To boldly glow where no ghost has glowed before.
“Harry! Give me one of those low-fat organic berry surprise bars!” I yelled out, straightening my perfect bright yellow dress accessorized with red beads, a red belt and red shoes.
“Here ya go,” Harry said, careful not to touch my perfectly coiffured nails and salon softened hands with his filthy ones. I took my usual 2 bites and threw the remainder back to him for disposal.
“You’ll be on air in 3…2…”
Holding the microphone with nails accented in cherry red, I began my investigative report.
“I’m here at the ruins of a family home nestled on the base of a mountain in Virginia. Reports from the construction crews say that some old lady in a print dress and apron keeps chasing them away from this…this hovel.”
Harry pointed to a construction worker wearing a hard hat, wanting me to interview the filthy creature, but I wasn’t through showing off my outfit to the world. I detected laughter though my earpiece and heard Harry say, “No, Mr. Rodrigues, she’s not a ghost hunter, she’s an overpaid reporter who’s too stupid to know better, but don’t tell anyone that.”
“I hear you loud and clear, Harry,” I frowned. Harry mumbled to Rodrigues, and the guy covered in horrid pieces of nature stood across from me. Good…this view featured my best side.
“Mr. Rodrigues, tell us about your experience.”
“Some white woman with grey hair comes out of the house and everything goes flying,” he said, as if that sort of thing happened every day.
“What, exactly..goes flying?” I asked patiently.
“Yesterday we lost a steam roller,” he said, as if 20 ton pieces of equipment catapult into the air every day. “I had to climb down from that tree.”
“It has to be 100 feet tall,” I scoffed.
“Exactly 112 feet,” he said.
“We’re walking up to a house overrun with huge pine and oak trees,” I said. My grubby companion ran toward Harry. “Where are you going?”
“She hasn’t killed anyone yet, but no one wants to be the first to die, either.”
I walked toward the entrance, waiting for the door to continue creaking open. “The walls are falling down, there are no windows…how can anyone live in a place like this?”
“You came a calling to my house dressed like a clown to ask me that question?” a woman’s voice giggled.
Harry and Mr. Rodrigues inched toward me. Then the damned fools stood behind me like I was the one who was expendable! Somewhere in the depths of my childhood, I remembered a few of the manners mother taught me.
“May we come in?” I asked.
“If you promise not to try and destroy anything,” she said.
A rat scampered across a bed of rotting leaves, remnants of thickly made wallpaper stubbornly refused to lose their adherence and I said to Harry, “Looks like nature took care of that for her.”
The wallpaper began to grow like ivy around the walls, then the shiny wood floors, circular rugs, and simply beautiful wood furniture appeared. She casually sat in a rocking chair on homemade padding sewn together by hand. I thought about how much I could get for one in pristine condition if I sold it on Ebay.
“There’s a few things in the world you shouldn’t never believe, starting with ‘we’re the government and we’re here to help,’” she said. “The second one is ‘I’m a reporter, I’m here to tell the truth to the world.”
“You’re one of those people!”
“As in ‘this is Germany and Jews are those people?’”
“You’re the type that think no woman should have an abortion,” I said with great umbrage.
“Not all red-blooded Americans believe you have to bring any baby in the world that’s conceived,” she said. “Lord knows I’ve seen my share of deaths in war. I’d call that a very, very, very late-term abortion.”
“That’s a surprise. What about places that sell late-term abortion body parts to foreign scientists?”
“I’m against it for a different reason. If some Hotty Toddy Richy Rich wants his genes shored up, he needs to die off.”
“That…that’s so violent!”
“If you haven’t noticed, this is a violent universe,” she said. “Your ruby red slippers aren’t going to save you from it, Dorothy.”
“My name is Shirley, but that’s beside the point. Aren’t the devout supposed to go forth and procreate?” I asked with a wry grin.
“Shirley, anyone with common sense can see that we don’t need 7.5 billion people, nor do we need land developers destroying our forests to build condos for worthless people who couldn’t survive for more than 2 days without electric and water. You can’t shoot food with a TV remote.”
“Then…Let’s move on to guns.”
“A woman with those shoes isn’t going to have the common sense to carry one,” she said.
I looked down, horrified that my right shoe was scuffed! “They’re Italian leather! Oh, God! They might be ruined!”
“Common sense says you wear boots in a forest,” she chuckled. “What do you think the 2nd amendment is for? Hunting? No, it’s because people with no common sense can’t understand why no one with a brain wants a global socialist government. We’re supposed to shoot the bastards who want to destroy our country and our Constitution.”
“You can start with her,” Harry said, pointing at me.
“Mr. Rodrigues, how did you come to this country?” I asked.
“I walked over the border with my mother when I was 6,” he said
“So you’re an illegal,” she scolded him.
“Undocumented alien,” I told her.
“What do you think would happen if you walked over the border of any other country in the world? You don’t know? I’ll tell you what! They’re smart enough to kill you for it.”
“Guns, violence, killing. That’s what’s wrong with the world,” I said emphatically.
“Yet you were ready to throw me under the wagon when you thought I was against abortion,” she said. “What about slavery…hell! What about people like you?”
“What?” I laughed at her.
She pointed to my red plastic vintage necklace. “I remember those beads. I bought them on sale at McCrory’s for 50 cents in 1960 as a Christmas gift to my granddaughter. “
“I doubt that,” I said with a sneer. “I paid $20 for these.”
“You paid a fortune for cheap plastic only a child would wear?” Her laugh was almost a cackle. “We’ve established you are, as my granddaughter would’ve said, clueless. Let’s talk slavery. Where do you think that dress was made?”
“Slave labor! You support slavery, but they’re not in your backyard so you don’t care.”
“I do not support slavery!” I yelled at her. “I believe in equality as greatly as I believe in saving the environment!”
“You used a limo to come here. Your crew used a truck and equipment that needs rare elements to function. You used more gasoline in a day than my entire town used in a month! But that pales against what the Earth can do to itself. One super volcano explodes and the Earth is a dead zone for a hundred years. One meteor, one solar flare…”
“I get it, but humans have to be responsible!”
“How much garbage do you throw out each week?”
“My maid does it.”
“Would you say one bag?”
“Probably. I recycle, too.”
“There are 125 million families in the USA. If each family threw away 1 bag, that’s 125 million garbage bags a week. Where do you think it goes? Mongolia? It’s rotting on lands that once held lush forests.” She stood up, announced, “This interview is over,” and disappeared.
I fell, butt first, onto the old flooring when the furniture and wallpaper crawled away. I had to brush the rat poop, leaves and dirt off. “Look what you’ve done! I’ll have to throw this dress away!”
Her face appeared as a glow, her voice fading into the distance. “Throw yourself away instead.”
My witnesses refused to corroborate my story and my editor ordered a psych evaluation. My psychiatrist ordered a test for some sort of fungus that causes hallucinations. He recommended a holistic health clinic he runs as a side business. I feel much better now that I’ve had chelation therapy and an Immunoglobulin infusion made from 1000 plasma donors. It was well worth $75,000.
My injury and resulting mental trauma was sustained on the job, so my boss couldn’t fire me. I’ve had three people fired for laughing at me though…workplace bullying is against the law. To mark off the last item on my revenge list, I asked Mr. Rodrigues and Harry to meet me for drinks, my treat.
“Why didn’t you tell my editor what happened?” I asked them.
“There’s no footage to prove it,“ Harry said. “That guy from IASS was on the news while you were inside your haunted house. He said it was a terrorist attack. They arrested 3 mountain men for it and people like you want the 2nd Amendment repealed.”
“But…a ghost is doing it.”
“Do you know why Rodrigues and I have survived this long?” Harry asked. “No? We keep our heads low and our mouths shut when it matters the most.”
“But, you can talk to me. We’re just having drinks…”
“…while your recorder is running,” Harry said.
They walked out, I turned off my recorder and began to wonder why people like that were allowed to live.