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grim grinning ghosts
by Michele Christopher
Ghosts. Not sure if I believe in them or not. Is there a difference between spirts and ghosts? Maybe. I don’t believe things that look like white sheets with eyes carry chains around in the middle of the night and go on haunting sprees. But a young girl hitchhiking on a lonely road who turns out to have died years ago? Maybe. Maybe some people get stuck between this world and another. I mean, look at Casper. Poor kid. Not only does he die at a really early age (you ever just sit and wonder how Casper died in the first place? And did it ever seem odd to you that they made a cartoon about, essentially, a dead child?), but he’s stuck hanging around with some dorks for all eternity. So, ghosts. Do they exist? My short answer is who the hell knows? It’s not a question that can be definitively answered, at least not in that eleventh grade geometry, Sister Margaret kind of way: prove your answer and show your work.
Anyhow, Sister Margaret had a point. It wasn't enough that I knew x=32. How did I know that? Maybe I guessed. Or cheated. Or was a math psychic. So I had to show my work, even though sometimes it was hard to say just how I knew the answer was 32. “It's a gut feeling, Sister” just doesn't cut it.
Same with ghosts and spirits. No one can prove their work. Unless you get all Ghostbusters and trap a spirit in some kind of ghost-trapping contraption, they’re all gonna laugh at you. And Sister Margaret will kill you.
See, I've got stories. I've got tons of stories. Most of them can be attributed to drugs, alcohol, an overactive imagination or a combination of all three.
I’ll skip the Jim Morrison stories. Really, there’s no need to get into that now. Let’s just say that maybe he really wasn’t speaking to me from that poster on the wall. Maybe it’s more than coincidence that he stopped talking as soon as the mescaline wore off. Maybe.
I lived in my grandparents' house for fourteen years. There were two distinct sounds I associated with each of my grandparents. With Grandma, it was sound of Wheel of Fortune coming from her tv upstairs every night at 7:30. With Grandpa, it was the chair. This huge Lazy-Boy electric recliner that vibrated the walls and made this loud buzzing sound every time he adjusted the thing. In some ways, they were comforting sounds. Reminded me I wasn’t in the house alone.
Grandpa died in June of 1991. About two months later, I was just laying in bed at like 3am contemplating life and taxes and death when I heard the buzzing. At first there were just two short buzzes. Then two buzzes again, but louder and faster. Like when Grandpa was fooling around with his chair and turned on the massage function while testing out the 40 different directions the chair could move in. I know what I heard. It was the chair. The chair was moving.
I got out of bed and went upstairs expecting to see Grandma, in the Lazy-Boy. Probably had insomnia and missed Grandpa and went and sat in his chair. But the room was dark and empty and Grandma was snoring in her bed. Walked slowly into the tv room, expecting a blast of cold air, because, well, that's what always happens in horror movies when a person meets up with a spirit. No cold air. Just the smell of Grandpa's medicine. Back downstairs, back to bed. The buzzing started again. Ok, Grandpa. I got it. You’re here. Hi. Can you stop it now so I can go back to sleep? I said that out loud. The buzzing stopped.
But I didn’t go back to sleep because that made me start thinking. What if ghosts really do come out at night? What if the spirits follow us around? Do they watch us pee? Masturbate? Or are there rules and regulations a spirit has to obey in order to be able to hang out on Earth? Like, no watching your widow have sex with her new husband? And that made me think of Sister Margaret. No, not sex. The whole ghost thing. Could I prove that Grandpa came to see me? Let’s see.
Grandpa's chair was moving.
I don't think that would fly. Big red D on my paper. Sister Margaret is not pleased. In fact, in my dream later on that night she has bright red Jawa eyes and she kills me. I wake up in a cold sweat and hear the buzzing sound again. The chair. That’s all the proof I need.
Of course in the light of the next morning it seems kind of silly and I figure that I heard something else entirely and just attributed it to the chair. Maybe I wanted it to be Grandpa. Who knows. I just know that when I went upstairs to see Grandma later in the morning she greeted me with “Your grandfather was here last night.” Just like talking about the weather. “Your grandfather was here last night.” I just stared at her, feeling goosebumps rise on my arms.
There’s all the proof I need. Fuck geometry. - M
Well, thats cool. As long as they don't take my smokes off of me when I am sleeping they can have a ghost orgy for all I care. Actually, that would be kinda neat. Specially if they were pirate ghosts. Pirate ghost sex feista.
Like you guys don't think about this kinda stuff.
I woke up in the middle of the night and walked downstairs. I'll be the first to admit that I am a nudist but I do put on these crappy sweats when i need to go out in the hallway. Can't be naked in public all the damn time. So I left the room. I have no idea why I was going anywhere, but I was. That's the best reason I can give. I was just wandering in sheer exhaustion. Just moving. I wandered into a lobby with absolutly no one there. Lit a cigarette and sat down. Talked a few words to myself about how bad the Spanish Soccer League sucks and started to drift off. Suddenly it was cold. My nipples were hard and something moved past me. My smoke. Where was my smoke. It was in the ash tray. What time is it? How long had I been there? A look over to my left and right revealed nothing to me. Two in the morning. Wait. Someone just passed me again. Turn my chair around and I see nothing. Lit another cigarette. Look back up.There was something there. A figure. An old man. Dressed real nice. I looked for a few seconds and he walked away. The fuck was that? Take a big drag. Ash the smoke. Fuck I need to wake up. Then it happened again. Nipples hard. Air going by me. Same guy. Same nice suit. Same weird looking form. Ok. I need to stop doing drugs. I got up and followed him, but he was gone. I shook my head and wondered what the hell that was all about.
I went back to bed.
The next morning I asked about the hauntings in the hotel. Hey dude, if they tote it, I'm gonna ask. They told me about murders and death and suicides. They went into the fact that almost every floor in the hotel was haunted.
Then they went one step further. They told me that a man was killed walking into the hotel in the 60's. A rich man in a nice suit. They showed me his picture in the brochure. That was him. That guy. That's him.
So in the end, do I believe in ghosts? Hell, I don't know. I saw what I saw but who knows what I was on that night. - T