Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Nov 20, 2022

You 2022

 I couldn't drive anymore.

I pulled over to the side of the road where I knew I wouldn't be rear-ended by an errant oncoming vehicle. I sat on the hood of my car, munching on my won-ton-pi chips and drinking cold cans of RC Cola. It's not as busy as it usually is, but it is Monday, after all. My father used to say that if you wanted to find yourself, Saddle road would be the place to do it. 

"Be careful," he cautioned. "You might not only be able to find yourself but probably meet yourself too," he was drunk when he used to say that, but as I grew older, I wondered if that was true. Saddle road ran for quite a stretch across Hawai'i island, from Hilo to Waimea. I was curious; I had to know. If my estimation is correct, I am now a little past the Ka'ohe management area. You see, I'm at the end of my seventh relationship. An hour ago, as I grabbed only what I needed and left Kea'au, I was hit with an epiphany. I have been dating the same type of woman but in different bodies or persons, which means I have a pattern or a type. Damaged goods. I'm the one who took myself out of that situation, and now here I am on the side of Saddle Road, waiting to see who comes driving by. Is it actually going to be me or a version of me? This should be interesting. 

A couple of Paniolo in their Dooley trucks stopped by to let me know I was parked outside the border of their ranch. I apologized and respectfully explained why I was there. They understood and left it at that. A car full of crackheads also pulled over, but I immediately lifted my shirt to let them know I was packing. "Oh no, no, no uncle, we know like trouble, we was going ask you if you get one lighter?"

"No," I replied. "I don't smoke,"

Finally, a 4Runner with a rectangular blue light drove by and immediately pulled over about a hundred feet down the road. The reverse lights came on, and it slowly backed toward me until it was at a safe distance. The officer emerged from his vehicle, and I was shocked. The guy could have been my twin, he stared at me strangely, and I returned the gesture. The embroidered name on his pocket said, "Lamela," which is also my last name. "You get car problems or something?" He asked.

"No, I just broke up with my girlfriend, and I removed myself from the situation so that nothing would happen," I explained. "I just pulled over, so I could calm down,"

"Where you drove from?" Officer Lamela asked.

"Kea'au," I replied.

"Good, long drive, so you get time to calm down," he agreed. "Can I see your driver's license, insurance, and registration, please?" 

"It's in my glove compartment," I told him. "Can I reach in and get it?"

"Sure," he nodded. Once everything checked out, he asked me what my girlfriend's name was, which I told him was Mari Pacheco. I even gave him her phone number to call. "Ted Lamela?" He looked at my ID and looked at me, "We get the same name, and we look alike?"

"I dunno how to explain it," I shrugged my shoulders. 

"Mari Pacheco, is your girlfriend's name?" He looked very concerned.

"Yeah, we just broke up an hour or so ago," 

"That's my wife's name; we've been married since high school," the officer said. "She used to live in Kea'au; we live in Wainaku now," I had no answer for the officer, no explanation. "And this number is her phone number?"

"I would say, call it," I suggested. He did. The phone rang on the other end, and he put it on speaker. 


"Is this Mari Pacheco?" He asked.


"This is officer Rodrigues from HPD; I have Ted Lamela with me. Did you guys just break up, and was there a domestic disturbance?"

"No," Mari's voice replied. "He took his stuff and left, so we didn't have a chance to argue. Why?"

"Just wanted to confirm, ma'am. Thank you," he hung up, and he was white as a sheet.

"Why didn't you give her your real name?" I asked. He ignored the question because he was now looking at his 4Runner. I also looked in the same direction, and that's when we both noticed it was slowly disappearing. He sprinted to his vehicle and jumped in just in time as it vanished, and he went along with it. That was fucking strange. Is that what my father was talking about?

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