Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Oct 1, 2022

17 Days 2022

It's no secret that I have a very well-paying job, so I can't complain about the work conditions. Plus, downstairs from my office are all the eateries along fort street mall, so there's another benefit to making six grand a month. But that's not the point of this story. My younger brother died suddenly about seventeen days ago; he wasn't sick or anything. He simply went to sleep one night and never woke up. It really sucks, and I still feel that it was unfair. I mean, if you want to be accurate, I'm the one that should have died. I'm older, I got more health problems, and my body is all beat up. So, really, it should have been me. But instead, my younger brother who never did a bad thing in his life and never said a bad word about anyone died just like that. He was a perfect kid, and I miss him. 

The hour before lunch was dreadful because I was all caught up with my reports and stats by eleven, and after that, there was nothing left to do but stare at the clock for the next hour, waiting for lunch. When it finally came, the lunch hour that is, I slowly walked toward the exit, shaking off the aches in my knees and ankles, and lumbered down the old wooden stairs while all the more nimble employees sped past me, apologizing as they did so. Finally, I stepped out into the hurried manic crowd at fort street mall, assaulted by the aroma of stale urine and wet concrete. The homeless stared as they always do, like rabid vultures waiting to pick the flesh off your bones if you give them a chance. My favorite Filipino food place is closed, replaced by a bar. McDonald's it is, I guess; who can resist, right? The line is short today, and the crew is working fast. My order is up and ready almost immediately after I pay for it. I'll eat at my desk today and then ask if I can punch out early since all my work is done. I'm walking toward the stairs that lead up to our office, and I stop suddenly because someone's come out of the door. I make room and apologize. I watch this person walk away for a second, and something seems familiar. It's that tweed coat he's wearing with matching pants and loafers on his feet. That's my brother Shane's clothes; it's that coat and pants that I always gave him a hard time about, except someone else is wearing them. A homeless person with wild unkempt hair is also wearing the blue buttoned-down shirt under that coat which I told Shane never matched the color of the skin and pants. "HEY!" I screamed at that person and chased them down, latching on to the coat and pulling the person to the ground. "This is my brother's fucking clothes! Where did you get it, you muther fucker???"

"At the salvation army dumpster!" He protested with his arms out, trying to protect himself. "I'll take it off, I'll take it off!" He stripped quickly and ran the rest of the way down the mall with no clothes on. So how did any of Shane's clothes end up at Salvation Army? Everything that belongs to him is still at home; I haven't cleaned out any of his shit yet. I made sure of that once I got home after work. Yes, my boss let me go early. Everything was there; everything Shane owned was in its proper place, including the tweed coat and pants, which shocked the shit out of me because I had them in a big plastic bag. At least I thought I did until I looked inside it and found that the coat and pants were gone. be continued

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