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Aloha Mannequins

by Claudia D. Zawa

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Cover design by the author.

https://www.facebook.com/ClaudiaDZawa


Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.


"Aloha Mannequins is a funny story of eerie,

inner circles in Hawaii...Great story, great humor!"

-Sterling Knight, www.macabremenace.com


CONTENTS

PART ONE

PART TWO

PART THREE

ABOUT THE AUTHOR




PART ONE


“Eye Nodule”


THE ORCA KILLS THE SHARK by torpedoing into its belly from underneath, causing the shark to blow up. When this Gothic fellow opens his mouth, there is a shark inside. He has four rows of sharp teeth. He rolls his eyes back white. We all lean over the table with hungry eyes. He SNAPS his mouth shut and scares us and leans back, laughing like Santa Claus.

“Hohoho!”

Someone I don’t know laughs with him to be his friend.

“Heehaw!”

The place is hot. Moist. Sticky. Dim. Everyone wears black for some reason, but not in a racist way…at least I hope not. I haven’t seen anyone yet with blond hair. Strange, dream-like music plays—not what I expected in a Goth club (I expected hard-core, industrial, German speed metal. Later, I find out that they DO play it. Just not on “these” nights). Something invisible and thick hangs in the air. Something is going to happen, but when? The suspense is a major thumbs down for me, although I assume these folks get off on it. The place is dirty – although it’s a strange, stylized dirtiness: controlled dirtiness. I try to remember the name of this bleak place: Galaxy or Neutrino or some other sci-fi-ish word.

Everyone looks happy – everyone’s having a good time. I see these people all the time at the mall, loitering outside of Longs Drugs. Mall security is always waving a finger at them, chasing them here and there while holding their jiggling belts. Taki hands me a bottle of something: Looks like a vitamin bottle. It’s small. I unscrew the cap and drink a taste.

Vodka. A vodka and vitamin C shot. It’s good, but one is definitely not enough. He opens his backpack and pulls out 3 more bottles and sets them on the table, almost as if they were trophies. He examines the empty bottle and I can barely make out his eyes behind his vampire-shades. He leans in:

“Did you drink all of this?”

“I thought that was what you wanted me to do.”

He laughs and continues unpacking his goods while bobbing and swaying to the music.

It’s so hot in here. My skin feels sticky. I sit alone on a couch (I hope nothing dead is under these cushions), in a corner that has been painted a thick black: The floor makes a sick, sticky sound when people walk past. That’s the key word for tonight, sticky. There’s a black-light, which means that passing white shoes glow. People in black trench coats and black tights walk about, aimlessly, showing off their threads to onlookers, doing that thing where they look over their shoulder at you and wink. Everyone has a bottle of water. You can’t bring water in a place like this…you must buy water at the front. But you can bring in all the alcohol you want. Huzzah!

A shortie and some tall white boy sit next to me. I don’t know how, but I start chatting with this girl. It’s very unlike me, due to my crippling shyness, so I assume those vitamin shots are kicking in. She’s not beautiful, by my ignorant standards, but she looks nice, and she is very friendly. She starts talking about her folks in Russia and the music in the current, local Goth scene. She asks where I’m from and I lie to seem more interesting.

“Russia. I’m from Russia,” I scream over the loud music.

After awhile, the man with the shark teeth arrives again and seems to be passing me odd glances. He’s thin, tall, and has long, blue-streaked hair. Lucky for me, he finds a friend to speak to before throwing his attention at me. I mean, what the hell are we going to talk about? The fluid dynamics of sharks? I’m a 1st time visitor to this small, black place with the yellow painted nuclear power sign out front. I don’t know the language. Yet.

I can feel the dizziness coming on hard, and I start getting the dread. I underestimated those deceitful shots. Someone walks by in the distance. I hope it’s not who I think it is.

My memory rewinds: It was.

Great.

It was her, and I immediately feel depressed, and ugly, and insignificant.



One Hour Earlier...


EXT. DOLE MOVIE THEATER – NIGHT


With friends. Just finished seeing Cowboy Bebop. Great film – in parts, anyway. See ex-girlfriend talking with movie promoter. Feelings of depression, uselessness, suicide, guilt, and major ugliness. Taki seems to notice, tries to make me feel better by complimenting my horrendous, shorty-short haircut.

“You need to go out and find someone to fuck.”

And I say out of pre-panic attack: “Yessm.”


We pick up his two female friends – dressed in black dresses, of course (I feel out of place and uncool with my glasses and blue jeans) – in downtown at something like 11pm, and speed away into the night. I don’t speak to them. Or is it, they don’t speak to me.

Stop near Hawaii Culture Center and park on some dark, side road. The night streets are busy. People jaywalk. I’m excited. This is crazy goodness. I can’t wait to enter another universe. Maybe even a place where people understand me and share my mental poop.

Taki crosses the busy street towing two large, plastic Safeway bags of liquor as a trolley honks. The driver shakes a mean fist, tourists snapping bright pictures. The club’s entrance fee is a tad high for our wallets and there’s some discussion about my lack of cash. I’m too out of my mind to really be following any of this: Mind plagued by noisy images from the annoying past. It turns out that everything’s going to be okay somehow and we move ahead.

Taki says with a smile – smiling to maybe soften the blow:

“Hey look who it is...”

I see who it is and my stomach punches me. I should’ve known. Taki and her have similar tastes in clubs. Why didn’t I connect the dots earlier! If he’s going to a club tonight, surely would she.

I back up.

“Er...”

“Aw come on, man, don’t be like that.”

“I’ll just wait for you guys back at the car.”

“No, no, you’re going to come inside and hang loose. And then we’re going to find you some hot chick and get laid in spades.”

“I didn’t realize it was that easy! But no.”

All I hear as he yaps is her voice, saying over and over again, You’re a loser; call me when you grow up.

I imagine the sweet taste of alcohol and say: “Fine. Good.” I’ll be fine so long as I stay low and hide in some dark corner, on a suspiciously soft couch.



One Hour Later...


This couch is getting soft; I think I’m sinking into it. I take hold of the glass vodka bottle with my wee, skinny hands and take a swig. I remember then why I hate vodka. The stuff went down with a fight – it wanted to come back up, the furnishings of my stomach too poor for its liking. To be nice, I offer some to a girl that walks by. I don’t say anything of course, I just hold up the bottle and smile. She smiles back through those black-painted lips and says, “No thank you, kind sir. Vodka gives me the toots.” I nod and she walks off, vanishing into the dark.

I’m determined to hold the alcohol down. I hate to waste anything. I might as well be vomiting Taki’s money: Then what kind of a friend would I be?

I lean back.

That couple is still here, chatting with Sharkman. A screwball kid with a sledgehammer walks up to the table, which is actually a giant, upturned wooden spool for industrial wire. He pounds his sledgehammer on the table, rattling empty beer bottles. It’s obvious to me that he does this for attention. His smile looks mean. No one cares, so he does it again, smiling brightly. Someone says Hello and the kid moves on.

Taki calls me and we head outside.


It’s noisy outside. Large groups of tall, white people lean against their cars, giving me the stiff one-eye as we walk past. The music inside the club tries desperately to free itself through the walls, sounding muffled. A lot of people have on contact lenses: Red ones, white ones, sometimes both. The glowing eyes are interesting. I feel so out of place. I keep my eyes down as we walk.

What’s a tiny white boy with glasses doing in a place where everyone wants to be a vampire? Besides, I like mummies better.

Taki walks me into an alleyway and we kneel between the front of a car and a length of dangling chain that’s blocking off a parking lot. A swinging sign on the chain reads DO NOT ENTER.

Taki reaches into his waist-cut, Matrix-looking, pleather jacket and pulls out what looks to me like a large, glass kazoo filled with The Buddha, aka marijuana. I’m shocked. That’s a lot of green. The whole thing is filled. More of who I assume to be Taki’s friends pop up…so many eventually, that there’s enough of us to make a cute circle. Odd how no one even makes on effort to introduce themselves. There’s something unsettling about that – there’s something unsettling about Taki’s buddies in particular: As if they just don’t give a damn about anything, even if they got run over by a truck-load of Hawaiian pigs.

All they want to do is smoke The Thigh and be lost in their little, tripped-out world.

There are some girls with us. All not very attractive. They seem rather dirty and lost. I like what they’re wearing, though: Gothic, black dresses…I’m reminded of Interview with the Vampire for some reason. I wonder if these people work at Taco Bell or Dip N’ Dots.

Everyone seems to be dazed out of their minds, and we haven’t even tongued the dung yet, if you catch my drift. Taki’s young, male friend (a brown-skinned chubby, showing off an Iron Maiden shirt) puts the glass tube to his lips and sticks a lighter down the grassy hole. He inhales, eyes growing huge, and the grass filaments light up like electrical wires. He passes it down the line – the girls try – another tries (are these people magically materializing?) – a heavy girl tries – and then it comes to me. I don’t want to look like a goof, so I try (other tries have ended in pity and shame. It’s no fun when the people you’re doing it with are trying their damndest NOT to feel the effects). I do the motions right, but for some reason Taki’s friend says that I’m doing it wrong, and helps me. I’m grateful, but boy do I feel the eyes on me. I assume that they all think I’m some kind of Narc.

One of the girls says:

“Oh Taki, you look just like Jesus!”

Taki, ever the cool one, cleaning the pipe, just mumbles something to the effect of: “Womp…womp,” smiling.

But the girl isn’t done yet:

“I’d like to kiss Taki on the mouth and suck his chicken.”

Everyone laughs. It was a joke, of course, just for attention. I’m disgusted. I look around to see everyone a bit more talkative and weird. At this point, abortions are a joke. Time escapes me. My limbs have no feeling. I start to wonder what would happen if a cop caught us. These yahoos probably wouldn’t even care.

I’m a bit envious. I’m depressed again and feel so out of freakin’ place. Who are these people? Where am I? I want something from Jack in the Box; have to remember to ask Taki to stop there after we leave this curious place.

These people are laughing. Is it at me? Would I even be surprised? Calm down. Taki is just saying something funny about old times with old friends...I laugh to be nice...mouth numb…my giggle tumbles out with a 1-second delay...arms feel like their spinning when they’re not…meat tingling just below the skin...I’m afraid that someone who works in one of the nearby stores will see us and call the fuzz...Come on, Taki, get your jollies and let’s go back inside before the cops come! Did I only think that, or did I say it?...They laugh – not looking at me, so maybe I just thought it. Taki stands, so I stand, confident. My head spins. I can tell that Taki is not immune to these hideous effects as well. It’s comforting to know. We walk past tall white guys – beefy thick arms able to break my neck if they wanted to. I see a goofy, human male, wearing spiked wristbands and a spiked neckband with a spiked doggie leash and spiked thighbands and anklebands, showing off his butterfly knife-dancing skills in front of a group of redheaded girls in black corsets. They seem to be ignoring him as they kiss each other in a bored way. All except for one disturbing girl: A large girl with a blue Mohawk, wearing a shiny, black trench coat and Goth slippers. She stares at him like a hungry wolf. Her hands are in her dress, moving around in circles.

I try with all I’ve got to walk straight. I feel like an idiot. I arrive.

INSIDE.

I’m sitting down on the couch...alone. When did I get here on this couch? Doesn’t matter. It feels good. I feel sick. My head spins spins spins. Makes my belly turn turn turn. Head, stop spinning! Stop spinning! You’re embarrassing me.

I close my eyes for a second. Try to control this mental, washing machine. Get a grip, man. Righty-O. I can do this. I’m strong. I’m a Virgo.

I open them:

What just happened?

There are at least five people on the couch now. Did I fall asleep? Can’t be. I’d know, right?? I look around in a frown, confused: Make eye contact with a young, black man. He’s thin and nicely dressed. Seems harmless enough. Wait, is he saying something to me? I lean in through the thick music and open my mouth:

“Huh?”

“Srjpir-0hoj3efkan.”

“WHAT.”

“Toot toot dingus frandj.”

“Oh.”

“I’m from the base,” he says, smiling. Pearl Harbor. Military.”

“Oh! Just relaxing, huh?”

He nods, happy that I understand him. I lean back and shut my eyes again because I’m dead inside: Last thing I see is this nice soldier boy, leaning forward with his hands in prayer between his knees, looking down and about to go into some surely, dreary life story. I want to hear it, just so I don’t hurt his feelings. But…

My eyes are heavy.

They close.

I open them.

I’M ALONE.

Did everyone just vanish suddenly? The music is different, too. Softer. Still moody, not surprisingly. Sad sad Emo music. Poo-poos my soul. I realize now that all this “sad” music is giving me the mopes. People in the murky distance, who look like Gothic Nuns, give me final glances as they float down mysterious hallways like toys on wheels. I look to my left. Good Lord! Someone’s sitting next to me, leaning on me even: Sweaty scalp on my shoulder. It’s the chubby girl from outside, one of them anyway: Taki’s pale that smoked with us. I’m too dizzy to try and wake her up. I need to use the bathroom. My bladder is mean. My back feels like my front. My eyes are biting me. My legs are kicking themselves. My neck feels bloated. Things in my stomach want to fly out from my mouth. Damn. I can’t do it. I can’t hold down my own cherries.

This is pathetic.

I close my eyes – maybe the world will change again and cease tumbling over itself and she’ll be off of me.

2 seconds later (or at least what consciously feels like 2 seconds later) I open my face – eyeballs rolling while I groan in belly pains. It feels like I’m vomiting out my eyes. The girl next to me is awake. She’s moving around, doing something. Objects before my eyes are soft, unfocused, floating in the air, spinning in place.

“Ooooooooh…” I hear, very close to my bad ear.

I’m too ill to look at her, but I can see her in the corner of my right eye. She’s saying something again. Her arm is around mine, holding on for grim life. I see an image: We must look like an odd pair, like something out of Jerry Springer. A chubby girl and a thin fool, arm in arm, sitting alone on a couch, both gone totally sideways and inside out. She starts kissing my throat. I’m only slightly shocked.

And then I see something that makes my heart faint and the hairs on my arms flail about.

“Blood in stool,” I say, cursing my luck.

I see my ex walking toward me. I can’t keep my eyes open. It’s as if she’s popping in and out of reality as she grins toward us. She says something to the girl around my arm, calls her by name. Not good, I think to myself. I don’t know why it isn’t good, but it isn’t. Jesus, does she know everybody here?

Ex to me: (brightly) “Hi!”

Me: (trying as hard as I can to sound normal) “…ello.”

Ex: “It’s really good to see you here!”

Why don’t I believe her? Sounds sarcastic.

Me: “Thanks! I saw you at the movies earlier.”

Did I say that right? I hope I didn’t stutter like I always do.

She says more, but unfortunately, it all skates over my glazed eyes. I’m trying really hard to remember her face, but even that takes too much concentration. My heart is a skydiver, yanking on the ripcord wildly, shrieking, “Where’s the parachute!?”

She leans in, smiling in a wrong way.

Ex: “It’s-really-good-to-see-you-here.”

It’s like she’s talking to a child – came near to sounding like a laugh. She walks away, probably went home to mentally vomit the pile of drunkenness known as Me.

Is she really glade to see me?

I hope so.

Heart: “Of course not, idiot.”

Girl: “I don’t think she likes me.”

And then she runs her tongue into my ear.

I barely notice, thinking of other images. The past seems so inviting.

I know – God I know – that I’ll remember all of this in the morning, and it will throw the next 5 months into the old, emotional meat grinder.

I lean back wanting Taki to take me home, and close my eyes again as the tongue in my ear vibrates.



2 Years Ago...


I’m with my X and her gay pal at a Goth club called The Dungeon, on Halloween, near airport. There’s a long line. As you can imagine, this is an important day, and we’ve got backstage passes (later we’ll learn they were useless). She gives the fat man at desk our tickets. They seem to know each other. He studies my ID and thinks nothing of me: “Looks like anyone else.”

Why even say such a thing?

Asshole.

I feel ugly but keep up the façade. At least act like it doesn’t bother you. You’ve been acting on public access for over 5 years, acting shouldn’t be a problem. My friends try to cheer me up by saying: “You’re so handsome, you’re so pretty.”

Pretty?? Is that supposed to make me feel better? I laugh, and we head inside. A naked man wearing a tight leather mask with a zipper mouth is on a wooden, mini stage, tied to cross. A woman tugs on his penis with pliers while hunched over and scanning the area, grinning. I expected myself to be thoroughly appalled, but instead I am moderately interested. It helps that the “slave” seems to be enjoying this odd “act”. We move to the rear of this wondrous place.

There are bottles of Zima everywhere: On vibrating speakers, the ground, in the bathroom, the tables. We just stand in the back, outside under the moonglow, looking in. My girlfriend gyrates to the music. I touch her back and she feels it...smiles...and I feel so lucky. I feel very very very lucky and normal. We go back in and she scolds me for drinking a stranger’s discarded Zima bottle. I’m told that I could get hepatitis or something. They’d know, surely, both being in the medical field.

I’m embarrassed at the scolding. That’s what I get for trying to look cool. Like, “Hey, look at me drinking some stranger’s bottle of beer! I don’t care, since I’m so hard!”

Come to think of it, that was pretty stupid of me.

We stick toilet paper in our ears to soften the pounding bass. Now we’re dancing. I feel like an idiot. No one seems to care though, and soon enough I’m too drunk to care as well. The female DJ is topless. My girlfriend’s homosexual friend is dancing shirtless. My girlfriend grazes her fingers across his sweaty, muscular chest. I do the same…WHAT AM I DOING?? Get a grip, man. Don’t start going sideways on me now.

I’m just jealous that she touched his muscles (at least I hope I’m just jealous). I’m such a child.

Later, we’re by a staircase that’s painted black. She speaks with an older, white fellow, looks like he has money and a decent job, but ugly-ass hair. I grow jealous. Next to him, I look like a 16-year-old with far away dreams.

I don’t want her talking with him. I KNOW what he’s thinking. I know what he’s thinking! I wanna kill him! Did mention she was wearing a black leotard?

Uhg.

Not thirty minutes later, we’re in her SUV with her homosexual pal at the wheel. I have no idea where we’re going. We end up in a place in Waikiki called Fusions. I only see men in this place. There’s happy, techno music and many platforms below us to dance on. There are a lot of tiny, happy lights. Is that a disco ball? Nice people here. One fellow buys me a Cosmopolitan, and it’s good.

My girl/woman stands over a railing, looking down on barren platforms that move in disco lights. Must be a slow night. I stand next to her, dazzled by all these lights. She’s pretty…looks a little saddened by some mysterious problem. I touch the small of her back and she says, quite suddenly: “No, I don’t like that. Not here.”

I catch my breath.

Yeesh. I was just trying to be romantic.

I retreat to the bar and hope some fool buys me another drink.

Doesn’t happen.

That night we argue in the kitchen: Trust me, love me, free me, have make-up sex with me.

I’m growing increasingly afraid of her. Does she love me, really? One day I’m going to get hurt in a bad way, I can feel it.

Watch out.



2 Years Later...


I open my eyes: The girl has vanished – thank the Lord. Taki is here with his friends (their faces are blurred – as if I’m looking through some cheap JVC camera). I stand and make my way into the bathroom, eyes low to the crazy ground. CORNER OF EYES: The dance floor is empty, save for lone dancer male. Is he dancing, or having a vertical seizure?

BATHROOM.

Man pisses...I make my way to the urinal...so close now...BURST OF NAUSEA RUNS UP MY BELLY AND INTO MY BRAIN.

Uh oh. I’m falling.

Darkness.

Voices, distant.

“Hey hey glasses wake up water....”



***


Smell something familiar, stimulates memory…something from the past comes into my mind, something I read: Cat's urine glows under a black-light.

Freezing wet tiles on my cheek.

Stink of urine around sides of my mouth.

I’m lifted up.

I hope my black shirt’s not wet. It is, all around the right side. It better be water. My face is in the sink, hands helping me. Water blasting: Cold...splashed onto my face.

“Are you okay?”

For some reason, I mumble:

“…xoowh…my name is Bomb…qiff-93-yaw…my name is Rrrrr…daoc-super 3-a….” (or did I just think it?)

There’s a popping sound in my ears – feet dancing on bubble wrap.

Sledgehammer punk is at my side, splashing water continuously into my face and repeating: “Are you sure, are you sure, are you sure?” I think: Please Lord, pound him with the Fist of God. Someone hands me my glasses (I don’t put them on) and I hear fats say, “Sorry, dude, but you gotts ta go.” He sounds genuinely concerned. I head outside...and…they’re following me, aren’t they? (no) And judging me, and eyeing me out, giving me the stiff one-eye: Staring at meeeeeeee!!!! (no, no one’s following you)

Where’s Taki? Keep walking...don’t make eye contact with anyone. A few years from now, no one will remember this.

Really?

No.

Fireworks go off over my shoulder, and I’m shook-up for a good 3 seconds. Where’s the fuckin car? Taki’s car? I don’t see it. What time is it? Don’t wait for him, boy. Take the bus.

I’m a good length away from the club. Good. I sit at the bus stop and get up abruptly and vomit on a fence. I’m impressed by the volume of my regurgitation. I feel sooo much better. I smile at myself, and nod my head in approval. I hope passing cars don’t honk at me and laugh. I’m at the wrong bus stop. I cross the street to the other one, and lay back and close my eyes. My head isn’t spinning anymore. Think back on bathroom: Feelings of anger. I know that everything happens for a reason. This is no exception. All proper emotions...much to learn from this. And what did I learn? Trust your gut. I shouldn’t have gone out after that movie: I should’ve gone home, home, home. I’m really angry with that one guy. I hate feeling this way. What kind of human being feels so much anger toward a fellow human? A bad one. I’m bad. I’m bad and ugly and disgusting and disgusted at myself and so very skinny that my mum makes fun of me and looks at me in repulsion many times when I walk past her while she watches the Filipino channel. My eye hurts. Is there a pebble inside?? It really hurts. I cry, which is the body’s natural way of washing out unwanted articles.

There must be some kind of nodule under my eyelid. I bet it’s because of that damn weed. I should check my medical dictionary when I get home.

My bus arrives. I go in and lean against a window, covering tears of extreme PAIN due to my shit eye. Must be around 4am, since buses don’t start up ‘til around this time. I take the long walk home and lay in bed, praying that my eye will feel better in the morning.



“Broken Surfboards & Ugly Rent”


HOLLYWOOD HAS FED you a major lie. Hawaii has fed you a major lie. We don’t all surf. We don’t all enjoy wearing slippers. We don’t all live in the North Shore. I was born & raised here and I’ve never even BEEN to that side of the island.

What many humans across the globe don’t know is that Honolulu, the heart of Oahu, is a city with a taste for the modern and the sophisticated and the glam.

I wouldn’t be surprised if many still think we have goddamn volcanoes everywhere that go off in a panic every 5 seconds.

People are ignorant. They’re told what to expect of us and they don’t ask questions for some disturbing reason. It’s because they want to believe the fantasy, I’m sure. Believe in The Fake Hawaii. Yay.

And the majority of Hawaii is happy with it, seeing how we feed off the tourists. So nothing changes. They’re happy with how things are. Just fine and dandy. Because it’s what humans all over the wonderful world want, right? They want to believe this dribble. They see the postcards, the commercials of women dancing in grass skirts. They want to come to a paradise that’s away from the computers and the automo-biles and the “Interweb” and every fancy doodad and nasty, dagnabbit contraption. Like automatic doors.

This is why the typical tourist visits here, wearing irritating-to-see, rattan hats and unflattering shorts. But what they see are kids dressed as gangsters and old people wearing Gucci and little girls carrying Toki Doki bags. “Yeesh,” they think, unbuttoning their Hawaiian shirt. “Why does it feel like I never left home?”

Oahu has always been modern…up with the times.

There are plans for a monorail.

Rent is skyrocketing up the ying-yang.

The bus has jacked up the fare for adults from $1 to $2, and complain about how their jobs are more “dangerous” than cops'. Very good. I’ve yet to see a bus driver stop a speeding bullet with a dive. Driving a bus more dangerous than being a cop?

The island is changing.

I look around today and see five construction cranes all huddled together. More condos. More people. More cars. Possible monorail (which won’t solve the traffic problem…won’t take the CARS off the roads).

Hollywood and Hollywood Hawaii can’t live the lie for very much longer. Soon the world will see Oahu as it really is: A mini-version of Cali. Or, and this is just my wish, a mini-version of Japan. God, I love that place.

For now, outsiders will see Oahu like they see Rednecks. In any case, if one still desires for the good ol’ days…there’s always Maui.

For now.



“Shite Darts”


I WAKE UP. It’s 3 in the evening. I don’t work today at the coffee company. Good. My eye still hurts, but it’s getting better. I check my caller ID. Taki didn’t call. Might as well. I wouldn’t call me either.

There’s a mysterious number on the caller ID. Uh oh. Did I give my number out last night? Hope not. Sheesh. If YES, then I hope it was to someone whose ying yang hasn’t gone topsy turvy.

Whoever this strange caller is, called 25 times. Warren and I take the #1 bus to Honolulu Community College. During lunch I wait for him outside the library.

I’m not sure, but I think the chubby girl from last night walks past, dressed in black. Should I say hi? She did stick her tongue in my ear.

Naw.

Doubt she even remembers me. We make eye contact. Then she looks away, not seeing anything of interest. I suddenly feel pathetic. Did I take my St. John’s Wort this morning for my Social Anxiety Disorder? Think so. To feel better, I remind myself that I have friends.

I wanna go back to that dingy Goth club. Not sure why. Guess it seems like a haunted house: I might find something exciting.

Besides, I might find something interesting on the ground, like a used condom or a dead crab or nasty panties or a troll or maybe even forgotten weed. If I did, I’d smoke it alone in my room: In a controlled environment, haha.

I’d be safe, exploring the club during the day.

There’ll be no one there.

They only use the place every once in a good while (I think every other Friday, or something like that).

Hmm…where’s Warren?

Sure is taking a long time. Maybe he’s making friends with that graphic design teacher, the one we call Mr. Rogers. I hope he didn’t get in the middle of a fight with his goofy school chums: A tall black guy and a Japanese husky guy. I don’t know why they can’t just get along. How hard is it to just chill out? Last time our Japanese pal got so mad at our black photographer friend that he punched a wall…came back the next day with a cast and everything. Pity, the things children do.

I check my watch, which I keep in my bag and never wear because it just hangs off my thin wrist, embarrassed of me. Where is he? Maybe class dragged on a bit.

Better check if he’s okay. Besides, I might walk past an attractive schoolgirl.

So I walk to the design building to greet him, and as I do so, I feel eyes on me. And I start to get the Fever: Are those girls, sitting on that bench, looking at me? They laugh. Are they laughing at ME now? Grr… I don’t know!

Silence, brain, silence.

Brain: Ok, ok, can I at least smoke a cigarette later?

Me: “That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.”

A janitor, riding a golf cart full of trash cans, stops suddenly and all the trash cans go flying out. The girls scream in a laughing way and scurry off, just watching and whispering as the smiling janitor cleans his filth.

I look away and take a step…and walk into a wall. Is someone crying? It’s the chubby girl from the other night (or this morning). She says she remembers me. I ask if she’s okay. She goes into a long story of how her mum scolded her when she got home. When she jumped in the shower, she noticed there were hickies all over her left arm – from the shoulder down to her pinky.

Did I do that, I thought?

Gross me out.

She proceeds with her tale:

Then her mum found an Aspirin bottle full of weed and all Hades broke ass. Her mum turned into a werewolf and kicked at the stove and broke it. The oven door fell off. She picked it up and spanked her daughter with it…slow, heavy hits cutting the air – woosh woosh.

This Japanese mother, who can’t speak English very well, was shrieking, “No mo waking up at the crack of ass! No mo waking up at the crack of ass!”

I feel for the girl.

Beware the Japanese temper.

Aside from boyfriends that bruise their girlfriends (or vice versa), the one thing I will not tolerate is a parent that attacks their child. That’s a nono in my book-o.

When she tells me that her mum ran into the room crying and whipped out ye old samurai sword, I flip – my mouth just hits the grass, like WOMP.

I repeated what she said for dramatic effect.

“She got out the family blade? That’s heinous.”

Her mum attacked her. Chased her daughter with it. They both ran through the house – up and down the place – shrieking hideousities. Upstairs, the daughter jumped into the baby room and locked herself in the bathroom while her infant sister, House, cried on a dead mechanical baby-swing.

The mum kicked the door down. She chopped down the bathroom door in 2 amazing blows and the daughter retreated to the bathtub, barking like a dog to try and scare her away.

As punishment for being “disobedient” and weird, this mother cuts her back. Chubby girl turns around lifting her shirt and shows me and the sight makes me want to cry. She says that she needs my help. I ask her, “What do you need?”

She wants to runaway to her cousin’s apartment, near Waipahu Racquet, but she has to go home first to get some clothes. She’s afraid to go there alone. There’s a good chance that the mum will be home, seeing how she doesn’t work and lives on government checks because she got injured on the job, working as a phone operator at Sprint.

I look at my watch.

We’re on Dillingham right now.

She lives behind Kalakaua Intermediate.

Warren should be out soon.


The housing behind the school is silent. The sun blasts. When she jiggles the key into the lock, panic sets in. What am I doing? Am I drunk?

I should turn around right now!

So we sneak into the place and go up into her bedroom where she throws her stuff into a garbage bag. As we leave and reach the middle of the stairs, we see the mum below us, sword in hand.

She has crazy eyes.

She says something to her daughter in a very snake-like way, in Japanese, softly. She spits on the ground. The daughter answers in English, “I can do what I want, Mommy. I’m an adult. I’m 16.”

The mum’s face turns sad and wrinkles and tilts a little as she makes a scary whining sound.

Then she whispers a word that I do understand: “Baka,” which means idiot. The frightening thing is that she’s looking at me when she says it.

The mum SHRIEKS a samurai’s shriek and runs up the stairs in little, quick steps – sword tailing behind her. We run back up. I trip and fall. Chubs grabs the back of my shirt and picks me up with one hand, throws me into the air and onto the landing. I belly-slide over the wooden floor and SLAM into a wall like a bowling ball screaming through a strike.

I can see into the baby room.

The child is sleeping on the swing, drooling. Only this time the swing is working.

Mother & daughter run toward each other – screaming while not avoiding a single step on the staircase. They mum swings the sword down on this chubby girl. Chubs is quick as a cat. She flies her hands up and slaps her palms around the blade, holding it inches from her brow. The mum pushes down, face nuts. They twirl, both of them holding onto the sword. Someone takes a wrong step and they both take a little tumble down the stairs and roll right out the open door. The sword flies out of their hands and spins through the air and lands into the grass with a SHEENK, swaying back and forth. The sun – as if on cue – screams out from behind a cloud. The street is busy. Mother and daughter have a kick fight and a fist parade on the front lawn.

The police arrive. I suppose, as I watch the fight in awe, that someone heard all the screaming and phoned the fuzz.

I yell out, “Jiggers, the fuzz!”

Mum and daughter cry as they fight. The mum punches her daughter on the cheek and it sounds like a loud, wet slap.

Before the Honolulu Police Department can even get out of their fancy black Mustangs, the mum does a baseball dive for the sword. All of a sudden, HPD moves like God pressed fast-forward on his remote control.

The mum waves the sword at them and says something nasty in Japanese. The cops – two Japanese men, a white woman, and a string-bean Filipino male – try to calm the lady down, holding out their hands and saying sweet things to her.

The white officer offers her candy and begs her forth. The skinny Filipino cop tells the Japanese cops to talk to the nuts-O, but they shrug and don’t know how to speak Japanese.

The chubby daughter begs her mum to calm down. I hold her back, away from the bad news bears.

The mum makes the error of taking a swing at the fuzz, and they all take out their guns and shoot her in the kneecaps. She goes down with an “Aieeeeeeeee!” and they wrestle the old cuffs on her.

Everyone’s yelling something to someone.

Onlookers clap.

Many cars have pulled over, holding up traffic to watch, sitting on their car hoods, sipping sodas and chatting on cell phones. I can feel the Camera flying away, pulling back to reveal the scene as we Fade to Black and the credits roll over classical music…


When the police take the chubby girl and her mum away, I’m already gone – snaked away from the scene during the wild mess.

I make it a point with myself to hightail it back to HCC and meet with Warren. Can't be late. He hates that.

I step into the elevator and go to the 3rd floor. There’s a girl standing with me in this yellow painted elevator.

She’s ugly.

I mentally punch myself in the gut for thinking such evil thoughts.

The elevator opens and I walk down the cold hallway. The walls are lined with “Art” behind glass, of handprints and abstract blots. I pick up a discarded newspaper off the floor – The Honolulu Advertiser – and read the headline.


THE DOLPHIN MASTERS STRIKE AGAIN!


Apparently, there are these Save The Dolphins! enthusiasts, The Dolphin Masters. They believe that tourists AND local people pollute the oceans and aid in the purposeful extermination of all dolphins. They believe that THEY’RE the reincarnation of dolphins, and that humans are simply jealous of their large brains. A criminal psychologist on the morning news once said, “The worst thing we can do is underestimate them. They may be plotting a world-wide takeover, for crying out loud.”

Today – in the wee moon hours of the morning – they jumped a young couple carrying surfboards, hitting them with electric guitars. Witnesses say the same bizarre thing in identifying these horrible people:

“They were wearing these bright blue, full-body dolphin costumes…”

Yeesh.

These people are worst than the Mirovingian Vampires that prowl the streets at night in Waikiki, sucking people’s gore.

I don’t think I’ll come back next semester. I like the class – love the cool teacher – but I feel like I’m wasting my time. I could be working on my writing. That feels much more productive. The problem is that I KNOW what I want to do with my life. No need to take class after class, hoping for a revelation of my future. I know what I want. Which can also be a problem. Because you end up not wanting to do anything else. It’s not that you’re lazy. You just would focus on your craft – what you love – and work hard at it – rather than working a 9-5 job folding clothes and getting spat on by customers from the mainland.

Warren’s class is silent.

It’s dark inside.

It’s a computer room. The monitors all look like portals to some bright, happy dimension. I can her Mr. Rogers yapping, saying something about “layers” and “RGB” and “pasting”. Is he talking about new birth control methods? I realize that he’s talking about the photo-editing program Photoshop. My ears hurt from all the technical talk. I’ve neglected using the Left side of my brain for so long now.

I see Warren sitting near the door, almost spilling out into the hallway. He sits with his head resting on his palm, other hand moving the mouse around in tiny circles. Why does he put himself through this shite? It’s always hard for me to watch: Heartbreaking, even.

That’s it.

I’m not coming back next semester.

Warren and I meet up with his father in the parking lot, and he takes us to our dart competition, at a bar across the street called Se LeVi. Being in a dart league does nothing for my self-esteem. Each time I miss a target, each time I miss a bull’s eye, I can feel the eyes of my captains, Warren & Dave, whipping my spine with thick wet noodles.

And it hurts like a mother.

It’s always the same. You see the same people. Samoans and Hawaiians laughing so loud, glass breaks and wood splinters. Team members call each other assholes if one of them misses an important throw, and bitches if they DO hit something! And that’s just the women.

It’s all in good fun.

As long as you’re drunk.

I once tried flirting with one of our competitors. She was older, and taken by another (one of the best – but not much liked – dart players).

This was at another bar, Emerald City, across from the Neal Blaisdell Center Concert Hall – here you can see Wrestling shows and Opera and concerts. I saw Metallica there once. Good times, especially when people you don’t know hand you hard liquor.

She was sitting at the bar, singing karaoke, and I would’ve made my move…but I was too drunk. Instead, I would speed-walk occasionally into the restroom and puke something awful into the toilet. Later, as Warren’s dad drove down the freeway at 12 in the morning, I threw up in the back-bed of his red pickup truck. But I didn’t want my hideous filth all over his truck, so I puked in my hands, and then tossed the mess overboard and onto passing cars. There was a puddle on the back-bed, so I smeared it here and there because I thought that would help it dry up quicker.

This is how I play darts.

These are my league nights.

Really, I come here to drink and take shots of whatever whenever, because I wanna be a part of the Laugh Pack. Just not too many 151 shots, please, oh please.

I am relieved each night it’s over. These things usually go on for 2-3 months, with us playing once a week on Thursdays (note: Nowadays, the other guys play 3-4 times a week). I love darts but I loathe playing in leagues! I don’t like being told when to do things. I wanna play when I feel like it. I can’t take the stress of competition. I can’t play, I say, okay? No way!

But there are good nights, though. This one happened AFTER a darts night:

To cheer me up, a pal (who shall remain nameless, and who hates me now because I’m an idiot) and I hop into his truck and drive to DHV. It looks like your ordinary video store, but step inside, my friend, and walk to the right, for here there be much porn, indeed.

The first thing that hits me is how bright the place is. It’s a rat maze of porn. A labyrinth. I expect to cut a corner and see David Bowie playing with a tiny, crystal ball.

I have never been here before, and I am shocked by the quantity – yet impressed by the quality of the products. Equally surprising, is the amount of Adult Cinema knowledge my friend has. He’s like the freakin’ scholar of porn. He knows exactly what he wants, and exactly where to go. I, on the other hand, find myself a tad uncomfortable. I see a young couple “reading” the back of a DVD box. They look at me – I quickly turn away and look at some crazy box covers. The couple walks past me, laughing. Are they laughing at me?! WHY? It’s because I look 14, I know it! Well, I’m not! I’m 25! Bastids.

I don’t want to be with people here.

Alone time, please.

I wish I had donkey eyes. The placement of a donkey's eyes enables it to see all four of its feet at once. If I had that super power, I could see anyone laughing at me behind my back. And I’d whip around and point and go AHA! Laughing at me, are you??

To relax, I find much entertainment while browsing the titties – I mean titles – on DVD covers: Blacks on Blonds, Browns on Yellows, MILFs, Zoo MILFs, Midgets on Acid, Vagina Wars, Toilet Babies, Japanese Screamers, Paranoid Creamers, Fart Eaters, Golden Showers, I Eat Doodoo, Old Couples (eww…), The Anorexic Playground, One in The Pink – One in The Stink, Touch my Tofu, Mothers & Daughters, My Ass is Haunted, Vomit Tryouts, Animal Fantasies….

One title that sticks to my mind in particular is Mother Makes my Entrance Wider with Devices.

I walk into the animal fantasies section and back up like a warehouse truck, “Beep beep beep”. I pick up a VHS. The cover is black. I hold it in my hands. Don’t turn it over. Don’t do it, son, you’ll regret it! I close my eyes and flip the box over. I’ll open my eyes very – oh so very! – slowly. If I see a hint of anything disgusting that’ll turn my eyes black, I’ll put it away.

So I open my eyes so very slowly and…

…see nothing but yellow.

So the front of the VHS is black while the back is yellow. Very mysterious. But also very good news for me. I don’t want to see any kind of animal sex. Ha! Although, it was exciting expecting to see it. That, I’ll never understand. Why do I want to see something I DON’T want to see?

Meh!

To be human.

I explore the area further. I see panties that you can eat, as well as condoms; dildos ranging from the size of a pinky to the size of an arm; candy shaped as you-know-whats; and underground magazines from The Honolulu Mongoose to Fat Girls Urinating Local Style. I bypass the homosexual area by putting my hand to the side of my face, and come to a long line.

It’s an autograph session…for someone named Diamond Head.

Hmph, I say under my breath. Must be a local porn star.

Because I don’t have my glasses on, I have to squint to get a good look at her “features”. I’d walk to the front of the line, but I’m afraid of angering all these women – Yessm, that’s right, women. It’s been said that women purchase more pornography than men. They all seem anxious, and I don’t want them mad because I don’t want my piss blown in. One of the women looks over her shoulder and tells the lady behind her that she just creamed her undies, she’s so excited.

I turn so I can find my pal and tell him the news, when suddenly there’s a ruckus. A woman with a heavy pigeon (local) accent raves.

“I no understand why you gotta come to my island and try dominate. Why you no can stay in Maui? I get kids, too, you know! I gotta support my family! And feed my kids foods!”

Her friend backs away, fearful. “No, Tasty, no. Not like this.”

The other women circle Diamond Head, as if to protect her from any sudden movements made by dear Tasty. The porn star stays in her seat, hands folded neatly on the table. I can see that some of the women already have fists for hands. Diamond Head SLAMS HER HAND ON THE TABLE – all jump back in awe.

“DON’T CHALLENGE ME!”

For a second Tasty is shocked. She then gets herself together and jabs a stick-like finger into Diamond’s chest.

“You goat.”

Diamond grabs her hair and the two go at it gorilla style – banging into the walls and making a mess – the other women cheer and hoot and hiss and spit. My pal stands over my shoulder, his face nothing but two wide eyes. People are screaming behind the walls of porn, “Emergency! Emergency!” The women are knocking down whole walls, hands on throats, kicking each other in the gut. Diamond had those pointy, metal heels and kicked with her eyes shut tight with rage.

Blood guns out from under Tasty’s dress and splats on the floor. They both fall and I can see a large purple gash in Tasty’s upper thigh.

An autographed copy of Diamond Head’s new DVD slides to my feet. Its title is “Who’s Eating Gilbert’s Ass-Grapes?” Starring Diamond Head, MangoGO, BJ Simpson, Braddah Kimo, Tuna Girl, and Cabbage Inside. A security guard rushes in laughing and separates the two.

Tasty is furious.

“ROAAAAAR!”

She reaches under her skirt and flings a handful of yellow in Diamond’s face. The security guard takes the girls away, proudly.

My pal buys what he needed (3 DVDs at $29.99 each) and we both have a good laugh in the truck. Then we speak about darts and I tell him how much I hate it now. I’m in a slump. I use to be good – not really good – but good enough. Now I can’t even throw a fit. What the F’s the matter with me? I can’t clear my mind. My brain is so polluted with filth that I’m throwing tuna. My dart games are a mess. I see better games in my stool.

My Team: Warren, Dave, Me, Barry, and Warren’s girlfriend, Janet. They’re all getting better. Improving.

I have access to the best advice from all the grand masters on the island. One of the grand masters, at Scores, tried to help me. He changed my throw and everything – “Throw faster,” “Stand this way” – and it fucked me up like something weird. I’m hopeless. Not even a grand master blaster can release the pressure. Not even the Dart God can resurrect my game from the Darts Graveyard.



“The Black Building”


THE SUN’S PUNCHY. The street’s busy and yelling. What time is it now? 2:3o pm. Work was easy. Hopefully, I can save enough money to go skydiving. Once I do that, I can rest with the dead. Crash & Burn. Fall & Bounce. The End.

When I die I want my funeral to be outdoors, and I want the theme song from The Exorcist playing in the background on a loop and on a large television screen shall play my favorite movie/book Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas. My friend Brandy will tell everyone to stand and do a handstand because I think handstands are funny and everyone will do it because I’m dead and they feel bad.

I wish to be put into a coffin made of crystal and shaped like an amazing penis. It shall be lowered vertically, via crane, into the vagina-disguised grave, then raised, then lowered again, then raised again. This goes on for an hour, while everyone – still doing handstands – hops about here and there.

I stand outside the gothic stronghold, this black building – I don’t even know what it’s called. I thought it was Nortuary. I think it’s actually Galaxy.

Tourists walk past.

Why must they always be walking clichés? DON’T wear kaki shorts/DON’T wear rattan hats/DON’T put on layers of coconut lotion (I hate it!) 5 inches thick. And please, oh please, put your loud ass, spoiled, CRYING, younglings on a leash! Strap on those mouth cover-ups that they put on crazy mental people, like Anthony Hopkins.

Why do you tourists wear all that shite anyway? Is it any more comfortable than dressing good and looking attractive?

I wipe the sweat from my brow.

Cars: “Honk-honk!”

Trucks: “Beep-Beep!”

Crosswalk signal: “Click click click!”

(You see, I don’t know how it is in other parts of the world, but in Hawaii, our signals click to inform the deaf that it’s ok to cross; actually, in Japan it’s more creative: Their crosswalks play a cute little tune!)

I see a person dressed as Batman, sitting at a bus stop. He is wearing slippers, and he smells like a bum. We make eye contact and I look away quick as a cat because I’m shy.

Half hidden behind a long fence that’s covered by a ratty black cloth, the black building looks so out of place – tucked away from the law offices and convenient stores and the Hawaii Convention Center and the Hard Rock Cafe. There are some trees loitering behind the little black building. Waikiki’s not so far off from here. I might walk there later at night and oogle at the pretty Japanese tourists.

I begin planning my day: Check out Black Building. Go to Hawaiian Brian's (a video arcade/pool hall/darts place) and work on my dart game with my other dart friends (who my main dart friends hate). Sheesh! Can’t we just get along?

Also, there’s someone there that I like, so that’s a plus. So she’s seeing someone else. Is it a crime to at least see her, I ask you? As you can see, I feel guilty for thinking this way. But that ain’t gonna stop me - Ha!

I walk past the shitty fence. It’s weird seeing the building so empty. It looks so dead. There are some of those giant spool/tables and bundles of extension cord. No cars; no people. Nothing else but a light coconut-lotion scent hangs in the air.

I look around and, stepping over a diaper, walk to the door.

It’s unlocked.

I look around again…and open it.


The first thing that hits me is the stench of lemon – some kind of thick air freshener. You can still smell out the alcohol underneath it, though. I cough, hand over mouth.

Lint floats in the air. I wave it all away and walk deeper. I remember their policy: You can’t bring water, but you can bring beer.

It’s so stupid.

Things were on the floor: Batteries, a few empty bottles of Zima, paper balls that people with weak ears put in their…ears.

The deeper I go, the darker it gets. I swing my backpack around and zip it open, taking out my tiny, red flashlight that you can attach to a set of keys.

This is exciting. I’ve always wanted to be an explorer. As a wee one I had dreams of being an archaeologist – unlocking the mysteries of the pyramids and digging up talking, still-rotting and still-screaming Mayan skeleton heads. Better to go to the Pyramids of Giza, though, surely.

But we all know that Aliens built them, right? That they came down and created us out of an all-female species to make slaves that dug up their ever so precious gold – gold to save their dying planet. This is all true. Hands down. It’s in the bible – just disfigured after centuries of translations. The bible is a freak baby of a thousand fathers.

The bible is Freddy Krueger realized.

My heart races.

Ah! The thrill of discovery.

Now I know how Harrison Ford feels.

I see that I’ve come to the bathroom and gently squeak open the door.

My tiny beam of light bounces off the white urinals. Splash. There’s a flopping sound, coming from the...

...bathroom stall.

I freeze.

Someone’s here besides me.

Time to leave.

Or is it?

Might not even be a person. I mean, who makes a flopping sound, anywho?

I bend over and look under the closed stall.

No feet.

Feeling a bit more secure, I walk to the stall and open the door, slowly, with my foot, the red light shaking in my wet, cold hand. The door knocks against the wall with a soft thud.


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