“Yo! Anyone home?”
It was Sunday, the sun was shining brightly from a blue, picture-perfect Hawaiian sky, the palm trees were swaying in a light breeze, and Kamekona was rapping at the front door of the McGarrett family home, his mood just as cheerful as the bright, sunny skies above.
Weather like this always made tourists flock to his shave ice stand, which meant he could look forward to a very profitable day after he had finished his business with McGarrett.
It was going to be a good day.
He knocked again, frowning slightly when the door remained closed. McGarrett’s dark blue pickup truck was in the driveway, but that didn’t necessarily mean anything. Giving up on the door for the moment, he circled the house, heading towards the lanai. One look around the corner was enough to tell him that there was no one at the back of the house, and the glass doors leading to the lanai were closed.
Scratching his head, Kamekona considered his options for a moment, then trudged back to the front door and knocked loudly one more time. There was a muffled sound on the other side of the door and he stepped closer, listening and trying to peek through the small window in the door.
“McGarrett, you in there?”
Something crashed, followed by a curse. Kamekona considered trying to take a look through one of the living room windows, when he heard the sound of the door being unlocked. Seconds later, the door finally swung open.
“Howzit, bruddah?” Kamekona greeted when a familiar face appeared on the other side of the doorway.
“Hey,” Steve said, blinking against the bright sunlight.
Kamekona cocked his head, taking in the sight in front of him. Steve was bleary-eyed and unshaven, his hair was pressed flat on one side of his head and rumpled on the other, and his skin had an unhealthy pale color. There was a bandage around his head and he held one of his hands pressed against his ribcage, while the other had a white-knuckled grip on the door frame.
“Uhm… bad timing?” Kamekona had to resist the sudden urge to grab hold of the man in front of him to prevent him from being blown over by the light breeze.
“No, it’s okay,” Steve replied hoarsely. “Come on in.”
Kamekona waited until Steve had turned around and was slowly making his way back into the living room, before he stepped over the threshold, closing the door behind him. He watched as the other man moved over to the couch, leaning heavily on the few pieces of furniture he passed on his way.
He noticed that Steve was limping badly, favoring his right leg, and there was a hint of white peeking out from under his board shorts that indicated another bandage. Supporting himself on the backrest of the couch, Steve slowly lowered himself down. There was a soft grunt of pain, then he slumped back against the cushions with a sigh, closing his eyes for a moment.
“You alright, brah?” Kamekona followed Steve into the room, almost tripping up on a floor lamp lying on the ground in front of him. Bending down with a wheeze, he righted the lamp, regretfully surveying the dented shade before focusing his attention back on Steve.
“I’m good.” Steve rubbed one hand over his face, wincing slightly when he touched the bandage.
“You don’t look good to me, brah,” Kamekona commented, eying first him and then the room. “Where’s the loud little haole? He leave you here alone like this?”
Steve looked at him, then turned sidewards and bent forward carefully to heave his injured leg up on the couch. Kamekona tried his best to ignore the pained sound Steve made when he lifted his leg and not see how his face lost the little bit of color it still had.
“He’s at work,” Steve bit out through clenched teeth, “and I’m fine.”
“Uh-huh,” Kamekona frowned at him. “But it’s the weekend?”
“Tell that to the knuckleheads who’ve decided to use tourists for target practice,” Steve replied wearily.
“They do this to you?” Kamekona waved vaguely at the bandage and the leg and whatever other injuries there might be.
“No, they didn’t.” Steve took a deep breath and then scooted back on the couch, the tension seeming to drain from his body as he relaxed against the armrest and some pillows. “Just a stupid accident.”
“Sure looks like someone got beef with you, bruddah.”
“Well, there was a shooter and an accelerating car, but neither was aiming for me. The shooter was trying to take the driver out and the driver was trying to rabbit. If it hadn’t been for a collapsing catwalk, I’d be fine. Just a bit of bad luck, man.”
Steve shifted against the pillows, grimacing slightly. “Look, I was just trying to get some shuteye, so why don’t you tell me why you’re here and we’ll finish this talk some other time?”
Kamekona shrugged. “Sure. Ain’t no big thing, anyways. Just came to ask if you could still use some wood. In case of any future ‘home renovations’, you know. Got someone who’s sellin’ at a bargain price…”
He trailed off, realizing that Steve’s eyes had closed and his head had dropped to the side, resting against the backrest. “Yo,” he said. “Steve? You with me?”
There was no response.
Kamekona shook his head. “Kane sure needed some moe moe,” he murmured, keeping his voice down.
He hesitated, looking around again. There was an empty glass on the table, a gun, and a cell phone, and someone had draped a folded blanket over the back of the couch. It seemed Steve had been sleeping here before he was woken up by the knocking on his front door. Kamekona looked back at Steve, who was completely conked out and looked worse than his younger brother had been after his stag party… which had involved lots of alcohol, a car accident, and a cancelled marriage.
Leaving him here like this suddenly felt wrong somehow, especially since Kamekona couldn’t even lock the door behind him. On the other hand, there were a crowd of overheated tourists and a shave ice stand waiting for him. Undecided, he plopped down in Steve’s recliner, ignoring the ominous creaking sound and slight wobbling, and folded his hands in front of his stomach to give the matter some more thought.
Before he could come to any kind of conclusion, the cell on the table started ringing. Kamekona stared at it for a moment and then at Steve, who didn’t stir. Leaning forward, Kamekona peeked at the screen of the cell, seeing a picture of a familiar-looking blond guy with a tie and the name “Danny”.
He quickly snatched up the phone, accepting the call before it could go to voicemail. “Yo, Danny!”
There was a moment of silence on the other end of the line, before a confused-sounding voice asked, “Kamekona? Is that you?”
“In the flesh.”
“You selling shave-ice in Steve’s house now?”
“Ha ha. Very funny, haole. Just came by for a little visit, but I kind of got stuck. Your partner don’t look too good, brah.”
“Yeah, tell me about it. How did you get… Okay, lemme guess. If you’re looking at Steve right now I assume he’s not on the second floor, sleeping in his bed, where he’s supposed to stay and rest until I or Kono or Chin are able to get back there?”
“Uhm… not really, no. He’s more like downstairs, on the couch. I guess he’s resting, though. Kind of.”
“Let me talk to the idiot!”
“Would do, but he’s a bit out of it right now. That’s why you’re talkin’ to me.”
There was a pause, and Kamekona could hear voices in the background. “Wait,” Danny said, “Could you just… Hey, Kamekona, hang on a moment, okay?”
“Sure,” Kamekona said, leaning back comfortably in his seat.
There was a clacking sound and then Kamekona could hear Danny’s voice again, but fainter and sounding distant. “Look, could you just let me talk in peace on my own phone for a moment? I don’t know if something’s wrong – perhaps I could tell you if you’d just let me ask him instead of trying to interrupt.”
There was some rustling, and then Danny’s voice was back at its normal volume. “Hey, you still there?”
“Sorry about that,” Danny said. “Kono and Chin wanted to know how Steve’s doing. Okay, what did you mean with ‘out of it’? How bad is it?”
“Dunno, brah. He zonked out while we were talking and I didn’t try to wake him. Seemed like he could use some shuteye. He looks like roadkill, though.”
There was a bit of a choked laugh at the other end of the line. “Yeah. I guess falling on your head, being hit by a car, and being shot all at the same time will do that to you.”
Kamekona couldn’t help grimacing in sympathy. “Ouch. Your job kinda sucks, you know?”
“Well, obviously it’s not enough to keep Super SEAL from signing out of the hospital AMA or even keep him in bed.” Kamekona could hear Danny take a deep breath. “Okay, he must have opened the door for you, right? Was he coherent? Is he running a fever?”
“How should I know, brah? I look like a nurse to you? He was making sense alright until his lights just went out. Look, can one of you please get out here? It don’t feel real neighborly to leave while he’s like this, but I’ve got things to do and a business to run, okay?”
Danny sighed. “We would if we could, but there’s no way any of us can leave right now. We’re one man down already, we’ve got a rising body count, and the governor’s breathing down our necks. We’re stuck with this case for the time being.”
Kamekona furrowed his brow, rubbing one hand over his bald head. “Well, then send another badge.”
“Believe me, that wouldn’t go over well.” Danny paused for a moment. “Wait, how about you? You’re already there and he likely won’t shoot you, or he’d have done it already. Any chance you could stick around for a while, do us a favor?”
“I told you I ain’t no nurse. Wait, what do you mean he likely won’t shoot me? I think I really gotta go now, brah.”
“Okay, just hold on a minute! Steve knows you, he’s not going to shoot you – just forget I ever said that, alright? And Steve doesn’t need a nurse. You wouldn’t have to do anything but stay around for a while.”
“But what if he drops dead or something? I don’t wanna have that on my conscience, you know?”
Danny snorted. “We’re talking slight concussion, two cracked ribs, and a through-and-through bullet wound in a non-vital location, not an impending heart attack! He’s in no danger of dropping dead, provided I don’t shoot him myself before this is over. Do you really think we’d leave him alone otherwise?”
Kamekona sighed, only half-convinced. “I don’t know, brah. I’m not made for this.”
“I know you can do it, big guy. As much as it pains me to admit, you did good with Grace and believe me, this is not too different. SEAL-sitting and babysitting actually have a lot in common.”
“You do remember what happened the last time I babysat a McGarrett, do you?”
“That’s different. Steve’s in no condition to run and I can assure you Mary’s the only one in his family who uses Jedi mind tricks on unsuspecting people – Steve tends to favor a more direct approach. He’s not really the sneaky type.”
Kamekona cast a doubtful look at the man sleeping on the couch in front of him. He couldn’t deny that there was something about seeing Steve with his defenses down like that that made him seem much younger and a lot less dangerous than usual. It also made him want to feed him. It was obvious that someone that thin wasn’t properly taking care of himself.
“Listen, how about we make this a deal?” Danny suggested suddenly. “I’ll wear that hideous t-shirt with your mug on it for a week whenever I’m off work, and I’ll come by and buy a shave ice each day. All you have to do in return is stay with Steve and make sure he stays put until one of us can take over.”
Kamekona thought that over for a moment. “Make that two weeks for the t-shirt and you buy my special each day. Oh, and if he’s anything like your keiki I’m not going to play poker with him.”
There was a short pause and then, “I’m so going to regret this.”
“What’s there to regret about getting to eat my best shave ice each day?”
“I’m not going to dignify this with a reply. Okay, listen, I’ve gotta go in a moment. Just make sure Steve stays on the couch and keeps off that leg, okay? Sit on him if you have to. If he really, really has to move, make him use his crutches.”
Kamekona frowned, looking around the room. “I ain’t seeing no crutches here.”
“Figures,” Danny commented, exasperated. “They’re probably in Steve’s bedroom on the second floor, where I put them this morning. You shouldn’t have any problems finding them.”
“’kay. I ain’t seeing no pills, either. Don’t he need no meds?”
Danny snorted. “You’d have to force him at gunpoint to take them. He should be fine for now. Listen, I really gotta go. Don’t tell Steve about any of this, okay?”
Kamekona shrugged. “Fine.”
“Oh, and Kamekona?”
“If anything changes – anything at all – call me, alright?”
“Will do. Go and get them, brah!”
Kamekona could hear Danny exhale, then there was a click telling him that the other man had hung up. He put the cell down and looked at Steve, who still seemed to be out cold.
Leaning back in the recliner, Kamekona just sat there for a while, mulling things over. Having finally made up his mind, he grabbed the phone again and placed some calls, making sure he’d have the ingredients for what he was planning to do.
After he’d finished his calls, he rose from his seat and moved to the door. He locked the door and then climbed up the stairwell leading to the second floor. When he climbed back down, he was carrying a pair of crutches, which he deposited next to the couch.
Slightly out of breath by now, he headed to the kitchen, where he helped himself to a beer. Frowning at the contents of Steve’s fridge and cupboards, he finally made himself some eggs. The moment he had finished his meagre meal a knocking at the front door forced him to his feet again.
After paying the guy waiting for him outside he received several bulging grocery bags, which he carried back into the kitchen. After locking the front door again, Kamekona started unpacking the grocery bags and spreading their contents over every available surface in the kitchen.
He had just made it back to the living room to take a much needed breather, when Steve finally started to stir.
Kamekona watched as Steve’s eyes blinked open and immediately locked on him, though he had not made any sound or movement. For a moment, there was no spark of recognition in Steve’s eyes, and he seemed confused and disoriented.
Noticing Steve’s muscles tense and his hand instinctively move towards the weapon on the table, Kamekona held himself perfectly still until the other man’s eyes cleared and he slowly relaxed, his hand aborting its movement and dropping to rest on his stomach.
Rolling his head to the side, Steve scanned the room, then sat up with a wince, propping his shoulder up against the backrest. He met Kamekona’s gaze, looking still drowsy and a bit embarrassed.
“Sorry,” he said, his voice rough from sleep. “It’s the pain meds, they tend to knock me out. I shouldn’t have let Danny talk me into taking them.”
“It’s cool, brah,” Kamekona said, breathing a silent sigh of relief. “No harm done. Being you, I’d much rather spend my time sleeping than hurting.”
Steve cast him a blank look. Then he frowned. “Why are you still here? You must have better things to do than stick around and watch me sleep.”
Kamekona considered several possible answers to that question. Finally, he just shrugged and decided to take the easy way. “I guess I kind of got hired as babysitter.”
Steve narrowed his eyes at him. “I don’t need a babysitter.”
“Hey, it’s not my fault, brah. Danny called and wouldn’t take no for an answer.”
“Well, Danny’s not here now and I can manage on my own just fine. Feel free to leave and go about your own business.”
Kamekona shook his head. “No can do. I made a deal.”
“What kind of deal?”
“Danny told me not to tell you. You gotta ask him.”
Steve was silent for a moment, then he sighed. “So, what now?”
Kamekona smiled. “Now,” he said, rubbing his hands, “I’m gonna cook for you. My moddah taught me good food always helps you feel better. She was one wise woman.”
“I don’t doubt that,” Steve said, a slightly wary look on his face, “but I’m really not hungry. You don’t have to-”
“Nonsense,” Kamekona interrupted, heaving himself out of the recliner with a grunt. “What you need is feeding up, get some meat on those bones. You much too wīwī. You gonna feel better with proper food in your stomach. Trust me!”
Ignoring the apprehension on Steve’s face, Kamekona moved towards the kitchen like a man on a mission.
Hours later …
Late in the afternoon, Kamekona was once again sitting in the comfortable recliner, his hands folded over a full stomach, feeling content with himself and the world. Across from him, Steve was sprawled over the couch, having fallen asleep again a while ago. He seemed as relaxed as a person sporting injured ribs and a bullet wound could be, and his face had regained some color.
Steve had finally accepted some assistance on the condition that Kamekona stopped trying to feed him, so his leg was now propped up on a pillow and there was a blanket spread over him, though most of it had ended up on the floor by now, leaving only Steve’s hips and part of his legs covered.
Kamekona yawned, stretching his arms and shifting his weight slightly. He had only just awoken from a short nap and didn’t really feel like moving anywhere. He let his gaze trail idly over the various objects scattered haphazardly all over the coffee table: a deck of cards, three guns, several magazines, gun oil, a cleaning brush, a dirty cloth, Steve’s cell phone, a glass bowl with several slices of pineapple, and, at the edge of the table right next to Steve, a half-empty glass of water and an empty soup plate with a spoon in it.
Kamekona had to admit that Danny had been right. Taking care of an injured SEAL wasn’t all that different from taking care of a child. Food and games seemed to work well in both cases, though Navy SEALs obviously preferred to play with weapons and were a lot pickier where food was concerned.
Not that he had reason to complain – his own gun had never been cleaned that thoroughly before and, thanks to cooking for himself, he had eaten remarkably well. Craning his neck to take a quick look at the time on the cell phone display, Kamekona realized his time as a SEAL-sitter would soon come to an end.
Danny had called about three-quarters of an hour ago to let them know they’d brought the case to a close and he’d be there to relieve him in about one hour. Casting another look at the cluttered coffee table, Kamekona wondered if he should remove his own gun and put it back in its hiding place in the Jeep, but before he could make up his mind he heard a familiar-sounding car engine and tires rolling over the gravel of the driveway outside.
Deciding he would just have to hope that it wasn’t likely Danny would memorize and check out the serial number under the given circumstances, he listened to the sound of a car door opening and closing. Seconds later, a key turned in the lock and the front door opened behind him.
“Yo,” Kamekona greeted, not bothering to turn around.
“Hey,” Danny replied. “Everything alright?”
“Yup. All’s fine.”
He listened to Danny’s steps on the hardwood floor as he entered the room and stopped right next to him. There was a moment’s pause while Danny surveyed the scene.
“You actually got him to eat something?” Danny then asked, sounding surprised.
Kamekona might have felt slightly insulted by the surprise in his voice, if he hadn’t learned the hard way today just how difficult it was to get McGarrett to eat a solid meal. “Wasn’t easy,” he replied a bit ruefully. “He wouldn’t eat any of the good food.”
“Lemme guess – you tried feeding him Spam, huh?” Danny asked, seeming amused for some reason.
Kamekona shrugged. “Of course! It’s among the best food there is on this island. Tried cooking all my other favorite food, too. I think he must be feeling more poorly than he’s letting on. Ain’t no other reason in the world for someone to refuse my cooking.”
Danny made a choked sound, but when Kamekona looked up, Danny was not looking at him, but at Steve, one hand in front of his mouth. Deciding that the haole might be coming down with a cough, Kamekona spared him a pitiful glance and then looked away again.
“I would have liked to see that,” Danny said finally, his cough seemingly back under control. “What happened to all that food?”
Kamekona smiled broadly and petted his impressive belly. “Would’ve been a crime to let it go to waste, brah.”
Danny shook his head. “Please just tell me Steve got to eat something, too?”
“What do you take me for? Do I look like someone who’d let an injured man starve? I got him to eat some veggie soup.” He grimaced at the memory. “Your friend here has strange taste, brah. Men weren’t made to eat like rabbits.”
Danny snorted. “Yeah, tell me about it!” He nodded at the cluttered table. “It seems you two were having a good time. I thought you didn’t want to play poker?”
“Well, it turned out your keiki is a better player than your hoa pili. I won almost an entire pineapple.”
“Could you speak English, please? Also, please, please don’t use pineapple and poker in the same sentence. They don’t belong anywhere near each other.”
“Sorry, I forgot you don’t talk da kine. What is it with you and pineapple? It’s good, healthy fruit.”
“Yeah, right, whatever – I’ll just pretend I didn’t hear that. Listen, Kamekona, I just wanted to say… thanks. Mahalo. For this.” He made a gesture that included Steve, the table, and everything around them. “I really appreciate it.”
“No problem, bruddah,” Kamekona said, feeling pleased. “Just don’t forget to come by and pick up your t-shirt.”
Danny grimaced. “Yeah, thanks for reminding me of something I’ll likely not be able to forget for the rest of my life.”
“No one’s able to forget my shave ice, brah. It’s ono. Which reminds me, I gotta get going. I may still be able to catch some business. You don’t need me here no longer, do you?” Kamekona petted the arms of the recliner and then started to heave himself up.
“Nah, I got this now,” Danny said, picking up the empty soup plate. “Have fun fleecing the tourists.”
“Danny?” a sleepy voice from the couch made both of them turn their heads.
Danny put the plate down again and moved closer to the couch, where Steve was just beginning to stir, rubbing one hand over his eyes. Danny crouched down beside him, looking him over. “Hey there, sleeping beauty,” he said. “I see you’ve finally decided to join us.”
Steve narrowed his eyes at him. “The way I remember it it was you who told me to rest and made me swallow those damn pills.”
“Yeah, well, you obviously need all the beauty sleep you can get. How do you feel?”
“Like someone who never wants to see anything to eat ever again.” Steve slowly propped himself up on one elbow and winced, pressing his free hand against his ribs.
Danny huffed a laugh. “I take it the big guy got a bit carried away, huh?”
“You have no idea, Danny.”
“I’m still here, you know,” Kamekona decided to remind them, still not all the way out of the chair.
“Then it’s probably the wrong time to tell you that Kono and Chin will be here with some pizza any moment now?” Danny said, ignoring him.
Steve stared at him. “I hate you.”
“Hey, that’s my line!”
“I like pizza,” Kamekona stated, earning himself a glare from Danny and a disbelieving stare from Steve.
“What?” he defended himself. “I haven’t eaten pizza all day. I wouldn’t mind a slice or two.”
“You can have mine,” Steve offered weakly.
Kamekona plopped back down in his seat. “If you insist,” he said, feeling a hint of sympathy when he noticed that Steve was once again looking a bit green around the gills, just like he had done when Kamekona had placed plate upon plate filled with delicious meat in front of him. The poor guy was obviously still not feeling much better.
Danny rolled his eyes, but didn’t say anything. Supporting himself on the coffee table with one hand, he rose from his crouching position, shaking his right leg out carefully. He offered Steve a hand, but Steve ignored it, struggling into a sitting position on his own. When he was finally sitting upright, his face was pinched and he was breathing hard.
“You’re an idiot, you know that?” Danny said once Steve was relaxing back into the cushions, but even Kamekona could hear there wasn’t much heat behind it.
“What about the case?” Steve asked, still sounding a little bit out of breath. “Did you get them?”
“Did we… Who do you think you are talking to? Of course we did!”
“Good. That’s… good. Everyone okay?”
“Yeah, apart from the moron who likes climbing around on rickety catwalks, we’re all fine,” Danny replied, taking a seat on the armrest of the couch.
Steve glowered, but Danny only shrugged. “Hey, it’s the truth. We got lucky this time, by the way. For once, our big showdown took place at the beach, not in a warehouse.”
“I wish I could have been there,” Steve said, sounding slightly wistful.
“Well, yeah, no flying tackles for you anytime soon, Super SEAL. I’m sure you would have enjoyed yourself, though. Kono knocked one of the perps out with a surfboard.”
Kamekona grimaced at the thought. “That’s no way to treat a surfboard, brah,” he commented.
“You can’t blame her for that. It’s all his fault,” Danny stated, gesturing at Steve. “He’s having a really bad influence on her.”
Steve just smiled, looking as if Danny had just paid him a compliment.
Kamekona shook his head. He had always known the two of them were more than a bit lōlō. It was probably a haole thing.
“What about the other two perps?” Steve asked.
“One of them gave up the moment Chin cocked his shotgun. I’m pretty sure the poor guy needed to change his underwear, not that I can blame him. Where the third perp’s concerned, I might have shot him.”
He paused, narrowing his eyes at Steve. “That’s no reason to look so gleeful, Steve. I shot him in the leg and he’s actually in better shape than you are.”
“I’m fine, Danno.”
“Of course you are. The next time something like that happens, I’ll snap a photo so you can see just how fine you looked. Of course I may not have the time to take pictures, because I’m likely too busy trying to stop you from bleeding all over the dirty warehouse floor. Really, Steven, blood’s meant to be kept inside the body and while I can’t blame it for trying to escape from you, you should stop finding creative new ways to make that happen.”
“Danny, you’re giving me a headache.”
“That’s the thing that happens when you fall on your head, babe. You might want to try to avoid that, too.”
“You’re giving me a headache, too,” Kamekona complained.
“I didn’t fall on my head,” Steve protested. “If I hadn’t hit the edge of that stupid crate on my way down, I’d have been able to roll out of the way and the car wouldn’t even have grazed me.”
Kamekona looked from Steve to Danny and back again. “I think the two of you really should look for another job. I hear the shrimp business is going good right now.”
Danny opened his mouth and closed it again, throwing his hands in the air. “Okay, I give it up! Trying to have a conversation with the two of you is worse than arguing with kindergarten kids. If anyone’s getting a headache here, it’s me.”
He grabbed the empty soup plate and spoon from the table and rose, aiming a stern glance at Steve. “I’m going to fetch your antibiotics now and you’re going to take them, understood?”
Steve looked slightly mutinous, but he nodded.
“I guess I don’t have to ask if you want any Percocet?”
“I don’t need that stuff,” Steve replied instantly. “I can manage.”
“Of course you can.” Shaking his head, Danny moved off towards the kitchen.
When Kamekona saw where Danny was headed, he suddenly remembered something that made him realize his decision to stay might have been a bit premature, pizza or not.
“You know what?” he said, grabbing the armrests of his chair and pushing himself up. “I think I really need to get going now. I forgot there’s something I really gotta do today.”
Steve looked at him a bit confused, but before he could say something, Danny’s voice interrupted them from the kitchen.
“Oh my God!”
Kamekona winced, and Steve immediately tensed, his gaze honing in on the doorway leading to the kitchen.
“What?” he called back. “Danny? What’s wrong?”
Making use of the diversion, Kamekona quickly started moving towards the front door, but a pained sound made him pause and look back before he had taken more than one step. Steve was just falling back onto the couch, cradling his injured leg. His face had gone deadly pale, and his gaze was still fixed on the kitchen doorway.
Kamekona hesitated, feeling a touch of guilt. “Calm down, brah,” he said. “It’s nothing to worry about.”
“Nothing to worry about?” Danny echoed disbelievingly, reappearing in the living room. His eyes were narrowed dangerously and his fingers were closed so tightly around the soup plate as if he considered clobbering someone with it.
The expression on his face changed the moment he caught sight of Steve. “Jeez, McGarrett, will you calm down? There’s no armed assassin hiding in your kitchen, for God’s sake!”
Kamekona inched closer to the front door, trying to be as unobtrusive as possible.
Steve uncurled from his slightly hunched-over position, scowling at Danny. “Could have… fooled me,” he managed to say.
“I had a perfectly normal and, as I might add, rather restrained reaction to witnessing an act of barbaric vandalism. You alright, babe?”
“I’m good. What’s wrong with… my kitchen?”
Danny cocked his head at him. “Saying that is some kind of reflex for you, isn’t it? I mean, you’d still claim that if you were missing a limb or two, right?”
“Danny, could we just focus on the important things here? Kitchen, remember?”
Kamekona would have very much preferred them to focus on something else, but wisely chose to keep his opinions to himself.
“I think there’s definitely something more wrong with your priorities than with your kitchen, my friend, but I’ll admit that you’ve posed a very legitimate question. Kamekona?” Danny’s eyes once again fixed on the big Hawaiian, who stopped dead in his tracks.
“Care to explain what happened to this man’s kitchen?” Danny gestured at the doorway behind him with the hand still holding the soup plate.
Kamekona frowned. “There’s nothing wrong with the kitchen.”
“There isn’t, huh? So what’s all that stuff littering every available surface in there?”
“Uhm… dishes?” Kamekona offered tentatively, his eyes going wide and innocent.
Danny pinched the bridge of his nose. “Dishes, he says.”
Kamekona risked another tiny little step towards the door.
Danny’s head snapped up. “Hold it right there,” he said, pointing at Kamekona with the spoon he was holding in his plate-free hand as if he wanted to pin him to the spot with it.
“What the hell did you do in there? You know what, don’t answer that, I don’t want to know. Did you really have to use every pot, pan, plate, bowl, and piece of cutlery there is in this household? You didn’t happen to give any thought to how those dishes are supposed to clean themselves, huh?”
Kamekona blinked, trying to figure out which of the questions he was supposed to answer. Deciding the last one was really the only one of importance, he pretended to think the question over for a moment, then he shrugged. “I wasn’t hired to do the dishes, brah.”
“You weren’t-” Danny broke off, shaking his head. “Well, I got news for you, smart guy: you also weren’t hired to get them dirty! At least not all of them!”
“You’d really want me to let an injured man go hungry?” Kamekona protested, looking wounded. “You don’t get no better if you don’t eat!”
Danny stared at him and then looked over at Steve, who was watching the exchange with a mixture of disbelief, horror, and amusement.
“You really should calm down, brah,” Kamekona said, feeling emboldened by the fact that at least one person in this room didn’t seem inclined to shoot him. “It’s only some dirty dishes.”
“Oh yeah?” Danny snapped. “I take it you didn’t notice the pieces of vegetables and meat and the grease you managed to spread everywhere, did you? Did you take a look at the floor?”
“Uhm… no? Why should I? I wasn’t cooking on the floor. No offense, brah, but I really gotta go now.”
“Oh no, you won’t go anywhere! Not before you’ve cleaned up the mess you made.”
“I didn’t make no mess,” Kamekona said indignantly. “I was cooking.”
“If that’s what happens when you’re cooking your kitchen must be a really scary place.”
“You’re spreading it on a bit thick, brah. Some dirty dishes won’t do anyone no harm.”
“You know, when I entered the kitchen I didn’t think hey, look, there’s some dirty dishes in here! It was more like oh my God, a bomb exploded in Steve’s kitchen!”
At that, Steve once again tried to get to his feet, but Danny was faster. Letting the plate and spoon he was still holding drop to the table with a clanking sound, he quickly stepped forward and pushed Steve back down, leaving one restraining hand on his shoulder.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, what the hell do you think you’re doing? What part of resting your leg is it you don’t understand, huh?”
“Danny, I may have an injured leg, but I’m still able to walk. Which is what I’m going to do right now because I want to see my kitchen!”
“No, you don’t. Believe me, babe, looking at your kitchen would be a really, really bad idea right now.”
“Well, someone will have to do some cleaning. I have two fully functional arms,” Steve demonstrated that fact by wiggling his fingers in front of Danny’s face, “and I’m perfectly capable of helping to clean up my kitchen.”
“You’re unbelievable, you know that?”
“That’s no job for the sick and injured,” Kamekona piped up disapprovingly. “I think you should let him do it.” He pointed at Danny who stared back at him in disbelief.
“The only one who will clean up this mess is the one who created it!” Danny said at the same time as Steve protested, “I’m still able to do some cleaning!”
There was a moment’s pause, then Danny glared down at Steve.“You, my friend,” he said, pointing a finger at Steve, “are definitely not able to do anything else but stay right here on this couch and rest.”
Suddenly, the front door behind Kamekona opened, nearly hitting him in the back. He quickly took a step to the side, only narrowly avoiding a collision with Kono, who entered the room carrying four pizza boxes.
“Hey, guys!” Kono called out cheerfully, while Chin squeezed through the door behind her.
Taking in the strange tableau in front of them, they both came to a halt. Looking from Danny and Steve to Kamekona and back again, Chin raised an eyebrow.
“If we’re interrupting something here we can come back later,” he offered drily.
“Oh no, you’re not interrupting at all,” Kamekona hastened to assure him, a broad grin spreading on his face. “In fact, Danny could really use some help in the kitchen.”
He cast a quick, wistful look at the pizza boxes, then risked a glance at a very irate-looking Danny and decided a slice of pizza wasn’t really worth risking life and limb for.
“I gotta go, guys,” he said abruptly, squeezing past Chin and a bemused-looking Kono and catching the door before it could click shut. “Nice seeing you two,” he said over his shoulder and then hastily stepped outside, pulling the door closed behind him.
Breathing a sigh of relief, he turned and trotted over to his Jeep at as fast a pace as he could manage with his full stomach. When he heaved himself into the driver’s seat it suddenly occurred to him that he had forgotten to take his gun with him. Shrugging, he decided to hope that Danny wouldn’t realize it was his.
Before he could turn the ignition key, the door to Steve’s house opened again and Kono appeared, waving at him.
“Hey, wait!” she called.
Kamekona hesitated, but when no one else appeared behind her, he decided it seemed to be safe. “I always wait for a beautiful wahine!” he replied, wiggling his eyebrows at her.
She rolled her eyes at him. “Steve said this is yours, brah,” she said, leaning over to drop a pizza box on the passenger seat.
Surprised, Kamekona opened the lid and discovered half of a ham-and-pineapple pizza in the box. “Now that’s nice,” he said with a broad smile. “Tell him mahalo from me, will you?”
“Will do. Steve wanted to give you the whole pizza, but Danny vetoed that.”
“That’s fine,” he said magnanimously. “I’m not all that hungry right now, anyway.”
Kono smiled and shook her head. “I can imagine,” she said. “For my part, I’m not sure you deserve even half a pizza, after what you did to Steve’s kitchen.” She boxed his shoulder lightly, giving him a disapproving look.
“Oww!” he protested. “That was creative cooking. It’s a form of art. You need to allow your creative juices to fully unfold!”
“Uh-huh,” she said, giving him a knowing look. “Next time, try to keep your ‘creative juices’ from spilling all over the kitchen, okay?”
“You got it, sistah!”
He tried his best to look rueful, but judging from the sceptical look on her face, Kono didn’t buy it. Well, he had always known she was akamai.
“You better mean it, brah,” she said with a meaningful glance.
“Can these eyes lie?” he asked, fluttering his eyeslashes at her.
“Oh, cut it out!” she groaned, but couldn’t help grinning.
He earned himself another light punch to the shoulder, then Kono turned back towards the house and vanished inside with a quick wave. Kamekona started the car, feeling reasonably pleased with himself.
All in all, the day might have been less profitable than he had hoped for, but he was left with the comfortable feeling of having done a good deed, and it also didn’t hurt that he couldn’t remember the last time he had eaten so well.
Besides, not having to do the dishes after all the cooking he had done today had been a nice change and something he could easily get used to.
Pulling out of the driveway, he turned his car towards the Kalanianaole Highway and downtown Honolulu. Wailoa Shave Ice was waiting for him, and his own shave ice sounded like the perfect dessert for after he had finished his pizza.
kane – man
moe moe – sleep, rest
moddah – mother
wīwī – skinny
hoa pili – close personal friend
talk da kine – speak Pidgin
ono – delicious
lōlō - crazy
wahine – woman
akamai – very smart