Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Jan 7, 2017

"House Of The Holy"

Save for the noises that old wooden houses are known to exert, that of adjusting, creaking and settling, this house was empty and without the company of human occupants. All that was living was long gone, but to say that the structure was hollow and lifeless would not be true, it would be more factual to say that the house was dormant and that it was waiting. The majority of the lumber that became a part of the framework for the house was taken from old wooden ki'i or tiki that were found on the grounds of an ancient Heiau in Palolo above Kaimuki. Those old sanctified images were converted to wooden planks and employed as pillars and posts, walls and floors in the Kapahulu home. The man who built the house was cheap and did not want to spend the money to buy wood, so he got it from the next best place he could think of. Clueless as to the cultural significance of the heiau and the ki'i images, he just saw it as a way to cut corners. The house took many victims from the time of its completion in 1923 until today. It's first offering or lehua as it would be put in traditional terms, was the builder and owner himself, Henry Chun. He along with his wife and newborn child were found hanging from the rafters in their kitchen, there were no signs of intruders or robbers, it was almost as if the act was committed randomly, with no real cause.

....

TODAY:

 Nolan Hosaka was a hapa-haole boy from Waipahu who barely survived a recent divorce with his ex-wife. The circumstances were bitter being that his ex-wife received complete custody of their children, and he was only allowed visitation rights. The ex-wife was completely manipulative of the privilege which she had gained from the court and always used it to her advantage, it was her way of making Nolan's life miserable.

Nolan himself complained to his lawyer in regards to his ex-wife's habit of changing the visitation times and places at the very last minute. A short time later, all parties were called to convene in the judge's chambers, where the ex-wife was admonished.

"Winning custody does not make you the winner," the judge began. "In cases like this, the sympathy is always with the mother, but that can easily change. Stick with the visitation schedule Mrs. Hosaka."

"I'm back to Teruya now, your honor," Kelly said. "I'm no longer Mrs. Hosaka."

"Semantics will get you nowhere Mrs. Hosaka, don't push your luck." The judge had no time for foolishness.

...

 Although Nolan had many prospects where potentially new relationships were concerned, there was still one disadvantage, he was alone. Being alone at the beginning and at the end of the day gave him too much time to think. It didn't matter what filled his day in between, it's the fact that he was always by himself that proved to be detrimental. A few months after the meeting with the judge, Kelly picked up and moved to Philidelphia with their daughter Jewel, no notice was given to the court or to Nolan.

 She just left.

No one knew that she'd gone until Nolan appeared one weekend morning for his scheduled visitation. Kelly's honda civic was not in the driveway and when he knocked on the door, it was his ex-mother in law who answered and gave Nolan the bad news.

"I neva know Nolan, she told me she told you she was moving and that you got mad and told her to go to hell." The old woman was in tears. "Was hard for me, I neva like her take Jewel away but she no care."

....

Alone in the house built from the 'Ohia images of an old heiau that offered human sacrifices to sanctify ceremonies to the god of war, Nolan Hosaka drank himself into an almost catatonic state and then took a knife and cut the inside of his thighs. Then he slit one wrist and with the other hand he slit his throat from ear to ear, where he fell to the floor and bled out completely. The blood formed a red pool around Nolan's body that seemed to sit on the finished wooden floor, a second later, the flooring itself absorbed the blood into its ancient fibers. One could almost hear a long sigh of relief and satisfaction creak through the timbers of the humble domicile.

....

The length of time that the house stood empty was not long. The for sale sign sat just outside the gate of the home for less than a month before it was purchased by a local couple, Gary and Aileen Mikuni. Once the keys to the front door were placed in their hands, the couple and the realtor could have sworn that the entire house moaned with approval. It was a strange occurrence but the realtor assured the Pearl City couple that it was really the wind moving the higher branches of their mango tree that created the strange noise. He conveniently forgot to tell that them that the previous owner had committed suicide in the house. In the next few days, Gary and Aileen began taping butcher paper to the baseboards in the living room as they prepared to paint the walls in a beige color. Once they were done, they would plug in the giant fans they'd purchased from a local hardware store and let them face the walls in order to dry the paint. In the meantime, the couple moved to the bathroom where they began to disinfect the sink and the shower, once that was done, they figured it was time for a break, so they decided to head to the local drive-in down the street. As they headed to the front door through the living room, they were startled when they noticed that the paint they had put on the walls was gone. The fans were still running, the jealousy windows were open, but the paint was gone.

"We mixed the paint up right didn't we? We did yeah?" Aileen asked Gary more for reassurance than a question.

"Look," he pointed at the paint cans. "It's all empty, the paint tray still get all the leftover paint and the rollers still soaking in the other tray. So, that's proof that we wen paint the walls at least."

"Then how come all the painting we did is gone?" Aileen asked.

"I dunno," Gary replied. "We go take da paint back to the store."

"Shucks, you know what?" Aileen reminded Gary. "We should have taken a picture after we were done painting the wall, and then another picture right now!"

"Too late now, we just go to back to the store and ask about this kine paint, and when aftah we paint da wall again, den we take the picture!" Gary said.

....

The trip back to the hardware store proved to be fruitless, the clerk thought that Gary and Aileen were crazy but he did give them a second set of paint cans at a discounted price. Their second effort at painting the walls in their living room took about the same amount of time as their first effort. Except when they turned the fans on to dry the paint, the two of them decided to sit on the floor and wait to see if the paint would fade away again. An hour and a half transpired before they finally agreed to give up. Gary got up first and extended his hand to help Aileen, a second later they found themselves screaming with terror. The paint on the walls was gone again.
Aileen grabbed her purse and practically ran her husband over as they made their way out of the front door and ran to their car. Pulling away from the sidewalk, the last thing they saw was the lights in the house slowly go dark. That's all the motivation Gary needed before he and Aileen spend off into the night.

...

The current residents of the Kapahulu home are a couple who are originally from Wai'anae. They wanted a better life for their teenage son because he'd become involved in too many fights at school and there were too many boys out for revenge in any way they could get it. It wasn't safe anymore and so the house on the outskirts of Waikiki seemed to be as far away from all the trouble as they could get. The first month was quiet and uneventful and everything was easy as no one had a problem adjusting to their new life. John and Debbie Gaspar were thankful for all they had, as was their son Bertram.

One Friday evening, Bertram's parents were attending his father's company party, which left the boy alone at home. He hadn't made any friends yet, but his folks let him order a pizza and a couple of liters soda and they allowed him to play x-box for the rest of the night because he'd finished his homework earlier. Bertram was set for a cool evening of Assassins Creed. An hour into the game and Bertram was winning on all points, at his age, he'd already mastered the game and he was sure that he would have to ask his parents if he could buy part two of the game. He paused the screen for a second so he could take a bite of his pizza and a sip of his soda. From his peripheral vision,  he saw the door to the standing food cabinet in the kitchen swing open. It shut slowly and then opened itself with wild fury back and forth until it shut in a halting manner. Bertram hadn't felt an ounce of fear, rather he was curious as to what kind of air vent could cause the cabinet door to act in that manner. The boy got up and sauntered to the kitchen and the cabinet door opened slowly as if to greet him. The cans of food and boxes of dried noodles that usually took up all the space on the shelves were gone. The rolls of paper towels that occupied the top shelves were all gone as well, instead, the door opened to a scene of a daylit area that was covered with manicured green grass and dark stone walls. Beyond that, he could see the ocean in the distance, there was something that was overwhelming about the tableau but he couldn't put his finger on it. It was a presence more than a feeling and it was beckoning Bertram to step through the door.

He had seen a place like this somewhere and he was trying to remember where? Yes! That's it! It was in Ms. Kitagawa's Hawaiian studies class at Wai'anae High School, they were learning about heiau and that's what this was, a heiau. "It's a luakini heiau," Betram said to himself. "Po'okanaka, used for human sacrifice."

Bertram was so taken with this realization that as he took one step forward, the cabinet door closed ever so gently behind him.

When his parents returned home later that night, they found the X-box game still on, and a half-eaten piece of pizza placed next to a half full bottle of soda, but no Bertram.

.....

The neighbor from across the street busied herself constantly with the sweeping and watering of her garage and her sidewalk. The task was tedious and maniacal and lasted from morning to sunset. On a bright Sunday afternoon, a sudden wind swept up the old Kapahulu side street and funneled itself into the garage of the empty home. It lifted several old mango leafs and a few unintelligible shards of paper from the carport and summarily left it at the foot of the neighbor's garage. The older Hawaiian woman jumped back with disgust and was overcome with rage as she glared at the home across the street.

"Be wise," the voice in her head told her. "This is one you can't fight Tammy, it's bigger than you."

She was already undoing the giant nozzle to her water hose, ready as ever to deliver a line drive right through the living room window. Her baseball league days were long gone, but she still had the arm that could burn in a pitch at ninety-six miles directly down the middle. She placed the rear end of her fist on the small of her back as she moved the nozzle around in her hand. She'd send it to the left of the window but she'd give the nozzle some flourish just as she let it go. It would arc wide but come in tight, right on the target.

"Let it go, Tammy." Her inner voice was warning her now, this was no angel on her shoulder. This was her first instinct. "The house only looks empty, let it go."

Too late, she lunged forward with an inflection of her hips to give her the momentum she needed, her arm was like a whip that sent the nozzle straight toward the empty house with blinding speed.
There were only mere seconds left before she realized what had happened, she was suddenly standing in front of the window to the old house and saw herself throwing the nozzle from the water hose directly at herself. There was no time for her to make sense of it before the nozzle struck her right between the eyes and killed her instantly. An hour later, Wilford Keala would find the body of his dead wife Tammy, in their front garage with a water hose nozzle embedded in her skull.

..........

The 'For Sale" sign is up yet again, and the old Kapahulu house still awaits offerings...err...I mean offers.









Jan 5, 2017

"Psychic Off Duty"

What do I know from being psychic? Will I even admit that I have a gift? I'll tell you this much, it happens when it happens. But when it does happen it's like a floodgate opens, take for instance the other night. The kid who drove for the Wai'anae Ghost tour? I heard everything in my head that he was going to say before he said it. In fact, I finished most of his sentences, but the second he got wide-eyed and thought that there was something otherworldly going on, I just told him that it was just age and wisdom on my part.

"I've been where you're at right now," I told him. "It's pretty simple to figure out."

In my short time on this earth, I've found that it's safer to not make any claims about being anything more than you are. It just attracts more trouble, and there are just too many people out there who are lost and looking for something to fill that empty hole in their life. These are the kinds of people who you attract when you claim to be more than you are, of course when they find out that you are just as human as they are, and not at all the great Oz that you let them make you out to be, you're not only left with a group of disillusioned followers, you're also left with a bunch of potential lawsuits.

So, I stay away from it all and I deny that I possess anything more than a talent at second guessing. That doesn't necessarily mean that it all stays away from me, case and point, Howard Lishman. I just picked up the newspaper that he left behind at Starbucks. I don't care for Starbucks myself, but they own all of the tables that crowd the walkway just outside their doors. It's a good place to sit when there aren't any other seats available in the Jamba Juice and Kozo Sushi. Everything that is Howard Lishman is all over this newspaper. His morning routine, his arrogance, his cowardice and his fake affection for his dog that he only brings along as a conversation piece. When this schnauzer dies, he'll just saunter over to the humane society and get another one. What does it all mean? Howard has money, he's got a house and a luxury car, so why has he left his psychic thumbprint of himself on the morning paper?

He's alone. Not lonely, but very much alone.

Before I can get any more information, Howard walks over and reaches out for the paper in my hands.

"I'm sorry," he says. "That's my paper, I forgot it."

"No problem," I say as I hand it over to him. I've already read his next thought, so I save him the trouble. "Before you accuse me of stealing your newspaper, let me just say that I'm very sorry about you being alone and all by yourself. It confuses me because on one hand, you want the company but on the other hand, you don't. You're set in your ways and you don't want someone to come into your life and start making changes because you don't want change, but at the same time you don't wanna die alone."

He stands there with his mouth open, that's the general reaction. I hand him his newspaper and I get up to leave.

"It's one or the other Howard," I tell him as I give him a pat on the shoulder. "By the way, your dog is mad loyal to you no matter what you do to him, he keeps hoping that you'll change one day."

I leave him dumbfounded enough that he won't follow me to my car, which of course buys me time to hop into my vehicle and drive away. Whew, another close call.




Jan 4, 2017

"Charles Redfern"

 The gentleman who called for our services had just become the new owner of a historical mansion in Nu'uanu. It sat on seventeen acres of land and was built in the Tudor architectural style which made it appear as some kind of anomaly among the other southern plantation houses on the block. His name was Charles Redfern, and within less than a month, he began to experience apparitions floating through the master bedroom and the guest house. He claimed to have witnessed flaming orbs bobbing through the back property one afternoon, but the clincher came when he took his dinner in the downstairs living room and witnessed an entire tableau of people suddenly appear out of thin air. They stood frozen for a second and then went on about their business, talking amongst one another, laughing as if they had not a care in the world, and then suddenly leaving the living room to gather outside. Their specters huddled closely and gazed up into the dark heavens as if they were witnessing some kind of miracle,

"That's when the whole group disappeared, just like they were never there," Charles said.

"I see, did you hear the conversations or anything they might have said?" I asked.

"No," Charles replied. "It was all muted silence, they carried on as if I were never there."

"Like the party went on with, or without you?" I asked.

"Exactly," Charles confirmed.

"Mr. Redfern, how would you like us to help you?" Being a wealthy man, it was obvious to me that Charles Redfern didn't want to lose the ten million dollars he'd just forked over for his historical home and so I assumed that he wanted the issue resolved in anyway possible. I was wrong.

"Well, if there are any more of these ghosts or spirits on the property, I'd like you and your people to draw more of them out, as many as you can in fact. Encourage them to manifest as much as possible, I'll pay you well for your services of course." He said.

I didn't crack and I didn't ask the obvious question, instead, I saw his plan.

"I get it, it's an old historical mansion and you just found out that it's got ghosts, a lot of 'em. You create a website, you cater to the travel desks in Waikiki, tour buses coming through here all the time. It's a gold mine, am I right?" I asked.

"Right on the money," Charles confirmed.

"The only thing is that you're a witness to these activities, but you have no control as to when they appear and disappear. You feel like they're working independently but you'd like them to appear on a regular schedule?" I knew we were on the same page at this point.

"My god," He breathed a sigh of relief. "You understand me."

"You're going to have a problem with the neighborhood board and zoning and all that," I told him, thinking that it would scare him off.

"Let me worry about that," He reassured me. "There's always some politician that needs to pay off a college tuition or a mortgage of some sort."

"Mr. Redfern, I can't help you. We're a psychic investigative team, we're not conjurers or sorcerers. The few hauntings you've witnessed thus far have been relegated to the immediate property. There's much more there than you realize. Someone or anyone for that matter who might have the ability to open that door and invite everything that is on your property to manifest on a daily basis will only invite disaster. Please take my advice, in the beginning, all of this ghost stuff appears to be thrilling and fascinating but there's much more to it than just hauntings of houses and the like. You are still dealing with real people who are very much filled with human emotions and concerns. The only difference is that they are no longer of the flesh. Mind you, I'm only talking about what's happening within the immediate vicinity of your property. The larger part of your property is inhabited by kupua (shapeshifters), kupu'eu (mysterious and mischevious beings,) and night marchers, and that's just the preliminaries. The main event is one that you want to avoid completely and this is why I am strongly discouraging you to abandon your plan." That was a mouthful but it had to be said.

"I'm taking notes here, so what was that last bit of information?" He asked. It was obvious that my warnings went completely in one ear and out the other. I was worried about his sanity and he only saw mad dollar signs. There was not one modicum of concern for his own well-being or for the cultural and spiritual integrity of his property or his own life.

"You'll have to find that out on your own Mr. Redfern like I said, I can't help you." With that, I turned my phone off and went back to work.

A month later, Charles Redfern's body was found ten feet away from his pool house. One leg lay submerged in an old artesian well that no one knew was on the property. Around the ankle of the one leg were deep dark bruised finger marks. His lips were dark and swollen and his eyes were covered in a clear kind of membrane-like substance. On his skin was a similar kind of substance, except that it was more slime like. The cause of death was undetermined even though it appeared that he'd drowned internally. A month later, the property was back on the market for sale at a cool three million, it's been a year now and nobody has bitten so far. Now and then, we drive by the property and stand outside the gate to take a look. The Nu'uanu wind is soothing and the place is quiet and serene, just the way it should be. Personally, I think it should stay that way for as long as possible.

....

The bit of information that I refused to share with Charles Redfern was something that I feared would be his own undoing if I'd told him. It's for that same reason that I told him that he'd have to find that information on his own, I didn't want to be responsible if anything did happen. Apparently, it did. A few months before Charles Redfern purchased the mansion on Nu'uaanu, a realtor friend of ours took my wife and myself on a tour of the property. It was magnificent and we could only imagine what it might have been like in its heyday. It goes without saying of course, that my wife and immediately sensed spirits on the property but they were residual and harmless. The active ones were the ones that roamed the property as I had previously mentioned. However, the most powerful entity was the one that lived in the old artesian well just ten feet away from the pool house.

A Mo'o Wahine.

It is my belief that Charles did do some research and found out, or perhaps he didn't and he came upon the Mo'o Wahine purely by accident. Either way, it cost him his life.







Jan 3, 2017

"Kayfabe"


The tie-up was nice and light, feather light. This was going to be a good match, give and take and some great moments to feed the face by selling his high spots. Naturally, when the time came to for me to get some heat, he’d put my spots over too. Nights like that were easy because the both of us got to go home on a good note and of course, the money helped put food on the table. Some nights, someone on the card can’t make the show for whatever reason, so the lineup changes and everyone has to improvise. Of course, the house is going to be pissed because the fliers and posters and TV spots have been promoting the very person who it turns out, is not going to appear in the main event. On nights like that, you end up with a rookie who’s as green as puke. His tie up is stiff and he’s unmovable, and as a result, you have to feed the cherry a cue under your breath,

“Loosen up kid, relax.”

The tighter someone is in the collar and elbow tie-up, the more likely it is that one of you is going to get hurt. Usually, it ends up being the veteran, which in this case could end up being me. The upside to being the veteran is I get to call the match. The kid is the local face with a good look and a beautiful body. He’s a crowd favorite so I have to put him over. My job as a heel is to make him look good, but not to kill him in the process. We both have to come off strong and it’s gotta be a close call, so we agree to a technical match where we both get to exhibit our mat skills but for myself as the heel, once the kid starts getting the heat over on me, I’ll get some cheap heat by letting the crowd see me poke the kid in the eye or kick him in the nuts. The referee of course, never sees it.

The match goes off without a hitch and it turns out that the kid is a good listener and does what he’s told. The build up to the finish makes the both of us look strong and it’s really a close call, but in the end, he gets me in a full nelson suplex and gets the three count. The crowd goes crazy and everybody goes home happy. When I get to the back, the kid thanks me profusely. The old man (the promoter) is standing there and he also thanks me for doing the job and then hands me my take for the night. Turns out the kid is the old man’s son, the kid himself is so appreciative that he practically begs the old man for a program with me where he can return the favor. The old man calls the booker over and we set up a time for a sit-down, maybe next week.

No injuries tonight, just sore muscles and aches and pains catching up after years of bumps and falls.

….

The old man’s favorite place was, “House Saimin” right off of King Street next to Diner’s. He was nostalgic that way, he liked those hole in the wall locations because it took him back to the old days when he was coming up in the business. The shop opened at eleven in the morning and we were the first ones there. We all ordered the extra large bowl of saimin and we couldn’t help but love the broth and the slices of char siu pork on the noodles. We were all big hefty boys so the old man ordered everyone two bowls each. A ton of teryaki meat sticks appeared on a large plate and we all moaned when we saw it set in the middle of the table.

“After this, we’ll go back to the office and have our meeting. For now, just eat and enjoy yourselves.” The old man said.

No one disagreed.

An hour later, we were sitting in the old man’s upstairs office in the Kalihi Kai warehouse district. Downstairs was the training center with two fourteen by fourteen wrestling rings, free weights and weight machines, elliptical stair climbers, and Muay Thai heavy bags. It was still early in the day and no one would show up until later that afternoon. In the meantime, the old man took a seat behind his desk while we all pulled our fold out chairs closer to where he sat. The kid sat close to his father while the booker seated himself on the opposite side of the old man. I sat directly in front of his desk and it almost looked as if I was the one being interrogated.

“I got a program in mind,” the old man began. “If we do it right and stick to the angle, we’ll be able to put asses in those seats and make money together.”

“What’s the angle?” I asked.

“It’s like this,” the old man put his hands out in front of him with both palms up. “The two of you had a helluva match and you put my son over real good, you made him look like a million dollars and you didn’t come out of it looking bad either. So, we’re gonna book a program where the two of you have a series of matches, technical matches where the two of really push each other to the limit. Each match gets better and better and each time it’s a really close call, you win three,” He says as he points to his son, “then you win three and the two of you have an even record between you. Right now, my son is involved in an angle with the current tag team champions, they’re heels. He’s done a few run ins where he’s saved a few other face tag teams who got the beat down from the champs after they’ve already won the match, you follow me so far?” He asked.

“I gotcha,” I replied.

“When the two of you have your last and final match, the finish is that the kid is gonna get you in his signature move for the pin, but before the referee can hit the three count, the tag team champions are gonna run in, toss you out of the ring and then beat the shit out of the kid for interfering in their matches. While you’re outside, you shake it off, you slide back into the ring and you wait a moment. You let the crowd see you trying to decide what you’re gonna do? The psychology is that your body language has to make the house think that you’re gonna help those two shit heads stomp a hole in the kids head. I want the crowd on their feet, I want them stomping their feet and foaming at the mouth. At the very last second, you get in there and save the kids ass. You clean house, you get the heat on them but their sneaky no good son-of-a-bitch manager jumps on the ring apron and hits you from behind with a chair or something. You go down, and they all start to stomp on you and then the kid gets up and gets heat on them and then you both clean house and beat the shit out of them. They’re good guys to work with this tag team, so don’t worry, they’ll know how to feed the two of you, so you’ll get put over real good. The two of you are gonna tag together and you’re gonna go back and forth with the tag team champions. The angel with the champions is that they’re a couple of sneaky chicken shit fuckers. Most of your matches with these guys will involve them running away or trying to avoid having matches with you at all. At every house show, we’ll have security, force them to the ring. We’ll threaten to strip them of the titles and all that shit, the crowd will eat it up. We wanna milk this for as long as we can so that when they finally drop the straps to the two of you, it will be a sold out event. I want people clamoring for their blood, I want an overload of security escorting them to the ring so it gives the illusion that they need protection from your fans. What do you think?” The old man asked.

“What do you think?” The kid asked.

“I couldn’t have booked something like this if my life depended on it. It’s pure genius!” The booker gushed.

I didn’t answer right away, I gave it some thought for a second before I finally said what I had to say.

“Who’s your champion right now?” I asked the old man.

“Primo Medeiros,” He answered. “He brings in the Portuguese crowd, it’s good for business because they’re his marks, and they get the rest of the house going. What are you thinking?”

“Your son is a good hand in the ring and he’s naturally talented like he was born to be in this business. He’s a great looking kid and he’s built like a brick shit house, but even though you’re his father and the promoter, he doesn’t take advantage of your status. In fact, he works three times harder than anyone else in this territory and that’s the way you should start pushing him come Monday. Let the people into his life, let them see how hard he works and how humble he is. They could interview you too and you can be the one to talk about how hard the kid works and how he doesn’t take advantage of your position. People will love him for that.” I said.

“Alright,” The old man replied. “Start putting salt on the steak.”

“So, we go with your angle where in the last match of our series the tag champions do a run in and the kid and I clean house. The next month, book me in a singles match against one of the tag champs. Maybe the finish is that I’m about to go over again and the other partner and their manager jump me and the beat the shit out me real bad. Nobody comes out for the save for five minutes, you know? All the guys that should come out, that you expect to come out, don’t. After five minutes, the only person that comes out is the kid. He cleans house by himself and saves my ass and I’m beaten to a bloody pulp. I’m laying in the ring, maybe the EMT have to come out with a gurney, maybe I start convulsing and foaming at the mouth? The crowd is on their feet and there’s silence. The psychology is that nobody knows if I’m going to die or not. The next time you see me, I come limping to the ring, maybe I have a brace around my neck and I get on the mic and talk about how messed up my life was and how much of a jerk I’ve been up until I got beat like a dog. Then I say that while I was bandaged up in the hospital that I had a realization that I only had one true friend right? That friend turns out to be the kid, I ask him to come to the ring, I make this heartfelt apology and I ask him if he would do me the honor of being my tag team partner against the champs. Of course, he accepts and later on we have the match.” I tell the old man.

“I see where this is going but I want to hear it from you,” the old man points at me.

“We have the match, I start off and the kid and I got hot tags going back and forth. We’re doing all of our high spots and we're getting over, the crowd is popping. I get the hot tag I’m in, I do a couple spots and I miss a clothesline and boom, they got me. They cut off the ring and keep me in their corner and beat the hell out of me, I’ve only got enough juice to kick out of their pins no matter what finisher they throw out. More than once it seems like I got the tag from the kid but the champs cut me off or they hit the kid with a cheap shot. Finally, when everyone thinks they got me cornered, I crawl between their legs, do a roll up and tag the kid in. He’s hot, the crowd becomes unglued, when he goes to tag me in for a double team move, instead of helping him out, I turn the kid around and kick him in the nuts.” I explain.

“The ultimate screw job that nobody sees coming!” The old man laughed. “It’s a great angle and a great build up.”

“The kid comes back and gets his revenge and I do the job for him, he’ll be in the right place to earn the strap. This angle will push him straight to it, it’s guaranteed money. That’s just my opinion of course.” I said.

“You got the old school mentality,” the old man said as he leaned forward. “I like that.”

It was a great meeting and everybody went away happy. The build up was good and the kid and I had a great series of matches, he was willing to take any move, hold or bump that I had in mind, and of course, I was willing to do the same. We took good care of each other in the ring but at the same time, we pushed one another to be the best that we could be. The story line worked great and the crowd ate it up, especially when it came to me screwing the kid and stabbing him in the back, the people wanted my blood, I actually had to have security bring me to my car after the show. The following month, the old man booked me in a match with his champion, Primo Medeiros. With the aide of my tag team champions cohorts, I went over and won the strap. The month after that, I was booked to drop the strap to the kid, that’s what everyone was waiting for. On the night of the show, it wasn’t just a sold out crowd, it was standing room only.

….

In the back of the house, we were all getting changed and warming up. A couple of guys were off in the corner calling spots before their match. I was on the phone with my daughter, promising her a happy meal toy when I got home after the show. I looked up and saw the old man standing in the door, he waved me over and bid me to follow him. I walked outside and saw him sitting on the hood of his car with his head down. He saw me and urgently waved me over to him, “Go get the clipboard on my front seat and bring it to me.”

The window to his front seat was open and the clipboard was right there. I grabbed it and walked it over to him but he didn’t take it.

“You’re running the show tonight, that’s a list of the card and all the angles. If these guys try to pull some shit, don’t pay ‘um they can go fuck themselves.” He said. “That means you’re the booker too.”

“You gotta go somewhere?” I asked.

“I’ve been through two wars, Korea and Vietnam. I’ve seen a lot of shit that’s fucked me up, but I’m not one of those touchy-feely types you know?” He looked at me and tears were beginning to well up in his eyes. “But this is different, the kid.…my son Derek.……..he was killed in a car accident this afternoon. Some fucking tourist ran him off the road just near the H-3.….you make the announcement okay?”

“Yeah boss, I can do that. I’m sorry...” I didn’t get a chance to finish, the old man cut me off.

“Whatever you say, make it dignified.” With that, the old man got in his car and drove off. I didn’t say anything to anyone when I got to the back, I just explained that the old man had a last minute emergency and that I was running the back tonight. I didn’t want the news of the kid’s death to affect everyone’s performance. The card was going great so far and everyone hit their mark but was I worried that the people were going to kill me once I broke the news to them?  No, although the business was all about Kayfabe and keeping it tight, this moment of reality was going to put the kid over even bigger despite the fact that he was gone.


….

We were at the forty minute mark when the Dee Jay hit my entrance music, “Are You Gonna Go My Way?” and the entire locker room followed me out to the ring. They didn’t know why, but I asked them to, I told them it was important.

The crowd erupted into jeers and boos and name-calling, I, however, didn’t walk out the way I usually did. I didn’t taunt the crowd or hurl insults at them. I kept my head down and stayed somber. I climbed into the ring and immediately took the mic.

“Please, please give me a second. I motioned to the sound booth to bring the volume up so that when I spoke my voice would drown out the screaming for my blood. “Please, this afternoon, a young man by the name of Derek Epson was killed in a car accident when his car was run off the road by a tourist who didn’t know where he was going. I know that you don’t recognize the name Derek Epson, but you do know him by a more familiar name, “The Kid”

I said nothing for a second so that the news would sink in, the cat calls and all the other insults stopped and the house went silent.

“If you didn’t understand me the first time, I’ll say it again. Derek Epson or The Kid as we know him was killed this afternoon in a car accident when a tourist ran him off the road. His father, the man who owns this promotion, Rupert Epson could not be here to give you the news himself, because he had to go to the morgue and identify his son’s body. So he asked me to share this news with all of you,” Now there were shouts of grief and mournful crying. The guys were equally hit with shock and they couldn’t hold back the tears. “The Kid was a great wrestler and I was very much looking forward to this match tonight. Although he and I were constantly at odds, whenever we were in this ring together, he made me earn every win I got. He brought out the best in me and he made me a better wrestler, I’m going to miss him a lot.” At that point, the Dee Jay cued a song that wasn’t a part of the script. It was The Who, “My Generation”

There was a pause for the moment that was mixed in with a bit of confusion, but lo and behold, there was Derek Epson or The Kid walking to the ring with the old man behind him. The house lost their minds and they were hugging Derek and kissing him with tears in their eyes. The screams were deafening as The Kid was very much alive; he slid into the ring and took the mic.

“Simon Hayes, only an underhanded coward would tell people that I was dead in order to weasel your way out of putting that championship title on the line! But surprise, surprise! I’m very much alive and I’m gonna kick your ass!”

While the people were on their feet screaming for The Kid to murder me, I looked over at the old man who gave me a wink and rubbed his fingers together. It was his way of telling me that this swerve was going to make money. The plan to keep me unaware was pure genius, I winked back at the old man and fell into character. For the next forty minutes, the kid and I had the house eating out of our hands. He was over, and he was pure gold, in the end, he got me in his signature suplex move and became the next Champion of the company.

That old bastard was three steps ahead of me after that meeting, this was the angle the whole time and I never saw it coming. I don't think he was expecting me to be so generous with my idea, but with this swerve of his, not only did he put his son over as the top face of his company, he simultaneously put me over as his number one heel.

“That was my way of thanking you for doing the favor,” the old man would tell me later that night.

The business isn’t what it used to be by today’s standards, but jobs done the right way with the right intentions are always repaid tenfold, especially when you have the vision to see the bigger picture.