“It scared me half to death” – Reaction #1.

Get the !@#%! away from me, Wimp” – Reaction #2.

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It appears the weird and strange “Oh-bah-keh-sa-ma” story has taken an unexpected populist turn. Just as CR2S was beginning fear the possibility of life without the mysterious wraith, up jumped the devil (so to speak). Apparently in a playful mood, she skips her favorite target and decides to raise havoc with two unsuspecting, innocent fellow residents.

During the more than two-year course of this spritely saga, a few Keiro Retirement Home tenants have related “O” sightings – er, let’s correctly make that hearings. A variety of tall tales that did not quite pass muster. In each instance, it would prove to be something other than an authentic happening. But in the stories cited below, both appear to be believable “O” vignettes. You decide.

After an uneventful Friday in late May, Rose T retired early per usual. At 12:13 a.m., she is awakened by “an unusual musical sound coming from my clock radio.” This immediately roused her from a deep sleep, also causing her to note the exact time. The radio immediately went silent. [Like so many old-timers with such an outdated appliance, the radio is used solely as a clock to tell time, seldom if ever as an alarm.] At 12:15, a mere two minutes later, “the same sound as before” begins anew.Then again silence. Wide awake now and quite bewildered, there followed a frightening aftermath: Four distinct and very loud knocks on her apartment door!

“They were strong knocks,” she animatedly described when asked for additional details. To say she was shook up would be an understatement. “I was scared to death,” she admitted. But then, after the initial shock and fright, she thought about the ongoing tales of “Oh-bah-keh-sa-ma,” the oft-discussed subject among KRH staff and residents. Somewhat mollified, she managed to go back to sleep. But couldn’t wait to report her experience to me first thing at breakfast the next morning. There have been no radio interludes or knocks since.

A week later, I’m motioned over to the breakfast table of Don O. With the middle name “Chikara (strength),” he is the resident guru/thoroughbred horse owner. “Your damn friend came to visit me last night and I told her to get the !@#%! away from me!” Between a gulp of decaf and prunes, the story of sudden and obviously unexpected midnight raps on his apartment door is related. There were two very precise and distinct knocks, he pointed out. [Although it may be hard for some to imagine, a door knock has a way of awakening you in a very hasty hurry, even if you’re dead asleep and it’s after midnight.]

Don, ever the cool one, proved to be more perturbed than scared, thus the x-laced outburst. Normally he is as quiet and mild-mannered as a funeral director, so the verbal outburst was very uncharacteristic, if not fitting. He, like Rose, was familiar with the reports of “O” antics. If a nonbeliever before, I think his salty reaction was revealing, as well as unusual. Don, who was not aware of Rose’s story, has not been visited nor bothered since either.

[Factoid: They are both ensconced on the third floor. CR2S is on the second. Whether pertinent or not, the second level is ground floor, so they are actually on the second. Neither is directly above me.]

In the spirit of full disclosure, I should elaborate on earlier tenant reports of run-ins with “O.” There have been several. Most were dismissed (by CR2S) as “me-too-isms,” instances where they simply wanted to become a participant, make-believers. A couple were exaggerated incidents where nocturnal sounds became “O” visits. One that received serious attention was a tenant experience in the laundry room; it also included a strange scribbling on a CR2S Rafu column. After due diligence and Charlie Chan-prodding, it turned out to be a sad attempt to gain attention.

As far as hard numbers and the calendar are concerned, would you believe there has not been a single telephone ring, zip, nada, since the 22nd of May?!?! Absolute land-line silence after nearly two years of consistent regularity. In the tap tap tap arena, there have been only three this month, June 03, 11, 19. This figure will be an all-time low unless there is an outburst of knocks in the next six days.

I can’t help but wonder if there will be the wail of “Taps” and a salvo in salute soon. Methinks “O’s” disappearance is inevitable, but when? CR2S will then be left alone, sad and bereft. Question still to be answered: Why? The Who will forever remain an enigma.

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[Was so totally engrossed in Michelle Wie’s Sunday LPGA victory, I forgot Hyun Jin Ryu was pitching a 1 o’clock game; it was the seventh inning when I finally remembered. Such a crime when so many of you can’t view Dodger games on TV. And I wind up more concerned about Wie’s hair color (brunet/brown) than Puig’s falling batting average.]

W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at williamhiroto@att.net Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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