Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 7, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #16 Papa Lua Pt. 2


Colin's parents had already told Tita's parents about her pregnancy before she could break the news to them. Needless to say, they were beyond upset.

Only then did Tita begin to see that Naua was an innocent; perhaps even he might be on the spectrum. His job at the picture frame shop was all he could do; anything more would have been beyond his ability or comprehension and may have brought about a mental breakdown. Tita couldn't be mad at Naua; wasn't it she who manipulated the whole situation because of her own selfishness after all? Sitting up in bed, hugging her knees to her chest, she smiled, knowing that it wasn't she who deserved better; it was Naua. She muddled his pond when it already had clarity. As innocent as he was in the situation, her parents would never accept him and would find every excuse to point out his character and behavior imperfections. They would also try to turn their child against Naua or reject the child for similar reasons. She couldn't put him through that for the rest of his life, so on that early morning, she packed what she could take and left. She didn't go home; she didn't go back to Colin. She left for the continent but not without first leaving a message of apologies and reassurances for her parents and for Colin but nothing for Naua.


Years passed, and all parties involved in Tita's life went on with theirs. Naua continued on with his at the picture frame shop. Colin married Joanie Komatsu, who never rid herself of her insecurities regarding Tita being Colin's first. Colin had to be careful not to say anything about how Tita was the one who devised the thing he liked for her to do. He had to make Joanie think she came up with it all by herself; otherwise, there'd be hell to pay. Colin's parents hovered and spoiled their grandchild, the family's first boy. He was named after his father, but his nickname was Sifu because he demanded things and ordered everyone around. Tita's parents passed within a year of one another; she was home for both services but didn't linger too long, returning back to the mainland on the first flight home. I watched my brother struggle and suffer for a long time before he finally got over Tita, Rochelle, or whoever she was. Seeing and knowing of my brother's dilemma, many of the young girls in the shop tried to console him privately, but I cut that shit off right away. It was the last thing Naua needed. 

When Marilyn came to work for us, it was as a part-time hire. Her full-time job was at the local community college. Living with her parents, she found out that the property tax on their lot went up exponentially, so she had to take on a part-time job. She was beautiful, but something about her character told me she wasn't afraid of hard work. Turns out, she also had a CDL license just in case, as she put it to me, "You never know when I might have to use it,"

She was also hazmat certified, as well as being able to drive a forklift. "What kind of college do you work at?" I was curious.

"It's a trade school type of community college, and I get a huge break on the finances, so I just decided to take a few of those courses. I was going to do pipe fitting and maybe carpentry, but my parents need help financially, so maybe later with those courses," she shrugged her shoulders.

"You're actually kind of overqualified, but we are short of help, but the job is yours if you want it," I said. "I just hope you don't get bored too quickly,"

"Nah," she laughed. "I'm good; I like the atmosphere and the smell of the place,"

She was a damned good worker, and after her six-month probation, I had another meeting with her just to see where she stood. "So, how's everything? You like it? Are you getting along alright with everybody? Cause everybody else I talked to they have only good stuff to say. You work hard, don't have to be told what to do and work well on your own and with all the other guys. Everybody says when they ask you to do something, you never complain. How do you feel about working here?"

"My dad, that's why I grew up with him telling me to just do my job and not complain. I really like it here, everybody is so nice, and I don't have a problem with hard work," Marilyn said.

"Well then, alright," I nodded. "It may not be much, but I going give you one small kine raise if you want to stay on?"

"Oh wow! I want to stay on, but I wasn't expecting a raise," she gushed.

"Eh, no worry, no worry," I reassured her.

"I do have one question, though," she leaned forward. "Who is that guy who makes picture frames up at the front? I've tried making conversation with him or at least say hi, but he's not really communicative,"

"Oh," I scoffed. "The handsome one? Big body?"

"Yeah," she nodded sheepishly. Was she blushing?

"Why? He said something mean to you?" I really hoped my brother wasn't being obnoxious.

"He doesn't say anything. I've tried to be nice and say hi several times, but he ignores me. Is he like that with everybody?" She was right. Everybody liked Marilyn, and as a whole, the warehouse itself was like a family, except for Naua. He kept to himself.  "You don't have to talk to him on my behalf; I was just wondering."


"Stop sending people to my area, that's the problem!" Naua shouted at me in the office. "I cannot make these stupid frames if somebody is trying to talk to me!"

"Brah, the least you can do is say Hi or howzit! You no have to be one asshole!" I shouted back.

"Then YOU make the frames, and I go sit up there in the office!" 

He stepped right up to me and got in my face. I lost my cool. "Oh, what you faka, you like try do something?"

"We were on the floor, tussling and rolling around, landing punches on one another in the forearm and the shoulder or around the head. I had to finally bite Naua to make him let me go; fortunately, no one was around because it was Naua's area. The next day, Marilyn was up in the front running the cash register, and not more than two feet away was my brother's 'area.' I put Marilyn up there to piss him off, but I didn't think it through, not considering how it might make Marilyn uncomfortable. 

One part of her working up front was to give Naua the specifications of the kind of frame he had to make for a photograph or piece of artwork. She'd get no reply, but the frames were always produced within an hour. That's how good Naua was. This went on for the following six months. Then one day, a miracle happened. There was shouting and commotion from the front. A particularly overbearing and obnoxious customer began yelling at Marilyn over the whole process of his custom frame taking too long, but more because he had to deal with a woman. He began berating her and calling her names until he finally grabbed her by the arm and yanked her from around the cash register. She cried out in pain and punched the idiot right on the tip of his nose and bloodied it. He shook it off and was prepared to retaliate when, out of nowhere, Naua appeared and punched the idiot square in the ear, throwing him off balance. The second punch from Naua disconnected the man's jaw, and the third would have killed him if I hadn't shown up and stopped it. Later, Marilyn stood in my office and apologized as she explained what happened; Naua backed her story, saying that Marilyn was not at fault. No matter who was right and wrong, I had no choice but to let Marilyn go because, right or wrong, a customer was assaulted. It was not an easy decision.

"You can't let her go," Naua protested.

"I'm sorry, I don't have a choice," I replied.

"What I mean is that you can't let her go because I'm going to ask her to marry me," Naua began. "You can't fire family." be continued

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