Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 10, 2019

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2019 #84


It's because of the adrenalin born out of my own fear that I climbed the wrong telephone pole. I'd meant to climb the newer concrete pole, which was more massive, dug deep, and practically unmovable. But no, the 1966 Cadillac Hearse Fleetwood was hot on my heels, and the wooden telephone pole was the closest, so I climbed up on it because my mortality was at stake.
He, the driver Stuart Grism caught me off guard. My car stalled just beyond Makua valley, and I had no choice but to walk it back to the 7-11 in Makaha. Just my luck that the roads were bereft of traffic. I was just passing the entrance to the old First Hawaiian Bank vacation home when the old Hearse manifested right out of the heat rising up from the blacktop. I heard it before I saw it and I'm sure I started running even before I looked behind me to see who it was. I wish I could say that Stuarts 66 Cadillac was a tub of rust and bolts falling apart, but that damned thing was black steel and spit-shine chrome. Stuart was a bit of a show-off in that he mounted mag wheels on the hearse rather than the regular gangster white walls.

If you haven't already guessed, Stuart is dead. He's been dead since 1972. My old neighbor Steven Medeiros didn't like Stuart because of his job as a mortician. Unfortunately, Stuart lived in the house between ours and the Medeiros family. Seeing his hearse in the garage un-nerved Steven Medeiros, and whenever he could, Steven would give Stuart a lot of shit. On the other side of the Medeiros, home lived the Perreira family. Perreira senior and his sons were trouble makers who always seemed to have the police at their house at least once a week. One day Steven Medeiros paid a visit to the Perreira family patriarch and asked him to help out with a scheme he devised.



The evening services at the funeral home in Pearl City went on longer than it should have. By the time Stuart got home, he was exhausted. He parked his car alongside the house like he usually did. With no casket in the hearse, Stuart lay in the back and fell into a deep sleep. He didn't hear Steven Medeiros break into the car by using a wire hanger. He didn't listen to him put the automatic gear in neutral, and he didn't even feel Steven Medeiros, Collin Perreira, and his three sons pushing his car toward the canal, which was just three hundred feet away from where they all lived. At that time, I peeked out the window of my bedroom because I thought I heard something, Even now, as I tell you this story, I don't recall what I heard precisely, but it was enough to wake me up. Under the glow of the moonlight, I saw the four of them pushing the hearse until it gained enough momentum that they broke into a slight jog. Before my father and the Perreira's pushed the large vehicle past the Kiawe trees, I saw Stuart Grism's face pressed up against the back door of the hearse, I could see by his expression that he was screaming for them to stop. He pounded his fists up against the window, but my father and the Perreiras' couldn't hear him or see him. Their heads were down as they pushed and grunted. Just as the hearse went over the small sand embankment, Stuart Grism looked up, and we made eye contact. I don't know how he managed to see me from that far away as I looked out of my bedroom window, but he did.



The phantom Cadillac hearse doesn't plow into the base of the wooden telephone pole that is my only escape as I peer down at it from way up here. All it does is reverse slowly, and then it comes forward slowly and taps the base of the pole ever so slightly. I can see Stuart's pale dead hands on the steering wheel through crystal clear windshield. Now and again, his lifeless face and his equally dead black eyes move forward over the dashboard, smiling up at me with his rotted yellow teeth. It was a mistake for me to get nostalgic and drive out this way to relive some old memories. I'd forgotten about this one.

Within a year of Stuart's body being found in his submerged hearse at the bottom of the murky waters of the canal behind our homes, my father and the four Perreira's were each killed in a mysterious hit and run accidents that no one witnessed. That was way back in 1972. After that, my mom and I moved away to California. After she passed away in 2017, I felt like it was time to come back and reconnect with the islands. Real smart of me, now I'm stuck on this telephone pole while the ghost of someone who's death I had nothing to do with, slowly takes his time while he bumps the base of this telephone pole with the grill of his equally dead hearse.

"Where is the fucking traffic???" I scream out of frustration. That's when Stuart guns the engine and reverses a full three hundred feet. I hear the gears scream into gear, and the black hearse plows like a lighting bolt into the telephone pole.

That's all I can recall. Now I'm in the back of an old rusted Cadillac as it plunges headlong over a cliff into the ocean off Kaena point. My screams are pointless. After all, Stuart is the driver.

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