Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Sep 26, 2017

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2017! #36


A home is a home as long as there’s a roof over your head I suppose, for some, it’s an empty Sear’s refrigerator box, for others it’s a pitched tent on a city sidewalk. Mine has got a clogged drain in the kitchen sink and an old a/c that the landlord keeps promising to replace but never does, things could be worse. Since my place sits between two large warehouses I don’t get any of the natural breezes which come down from the Kalihi mountains. I mean, the breezes do come, just not to my place.
So I’ve got Vornado fans in every room, it helps when it’s supposed to. The street I live on is filled with people who have lived here in their dilapidated old houses and concrete apartments for generations. They are never going to leave this street to better themselves because this is all they know, existing right where they are is good enough for them and they don’t aspire or hope to be more than they are; that’s their legacy. They are no different than the bland and listless ghosts which decorate this street like uneventful pieces of furniture that are left on the sidewalk for pickup, as you lived in life, so to do you live in the afterlife. Quite the neighborhood, even the ghosts aren’t ambitious enough to scare you, but what a fearful way to spend your life and the rest of eternity, doing nothing and going nowhere.


Her name is Cheryl Correa but everyone knows her as ‘Stringy’ because of how small and petite she is, as long as I’ve lived here I’ve always known her to be single and alone. From the uniform she wears whenever she is coming home or going to work, it is obvious that she is a security guard somewhere. On the weekends she wears a brown aloha print uniform which also tells me she’s a waitress, I don’t judge. These days, people do what they have to do in order to survive and of course as I said previously, this is the tone which permeates this street. Now and again, I will hear Stringy having a conversation with someone and most times I assume that she is on a phone call with a friend or relative, but other times it sounds like she’s arguing with a person who isn’t arguing back. That kinda thing tends to happen when a person lives on their own, they tend to talk to themselves but to what degree I’m not sure. It was a quiet night save for the ambient sounds of traffic from three blocks up on Nimitz, other ambient noises were the sounds of persons having conversations or the sounds of a cooking channel show from someone’s widescreen t.v. The doorbell rang as if someone held the button down for too long before they let up on it, it rang that way three times until I finally made it to the door. For some reason, my apartment was gifted with two closets so since I really didn’t have that many clothes I decided to turn the second closet into a bookshelf. I checked the peephole and saw Stringy standing there with her arms folded across her chest, she looked fraught with worry. When I opened the door it was going to be the first time I would speak to her in the three years that I had been living on Liberation Street.

She apologized for bothering me and asked me if I would follow her to her apartment and help her to get rid of her husband. I was cautious and told her that maybe she should call the police and that I did not want to be involved in her personal business. She assured me that her husband was not a threat, he just gets too comfortable and doesn’t know when to leave.

“Oh, you guys are separated?” I asked with just a sprinkle of sympathy but not overdone with sugar.

“Uh, in a way,” she said as she walked toward her apartment. “Don’t mind my place, I just got home from work so I haven’t had time to clean.”

“Oh no worries,” Just to reassure her that it was alright, I was sself-deprecating “you should see my place.”

She walked into her unit where the kitchen was to the right and the bathroom and shower were to the left. In the far left corner was what I could only assume was her bedroom, the living room space in the middle was large, to my immediate right was the counter which separated the kitchen from the couch where Stringy’s husband sat. He was large and hefty and by that I mean wide, he was dressed in a mechanic’s blue jumpsuit and appeared to be comfortably stretched out. I looked at Stringy as she stood in front of him and waved me over, “Shane! Shane! Shane! Time to go Shane! C’mon braddah, you gotta go!”

I cut a wide circle before I stood next to Stringy, but in the short process of that journey what unfolded before me was a Hawaiian/Filipino man who was in his late 40s early 50s and was severely overweight. His folds of skin hung over the arm of the couch as part of his uniform, in his hand was an open bottle of beer and on his lap was a large plate with a pile of rice and pork chops soaked in a mountain of gravy but there was something strange about the whole scene. Every color about Shane was muted as if the color itself died and what was left was just a faded memory of the color, it was the same for the food on his lap and the drink in his hand. It wasn’t making sense until I took a step forward and got a closer look at Shane and I don’t remember at that moment if I screamed and then shit my pants and fainted or the other way around? In any case, I had just witnessed my first ghost!

When I came around I was laying on Stringy’s bed, I guess she was keeping a close watch on me because she’d been sitting in the room the whole time. I sat straight up and apologized but she cautioned me not to get out of bed because I was only covered with a towel. At the foot of her bed lay my shorts, underwear, and shirt. Stringy must have seen the look on my face, “I threw your clothes in the washer dryer after I cleaned you off in my shower.”
All I could do was put my head down, in embarrassment and sheepishly thank her, “Ah no worry,” she waved me off. “I had to do that for Shane all the time, you seen one you seen um all. I saw yours too but yours is safe, nothing happened to it. You might wanna take off the foreskin though, I heard it can get infected.” I was smart enough to change the subject quickly, to which Stringy replied, “All he would do every day is sit on that couch and watch t.v, right after work. He never exercised, he never went out nothing, he just there and ate bad food and it finally killed him, he died on that couch. Every month at least couple times he comes back and his ghost shows up on the couch. The only way I can get him to leave is to bring somebody in here for him to scare, after that he’s gone. I’m so sorry, please don’t be mad?”

She had me dead to rights, I couldn’t be mad at her because who knew if she had taken pictures of me and was prepared to post them on social media as a sort of blackmail? It was an unspoken thing between us but she never mentioned the incident again, that is until the new guy moved in. I couldn’t warn him though because if Stringy knocked at his door and he refused to help her she’d know that I talked.


So whenever there’s a knock on my door I answer it and I follow Stringy to her apartment and because of the laxatives I take beforehand, I am able to feign mind-numbing fear and on cue, I scream, shit my pants and faint. Stringy is always nice enough to place a trail of newspapers along the way to the shower where I can clean and dry myself off. Naturally, I’ve locked the bathroom door; you know how these things can happen if you let them. I was like everyone else now, I could never leave this neighborhood if I wanted to, this is where I would live out the rest of my life until death mercifully took me in his arms. Unless I kill Stringy?

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