Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

May 14, 2022

Bullied 2022

Our fourth-grade teacher was uptight, horribly classist, and racist.

Even as fourth-graders, we knew that, but we learned what we needed to learn. As for holidays and even her birthday, none of us gave her a present, much less an apple. Shit, I'm sure we would have poisoned that apple if we knew how. Of course, we were all brown, but the darkest of us was the one she refused to go anywhere near. One of us always had to hand her a paper or the things needed for an art assignment. Her name was Rachel, and we always felt bad for her, but she did not seem to be bothered by how our teacher treated her. By the way, that old teacher's name was Ms. Cachola. She was brown herself, but she hated being brown, which meant that she hated her own kind. Strange no? So, here's the story. One day a box of paper clips went missing from Ms. Cachola's desk. She automatically assumed that Rachel was the one who had stolen the box of paper clips, which we all knew was not valid. By the end of the day, when she was cleaning out her wastebasket, she found her box of paper clips. Did she care that Rachel was not the one who stole the item? More than likely not, and of course, it was too late for any apologies. A whole school day had passed, and Rachel had been made to suffer for something she did not do. She was only allowed to go to lunch, but for the rest of the day, Ms. Cachola forced Rachel to wear a sign that said, "I am a filthy thief."

At the end of the day, we felt so bad for Rachel that we walked her home and told her mother about what happened and how Ms. Cachola picked on her daughter all the time. Then, after the bell had already rung for the first class the following day, Rachel's mother walked into the room and slapped Ms. Cachola right across the face. 

"You humiliated my daughter and labeled her a thief?" The woman spoke calmly. Ms. Cachola attempted to say something, but Rachel's mom slapped her again. "You marked my daughter, but you are marked." The woman turned around and left. For the rest of the day, Ms. Cachola's left cheek was red and swollen. The following day, the welted hand mark of Rachel's mother was still there, as it was the day after that and the week after that. It began to turn a purplish-blue and eventually started to scab and pus. It wasn't healing or getting better no matter what Ms. Cachola tried to do. Oh, but let's not forget about Rachel. She was transferred to Mrs. Mendiola's class, where she thrived and blossomed. We were all very happy for her and loved playing with her at recess and after school. One day, Ms. Cachola didn't come to class. The next day, we had a substitute. The following week, we had a new teacher. No one said anything about why she was no longer teaching at our school. We never knew what happened to her after that. But that's my story about my year-long experience in the fourth grade at an elementary school on the leeward side of the island. 


17A Productions Presents

Lopaka Kapanui at Hawaii Theatre

A storytelling concert at the historic Hawaii Theatre. This master storyteller is one of Hawaii’s most popular teller of tales and has been in the business of scaring people for more than 20 years. Lopaka is terrifically skilled at provoking that sudden chill going down one’s back or causing the small hairs on your arms to stand up. Chicken skin is what we call it in Hawai‘i. Others might refer to it as chills or goosebumps. Sharing real accounts of Hawaii’s supernatural culture, Lopaka often leaves audience members questioning the darkness on their drive home and anxiously leaving the light on at bedtime.


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