Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Sep 1, 2017

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2017! #61

Bad Words

Potato salad is made by boiling the potatoes whole and skinning them after they cool down. Then it’s carefully cut into cubes while holding it in one's hand and then letting it drop into the bowl one after the other. After that comes the grated carrots and the finely chopped onions along with the celery and the required amount of mayonnaise; some people add hard boiled eggs to the mix but Helena always made hers special by adding the right amount of black and green olives.
She’s serving this popular concoction at her son Raymond’s one-year birthday party; the party itself is an awkward situation because in attendance is Helena’s boyfriend Patrick, who is also Raymond’s father. There also at the party is Raymond’s half-sister Darlene who is also Patrick’s daughter by a woman named Fern who has come with Darlene to the birthday party. Lurking about at this same celebration is another woman named Pio who is not only Helena’s neighbor but is also sleeping with Patrick.

 It’s quite the situation.

Everyone is well behaved and they all play their parts and the party goes off without a hitch. The games for the children are enjoyable and not one child leaves empty handed after Darlene helps Raymond split the pinata in two. By the late afternoon, parents and kids are filing out one by one with each expressing their gratitude and thanks for being invited. By sunset, Raymond and Darlene are fast asleep on the couch in the living room. Helena, Patrick, Fern, and Pio are gathered around the large kitchen table in Helena’s house where they begin to partake of the more adult servings of barbecue ribs, corn, rice and of course Helena’s potato salad. Fern was amazed by the taste of the potato salad as was Pio who couldn’t get over how delicious the salad was; the addition of the black and green olives just seemed to make the dish that much more sinful. Helena is gracious and thanks her guests for their compliments, Patrick has his faced buried in his plate as he consumes large amounts of the potato salad. Helena takes a second as she eyes the two women and her boyfriend.

“So Patrick, which one of these two women are you sleeping with?” Her question is a matter of fact as if she were asking about the weather or how his day was going. Patrick was too preoccupied with the potato salad but Fern piped up, “ I can answer that.…I’m not sure about you Helena or you Pio but Patrick and I meet one day a week at Mariner’s inn by the airport and he fucks my brains out.”

“Shit,” Pio scoffed while cutting a piece of barbecue and spooning a small pile of the potato salad on top of it. “I make sure Patrick eats me out first before anything else, in fact, Helena, just this past Monday when Patrick told you he was at work, he actually had me bent over my kitchen sink. I was looking right into your living room window and I could see you watching the sun rise news on t.v. I couldn’t help but think how stupid you really are for not even figuring out what was going on!”

“Is that right?” Helena answered calmly. Looking over at Patrick she reached out and held his hand in hers and directed another question to her beloved. “Is there anything else that I missed hun?”

“Yeah, Fern left her husband cause she wants us to be married and be a family but I lied and told her that you were pregnant and that I couldn’t leave you. As far as Pio, she’s nothing but a quick bang whenever I get the urge, she pretty much wants the same thing that Fern wants but truth be told, I’m just too busy having fun sleeping with three women at the same time. I just want to get away with it for as long as I can until I find something better to move on to, but I’m never worried about getting caught.” Patrick spoke as if he were discussing this matter with one of his construction buddies.

“Why are you this way, Patrick?” Helena asked with a measure of anger and hurt, her tears were falling because she knew that the truth was killing her.

“Well,” Patrick inhaled before he spoke. “It’s mainly because I watched my father do the same thing to my mother when I was growing up and I just thought it’s what you’re supposed to do when you become a man. Deep inside I know it’s wrong but right now I’m just too far gone and I don’t care.”

“Okay, well I’m leaving you Patrick and I’m taking Raymond with me. Fern, you don’t mind if I take Darlene with me do you?” Helena asked very politely and for a split second she’d hoped that Fern would say no, but that was not the case. “Oh yeah take her, she’s just something that helps me get closer to Patrick.”

“Oh, damn girl I was gonna use that same excuse and tell Patrick that I was pregnant! Of course, I’m not but it’s always worth a try right?” Pio cackled laughing and Fern joined in until the two of them were crying with tears.

After Helena loaded up the children in her SUV, she took a quick second to douse the floors of her old wooden house with kerosene and set it to flame while Patrick, Fern, and Pio still sat in it. They could not tear themselves away from the potato salad.


A mile down the road from her burning house, Helena pulled her vehicle over to the side of the road where she met her contact. He was parked just a few feet in front of where she pulled up, he got out and walked over to her SUV where he received his payment from her.

“The potato salad worked like magic, after a few bites they may as well have given up the name of the guy on the grassy knoll,” Helena’s sarcasm was tinged with anger and pain because of how much the truth hurt and how she hated being right.

“It’s an old family recipe, that never fails,” the stranger replied with a slight grin on his face.

“I’m curious, what’s the secret?” Helena smiled knowing very well that she wasn’t going to get a straight answer.

“Faith,” The stranger winked as he walked back to his car and drove off leaving Helena to wonder what kind of person she’d become now that she’d consorted with someone like the stranger who had his own sense of moral ambiguity? Certainly, the step she took tonight was one that she could never retrace.

No Kel-Tec P11 9mm with black talon bullets this time, just an old family recipe that's guaranteed to make you sing.


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