Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Dec 19, 2022

Halāwai 2022

 The union boss and their cohorts always got the side room opened for them during one of their lunch meetings.

It was their space exclusively. They never had to wait in line. Today was different. Someone sat on the far left corner facing the tall glass windows looking out into the parking lot. He was Hawaiian and had his coat on the backrest of his chair. He wore a lite blue button-down long-sleeved shirt with a dark blue tie. The clip held the tie to the inside hem of the shirt so it wouldn't touch the food on the plate. His slacks were finely pressed, and his dress shoes were immaculate. The man was very clean-cut and appeared lost in his thoughts. For each bite of food he took, he would chew for a least a minute while staring out the tall glass window, deep in thought. The union boss sent one of his men over to talk to the man and let him know they were having a private meeting. "He looks like he's in the middle of his meal, boss," the cohort said.

"I'm not saying he can't enjoy his meal; he just can't enjoy it here," the union boss laughed.

The cohort walked to the corner where the man sat to give him the message, "I'm sorry, sir, this is a private meeting. Would you mind sitting over on the restaurant side, please?"

"Is that Benny Correia over there?" The Hawaiian man asked.

The cohort looked back and replied, "Yes, Mr. Correia is my boss."

"Let me go say hi," without waiting for the cohort, the Hawaiian man pushed his chair back, stood, and made his way across the room. He gave Benny a pat on the back, and Benny looked up, completely surprised. "How are you, Benny? Long time so see,"

Benny shot up from his chair, stood back with his arm extended, and bowed low. "Boy! I'm so sorry! I didn't even know that was you sitting over there! You look so different!"

"It's okay, Benny, no worry," Boy smiled and assured him. "Your man says you're having a private meeting?

"No, no worry, Boy," Benny bowed again. "You enjoy your meal; we'll go to the restaurant side,"

Benny made everyone bring their plates of food and drinks and shooed them over to the restaurant side. Benny returned when everyone was settled and assured Boy his meal was paid for. "Your parents did so much for me when they cured my son when he was so sick! They never asked for anything in return; I never forgot that,"

"Benny, it was an honest mistake," Boy said. "You didn't know, and no feelings were hurt. It's fine,"

"I appreciate it, mahalo," Benny shook hands with Boy and turned to leave.

"There is one thing," Boy called out before Benny left the room.

"Oh yes," Benny came back. "Anything, what is it?"

"James Pilar, he works for your union, yes?" Boy asked.

"Oh yeah, the silver spoon kid, rich parents, spoiled, lazy. What about him?" Benny asked.

"A client of mine is worried that this kid is abusing his daughter; anything you can find would be helpful," Boy said.

"Of course," Benny replied. "I'll have something for you by tomorrow," be continued

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