Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Jan 30, 2022

Manuel 2022

 Back in the day, chicken fights were still a thing.

 Of course, I'm talking about the 70s', when I grew up in Waipahu. Many rival factions had such heat between one another that they would fight their best roosters in the middle of a parking lot at the Waipahu gym or at the Hans L'orange park near the dugout. There was definitely big money in that game. There was a guy in his mid-thirties; Manuel was his name. He was more than a bit off; he would attend all the chicken fights with what he boasted was his prize rooster, tucked neatly under his arm. Of course, everyone knew well enough not to let Manuel enter his rooster into any contests. It wasn't so much that Manuel was crazy. It was more so that his rooster was made of porcelain. I digress. It's because he was crazy. No one knew Manuel's origin story; it seemed like he just showed up one day and became a part of the local fabric in the Waipahu community. It was not uncommon to see Manuel walking the entire Waipahu depot road with his porcelain rooster under his arm, muttering to it incoherently. If Manuel saw a hen or rooster nearby, he'd place his porcelain rooster on the ground and immediately jump up and down, yelling and screaming as if a real contest were taking place.

Sometimes in his mind, his rooster was victorious. Other times, his rooster lost, and you wouldn't see Manuel for a few days. Then, he'd resurface suddenly and return to the same routine. One mid-afternoon, while a few people were waiting for the bus in front of the old Nabarette store, Manuel came walking down Mahoe street. Completely enamored with his rooster, cooing and smiling at it, Manuel produced chicken feed from his pant pocket and held it in his open palm. The porcelain rooster's dark-painted eyes stared blankly at the feed. Several young punks walked behind him just then, taunting and teasing. Manuel paid them no mind and continued to feed his rooster.

Finally, one of the young punks ran up from behind, grabbed the fake rooster from Manuel, and tossed it high in the air. The rest of his idiot juvenile friends hooped and hollered, waiting for the porcelain fowl to hit the pavement and shatter into pieces. However, the young punk threw the fake rooster so high that they became blinded by the sunlight and lost sight of it. Suddenly, the real flesh and feathered rooster came flying down and dug its claws into the face of the young punk and plucked his eyes out. It set upon the rest of the group and sent them sprawling and screaming for their lives when it was done. The people waiting at the bus stop were horrified at what they saw. One of them used the payphone in front of the Nabarette store to call the police and an ambulance, while the rest went across the street to check on Manuel. It was a horrible bloody mess, with the young punk screaming and writhing in pain. Manuel stood off to the side with his porcelain rooster under his arm, watching intently. In the next second, he produced more chicken feed from his pocket, cooing and muttering as he fed his fake rooster. Then he turned and walked off. Life was good again, and Manuel's porcelain rooster was well fed.

No comments:

Post a Comment