Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

May 4, 2022

Defend 2022

John Grimes is a murderer.

He killed his wife in cold blood when she refused to get him some tacos at three in the morning. There was no yelling, screaming, or cursing. Instead, he went to the kitchen, got out the meat-tenderizing mallet, hit his wife Tracy at the base of her skull, and fell Tracy dead at his feet. I had to defend him today in court, knowing that he is a hundred percent guilty. But, unfortunately, we got him off on a technicality. The hothead rookie that arrested him did not read John his Miranda rights, and at the time, John had been on anti-psychotic drugs for his personality disorder.

I've received several voice messages from John Grimes gleefully thanking me for my hard work and inviting me over for dinner. I haven't returned the calls. I've taken down any reflective surface in my house, mirrors, and the like. I don't want to see myself; I can't, not after today. It was one in the morning when something finally clicked inside me, like a singular bulb in a dark room. I'd been sitting in the kitchen since seven, not moving once. I believe I was trying to absorb it all, trying to make sense of the case, but more so, trying to make sense of myself and who I was. Then it all came to me. After that, I couldn't stand to be in my suit and tie anymore; I had to change out of it. Windbreaker, undershirt, jeans, and sneakers, that's who I was before all of this. When I left, I couldn't bring myself to drive my Porsche; I took the old Camry instead. Despite the horrific nature of John Grimes' murderous act, I still found it disconcerting that he lived in an upscale condo in Hawai'i Kai. I sat in my car and waited, not knowing why.

I just knew I had to wait. John was exiting the elevator in the lobby with his brand new girlfriend in tow, who lovingly held on to his arm while they left the building with their cute little pug dog flitting about. They strolled out of the parking lot and walked down Waioli street, with no indication in John's body language that he was ever bothered by the act he committed. They crossed from the sidewalk fronting the condo to the other side of the street, intending to turn left on Hawaii Kai drive. John never made it that far. I had the Camry idling for a while, so it wasn't an effort to throw it in gear and make a beeline toward John, where I plowed the vehicle right into him. He flew a few feet away from my car and landed with a sickening thud on the pavement. I sped off and ran him over as I turned onto the main drag and headed home. John and I have different fathers, but we share the same mother. He's Grimes; I am Kealoha. John and I hadn't seen one another since our boyhood, and I saw that he didn't recognize me. I said nothing about it the whole time. I thought that he'd be found guilty for sure, and he'd go away. One less problem on my plate of problems, but no. He got off, and I couldn't have that. I couldn't let that slide. I didn't know how much the gene for committing murder was in our DNA, but our mother did murder John's father, and mine.

Credit: The Nation


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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