Justin Klein, pictured in Kalalau Valley shortly after he arrived in Ocrober 2012: "I got a bad vibe, and I thought, 'This guy isn't going to last long,'" one veteran Outlaw says of Klein.
Klein was said to have a God complex and was prone to launch into bizarre rants. "He had this whole rap about how he's Zeus and Prometheus and Satan and Gandhi," Pecjak says. Klein also believed in the Mayan doomsday, that the end of the world would arrive on 12/21/12. But he didn't strike anyone as being particularly out there, according to Larry, because it takes a lot to be considered weird in Kalalau. What Klein did strike them as was charismatic. "Whenever he rolled into someone's campsite, he stole the center of attention," Pecjak says. Klein quickly emerged as one of Kalalau's alpha males.
Shortly after his arrival, Klein started spending time with Tara (not her real name), a lithe 28-year-old midwestern graduate of a Big Ten school, with long brown hair and pert breasts that were on display as she floated around the valley perpetually naked.
Tara remembers meeting Klein at A Camp. "He seemed friendly, like a sturdy person, confident but relaxed," she says. They became close, making pizzas, collecting firewood, and sleeping on the beach together. Gradually, their friendship turned romantic, though they were never exclusive—"I saw him really be a beautiful person," she says before adding that "he was in his own world." She says Klein told her he liked the psychedelic drug DMT, and she'd heard that he believed the heiau was a portal to another dimension. He often drifted into apocalyptic reveries, talking to her about the end of the world, nuclear explosions, and mass genocide.
And now he had slaughtered someone else's goat. According to an Outlaw who was camping with him at the time, Klein needed a smaller knife to butcher the beast, so he went down to A Camp, where he met Brooks, who was checking on some of the 50-plus snares he had set up. According to Brooks, Klein asked to borrow his knife. "I asked him, 'What do you need a knife for?'" Klein replied that he had snared a goat. "You went and raided my fucking snares, took my animal, and now you're asking me for a knife to butcher my animal?" Brooks recalls telling Klein. "I said, 'Fuck this guy. I'm out of here.'"
Soon after, Klein suffered an infection in his foot from a wound he'd gotten by stepping on a thorn while picking oranges. He was too sick to prep the goat, so he lugged it up the valley to a camp called Three Mangoes, which has a community kitchen, and left the animal on a rock before hobbling off. Three Outlaws prepared and cooked the goat for that evening's Halloween festivities. Brooks and 40 others—one wearing a goat-skin loincloth, another smeared in purple java-plum juice, and another wearing fern leaves and red ginger flowers—gathered to drink papaya wine, feast on goat stew, and dance around bonfires to drums, flutes, and ukuleles. Klein chose to brood alone in the dark, trying to shake off the pain and feverish shivers as he listened to the bacchanalia rage on till late into the night.
Looking back on his first meeting with Klein, Brooks says, "I got a bad vibe, and I thought, 'This guy isn't going to last long.'" At his camp near Three Mangoes, a dug-out dirt hut with a smooth stone floor, rock walls, and camouflaged tarps for a roof, Brooks wonders whether he and the others should have seen signs in Klein's behavior of the troubles ahead. "There's a Zen-like tolerance for all kinds of people, from all walks of life, no matter what their package is, no matter what their mental problem is," Brooks says. "That's why individuals like Justin Klein end up finding a niche here, because they're tolerated. We're all hoping they'll exercise the better half of themselves, though we don't know what's going to happen in the end."
On the afternoon of December 8, Azusa Ino, 31, and Marie Koga, 29, visitors from Japan, arrived in Kalalau as part of an around-the-world adventure. They planned on staying a few nights, hoping to make it to Chichen Itza, Mexico, for the Mayan doomsday. They crossed the river bisecting the valley and passed the heiau before encountering Pecjak. The girls were "quiet, modest, and attractive," recalls Pecjak, who had endured a traumatic day in paradise: It had gotten off to a fine start when he snared two papio and an o'io, but when he went for a swim around noon, he nearly drowned in a huge surf. He survived, he says, because of lifesaving tips dispensed by Klein a few days earlier.
When Pecjak returned to his tent with Ino and Koga, Klein was there. After they decided to have a big fish fry that night with Pecjak's catch, Klein cozied up to the Japanese women as they helped prepare the fish. A group of Outlaws gathered for dinner, some of them ogling Ino, who Pecjak says wore a loose blouse and flashed her bare breasts every time she bent over. As the sun went down, they feasted on grilled fish, sashimi, and pizza. After dinner, they gathered around a bonfire on the beach, where Tara played the ukulele and sang Hawaiian songs naked. Klein eyed Ino from across the fire and said, according to Pecjak, "I'm going to tear that girl apart." According to Tara, Klein said, "I really want that girl to come sleep with us." It wasn't long before Klein and Ino walked off in the direction of Klein's camp. When they returned, Klein told Pecjak that they'd hooked up. Later that night, says Tara, she joined Ino and Klein in a threesome on the beach, and over the next few days a casual romance between Ino and Klein developed. By that point, Ino had swapped her designer duds for sarongs and a bed-sheet toga. "They were Hello Kitty'd–out when they arrived," Pecjak says, "but within a few days they'd gone native."