Who Was That Masked Man?
This is a short continuation of my story "Hi-O, Silverado" and I promise I'm done. But once the idea crept into my little brain, it kicked around until I wrote it and let it out. Thanks to Sockie1000 and Sym64 for their beta skills... and for reading this without groaning too much. :)
Happy Halloween, everyone!
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Danny was the last to arrive in the office on this bright and balmy Tuesday morning. Without speaking to anyone he went into his office, threw his keys on his desk and jerked the chair around, plopping into it in a huff.
Steve had been reading through his emails but watched his partner's appearance then cut a glance to Chin, making a "got me" face at the other man's reaction. With a shrug toward Chin, Steve picked up his coffee cup and made his way to the coffee maker for a refill. He held up his cup toward Chin, asking if he wanted more. With a nod, he joined Steve, both making cutting glances toward Danny's office.
"He had Grace this weekend, so he should have come in happy," Steve said quietly.
"Something must have really pissed him off," Chin replied with a roll of his eyes. "Haven't seen him this bad since Rachel was planning to move to Vegas."
"Think I should take him a cup of coffee?" Steve asked.
Chin raised both hands in a defensive position. "You're on your own with that one, Brah. Not sure that is wise."
"Nah, he can't hurt me," Steve replied, pouring another cup of coffee.
Chin only grinned and grabbed his own cup and headed back to his office. "I'll be in here if you need help," he promised. "Medical or otherwise."
Steve took the two full cups and backed into Danny's office where his partner was hastily clicking through his emails.
He got no response.
"Hey, what's wrong?" Steve asked, setting one cup on the desk before getting comfortable in a chair and sipping on his own coffee.
"Freakin' morons," Danny muttered under his breath.
"What's got you so riled up?" Steve asked. "What happened this weekend? Something with Grace?"
"Huh? No, of course not. We had a great time."
"Then what's the problem?"
"Stupid kids," Danny finally bit out. "They're imbeciles. And if I catch them on my property, well, … they will regret it."
Steve took another sip of coffee. "Then tell me."
Danny huffed and then picked up his coffee cup and leaned back in his chair. After taking a sip, he took his phone from his pocket and scrolled through it. "This. This is what has me 'riled up' as you call it. I went outside to come to work this morning and this is what I found." He passed the phone to his partner.
Steve set down his coffee cup and reached for the phone, seeing a picture. He looked at it, and then did a double take, frowning at the sight. "They TP'd your house?"
"Yes, Steven, they TP'd my house. All of my house. It's a mess. I had to tear through the door this morning."
"Danny…" Steve began, trying to keep a straight face. "How the hell did you sleep through all that?"
"I don't know. Hell, for all I know maybe they were ninjas. But I didn't hear anything. And you know what? I called the rental company and they said they are not responsible for clean up. Can you believe that? I'm going to have to clean that mess by myself." His hands continued to wave and cut through the air right along with his agitation. When he finished, he raked one hand through his hair, and muttered, "Freaking, imbecilic, stupid morons."
Steve grabbed his cup and stood to leave. "Don't worry. I'll help you clean it, Danno. And ask if you can borrow Grace. I'm sure she would love to help."
"No, no, no!" Danny shook his finger at his partner. "I don't want to give my pre-teenage daughter any ideas. But thank you for offering to clean up. I will accept your help."
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Steve pulled into his parking space at HQ at the same time Danny peeled into his space. Driving in a not-so-safe mode. Danny got out of the car and slammed the door, and Steve could hear him muttering all the way down the sidewalk.
"What's wrong now?" Steve asked his partner when Danny caught up with him.
"They did it again!" Danny yelled.
"What? More toilet paper?"
"No. No, the little bastards are getting creative. Look at this." He reached for his telephone again and shoved it under Steve's nose. "Just look. I opened the door to this. Had to get a knife to cut myself out."
Steve glanced at the photo and a slow smile appeared.
"Don't you dare laugh, Steven. It isn't funny."
Steve tried to school his face as he stared at Danny's door, which had been completely covered from top to bottom with blue, painter's tape. A slash was made down the middle of the creation where Danny had hacked himself out of the house. He couldn't help the smile as it escaped again. Handing back the phone he said, "You have to admit it's a little funny, Danny."
"No, it is not. This is vandalism and let me tell you, when I catch these little felons, I will make sure they will pay."
"Hey, lighten up. It's Halloween week and they are harmless pranks," Steve told him as they entered headquarters. "I'm sure it is over… Halloween is tomorrow."
"If I have to, I will stay up all night and catch the little creeps in the act. I'll scare them straight."
"If you think that's wise," Steve replied. "But really, they haven't hurt anything."
"It isn't your house they are trashing. I mean, come on, what have I done to anyone? I don't even know my neighbors."
"Well, now is a perfect time to introduce yourself, don't you think? Need my help cleaning up the door?"
"No, I've already ripped it all down," Danny said as they entered the office. "It's the principle of the thing. Just wait. I'm gonna catch them tonight and they'll think twice before ever messing with Danny Williams again!"
Halloween, October 31, 2013
"Yeah? McGarrett," Steve's sleepy voice said into the phone.
He woke up and swung his legs over the side of the bed, glancing at the clock and trying not to wake Catherine. "What's wrong, Danny?"
"Can you pick me up this morning? You have got to see this."
"Did you catch the kids last night?"
"No, I did not."
"What happened? They run away?"
"No, I did not catch them because I fell asleep. Little creeps managed to wait until I did before showing up, but you have got to see what they did."
"OK, I'll get ready and pick you up. Be there in twenty."
"Everything OK?" Cath asked, mumbling into her pillow.
"Yeah, Danny apparently needs a ride," Steve told her, leaning over to give her a kiss. "I'll talk to you later."
"Hey, is everything OK with you? I woke up and you weren't in bed."
"Yeah, I went downstairs for some water. I tried to sneak back in bed so I wouldn't wake you."
"OK, I'll see you later," Cath raised her head and smiled at him.
"Want to go to Sidestreet tonight after the kids finish with trick or treating?" Steve asked. "I'll get the guys together."
"Yeah, sounds good. My costume is ready and I've got tons of candy to give out. You're still gonna be here, aren't you?"
"Absolutely, unless we get a case. I'm ready for it," he said, smiling.
Steve couldn't help it. He smiled and walked around the Camaro, seeing it from all angles. He finally chuckled. "This is pretty funny, man."
"This is not funny, Steven. I am an officer of the law. What if I had an emergency and had to leave quickly? They… they defaced my car."
Steve looked at the black car, thoroughly wrapped in plastic wrap, top, sides and wheels. "This is pretty ingenious, you have to admit," he told Danny. "I mean, this took some time. And lots of Saran Wrap. I can't believe you didn't hear anything."
"We have already established that I sleep soundly, Steven. I did not hear them. But so help me, if these little creeps so much as ask for a piece of candy tonight, I'm gonna stuff it right down their throats."
"How will you know who they are, Tonto?"
"I'll know. I'm a detective. And don't call me 'Tonto'." He looked up just as Steve snapped a picture of Danny and his plastic-wrapped car. "And stop that."
"I want to keep it. Besides, you might need it as evidence. And since you won't be Tonto, I guess I'll have to find someone else."
"How many times do I have to tell you that I did *not* call you 'the Lone Ranger'."
"If you say so, but it was implied. Now, let's go. After work, we can clean up your car before Grace comes to trick or treat. She is still going to go out this year, isn't she?"
"Yeah, I'll meet her after she goes out with friends. We'll come to your house sometime tonight."
"Good. After that, let's all go to Sidestreet for drinks." Steve got back into his truck and waited for Danny to join him. "Sound good?"
"Yeah, it does," Danny agreed. "Since school is tomorrow, she can't stay out too late. A drink or two after I take her home would be nice."
Steve dropped Danny off at his house, but immediately left him to un-wrap his own car by himself. Catherine had texted with a cryptic message so Steve had begged off and headed home.
Danny didn't really mind, but he stared at his car, wondering where to begin. Armed with a pair of scissors and several black trash bags, he began to cut away the plastic. A couple of kids on bikes stopped and offered to help, thinking this was the greatest trick ever.
"Did you two do this?" Danny asked, scissors in hand, a death-glare in his eyes.
"No, Sir. Shoot, my mom would kill me if I did something like this."
"She would have to stand in line," Danny muttered. "Do you know who did it?"
"Nope. But someone sure took a lot of time."
Danny ripped off another section of plastic. "They most certainly did."
With Danny pulling off the plastic and the boys rolling it and getting it into the trash bags, it didn't take long to complete the task. "Hey, thanks guys," he told them.
"Sure thing, Mister. Hey, are you a cop?"
"Yes, I am," Danny replied.
"Good. My mom says its good that a cop moved into the neighborhood to cut down on vandalism."
"Yeah, that worked out real well," Danny agreed.
When the car was cleaned up, Danny went inside to get ready to pick up Grace. When he came back out, he unlocked the car and saw something on the front seat.
Odd. The car had been locked the entire time.
And he was the only one with a key.
He picked up the folded note and stared at both the words and the piece of material that had fallen out.
"I. Will. Kill. Him.," he muttered, getting in the car and slamming the door.
"Trick or Treat," a sweet little girl dressed as the Little Mermaid came to Steve's door. Catherine bent down and gave her candy bars… plural, just because she was so cute. Cath looked up and saw Danny's car pull in the drive just as she was closing the door.
"Grace is here," she told Steve who was coming from the kitchen.
"Good. It's show time," he said with a grin and did an about face back into the kitchen.
"You are incorrigible," she told him. "He's not going to be happy."
The doorbell rang and Catherine opened it to greet Grace, dressed all in black as a witch. "Ooh, you're looking good, Girl. Come on in," Cath said.
"Cool outfit," Grace told Catherine. "Who are you supposed to be?"
"Oh, let me guess," Danny said sarcastically, following his daughter into the room. He shook his head in disgust while looking at Catherine's plaited hair and beaded headband with a feather in the back. She twirled around, showing off her Native American vest, skinny blue jeans and boots.
"You must be Tonto," Danny surmised. "Where is he?"
"He, who, Danny?"
"You know who the hell I'm talking—"
"Swear jar, Danno…"
"Where is that no-good, lame-brained partner of mine? You might want to give him a goodbye kiss because when I'm finished with him..."
Catherine reached for her phone and touched a couple of buttons. A staccato beat came from it:
Da dun, da dun, da dun dun dun, da dun, da dun, da dun dun dun. Da dun, da dun, da dun dun dun, daaaaaaa duuuuunnnn, da dun dun dun!
Danny whirled around to stare at Steve who had snuck up behind him from outside.
"Ooh, Uncle Steve. You look cool." Grace stared at her "uncle's" tight black shirt with the kerchief at his neck, white cowboy hat and black mask on his face. A brown leather belt was buckled low on his waist with pearl handled six guns on either side.
"Thank you, Grace," Steve grinned at her.
"You look better than the real Lone Ranger on the movie with Johnny Depp."
Danny slapped the note from his car onto Steve's chest, pushing him backward. "Gracie, I forbid you to give him any compliments. You are so going to pay for this, Partner. I swear it. And Grace, from now on, he isn't your favorite uncle."
"What'd I do?" Steve asked, his innocence belied by the grin on his face. "You just helped me decide what I wanted to be for Halloween."
"Really? All the stupid pranks this week? And the note?" Danny held up the black strip of material with eye holes cut out of it that he had found in his car and then turned the note over to read it again.
" 'Who was that masked man?' Juvenile, Steven, very juvenile. You are so lucky that I didn't come out and shoot your sorry ass—"
"—rear end while you were desecrating my house or car. Why? Tell me why in the world you would do such an idiotic thing?"
Catherine continued to hand out candy while Danny yelled in the yard. Kids scurried up to the house and quickly left, hurried on by their parents.
"It was payback," Steve told him. "Remember last week when I dropped everything at 0300 to come help you out of a 'situation'. Not only did you not bother to thank me, but you called me 'Kemosabe' and then told me that it meant 'a horse's ass'.
"Swear jar, Uncle Steve."
"You said it meant a horse's rear end," Steve amended, both hands on his hips, very close to his six shooters. "That's the thanks I got."
"Wait just a minute," Danny argued. "YOU called ME 'Kemosabe' and I merely pointed out what it meant. It was a joke. And besides, I did thank you before I left."
"No, that was a thank you for teaching you how to drive your own car!"
"It was a thank you for everything!" Danny shouted back.
"Wait!" Catherine stopped passing out candy and looked at the two of them. "You don't know how to drive a stick?"
"He didn't until last week when I taught him," Steve smugly told her.
"So all this… stuff… this week was your juvenile way of getting back at me because I didn't say 'thank you'?" Danny said.
"No, this was all just fun," Steve replied.
The candy in her bowl was gone. And Catherine had had enough. "OK, boys," she began, reaching for the Lone Ranger's arm, tugging him into the house. "Grace, get your father in here. The party is over. You've both had your fun. Now it's time to shut up."
"Fun?" Danny asked. "You think I've had *fun* this week? I've had to clean up all the mess he made."
"Hey, I helped with the toilet paper," Steve told him. "You had already removed the tape from the door, and today I couldn't be there when you found the note in the car, so I made up an excuse and left."
Catherine looked at him in puzzlement. "Wait. You did all that this week? When I woke up and you weren't in bed, you were out vandalizing Danny's house?"
"Thank you, Catherine."
"I wasn't vandalizing. The Lone Ranger was only pranking."
"Are you ever going to grow up, Steven?"
"I think it's funny," Grace told him. "You should have heard Danno yelling on the way over here. I got six dollars for the Swear Jar."
"It's time for a truce," Catherine warned them. "You two make up. Now."
Steve huffed. "Sorry you didn't like what I did to your house and car," he said.
"That's an apology?" Danny asked.
"That's as good as you'll get, Danny," Catherine warned him. "Now, can you thank Steve for whatever you're supposed to say thank you for?"
"Thank you for pulling the Camaro out of the ditch, Steven."
"Your car was in the ditch?" two female voices said at the same time.
"Yes, it was," Danny mumbled. "Because I didn't know how to drive a stick shift. There. Are you happy?"
"I'm good," Steve told him, grinning. "You good?"
"Whatever," Danny grumbled, reaching for a piece of Grace's candy.
"Hey, Danno," Steve said, taking off his white hat and setting it on Danny's head. "Where does the Lone Ranger take his trash?"
Danny quickly removed the hat and tossed it back to Steve, before making sure his hair hadn't been damaged. "I don't know, Steven. Where does the Lone Ranger take his trash? As if I really want to know."
"To da dump, to da dump, to da dump, dump, dump…"
"I so hate you."
OK, I'm done with these little puns. The Lone Ranger has left the building.