Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Apr 4, 2022

ʻĪkoi Kolu 2022

"Look, we're sorry ok? What we did was stupid, and yes, we were being disrespectful, and if there's any way to stop this, we're all for it," Corliss begged.

"Why are you apologizing to me?" It wasn't a question so much as it was an accusation. "I wasn't desecrated."

"We are at our wit's end here, and we've gone everywhere for help, but everyone we've spoken to? They've pointed right back to you," Steerforth sounded like the light had gone out of his life. "Look at our wives and our children, man!"

"Bite marks and bruises on every single one," I agreed. "Except for the two of you, of course,"

"Please," Corliss's wife, Viki stood up and approached me. "I don't care about myself, but at least make it stop hurting our kids."

"I know you are," I looked at both women, opened the office door, and stood to one side, "my aunt and uncles will bring you downstairs." I watched as Corliss and Steerforth left with their families in tow with no other words to impart. I stopped aunty Rita, Ivan, and Tiny for a brief second and whispered, "take the next few days off. I'll let you know when it's time to come back."

"What about these people?" Ivan asked.

"Within the same amount of time it will take for me to call you back is the same amount of time those two men will be truly sorry," I replied as I closed the door behind them. I sat down and turned on the intercom, and called downstairs to the front door. "Kealoha?"

"Yes, boss?" 

"I need you to be extra diligent these next few days, do you understand?" I asked.

The speaker squelched before he replied, "Yes, boss. Is there anything in particular that I should be aware of?"

"Sound," I answered.

"Sound?" He replied. "What kind of sound, boss?"

"Silence, where there should be noise," I confirmed.


Two days later, I could catch up on a lot of paperwork and e-mails sitting in our spam folder, which technically should not have been there. More requests for curses on ex-spouses, ex-lovers, and ex-bosses. Ah, the human condition. I would probably have a heart attack if someone requested happiness plain and straightforward for someone else instead of trying to ruin them. Kealoha was out on his lunch break when the intercom downstairs buzzed in. "UPS," the voice said. "I need a signature for this delivery, please,"

"I'll be right down," I replied. The transaction was simple; it was a rare fossilized shark's tooth that I'd been searching for. One of the giant tiger shark's teeth globally was found in the Netherlands of all places. The tooth owner was known as Kaina during the eight teen hundreds as we were slowly being westernized. Kaina was a kupua, half-human, half-shark. He was curious about the world beyond our Hawaiian archipelago and jumped on a whaling ship one morning and sailed around the world. As the world modernized, he would make trips back home but only via a cruise ship. He couldn't handle flying.

Finally, toward the end of his life, he settled in the Netherlands, and there he remained until he simply decided that his time among men was through. My parents helped Kaina with his transition, and he asked that if and when his demise came, they should come into the ownership of his remains. So, that promise was kept and inherited by me. The fossilized tooth would be wrapped in a pūʻolo where it would be kept in a gourd container for safekeeping in my office. Kealoha returned from lunch at the perfect time. I handed him the ups box and gave him instructions on where he could safely store it in my office until I returned from my own lunch break. I was crossing the corner of university and south king when I glanced over at the noodle shop and saw ʻĪkoi standing at the double windowed door. He moved out of the way when people were entering or leaving, but he was fixated on the aroma and the sight of those delicious noodles. Mrs. Seng, the owner, came out to shoe him away, but I walked over and told her it was alright and that she had nothing to worry about. She hurried back into her restaurant and returned to taking orders. "You again," I looked down at him and shook my head.

He squealed, "You too, not only me!" He had a rounded bruise on his left chubby cheek.

"What is that?" I touched it gently. "What happened?"

"My papa left, and a new papa came to live in our car," ʻĪkoi said. "He donʻt like me cause I donʻt listen to him, so he hit me."

"Didnʻt your mama try to stop him?" Piʻi ka ʻinaina. The anger in me began to rise.

He shook his head, "the new papa hits her too."

I took in a deep breath and calmed myself. I couldnʻt go off half-cocked and wail on this idiot who hits ʻĪkoi and his mother. "You wanna go inside and count noodles?"

"Oh yes!" he said excitedly. "I can count up to thur-tee!" He held up all ten fingers and flashed them three times. "See? Thur-tee!" be continued



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