Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Oct 21, 2019

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2019 #12



People like me have a healthy life, or we try to, even though we have the thing. Other people like me have the thing and make millions of dollars off of it, or at least they claim they do; have the thing that is.
Mine is a long story about why I can't use the thing for profit; suffice it to say that the thing leads me to substance abuse and has been a deterrent in my life where having an actual ʻlifeʻ is concerned. For example, this job interview that Iʻm waiting for in this state office? I know Iʻm qualified for it, probably overqualified, but it's my last chance. My rent and my utilities, and my life are way past due. If I donʻt land this job today, Iʻm fucked without a kiss and, at the very least, a thank you. You know what? Since youʻre here with me, why donʻt you hang out? That way, youʻll get a birds-eye view as to what Iʻm talking about. You just have to promise to be quiet no matter what happens.

"Mister Kaleo?" Oh, thatʻs me. The secretary from the office is calling me. So Letʻs go, but remember, be quiet.

"Yes," I raise my hand.

"Mr. Gushiken will see you now," she waves me over to follow her.


Beautiful office, immaculate. Kind of too clean, you know? Almost clinical, like youʻre expecting to smell formaldehyde or rubbing alcohol. It gives me chills, but I let it go because I need this job. This Mr. Gushiken is the personification of his overbearing motherʻs influence. That might explain why heʻs got such a big stick up his ass. I keep that to myself because I need this job.

"Mister Kaleo, your resume says you have the executive-level experience, yet youʻre in my office applying for a maintenance engineer position? You know thatʻs a fancy way of saying ʻjanitorʻ, right?" He peered at me over the rim of his thick-framed glasses in very much the same way that his mother did to him.

"Yes, I do," I nodded.

"Why?" He shrugged his shoulders. "It shows here that your last employment was two years ago. What happened? Did you go to jail or something? If thatʻs the case, then this interview is a waste of time."

"No, I didnʻt go to jail," I said. "I made some very dumb investments and ended up losing everything. Itʻs has taken me a couple of years to recover, but Iʻm good now, and Iʻm ready to get back to work."

"How did you survive financially until now, though?" This guy is nosy, like his mom too. Sheʻs behind him, literally coaching him. I canʻt look at her, though. Once she sees that, I can see her the game is up, and I need this job.

"My parents helped me out; I worked for my father for a little while until I was back on my feet." That was a complete lie, so was the thing about the dumb investments. The investment was liquor and lots of it. My father was the one who rescued me from the tank and put me in recovery, he kicked my ass too when I told him to get fucked at one point, but that was a combination of the cold turkey and the monkey on my back talking. The old man still had it.

"Okay, Mister Kaleo, Iʻm gonna give you a chance. You keep your head down, and you work hard, and when a supervisory position opens, Iʻm going to call you back to this office. No sense waste all that education and talent, you know?" Well, how about that? Mr. Gushiken has a heart? He stood up from his chair and came around his desk, where we shook hands. I felt the jolt go right through me, and then I saw it. Corrine Aroyo, sheʻs sixteen, sheʻs in the flower of her youth, and he loves her. She loves him back, and itʻs not just teenage love and lust, itʻs selfless love in its purest form. Heʻs fifty-six years old, and he still thinks about her. The jolt is gone, and Iʻm back in my body. "Are you alright, Mr. Kaleo?"

"Just feeling a little dizzy, I havenʻt eaten yet," I lied.

"Well, go eat then!" He laughed and slapped me on the shoulder.

I nod and thank him; as Iʻm leaving his office, I catch a glance of his motherʻs ghost from my peripheral, and now I see why sheʻs hovering around in his office. He has a picture of her on top of his file drawer in the far corner of his office. Thereʻs incense and little food offerings around it. But, of course, he and Corrine Aroyo never came to be because of his mother. So Sheʻs right on my haunches as I leave the office, sheʻs curious about me, but so far she doesnʻt know that Iʻm on to her presence. If I want to hold on to this job, I have to keep it this way. I canʻt ever acknowledge the ghosts that haunt this state-building. I need this job.


Now you know.  Right at the point where my life was good, and when I say good, I mean successful, the thing kicked in. I could hear people's thoughts, see ghosts, and feel impressions from almost anything I would touch. Essentially, thatʻs how I knew my wife and one of my business partners were having an affair. She was strangely absent for a crucial meeting where we were about to close out a big deal. Suddenly, I saw it in my head. I knew where she was. I found her in our office parking garage with my wife. Last I heard, they were married on an LGBTQ cruise ship out on the Atlantic ocean. What should have been a gift ended up being a curse, and so to dull the visions, I tried to make it go away with endless bottles of hard liquor. Thank goodness for my folks, though. Anyway, thanks for hanging out. Wanna grab lunch?

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