by Karen Rhodes

“I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy, a Yankee Doodle Do-or-Die─!”

Johnny Kling stood frozen in time and space, his arms up, his feet apart in mimicry of a James Cagney tap-dance routine. Steve McGarrett and Dan Williams stared at him, convinced they had witnessed a man’s final rapid descent into tota1 insanity. Steve took hold of one of Johnny’s arms as Dan gently grasped the other and they guided him toward Steve’s car. Dan helped the demented murderer into the back seat, and slid in next to him.

Steve eased his lean frame into the driver’s seat and started the car.

“The question, sir, was,” Kling suddenly began in his throaty Sidney Greenstreet imitation, “who killed Cock Robin?”

McGarrett glanced in the rear-view mirror. My God, he thought. He’s really f1ipped out.

Kling laughed a Greenstreet laugh, full and hearty. “The police─the police were baffled at first. For you see, sir, the murder had been done cleanly. Arrow right through the heart, sir.” He laughed again.

“Then suspicion fell upon the black bird, sir.” More laughter. “Yes, the black bird. But the problem was, he couldn’t be held responsible. No, sir, he could not be brought to account for the crime.”

Steve glanced up into the rear-view again, and saw pity in Dan’s face. Then he looked at Kling, who sat lost in madness, his eyes bright and wide, a wild grin broad on his face. Poor bastard.

“All were in agreement. It would be impossible to try the black bird as the murderer. For you see, sir─” Johnny leaned back against the seat, his eyes closed, his mouth open wide with mirth. “The black bird, sir─”

Steve looked up once again and Dan made eye contact, shaking his head, as Kling got to the punch line of his story. “For the black bird, sir, was a mynah!”

─Thanks to my husband, Keys Rhodes, who, in one of his frequent bouts of silliness, sprang this routine on me one night as I was putting PAU HANA 2 together. As I am totally spineless when it comes to punsI, an invertebrate punster, couldn’t resist setting this one in the FIVE-O universeadmit it The Bells Toll at Noon is perfect for it!and inflicting it upon you, gentle readers. Mea culpa. Am I penitent? Sureas penitent as Honore Vashon!