Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Mar 27, 2022

Asafoetida Deux 2022

While Jenny worked on her porterhouse, I went across the street to see Mr. Young at the crack seed shop to see if he had any of his unique lemon peel that day.

It's the one he told me was perfect for when you had a cold as a child. His special stash was behind the counter, and I got a quarter-pound bag. I also got a couple of drinks for myself and Jenny and went back across the street to the bus shack to join her. Gesturing her head toward the elementary school behind us, Jenny said," I went there for a little while before I went to private school. I pitched a fit when my parents told me I was going to 'Iolani. I loved this school and all my teachers; I didn't want to leave."

"Wow, so when did you transition to work at Goodwill?" I asked, trying not to sound judgemental.

"I'm the chief financial officer," she replied with a mouth full of food. "One day out of the month, I work a shift at one of our locations. Today happened to be this one, where I saw a used wedding gown and thought to myself, 'Gee, I wonder if I can fit in that thing?' Of course, I couldn't help but laugh, to which she playfully slapped me on my shoulder and exclaimed, "Oh my god! You thought I was one of the regular workers, didn't you!?"

"Is there something wrong with being a worker at Goodwill?" I feigned incredulous.

"Of course not, I'm just saying," she was befuddled now.

"What are you just saying?" I crooked my head to one side.

"Just eat your lemon peel, Hanson," she grunted. "What kind of name is Hanson anyway?"

"My father wanted to name me Hanlan after his uncle, and my mother wanted to name me Garrison, so they came to a compromise and named me Hanson," I said while sipping on my drink. 

"Those were the only two choices?" Jenny said.

"Well, no, that's not true," I laughed. "Hanson was my mother's idea; from what I understand, my father went along with it."

"Such a trouble maker," Jenny shook her head.

"What about you? How did your folks come up with Jenny?" Then, it was my turn to pry.

"The 60s' song by Donovan," she replied.

"You see? Your naming process was a lot cooler than mine," I nodded. "It matches you; you actually look like a girl from a 60s' song."

"Alright, mister bullshiter, you're spreading it a bit too thick here," she sliced the last piece of her porterhouse and popped it in her mouth. "That is some good steak, I have to say."

"Want some dessert after?" I pointed across the street to Mr. Young's. "Some Icee with ice cream at the bottom?"

"Oh god yes," she nodded. "I could definitely go for that!"

An hour later, I walked her back to the Goodwill and saw her off at the door. We talked about everything and nothing. Our conversation was seamless with no natural awkward pauses in between but more like an intent look at one another, not wondering once as to how we got there, just staring with a goofy smile on our faces. "Well, thanks for lunch and a nice day," she said while I held the door open for her.

"It was my pleasure," I replied. "I'm happy you had fun."

We waved goodbye, and I walked off toward my car on 12th avenue. I suppose that I was caught up in the high of our time together, Jenny and I, that I forgot to ask her for her phone number. I let out a deep sigh, realizing the depth of my ineptitude. "You're slipping, Hanson," I hissed at myself. A minute later, I was driving out of the parking lot on the Koko Head avenue side when I saw Jenny coming out of Mr. Young's place with another big Icee cup in her hand. I popped the horn to catch her attention. "Couldn't get enough, could you?" She came over and remarked about the car I was driving. "Nice Cadillac, coupe de Ville, right?"

"Very good, yes," I laughed. 

She went around the other side to the passenger's door and got in. "Quick, there's a line of cars behind you," she was right. I held up the other cars in the parking lot, trying to get out. I took a right, and we drove around the Kaimuki Kahala neighborhood. Come to find out, she went back to Mr. Young's to see if he knew my phone number? "Oh, of course," Mr. Young told her. "Hanson's parents helped me out one time; I am so grateful."

"See?" She held up the back of the receipt he gave her. "I got it right here."

We parked at Kahala beach, where we shared her Icee and talked until sunset. Then, for the second time that day, I walked her back to the store where the regular employees had already left. Then I walked her back to her car, and before we departed, I handed her a piece of paper so she could write down her number on it. "I'm sorry that you devoted the remainder of your day to a strange man you've never met before; if you let me, I can take you to dinner and make it up to you." She took the paper, wrote down her number and address, and handed it back.

"Pick me up at nine," she said while folding up the paper and placing it in my hand. 


All the while, I hadn't known that a case we had worked on three years ago, where we had to place a curse on an ex-husband who had severely abused his now ex-wife and children, had reared its ugly head. Donnelly Corpuz was sentenced to ten years in jail but managed to get out early on a technicality. His ex-wife Trisha and their children had gone into hiding, not being able to find them; he was going to go after uncle Ivan, uncle Tiny, and aunty Rita one by one. Then, he was going to come after me. Donnelly's mistake was thinking that because my uncles and my aunty were kupuna, they would be easy pickings. Wrong, so wrong on many levels. My uncles were masters in Lua, and my aunty Rita could cut you deep with her Pahi before you even knew your esophagus was hanging out of your body. So when Donnelly finally got to me, it was terrible timing. Very terrible. be continued

Art by Edouard Noisette



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