This is a story that I’ve been meaning to tell for years, but could never figure out the best way to do so. Sure, I had considered putting it up on my YouTube channel, but that just didn’t feel right. As some of you may know, an old friend of mine is currently in jail for murdering his grandmother in cold blood. I had mentioned this publicly a number of times, but I’ve never gone into details about it until today.
A lot of people come to me asking the same question. They want to know if their deep interest in the morbid means that they themselves could pose as threat to those around them. Stories of murder and violence should disgust you, right? They shouldn’t fascinate you–or so people think. Of course, just like anyone else, I too once asked myself what my fascination with murder meant. My family mostly didn’t approve, and would often say that they feared I’d turn out like the people I was reading about. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. Being interested in crime cases and murderers does not make you a bad person. Just because you pick up a history book doesn’t mean you wish to repeat the atrocities described in them. Murder cases should be treated with the same standard. It’s healthy to want to understand the world we live in, and what goes on in it–even if the truth isn’t always pretty.
So, why do I bring this point up? Well, as you know, I make a living talking about some pretty dark things, and I’ve never killed or seriously injured anyone before. The friend I’m going to be talking about today was the only friend I ever had who shared my interest for these types of things. We spent hours discussing cases, and he often enthusiastically asked to borrow my true crime books. So, if we both started out the same, what made us turn out different? Why did he turn violent, while I didn’t? Well, there simply is no way to answer that. There are just too many factors at play here. Plus, I’m not here to provide answers. I’m here to tell you a story, and maybe it’ll help you draw your own conclusions.
I know many of you are expecting me to get straight to the part where my friend murders someone, but to understand what happened and where he was psychologically, it’s necessary that we start from square one. This story will have to start with me.
Part 1: Neosporin
My high school story is pretty much the same old stereotypical mess you hear from kids with broken homes. The only major difference is that I started my first year of high school at age 11 in the Philippines, and moved back to where I was born (Honolulu) by the time I was 13. I had moved out on my own at age 14, and never turned back. I got involved with the wrong people, and spent most of my time high on something. It was typical teenage rebellion bullshit–you get the idea. Around age 15, I started hanging around with the school’s junkies since they had “stuff” I was already very interested in. We had a spot at a table under this huge tree that was on the way to the football field. If you wanted to get high, “The Table” was where you needed to go. This also became the unofficial nickname of the group I found myself hanging around with so often. It didn’t make sense, but it stuck.
The Table was an interesting bunch. By “interesting” I actually mean that they were completely screwed up in every way possible, but, so was I. There were about six of us total–all coming from some fucked up background thanks to our not-so-responsible parents. Syd, for example, first ran away when she was 12 years old. Her mother was a meth addict, and her mother’s boyfriend had been sexually abusing her. Stuff like this turns people cold. I won’t bore you with everyone’s life stories–the point is that we were all sort of messed up, and we all found a common ground in that, and in various substances. Reality could go fuck itself.
This is where the main subject of this story came into the picture. Just like most days in Honolulu, it was sunny, and awfully humid, but the gentle breeze made it bearable. We sat around at our table at lunch, contemplating the age-old question: Do we behave and stick around, or do we ditch the rest of the day and get an early start with whatever trouble we had in mind for the evening? Before we could come up with an answer, we heard the strangest sound come up from out of nowhere. A kid was laughing hysterically, and walking towards us. I say “kid” because he had a youthful, boyish quality to him, even if he was roughly the same age as us. Not far behind this laughing weirdo was some other unknown kid who looked awfully embarrassed. They both came up to us, and laughing boy started talking. “Do you guys have pot?” he asked, all while trying to catch his breath. Yes, actually, we did–but first we wanted to know what the hell was going on with him, and what he was on. No sober person laughs the way he was.
Kid #2 started talking for him while he went off on his laughing spree. He explained how they were looking for weed, and heard from around that we’d be able to sell them some. That still didn’t answer our question. We asked again about what he was already on, and laughing boy finally said it: Neosporin.
We immediately started laughing at him, although, I think he thought we were laughing with him. Looking back, I feel a little bad. As I said, The Table and I spent all our time together in substance-induced bliss, and we all knew there was no way this kid was telling the truth. We told them both to beat it, and went about our business. For the rest of the day and night, we’d periodically bring up this strange encounter–so much so that we needed a name for laughing boy. We never did ask what his name was, so we decided to dub him “Neo” for obvious reasons. This is what we still refer to him as to this day. Neo came back to the table a few days later, and didn’t have any hard feelings at all about how we treated him. We assumed he realized how stupid the Neosporin story sounded. He still wanted weed, and we still had some. He got what he came for, and that was the end of that. Off he went.
A few weeks later, Neo was jumped and had everything he was carrying taken from him. He lost his iPod, and $300 worth of one dollar bills. This was something that didn’t make sense to me when I first heard it, but it eventually all made sense for reasons I’ll be explaining shortly. After this incident, Neo came back to the table and told us about what happened. By this point we began to warm up to him, and he was welcomed to hang around with us since he really didn’t seem like he had any other friends aside from the aforementioned kid #2. Neo became the table’s little brother, the innocent one. The pot he got from us was the first illegal thing he’d ever done, and you could tell. He was even a little wary of trying other drugs or alcohol.
Everyone at the table was born and raised in Honolulu, so we all knew the neighborhood, Makiki, like the back of our hands. Neo, on the other hand, was obviously from out of state. This explained why he got jumped in the first place. He had no idea how to stay out of trouble in Makiki, or what areas to avoid–the typical circumstance for mainlanders who moved to the island. Neo very desperately wanted to belong, and talked to just about anyone and everyone–which wasn’t a great idea. We had to urge him to stick with us, and stay close.
It turned out that Neo was from Oregon, and just recently moved to Hawaii with his mother. The two lived just a couple of minutes from Punahou High School, more commonly known as the school Obama graduated from. They still won’t stop bragging about it. Of course, Punahou was made for either rich or smart kids, while the poor or stupid ones had to attend Roosevelt. If you’re from there and offended by what I just said, you’re in denial.
Hawaii, contrary to popular belief, is an incredibly miserable place to live–unless you’re loaded. The cost of living will kill anything you could have enjoyed about living in such a beautiful place. Sure, you’re surrounded by gorgeous beaches and lush mountains, but good luck finding the time to enjoy these things while you’re busy working two jobs just to barely even be able to pay for your tiny studio apartment.
The table would find an excuse to party as often as possible. We’d usually gallivant around Makiki, or Waikiki. These were dirty, disgusting, sleazy places–but to us, it was the true paradise. We weren’t the types who’d spend the day sipping Mai Tais on the beaches or hotel pools like the tourists did. If not the streets, we’d often apartment hop wherever we could. Neo’s place became our chosen spot a few times, and we did notice a few strange things. First, the place was actually quite nice considering it was in Makiki. I believe it had two or three bedrooms, and the things inside were all in great condition. Needless to say, this was odd. Neo said his mother was single–there was no way she could afford this on her own, unless she was making bank.
When you walked into Neo’s place, there was a table to the right that had the usual stuff on it. There were various envelopes, mail, keys, etc. There was also a decorative centerpiece bowl, the type where various miscellaneous items would normally go. Instead, however, it was full of mostly one dollar bills with a few 20’s and 50’s scattered throughout. Again, odd. Neo’s mother was a mystery. She was always gone somewhere, which didn’t make much sense. What did she do for a living? Anyone who was able to pay for such a place as a single mother would most likely be working some kind of 9-5 schedule and be home at night when we were there. Nope. The woman was nowhere to be found. Neo was left to fend for himself with his pile of cash on the table.
Our answer to this mystery came to us in a way we weren’t expecting, and it dropped like a bomb. Neo, trying to fit into the new school, decided to join a physical fitness team. They’d often host events and competitions and encouraged family to attend, much like most sports teams do. Neo was taking part in one of these events, and his mother actually showed up–something none of us saw coming. Now, this would normally not be that big of a deal. Sure, parents are embarrassing, and most of the table had terrible home lives, if they still had any–but it was nice to see Neo’s mom come out to support her son anyway.
The problem was, she didn’t just show up. She showed up in thigh high gogo boots and a very revealing top, or at least that’s what I heard. I wasn’t there that day, but you really didn’t have to be to hear about Neo’s mom. The whole school knew about her by 8am the next day. Suddenly it all made sense. Neo’s mother was a stripper, and a very good one based on her reputation and what she was able to provide for her son. She wasn’t a small time player by any means. The pile of dollar bills was part of her bank account. This also explained why she was never around at night. Duty called.
I don’t exactly know how this all played out in the eyes of the rest of the table, but for me, this is when things started to go downhill for Neo. From this moment on, he’d begin his slow decent into madness.