Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Dec 22, 2016

"Koho"



Aleka ran his hands over each page of the composition tablet, feeling the texture of the green crayon writings, line after line. They were recipes that his daughter had hoped to make in her easy bake oven. She copied most of the ingredients from her mother’s book of recipes which for the most part, sat on the kitchen counter and collected dust. Aleka knew that what he read was the workings of an eight-year-old mind, who wanted to do simple grown up things. The purple tablet was all he had of her once her mother took her and left. He stared at it more than he read it, he tried to think as she thought, feel as she felt in that moment. It only broke his heart and made his world darker and his days longer. The sound of his doorbell ringing brought him out of his funk and he heaved a great sigh as he made his way toward the door. Looking through the peephole, he was shocked to see who it was. He quickly undid the chain, unlocked the knob and pulled the door back.

“Boy,” He was surprised to see the Hawaiian man in a coat and tie standing at his door.

“I received a call from Troy Duvauchelle in Paoa this afternoon, do you know him?” Boy asked.

“Yes,” Aleka answered. “I know him.”

“Why did you not call me first, before you spoke to him?” Boy’s voice took on the tone of a disappointed relative.

“I don’t understand,” Aleka replied.

“Do not treat me as If I am one of your stupid friends,” Boy grabbed Aleka by his shirt and spun him around, instantly pinning him up against the concrete wall. “I’ve treated you and your family like one of my own, I’ve taken care of all of you. I’m your daughter’s godfather and you disrespect me like I’m nothing.”

Aleka’s tears were flowing because of his heartbreak but also because he could see that Boy was mad, but he had no clue as to why. “Boy, I don’t understand what I did? I don’t, please...please I’m sorry.”

“Did you or did you not go to Troy Duvauchelle and ask him to put a curse on your ex-wife?" Despite his calm demeanor, Boys eyes burned with a searing anger. Aleka never thought that Boy would find out, but he was wrong. Boy Napualawa had his finger on the pulse of everything that went on throughout the archipelago, especially where curses were concerned.

“I wasn’t thinking, I swear. I just wanted her to suffer, don’t you understand?” Aleka said quietly. “My daughter is everything to me and she took her.”

Boy let go of Aleka and took a step back, “You’re angry and because of that you didn’t think this through and you lashed out through Troy.”

“I know, I know, I should have come to you first. I didn’t mean to disrespect you, Boy. I’m sorry.” Aleka pleaded.

“If you’d have come to me first, in the state that you’re in now, I would’ve talked you out of it. I would have found some way to help you get over your hurt so that you could work through it. THAT’s what I would have done!” Boy hissed.

“But that’s what you do,” Aleka looked Boy in the eyes. “You put curses on people, that’s what you do.”

“With a legitimate and valid reason! Divorce is not a reason to put a curse on someone, that’s a part of life, that’s human nature. If your ex-wife had murdered your daughter in the process then yes, you would have had a reason.” Boy stared a hole through Aleka and continued. “You don't even know the magnitude of what you’ve done.”

“Of course I do,” Aleka replied. “I had a curse put on Danielle and she’s gonna die.”

“Yes, but did you think for one moment that the curse was just going to end with Danielle?” Boy asked.

“Yeah,” Aleka was sure of himself. “It was only placed on her and that was it.”

“No, once that curse runs it’s course with Danielle it’s going to move on to someone else.” Boy told him.

“Yeah, my ex-mother in law and ex-sister in law!” Aleka was sure that this is how the succession of the curse was going to work.

Boy gave Aleka a long hug, expressed his aloha and then let himself out, but not before saying one more thing to his long time friend. “I wish that you would’ve come to me first.”

“I’ll be fine,” Aleka assured him. “Don’t worry.”

“Do me a favor okay?” Boy asked.

“Sure, anything,” Aleka answered.

“After I leave here, don’t come to see me, don’t e-mail me, don’t text me or call me ever again. It’s better this way, trust me.” Boy closed the door behind him and walked down the hallway which led to three flights of descending stairs. His car, a customized black on black 1966 Imperial Crown Sedan was parked down the street, just near the back entrance to 'Iolani School. As soon as he got to his car he removed his phone from his coat pocket and placed a call, The phone rang twice on the other end before it picked up and a voice answered.

"This is Troy,"

"It's Boy," came the reply.

"So, how are we?" Troy asked.

"You're in the clear." Boy confirmed.

Troy Duvauchelle couldn't help but press further. "Okay, but what about you and me? Are we cool?"

"You didn't know that Aleka was my hanai, so yes, we're cool." Boy's edict took the edge off.

"Mahalo nui, I mean that from my heart." Troy was gushing with thanks now that his life was no longer hanging in the balance.

....


A month later, Boy sat in his office staring at the newspaper on his desk. He must have read the obituary a thousand times before he finally smashed it up in his hands and tossed it into the small garbage pail near the door.

“I’ll have flowers sent,” Aunty Rita said as she picked up the phone and began dialing a number.

“Make it anonymous,” Boy replied.

“You should at least go to the services,” Uncle Tiny began. “These people were like family to you, to all of us.”

“If anything, just to show respect.” Uncle Ivan added. "You know how these things are, people talk."

“I don't control what people say,” Boy answered.

"If not you, then maybe one of us should go, at the very least, to show face?" Rita asked.

"The flowers are enough." Boy's answer was final, there wouldn't be any further discussion.

….

Three days after Boy left Aleka’s La’au street apartment, he found out that Danielle died as a result of the curse that was put on her by Troy Duvauchelle. Three days after that, Aleka’s little daughter died of the same curse that was put on her mother. Three days following both of those tragic events, Aleka took his own life by hanging himself from the third story railing of his lanai.

Today, Troy Duvauchelle makes it a point to call Boy Napualawa first whenever someone comes to him with a request to put a curse on someone else. It's safer that way, for Troy that is.



"Death Is Lloyd Dobler"




Sitting on the library steps, I took in the night air and noticed the usual group of homeless near the front doors, tucking themselves in for the night. The church bells from Kawaiaha’o sounded the seven ‘o clock hour just then, and the birds that were perched on the wrought iron gate fronting the Lunalilo tomb suddenly flew away as if the bells were an invisible hand prompting them to be gone.
That’s when I noticed the stranger approaching from the lane between the palace and the library. He was dressed in a trench coat, a t-shirt, and slacks, he silently made his way to where I was seated and plopped himself down on the steps just on the other side of the hand railing. I couldn’t help but notice his boots, they were the same kind of boots I wore during my kicking ass and pissing battery acid days. Those were stupid days for me and I could not figure out why my mind went there, but I was there for a mere second. Drinking, fighting and just being a jerk.

“Howzit going?” I asked, not really knowing why I asked because I had intended not to say anything to this person.

“I’m good,” He replied. “You waiting for your people?”

“Yeah, they called and said they’re gonna be a little late. Are you with them?” I was curious.

“I’m with one of them,” he nodded.

I reached under the hand rail and extended my hand to him,

“I’m Lopaka,” I said.

He wiped his palm on his pant leg and began to take my hand in order to accept the salutation. We never got to it because I noticed something strange and said, “Hey, did you know.…”

He cut me off too at that point and said, “I know, I look like Lloyd Dobler from ‘Say Anything’

“Yeah it’s weird, you don’t look like John Cusack the actor who plays Lloyd Dobler, you look like you ARE Lloyd Dobler from the movie. Does that make any sense?” I asked.

“I get it all the time, I’m used to it,” He smirked.

Suddenly, my mysterious sounds ring tone went on and I looked down at my phone to see a text from the client, “We are across the street coming your way, we see you!”

I looked up and saw the group of 13 in the crosswalk, they were waving at me, I waved back and stood up. 

“This is them,” I exhaled.

“Listen, I got two things I want to tell you,” He said.

“Yeah sure, but make it quick, we’re about to begin,” I replied.

“Number one, things aren’t as bad as you worry them to be. Everything is everything, it’s cool.” He looked at me as if I was supposed to understand his subtle hint.

“Okay,” I was confused obviously but open to where this was going.

“Number two,” he said as he gestured to the approaching group. “Those people REALLY want to do this ghost tour, I mean they REALLY want to.”

“Okay,” I said again, now I was waiting for the punch line.

“They’re not even gonna ask for a refund,” He winked as he bounded down the steps and jogged up to the group of thirteen who were now crossing the lawn fronting the library. The group didn’t even seem to notice him, but he walked right up to a young man in the group and touched the man on his shoulder. The young man dropped dead on the spot, in a second his friends were screaming and didn’t know what to do. A second later, the guy that looked like Lloyd Dobler walked up to me with the ghost of my recently deceased client in tow.

“On one hand, this is just going to add to your mystique,” he smiled and winked. “On the other hand, you have a story to add to your plethora of stories!” I guess he could see the worry on my face, because a sympathetic look came over him and he said, “You have my permission to talk about what you saw tonight. At the same time, I’m sorry this had to happen on your watch but a job’s a job, you know?”

“So, you’re not Lloyd Dobler?” I didn’t know what else to say at that moment.

“No, I’m an image that is most comfortable for your mind to accept,” he said. “My real image it’s.…it’s too overwhelming; you’d go mad if you saw it.”

“It’s you,” I told him because suddenly, I knew who he was. “I could always feel you, like you were always lingering, just at the edge. I mean, I never went looking for you, but I knew you were around.”

“I’m a fan, we all are. We like listening to your stories, but we make ourselves scarce in the physical sense.” He admitted. "We wouldn't want people to freak out and turn into drooling idiots."

“We?” I had to know.

“We, us, on this side.” He gestured behind him. He put his arm around the young man just then and they began to walk off toward the lane between the palace and the library. Before their forms began to dissolve, he turned to me and said, “Seventy-nine.”

I was confused, “I’m sorry?”

“You were wondering when; you’ll be seventy-nine when the time comes.” He gave me the thumbs up and the two of them were gone. My thoughts, if you could call it that were scattered and I didn’t know what to make of what I had just experienced. In the confusion, one of the young women from the tour group approached me in tears and began to apologize. I was brought back to reality at that point, but I didn’t know how to tell this person that the grim reaper had just made off with one of her friends. 

“I’m sorry this happened to you guys, I’ll get you a refund as soon as possible,” I said.

“Oh no, no,” She said. “We don’t know who that guy was, I guess he was looking at his cell phone and wasn’t paying attention, so he must have wandered into our group but we don’t know him. We didn't know anything until he died. We still want to do the tour if you’re not too upset?”

“Oh no, I’m fine but wow that is strange, because I thought he was with you guys, but he’s not. Man, that’s, that’s just.….wow...I mean wow.” I couldn’t believe it.

Once the EMT arrived and I was sure that everything was alright, we embarked on my ghost tour. It nearly eight forty-five but the group still wanted to do the tour, and they didn’t want a refund.

...


As strange as the experience might have been, I felt a great sense of comfort knowing that when my time came, Lloyd Dobler was going to be waiting for me in my yard with his 1977 Chevy Malibu parked behind him. Held aloft in his hands would be his radio boom box, blaring out a song on the loudspeakers to let me know that it was time to go.




Dec 17, 2016

" Hei "




All she wanted was a cup coffee and a moment to relax. The ambient noise in the coffee house did not bother her in the least, rather it seemed to help focus her resolve even more. She consumed the hot cup of steaming Joe in one gulp while still standing at the counter. She ordered a second round and walked it to the table where she would eventually sit. Never mind that there are people already sitting there but for some reason they leave and let her have her caffeinated space. She holds the hot cup in both hands while closing her eyes and takes a breath. The addiction is all consuming and it washes over her like a deep orgasm which takes on a mind of its own, she’s almost unable to control the shaking and the gasps of pleasure which are derived from the core of the java beans, but she brings it in. She’s back in control, or so the coffee lets her think she is.

“Ah yes,” she whispers to herself. “I will find you, Juan Valdez.”

Her moment of latte clarity is interrupted by an unwelcomed patron who takes a seat at her table without permission.

“I was watching you,” he speaks in a low tone. “If I’m not mistaken, you just came in your pants? I thought that was hot, I mean really hot! I got a big spacious GMC Denali in the parking lot. Maybe I can help you with another orgasm? Whaddaya say?” He winks.

“You haven’t even told me your name?” She asks.

“Mark Ferris, I own Jubilee Entertainment. Maybe you’ve heard of me?” He smiled.

“Oh yes,” she replies with overexaggerated affectation.  “The famous Mark Ferris.”

She has something in her hand which he can’t see and she places the object into his shirt pocket.

“What’s this?” He asks.

“Protection,” she smiles.

“Oh! I like that! Yeah, very smart!” He nods his head. “I never got your name?”

“Pele,” she replies.

She snaps her fingers and in an instant, the contents of Mark’s pocket bursts into flames and sets his shirt on fire. The material is polyester and it melts into his skin. He jumps up and down howling and shrieking pain while panicked patrons watch in horror. The cashier rushes over with a fire extinguisher and puts the flame out, but it’s too late. Mark Ferris has been burnt beyond recognition. No one can tell what caused the man to burn to a crisp for no reason at all. The manager spies the Hawaiian woman sitting off to the side and inquires of her if she has seen anything.

“I’m just trying to enjoy my coffee in peace, that’s all.”

....

What were the contents of the small packet that she put into Mark's shirt pocket?
Lava rocks, tiny lava rocks.




Dec 15, 2016

"Old Man Take A Look At My Life"

Every morning like clockwork these three elderly gentlemen gather at an outside table at the golden arches where they sip coffee for what seems like hours. Save for the few smiles, giggles and an occasional look of melancholy, they don’t say a word. There are no conversations whatsoever and when it’s time to leave they never exchange goodbyes between them, they just get up and go.
Today the oldest looking one among the three arrives early, he hobbles into the restaurant and returns with his hot cup of coffee and takes his usual seat. One sip and he eases back into the stiff chair and lets out a sigh, he takes in the morning air and eyes the few other patrons who are seated at their tables nearby. A crop duster plane high above briefly captures his attention as does the screeching brakes of a city bus, otherwise, he is in his own world. Curiosity motivates me to walk over to his table and introduce myself; as I approach I can see that his eyes are distant which more than likely means that he is caught in some old bygone memory from long ago. He probably doesn’t even know where he is at this point, I am right up and close enough to him to extend my hand in greetings,

“We’re not war veterans,” he says in a voice that seems as distant as his youth.

“I’m sorry?” I reply a little startled because that’s exactly what I was going to ask him.

“You were going to introduce yourself and ask me if my friends and myself who sit here every morning are war veterans? We’re not, so there’s your answer. Now you can save yourself the introduction and go back to your table,” the old man said.

“How’d you know I was gonna say that?” I squealed like a teenage girl now.

“Young man, go away. Go back to your table and keep your observations to yourself.” He didn’t raise his voice or yell, his delivery was even but there was something about the way he put his words together that made me afraid for no other reason than the fact that this aged old man now radiated a threatening anger.

“Henry, that’s no way to talk to someone who’s just trying to be friendly,” the voice came from behind me.

 It was the second of the three who always arrived not too long after the first. “No mind Henry, he’s mostly angry because he can’t get it up anymore,” the old gentleman extended his hand and introduced himself, “I’m Boyd, that bastion of sunshine sitting there is Henry. Have a seat, we don’t usually have company but I think it might be a nice change of pace, what do you think Henry?”

“I think he should mind his own business and fuck off, that’s what I think,” Henry answered.

Shaking his head in disgust Boyd pulled back the chair opposite from Henry and offered me a seat.

“If you haven’t already figured it out, Henry is our alpha male. He’ll beat his chest and bellow and dare you to look into his eyes, big ape,” Boyd smiled. “Travis, I’m about to go in and get myself a cup of coffee, can I get you something?”

“Oh no,” I replied, “I’m fine, I already have a cup of soda.”

“Alright,” Boyd said. “ You keep big John Henry company and I’ll be right back.”

Henry shot Boyd the middle finger in return.

“Wait,” I said suddenly, “how did you know my name?”

“You told me your name when we exchanged introductions,” Boyd replied.

“No,” I said, “I never introduced myself.”

“Of course you did Travis,” Boyd stepped closer to me. His smile wasn’t a smile as much as it was a kind of interrogation. “You told me everything about yourself, you live on 8th avenue. You hate your job because what you really want is to finish school to get your degree but your wife won’t let you because all she cares about is money but no matter what you do, it’s not good enough for her, ever. Why you’re also certain that she doesn’t love you and you don’t understand why she stays but you’re afraid to ask...”

His voice was in my head and it made me dizzy. I couldn’t think my own thoughts.

“Get out of his head Boyd,” there was another voice from behind me but a welcomed one. It brought me out of that temporary hypnotic trance that I was in.

“I’m Murphy, let me take you back to your table,” the old man said, “you got your sea legs? Can you walk?”

“Yeah,” I said weakly. “I think I can make it.”

Murphy got me to my table and waited until I was seated before he sat next to me. I was covered in sweat and I couldn’t keep my head up, my hands were shaking at the same time and I began to shiver.

“It’s alright, what you’re feeling will pass and you’ll be fine,” Murphy said.

“What the hell just happened?” I groaned.

“You should have listened to Henry and just minded your own business, Boyd saw that you were making Henry uncomfortable so Boyd set you up by being his usual hospitable self. When your guard was down, Boyd got in your head.” Murphy said. Looking at my cup of soda in front of me, I went to grab it in order to take a sip,

“Here,” Murphy offered, “I’ll get that.”

My soda cup moved right into my hands all by itself.

Patting me on the shoulder, Murphy continued, “ We know that you’ve been curious about the three of us but it would be better if you just kept your thoughts to yourself; show us old guys some respect.”

The old man went back to join his friends while I sat there with my head down waiting for this horrible feeling to go away. Finally, I was able to look up after what seemed to be an eternity. The morning was over and it was now later in the afternoon, there were the three elderly gentlemen sitting there with their coffees still piping hot, the little stir sticks circling around in the cup on their own. Not a word passed between the three of them as they turned their heads in my direction and nodded, with that, they returned to their cabal of silence and sipping coffee.

I stumbled my way back home and on the following morning, I decided to have my morning soda at the restaurant up the street. Wouldn’t you know it? The place is full of old people sipping on coffee and not saying one damned word to one another.

...........


John Henry Panui telepathically projected the memory of his home on Kaua’i into the minds of his friends Boyd Ahakuelo and Murphy Kalihiwai. The two old men smiled and hummed to themselves with satisfaction as John Henry’s memory took them through his old home where Hawaiian sweet potatoes were being fried up in the cast iron skillet on the old stove. Outside, hanging in the garage were strips of pipikaula or beef, the three old gentlemen inhaled at the same time and their chests swelled as the alluring smell filled them with the wonder that there was ever something that delectable that caused a person to salivate so much. John Henry’s trek filled Boyd and Murphy’s mind with sitting at his old dinner table where his family ate from a bowl filled with freshly pounded poi, it’s texture was even and had a faint purple color to it. The taste was sweet and seemed to complement the other foods that sat on the table; plump ‘opihi, kalua pork, roasted chicken, grilled kala, boiled taro leaf with pa’akai on the side for seasoning.

“Henry, we’re getting full,” Boyd’s thoughts interrupted the telepathic feast.

“Speak for yourself,” Murphy thought, “what else get, Henry?”

Henry gave them the image of the dessert that followed, homemade ‘uala pie with the ‘uala on top and a layer of haupia filling just below.

“No can dis one, my diabetes goin’ start acting up again, I almost sorry I asked!” Murphy’s thoughts made Henry smile as Boyd himself began to giggle. The telepathic image was gone and everyone was back sitting at their table at the golden arches.

“Murphy,” Henry projected, “sometimes you forget that these are just images I’m sending you. You can’t get diabetes from thoughts.”

“Look who’s talking,” Boyd interjected, “you forget who we are.”

“I know who we are,” Henry thought back, “I’m just telling him. Forgive me for not being the damned scholar that you are!”

“Oh shut up, John Henry! You’re really insufferable!” Boyd grimaced as his thoughts shot back.

“Alright, alright!” Murphy’s thoughts shot out like shards of glass. It made Henry and Boyd jump slightly but not enough to spill their coffee. “We can’t help what we are because what we are has been passed down through our DNA from generation to generation. That’s just how it is and you know it! Henry? It’s time for you to stop being bitter. It’s been fifty years already and you’re still carrying a grudge. You’re mad because you let love cloud your gift and it prevented you from seeing that your wife was sleeping with another man. Build a bridge and get the hell over it John Henry Panui so that you can stop being such a grouchy bastard! There, I said it!”

“Over there, near the door,” Henry’s thoughts were down to a whisper. “That homeless kid sipping on his drink sitting on his bicycle, he’s looking this way. He’s thinking about bum rushing us and taking our wallets. He’s coming down from his high and he’s gonna start having withdrawals soon, he’s bone dry on cash.”

“That little shit is thinking about jumping me first,” Boyd shook his head as he shared his thought with Henry and Murphy.

“He’s thinking about cuffing me and Henry after and then emptying out our wallets,” Murphy’s brow furrowed as he shared his insight with the other two.

“Eff him,” Henry’s telepathic bravado made Boyd and Murphy giggle, “Murphy, you flatten his tires and I’ll get the traffic signal. Boyd, get in his head, real deep.”


Tony Kelly was once the pride of his family and his peers at the university. He had already been a candidate for his doctorate and was a student teacher in American history, but one night he was invited to a beach party that lasted the entire weekend. Someone handed Tony a crack pipe at that party and that was the beginning of the end. By the end of the year, Tony was kicked out of school and he lost his scholarship, by the following year he was homeless and living on the streets. His main activity was robbing the elderly and taking their money, now he eyed the three elderly gentlemen as if they were sheep and he was the wolf. He’d been watching them for some time, their routine was always the same and it never changed, he also noticed that there were other people who gathered sporadically at the same tables but were probably not apt to do anything should he assault the three old men. Today was that day, he had to be quick and brutal in his attack. Brutality always shocked people and numbed their tendency to react and help, that’s what Tony always depended on to make his plan work.

He tossed his drink into the trash bin and as he moved his bike to the side he suddenly heard two popping noises and a loud hissing sound. His tires were beginning to flatten before he knew it he heard a faint male voice calling his name from somewhere. His eyes began to dart left and right in order to see who it was that beckoned to him, finally he locked eyes with a man across the street who stood just in front of the stone wall that fronted Sacred Hearts school. The man was dressed in a Tori Richard shirt with khaki slacks and loafers on his feet. It was his history professor, Damon Shigemura, he was waving Tony over to join him on the other side of the street,

“Anthony! Anthony! C’mon! C’mon! Come with me! My car is parked over here! Come back with me to the university, everything’s been forgiven, I talked to the Dean, you can come back and we’ll pick up right where we left off! You’ll get your scholarship back! C’mon!” The professor called out.

“Dr. Shigemura?” Tony whispered.

“Don’t worry Anthony,” the professor said, “ I know everything you’ve been through, we’ll help you get cleaned up and you’ll be alright. Everything will be alright.”

“Dr. Shigemura, is this for real?” Tony asked.

“Of course it’s for real!” The professor laughed heartily, “Hurry we don’t have much time!”

“You forgive me Doc? You forgive me for everything? Everything I did wrong?” Tony asked as he headed toward the crosswalk.

“Of course I forgive you! It’s all water under the bridge, you can stay with me for a couple of months and then we’ll get a hold of your family,” the professor promised.

“Dr. Shigemura,” Tony was in tears now, “I suffered so much, I’m such a disgrace my family won’t have anything to do with me. They’ve abandoned me Doc, my own family abandoned me.”

The walk signal came on and Tony stepped into the street toward his salvation from a life that would eventually have killed him.

“I’m your family now Anthony,” the professor said, “you were always like a son to me. Come with me my son, come home.”

Although the walk signal had been on, Henry manipulated the traffic light to stay green. Tony Kelly walked into the middle of the mid-morning rush and was killed instantly when he stepped into the path of an oncoming GMC Envoy. The people seated at the bus stop witnessed the gruesome accident while others who sat near the three elderly gentlemen shot up from their chairs in order to see what happened. Others screamed at the site of Tony Kelly’s broken twisted body after it finally landed just near the Phillips 76 station.

Henry, Boyd, and Murphy simply sat at their table and continued to sip their coffee and did not even bother to blink an eye at what had just transpired.

“Your turn,” Murphy sent his thoughts to Boyd, “get the manager to come out here with some breakfast but not the local deluxe, my system can’t take the sausages. What do you want John Henry?”

“We’re gonna die the three of us, not today but one day we will. What do we have to show for it? Our minds are sharp as a tack but our bodies are old and worn down, are we going to be like our ancestors and let this thing we have die or are we going to pass it on? We’ve outlived our children, our grandchildren, and our great-grandchildren, what’s left? WHO is left?” Henry asked.

“Again John Henry, you’re doing it again! Why does it always have to be this way?” Boyd had already reached his limit with his old friend.

“No,” Murphy interjected, “ I know what he’s saying, it’s about leaving something behind so that no one forgets that you were here. Is that right John Henry?”

“Make mine a local deluxe with everything,” Henry directed his thoughts to Boyd, “and a large soda,” Looking at Murphy he continued, “yeah that’s right.”

“I hear there’s a group of men like us; not exactly like us maybe but they do what we do but not so obvious that they can be found out. We should pay them a visit one day?” Murphy suggested.

“Like us?” Henry’s eyebrows were raised with curiosity.

“Hawaiian gentlemen from a long Kahuna lineage like ours but not from Kaua’i. Theirs comes from Ka’u,” Murphy confirmed.

“Why would we want to visit them?” Boyd inquired.

“I hear that the young man who heads this group is a good boy, very compassionate and helpful.

What do you think?” Murphy projected.

“It’s better than dying here in the middle of sipping coffee, that’s for frickin sure,” Henry inhaled.

“It’s settled then, we’ll go tomorrow,”


The South King street office was a non-descriptive building that blended into the drab-colored structure which sat next to the Indonesian clothing store. The three elderly gentlemen examined the exterior for a second before Murphy grabbed the knocker and sounded it three times.

A second later, a large Hawaiian man whose coat and tie appeared to be too small for his massive frame pulled back the door and asked, “He puna wai kau i ka lewa.” A spring of water placed in the air.

“He niu,” Henry answered. A coconut.

The man stepped to one side and allowed the three men to enter. Before them, they saw a long winding staircase.
Henry, Murphy, and Boyd let out a sigh of disgust when they saw the steep length of the stairs but the large over-sized doorman called out, “Hele i ka ‘eleweka.”

The elevator cart took them to the second floor where they came upon a reception area with a large rattan couch and two chairs of the same making.
An older Hawaiian woman sitting behind a desk eyed them and pointed to the closed door to her right, “Hele ‘oukou i loko.” You folks go inside.

The three stood there for a moment with a look of confusion on their faces as they eyed the receptionist and then each other.

“Go inside,” the receptionist said, “They’re waiting for you.”

Opening the large door, they entered an office that was occupied by a large koa wood desk which sat at the opposite side of the room. All four walls were decorated with large bookshelves that reached from floor to ceiling, some looked like official books that one would find in the office of an attorney or that of a U.H. law professor but with less space. The oddity about the space was that the floor was covered with smooth handset stones. The koa wood desk itself sat on a finely woven mat made from Makaloa. Behind the desk sat the young man that the three had heard of and on either side of him sat two older gentlemen who appeared to be his counselors.

“Aloha!” The young man’s greeting was warm and made the three feel at ease, he stood up and came around the desk and shook the hand of each one, the two older men followed suit.

“I’m Hanson Napualawa but everyone calls me Boy. These are my uncles, Ivan, and Tiny. Please, sit and relax we are so honored to have the three of you here!” Boy said.

As the three made themselves comfortable, the receptionist Rita Mokiao entered the office carrying three cups of coffee from the golden arches and handed them to the elderly gentlemen. It was only then that they realized that they’d been set up.

“That’s why we haven’t been able to communicate through our thoughts since we’ve been here,” Henry said, “this is a Pu’uhonua.”

“Balls,” Murphy said softly, “it’s one of those that mutes our abilities.”

“They got to you somehow Murphy,” Boyd said.

“Don’t worry gentlemen, you’re not in any kind of trouble. However, word came back to us concerning your activity and so we sent something out hoping that it would reach one of you and bring you here so we could talk,” Boy said.

“That was me,” Murphy shook his head.

“So what’s next?” Henry asked.

“It’s amazing that the three of you are even here and that you’ve been among us all this time. Goodness, the things you must have seen, the changes you witnessed,” Boy shook his head in amazement, “I’m surprised that none of you ever thought to write a book.”

“You men are literally a living history,” Ivan smiled, “You could probably re-write all of our history books.”
“That would piss a lot of people off but it would be very funny,” Tiny chuckled.

“Alright,” Henry began, “you’ve greased us up enough. What’s the catch?”

”Well, since you’re straight shooters we’ll get right to it, we’ve traced you back as far as the time of Kaumuali’i and perhaps even before that.”

“Way before that,” Henry confirmed.

“Let them work for it John Henry, don’t shoot your whole load,” Murphy cautioned.

“Too late for that,” Boyd snickered.

“Boyd, are you so busy living in everyone else’s mind that you can’t even tell what’s going on in front of you?” Henry asked.

“No, John Henry, what’s going on?” Boyd mocked Henry now.

“They’re putting us out to pasture Boyd,” Murphy interjected.

“Put US out to pasture? I’d like to see them try!” Boyd struggled to get up from his chair.

“Please gentlemen, relax. Nothing of the kind is going to happen. In fact, we brought you here in the hopes that you would work with us,” Boy said, “There’s so much we could learn from you.”

“What do you do here?” Boyd asked.

“We help people who need certain kinds of things taken care of, let’s just say that,” Boy answered.

“You’re not the local mafia so you must deal in ‘ana’ana,” Henry observed, “Am I close?”

“Very close,” Ivan replied, “In fact, right on the money.”

“Our boss wants you to work with us, that’s all,” Tiny said.

“And if we don’t?” Murphy asked.

“There’s no alternative here gentlemen, you either choose to do so or you don’t, that’s all,” Boy said.

“So if we don’t agree then we can just leave?” Henry asked.

“You can leave, no strings.” Boy confirmed, “we just thought that we could offer you something better than just sipping coffee every morning for the rest of eternity at the golden arches.”

“Well hell,” Boyd exclaimed, “let’s go!”

The three elderly gentlemen stood up from their chairs and made their way to leave, but not before Boy had one last word, “At one time the three of you were powerful prophets. Ali’i wouldn’t make a move without your counsel. The balance of life and death literally depended upon your word. But you’ve lived so long that you began to lose sight of the importance of your own lives and because of that, you began to devalue the life of others. Anytime anyone invaded your circle and slighted you whether it was real or imaged, or if they thought badly of you, you never hesitated to kill them through telepathy and telekinetic power. You did it so much that it’s not even a second thought to hurt people now. Let us help bring you back.” Boy offered.

“We don’t want your help or anyone else’s help,” Boyd said.

“Just leave us alone,” Henry followed.

“We’re all we have,” Murphy concluded.

The three left the office and took the elevator which carried them down to the lobby where they first saw the large Hawaiian man in the coat and tie. He was still standing near the doorway.

“Last chance,” he said to the three.

John Henry waved him off as the other two followed behind him. Murphy crossed the street and heard Boyd and Henry scream his name but it was too late, the car that raced through the light had no time to stop. It hit Murphy with such brutal impact that it obliterated his body into pieces.

“Dammit!” Henry said to Boyd, “He didn’t hear me, Boyd, he didn’t hear me! My thoughts told him to stop but he kept going! Did you hear me tell him? Did you?”

“No,” Boyd said, “I didn’t hear anything in my head! I didn’t hear anything!”

“Those bastards,” Henry said, “They took it from us, they took it from us!”

Blinded with rage John Henry and Boyd walked back the building where Henry pulled back the knocker. He only hit the door once and it creaked open, the hall with the long winding staircase was old and eaten by termites, a large part of the stairs had fallen away. There were cobwebs everywhere. Confused now, they headed toward the elevator and pressed the button, suddenly they heard a loud groaning creak as if some dormant giant was beginning to awaken. The doors to the cart slid open as metal screeched upon metal, Boyd was hesitant to enter but Henry pulled him in. Pressing the button to the second floor, the elevator groaned and creaked and the walls vibrated heavily as it ascended to the next level. Finally rumbling to a stop, the doors practically screamed like a woman giving birth as it opened, the two stepped out quickly in fear that the cables to the elevator might snap, thereby bringing the cart to a smashing conclusion on the bottom floor. The reception area was empty except for what seemed like years of collected dust everywhere, Boy’s office door was partially open and when the two stepped in, they found that space completely empty as well.

“We were just here,” Boyd gasped, “we were just here. How did everything disappear so fast?”

“Boyd, when I said that you spend too much time invading other people’s minds I meant it. It’s robbed you of the ability to see the obvious,” Henry said gently.

“I know what this is, Napualawa,” Henry called out, “ But alright, you wanna talk, let’s talk.”

‘What are you doing?” Boyd asked.

“Boyd, this is an illusion! This is your specialty! This is what YOU do to people remember? How could you not see this for what it is? They somehow took our abilities away and now they’re planting this illusion in our head to make us believe that this office is abandoned when it’s not! They’re still here, looking at us like we’re monkeys in a zoo! Laughing at us, making fun of us! But we’re gonna wait it out, they can’t keep this up forever,” Henry grunted.

.............


“How long do you think they can hold out?” Tiny asked Boy.

“They’ll get tired of it sooner than they think, then they’ll leave,” Boy answered.

“It’s too bad,” Ivan said, “corrupted and demented by their own mana.”

“They were too great to get rid of, I wanted to leave them with some dignity. It’s sad that the other one died, but they can’t have those powers anymore. They’ve become a danger to themselves and others,” Boy shared.

Pressing the button to Rita’s line Boy said, “Aunty Rita, if no one else has already done it, can you please call 911 and report a hit and run in front of our office?”

“Alright, Hanson will do,” Rita answered.

“John Henry, we have to go and see about Murphy, he’s lying dead in the street! We can’t just leave him like that!” Boyd insisted.

“To hell with Murphy! I want my powers back and I’m not leaving until I get them!” Henry snapped.

Boyd addressed Henry now as if he were looking at a stranger, “And what about me John Henry? What about my powers?”

“What power? The power to invade the minds of those Catholic school girls who come to buy sodas and sit where we sit and influence them to meet you at your place and wait there until you hobble back so that you can have your way with them? Is THAT the power you’re talking about?” Henry blurted out.

Boyd let out a scream and tackled Henry to the ground where he began to punch his ancient friend in the head. Henry pushed Boyd off of him and as the two struggled to their feet, Henry stunned Boyd with a right uppercut and followed that up with a left hook. Boyd hit the floor with a thud. Suddenly Henry clutched his heart, the pain was horrible and he couldn’t breathe, he let out a loud gasp and dropped dead on the floor.

............


The following morning a bruised and battered Boyd Ahakuelo sat in his usual spot at the golden arches painfully sipping on his coffee, it was either too hot or it hurt too much to apply his split lip to the rim of the cup. Either way, there was an eternal sadness welling up within him as he suddenly burst into tears and began crying openly. People sitting near him became uncomfortable and either ignored him or moved to a table inside. There was no one now, no one to bicker with or no one to agree with. He could no longer influence the mind of the manager to give him anything for free and so it was awkward for him to figure out how to pay for a cup of coffee and a breakfast plate on his own. John Henry and Murphy were all he had, all he depended on, all he truly cared for. Now, for the first time in his long, immortal life, he realized that he was truly alone.






Dec 10, 2016

"Blue Eyes"



It's not easy being part Haole and part Hawaiian, especially if you pulled more of the Haole side from your father. Being skilled in the fluency of the Hawaiian language and culture is a shock when people hear you speaking in your mother tongue and see that you are skilled in hula and traditional wayfinding. Yet, you stand before them a red haired blue eyed looking Haole. Others in this situation deal with the issue and don’t let it bother them because they have a strong sense of who they are and where they come from. Some don’t or can't, some wear it like clothing and let it become the fabric of their personality and more often than not, the insecurity of it all leads to drinking and different kinds of substance abuse, and in the most extreme cases, it leads to suicide. That’s me, I’m the latter, sans the suicide. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a feel sorry for me thing, it’s about getting to that point in your life where you’re done taking any more shit from people who think you’re a doormat. Sure, I had insecurities about being born more white in a Hawaiian family and yeah, there were the jokes that came with it. I just wanted to belong, I wanted to be accepted but I always wanted acceptance from the wrong people, and instead, I got shit on. That’s the truth of it, and like I said, I’m not here for sympathy. My siblings just leave me be, they don’t bother me too much, they just love me for who I am. My mother, she’s tough and she’s tough on me because she wants me to toughen up. But I catch her in those rare moments where she can’t see me see her crying. It’s not her fault and I always remind her of it.



It was one of those days where you’re standing in the checkout line at the market and you’re not really thinking about anything particular. You watch the clerk make small talk with the person in front of you and you’re waiting your turn. The girl at the checkout counter is new because this is the first time I’ve seen her as a cashier. She’s dark-skinned and looks like she could be a mix of something local, maybe Hawaiian, African American or something Polynesian. When we lock eyes as my turn is up, I see that she has blue eyes and they’re not contacts. The person before me is about to walk off and the cashier calls out and reminds the person that they forgot their change. It’s a local looking guy in his mid to late forties. He tells the cashier,

“Just put ‘um on the counter, I no like one niggah touching my hand,”

The cashier doesn’t back down, instead, she’s pissed.

“Excuse me? Who’s a nigger?” She asks.

“You,” the local man replies. “You Popolo right?”

“I’m Hawaiian, African American! ” She snaps back.

The local man is now offended, “Eh! No talk to me like I stoopid! Look you! What kine Hawaiian you? Why you wear blue contacts for?”

“It’s called, ‘Waardenburg syndrome’ but there’s no point in explaining that to you because you don’t look like you a cracked a book since your last blood test,” she smirked.

“What?” The local man replied. “I not on crack!”

Before the situation can escalate, a manager intervenes and escorts the local man out of the store. Luckily, there were a few people, along with myself who would vouch that the fault was not the cashiers and that the man was being outright obnoxious. When things calmed down the cashier apologized and rang up my purchase. “Lei” that was the name on her name tag.

“No need to be sorry,” I told her. “I’m Irish on my father’s side and Hawaiian on my mother’s side. Guess which side I pulled?”

She looks at me for a second and says, “Didn’t you go to that charter school in Halawa?”

“Yeah,” I chuckled.

“I was in the senior class when you were a freshman, I think I remember you,” she laughed. “You filled out, I recall you were a little chubby back then.”

“Thanks,” I said sarcastically.

“But look at you now, all tall and everything,” her smile didn’t stop.

I turned and noticed that a line had already formed.

“I better pay for my stuff and get outta here,” I said.

She rang me up and gave me my total, “That’s eight dollars and seventy-five cents,”

I handed her a twenty dollar bill and grabbed my items and made my way out of the store. The parking lot was empty which was a relief, it was easier to get into my car and leave, rather than wait for traffic.

….

So, I’m a loss prevention agent at a local superstore. I’m not at liberty to say where but our symbol is a red bull's eye. Get it? It was close to noon and I was going through my daily routine and didn’t see anything out of the ordinary when all of a sudden someone taps me on my shoulder from behind. I turned around to see Lei standing there with a big smile on her face.

“Oh hey,” I was surprised. “What are you doing here?”

She pulled out an envelope and removed a receipt and eleven dollars and a quarter, which she placed into my hand.

“What’s this for?” I asked.

“The other night you said you wouldn’t have a problem with me placing your change in your hands. But you left before I had a chance to do it,” she giggled.

“How’d you know I worked here?” I was dumbfounded.

“You were standing in my line with your uniform and name tag on, “Lu’uwai”. Now she was laughing at me.

“Oh my god, I’m an idiot. I’m sorry, well uh, thanks for coming all this way to bring me my change,” I nodded, unsure of what else to say. “I appreciate it,”

“No problem,” she replied. It was obvious that she was waiting for me to say something else, but I here I was the loss prevention agent at a loss for words. At the same time that I blurted out something about going to lunch, she blurted out the same thing.

“I’m going on a lunch break in a couple of minutes, you wanna hang out?” That was me.

“When’s lunch? You wanna go eat or something?” That was her.

We were both laughing at the coincidence or at least I was, I’m sure she thought I was awkward and uncomfortable. I suggested Mac’s she said Jack’s but we settled on Taco Bell. We ordered our food and I parked under the airport overpass where we ate and talked at the same time. Spending those forty-five minutes with Lei was like continuing a conversation that was left to pick up a few days ago. It easy to be myself for once, I didn’t have to worry about how I would have to respond to yet another lame Haole joke or a dumb ass remark. Her jokes made me laugh from my gut, like a true jovial laugh that I never knew existed. I had to catch myself for a second and apologize, I was suddenly worried that I was coming off like a goof, but that statement only made her laugh harder. I couldn’t help myself but laugh along with her.

“So, your reddish curly hair and blue eyes come from your dad?” She asked.

“Yeah,” I moaned. “I mean it’s obvious,”

“But, I think you have your mother’s face,” she squinted her eyes and looked at me closely.

“Who do you look like?” I asked her.

“I’m Hawaiian on my father’s side and African American on my mother’s side,” she confirmed.  “It varies, sometimes people can see my mom’s features and other times they can see my father in me. Depends on my mood I guess,” she took another bite of her taco and nodded.

“What’s Waardenburg syndrome?” I asked. “You mentioned it to that asshole the other night,”

“It’s a genetic condition that changes the pigmentation of your skin or your eyes. I’m not sure where I got it, so I always joke that one of my Hawaiian ancestors hopped the fence with a Greek sailor,” she laughed. “So, if and when I have kids or my kids have grandkids, it might be passed down somewhere in the gene loko wai.”

Looking at my watch I realized that I had 10 minutes to get back to work. “Yikes, I gotta get back to work,” I sighed.

“Okay, best not to get in trouble for being late,” she agreed. “I gotta get back and take a nap. I’m on for the graveyard shift.”

“Oh really? Glad to know that, I’m a midnight munchies kinda guy myself,” I told her.

“Really? Why are you up so late?” She asked.

I shrugged, “I like to write poems and stuff, I’m better during the late hours.”

“You should come to see me on my break tonight, let me see some of your stuff,” she was smiling that smile again.

I got that pang of insecurity again, like how I get when my mother keeps bugging me to let her read my poems. “Ah, I dunno,”

“No, C'mon! Seriously, I mean for real. I write stuff myself so I won’t make fun of you or anything. I mean I get it, I get where all those words come from...I promise okay?” She was serious now because she must have seen my frown.

“Alright, I guess so,” I agreed but only begrudgingly.

She asked me to give her my phone number so she could text me as to when her break would be. When we got back to the red bull's eye superstore, I dropped her off at her car and we exchanged a ‘bruddah bruddah’ handshake. The rest of the day was uneventful, what with a few military officers wives demanding that the Filipino cashiers not speak their native languages to each other because they were sure that the Tagalog conversations were about them. One of those military officers wives turned to me and said, “Can you believe these people? Don’t they know that this is America?”

“Actually, we’re an illegally occupied nation,” I spoke in a very articulate manner.

“What?” The women squealed.

“Our Hawaiian kingdom was illegally overthrown by a group of white businessmen. Even our becoming a state was illegal because there was a larger opposition to the idea of statehood by petition. Those signatures against statehood were erroneously added to the lesser number of signatures that were for statehood.” I said.

“How could that be possible if Hawai’i is already a state today?” She huffed and puffed.

“Indeed,” I winked.

The woman shifted her weight to one side and gave me a look of disgust, and stormed off. However, before leaving this store she made it a point to appraise the store manager of my rude behavior. Of course, I was told about the woman’s complaint.

“I’m surprised that she would be upset?” I was playing dumb.

Tara was one of those no bullshit taking kinda store managers that everyone loved but she’d nail you to the wall if you were wrong. She was good people.

“I’m afraid to ask, but why are you surprised?”

“She started to talk to me about manifest destiny and I shared my thoughts about it,” I said as I shrugged my shoulders.

“Really?” She was mocking me now.

“Yeah,” I feigned innocence at this point.

“Lu, if you were my own son I’d manifest my foot up your ass. I feel sorry for your Mama.” She said in her southern accent. “Get back to work,”

….

About 4:23 in the morning I got a text from Lei telling me that she was about to take her break in a few minutes and that I could meet her out in front of the store. It was easy for me because I lived literally five minutes away. I printed out a poem that I’d been working on and was still nervous about sharing it with anyone but what the hell. There were a bunch of others as well, a whole collection practically, but this particular one that I’d been putting together felt like the one that I could share.

A short time later I pulled up in front of the store and she jumped in with a large shopping bag.

“What’s all that?” I asked.

“You treated me to lunch today, so I made dinner,” She was smiling again. “Just some chopped steak, Kona coffee gravy, and some vegetables. You DO eat vegetables right?”

“Oh yeah sure I do, but wow you didn’t have to go out of your way,” I was amazed.

“No worries man, I love to cook,” she reassured me.

Man, she really did love to cook, she was armed with a couple of large Tupperware containers with the food in it, two thermoses filled with peach iced tea, some napkins and a couple of forks and knives. Awesome, glorious or ono were not the right words to describe Lei’s cooking because there were no words. It’s just one of those experiences that make you feel like the food threw you down on the bed and had its way with you. Yeah, I guess I felt used by chopped steak and vegetables but I didn’t mind. I was willing to feel cheap again.

“It must be good because you haven’t come up for air once,” she laughed.

“Don’t interrupt me,” I told her. “I’m having a food epiphany,”

“You sure it’s not an orgasm?” She couldn’t help herself but crack up.

“Don’t mock me, this is how music, art, and great architecture was created!” I mocked her.

We had a good laugh and went on about finishing our late/early dinner. Lei took the Tupperware and cutlery and put it back in the large plastic bag.  We were relaxed now and taking our time as we sipped on our peach iced tea. I reached in my shirt pocket and handed her three folded up pieces of paper without saying a word. She took the papers and gave me a thoughtful look as she opened it up. She was perfectly still and only her eyes moved, I was concerned for a second that she was not breathing. When she was done, she looked at me and broke down crying.

“I’m sorry! I’m sorry! What did I do? I’m sorry!” I had my hand on her shoulder and kept apologizing profusely.

“No, it’s okay,” she was trying to compose herself while she grabbed a bunch of napkins and wiped her tears away.

“Did I do something wrong?” I was really worried that my poem offended her.

“I know this, I feel this because I’ve been through it. I lived it,” she replied quietly.

“Holy shit, thank you! I thought I pissed you off,” I was so relieved.

“Dude, you have to share this at one of my slams, it’s really good! It is!” She was gushing with enthusiasm.

“Uh, I don’t know,” I stuttered.

“C’mon! I’m just gonna bug you until you say yes!” She was insistent.

“Okay, but you do it, not me,” I said.

“No! This is yours to do, not mine!” She was horrified.

“No, I trust you,” I assured her.

“Wow, really?” She was thrilled.

“Yeah, why not,” I said. “I’m not a stand in front of a crowd kinda guy,”

…..

The venue was called, “The Place” it was a real casual location where just about anyone could come to offer a slam poem. Be that as it may, the crowd was a younger gathering and the one rule in the house was that there was no talking when an artist was on the stick. Finger snaps were encouraged rather than clapping but sometimes a slam artist rocked the house so thoroughly that the audience lost their cookies and would whoop and holler like the second coming. I sat through an hour of angst and unresolved issues that passed itself off as a poem and wondered how or why these people haven’t already killed themselves? There were sympathizers in attendance who obviously lived through the expressed horror of having to wake up and brush your teeth or dealing with unhappy parents who yell at you to get a job. These were the life problems which made these slam poets contemplate suicide? Things are tough all over I guess.

Lei finally came on and approached the mic, there were vocal sounds of approval and a room full of finger snaps that sounded like bacon on a frying pan.

“When I read this poem it had no title, but I decided to call it, “Blue Eyes” it’s written by Lu’uwai Farmer,” she gestured to me and bowed her head. Closing her eyes, she let her entire body take a breath before she began.

“It’s the color of my skin that I wear as a sin
like the color of my eyes
blue as the skies
my mother is Hawaiian of pure blood
and heritage
and I’m only half
of what I should be
the ancestral bud
through a sacred marriage

My father was Irish of red hair
so wild
and I am his son
threadbare
and mild
learned of chants
of stars and of dance
learned of a culture
and sweeping romance
but I am a stranger
In a room filled
with ‘Oiwi
the only white one
In the crowd
where my own
people pretend
not to see me

The sky is blue
my eyes are too
because my mind
Is filled with questions
of who

Who am I
In this skin
of white
to die
from within
On a moonless night
I wish it were I
sightless with
the absence of light
In the midnight
Sky


There was a second or two of silence before everyone broke protocol and began to give a resounding round of applause. I was certain that Lei was in trouble but even the master of ceremonies forgot formality and gave Lei a big hug. When she left the stage she made a beeline to my table, but even before she got to where I sat I met her halfway and took her in my arms. I think we were both in tears but even before I had a chance to thank her, we were already locked in a kiss. We didn’t stay for the congratulations and drinks, she followed me back to my place where we sat on my floor and talked for the rest of the night. We fell asleep at some point and I remember waking up later on and driving to 7-11 to get Lei an extra toothbrush. I sent her a text to let her know where I’d gone, just in case. When I got back, she had breakfast ready; eggs, bacon, and fried rice. I got us a couple of large cans of ice tea and we had a seat and ate in silence. We cleaned up after we were done, then Lei took her toothbrush and went to the bathroom.

“I have to get home to change before I go to work,” she said.

“Okay,” I replied.

I walked her to the door and something came over me and I kissed her. She kissed me back and that’s when we made love. At this point, I can either get descriptive or deep or both. Was it lust mistaken for sex or was it sex born out of a commonality?
I will say that during the throes of passion Lei said she understood my poem because she’s the one in her family who is the dark-skinned Hawaiian while everyone else pulls a lighter shade. She said growing up with everyone’s hurtful comments only made her stronger, but the hurtful words still lingered. Making love with Lei gave me a feeling of being free from judgment, free from worry, free from my own self-deprecation. I think that’s when I finally realized that I loved someone more than myself, I realized that someone else’s happiness meant more to me than my own.

That realization was about to manifest into three magic words but because of kismet or whatever the hell you want to call it, we said it at the same time,

“I love you,”

There was no nervous laughter or the obligation of a 7-Up. Instead, there was an exchanged look of not being surprised at all. After I finished the first time, I was still aroused and continued to make love to her, even after Lei was done, I continued to kiss and caress her until we made love again. Eventually, we agreed that we had to stop, otherwise, she was going to be late for work. When she left there was no agreement between us to either call or meet later. I had to get to work myself, so I showered and got ready to head out.

….........

She sent me a text later in the day,

“I get off at five, what are you doing?”

I answered, “I’m going to my mom’s for dinner, you wanna come?”

“Sure,” she replied with a big smiley face.

….........

I can only describe the look on my mother’s face as one of shock and simultaneous happiness. I introduced Lei to her and while they exchanged greetings I looked around to see that no one else was home.

“Where is everybody?” I asked.

“Hula, which is where you’re supposed to be,” she smirked.

“Aiyah,” I deadpanned.

“You dance hula?” Lei looked at me with a raised eyebrow.

“Yeah,” I replied. “And I’m good too,”

“Really?” She looked at my mother for confirmation, who nodded in the affirmative.

“Sit down, I’ll make your plates so you can eat real fast before you go,” my mother never let us leave the house without eating first. Lei got up to help her and my mother looked at me with a big smile.

“No worry bebe, you can help next time. You go sit down and eat.”

I wasn’t sure if my mother was pleased that I was with a Hawaiian girl or just pleased with the fact that I was with someone at all.

“You Hawaiian bebe?” My mom was always to the point.

“Hawaiian-African American,” Lei replied.

“Are those contacts you have on?” Always to the point my mom, no filter.

“No, it’s a genetic condition...” Lei began but my mom was already on point.

“Waardenburg syndrome,” my mother confirmed.

“How’d you know that?” I was floored, to say the least.

“Instagram,” my mom winked at Lei and they both laughed. “Who’s your Hawaiian side?”

“Makana,” Lei replied.

“From Kaua’i,” my mom confirmed again.

“Oh no,” I groaned. “Don’t tell me you’re gonna say that we’re related?”

“No, you’re not related,” my mom shook her head. “But if you’re smart, you’ll make me a mother in law.”

….........

Meeting Lei’s family was a different tone altogether, they weren’t too sure about me until Lei’s baby sister walked up to me and spoke Hawaiian. When I replied with no problem, that’s when the tension in the air disappeared. Things eased up even more when Lei’s parents found out that I was Hawaiian on my mother’s side. It was a humble dinner and I ate everything on the plate and after I helped to wash dishes while Lei put them away. When it was time for me to leave, Lei’s father bid me a firm good-bye but did not extend an invitation to return.

Again, no problem.

….......

It went on like this without any real snags between myself and lei. I forgot about my skin color because Lei loved me for me, I felt the same way about her that’s for sure. Our commonality was that we were both Hawaiian and we loved our culture and we loved who we were in that pool of Hawaiians who had pride. So, our pigmentation was a bit off, so what? That was manini in comparison to the big picture. My family could see the change in me and they liked it, especially my mom who one day asked me, “What’s different about you?”

“What?” I was confused.

“Something ‘oko’a but I can’t put my finger on it,” she gazed at me for a second.

“I don’t know,” I shrugged.

“Ah!” She jumped. “You don’t brood anymore like you used to, your dark cloud is gone!”

I just smiled and continued eating my breakfast. I was happy to see my mother happy. Her worry lines were now lines brought about by smiles and not frowns. The gray in her hair suited her more now than it did before when there was so much on her shoulders, including me. She was never sure if I would ever come to terms with what I looked like as opposed to who I was inside, but Lei helped me with that. I realized that the white skin and the Hawaiian blood inside me were one and the same. It was who I was, I stopped looking for an external answer and began searching for what I needed in myself because that’s where all my problems and my joy stemmed from.

Me.

I was the only one who could control that, no one else.

….......

One night, Lei called me she was very upset. I had to get her to calm down so I could understand what it was that she was saying. She explained that she wasn’t able to go to college right out of high school because she had obligations to help her family out financially. So she got a job at the market, but she always wanted to major in Hawaiian studies at the university. Once things at home were stable, she applied for a scholarship and didn’t hear anything back. Earlier today she was in the middle of cleaning the kitchen when she came across a letter that stuck out from underneath the fridge. It was from the university, her scholarship was approved, but the letter itself was dated from a year ago. Within that letter was tucked another letter addressed to Lei in regards to her scholarship money, which she never received.

“Remember that time my parents said they won a contest from Pleasant Holidays to go to Vegas?” She asked me in tears.

“Yes, I remember,” I replied.

“There was no Pleasant Holidays contest to Vegas, I called that office to confirm. I waited ‘til my folks got home and I confronted them, babes, they stole my scholarship money and took a trip to Vegas!” I knew by her voice that she was completely destroyed.

“I’m on the way,” I was pissed and I was going to fucking go off on her parents.

“I’m already on my way to your place, I’ll see you in a little while.” she was still sobbing.

“Okay hun, I’ll be right here,” I hung up then and I waited. Unfortunately, I had a long work day and I was probably a lot more tired than I was angry. I left the lock off on my front door and I fell asleep. I woke up later when I felt Lei nudging the edge of the bed and she was standing right over me.

“Here,” she said as she held her hand out. There was something that she wanted me to take.

“What is that?” I asked her.

“It’s eleven dollars and twenty-five cents,” she said. “You forgot your change at the market.”

“Oh yeah, that’s right,” I said as she put the money in my hand.

“Remember that day when you said you’d have no problem taking the change from my hand?” She smiled thoughtfully.

“Yeah,” I said. “I was flirting, I dunno if you got the hint or not,”

“I got the hint,” She replied. “I think it was at that point I knew that you and I were going to end up together. Don’t ask me how I knew, I just knew.”

“Everything okay? How are you doing?” I asked.

“I’m fine,” she confirmed. “I’m gonna use the bathroom but can you do me a favor?”

“Yeah, sure,” I said, I was still a bit groggy.

“Can you come to get me? I’m right before the king street exit after university, I just got into a bad accident but I don’t want to die there. I want to die in your arms.” She was very matter of fact as she said all of this while heading toward my bathroom. Then I saw the light go on, and I didn’t hear anything else. It took me a second or two to take in what I’d just heard.

“What did you say?” There was no answer. “Lei? What did you say? I didn’t understand?”

I walked into the bathroom and it was empty, no one was there. Then I heard her again from the living room.

“Hurry up Lu! I’m dying, I don’t have long,”

I jumped out of my pants and found my living room empty too. Before I knew it, I had grabbed my keys and drove to the humane society parking lot and climbed down the embankment and onto the freeway. Her car was there and it was mangled really bad with another car facing toward it. Witnesses said that a car was coming the wrong way, exiting up the off-ramp, the driver was drunk and he hit Lei’s car head-on.

He lived.

Lei was lying in the road about twenty feet from the impact, her body was broken and her blood was everywhere. Traffic was backing up now and a few people were already pulled over in order to try and help as much as they could. Others were on their phones calling the authorities. I sat down and took her into my arms and held on to her, slowly rocking back and forth, reminding her how much I loved her. For one brief moment, her eyes opened and she looked at me and managed a smile and mouthed the words, “Blue eyes”

She died right then.

I became a blubbering mess and cried and screamed hysterically because a literal part of myself was gone.

….

 It sounds kinda weird but Lei was cremated, that was her request. Unbelievable that her parents got that right, but there’s a little sprinkle of her that I keep in a vial on a chain around my neck. Later on, the following year, I applied for a scholarship for Hawaiian studies at the University of Hawaii and I got it, can you believe that? It's good, though, this way we can see this through together side by side.

 The other night I went to that slam poetry club called, “The Place” but instead of offering a poem, I asked the manager if I could sing a song and dedicate it to Lei. They said why not?

I adjusted the mic and pulled it a bit forward and began to pluck the bass strings on the guitar,

“In the twilight glow, I see her
Blue eyes cryin’ in the rain
When we kissed goodbye
and parted,
I knew we’d never
meet again

Love is like a dying ember
Only memories remain
Through the ages
I’ll remember
Blue eyes cryin’
In the rain”









Dec 7, 2016

Detective Yuen


It was a dark and stormy night in the tropics.... private detective Yuen perspired in his white suit and Panama hat in spite of the cool winds spiriting in from the ocean. His holstered 38 special was alive and warm and waiting to be unsheathed and given an excuse to breathe fire from its barrel. It would soon get its wish if the detective could just keep up. Perhaps he purposely slowed his pace because it was one of his own that he pursued? The person in question was a junior member of the Chinese Acacia club who had fallen into debt with one of the local Tongs. His parents tried in vain to pay off their son's marker but the Tong were not interested; they wanted blood. In a desperate attempt to gather the money he owed, the young man held up a taxi driver and as a result of overactive nerves he shot the poor man in the face and killed him instantly. He’d been on the run since then. The taxi driver was the brother of detective Yuen who now pursued the young gambler as he foolishly trekked within the walls of an abandoned Hawaiian temple of human sacrifice. Maybe that's what also slowed the pace of old detective Yuen as well? Although not a superstition man by any means, he knew well enough not to disrespect the old Hawaiian ways. He decided to wait without the walls of the mighty temple being that there was only one way in and one way out, besides, no one in their right mind would even think about scaling the handset stone walls of the structure, let alone hide in the place. That was suicide. Sure the Haoles put it off as old pagan superstitions from a bygone era, but Yuen had seen enough in his time to know that the psychic imprint that the old Hawaiian religion made on these islands was not going to go away anytime soon. The young man hid in an old tattered hut that was once made of Pili grass, but time had withered the structure down to nothing but its wooden frame. When the old kapu system was overthrown and most of the pagan images were burned and the walls toppled over; this temple was one that was left alone. Many of the old Hawaiians said that the structure and the mana that was imbued into it was much too powerful an edifice to destroy. So, it was simply left abandoned. Late at night drums could be heard from within its confines; torch lights could be seen and tortured screams pierced the night. Those who were foolish enough to venture close in order to ascertain where the alarming noises came from would see nothing but the pitched black. However, the cacophony of morbid voices could still be heard until it crashed into a crescendo and then fell into a horrifying silence. That silence was never a welcomed relief, it was only the calm before the storm. Desperation moved the young gambler to conceal himself within the ancient structure; never once taking into account that he toppled a portion of an old stone altar as he stumbled about blindly in the dark. Detective Yuen knew what the end result might be once the sun awoke from the east but he didn’t have the entire night to wait. He’d spent a long career as a private detective and because of that he never found the time to marry and have children. Sure, there were possibilities here and there but the length of time he’d spent in between relationships made him realize that he was perhaps meant to be alone. Yuen’s father had been good friends with a Honolulu Police detective named Chang Apana, who once gave the young boy a demonstration as to how he used his black snake bullwhip to capture criminals. Rather than be fascinated, the young Yuen was afraid of the raw ferocity of the weapon and what it could do. 
“Go school, be akamai so your mind can be da bullwhip too,” Chang Apana told him.
Here he was thirty-three years later being ‘Akamai’.
“Bennett?” Yuen called out.
“Yeah?” The voice returned with no reverberation, it had a dull tone to it which sent shivers down Yuen’s spine; but he was the bullwhip as always.
“Let’s talk,” Yuen offered.
“About what? You taking me to the station? I shot and killed your brother, so If I go with you I don’t expect to make it to station alive or at all,” Bennett answered.
“I don’t want to take you in, I just wanna talk,” Yuen said.
Tears filled Bennett’s eyes as he pictured the face of the taxi driver being obliterated by the single bullet that penetrated the space between his eyebrows, “I didn’t know he was your brother, Yuen. I swear I didn’t know,”
As the excitement of the chase began to wear out, Bennett felt something warm covering his pockets and then his thigh. He felt it and it was wet; when the metallic smell filled his nostrils he realized it was his own blood. Looking for the source of the bleeding he found a bullet hole had penetrated the back of his shirt and that it was lodged in his side.
“Yuen, you shot me!” Bennett yelled back in complete surprise.
“Yeah, that’s why you have to come outta there,” the detective replied.
“Oh yeah right because it’s haunted! Nice try Yuen,” Bennett shouted.
“It’s not haunted,” Yuen was matter of fact now, “whatever’s there just continued on after it died, it never stopped,”
“Sure of course,” Bennett laughed, “but I’m not worried, I have my Chinese ancestors to protect me!”
“Not in there you don’t,” Yuen’s tone was almost fatalistic and it began to cause Bennett some concern.
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Bennett returned.
“I’m pretty sure I shot you in the liver; you’re bleeding to death Bennett so I suggest you come out of there,” Yuen instructed.
“I’m dead either way; you, the police, the Tongs. I’m better off in here,” Bennett sighed. “At least I won’t be a burden to my folks anymore,”
“If you don’t come outta there, you’ll never leave,” Yuen’s voice sounded as if he’d already given up the fight. “It’s not the kinda place where you wanna die, believe me,”
Yuen’s mumbo jumbo drivel about the heiau being haunted made the detective look immature and childish in Bennett’s mind. Was that all he was capable of in order to try and negotiate him out of the ancient structure? He certainly was not a Chang Apana; Chang Apana wouldn’t have wasted any time with small talk. He would have jumped in and taken his man in, heiau or no heiau. So why not Yuen? Why was he just sitting outside waiting? He couldn’t have been more than ten feet away?
Detective Yuen didn’t look surprised at all when he saw Bennett standing at the entrance of the old sacrificial temple. There was a look of deep sadness and regret as Yuen shook his head and slowly stood on his feet.
“You should look happy Yuen; here I am,” Bennett said as he held his hands out to be handcuffed. The detective didn’t make a move, he just put his head down as if he were going to cry. “What’s the matter? Don’t tell me you had a change of heart?”
“I can’t take you in Bennett,” Yuen’s eyes were tired as if the weight of some kind of truth had taken a toll on him.
“Why not?” Bennett asked.
“Go back to where you were hiding; you’ll see,” Detective Yuen turned and walked down the old dirt path that led away from the heiau without saying a word. Bennett kept calling after him but Yuen paid him no mind, he continued walking until his form disappeared into the night. It wasn’t until Bennett tried to chase after Yuen that he understood what the detective meant; he was right. He couldn’t leave. Every attempt he made to exit the stone structure brought him right back to where he stood in the first place. Bennett tried time and time again and again but to no avail; he would only find himself at the entrance of the heiau. Out of desperation, he ran back to where he had originally been only to be horrified by the sight of his own dead corporeal form lying lifeless in a pool of blood and dirt. It would have been pointless to scream because no one would be able to hear him, but scream he did.
Again and again.