuck’s, it was 8:30.  I walked back to the hotel park­ing lot, retrieved my car, and drove to Kuahaka Street.

As I neared Trane’s house, I turned off the head­lights and pulled to a stop at the curb in front of his place.  With the head­lights off, I was less like­ly to draw atten­tion from inside when I stopped. Parking in front of his house would not stir the inter­est of some­one else quite as much as if I had parked in front of their house.

I sur­veyed the area briefly before exit­ing the car and walk­ing as casu­al­ly as I could muster to the front door.

I had the small pres­sur­ized con­tain­er of pep­per spray con­cealed in my hand just in case, and the dag­ger was snug in its sheath, which I had secured to the right side of my calf with two strips of vel­cro I had pur­chased at the fab­ric shop. The knife was upside down on my leg so that it could be with­drawn down­ward, a much eas­i­er extrac­tion than if I should attempt to remove it in an upward direc­tion, and there was no hint of it under the leg of my trousers.

Before ring­ing the bell, I reached up under the wall-hung light fix­ture and unscrewed the light bulb slight­ly.  I did­n’t want Trane to switch on the light before open­ing the door and see me stand­ing there.

I heard the soft chime inside as I pushed the bell but­ton and short­ly dis­cerned foot­steps of some­one approach­ing the door from the inside as I read­ied myself to dis­pense the pep­per spray if necessary.

The door opened, and I guess Trane could not see me clear­ly as all he said was, “Yes, can I help you?”

“Yes, I expect you can,” was my reply, and I heard a light gasp as Trane rec­og­nized my voice and the light from inside illu­mi­nat­ed my features.

“Michael.  Is it real­ly you?”  The sur­prise was evi­dent in his voice, and he put one hand on the door frame as if to steady himself.

“Yes, it’s me, L.T.  I expect you’re sur­prised to see me.”  I was poised to rush through the door and throw my weight against him, but he made no defen­sive moves.  He was not react­ing like some­one who believed he had killed some­one and was now con­fronting him… or his ghost.

“Michael, for God’s sake, come in.  I thought you were dead.  Where have you been?  What the hell is going on?”

He was guid­ing me into the house, ques­tions com­ing rapid-fire. It was as if a long-lost broth­er had come home.

“I don’t under­stand, Michael.  I don’t under­stand any of this.”

“Don’t you?” I asked point­ed­ly.  We were now both in his liv­ing room, stand­ing and fac­ing one anoth­er.  I was busi­ly glanc­ing around, try­ing to ascer­tain if there were any weapons close at hand that he might go for.

“Maybe we’d bet­ter sit down, L.T.  There’s a lot of explain­ing that both of us have to do.”

I knew that, by sit­ting, I would be in a much bet­ter posi­tion to access my knife, and he would be delayed in get­ting to any weapon that may be hid­den near­by.  He sat in a lounge chair and I on a sofa at a right angle to him.  I was glad there was no cof­fee table in the arrange­ment as that would hin­der me should I need to move quickly.

“Okay, L.T., I’m not going to beat around the bush.  I nev­er board­ed flight 2620.  I got off the gang­way right before board­ing the plane because I had a fun­ny feel­ing, a feel­ing that maybe, just maybe, the plane was­n’t going to reach its des­ti­na­tion.  You seemed pret­ty dis­mayed about my rev­e­la­tion that I was think­ing about quit­ting the busi­ness, and I was wor­ried that retir­ing might not be an option for some­one like me.  My gut was telling me that you — or your employ­er — might think I knew too much to sim­ply walk away into the sunset.

“And I think sub­se­quent cir­cum­stances have proven me right.  After all, com­mer­cial planes don’t just blow up in mid-air and plum­met from the sky — not with­out some out­side influence.

“So tell me, what kind of bomb was it?  And does your con­science both­er you that a lot of inno­cent peo­ple died?”

Trane was try­ing hard to com­pose him­self.  He was incred­u­lous that I was accus­ing him of blow­ing up an air­lin­er and try­ing to kill me.

“No, Michael.  You’ve got it all wrong.  That’s not the way it was at all.  There was no bomb on that plane!”

  • Chuck Witt

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

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