Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Dec 22, 2016

"Death Is Lloyd Dobler"

Sitting on the library steps, I took in the night air and noticed the usual group of homeless near the front doors, tucking themselves in for the night. The church bells from Kawaiaha’o sounded the seven ‘o clock hour just then, and the birds that were perched on the wrought iron gate fronting the Lunalilo tomb suddenly flew away as if the bells were an invisible hand prompting them to be gone.
That’s when I noticed the stranger approaching from the lane between the palace and the library. He was dressed in a trench coat, a t-shirt, and slacks, he silently made his way to where I was seated and plopped himself down on the steps just on the other side of the hand railing. I couldn’t help but notice his boots, they were the same kind of boots I wore during my kicking ass and pissing battery acid days. Those were stupid days for me and I could not figure out why my mind went there, but I was there for a mere second. Drinking, fighting and just being a jerk.

“Howzit going?” I asked, not really knowing why I asked because I had intended not to say anything to this person.

“I’m good,” He replied. “You waiting for your people?”

“Yeah, they called and said they’re gonna be a little late. Are you with them?” I was curious.

“I’m with one of them,” he nodded.

I reached under the hand rail and extended my hand to him,

“I’m Lopaka,” I said.

He wiped his palm on his pant leg and began to take my hand in order to accept the salutation. We never got to it because I noticed something strange and said, “Hey, did you know.…”

He cut me off too at that point and said, “I know, I look like Lloyd Dobler from ‘Say Anything’

“Yeah it’s weird, you don’t look like John Cusack the actor who plays Lloyd Dobler, you look like you ARE Lloyd Dobler from the movie. Does that make any sense?” I asked.

“I get it all the time, I’m used to it,” He smirked.

Suddenly, my mysterious sounds ring tone went on and I looked down at my phone to see a text from the client, “We are across the street coming your way, we see you!”

I looked up and saw the group of 13 in the crosswalk, they were waving at me, I waved back and stood up. 

“This is them,” I exhaled.

“Listen, I got two things I want to tell you,” He said.

“Yeah sure, but make it quick, we’re about to begin,” I replied.

“Number one, things aren’t as bad as you worry them to be. Everything is everything, it’s cool.” He looked at me as if I was supposed to understand his subtle hint.

“Okay,” I was confused obviously but open to where this was going.

“Number two,” he said as he gestured to the approaching group. “Those people REALLY want to do this ghost tour, I mean they REALLY want to.”

“Okay,” I said again, now I was waiting for the punch line.

“They’re not even gonna ask for a refund,” He winked as he bounded down the steps and jogged up to the group of thirteen who were now crossing the lawn fronting the library. The group didn’t even seem to notice him, but he walked right up to a young man in the group and touched the man on his shoulder. The young man dropped dead on the spot, in a second his friends were screaming and didn’t know what to do. A second later, the guy that looked like Lloyd Dobler walked up to me with the ghost of my recently deceased client in tow.

“On one hand, this is just going to add to your mystique,” he smiled and winked. “On the other hand, you have a story to add to your plethora of stories!” I guess he could see the worry on my face, because a sympathetic look came over him and he said, “You have my permission to talk about what you saw tonight. At the same time, I’m sorry this had to happen on your watch but a job’s a job, you know?”

“So, you’re not Lloyd Dobler?” I didn’t know what else to say at that moment.

“No, I’m an image that is most comfortable for your mind to accept,” he said. “My real image it’s.…it’s too overwhelming; you’d go mad if you saw it.”

“It’s you,” I told him because suddenly, I knew who he was. “I could always feel you, like you were always lingering, just at the edge. I mean, I never went looking for you, but I knew you were around.”

“I’m a fan, we all are. We like listening to your stories, but we make ourselves scarce in the physical sense.” He admitted. "We wouldn't want people to freak out and turn into drooling idiots."

“We?” I had to know.

“We, us, on this side.” He gestured behind him. He put his arm around the young man just then and they began to walk off toward the lane between the palace and the library. Before their forms began to dissolve, he turned to me and said, “Seventy-nine.”

I was confused, “I’m sorry?”

“You were wondering when; you’ll be seventy-nine when the time comes.” He gave me the thumbs up and the two of them were gone. My thoughts, if you could call it that were scattered and I didn’t know what to make of what I had just experienced. In the confusion, one of the young women from the tour group approached me in tears and began to apologize. I was brought back to reality at that point, but I didn’t know how to tell this person that the grim reaper had just made off with one of her friends. 

“I’m sorry this happened to you guys, I’ll get you a refund as soon as possible,” I said.

“Oh no, no,” She said. “We don’t know who that guy was, I guess he was looking at his cell phone and wasn’t paying attention, so he must have wandered into our group but we don’t know him. We didn't know anything until he died. We still want to do the tour if you’re not too upset?”

“Oh no, I’m fine but wow that is strange, because I thought he was with you guys, but he’s not. Man, that’s, that’s just.….wow...I mean wow.” I couldn’t believe it.

Once the EMT arrived and I was sure that everything was alright, we embarked on my ghost tour. It nearly eight forty-five but the group still wanted to do the tour, and they didn’t want a refund.


As strange as the experience might have been, I felt a great sense of comfort knowing that when my time came, Lloyd Dobler was going to be waiting for me in my yard with his 1977 Chevy Malibu parked behind him. Held aloft in his hands would be his radio boom box, blaring out a song on the loudspeakers to let me know that it was time to go.

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