Authors: Victor Methos
A Thriller by
Richard Miller walked into his home and heard his wife groaning with pleasure.
He stood at the front door a long time and listened. She squealed, swore, and grunted. He couldn’t remember the last time they’d had sex.
e sat down in the chair next to the door, placing his briefcase on the floor. His palatial estate in one of Honolulu’s most expensive neighborhoods was a testament to their marriage. The house had been decorated by a designer Richard didn’t like, paid for by a father-in-law he couldn’t stand, and kept up by a wife who didn’t love him anymore.
he side table stood a photo of him, his wife, Sharon, and his daughter, Eliza.
was in middle school and wasn’t home yet, but what if she had walked in on her mother? What if she had seen how her mother treated her father? What would that do to a young girl? Richard decided he couldn’t let Sharon’s transgression stand. Not again.
He marched up the stairs to the master bedroom. The noise
grew louder, and he heard multiple voices. The door was open a crack, and he peeked inside.
is wife was in his bed with two men. The men had her bent over, one in front and one behind. Revulsion coursed through him so strongly that he thought he might throw up. And in fact, they only noticed him because he retched. The men didn’t even have the courtesy to stop when they saw him.
His wife looked over and rolled her eyes.
“Get the hell out, Richard.”
“Eliza will be home soon. I don’t think you should do these things in our house.”
“I said get out!” she screamed, throwing a pillow at him.
He blocked the pillow with the door and stood there.
Richard shut the door and slumped against the wall. He pulled his knees to his chest and stared at another family photo, which was hanging on the wall opposite him. He’d thought about divorce more times than he could count, but his house, the cars, Eliza’s college fund—Sharon’s father paid for all of it. He would get nothing in the divorce, except Eliza. And on his own, what kind of life could he provide for a teenage girl?
Before he could stop them, tears were flowing down his cheeks. He put his hand over his eyes as he heard his wife
’s screams and the grunts of two strange men, like pigs rolling around his bed.
He could never harm
Sharon. Never in a million years. They’d spent fifteen years building a life together. He couldn’t purposely hurt her… but he knew there were people who could.
Richard rose, wiped
away the tears, and strode out of the house.
a lawyer, Richard knew nothing about criminal law or the criminal world. He dealt exclusively with tax and estate planning. But one woman in his firm practiced criminal law.
The offices of Strain,
Klep & Barnum were on the top floor of the prestigious First Hawaiian Center, the tallest building in the Hawaii Islands. As Richard marched in, the secretary didn’t acknowledge him. No one said hello or asked what he was doing back so soon from lunch. His practice stuck him in an office ten hours a day. That didn’t leave much time to get to know anyone.
He glanced around as he passed Heather Alana’s office.
No one inside, and no one around. He went into the office, closed the blinds, and shut the door.
Her computer was password protected, but like most everyone
at the office, she always left it open. Richard scanned the folders on the desktop. He found one for closed cases and flipped through them, looking for the right type of case—something involving gratuitous violence.
He found it with an aggravated assault case. A
gang member had nearly beaten a man to death in a bar. Heather had gotten the case dismissed because all the witnesses were too scared to show up to court. Richard quickly scanned the man’s criminal history. He had a string of robberies, burglaries, assaults, a rape when he was a juvenile, and a homicide charge that had been dismissed because the witness disappeared. It was perfect.
Richard wrote down the man’s information on a Post-it
then headed out of the office and down to his car, where a meter maid was writing him a parking ticket.
“Oh, no,” he said, “no
, I was only up for, like, five minutes.”
maid rolled her eyes and stuck the ticket under one of the windshield wipers. “Don’t do nothin’ bad, and nothin’ bad’ll happen to you.”
Richard watched as she lazily strolled back to her car. “That’s not true,” he said loudly.
He grabbed the ticket, crumpled it up, and threw it on the ground. After a few moments, he picked it up and shoved it into his pocket. He would deal with it later. As he hopped into his car and started the engine, he realized he hadn’t felt so energized in… well, since he could remember. His thoughts were clear, and he felt excited and calm all at once. Maybe that was what having a goal did to people.
He drove a good distance inland on the island
’s main interstate. Why Hawaii had interstates, he couldn’t say, but what did he care? People could misname anything. As long as enough people used the term, it would stick.
As he got off the interstate, he realized he didn’t spend much time on this part of the island. In fact, he couldn’t remember
ever being here, even though it was only twenty minutes from his office. The buildings were rundown, and the homes were packed closely together. The Hawaiian natives lived crammed into tight spaces. Everything cost about double what it did on the mainland, but the wages weren’t higher. They had to save money where they could.
Richard checked the address again and realized he was on the wrong street. He
turned around, slowly rolling through the neighborhoods, until he gave up and put the address into the GPS on his phone. A few minutes later, he stopped in front of the house of Hiapo Makani. He’d never dealt with anyone like Hiapo before.
Could he really do
it? The internal debate had been going on since the moment he’d left his house. The image of his wife being used as a sex doll popped into his head. In his bed, in his house, next to photos of him on the nightstand. His stomach churned with bitterness.
Richard got out of the car and looked around. No one was really out. As he walked up to the front porch of the house, he saw an elderly woman on a porch next door. She didn’t move. She stared blankly at nothing in particular.
His hand hovered over the door a second. This was it. No going back. He swallowed and knocked.
A heavyset man with tattoos from head to toe answered the door. He was massive, like a wrestler or football player. He scowled at Richard and opened the door wider.
“Are you Hiapo?”
“My name is Richard Miller… and I’d like to
propose a business transaction.”
Jon Stanton nearly fell off the curb and broke his ankle. He was attempting to sprint at full speed while wearing boots. In two quick hops, he stripped off the boots then continued up the sidewalk.
His legs burned as though his heart w
ere pumping acid. He came to a street and a car blared its horn as he dashed in front of it, barely aware of the fact that he’d almost been hit. As another car turned right in front of him, he jumped over the hood and slid across it on his butt. The driver yelled at him and lay on the horn.
Stanton could see the man up ahead of him
, wearing a baseball cap and jeans. The man was younger and faster. If he disappeared into a large crowd, Stanton might not be able to pick him out if he just slipped off the cap. He had to get to him.
Stanton sprinted down a side street that le
d to a main road. He held up his badge to the cars that had to slam on their brakes. He raced across the street and turned north. Up ahead and to the left, the man glanced around, probably wondering what had happened to his tail. The man slowed to a trot then began to walk. Stanton kept running.
He got ahead of the man and crossed onto the same side of the street. The man was turned around, scanning the streets behind him.
Then he headed inside a convenience store. Probably to hide out in the bathroom until the units chasing him moved on. Not an entirely bad strategy.
Stanton came around to the front of the store
just as the other man was walking in. He didn’t recognize Stanton, who smiled and held the door open for him. The man was about to walk inside when he glanced down, and saw Stanton’s shoeless feet.
Their eyes met. No one moved or spoke…
then Stanton reached for his firearm.
The man hit him like a freight train, tackling him to the ground.
Several punches hit Stanton before he could move or block them. He moved faster than Stanton could.
Stanton brought up his elbows to protect his face when he felt fingers o
n his ribs. He was going for Stanton’s gun.
man wrapped his hand around Stanton’s Desert Eagle and tugged. But Stanton’s special detective’s holster kept it in place. Stanton wrapped his arms around the man’s biceps, pinning his arms to his body. Lifting with his hips, he spun so the man was on his back, with Stanton on top of him.
tanton cocked his arm back. With all his bodyweight behind it, he dropped an elbow into the man’s cheek. The vicious blow bounced the man’s head off the pavement.
knocked him again, in the same spot. The man groaned as police cars screeched to a stop in the convenience store parking lot. It was complete confusion at first. The uniformed officers didn’t recognize Stanton, and they had their weapons drawn on him.
“I’m with HPD
. I’m in the homicide detail. Jon Stanton.”
a uniform who’d met him before arrived and recognized him. Stanton was allowed to move, and three uniforms converged on the man then spun him around, slapping cuffs on his wrists. Stanton rose and wiped the blood from his nose. He was thirty-seven years old. What was he doing in this situation?
Connor Jones, a junior detective with the homicide detail, showed up in
his new Dodge Charger. He strolled over with a smile as he saw the man lifted and shoved into the back of a police cruiser.
“You chased him down without shoes?” Jones asked.
“Best way to run.” Stanton leaned down, placing his palms on his knees. Age had a way of sucking the body’s ability to recover, and Stanton was feeling the full effects of the chase.
Stanton shook his head and spit. He thought he might throw up. “Do me a favor, would you Connor
? Go inside and buy me some water and Tums.”
Stanton stopped his
Jeep outside the precinct, which was in district one, Central Honolulu on the island of Oahu. It had more murders, rapes, burglaries, and assaults than all the other districts in the state. Kai, Stanton’s captain, had purposely selected him for the district when he’d hired him. Being a lateral hire meant Stanton got credit for his decade with the San Diego Police Department, along with a massive pay bump and a boost to his pension.
Stanton sauntered across the street and into the building.
Opposite the precinct was an actual palace, the last left in the United States. It had been used by the royalty of Hawaii, and he could picture armies surrounding it, a royal court, concubines, and court intrigue. But it had become little more than a tourist destination visited by only a few people a day.
Stanton nodded to the sole uniform at the reception desk
then took the elevator to the fifth floor. As he rode, he rubbed his swollen jaw, which matched his puffy eye and lip. He tried not to show how much it bothered him—both that he’d been beaten up and that just a few hits could hurt him so badly—as he stepped off the elevator and made his way to Interrogation Five, the last and quietest interrogation room.
Bristol sat handcuffed to a chair. The room was gray, as were the desk and chairs. Stanton shut the door and sat across from him. In the corner, a camera’s red recording light blinked.
“How’s the jaw?” David
“Sore. How’s the cheek?”
“I think you broke it, man. Hurts like a sonofabitch. I’m thinkin’ lawsuit, man.”
“Feel free,” Stanton said. “I don’t have any money to take.” He placed his hands on the table. “You didn’t have to run, David.”
“Yeah, I did. My cousin, up there in Fresno, man, he got shot down by the cops for havin’ an eight ball of H, man. And that’s the truth. Shit goes down when you get harassed by the cops.”
“I wasn’t harassing you.”
“Hell yes, you was. What you call showin’ up at a man’s house and kickin’ down his door?”
“We had a warrant
. We know you killed him.”
Shee-at, I ain’t killed nobody.”
Stanton grinned. “I walked
through your landlord’s apartment next to yours and noticed something odd. His bed was missing a mattress. The box spring was there, but not the mattress. So I called down to the dump and asked if anyone had dumped a mattress the past couple of days. What do you think they told me, David?”
David’s eyes dropped to the table. He was silent
for a long time.
“I found him, David. It wasn’t fun
. I had to dig through piles of refuse to do it. But I found him. That was clever of you to cut open your mattress and shove him inside. No one would have even noticed. It would have just been buried among the mountains of garbage. And I found something else that was odd. A knife. A large kitchen knife, which I had run for prints. Whose prints do you think came back?”
He shrugged but didn’t say anything.
“You gotta wear gloves. How could you do something like this and not wear gloves? Don’t you watch
“Man, fuck that asshole, man.”
“What’d he do to you?”
“I was late on the damn rent, man. So that fucker went to my place and took all my shit
—and I mean
my shit—and put it in storage. And he said I couldn’t get it back until I paid the rent, man. Fuck him.”
“That must’ve been fun to stab him over and over like that. In his own house, too.”
He smiled. “Yeah, man. He was just screamin’ like a bitch, man. Weren’t so tough then.”
Stanton grinned and rose. “I appreciate you talking to me, David.”
As Stanton exited the room, he saw Kai standing at the one-way glass. The big man had his arms folded and a smile on his face.
“Nice work,” Kai said.
“He wanted to talk. I don’t think he realizes how serious murder is.”
Kai shook his head. “Weird juju, my friend. When people don’t think killing another person is a big deal.”
Stanton stepped over to the one-way glass and looked in. David had rested his forehead on the table. “We got everything we need. Who Mirandized him?”
“Jones, right before you walked in.”
“Have Jones finish up with the details.”
Stanton began walking out when Kai shouted, “Where you
“To the hospital. I think he fractured my jaw.”