Writing Challenges

Great Writing Challenge Banner-framed.jp

Through the years, both Remembering Jack Lord and, especially, Memories of Hawaii Five-0 held writing challenges. In some, we wrote as a group with each member providing portions of the story. In others, we wrote out own stories. All reflected great imagination and writing ability. Here, I will post some of my favorites. Because the group projects run so long, I'll put each one on its own page. Here's one to get us started. It was an unofficial writing project that Steve's Girl and I took upon ourselves.

A Body Has Been Found

 

Written by

H50 1.0 FOREVER and Steve’s Girl

 

A body washed up on the shore of O`ahu, near the Barber's Point lighthouse. To the couple who discovered it, the body seemed to have been laying there only a short time. After all, its facial features were still quite distinguishable. So were the five stars – one large with four arcing around its right side – which adorned the seaman’s uniform.

“Red Chinese,” Steve McGarrett noted as he looked down at the body. “Who discovered him?”

“A couple attending a lu`au not far away. They decided to take a stroll on the beach,” replied HPD patrolman Chick Mitsui. “Upon making the discovery, they returned to the lu`au and asked the management to call us.”

“This took place within the past hour, then?” Steve asked.

“Within the past half-hour, Steve,” Mitsui clarified.

The chief and lead investigator of the State of Hawai`i’s elite police force bent over the body and looked through the pockets of its clothing. He found a few Chinese coins in one pocket and a note written in Chinese in another. His knowledge of Chinese wasn’t the best, but he was able to make out three words: Tell Wo Fat.

McGarrett slipped the articles in plastic bags, which he left with Officer Mitsui to go to the forensics examiner when he arrived. As he straightened, his assistant ran up to him.

“What do we have, Steve?”

Steve looked around at Dan Williams and, in terse tones and with his jaw firmly set, said, “Wo Fat is back.”

“Do you think he killed this Red Chinese seaman?” Williams asked.

“No way, Danno. He had him killed, perhaps, but I’m convinced he didn’t do it, himself. We’ll have to wait for Doc’s report to know the cause of death, but it can’t hurt to check with the harbormaster. We need a list of all ships that have arrived in or left Honolulu Harbor with Chinese crewmen during, let’s say, the past four days.”

“Regardless of where they came from or where they were going?” Dan asked.

“Regardless,” Steve affirmed.

“Since no Chinese ships are allowed here, we are looking for a needle in a haystack," Dan remarked.

“That’s right, but let’s start there," Steve suggested. “We can always expand our search, if need be.”

“On it, Steve.”

Fifteen minutes later, Doc Bergman arrived to examine the seaman’s body.

“Hello Doc,” Steve greeted him. Giving a grin, he reproached him softly, “You took your time in coming here.”

“It does take time to drive from Makapu`u Point down here," the medical examiner grumbled. “Why don’t you have the corpses delivered to me?”

Steve ignored the question and focused on the statement by asking, “Makapu`u Point? What were you doing there, hang gliding?”

“As if it’s any of your business, I was taking pictures.”

“You and the tourists, huh?” Steve goaded. He knew very well that Doc’s avocation was photography.

“That’s right, Steve, me and the tourists,” Doc replied in tones that said his patience with Steve McGarrett was wearing very thin. “I hate this running about. Why did Danny say you prefer my presence to that of my colleagues?”

“Because I do. You’re the best medical examiner this side of Brooklyn.”

Doc gave him a look of disbelief. Steve suppressed a smile as they walked through the sand and to the point where the body lay.

“Has anyone moved the body?” Doc wanted to know.

“Yes, Doctor,” replied an HPD patrolman. “We had to pull it out of the water so it wouldn’t be washed back out to sea.”

“Fair enough,” Bergman replied as he knelt beside the dead Chinese sailor.

He barely had finished taking the liver temperature when Steve began pressing for details.

“Okay, Doc. Anything you can tell me?”

“He hasn’t been in the water long: three hours…four, at most. Anything else will have to wait.”

“Alright, Doc, but...”

“Yeah I know,” Bergman snapped, cutting him off. “You want the report yesterday. I’ll do what I can.”

“Mahalo, Doc.”

The medical examiner muttered under his breath, “The man’s from Brooklyn, of all places, but thinks we’ll believe he’s Hawaiian if he mutters a few well-placed words in the language.”

His remark was overheard by the Hawaiian patrolman, who chuckled under his breath.

 

The following morning, Steve and Dan met with Detectives Kono Kalakaua and Chin Ho Kelly. Steve briefed Kono and Chin on the few details that were known so far.

“Except that I have learned that only three Chinese seamen are working aboard ships that have been in or out of Honolulu Harbor in the past week,” Dan said. “The first two departed five days ago on the Star of the Orient. The third departed three days ago on the Star of the Pacific. None appears to have been in the area at the time of the seaman’s death.”

“Maybe we should look for Chinese ships,” Chin said.

Kono gave him a look of disdain. “They’re not allowed in here, bruddah. Too much high-security military stuff going on.”

“That’s correct,” Steve said. “That does not mean a Chinese ship couldn’t have been close to the islands, perhaps just in international waters. For that reason, I called the Navy to see what I could find out. The information was very interesting!”

Kono leaned forward in his seat. “Wo Fat was seen having dinner at his restaurant in Chinatown, boss?”

Steve chuckled. “We should have such an easy case, Kono. It seems that a Chinese trawler has been perched some 20 miles offshore for about a week. The Navy believes its crew have been coming ashore in a small submarine similar to the one Wo Fat used a few years ago when the Red Chinese tried to block our missile tracking system.”

“So, we’re looking for a red-and-yellow sub that looks like a duck, boss?” Kono asked.

“Let’s expand our search, shall we? Talk to fishermen and others, who spend time along the shorelines, to see whether they’ve seen a sub or a raft coming ashore or near the shore in recent days,” Steve suggested.

“The homeless live by the shore,” Chin said.

“Then, talk to them – to anyone who might have seen something. Get the HPD to help you. They have patrols in the outlying areas. Let’s focus on areas in and around Honolulu, especially around Barber’s Point.”

As Steve opened his mouth to say something else, the telephone buzzed. He answered it to hear Jenny’s voice.

“The governor needs to see you in his office as soon as you can get there, Steve.”

“Please tell him I’m on my way.” He hung up even as he reached for the jacket to his suit. “Let’s get moving, gentlemen.”

As his detectives scrambled to their cubicles, Steve darted through the office and down the palace steps.

Steve McGarrett crossed over to the State Capitol as he had done innumerable times. He had not told many people, but he enjoyed walking over to the state house.

Constructed between 1967 and 1969 under the auspices of Gov. John A. Burns, the contemporary structure opened on March 15, 1969. The new structure featured elements that were symbolic of the Hawaiian Islands. The columns surrounding it flared at the top and were textured to resemble the many palm trees that flourished in the islands. The roofline surrounding the open atrium flared to resemble the mouth of a volcano. Walls near stairwells on the atrium level sloped, reminiscent of Diamond Head crater. The atrium, itself, was open toward the sea (makai) to the south and the mountains (mauka) to the north, while a concrete moat around the structure represented the islands being completely surrounded by water. A blue-and-green glass mosaic by Tadashi Sato in the center of the atrium represented the land and the sea.

The opening of the state house had allowed governmental offices to move out of the historic `Iolani Palace, which had housed the offices of the Territory and State of Hawai`i since 1920. Through the years, it had suffered heavy wear and tear, as well as the ravages of time. Temporary additions had been added to the east and north sides to provide more office space; they had been wearing on the lanais to which they clung. As far as the people of Hawai`i were concerned, the government could not leave soon enough. As soon as the palace had been vacated, it had entered a ten-year restoration, which had returned it to the way it had appeared in the late-19th century, when King David Kalakaua had built and lived in it.

Now, as Steve stepped into the outer office of the governor’s suite in the new capitol building, he was greeted by name.

"Good morning, Mr. McGarrett.”

 

The voice belonged to Meg, the governor’s long-time secretary. Just as everyone who wanted get through to McGarrett had to deal with Jenny first, everyone who wanted to get through to Governor Jameson had to deal with Meg. It was made easier by the fact that she was a cheerful woman, who had a smile for everyone.

“The governor is waiting for you,” she added as she flashed a happy smile at him.

“Thank you, Meg,” Steve answered, returning her smile even as he entered the governor’s private office.

“Good morning, Steve,” Jameson greeted him. The state’s chief executive seemed serious this morning; his voice lacked its usual warmth.

“Good morning, sir.”

Even as Steve took a seat before the governor’s desk, Jameson began speaking. He came to the point without fanfare.

“About an hour ago, I received a call from the CIA, telling me that the Navy informed you about a Chinese trawler off our shores and that crewmembers from that trawler are thought to have come ashore in a small submarine.”

Steve sighed inwardly: The CIA, again. Aloud, he said, “That’s correct sir." He went on to tell the governor about the dead Chinese seaman, the message in his pocket that had read, “Tell Wo Fat,” and what Dan had learned at the harbormaster’s office.

“Is there anything else, so far?” Jameson asked.

“No sir, not yet, but it seems obvious that Wo Fat is back.”

Both men fell silent, thinking about the Chinese intelligence agent, who had been McGarrett’s nemesis for nearly fifteen years. The wily Asian always seemed able to get his head out of the noose. In earlier years, when he had worked for the Peking government, negotiations between Peking and Washington had set him free. Even since he had begun to work independently, Washington’s desire to avoid irritating Peking had seemed to give him a certain advantage in avoiding American imprisonment. It was no secret that, Washington’s wishes or not, Steve McGarrett wanted to see Wo Fat behind bars.

Jameson spoke. “I know, Steve, that your opinion concerning jurisdiction tends to differ from the CIA’s, but I expect you to maintain a professional attitude, should the CIA decide to participate in this case.”

Opinions tend to differ! What a euphemism! Steve remembered only too well that his first encounter with Wo Fat and a traitorous CIA agent easily could have cost him his life. Sometimes, he still had nightmares about the eight hours he had spent in a sensory deprivation chamber hidden within the bowels of the tanker SS Arcturus.

“You know my views on that, sir,” McGarrett replied. “If a crime is committed on Hawaiian soil, it is my responsibility to see that justice is done.” There was no mistaking the fact that his voice reflected his rising temper. His Irish blood gave him a very short fuse, especially in matters in which he felt strongly. He felt very strongly on the subject of Wo Fat.

“I know that, Steve, but Washington is really jumpy at the moment. It seems you have stepped on too many toes there," Jameson said soothingly.

Steve took a deep breath. After a long, thoughtful moment, he said, “If that will be all, sir, I’d like to get on with my work.”

“Yes, Steve. That is all.”

Steve arose and walked toward the door. Before he could open it, he heard Jameson’s voice behind him. He stopped and turned toward his superior.

“Steve, I know what Wo Fat’s return means to you. Be careful.” The governor’s voice was soft as he spoke, for he was well aware of the danger into which his trusted appointee was about to walk.

Steve offered a slight smile and said, “Thank you, sir. I will.”

###