Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Jul 28, 2021

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2021. #95



Shannon Lindsey was your typical older brother who loved making his younger sister’s life miserable. Gwen Lindsey couldn’t wait until high school was over.

It meant finally moving out of the house and being on her own and having her own car, and not having to fight with her older brother Shannon over everything from half-empty cereal boxes at breakfast time in the morning to an abuse of the hot water while taking a Hollywood shower in the evening. The letter had come in the mail not more than two days ago from Cal Arts College. Gwen had been accepted and could not contain her excitement. Tonight at dinner was her chance to finally hold something over Shannon’s head and make him feel like he was two feet tall. Lately, her older brother had made it a point to let Gwen know how inferior she was in many different ways. Whenever they were forced to sit together in the back seat of the family car, he would remark that it seemed as if she were putting on weight. On other occasions, Shannon wouldn’t say a word. He would sit there next to her as the Honda Odyssey van lumbered along and pinch his nose and shake his head. The silence would become overwhelming for Gwen, and she would finally scream at him, “What??? What for chrissakes??? What is it???”

His only comment would be, “Are you sure that you took a shower before you left the house?”

“Of course!” Gwen would shriek.

Shannon would stare straight ahead and with a deadpan expression and utter, “It smells like rotten bananas.”

At her wit's end at this point, Gwen screamed for her father to say something.

“Shannon.” Mr. Lindsey would say evenly. “Stop it this instant.”

This was the basis of their relationship as siblings. Dinner couldn’t have come sooner, but Shannon hadn’t come home yet. Normally, he would call home to let his parents know that he had to work overtime, but there was no phone call regarding his whereabouts, and he hadn’t returned his mother’s phone call either. So Mr. Lindsey insisted that dinner proceeds without Shannon and that a plate would be set aside for him later when he returned home. Gwen felt that somehow Shannon had found out about her good news and was now purposely absent from dinner so that she would not be able to make her announcement in front of everyone. It seemed like the kind of thing that Shannon would do just to spite her. However, no sooner had they begun to say grace when Shannon burst in through the kitchen door for dinner with his boss Mr. Blears right behind him. 

“Hey, Dad! Mr.Blears wants to tell you something! It’s important!" Shannon was very excited. Mr. Lindsey got up from his chair and implored his son’s boss to have a seat and join them for dinner.

“Oh no, no, Artie, I’m not staying, and I do hope you’ll forgive me for interrupting your dinner.” Mr. Blears replied. “Please don’t get up on my account. What I have to say is very important, and then I have to get back to the station.”

“Well, of course.” Mrs. Lindsey said.

“As you know, your son Shannon has worked for me at the gas station for 3 years now.” Mr. Blears began. "He’s been a good employee. He’s worked overtime whenever I’ve asked him to do so, and he’s never given me any problems. He’s always early for work and always asks me if there’s anything more I need him to do before he punches out for the day. He never complains. Our customers have nothing but good things to say about him.”

While the faces of Gwen’s parents beamed with a warm pride over the compliments that Mr. Blears poured upon her older brother, she wondered to herself if Mr. Blears really knew what he was talking about. Obviously, he didn’t know Shannon the ways she knew him. The “REAL” Shannon Lindsey couldn’t be the person that Mr. Blears just described. This forgery is obviously the one who puts on appearances as the ideal employee at the gas station. “I have a 1965 Mustang Fastback that I’m selling for $7000. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s fully restored and in perfect condition. This morning, I was going to give your son a raise, but I thought Shannon should have it when I looked at my car. It will teach him responsibility. I’d make sure that he takes care of the car and that it’s properly registered and that it’s got insurance.”

“AND,” Shannon interrupted. “…..I already have $7000 saved up in my account! How about it, Dad? Mom? It would save you the grief of Gwen and me fighting over the van all the time! Right? It’s parked outside. Mr. Blears drove me home in it. C’mon, Dad, I’ll show you!”

With that, everyone except Gwen followed Shannon and his boss outside to look at the Mustang.  Gwen was beside herself with disbelief. This was her moment to finally outdo her older brother, and now by some means of happenstance, he stole her thunder. Fortunately, Mr. Blears’ daughter Laura was her best friend. Of course, some sabotage would have to be done later on, but for now, Gwen had to think of a way to insert her good news into this present situation so that all of the focus would be on her. Making her way out of the kitchen, she immediately headed to the front driveway. She saw her family and Mr. Blears gathered around a metallic blue nineteen sixty-five Mustang Fastback. The sight of the vehicle took her breath away for a second. She hadn’t expected it to look as pristine as it did. The color, the wheels, the overall tone of the vehicle was impressive. It almost took on a life of its own. Gwen could only mutter something like, “Oh wow. It’s beautiful.”

Before she could say anything else, she heard her father say something about going to the bank to withdraw the money. A second later, everyone had already piled into the van.“Gwen, let’s go!” Her father shouted. She was lucky this time. Mr. Blears rode upfront with her father while her mother and Shannon sat in the back seat, which meant that Gwen had a third-row seat all to herself. She listened as her parents and Shannon and Mr. Blears, went on and on about the car and how thankful they were that Mr. Blears was a good mentor to their son. There was something that Gwen missed when Mr. Blears mentioned his three daughters, who were all in the same class with her at school. Without waiting for a pause in the conversation, Gwen stated her case. “Mom, Dad, I got a letter from Cal Arts College. I’ve been accepted.” The conversation in front of her continued. No one heard her.

“I appreciate everything you’re doing for our son James.” Mr. Lindsey said.

“Yes, it’s really kind of you to do so.” Mrs. Lindsey added.

“Same here, Mr. Blears….” Shannon squealed.

“It’s also a good thing that Shannon already had the money saved up.” Mrs. Lindsey said. “We had to re-finance the house earlier this year, so there wouldn’t have been any way that we could have paid for the car.”

“Yeah.” Mr. Lindsey said. “We had to dip into Gwen’s college money just to break even on the payment for the house.”

Just then, the van pulled into the parking lot of the Hawai’i First Bank. After everyone had gotten out of the van and began to go inside, Gwen grabbed her mother’s hand and placed the acceptance letter from Cal Arts College in it, and slowly turned and walked in the opposite direction through the parking lot. Mr. Lindsey held the door open for everyone and noticed that Gwen was almost crossing the street. She was almost out of sight. Mrs. Lindsey removed the letter from the already opened envelope and read it.

“Oh my god! Arthur!” She gasped.

“What is it?” Her husband asked. Handing him the letter, all Mrs. Lindsey could do was put her hand over her mouth and cry. The content of what was in the letter was like a slap in the face to Mr. Lindsey.

“She’s been accepted. We just told her she couldn’t go without even telling her directly. Is that was she was trying to tell us earlier?" Mr. Lindsey wanted to kill himself.


 The weight of what her parents had said wouldn’t hit her until she got home to take a shower. By that time, she couldn’t stop crying. She locked herself in her bedroom and wouldn’t come out for dinner or to watch American Idol with her parents. Shannon hadn’t come home yet, and he was the very last person that she wanted to see. The evening hours passed until Gwen finally cried herself to sleep. The following morning’s breakfast proved to be awkward as everyone sat in silence while eating. Mr. and Mrs. Lindsey made small talk about fixing the shingles on the roof and about Mrs. Figuerora’s delinquent son, who was causing his mother a fair amount of grief by hanging out with the wrong crowd. Mr. Figuerora had abandoned his family for a younger woman, and the two of them ran off to live in Florida. Their only son Tyson was left without a father figure, and because his mother worked at two jobs to keep a roof over their heads, her son grew up with no real guidance or discipline. He began to fall in with a group of boys who were troublemakers in the neighborhood. They were prone to petty crimes like stealing bicycles or shoplifting. Mrs.Figuerora was at her wit's end as to what to do about her son. Gwen kept her head down and wouldn’t look at anyone at the breakfast table. Her parents were at a loss as to how to comfort their daughter. Shannon sat quietly next to his sister and seemed to be in almost the same mood. He put his spoon down and reached into his shirt pocket, and took out a large envelope that was folded in half. He put it down on the table in front of him and with both hands and tried to smooth it out so that it would be straight. Grabbing his spoon with his right hand again, he slid the envelope over to Gwen with his left hand so that it sat directly in front of his sister. Gwen just looked at it with her eyes still swollen from crying all night.

“Open it.” He said without looking at her. Gwen gave no reaction.

“Open it.” Shannon insisted. “It’ll make you happy. I promise.”

Still not trusting her brother, she half-heartedly reached down and turned over the thick envelope and opened it. To her surprise, it was stuffed with $100 bills. The look of confusion on her face almost made Shannon chuckle, but seeing how fragile his sister’s emotions were, he thought better not to do so. Gwen reached into the envelope and pulled out the thick stack of money that was almost too big for her hand. "What is this?” Gwen asked.

“Shannon, what is all that money for?” Mr. Lindsey asked.

Looking at his sister now and ignoring his father’s question, Shannon replied, “It’s your college money. I figured that I can always buy a car if I wanted to, but you’ll only ever get one chance to go to a fancy-schmancy College like Cal Arts. So you should go.”

Still not fully trusting her brother, Gwen said. “But Mr. Blears is expecting you to buy his Mustang. I mean, you guys went to the bank and everything to get the money so that you could pay him for the car.”

“Mr. Blears will understand,” Shannon replied. “You better take that money now before I change my mind.”

Gwen cried tears of joy this time as she held on to her big brother. Arthur and Laverne Lindsey couldn’t believe that Shannon saved the day for everyone in one fell swoop. “I love you so much, Shannon! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” Gwen gave her brother the biggest wet sloppy kiss she could muster right on his cheek.

“Oh c’mon, geeze! I’m giving you College money for chrissakes. I’m not paying for your wedding! Gaaaahhhh…!!!”


Later that evening, after Shannon finished taking a shower, he went downstairs and brought the trash out to the sidewalk. His father waited for him just outside the garage door.“That was quite a thing you did for your sister. Your mom and I are proud of you.” Mr. Lindsey hugged his son for a long while before he finally let go.

Shannon looked at his dad and smiled, “Not you too? Is everyone in this house going soft?”

“I saw you give Mr. Blears the money when we were in the van. What happened?” Mr. Lindsey asked his son.

“I caught what you said about re-financing the house and having to dip into Gwen’s College money. But it really didn’t hit me until I saw her walking across the parking lot from inside the bank. Then, I could see how much it meant to her. When I got back to the gas station, I explained the situation to Mr. Blears, and he gave me the money back.”

With tears flowing from his eyes and his heart Mr. Lindsey hugged his son again. “How did you get to be so smart at such a young age? Who taught you about self-sacrifice for the sake of others?”

“You did, Dad. I see you do it all the time. You do it for Mom, for Gwen, and me. I’ve seen you skip a couple of meals here and there. I know you stopped buying your favorite sandwich after a while. And I know you didn’t take that part-time job just to keep busy. I’m just trying to do the same thing that I see you do all the time, Dad. I figured that one day when I have my own family….Dad? Are you o.k.?”

Mr. Lindsey was speechless. He couldn’t muster the words he needed to tell his son how much he loved him. Instead, all he could do was cry.


 The following day at the gas station, Shannon worked the cash register while Mr. Blears talked to someone on the phone in his office. The call must have been important because Mr. Blears had the door closed. He had been in his office for almost an hour when he finally came out and headed to the garage.

“DELMAR!!!” He shouted.

“YES,  BOSS???”  The voice came from beneath a 2001 BMW.

“Clean up and handle this cash register! I have to talk to Shannon for a second! Hurry it up!” Looking at Shannon now, Mr. Blears said, “I have to talk to you outback. C’mon.”

Without question, Shannon followed his boss out behind the gas station. Mr. Blears stopped and paused for a second. Shannon was trying to read his boss's face to figure out what was going on. The old man was turning red, and for a moment and Shannon thought that he might have done something wrong to make Mr. Blears upset.  When Shannon finally looked into his boss's eyes, he could see that they were brimming over with tears. “Mr. Blears, is something wrong? Are you o.k.?”

“I’m fine, Shannon, don’t worry. Have a seat here. I want to tell you something.” Sitting down now, the young man searched his boss's face for any indication of what might be going on behind his thoughts. “Shannon, you lied to me yesterday.”

Shannon was scared now because he had no clue as to what was going on. “I’ve never lied to you, Mr. Blears, you know that. I’ve always been truthful about everything I’ve ever said or done here. You said so yourself yesterday.”

“You DID lie, Shannon….” Mr. Blears said, stepping on Shannon’s words. “Yesterday, you told me that your family was having a hard time and that it wouldn’t be good for you to buy the Mustang. Isn’t that what you told me?”

“Yes, Mr. Blears, that’s exactly what I said, and that wasn’t a lie,” Shannon said.

“Yes, it was a lie, Shannon, because you weren’t entirely truthful with me.” Shannon began to plead his case, but Mr. Blears put his hand up in a gesture to make Shannon stop talking. “You didn’t tell me that you were going to give that money to your sister so that she could go to College. My daughter was on the phone all night with Gwen, and she told me everything. So soon as I woke up this morning, I went straight to the gas station, and I called your father, and he verified that everything Laura told me was true. Why didn’t you tell me the truth, Shannon? You know how I feel about lying. It hurt me that after everything, you couldn’t confide in me. What do you have to say for yourself?”

Shannon took a moment to think before he finally said something. "Mr. Blears, I am truly sorry for not being upfront with you, but I didn’t want to bring any shame on my parents or Gwen. I felt that the less I said, the less hurtful it would be to my family. That’s the truth, Mr. Blears. Honestly, it is.”

Shannon felt uncomfortable now as he could see Mr. Blears fighting back the tears. “My late wife and I were blessed with three girls. I cherish them all ‘til this day. But if I ever had a son, I would want him to be just like you, Shannon. What 18-year-old boy gives up the money he saved to buy a car like the one I have and gives it to his sister instead so that she can go to College? You’ve got the selfless heart of a Saint young man.”

“So you’re not firing me, Mr. Blears?” Shannon asked hesitantly.

“No! No, Shannon, I could never fire you, ever.” Mr. Blears let out a hearty laugh and led Shannon to the second garage on the left side of the gas station. Inside the garage was the Mustang. Without saying a word, Mr. Blears removed the keys to the car from his shirt pocket and handed it over to Shannon. Wiping his tears away with a handkerchief, Mr. Blears began to explain, “I talked to your father, and he and I came to an agreement that you and I are going to work out a payment plan. I’m going to increase your hours on the weekends which will increase the size of your paycheck. From that paycheck, you will take out $200 and put it aside twice a month until you can pay me the full amount for the car. Also, you will sign some paperwork that will state that you are the owner of the car as long as you don’t miss any payments. You miss ONE payment, and the car comes back to me. Your father is going to make sure that you stick to this plan even if it kills you. That will mean no going out on the weekends. You’re going to have to sacrifice your fun time for a little while. Do you think that you could do that?”

Thinking of his father, Shannon smiled. “I can do that, Mr. Blears.”

After signing over the car to Shannon and making good on the agreed contract between the two parties, they sealed the deal with a handshake. “Go take your break and be back in an hour. I’m sure that your folks would love to see you in your new car, right?”

“Mr. Blears…” Shannon began. His boss cut him off and replied, “ Ahhh, I think we’ve got enough thanks between the two of us to fill up all the tanks in this station. Get going.”



Gwen was surprised to see Shannon standing outside the school's front gate in front of his Mustang. She looked at her brother with a serious expression. “Tell me you didn’t change your mind about the college money? If this is a cruel joke, Shannon, I’ll never forgive you until the day you die!”

“Relax.” Shannon laughed. “You’re still going to college. Get in, and I’ll explain.”

As they left the drive-thru window of Kenny’s, Shannon had just finished explaining the whole story of how he had re-acquired the Mustang.  Gwen was even more astounded at the good turn of events for everyone.  Sipping on her soda, Gwen couldn’t help but notice how brand new the car's interior was.

“This is really nice, Shannon. You’re fortunate.”

“You’re the first person to ride in it. You like it?” Shannon said.

"O.k,” Gwen replied. “What’s going on here? You were nice to me more than once. Spill it. What are you up to?”

Laughing, Shannon could only say, “There’s no plan. I just wanted you to be the first person to ride in my car.”

“Well,” Gwen continued, “after half a lifetime of you making my life miserable, I don’t know what to think at this point.”

“I’m your brother,” Shannon said. “It’s my job to give you a hard time. But for just this little while, I want to see you happy. So can you just be happy?”

“Alright,” Gwen said, giving her brother an oversized grin. “If you really want to see me happy, then let me play with the radio.”

Shannon’s expression suddenly changed. “Very funny. Don’t even try it.”


 It was still 15 minutes before Shannon’s break was up. He parked his Mustang behind the gas station and decided to wait until he had to go back to work. Just then, Delmar appeared to tell Shannon that Mr. Blears needed him. Making his way into his boss's office, Mr. Blears said, “Oh Shannon, I’m so sorry, I completely forgot that Laura and Tangie have a recital this evening and I have to be there. I asked Delmar if he could cover for me, but his wife needs him to watch the kids because it’s her ladies' scrapbook night at the bookstore. I’m sorry, son, but there’s no one else who can cover the shift. So you’re going to have to work a double.”

“Sure thing Mr. Blears. Let me call home. I have to tell my mom that I won’t be home for dinner. “ Shannon said. After calling home, Shannon headed to the cash register and took his place for the rest of the evening. His double shift went from 9am to 5pm and from 5pm to 1am. The 1am to 9am shift would then be covered by the regular overnight worker, Mrs. Velasco. Other than Mrs. Lindsey bringing her son a plate of pot roast and mashed potatoes for his dinner, the night itself was uneventful save for a few drunken customers who shared too much information about their personal lives.


Under the influence of his friends, Tyson Figueroa began using Ice. In the beginning, he had control over his impulses and used the drug only on occasion. But each time he went back for a buy and used again, the high seemed to last longer. The feeling of invincibility was slowly becoming more tangible, but the accessibility to money became less available. Tyson’s mother had finally cut him off after his last tirade. She’d kicked him out of the house and had a restraining order put on him after he attacked her when she refused to give him any more money for drugs. He swore to the authorities that he had no recollection of the events. But the bruises and broken jaw that his mother had suffered from the beating he gave her proved otherwise. His desperation for another longer-lasting high had led him to this. He had cased the gas station for a few weeks now, watching closely to see the comings and going of each of the employees. The most vulnerable shift seemed to be the one just before one in the morning. The old man would start counting out his cash drawer early because there were hardly any customers at that time. That would be the perfect moment to walk into the gas station and demand the money. The .38 revolver he had stolen from a Mr. Roy Collins' home was simple enough to get his point across. Crossing the street now, he walked briskly toward the gas station and made his way in through the front door as the bell went off. He stopped dead in his tracks when he saw his old High School classmate Shannon Lindsey sitting behind the cash register.

“Where’s the old man?” Tyson demanded.

“Hey, Tyson!” Shannon replied. “He had to take off tonight. So I’m filling in for him. Haven’t seen you in a while. How’ve you been, man?”

“I’ve been o.k,” Tyson replied. “Uh, just doing my thing, you know?”

“Cool, man. What do you do?” Shannon asked.

“Export business. I do a lot of lifting.” Tyson’s mind was swimming now. The situation wasn’t working out the way he had planned it.

“Oh, you mean like you work in a warehouse or something?” Shannon asked again.

“Well, I’m aware of some houses, I guess you could say.” But, unfortunately, time for Tyson was wearing thin. He had to act quickly. Shannon thought Tyson’s response was a bit odd but paid no mind to it.

“Hey so, how’s your mom? I haven’t seen her in a while either. Is she still working the night shift at Kenny’s?”

“Listen, Shannon…can you do me a real quick favor?” Tyson asked.

“Sure, Tyson, what do you need?” Shannon asked.

Taking a deep breath, Tyson reached into his pocket and removed the .38 revolver, and pointed it at Shannon. “I need you to open your cash drawer and give me all the money that’s in it. Real simple. I don’t want any trouble, Shannon, so just give me the money o.k.? And please, please, no matter what happens in the next few seconds, please don’t be a hero. Please, Shannon, just give me the money, and I’ll be gone.” But, of course, Shannon had no intention of doing anything heroic. Without a word, he opened the cash register, removed the drawer, and placed it on the counter in front of Tyson. He then removed the $100 and $50 bills underneath the cash drawer and placed that on the counter.

“There you go, man,” Shannon said. “It’s all yours. Take it.”

Carefully taking each bill and every coin and putting it into a plastic bag, Tyson stuffed the entire content into his pocket, all the while pointing his gun at Shannon. Slowly backing out of the store, he kept his eyes on his old classmate until he found the door and made his way out. He didn’t run. That would be too obvious in case someone had been driving by or walking past the gas station for a late stroll. Instead, he walked calmly and controlled his breathing, and fought the natural instinct to bolt. Tyson was halfway through the park just across the street from the gas station when he heard the voices ringing in his ears. At first, he couldn’t make out what the voices were saying, but the clarion of sound became focused and clear with each second. It was Shannon. He was calling the police to report a robbery. He could hear his classmate from clear across the park. Tyson was infuriated. Didn’t he ask Shannon not to be a hero and to just give him the money? Why did Shannon have to break his word? Now, Tyson had no other choice but to go back and fix the situation. Realistically, there weren't any voices. Tyson had no idea that paranoia was one of the side effects of the drug that he was so desperate for. The drug caused an irrational fear that people were constantly talking about you or were out to get you. You would also begin to hear voices in your head telling you to do things. The voices in Tyson’s head now told him to go back to the gas station to teach his old friend a lesson.


 Shannon took a moment to breathe and take in what just transpired.  Tyson wasn’t the old Tyson he knew from high school. Indeed he had done more than just fall in with a bad crowd. He was hooked on drugs now and became a hardened criminal at the age of 18. Just then, the bell to the front door rang, and Mrs. Velasco walked in so that she could start her shift. Shannon asked her to hold on while he called the police to report the robbery. After that was done, he called Mr. Blears. The boss was at the gas station in no time. When the authorities arrived, Shannon filled out the necessary reports and gave the police Tyson’s name and description. When the gas station had cleared out, it was four ‘o clock in the morning. Mrs. Velasco carried on as if nothing had happened and went right back to work. Mr. Blears and Shannon sat in his boss's office, where Shannon first called his parents to let them know what happened and reassure them that he was perfectly healthy and unharmed. Mr. Blears broke the silence after a few minutes and looked at Shannon thoughtfully. “It would have been a terrible thing if something had happened to you, Shannon. I think I’m more shaken up about the whole thing than you are.”

“Mr. Blears,” Shannon continued, “You should have seen him. That wasn’t the Tyson that I grew up with. He’s a completely different person now.”

“Yeah, I am.” Tyson interrupted. He walked into Mr. Blears’ office with Mrs. Velasco in front of him as he pointed the .38 handgun to the back of her head.

“Go stand over there with the two of them,” Tyson told Mrs. Velasco. The three now stood in front of Mr. Blears’ desk, with Tyson keeping himself a safe distance away so that neither one would be able to make a grab for the gun. “Don’t anyone of you try to say anything, do you understand? There’s nothing you can do to convince me to not do what I have to do. I heard you, Shannon. I heard you from clear across the park. I heard you on the phone talking to the police about me. That’s when I knew I had to come back here and teach you a lesson about trust. Why did you have to bring your boss and this old lady into it, Shannon? Why? Don’t you see what you’ve done?”

Mr. Blears tried to reason with the boy, but Tyson immediately pointed his gun at Mr. Blears’ head. “Bite your tongue, Mr. Blears, please? I’m not kidding. This was your one and only chance. Don’t talk. You just made everything even more complicated. Let me just do what I have to do so that I can get out of here.”

Tyson pointed his gun at Shannon in the blink of an eye and suppressed the trigger six times. Mr. Blears lunged for Shannon and Mrs.Velasco, trying to push them out of harm's way, sacrificing his own body to save them. But there was nothing. No sound. There was no loud, deafening explosion that would usually follow the flight of six bullets as the trigger caused the hammer to strike the cap, and the bullets rocketed forward in a deadly streak toward its intended target. All that followed was the sound of six dull clicks. Tyson looked at his gun and saw that there were indeed six bullets loaded in the chamber. He pointed the gun at Shannon again and fired with nothing but the sound of clicks again as the hammer hit its intended mark. Tyson had only seconds left before the three would try to physically assault him. Quickly pointing the gun to the ground for a test fire, the trigger malfunctioned and fired all six bullets cleanly toward the concrete floor. The entire contents of the .38 then ricocheted and spread fire in a small arc heading directly into Tyson’s body. The first bullet went through Tyson’s throat and shattered his spinal column while the second bullet lodged itself in his heart. The remaining four bullets tore through his groin and exited out of his sternum. Tyson died instantly as his form slowly crumpled to the floor. Mrs. Velasco stood there and screamed while Shannon and Mr. Blears tried to give CPR to Tyson, but it was too late. A large pool of blood was quickly forming around the back of his head. Mr. Blears called 911 for an ambulance as Shannon held on to Tyson’s hand and wept. He apologized to Tyson for what had happened and wished with all of his heart that the situation didn’t turn out the way it did. Tyson’s hand went cold suddenly as the life that was once his left his body. All Shannon could do at that point was pray.


  At the same time across town at Kenny’s Drive-In, Mrs. Figuerora had just served Sidney Ching his order of a double stack of French toast and link sausages. Sydney was particular about the kind of coffee that he wanted to go along with his meal. It had to be served at room temperature with two sugar cubes and carnation cream inside. It would drive Mrs. Figuerora crazy that Sidney would never stir the contents within his coffee cup but that he let it sit there. However, she couldn’t complain too much because Sidney was also a generous tipper. Other than that, all she could think about was getting back home and taking a lengthy, well-needed nap. Soon, however, in the wee hours of the morning, the police would arrive at the diner and ask her to accompany them to the city morgue, where she would have to identify Tyson’s body. She would sit there numb for several hours. She couldn’t decide if she was mournful or relieved. It felt as if a problem that had plagued her life for so many years was now gone. She asked herself if it was a horrible thing that, as a mother, she felt nothing as she observed the body of her son lying on a cold slab. The urge to hold his hand in hers never came. The maternal instinct that she had felt when her son was but an infant was gone. Her memories of him as a child were vague and blurred. She couldn’t recall when it was that he had eaten his first ice cream cone or when he had flown his first kite. His first day at pre-school or the clothes he wore or the name of the school itself drew a blank in her reserve of sentimental thought. There was nothing. It was almost as if Tyson had never existed and that now she was looking at the lifeless body of an 18-year-old stranger. She thought for a moment that this must be someone else’s son. Perhaps this was the reason why she couldn’t recall anything about him, but she was wrong.  His beauty mark on his right cheek was still where it had always been since the day he was born. This was indeed her son. But something was missing that she couldn’t quite put her finger on. Just then, the coroner presented Mrs. Figuerora with a bag of Tyson’s clothes and his shoes to see if she wanted to take them home with her. She refused. “You can burn it.” She said.


 An hour later, from the kitchen of her home in Kaimuki, Mrs. Figuerora placed a call to Tyson’s father in Orlando, Florida. When the phone rang at Percy Figuerora’s home, Lynn Figueroa, Percy’s new wife, took the call while her husband sat in front of his wide-screen television taking in the Pay Per View boxing match from Las Vegas. Lynn could hardly make out the voice as she answered the phone. Her husband had the T.V. on full volume. “Hello?!” Lynn answered.

“Can I speak to Percy?” The voice came.

“I’m sorry, who did you want to speak to?!” Lynn shrieked as she inserted her forefinger into her ear.

“Percy.” The voice replied.

“I can’t hear you!” Lynn said. “Hold on!”

Walking over to her husband now, Lynn slapped him on the back of his shoulder and screamed, “You have a phone call!!!!!!! Turn the damned volume down!!!!”

“Alright, dammit!” Percy screamed. Grabbing the phone from his wife, he answered it with growing irritation. “Hello?”

“Percy.” The voice said. “It’s Maria.”

Taking a deep breath, Percy replied to his ex-wife. “What do you want?”

“Tyson is dead” Maria was very mattered of fact.” He killed himself by accident while trying to rob a gas station last night. I had to go to the city morgue this morning to identify his body. I just thought you should know. I haven’t made any arrangements yet for the funeral.”

A second later, all Maria could hear was a click and a dial tone on the other end of the phone.

“Who was that?” Lynn asked.

“Nobody. Just another charity asking for money,” Percy replied.



When Shannon returned home the next morning, his family greeted him and held on to him for a while. Mrs. Lindsey was beside herself with tears, and she couldn’t help but tell her son that he would have to quit his job at the gas station. An incident like what happened last night could happen again. Working to pay off a car wouldn’t be worth her son’s life. What if something worse had happened and her son had actually been killed? It took a while for Mr. Lindsey and her children to calm her down. “The main thing,” Mr. Lindsey said, “is that he’s home, and he’s fine.”

“Yeah,” Gwen said, hugging her older brother. “Otherwise, I’d never been able to play with his car radio.”

“You go upstairs and shower,” Mrs. Lindsey scolded her son gently. “I’ll make you breakfast, and then you can get some sleep.”

“Laverne, for goodness sakes, don’t treat him like a baby. He’s fine.” Mr. Lindsey gave his son a look to tell Shannon to reassure his mother about his state of well-being.

“Mom, I’m o.k. I’m going upstairs to take a shower and then head off to bed. I’m really exhausted.” Shannon said.

“Alright,” Mrs. Lindsey replied.

“Guys,” Shannon said. “I feel bad for Tyson’s mom, though. Tyson was the only family she had. I don’t know what she’s going to do now that he’s gone?

“Well,” Mr. Lindsey said. “Once we find out when Tyson’s services are, we’ll all go and pay our respects.” 

Everyone agreed. For now, Shannon would take a hot shower and afterward retire to his second-floor bedroom, where he would have to fight the nightmares that would plague him every night until the day of Tyson’s funeral.


Six months later, Mr. Blears opened two new chains of Blear's Gas Station and Food Stop. He'd been so busy with closing the deal and prepping everything for the two grand openings that he missed a small detail around his first gas station. He was doing inventory on spark plugs when he heard a vehicle drive up and saw Shannon pull up in his father's van and park in his usual spot. He was smartly dressed in his uniform, always well pressed and creased in the right places. Shannon overlooked Mr. Blears right away, that is until he clocked in, walked to the front of the store, and operated the cash register. "Hey, Mr. Blears! I'm surprised to see you here! How have you been? And how are things at the new stores?"

"It's a madhouse now, but it will even out eventually. Say, I noticed you pulled up in the family van. Is everything alright with the Mustang?" Mr. Blears asked.

"After I paid it off, I sold it to Mrs. Figuerora. She really needed a car, and after everything that happened with Tyson, I dunno, I just wanted to help. Did you know that Percy didn't even attend his own son's funeral?" Shannon couldn't wrap his mind around that one. "Divorce or not, your child is still your child."

"What'd you sell it for?" Mr. Blears wondered.

"I followed your example boss, we worked out a payment plan," Shannon explained. "Mrs. Figuerora hasn't missed, not once."

"What did your folks have to say about it?" After six months of non-stop work on the two new establishments, this moment gave Mr. Blears a second to smell the roses. He'd forgotten how much of a good soul Shannon really was.

"We have her over for dinner every Friday, and we spend some time with her after. Mostly, we talk about her life and all the good memories about Tyson," Shannon explained. "She makes a delicious Boston cream pie. We should have you over some time, Mr. Blears. I know you'd like it!"

"Shannon, this running back and forth between stores is really taking a toll on my old beat-up body," Mr. Blears began. "I'm just gonna stay at this store from now on."

"What about the other stores? They need you, Mr. Blears," Shannon asked.

"I'll draw up the paperwork this afternoon, but as of right now, you're the district manager of Blears Gas Station and Food Stop. Which means you'll manage all three establishments, so you'll be floating between stores, you get it? But, of course, your raise will kick in as soon as I can make it happen," Mr. Blears wiped his tears away without any shame.

"Is everything alright, boss? This is good news, right? Even though it's so sudden?" Shannon couldn't quite grasp the situation. "I'm not sure what I did to merit this promotion?"

"Shannon, if I don't give you a company car, then all you're gonna do is end up giving away the next car after that, and the car after that one, and then the shirt off your back, and who knows what else?" Mr. Blears sobbed. "You've got to have something that's all yours and yours alone."

"Thank you, Mr. Blears. I don't know what to say?" Shannon shrugged his shoulders. 

"I also hear that you've been seeing my oldest daughter, Marcie?" Mr. Blears playfully raised one eye-brow.

"I've meant to ask your permission Mr. Blears, but you've been busy," Shannon reassured his employer.

"You've had my permission even before you started dating her. I sort of hoped you would," Mr. Blears chuckled while he simultaneously stepped forward and gave Shannon a big hug. 


The nightmare was different this time. Tyson was standing in front of Shannon with a gun in his hand while Mrs. Velasco and Mr. Blears stood by. This time, Tyson carefully placed the gun back in his coat pocket. His face was clear and pure and not contorted from disparities of crack and alcohol. He gave Shannon a beaming smile, "I'm sorry for all the trouble I caused, Mr. Blears, Mrs. Velasco. Thank your parents for me, Shannon, for taking care of my mom."

"I'm sorry your dad didn't come to your services Tyson," Shannon apologized.

"That's on him bro, don't even worry about it. I'm not," Tyson was so cool. "That's what I wanted to say. You don't have to have those nightmares about me anymore. It wasn't your fault Shannon, not my mom's either. Thank you, I mean that."

Shannon Lindsey woke the next morning feeling like a brand new person. It was more than a weight lifted off his shoulders. It was a lesson that we can't help and save everyone, and it's perfectly alright. Incidentally, Gwen Lindsey got a bachelor of fine arts degree at Cal Arts College and then a master of fine arts degree. She topped that off with a Doctor of musical arts degree. In the interim, she'd been saving to buy something special for her brother Shannon. He received it on the day he married Marcie Blears.


Shannon called home at twelve forty-five to ask Marcie if there was anything for lunch? Marcie said there were sandwich meats and that by the time he came home, there would be a few ready for him. So at ten after one, Shannon pulled up into the front driveway and made his way into the kitchen through the garage. With all three of their kids in school, the house was tranquil. Shannon gave Marcie a long hug and an even longer kiss. "Hey?" Marcie whispered. "I thought you came home for a sandwich?"

"I did," Shannon winked.

The two made love on the kitchen counter, and Shannon took his time, not rushing at all. Shannon loved Marcie with his entire being, if that was actually possible. But we're talking about Shannon Lindsey. It was the only way he knew how to love, how to give, how to live. He carried Marcie to their bedroom, staying inside her the whole way. Needless to say, Shannon was going to be a bit late getting back, so he would have to take his sandwiches with him. The two lay there in a warm embrace in the after-lude, not quite ready to let go.

"This is how we ended up having three kids, Mr. Lindsey," Marcie kissed her husband on the forehead.

"Should I stop coming home for sandwiches then? Shannon asked.

"I didn't say all that," Marcie cooed. "I'm just making a statement."

"You make the best sandwiches, Mrs. Lindsey," Shannon gave his wife a deep kiss.

"I do, don't I?" Marcie giggled and got up from the bed and then went to the kitchen to collect her particulars. Shannon got to her before she could put them on and quickly made love to her one more time and, after, helped her clean up and put away the dishes. Once he was out the door with a paper bag and a drink in his hands, he waved to his neighbors Mr. and Mrs. Kiyonaga. "Good afternoon! How are you?"

"Good, good!" Mr. Kiyonaga replied. "Lunch break?"

"Sandwiches!" Shannon held up the paper bag before he got into the car.

"Oh, ok!" Mr. Kiyonaga waved before he remarked to his wife. "Poor thing dat boy, his wife when bring some food to us dat one time, remember?"

"Yeah," Mrs. Kiyonaga's tone was to remind her husband that she wasn't forgetful. "What about it?"

"That girl no can cook for save her life," Mr. Kiyonaga shook his head.

"Oroka, you!" Mrs. Kiyonaga hissed. "He not coming home for sandwiches."


Marcie just put her clothes and the rest of her particulars in the wash when she heard the familiar sound of Shannon's car reversing out of their driveway. A second later, she heard a horrific crash. It was the sound of metal on metal, glass breaking, and more metal twisting with the shrieking skid of tires against the blacktop. She rushed outside and ran down the front driveway to find Shannon's mangled car, trapped under the gargantuan wheels of a semi hauling a full load of concrete. The driver had taken the blind turn down their street without even so much as a glance to see if there were any oncoming vehicles. Two blocks down from where the Lindsey's lived was an upcoming development. The construction workers and drivers were clearly told to use the temporary road to get to the job site. Unfortunately, many of them were lazy and took the shortcut that came through Shannon's street, never knowing or caring that it would cost someone their life. Shannon had plans for later that afternoon. He was going to gather Marcie and the kids and drive to Kaimana beach for a late afternoon picnic, after which they'd watch the sunset and head back home. Except, on the way home, he'd have his oldest daughter Gwendolyn drive. It would be casual like it always was. Except, when Gwendolyn would hand the car keys back to her father, he'd tell her to keep it. The mustang would be hers. 

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