Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Sep 15, 2018

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2018 #46


The windshield on the 1966 Chrysler Imperial crown was like a mirror reflecting the branches of the gold shower trees above it.
Moving in virtual silence under the canopy of the Cassia fistulas which are native to the Indian subcontinent, the black sedan stood out as a stark contrast to the rich green foliage and decorative flower trees within Kapiolani Park.  The other contrast was the ambulance near the tennis courts spiriting the body of a young local girl away who was dressed in a black plaid shirt and black jeans. She'd sliced herself open in a perfect line from the pocket of her elbows to her wrists where she laid down on the damp grass and bled to death.

"Boss, are we looking for someone?" Kealoha maneuvered the vehicle around the giant water fountain just past the Elks club and headed back in the 'Ewa direction.

"We are," Boy confirmed as he gazed out of the back window thoughtfully. "I'll let you know when we find him."

"O.k. boss. I'll follow your lead." Kealoha was a war veteran who suffered from PTSD but also from a broken heart. When he returned home from active duty ten years ago he came home to an empty house. His wife had taken everything and disappeared with all their shared assets which included the four hundred thousand dollars they saved for a deposit on a bigger house in Kalihi. His world fell apart and it was not long before he devolved into a world of petty crimes and drugs. Boy met Kealoha one evening when he and Tiny were about to enter a gambling house that was run by a petty criminal who had stolen an heirloom 'ukulele which belonged to Tiny's nephew. The instrument was over a hundred years old and had been passed down from generation to generation from the very first Paniolo in Kamuela who made it. That night Kealoha was the doorman at the gambling house and as monstrously huge as he was, he was also high on drugs and very drunk. Approaching the entrance, Tiny had no intention of asking anyone's permission to enter the building. The towering figure of a doorman who was dressed like a thug straight out of a rap video was a nuisance. Tiny had no time for pleasantries so he made a beeline for the door. Kealoha stepped forward and stretched his arm out to stop him. Tiny ducked under the intended block and sidestepped to his left. A straight punch to Kealoha's sternum dropped the titan-sized man to his knees. Tiny drew his right leg back and readied himself to deliver a kick to Kealoha's head as if it were the winning punt at a homecoming game. Boy stopped his uncle and reminded him of his purpose at the gambling house. The barrel-chested no neck Hawaiian man disappeared into the den of iniquity while Boy stayed outside with the doorman who was still on all fours throwing up everything he'd eaten that morning. "I'll find the both of you and I'll kill you with my own two hands."

"Before you do that," Boy replied. "Go ask your boss about who we are. If he doesn't end up killing you for not keeping my uncle out of his gambling house; then come and see me."

Uncle Tiny got his nephew's priceless 'ukelele back but not without having to knock a couple of heads together. The gambling boss never touched a hair on Kealoha's head and Kealoha himself received an invitation to meet Boy on the grounds of the Ulupo heiau in Kailua. Kealoha found Boy sitting on a bench a few feet away from the upper level of the ancient Hawaiian temple. He approached the Hawaiian man in the dark suit with every intention of taking his life.  Boy stood up and straightened out his coat and tie but in reality, he was timing Kealoha's approach. He held his open palm out to the big man and closed his fingers into a fist. Simultaneously Kealoha cried out in agonizing pain and crumbled to the grass in a fetal position with his hands clutching his heart. Boy opened his hand and the pain was gone, the gambling house doorman struggled to stand up. His skin was ashen grey and his eyes were glazed over. It took him a second to gather himself before he launched a sucker punch at Boy hoping to break his jaw. Boy leaned back slightly and inserted his fingertips into the giant man's armpit where he was able to grab on to the outer chest muscle which again paralyzed the big man and brought him to his knees. This time Boy showed no mercy and with an outer layer of chest muscle in his hand, he slowly closed his fingers into a fist. The pain was too unbearable and the man who had become accustomed to inciting fear into everyone was now in fear of losing his life. Tears fell from his eyes and he cried for mercy; Boy, however, held on to his grip and steadily applied pressure until he saw the veins in Kealoha's eyes begin to pop out. Then he let go.

"We can do this all day and you'll end up being crippled or worse," Boy was calm in his delivery and even in his coat and tie he did not break a single bead of sweat. "Or you can come with me and I can help heal the pain that clouds your mind and your heart. The rest you'll have to do yourself."

"I've been trying to kill you, why would you want to even help me after that? I know I wouldn't," the man who was still in too much pain to stand looked up at Boy through a face stained with tears and dirt.

"I used to be in pain too just like you. I had people who loved me, who were there to help me. You didn't, but all of that can change and you don't have to be a doorman for some flunky for the rest of your life. You keep going down this'll end up dying alone and no one will ever know you were here." Boy returned to the bench and took a seat. Kealoha got up on one knee and was still dizzy from the pain.

"Maybe that's what I want, maybe I don't care if I die," the words were meant to sound like an affirmation of his ruthless attitude toward life. Now, it was only the half-hearted last-ditch war cry of a former soldier who had given up on everything."Besides, what do I get out of this ?"

"Hope," Boy replied, "and a better choice of clothing." 



Kealoha drove the car through the parking lot just near the Kapiolani Park bandstand when he noticed a Hawaiian man of average height with salt and pepper hair and a white beard walking near the bathrooms. As if on cue he heard his boss instruct him to stop. Kealoha pulled over and got out to open Boy's door but his boss was already headed toward the man with the white beard.

"Paul Nakila?" Boy called out to the man who looked at him and continued walking. The snub did not bother Boy at all but if things didn't turn out in a good way, the unkind gesture was not going to bode well if this man was indeed Paul Nakila. "Pope?"

The man stopped and was a bit annoyed when he answered. "Can I help you with something?"

" I'm Mr. Napualawa, I'm Tabby's father. I thought we could talk?" Boy extended his hand and Pope accepted his handshake and apologized.

"I'm sorry sir, but with you standing there in a dark suit I wasn't really sure who you were. I didn't mean to insult you." Pope said.

Boy assured him that all was fine and invited Pope to join him in his car for a ride around the park. "Should I be nervous?"

"Not at all," Boy smiled. "We're just two gentlemen having a civil conversation."

Pope marveled at the massive size and height of the driver but he was also taken with the car that he was about to ride in as well. Both men settled into the back seat and Kealoha followed the course which Boy set out for him.

"This is a 66 imperial crown," Pope stated with awe and reverence. "It looks like it just came off the assembly line. It's beautiful."

"Mahalo," Boy replied, "but all of this was done by Kealoha, my driver. This car was his project when I first hired him. All the materials to restore this car was paid for, he just had to put it together. He did a great job."

Kealoha smiled and patted himself on the shoulder. The work to restore the car was hard indeed but that was a part of Boy's training. Everything was a lesson.

"Pope, I'm going to cut to the quick. Yesterday I found Tabby in my office.....she was emotionally broken up and it had to do with you. I've heard her side of the story, I just wanted to hear yours for my own piece of mind."

" I see," Pope nodded and rubbed his beard for a second. "You just wanna make sure that I'm not some kind of pervert or something?"

"Tabby made it a point to assure me that you are not, so you're in the clear," Boy had a naturally intense look in his eyes which was very intimidating to those who did not know him. Pope still wasn't sure how to read the man. All he could do was give his side of the story.

"It may take a little bit of a while to get to the point but that's the only way any of this is going to make sense to you. Is that okay?" Pope had to be sure that Boy understood.

"Of course," Boy nodded.

"You've heard of Westside Hydraulics? The big green vans with the lime green paint and the orange letters on the sides?" Pope asked.

"Yes," Boy answered. "You can't help but not see them."

"My grandfather started that company way back when then it got passed down to my father and then to me. I was married thirty years, had seven kids and a bunch of grands and great grandkids. Had a good secure life and a happy family. Five years ago, my wife, Charlene was diagnosed with a very advanced stage of colon cancer. It took her pretty quick....she was gone in less than six months. I grieved and cried for a long time and then one day I was done grieving and crying. That's when I retired from the family business and handed it over to my son......I was a religion major when I met Charlene. We fell in love, she got pregnant and I had a year left to complete my bachelor's degree. I was raised old school so I did the right thing and dropped out because I had a family to provide for. Now here I was years later retired and with nothing to do so I enrolled myself back in school and decided to finish my degree. What was awkward as hell was being an old man in a classroom filled with people who were the same age as my grandchildren. I have to say that it turned out to be fun especially when I became part of a study group. That's when I met Tabby, she was in charge of the group even though there were no real leaders. That girl of yours is highly intelligent, very intense, very focused, and very strong-willed. People just naturally gravitate toward her......she's a leader in every sense but she's also got a maternal side to her. When she found out that I had previously majored in religion, she named me Pope. I guess it stuck." Pope took a moment to pause and gave himself a second to think.

"What were these feelings that she told me about?" Boy was usually a patient man but it was difficult to remain reserved where Tabby was concerned.

"Tabby is a beautiful girl and she had all kinds of people who were trying to get her attention. A lot of them were a bunch of young guys with no filter but Tabby handled it all on her own. A couple of them she knocked out cold. She was in a situation once were three guys were trying to hit on her while she was getting into her car. I just happened to be passing by and was going to step in but she took care of it all by herself. I mean she had them laying out on the ground. To answer your question, I have daughters and granddaughters of my own that I am very protective over. That's how I felt about Tabby, I mean I know she can hold her own but still, there were times where I'd wait for her after class and walk her to her car. Or if I had the time I'd give her a ride because she always parked at Cook Field but that's all it night after study group we all went down to Zippy's to have a late night meal. Pretty soon people left one by one until it was just Tabby and myself. It was getting to be late and I had to call it a night. I walked her to her car and she asked me a question that I wasn't prepared for." be continued

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