Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Oct 15, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #85. Tiki Bar.

 There was nowhere else to go after the Saturday night; nightlife died down, and I went to sleep, except for an old Tiki bar on Hotel Street.

I hate Tiki bars; I always have, but this one had something different about it that made it special. The collection of items decorated the space; it was all authentic. From the large Ki'i image that once stood before the wax museum to the old maid from the bow of the now defunct falls of Clyde to actual shrunken heads from the Philippines, I felt safer than I would at a clinically clean coffee shop. Twenty minutes passed before someone finally appeared from the back; it was a young Filipino boy in his late twenties or early thirties. Well dressed in black and impeccably clean cut down to his shoes.

"Good evening, Mr. Kapanui," he bowed slightly. "The owners asked me to inform you that if you return tomorrow at the same time, we will gladly accommodate you. The day has been long, and the owners are leaving for home. They've offered to comp you for the entire evening tomorrow,"

I looked around for a second and then at the waiter, "Alright, I'll be back tomorrow at this time,"

The waiter escorted me to the door and held it open as the humid air and ambient noise piled in from the outside. "Good evening, Mr. Kapanui,"

I took two steps and immediately turned to ask the waiter how his owners knew who I was without ever having met me before? Too late, though; the door was locked, and the lights were off. I returned the following late evening at the same time only to find the entire establishment boarded up and looking very much as if it had been abandoned for some time. It was confusing, so I ducked into the Vietnamese restaurant next door and asked the owner why the Tiki bar had been shut down. I was stunned when he told me there was never a Tiki bar there, that it had always been boarded up like that from when he moved in, and he'd been there twenty years. I asked the surrounding establishments the same question and got the same answer. I returned to my car and parked outside Little Village restaurant. A police officer in his squad car saw me and stopped to say hello. "What are you doing here, Mr. Kapanui?"

"I was looking for this Tiki bar, but it seemed to have closed down, and I was there just last night," I explained. "Kinda confusing,"

"Even for someone like you, this part of Chinatown right about now, it gets kinda weird," the officer said. "We just patrol and do our job but try not to go out of our way, if you understand what I mean?"

"I don't follow," I answered. "I'm sorry,"

"Lotta people come to this part of Chinatown after hours, and they disappear," the officer looked at me like I should have known what he had just told me. "Witnesses say they see a person go into some phantom establishment here, and those people are never seen again. Go Zippy's, Mr. Kapanui, it's safer." He waved and drove up Smith Street and then left for North Beretania. I still have no idea what happened, but whatever the powers that be knew who I was and gave me a pass rather than a one-way ticket to the unknown. 

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