Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Jul 28, 2022

Ticket 2022

 I've been going to carnivals all my life, from the time of the big tent shows to what passes for a festival these days.

But, at a point in my life, I had gotten sick of carnivals once I realized that everything was KayFabe-like wrestling. It left a sour taste in my mouth. The carnival which stuck out to me the most was the one in Maui, where the fun was so infectious it felt like heaven. People were making random friends of complete strangers. There was so much joy I couldn't believe that the night could get any better. Then suddenly, a fight broke out between a group of Hawaiian girls. No one knew the reason, but hearing the dull thud that fists make when it's hitting someone about the body or the head is unforgettable. Watching them hit the ground so hard and getting back up into the fray was disconcerting because it was all happening so fast. Older Hawaiians broke it up, then came the police, and everyone stepped back. However, the carnival workers, who seemed to appear out of nowhere, really quieted the crowd. These were not the ones who ran the rides or the concessions. They were the ticket takers from the little front counters where you paid your entrance fee. They were nondescript, and you wouldn't give them a second look if you encountered them in a public place. The look on their faces was not anger or hardened discipline they intended to administer. No, it was a disappointment as if the wayward Hawaiian girls had broken some sacred covenant. They approached the group of girls and spoke to them in such a hushed tone that no one could hear. In less than a second, the girls were crying as if they'd been physically disciplined, but none of the ticket takers laid a hand on them. Gossip had spread that what was said by the ticket takers to the girls was that they were banned from all future carnivals in perpetuity until the day of their death. If at any time they tried to get in, a member of their family would be killed. It's horrible to say to even a miscreant group of young Hawaiian girls, but as the years went on, each of them thought that the warning would be forgotten. However, in their mid-forties, they thought of bringing their grandchildren to the same carnival, and wouldn't you know? The same ticket takers worked the front counters looking like they did when the girls were first banned. Some of the other girls moved to Honolulu or the big island, thinking that they too would be unaffected by the warning of the ticket takers, but there they were at the front counter. The true story is that the ticket takers were troublemakers who caused a disruption at a carnival and were themselves banned. Ignoring the warning, they returned, hoping not to be noticed but were found out. Their family members were brutally murdered, and as punishment, they became eternal ticket takers who would take the place of the original ticket takers who also committed the great sin of causing a disruption at the Maui carnival. That's another reason to stop going.

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