My Kind of Town

Don Chapman

Banking on Gomes

» Liliha

As news cameras caught the young lama's mother welcoming her baby home with a big hug and leading him inside, HPD Detective Sherlock Gomes and Solo Bike Officer Quinn Ah Sun caught the two Chinese guys making eye contact, moving closer to the waiting limo. One wore a tan business suit, the other a green aloha shirt. They stood apart, and other than that one glance acted like strangers.

Unlike the rest of the crowd, Gomes noted, they were not focused on the lama, certainly not joining the heartfelt cheers. They were getting into position. Close enough to reach out and touch the young lama as he left.

"Quinn, would you get on your helmet radio and ask for some very quiet muscle, ASAP," Gomes said out of the side of his mouth, "while I go say hi."

He sidled over to where the guy in the green aloha shirt stood near the gate. "So who you with?"

Green Shirt was startled for a moment. "With?"

"It's obvious. You're with somebody."

"Ah, of course." Semi-rattled, he pulled a business card from his shirt pocket, handed it over.

Nice card. Slick stock, English and Chinese characters embossed in red and gold. "Glad to meet you, Du Wop. So you're with Bank of Lhasa too? I just met your boss Fon Du."

"Yes, I noticed. I'm here to support him."

"You and your friend there in the tan suit?"

Again he was flustered by this man's presumptions. "Well, yes ... And you, which media are you with? TV, newspaper?"

"Neither." Gomes handed over a card emblazoned with an HPD badge.

"Ah, very good," Doo Wop said, gathering himself. "You know, Bank of Lhasa offers a special account to police officers and firefighters. I'll be happy to send you more details."

"That'd be great," Gomes said. Thinking, give all my personal financial information to the Communists? Don't think so. He took three steps, stopped at Tan Suit. "So you're also with Bank of Lhasa. Could I get your card too, please?"

Tan Suit's nostrils flared, but the card was proffered, and Gomes returned the favor.

"Zu Lu, nice to see you too. I ever need a business loan, you're my guy."

Gomes walked back to where Quinn waited by his bike.

"Guy over there in the gray suit with the media folks?" Quinn said. "He seemed to have an intense interest in your conversation."

"No doubt. They're all colleagues with Bank of Lhasa."

"Mm-hm. And you and me, Sherlock, we're with Bank of Liliha."

Gomes chuckled. "And I'm guessing they're not alone."

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Don Chapman is editor of MidWeek. His serialized novel runs daily in the Star-Bulletin. He can be e-mailed at


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