Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Nov 7, 2018

Mr. Durin

Mr. Durin's black beady eyes regarded me with obvious contempt from across his tightly manicured desk.
He positioned his body sideways with his right shoulder facing me. It aligned with his nose, which was perfectly poised to look from his arrogant perch. "I know you sell yourself off as some kind of Kahuna who has all these powers, but really you're just benefiting from people's ignorant superstitions. At least all these Filipino housekeepers seem to think so. I don't buy it. I think you're a con man and that after you do a made-up mumbo jumbo blessing, you'll collect a hefty paycheck from management, and you'll be on your way." He leaned in closer with his teeth tightly clenched together. "Our hotel deserves better than you, but we're required to be culturally appropriate." Shaking his head, he concluded, "You disgust me."

"Where is the room in question?" I asked. "Also, may I have some bottled water?"

With an irritable huff, he stood up from his chair and walked out of his office. But not before reaching into the mini-fridge behind his desk to retrieve a bottle of water for me. I assumed I had to follow him, and so I did. The path from his office leads out to a short corridor that leads through the kitchen. Mr. Durin marched vigorously, and I took my time; as long as I kept him within eyesight, I could figure out where he was headed. I assumed he was standing at the elevator and must have become more aggravated once he realized that I was not behind him. His head popped out from the door at the other end of the kitchen, and he gave me a sharp wave. I raised my hand to acknowledge him but continued to walk at my own pace. Once I was next to him, he snapped his body upright and looked down at me with an imagined superiority.

"Don't waste my time! I'm a busy man!" He shouted.

"I understand that the room you're going to show me is haunted, but is it going to disappear too?" I deadpanned. Mr. Durin didn't find any humor in my statement, but I made it a point to stare him straight in the eye without once breaking my gaze. He slowly curled his lip to one side and shook his head at me in very much the same way that a schoolyard twit would do when he didn't know the rules of the yard or the character of its players. "The room?"

We were in the elevator in a few seconds. I stood at the back of the cart, watching the good Mr. Durin as he adjusted the lapels of his suit and straightened his tie. He turned to me and asked, "Where's your ti leaf and your bowl of water? Where's your Hawaiian salt? Didn't you come prepared?"

"No one told me anything about the room. How could I be expected to prepare?" I replied with no lilt or tweak of emotion. Exasperated, Mr. Durin turned to me just as the elevator doors opened. I walked past him and walked down the hallway to where the room was located. He caught up to me and stopped in the hall, "Thirty-eight murders, twelve suicides, and countless unattended deaths since we opened in 1997."

"That still doesn't make the room haunted; it just makes it creepy." I retorted.

Under his breath, Mr. Durin replied, "There have also been claims that some of the housekeeping staff have become momentarily possessed while turning the sheets in that room. This is why they clean in teams of two with management staff to accompany them. Is that what you were waiting to hear?"

No reply from me, I continued to stare at him until he gave in. "All right, dammit! People have also gone insane while staying in that room……so I've heard."

Shortly, we were standing in front of room 20408. Take away one number, and you'd have 13. No such luck tonight. Durin inserted the card key into the slot, and when the green light came on, he opened the door and let me in. I stood in the foyer, and he walked a little way past me. Removing a pocket bible from my coat and a wooden beaded rosary, I held it out for him to take.
"Would you mind holding on to this for a second?"

He took it with a look of surprise, and in the same instant, he sneered at me again. "No wooden bowl with saltwater and ti leaf after all? Is the savage suddenly civilized and penitent?"

"One second, if you don't mind?" I held up my hand to him and walked out the door and closed it behind me. I opened it again and poked my head in, "would you mind handing me the key card ?"

Without an ounce of the untidy nastiness which permeated his entire being for most of the afternoon, he handed over the key. I took it and shut the door behind me. In the hallway, I inserted the card key in the slot and opened the bottle of water and poured it carefully into the slot and on the key card. Sparks and a small tuft of smoke came out. Green, red, and yellow lights flashed in succession. The lock to the door began to click wildly, and the door handle turned, and I could hear Durin from the other side of the door. "It's locked from the inside! What are you doing out there? Open the door! Do you even know how to put the key card in the slot? What are you doing out there? What are you doing?"

I took a step back and folded my arms, "I didn't want to be thought of as a con-man Mr.Durin, and since you obviously have no respect for me or my cultural practices, I figured who better to bless this room than you? You have a pocket bible and a rosary, good luck."

I called for security and hotel maintenance to come up to 20408 and fix the problem with the door. It seemed that Mr. Durin locked himself inside and was frantically trying to get out with no luck. Both departments hung up immediately. I later exited the cart and made my way across the hotel lobby. It would take an hour before maintenance could open the door to 20408. All the while, they could hear Mr. Durin's crazed screams coupled with strange unearthly voices of children, adults, and something else. Something that didn't sound human. The maintenance crew was about to remove the last bolt from the lock, but the handle turned once, and the door opened. Mr. Durin lay just inside. He had soiled himself. His entire body reeked of putrid saliva, and he was stiff as a board, his eyes fixed wide open. He was alive but immobile.



I sat in my office and poured myself a glass of Orion beer. I hardly drank in my office, but today was an exception. Aunty Rita sat across from me and handed me her cold empty glass, I filled up and gave it back to her. We clinked glasses and took a quick sip of the specialized beer, which was our favorite. Uncle Ivan walked in just then, and I poured him a drink as well. The three of us clinked and toasted before we sat back and relax.

"Boy, you went to that hotel in Waikiki today, right?" Uncle Tiny asked.

"Yes, uncle Tiny, I did," I confirmed and raised my glass in his direction.

"How did it go, Hanson?" Aunty Rita asked, already knowing the answer.

"That Mr. Durin is just as you said he was," I answered.

"Just the same as when I worked there another lifetime ago," Aunty Rita shook her head. "He refused to have a Hawaiian ceremony done when the hotel opened, and then when it's in spiritual turmoil, he still wouldn't allow a Hawaiian blessing."

"Where is he now?" Uncle Tiny asked as he finished his glass and put it forward for another refill.

"Dealing with continuate contagious blastments as Shakespeare would say," I sat back in my chair and held up my glass to Tiny and Rita before we all indulged in another taste of our most excellent beer.

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