Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 26, 2021

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2021 #66


Did you ever have one of those friends that you've known for a while, but every now and again, they do things that make you question your friendship?

Then, later on in life, as an adult, you find out your childhood friend's nefarious behavior results from family trauma or deep-seated insecurities which they project on to the person or persons closest to them? His name was Sherwyn Watanabe. That should explain everything. In high school, it was things like knocking the lunch plate out of your hand so that the cafeteria lady would end up yelling at you for being a clumsy Hawaiian idiot. Or slapping a random person on the head while heading to class and then blaming you for it. Then there were other times where Sherwyn was kind and would treat us to the movies or take us to the buffet at Pizza Hut. Or after school, when a bunch of us would hang out in the theater class, Sherwyn would show up with one of those soda crates in his arms, filled with fried noodles and drinks for all of us. The cruelty seemed to come over him like an addiction. It was insidious because it surfaced so unexpectedly that it caught us unawares. Or maybe the kindness was the ruse, and the cruelty was intentional. In my day, we had a gathering by invitation only, it was a called a Social. If you got an invite to one of these things, it usually meant that more than one person thought enough of you to petition your name as a possible invitee. Socials were held at someone's home, and normally, their parents were the chaperones who oversaw the gathering. Aside from the foods and drinks served, there was also the regular dancing to whatever music was popular at the time. There was only ever one slow dance. Because I'm a child of the '70s and the parents were the product of the '50s and '60s, the slow dance record of their choosing was 'A Summer Place' by the Percy Faith orchestra. Because that song was nothing but violins, a piano, and a bass guitar, it brought out a feeling of innocence and running through the daisies. It didn't elicit feelings of lust like the other '70s songs with a deep bass guitar and soulful crooning about love, not letting someone wait because the time for love-making was here and now. Conveniently, the parents who oversaw the social locked all the bedroom doors.

The social that I was invited to was extended strictly to myself. It was given to me by the prettiest girl my senior year, Gale Choriki. So naturally, my mouth went dry, and I stuttered like an idiot when I saw her leave the confines of the science class, where she hung out during recess and walk clear across the quad to give me the wax-sealed invite. "Why am I getting this?" I asked in my best Bruce Lee accent, which was dumb.

"Because everybody says you're nice," she was shy and avoided eye contact, which threw me. "It's good when you're nice."

"Ok," I replied.

"It's a one-person invite. It's at my house," she turned around and went back to the science room.

Of course, everyone, including Sherwyn, was there when this happened. From that day on, he suddenly wouldn't talk to me anymore. He completely avoided me or walked away when I showed up. After a while, I got over it and went on with my life. The social went very well, and Gale and I became good friends after. We stayed in touch after graduation and went out a lot with our friends. Sometimes, I'd pick her up, or she'd come and get me, and we'd head out to a club, a party, or a movie. One night at the Point After, only Gale and I hung out and danced on the floor. At the end of the night, Gale and I were leaving the club, intending to go to House Saimin to sober up. The following night, we saw Sherwyn at the door. He was one of the new bouncers. Gale and I exchanged the hello, how are you doing and long time no see. He was friendly to Gale, but he blocked me with his forearm and asked for my ID as I followed her in. Without a complaint, I gave it to him. He looked it over once and handed it to the other bouncers, who examined it one by one. When it got back to Sherwyn, he took out a switchblade and cut my license in half. "What the fuck are you doing???!" I screamed at him.

"Fake ID, get outta here before we bounce you down the stairs," I looked at Sherwyn for a long minute, and I suddenly knew who he really was. So this was all about the invite to the social that he never got to go to. Gale came out and asked me if I was coming or not, and I told her what happened. She was befuddled and asked Sherwyn if what I said was true? His answer was to have himself, and his goons bodily toss Gale and me down the stairs. Gale and I called the police, and Sherwyn and his friends spent the night in jail on assault charges. Gale and I were a bit banged up, but nothing was broken. be continued

photo credit: Gabriel S. Delgado 

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