Tag Archives: ghosts

Ghosting

It was just like getting drunk, at least the way he’d told his wife. Maybe more like getting high. Either way, not the strongest leading argument for an alcoholic, but when the woman you’ve spent 20 years with finds you in bed with another man, with no memory of how you got there, you’ll try anything to get yourself off the hook.

Not that any of that mattered to Juliet. She was gone, and the only thing left to work out was the divorce settlement. How was Sam ever going to explain his side of the story to their kids? No doubt Juliet had turned them both against him by now, filled their little minds with propaganda of all the horrible things he’d done.

But Sam was a man possessed. That’s what they called it in the Dark Ages, anyway. The new name on the streets was ‘ghosting.’ It was the latest thing — like a drug, but with greater thrills and half the risk, not to mention plenty of willing souls. The trick, of course, was in finding the right one.

There are plenty of spirits out there, searching or waiting for some kind of closure. Purest energy; ethereal ectoplasm. Sublimated lifeforce. The trade was fair and simple — you give your body up to the ghost for the night, and he or she takes it on a test ride. The ghost feels alive again. Better than alive, corporeal, with the freedom to indulge in all the pleasures of the flesh. In turn, you get to get loose and go along for the ride, right in your very own body, with all the joy of losing control.

You know that feeling you get at the apex of a roller coaster? The thrill of near death. Imagine that sensation, but prolonged. For an hour, maybe two. Maybe even a full day. Adrenal glands pumping through your desperate, terrified body as you literally straddle the line between life and death. Like heroin, but without the risk of overdose. Maybe even higher — ghosting has the potential to bring you right up to the very gates of Heaven, before it brings you down again.

But Sam had no idea how it felt for the ghosts. How could he? Even undercover, all he could know was the quiver and kick of being at once both dead and alive. Was it an upper or a downer for them? No one had successfully figured out the cartography of the afterlife. Not yet, anyway — but it was certainly an up and coming field. The whole craze was built on two things: symbioses and trust. But like any good rush, someone always finds a way to monetize it. But how do you regulate an industry where the product and the profit are both warm beating hearts?

Sam was determined to find out. After Juliet, he’d become little more than a living ghost, so there was nothing left for him to lose.

Today Is a Gift, That’s Why They Call It the Present

She didn’t want to think about it and had avoided the subject the entire six months of their relationship. She’d managed dodging conversations about exes in that time, not out of any guilt or unmended emotion, but as preservation. She’d never met anyone like Leonard, never expected to again; she didn’t need to hear about the woman who had let him go, who was probably plotting a way to get him back. She liked the way he looked at her, talked to her, and she preferred to imagine these were all firsts for him, as well, hated to see herself as a cardboard cutout replacing the last woman he’d touched the same way.

But she was dying now, the Ex, the Serrina she’d evaded like a pothole, the One (she assumed) That Got Away, though she had no evidence to back up that fear. It was the absence of evidence to the contrary, however, that confirmed the suspicion for her. It was the lack of an expression of disdain, of proclaiming the Girl’s inferiority to her that kept her awake most nights they didn’t sleep together and some nights that they did. This sequence of events made sense to her, like those number series questions on the SAT: 2, 4, 6, then __. Leonard doesn’t denounce his ex-lover, Leonard doesn’t declare Annie’s superiority, Serrina reenters the picture. Since he broke the news to her–I’ll be flying home to see her–her imagination had filled in the missing link in the sequence without pause. One night, post-coital, she pretended to be asleep, wanted to feel him staring at her, enjoyed the feel of his chewed fingernails tracing the arms that had just been clasped around him. She enjoyed feeling the duplicity of sleep and consciousness that pretending to be asleep afforded her, that is, until he gently pulled his arm out from under her and got up from the bed. She assumed he was going to the bathroom and adjusted herself to look as angelic as possible for his return. He didn’t exit the room, and soon she heard the soft tap-tap of the keyboard. She tried to gauge if he was being quieter than necessary for an innocent bout of internet browsing and peeked out from under the folds of the sheet and pillow cases to look at him. It wasn’t until the next day, scanning through his web history while he showered that she figured it out: he had bought his plane ticket home while she slept not five feet away from him.

The whole day following she wondered if he had been thinking about Serrina while they made love. If his eyes were closed, not caught up in moments of inexplicable ecstacy, but so he could picture Her more completely, see Her with more clarity than looking down at Annie’s crumpled and inadequate body would allow.

“Are you asleep?” he whispered. She wasn’t, of course, but considered letting him believe she was, letting him feel alone as she had felt all day.

“No,” she admitted, a little too loud.

He moved so their eyes were level. The whites of his eyes were bright in the dark room until he closed them and pushed his face into her chest. She reached around his head with her arms and forgave him everything. They fell asleep that way–Annie, then Leonard, and the moisture from his eyes had dried from her t-shirt by morning.

It’s Your Funeral

Not sure what compelled me, but I went and found me ass in church th’ other day. Hadn’t been stepped in one for years, since I moved out on me own. Not by choice, anyway. Few times went for visiting to Ma, on the holidays, and she’d be dragging me there, would I let her. Depending on the mood — didn’t always like to be startin’ a thing, as it were. Some days it’d be, “Ma, but you don’t agree with what they says like, then you ain’t a Catholic. Simple as that,” and she’d say, “It doesn’t matter what’s been your thoughts, lad, just as long as you’ve the faith. It’s important, that.”

The Ma’am were somethin’ nuts, she were.

This time, I’d off to service on me own. First time in a while I’d been woken early on a Sunday. Weren’t by choice again, just felt like a thing to do. Found an Irish Mass somewhere in the neighborhood—never seen the place before, but heard they sang their hymns in the Old Language and thought it might be nice to have for a listen.

But the fat colleen what sang sharper than the bean sídhe, and I thought perhaps I’d been mistook with my decision. Still, her awful wail weren’t enough to keep from hearing me own name uttered during Father Liam’s dedicated moment for the service, unmistakeable in his soft Leitrim lilt. He’d spoke a prayer out for the names of those who’d recently been passed, a short list that sounded like he’d kept a bowl of names below the altar — one of given, one of family — and drew each name at random, as if for God’s luck to choose the death. “William…Healey,” he spoke. “Padraig…Sullivan. Niamh…O’Rourke…

Brian…McGackin,” and I felt dry in me mouth, the kick drum echo of a beating heart inside. Following, a moment of silence, filled only with the swell of air.

“We pray to the Lord,” the Father spoke.

“Lord hear our prayer,” they responded. I heard the fat colleen squeal again. “Dochas Linn Naomh P´draig / Aspal mór na hÉireann / Ainm orirc glégeal / Sól´s mó an tsaoil é,” and I waited for the true bean sídhe’s wail.

This is why I woke this mornin’. This is why I’m here, like. I held for my last breathe when I heard that awful howl, and clenched me eyes to closed. I opened up the right one with a caution when I realized it was nothing but the awful woman’s tone, but wondered if the Dullahan had traded in his steed for a V8 engine, revving in his cóiste bodhar as he’s waiting for to find me in the parking lot.

And that mornin’—oh, aye, that mornin’—that Communion never tasted quite as sweet as I had found.

The Ghost of Prescience

i open my eyes to a brand new life still sealed in the original package all those gi joes that I would batter as a child rather than save and sell off to pay for college reminder that it loses value opp out of package and i see she left the price tag on the way that people accidentally do when they not so secretly want you to know just how much they spent three human lives and a broken heart plus tax unless of course she bought it in new hampshire i incise the shrink wrapped plastic with the key to my sisters nineteen ninety six nissan altima it has the best serrated edges on my keychain makeshift cutting too rip the rest away with my wild clawing hands a creature tearing the net in which it is captured squeeze the shreds of all that remains in my left hand crush roll into a ball discard in the trash can pick up my new life and try it on before i remove the tags and immediately i feel thirty pounds fall away shatter on the ground like some cursed vase or ceramic lantern smashed to break the spell free the genie get a wish i look at myself in the mirror just to make sure that it looks right and as my hands regain warmth feeling melt away the numbness of the winter as it has been my dimly lit reflection whispers its alright its all right its alright its all right its alright its all right and this time i think i believe it

A Rose For Emily p1

For Harry (assuming this finds you first):

Let me begin by saying that yes, I do realize that I’m kind of a prick. The kind of prick that rather enjoys fornicating with ethereal beings, I’m afraid to admit, but a prick such as that is a prick nonetheless. And while I had originally intended to address this at a later point, I feel it is important for me to reiterate these two things. One, it is not necrophelia, if for no other reason than the uninvolvement of a corpse, and two, don’t knock it until you try it. Moving on. As I’ve replayed the events of the past several months over and over again in my head, the actions in which I am about to partake have appeared to me, after careful consideration and several chalices of mead, as the only (vaguely) rational cure for the clusterfuck predicament in which we have found ourselves to be so entangled. Still, I am determined to commit this to paper before I fully execute this Final Solution (catchy name, is it not?), in hopes that perhaps some brilliant new clarity will awaken within me before that threshold is crossed and we’ve forfeit all opportunity to fall back.

That, or the more likely scenario, whereupon I finally realize that I am hardly more than a coward myself, and that to commit this whole grand narrative to paper is little more than a sad attempt to put off the inevitable; as I’m sure you’ve caught on by now, such careful and cautious decision making as this is hardly in character for a impetuous, headstrong (but goddamn handsome) prick such as myself. Rather, procrastination has often presented itself as one of my finer traits; even my destiny seems to carry it in great quantities and right along with that digression have gone all of my noble delusions of do-goodery.

Well, shit. So much for that fantasy.

Speaking of—of, “Well, Shit,” that is—I believe that phrase holds a wonderful place of importance in the history of my reign, as well as that of our relationship. So much so that perhaps before I go I shall declare a holiday of some sort in its honor. “National ‘Well, Shit,’ Day.’ Has a swell ring to it, does it not? Granted, there’s a bit much punctuation when you spell it out like that, and unfortunately, I’ve always felt that holidays should possess names that are crisp and succinct, and while I suppose I could simply declare it “Shit Day,” I fear that it lacks the same punch. And then of course the history books, presupposing they recall anything relating to my brief tenure on the throne, will dub me with some delightfully ridiculous nickname such as, “Lord Aleksander, the Shitheaded.”

On second thought, it would perhaps be desirable to go down in history as The Shitheaded rather than The Whiney Ghostfucker.

On third thought, perhaps I win either way. Where were we?