Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Nov 8, 2016

“Auld Lange Syne Maka’i

The owners of the longtime drug store wanted discretion in the matter, they didn’t even want their employees to know, but that was impossible because everyone who worked the graveyard shift had seen the ghosts of the two men. One was a Hawaiian police officer dressed in the old olive drab uniform, the other was that of a local Japanese man wearing a white buttoned down short sleeved white shirt with a black tie. Their spirits weren’t doing anything, in particular, they would just appear randomly and scare the holy hell out the workers. They were wondering if there was anything I could do to help?

I thought this case would be a good break for the Grant Society. We needed something simple like this after months of working on cases that required exorcisms while simultaneously exposing frauds who claimed to be psychics and healers. Those cases kept coming back to back; couple that with a secret government entity that kept tabs on us and you’ve got a recipe for burnout.

We needed this.

Smitty and his wife Leslie were the new editions from Illinois, Smitty was a full blown psychic who was a former police officer. I put him in contact with the historian at H.P.D. Leslie, his wife was a librarian and a damned good one at that. She and my wife Tanya got along really well. Being that Tanya is a lover of books and has a thing for cataloging, they’d become the wonder twins of the Dewey decimal system. Their job was to pull up old maps and land titles from the time before the great mahele. If they had to, they would also have to explore books such as sites of ‘O’ahu for any references to legends or things spiritual or otherworldly. Like Spencer, Renson was away at school in order to complete is Ph.D. while Aisha remained at home. She was promoted to a manager position at her place of employment which took up most of her time. Todd was working a frantic twenty four hours a day at traffic court, trying to set a foundation for himself so that he could retire early. Smart young people, all of them. They had their whole life ahead of them and the Grant Society would always be here, whenever they needed us.

My job was to talk to all of the eyewitnesses and compare first hand accounts. It turns out that nothing was different and no one report stood out from the others, it was all the same. The ghosts of the two men would appear randomly during the graveyard shift, sometimes in the aisle way, other times in the walk-in freezer, but most times in the upstairs office when the manager was by himself. The only place that the two ghosts would not manifest was in the pharmacy.

Two nights later when the team assembled at the drug store, we’d reached an understanding with the management staff that we would roam the store incognito and not arm ourselves with any recorders or video. We didn’t want to alarm any customers or cause the establishment to lose business. Before we did that, Smitty stepped forward and presented his findings from his research.

Before the place was a drug store it was a market that had been in the area for years, right up until 2011. The original family couldn’t compete anymore with the super stores that were popping up everywhere. They were finally forced to sell to the well known drug store chain.

In 1964, two armed robbers walked in to the market and took all of the cashiers and the store manager hostage and locked them in the upstairs office. When one of the stock clerks, a man by the name of Nagata, resisted and fought back, one of the robbers, a Haole man named Hans Schimmer, shot the stock clerk in the back and killed him instantly. An eye witness who was leaving the old store at the time that the crime occurred, contacted H.P.D. when she heard the gun shot. Dispatch put out the call and not less than five minutes later, eight police officers would converge on the scene. The first to arrive was officer Ekala, a big bear of a Hawaiian man, he burst into the upstairs office and exchanged gun fire with the hostage takers. The other criminal was a man by the name of Vincente Arelio, who managed to shoot the officer in the sternum. To his horror, the bullet wound did nothing to slow officer Ekala down. In fact, the Hawaiian police officer picked up the frightened criminal over his head and threw him into the wall and knocked the wind out of him.

Hans Schimmer was a boxer in his youth in Germany. When officer Ekala headed for him, Hans threw a right cross and Ekala met his fist with his forehead, thus breaking Hans hand. Much of the excitement was over by the time that the other officers arrived, meanwhile, Ekala had taken a seat next to the store managers desk where he began to take a statement. The procedure was less than a minute in, when the store manager noticed officer Ekala’s blank stare. He had suddenly gone pale, when the store manager waved leaned forward and waved his hand in front of the officer’s face, he also noticed a very large dark stain on the officer’s uniform. Ekala was dead, he’d bled to death literally in the performance his duty. The wound was fatal but in all the excitement, Ekala must have had such an adrenaline rush that he probably didn’t even realize he’d been shot. Which meant that, as far as Ekala’s mind was concerned, he was still alive.

Smitty and I took the back of the store and slowly worked our way to the front. Leslie and Tanya would start from the upstairs since the most traumatic part of the event happened in the old managers office. With the exception of a few drunk college kids staggering in to the establishment for more liquor, the night was uneventful. Things didn’t really get interesting until the four ‘o clock hour. There was an obvious shift in the air and the store smelled like ozone.

“We got a shift,” Smitty cued in.

“Ten-Four,” I replied.

“Uh we have company up here in the office,” Tanya squeaked in.

“I thought the store manager left for the night?” I asked.

“Iiiiiit’s Smitty’s police officer friend from 1964,” Leslie’s voice was shaking.

“Alright,” I started out calmly. “You know what to do, the both of you can see him so that means he’s telepathically projecting himself to you. That means that you can all communicate,”

“Communicate,” Smitty buzzed in. “Start talking to him and tell him what happened,”

Just as Smitty began to relay the instructions, a local Japanese man with slicked back hair and a buttoned short sleeve shirt and black tie walked right past me.

“I got Nagata,” I whispered.

“Are you sure it’s him?” My wife asked.

“Yeah, he’s only got his top half,” I answered. “There’s a huge blood stain on his back and the rest of him is mist from the waist down,”

“Where is he going?” Smitty clicked in.

“He’s headed to you, going up kitchenware,” I clicked back.

“I just realized that I don’t speak Japanese!” Smitty exclaimed. “How am I gonna tell him that he’s dead?”

“Hello! Psychic Medium! You only talk to the dead!” I reminded him.

“Alright, I got him,” Smitty confirmed.

“I’m behind Nagata,” I replied. “I just realized why these two don’t haunt the pharmacy. It’s an extension, it was never part of the old store.”

There was no reply from the other three parties, “Random trivia, sorry”


“Your wife is still alive, she’s in her late seventies I believe,” Leslie said.

“Your children are in their late forties and early fifties,” Tany offered. “They’re all fine people. You died in the performance of your duties, what you did that night made you a legend, not just in the police department for the whole state. Young people still follow the example you set,”

The ghost of officer Benedict Ekala smiled and nodded his head. He seemed to be satisfied with what he heard because his form slowly faded like the last light at sunset.

“The man who killed you was deported back to Germany after he was released from ‘O’ahu prison a few years ago. He was a very old man, he died en route to Nuremberg,” Smitty told the ghost of Nagata.

The fire in Nagata’s eye burned with the want for revenge, it seemed like it would never go out. It’s always the case with your basic Japanese ghost who can’t or won’t move on because of unfinished business. Such was the case with Nagata, he was a single man from Japan who was already in his forties and was just starting his job at the old market as a stock clerk. During the day he worked at the Japanese language school to support himself. He had plans to buy a house and at some point find a bride to marry, but his aspirations were cut short on that fateful night in November of 1964. It wasn’t fair, he was only getting started.
“Nagata,” I interrupted. “Rather than remain here seeking revenge against someone who is already gone, why don’t you become the protector of this place so that no one has to suffer your fate? Perhaps, in that way you can help break any kind of bad karma that might repeat itself here? What do you think?”

Nagata’s face took on the countenance of a samurai who had just been assigned a sacred duty to uphold honor and integrity. He smiled, nodded his head and took a step back and bowed. A second later, he was gone.

The management was very happy with the results and gave a discount card to their establishment. We accepted the gift graciously, however, once we were on the way back to the SUV, I handed my discount card to my wife. Smitty and Leslie walked right back in and used their cards to get a few drinks and snacks. An hour later, we were sitting on the wall at Kaimana beach watching the sun come up.

“Dunno about you guys, but I’m headed home to crash,” I said.

“I heard that,” Leslie nodded.

“Back to the compound?” Smitty asked.

“I will drive us there,” My wife confirmed.


That same December we received a letter of invitation from the Ekala family. It was a Christmas memorial for Benedict. It was the fifty second year celebration of his passing. We were touched and very honored to attend. The party was great and the food, even greater. By the end of the night, we stood around the massive Christmas Tree and sang, “For Auld Lange Syne” in honor of Benedict. It was an honor indeed.

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