Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Oct 26, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #5

 It's an old grudge tended to and festered since 1893. It seems that the characteristics of the progeny passed from DNA to DNA over the decades, resurfacing in the personality of one male every generation.

The one betrayed all those yesteryears ago saw that the perfidy circumstances were spoken of with such conviction that one would feel as if it took place just a few minutes ago. So, the grudge still lives today.



My gig is that I'm a retiree looking for work to keep me busy. I'm the shelf stocker at the local Bulls Eye department store. Everyone else here is younger, and if not that, more youthful in mind, which doesn't say a lot if you're a middle-aged manager trying to re-live your high school days.  Don't get me wrong; there are some great kids here who jump in and help soon after they complete their jobs for the day and have a bit of time on their hands. They see I'm older, and they want to help; many of them ask me why I'm not at home or traveling the world and enjoying my retirement? I follow the internal script and repeat my lines, "I need something to do; otherwise, I'll die from boredom."

Overall, I keep my mouth shut, do my job, and I don't complain. On my break, I sit in the employee lounge with a drink and a sandwich while reading a book called "Hawai'i's Story by Hawai'i's Queen." The majority keep their distance, but others need a place to sit when there's no room anywhere else—those who feel that they can confide in me end up telling me their life story. Some of it is more than I care to know.



The queen's book begins with her life, where she is born in 1838 to Kapa'akea, her father, and Keohokalole, her mother. She also identifies her genealogy from several high bloodlines, including that of the Kamehameha dynasty. She recounts her time at the Royal School taught and run by Amos Cooke and his wife. She grew up without her siblings as they were all given to other chiefly families after birth, a common custom among the Hawaiian royalty. 

"I never know who my faddah was growing up; I was adopted das why. So even when I met my flesh and blood siblings, it was like meeting strangers because I never grew up with them," Mrs. Yim was in her late sixties. All of her children were married with families of their own and all living on the mainland. She droned on about how her husband's passing was a curse and a benefit. She missed him, but she didn't miss the beatings. "So, I think that kinda affected my relationship with my late husband because I had a fear of abandonment. I think that's why I put up with the beatings and never left him."

"You think that's why your kids left too?" I asked.

She said nothing; instead, she finished up her Tupperware filled with rice, fried hotdogs, and scrambled eggs. She gulped down whatever fancy health drink she was into that week, and meekly replied, "I have to punch back in."

Queen Lili'uokalani writes that her natural parents sired ten children in all. She knew that those were her siblings and that they had met throughout her younger life. The custom and practice of hānai were meant to strengthen the bonds between royal families. 

"Iʻll feel bad for her," yet another youthful Bulls Eye employee taking up my break time. His name is Damien Sherman, a department manager in training. "She means well, but she overshares."

"Arenʻt you supposed to be eating with the other manager staff?" I asked.

"Theyʻre too stuffy, and they gossip too much behind eachotherʻs backs," he snorted. "You seem to be the safe one, so..." he shrugged his shoulders. I keep reading my book, or at least I attempt to do so but thatʻs when I noticed young Damienʻs penchant for chewing his food with accompanying sound effects. "You see that girl over there?" He points with his fork.

"Itʻs hard to tell," I reply. "Everyone is wearing the same uniform."

"The one with the ponytail pulled back with the blue scrunchy," he jabbed at the air with his fork. 

"Oh yeah, what about her?" I asked.

"I like her, Iʻm just too nervous to talk to her," he was giddy, and it was weird. "What do you think I should do?"

"Well, for starters, you can start by chewing your food with your mouth closed," I suggested. "Secondly, sitting here in the safe zone isnʻt going to help your game. If you want to talk to her, go over there and talk to her."

"But, what if she doesnʻt want to talk to me, or what if she thinks Iʻm weird or something?"

"If you donʻt go over there, Iʻm going to shank you in the sternum with my ballpoint pen-repeatedly," I wasnʻt blinking or stuttering. He immediately went and sat with her; it turned out they had a lot in common. A few days later, Damien called me to his office, and he put a few documents in front of me. "Let me guess, Iʻm being fired for terroristic threatening?" I asked.

"No!" Damien raised the decibel level in his office. "God no, you helped me a great deal. That was the kick in the ass I needed, no, no, this is your raise. I tried to get as much as could be allowed for your position, but I think youʻll like it. I need you to sign at the bottom on the dotted line for verification that we talked about it and that you approve."

"Hmmph," I chuckled. "Imagine that."

I didnʻt say anything to anyone about my raise; I just kept it to myself. On a day off, Damien called me and asked if I had time to work an overnight shift? One of the closers called in sick for the third time, and it didnʻt look like he would be around longer. "To be honest, I already have a date with that girl I told you about, Lori. If I canʻt find anyone, I have to work the shift; please help me out here, Iʻm desperate!"

I could never tell him this, but it worked out in my favor. I can get to know the overnight crew because thus far, Iʻve had no luck finding the curse's target. "Yeah, sure, no problem."

The overnight manager was young, plucky, and she smacked her lips when she spoke. "First and foremost, this entire warehouse is haunted. I mean, thereʻs fucking ghosts everywhere! I mean, if you can deal with that, youʻll be good." be continued

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