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Aloha Mannequins

by Claudia D. Zawa

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


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







“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.


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


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.


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

One Hour Earlier...


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.


“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.


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:




“Toot toot dingus frandj.”


“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.


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?


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?


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?


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.


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)

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