Crimes of the Fay II, Chapter 14

One of the men dramatically revealed, “It disappeared!”

I clicked my tongue out of annoyance. My anticipation had been mounting higher and higher as I awaited this announcement, and his response felt like a huge let down! I feared that they wouldn’t have any answers for us, but my detective experience reminded me that I couldn’t give up on potential witnesses merely because they showed hints of ineptitude, so I addressed them, “We already knew that! What we wanna know is why!”

“It’s the ‘ino’ino make! Another guy bitterly expressed to us. “The Pomaikais just had to spring for cheap labor and invite them to this region! Ever since they started coming around this part, we’ve seen nothing but trouble!” I was itching to ask them how that was even remotely possible, but then…

“You said you live near Lake Ana Wai?” The man who spoke mulled it over and then corrected himself, “Well, where it used to be?”

Each of us sensed a huge catch for confirming this, but Aidan still did it, “Uh-huh. We live in Lani Noni.”

The cashier probed, “Do the Hekekias still haunt that place?”

“Haunt is a little harsh! I mean, I know they’re technically dead, but still!” I defensively opined. They looked unmoved by my pleading, so I moved on, “Yes, we work for them.”

“Get out!” the shopkeeper staunchly pointed to the exit. “Don’t bring that poino over here!”

Initially, I thought he was joking. I’ve had plenty of  criminals and individuals with something to hide try to throw me out of their domain when I was interrogating them, but it didn’t occur to me that they would oust me in a civilian role when all I was doing was seeking information about my surroundings! Their expressions indicated their seriousness though, and since we had no legal cause to remain there, neither Aidan nor I sought to fight this decision. It was hard to do this though since they were showing hints of being able to be quite helpful to us! Plus, I still wanted to know what interest Wade had in this store other than teddy bears! It wasn’t worth it to battle five big dudes with our teeny children’s wands to obtain this knowledge however, so we left without protest.

When we were outside, Aidan inquired to a passerby, “What’s poino?”

“It’s bad luck or misery,” she replied. “Why? Did you remove one of Pele’s rocks?”

“I don’t think so…” Aidan reflected a bit just to make sure, and when he concluded we probably hadn’t, he filled her in, “Actually, it came up when we mentioned that our new bosses are Fay Folks and-.”

The woman’s face soured upon hearing this. “Your bosses are monsters!” She spat at our feet and then wheeled her stroller away from us as fast as she could.

Aidan remarked, “Okay, I guess we should stop telling people that!” I concurred, and then we went next door.

A bell chimed as we went inside, and a female greeted us with, “Did you forget something?”

“Huh?” I puzzled. We had never been in there, so it mystified me as to what prompted her to say that!

“Your clothes!” she simply stated. Aidan and I panicked and swiftly glanced at ourselves out of worry that we got hit with some sort of nudity jinx, and then the female gestured to the rack behind her. “This is a dry cleaner…”

Aidan and I instantly felt dumb, but it was too funny not to join her and her two customers in laughter! An older gentleman queried, “Are you two lost?”

I genially responded, “Kinda. We recently… bought an egg farm, and we’ve been using Lake Aopua’a for a water source, but then we heard that there used to be a pond closer to us that vanished suddenly. No one seems to be able to tell us why either!”

The backstory I concocted was pretty solid, and I genuinely thought I nailed it until the older lady asked, “The realtor didn’t disclose that when you bought the property?”

“Uh…” My spirits deflated at the loss of success that I never really had! I racked my brains to unearth a clever explanation, but all I could drum up was, “They blamed the Fays across the street, but I don’t see how that’s feasible!”

“You don’t?” The dry cleaner eyed me dubiously.

I blushed furiously at getting put on the spot like an unprepared student getting called upon by their teacher! I felt like I ought to have known this, but my mind was a total blank pertaining to the motive for this belief, so Aidan stepped in and commented, “No, we don’t! ‘Cause, yeah, they don’t seem to have any actual powers, so aren’t they pretty harmless?”

That was the wrong viewpoint to put forth evidently! The old couple gasped, and the rage of a pure offense was brewing inside of the dry cleaner! Seeing that this endeavor was a futile venture, I proclaimed, “We’ll show ourselves out!” Preceding any of them uttering a single word about our gaffe, we dashed out of the building!

Back on the sidewalk, Aidan observed, “Wow, they really hate Fays out here!”

I agreed, “Totally! From now on, we’ll have to pretend we want nothing to do with them!”

From behind us, the old man from the dry cleaner facility emitted a noise of disgust! Aidan and I jumped slightly at their unexpected appearance, and our innermost instincts had us clam up until they got out of sight… until… “Imagine that!” the elderly lady huffed. “They dare to associate with the wretches that had the audacity to offend the mo’o!”

“The what?” I had no clue what a mo’o was, but my gut convinced me that whatever it might have been, it possessed a major factor towards the reservoir evaporating! I caught up with the pair and pressed them, “What’s a mo’o?”

“You two have phones, go look it up yourself!” she snapped.

I ignored that directive and petitioned them, “Did the mo’o drain the lake?”

The old gentleman barked, “Go bug your Fay friends!”

“They’re not our friends, we just work for them!” I immediately recognized that I had erred once more, so I amended my sentence, “It’s not like we wanted to- we didn’t have a choice in the matter!”

“We’re obviously very ignorant about this stuff, you could educate us so that we quit hanging around them!” Aidan strove to tempt them into a discussion with us, but they disregarded our communication attempts and walked with a little more briskness in their steps! We would’ve taken one last stab at it, but then…

A woman with long, black hair, Sandy toned skin, small, umber eyes, and a well-fitted suit blocked our pathway! Her stance appeared rather confrontational, and I truly wasn’t in the mood for another clash, so I wanted to bypass her. I couldn’t though- she opened a leather cover and revealed a badge for the Kalahale Police Department! Aidan and I froze in our tracks! This was exactly what we were hoping to avoid! We knew it would be a complete hassle to have to sort this out with Agent Hearne or Deputy Clifton, especially if they got wind of us doing an off-the-books investigation! Additionally, even if we didn’t get legal punishment for this incident, we each dreaded having a blemish on our records! This woman spared us no pity for our plight and coldly introduced herself, “Detective Samena Tajana, HPD.”

Aidan reached into his pocket out of habit, but when he realized he wasn’t carrying his shield (for a reason!), he acted as if he meant to do that for a casual pose. “I’m Kennedy Swetinbedde, and this is my wife, Sophia. We’re farmers in the area.”

“Sir, keep your hands where I can see them!” Samena commanded.

“Okay!” Aidan promptly pulled his palms out and kept them where she could plainly view them.

She contemplated the info we provided her for a second, and then she vocalized, “Local farmers, huh? You sure ask a lot of questions for farmers…”

I retorted, “What? Are we not supposed to ever learn anything beyond the fields?” I startled myself by behaving so pertly with a fellow officer, but I got somewhat offended by her insinuation! Furthermore, it irked me that a cop was accosting us and not Wade! If he had any vision of our locale at that moment, I knew he was cackling super joyfully at this scenario!

“What exactly are you trying to learn from these townsfolk?” Samena challenged us.

“We’re trying to learn about the land from the people who know it best!” Aidan asserted fairly rapidly. He most likely sensed some more snarkiness ready to burst out of my mouth, and ultimately, I found that he did the correct action because he doubtlessly prevented an already dicey situation from getting worse, but at the time, I wasn’t too pleased with getting cut off since she was treating us with unjust antagonism! He more calmly elaborated, “We’re new here, but they’re not! They’d know better than anyone what went on out there- you can’t really trust the internet for accuracy!”

Samena stared at him like she was scanning for any mistruths to slip off of his tongue, and she seemed a tad skeptical when she detected no deception! “Why were you guys so insistent on hearing about the mo’o?”

Aidan’s cordiality didn’t prevail in this instance due to his lack of readiness to have a justification for this, and while I disliked this woman for her malicious attitude, I hardly wanted to get on Aidan’s bad side by starting strife with her, so, with as much politeness as I could muster, I commented, “You know how it is when you hear a cliffhanger ending- we simply gotta know the rest!” I chuckled, but Samena’s frigid visage didn’t budge an inch! All of a sudden, it occurred to me that this frosty rival could prove useful to us after all! “Surely, you must know what a mo’o is! What is it? A fish? A tree?”

“I do know what it is, but I don’t have a minute to spare to explain it!” She pulled out a notebook, and as she flicked her pen open, I produced a sound of derision that thankfully went unnoticed! “You told me you’re Kennedy and Sophia Swetinbedde. Is there a middle name to go with either of those?”

“Uh… No! No, there isn’t,” Aidan reported to her a smidgen too late. We could tell that his hesitation roused her suspicion, so he added, “Sorry! Police make me nervous!”

I sputtered in amusement at the irony of his quip, but when that move garnered me a peculiar ogling from Samena, I hastily summoned up an excuse for this blunder. “Did you see those bears in that souvenir shop? They’re wearing hats! And Hawaiian shirts!” I faked some hearty guffawing at that image, and she definitely thought I was an idiot at this juncture! Whatever, as long as she didn’t believe I was hiding anything pertinent from her!

Samena quizzed us, “What are your social security numbers?”

“Um, we don’t have it memorized, so can we dig out our cards and show it to you?” Aidan requested.

“I suppose…” Samena consented with an eyebrow raised. Clearly, she didn’t find our stories to be too credible, and privately, I didn’t blame her! While I was contemplating the best replies to any other inquiries she may have had for us, she took our identification and advised us, “You know, you shouldn’t carry these around with you. If someone stole your purse or wallet, they could easily use it to steal your identity!”

Slightly too tickled by the concept of a thief pilfering fraudulent ID’s, I articulated, “Oh darn, that’d be a shame!”

She furrowed her brows at my crack, but prior to her responding to it, dispatch delivered us clean results, which seemed to shock her. “Really? Alright, thank you!”

“Yeah, so we’re done now, correct?” I folded my arms in an agitated manner, and it struck me as odd to show such sass to a sister in the force, but I disliked her for her inefficiency! She wasted her efforts with us when bonafide criminals like Wade were roaming free! She showed signs of reluctance to let us go, which I wanted to sympathize with since I’ve been there before, but I couldn’t under these circumstances! I expounded on my statement, “You have no proof of any wrongdoing, you can’t hold us forever!” Her lips contorted as she displayed sheer avarice, and…

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