Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Sep 1, 2019

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2019 #62


Even as I sit here, I question myself as to why I agreed to have dinner with a man that I have nothing but contempt for, and yet here I am. He makes a great spaghetti sauce, and his noodles are boiled to perfection, just tender, not overdone. It’s just too bad that I hate him so much.

“This is a great sauce,” I compliment him.

“This is great sauce... what?” he asks.

“This is great sauce... Dad.” My delivery is sarcastic because I can see that he enjoys pushing my buttons, but I don’t let it go without having something to say myself. “So, is this what we’re going to do all night? Trade jabs back and forth? If that’s the case, I can go back to my ex-wife.”

“Don’t blame your ex for your combative nature,” he says calmly.

“Why do I even do this? Why do I even bother coming here?” I ask.

“You’re a creature of habit; that’s why, plus I poisoned the sauce,” he deadpans.

“We’re eating sauce from the same pot... Dad,” I mumbled through the sauce and noodles in my mouth.

“I want to talk about your mother,” he states.

“Now I wish the sauce was really poisoned,” I’m near to losing my temper, but I let the wave of anger wash over me, “You make the best-damned spaghetti sauce anywhere, but you’re a shitty human being. I suppose that’s the price I pay for the pleasure of your company.”

My mother walks into the kitchen and pours herself a glass of wine and prepares herself a bowl of spaghetti and sauce and takes a seat at the table.

“Hun, if I haven’t said it enough, this sauce is sinful,” she takes a bite of her food and follows up with a sip of wine, “Why don’t we go eat in the living room?”

“Tell her,” my father hisses under his breath.

I do my best to stare a hole right through the old man as I begin to speak to my mother, “Mom?”

“Yes, Isaac?” She pauses before standing up from the table.

“Let’s eat at the table like we used to do when I was small, okay?” I ask.

She looks at me thoughtfully and smiles, “Alright, we can do that. Right, Albert?”

My dad nods his head and goes along with the plan, “Yeah, sounds like a good idea.”

“Seems like you’ve got something on your mind?” she asks.

“Well, yeah,” I adjust myself in the chair and place my elbows on the table, “Mom, before you came downstairs just now and joined us in the kitchen, do you remember anything before that?”

“Why of course I was... taking a... I was at the...” I could see by her eyes that her mind was working to put together the events previous to her coming to sit with my father and myself, “Albert, wasn’t I taking a nap before this?”

“I’ve been downstairs all afternoon preparing our dinner my love, I was not aware of your presence in any part of our house while I was cooking,” My father was full of shit.

She was confused now. “It must be the wine, did I sip or inhale?” she laughed, “I can’t remember.”

“Mom, can I show you something?” my tone was lite so as not to cause her any concern.

“Alright, Albert, you coming?” She looked at my father with that expression of curious wonder.

“No,” he replied, “You go with Isaac, and I’ll start cleaning up here.”

By the time my mother stood up from the dinner table, I was already in the foyer waiting for her, the second she came to join me I took a step back and gestured toward the stairs that led up to my parent's bedroom on the second floor. At the bottom of the steps was my mother’s grotesquely broken, twisted body. She jumped back and screamed at the top of her lungs,

“Albert! Albert! Albert!”

I walk back into the kitchen, and my father is sitting there with his head in his hands, crying hysterically over his plate of spaghetti.

“Your wife needs you, you explain to her why she’s standing there looking at her own dead body. Thanks for dinner, by the way,” I tell him.

“I can’t,” he pleads, “I can’t.”

"You're a shitty human being, dad," I tell him as I kiss him on the top of his head. "And an, even more, shittier husband."

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