Recognition (800 words)

“I brought in me,” my father said.


“I am Kang Yu’s nephew.  I –”

I interrupted.  “You mean I am part of that freaking family?  Gi Yu is my cousin?”

“Yes, Lanning, I’m afraid you are related, but not by blood, if that’s any consolation.  I am his nephew by adoption.”

Yeah, that was better, but really, this was just frickin great.

“Fishing has become a cover for me.  I work now for the Korean Central Intelligence Agency.  I had discovered that Byung Yu murdered his first wife, my childhood sweetheart back in Wanhei.  I actually came to Honolulu originally to follow her, but by the time I could afford to move, she had already married Byung.

“My sole purpose now is to dismantle and, if possible, bring to justice the entire Yu syndicate, including Gi Yu and all the Hawai‘i operation.  It was decided I should come by boat so as not raise any suspicion, as might happen if I were to fly here.  As far as Kang’s people know, I’m out at sea fishing.  Any information I can glean about their operations would be ideal, but my orders are, at minimum, to terminate Gi and her lieutenants.”

Chan said, “Well, I’m sorry to tell you this Mister Lee, but you won’t be terminating anyone.  I may want them as much as you do, especially after what they’ve done to my family, but . . . well, we need to do it legally.”

My father let out a loud laugh.  “And how has that been working for you, Lieutenant?  I understand that neither your grandfather nor you father were able to finish off these evil people.  Are you close to putting any of them in prison?  You should adopt my strategy, Lieutenant.  It would be easy, I think, to either overlook my mission, or to do them in yourself without much notice.  Especially if you’re the one who investigates, say, Gi Yu’s death.  If what they’ve done to your family is as bad as it sounds, I’m surprised you haven’t figured out a way to terminate her and any number of her soldiers by now.

“But” he continued, “I know your grandfather and your father’s reputations, and I’m sure you are dyed in the same wool.  You are too good a man, and you are doubly bound by being an upstanding agent of the law.  Well, Lieutenant, we operate differently in South Korea, particularly when it comes to Wanhei in general, and Yu Kan-Ho specifically, and I assure you I am as far from good as the two Koreas are from unification.  If Byung Yu were still alive, I’d have put a bullet in him my first day in town.  I would love to thank, in person, whoever it was that blew his brains out.”

Chan said, “So why isn’t Kang Yu dead?  If it’s easy to do, he should be long deceased, shouldn’t he?”

“That bastard lives in a fortress stronger than Fort Knox, and everyone the KCIA has tried to worm into his ranks goes missing.”

There was a long pause.  “I understand,” my father said, “you’ve still not been able to find the person who put Byung and his idiot son Jason out of our misery.”

To hear my father talk like this did nothing to improve my state of mind regarding my finding him, or rather his finding me, and recognizing, too, my familial relation to the Yus.

The Lieutenant sat silent, so I supposed these mysteries were unsolved, as my father said.

There was a knock.  This time it was Dr. Oh who entered, the nurse accompanying him.

We stepped away from the bed to allow him to examine my father.  He checked the various monitors as well, then nodded for the Lieutenant to go outside.  I followed.

Chan said, “Doctor Oh, we’ve discovered that the man is Mister Lee, that Lanning here is in fact his son.”

“Ah, that’s good, good to hear for your sake, Lanning.”

I didn’t want to get into the issue, so I kept my mouth shut.

“I’m afraid that Mister Lee’s situation does not look good.  It’s really touch and go right now.  I’m sorry.”

This news saddened me.  Trust me, this was a surprise.

Chan asked, “Should you or Doctor Kamaka be here with him through the night?”

“That can definitely be arranged,” said Oh.  “I’ll stay here, ‘til midnight, and I’ll call Doctor Kamaka and ask him to relieve me.  I can come back at eight tomorrow morning to relieve him.  We’ll work it out.”

“Thank you, so much,” I said.

Chan looked at me, then smiled.

Dr. Oh went to phone.

“Could you use some dinner?” asked Chan.

“I think another beer would help.”

“Sure, Lanning, have a seat outside and I’ll get two.”

Talk story

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