Friday, October 31, 2014

Story 54: Door-to-Door



            It’s not easy being hated by nearly everyone I meet, but it’s part of my job.  I even have to agree with them – I’d slam the door too if I saw my sickeningly sweet face standing there on the porch.  But, as usual, it (barely) pays the bills.
            I had an eventful day this time around – the third house I came to listened to my pitch for a bit, then determined that I’d failed the test and they set their miniature poodle on me.  Pfft, I’ve had bigger – nothing a good punt can’t take care of.
            Another homeowner invited her husband to take a look at my cute costume and shoved chocolates into my hands – why do I always get saddled with Halloween?  The kids behind me got antsy, so I asked for more candy for my kid brother (I’m an only child).
            My most interesting house had a lady listening to my spiel for a bit and she even started filling out the forms, when the homeowner pulled up the driveway and the lady who was at the door dropped the forms and ran away with a TV.  I had to stay there for a few hours as a material witness, so there went most of the rest of my day.
            The last house on my route tried to convert me to a religion I’d never heard of before – I wound up with some brochures and will be receiving a follow-up phone call soon.  How did they do that?!
            By the time I got home, I saw someone approaching me with the same desperately friendly look that I always wear.  I greeted him with “Leave now”, in the international language of solicitors we all understand.  He spun on his heel and moved on to my neighbors. 
            Every job has its perks – I was given the secret code to program my phone so I never receive unwanted calls.  That’s some compensation for the gaping void in my soul.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Story 53: A Proper Ghost Story, Part The End



            “You all want to hear how it ends?”
            “Yes!”

            Powered by an accumulation of two hours of sleep a night, the young lady was determined to solve this mystery once and for all.  Corralling the neighbor’s cousin into her kitchen for tea and cake, she learned that Dad (real name: Moe) was now living in the next town over, and the cousin gladly gave her his work number that she randomly happened to have.  Overtired beyond the point of embarrassment, social courtesy, or restraint, the young lady later called Moe’s office and convinced him to meet her in a nearby cafĂ© on his lunch hour to address an issue about his former home, which was true.  He only was slightly startled by her red-rimmed eyes, for they matched his own.  He also looked about 20 years older than she was used to seeing him every night, but she thought that would be rude to mention.

            “So, Dad,” she started off, tapping her coffee mug incessantly.  “I mean, Moe, I need to know, where’d you and your family go?”  She barely suppressed an urge to giggle at her rhymes.

            “Go?  You mean, when we moved out?”

            “Yep-yep-yep-yep-yep!”

            “Well, after the divorce my ex-wife took the kids to the East Coast and I moved to an apartment here by work.”

            “Oh?  You all broke up?”

            “I wouldn’t put it that way; I still see them a lot.  So what’s wrong with the house?  It was fine when we left and there’ve been other owners since.  You can’t get me on mold!”

            “Oh, the house is lovely, couldn’t have asked for better.  It’s just that you and your family keep me up every night and I need to know WHY.  Since, obviously, you all aren’t ghosts.”

            “Wait – what?”

            She gave a brief rundown of what she’d been seeing.  He thought this over for a few moments as she nibbled on a scone.

            “Well, I don’t know how you know all this about my family, and you seem almost normal, so I will tell you one thing: when the kids were the ages you described, those were the best years of our lives.  We were happy and it seemed like nothing could go wrong.  Then the goldfish died and it all went to pot.  If you’re actually telling the truth, then I guess you’re really being haunted by life – I suppose it could be worse.  I almost wish I could see it, but I don’t think I could step foot in that place again.”  He paid for both of them and left her staring into space.

            When she went back home, she cleaned up a bit and had dinner before sitting on the couch around midnight, nibbling on the rest of her scone and waiting for the haunting to begin.  Mom, Dad, Kevin, Julie, and the goldfish (the only legitimate ghost in the bunch) appeared for their nightly routines of playing games, reading, listening to music, and/or watching the television.  The young lady noticed that they did look content with their lives, a nice bubble of almost-perfection making her nostalgic for her own childhood, which had been pretty decent.  She went to her bedroom, turned on her newly purchased white-noise machine, and settled into her new bed, accepting her fate of being haunted by life.

            As she had been told, it could be worse.

THE END

            “So, was that scary enough for you?”  The little girl raised her hand.  “Yes?”
            “It started out scary, then just got weird.  And sad.”  Nods all around, with one voice asking “What’s ‘real estate’?” and hushed.
            “Well, that’s life, children,” The Storyteller stood.  “You don’t always get what you want.  Happy Halloween!”
            The crowd slowly filed out to go home and get ready for trick-or-treating.  The Storyteller made herself a pot of coffee at a table as one of the parents approached her.
            “I have to say, that was the most… unusual ghost story I’ve ever heard.”
            “Hmm,” The Storyteller sipped from her mug.  “Thank you.”
            “I’m curious – where do you get your ideas?”
            “Life.”  She held out a plate with a slightly shaking hand.  “Scone?”

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Story 53: A Proper Ghost Story, Part 2



            “Now children,” The Storyteller said to the eager crowd gathered before her.  “Where did I leave off?”
            “A bang!”
            “A crash!”
            “A door opening!”
            “No, no, the lady looking around the door!”
            “Oh yes, how could I have forgotten?”

            She gripped the bat harder, sloooooowly looked around the door, and saw –

            a young boy dribbling a basketball in the living room.

            <Huh?>

            <Hush.>

            “Hey kid!”  She yelled at him.  “Go home before I call the cops!”

            But the boy just threw the ball at the wall, which made another

            BANG!

            “I’m warning you!”  She raised the bat, not sure what she or the boy would do next.  Suddenly, a man entered the living room from the kitchen.

            “Kevin, I told you, not in the house!”

            “But Dad – ”

            “But outside!”

            She watched as Kevin slumped his shoulders and walked through the front door.  As in, through the front door.  Without opening it.

            “These kids,” Dad said to himself.

            “Uh… sir?”  The young lady’s voice cracked.

            Dad went back into the kitchen.  She followed him, and when she entered that room no one was there.  She then opened the front door, and only the sight of a wandering wolf greeted her.  She closed the door and sat with the bat on the couch for the rest of the night, but no one came.

<The End?>

            <Of course not, children, now it’s a mystery!>

            Life went on for the young homeowner, only now with less sleep.  She continued with her interior decorating, but every night she was awoken by the noises of the family in the living room.  Along with Kevin and Dad, there were Mom and Julie and a goldfish, all of whom were unaware of her presence.  She waited for the appearance of blood on the wall or demonic writings, but nothing like that happened.  Even when she installed a stereo system, the family seemed to be literally unfazed by her projects.

            <This isn’t scary anymore.>

            <Just hold on.>

            Without wanting to draw too much attention to herself, she began discreetly asking her neighbors whether the house’s previous owners had been horribly murdered.  No one really could say what had happened, until one day, a cousin of her next-door neighbor came over and told her the most frightening news she had never expected:
           
The family… was still alive!

            “To be continued!”
            “I’m confused.”
            “That was the intention.”