Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

May 28, 2022

Kaomi 2022

We were friends from the first time we realized we liked Power Rangers.

His was the red one; mine was the black one until the green one came along. We hung out at each other's houses after school or on the weekends, always armed with our little suitcase of Power Ranger figures and the latest extras. Like the spaceships or the combined parts that make up a giant robot. Or was that another series? As we got older, our likes of Power Rangers changed to cars, music, girls, and movies. By the time we were both old enough to get a job, we were bagging groceries at the local store after school and on weekends. Sure, there were good days and bad days, but we had a paycheck, and we got to do fun things when we weren't on the job.

Oh, please forgive me. I started this whole ramble without introducing myself. I'm Kevin, and the friend I'm talking about here is Manolo. Now that we got that out of the way, we'll move on to our first cars. Manolo got his older brother Braydon's 1971 Satelite Sebring. That car always looked like it was too big for Manolo because he was slight in stature, even though he was of average height. I didn't want to inherit anyone's car in my family because they went through them like water. Buy a car, drive it, not like it, or wreck it, and they'd trade it in or get a new one. I found a black 64 Ford Galaxie that I liked in the classifieds. I showed it to my dad, and he agreed to help me buy it, but I'd have to pay him back for his portion of the money he pitched in. So, yeah, I had to make payments until my old man was fully paid back. He never let me forget it, either. Movies turned out to be a weekend thing because we were so busy with school and work. That's where the girls come in. Manolo dated this local haole girl, Ruth. She was pretty and intelligent; fortunately, her folks liked Manolo because he was a good guy. The girl I wanted wasn't my girlfriend yet; we were friends for a while until I came back from the mainland in the early nineties. We bumped into each other at a blockbuster video store, of all places, and that's how we reconnected and ended up getting married. The weird thing is, as I write this, I can't remember her name, and she's my wife, for god's sake.

Things change: likes, dislikes, wants, desires, and priorities as we get older. The four of us graduated high school and went on to become adults. Manolo owned a cell phone business until the big-name brands came along, and then he opened a small Filipino eatery in the Kalihi warehouse district and made a killing. His kids went on to become local celebrities. One was a singer, another a news reporter on the six o'clock news, and the other became a character actor in many Hollywood films. With my degree in liberal arts, I applied it by traveling around from state to state. To places I'd never been to that I wanted to see. Then, ten years later, I got bored one day and came home. I realized that I didn't want to work for anyone; I didn't want to sit in an office or stand behind a counter dealing with people I don't know and may never see again. So, I got into real estate.

I'd rent videos I didn't watch most of the time. On a Wednesday evening, I looked through all the old horror classics on the shelves. Specifically, those old Hammer films with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. Finally, I found the one that made me gasp because it had been so long since I'd seen it. The Curse Of The Werewolf starring Oliver Reed. Besides Richard Harris, he's the only actor I knew of who was perpetually angry. It was an awful film, which made it my favorite because it was unintentionally funny. The setting is Spain, yet everyone speaks with a British accent while the men sweat profusely and the women remain untouched. I had to watch it, so I grabbed it, and someone grabbed it simultaneously. It was Priscilla, yes, that's her name. Priscilla, my wife. We did a double-take, both of us angry at first, but then there was a pause. 

"Kevin Laukani? Is that you?" She shrieked.

"Priscilla Medina?" I gasped.

"HEY!" We both exclaimed as we hugged, then did the brutha handshake and hugged again. To save all of you the trouble, we ended up going back to her place to watch the film, but not without popcorn, some other snacks, and some soda. We laughed throughout the whole thing because Priscilla was the only other person besides Manolo who greatly appreciated the campiness of these old Hammer films.

"How long have you been back?" She asked while turning around with some popcorn and Arare in her mouth.

"Almost two years," I said. 

She nudged me and chortled, "And what? So you can't call us and let us know?"

"Um, according to your parents, you don't live at home anymore, and the same thing with Manolo. Plus, your folks said they didn't remember me and wouldn't give me your number. But look? We ran into each other anyway, so it worked out," I told her.

"So, what?" She nudged me again. "Not married? No girlfriend somewhere?"

"Nah, with all the traveling I was doing, it wouldn't have been fair to start something," I was honest about that. I wasn't lying.

"No one-night stands or a kid that's gonna show up in about a year or so?" She laughed.

"No, none of that, for real," I nodded as I added more kaki-mochi to the popcorn.

"Huh," she sat back and regarded me in a way she never did when we were in school. "You're for real about this?"

"Yeah," I replied. "Did I do something wrong?"

"How come you never acted on your feelings with me back in the day? We both know we had a thing for each other, right?" That was unexpected.

"Same old Priscilla, to the point," I laughed.

"For real, though, how come?" She was serious.

"You were more than just my friend," I was careful about what I would say. "But, there were things I needed to get out of my system first before I did anything else, and that was traveling. I went to see the world, and then, one day, I realized I'd worked it out and got it out of my system. It was time to come home. It wouldn't have been fair to start something with someone knowing that I had no intention of putting down roots. But, I always thought about you, not as an afterthought, but when I wasn't so busy. When things were quiet and settled. I thought about what you were doing or if you were married with kids or something, and look at how we met up again?"

Priscilla didn't say anything for a second, then she looked up at me. "So..."

"So, I'm done traveling, I have no plans to go anywhere, and I'm in the real estate business," I told her.

"Are you trying to sell me a house?" She squeaked.

"No," I laughed. "I'm trying to tell you that I'm here, and I'd like to be more than friends if you'll have me."

"Well, there's one thing that's not fair about this going in," she shook her head.

"What's that?" I couldn't think of anything that seemed unfair.

"I haven't been anywhere, and I would like to travel and see things," she said. "So, what's the point if you're done traveling?"

"I should have said that my need for wanderlust is done, but I'd love it if we could do some traveling together," good save, Kevin. Good, save.

"Well, I guess you got a deal then," she giggled as we both fell into each other's arms and hugged a long time before kissing. be continued

Credit: VerilyMagazine


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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