Gerry sighed and gazed at the clock in his dorm room. He’d already visited the bathroom for himself and three of the professors on his client caseload. It was four o’clock in the morning, and this term paper was due by nine thirty. If he didn’t drink any water then he would only be interrupted by the needs of his clients, and he might be able to save his college career from yet another failing grade. Might. He was the first in his family to go to university—he wanted this so much. Gerry took a deep breath and tried to believe in himself, then shook out his fingers. Time to hustle.
Marjorie’s having dinner with a few friends on Newbury Street. They’re at a cute little sidewalk bistro with red umbrellas and lots of string lights. Marjorie’s telling about her recent stay at a wellness retreat. Bad Mood Camp, as it’s popularly known, was featured in both O Magazine and Goop. Even though the waiting list is a mile long, she finagled her way in through her chiropractor, who knows somebody who knows somebody.
Marjorie lowers her voice. “When you first arrive, you’re outfitted with a wardrobe for the week. The clothes are all incredibly comfortable. No tight waistbands. Fabrics so soft you want to rub your cheek on them. And they look pretty good on you, too.”
No one would ever know if Timothy the Turtle’s arrival at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Roman Catholic Church was a well-timed prank, or a tiny miracle.
Sometime between the First Reading and the Responsorial Psalm at the first Friday children’s mass after Easter, he’d wandered through a maze of potted lilies on the altar. Prehistoric feet pressed into the plush carpet as he ventured out, one agonizingly long step at a time. Timothy stopped at the altar’s edge, facing the pre-pubescent, parochial-school-uniformed congregants giggling on either side of the center aisle.
They don’t know I’m a ghost. Even I forget sometimes. After years of hiding it, I’ve become quite good at obfuscating the signs. So good that I fool myself. Occasionally I let my guard down, and a hint drops free, but no one has managed to piece them together. Yet.
Your house smelled as if bathed in Pine-Sol. Ebony and Jet magazines cluttered the coffee table. You didn’t care that they were twenty years old. It reminded you of when Junior was young and your husband, Manny, was faithful and alive.
“How you been, Mom?” Junior asked. Cheeks puffy. He sat in the chair next to the sofa.
“I’m fine, Junior,” you said, adjusting your auburn-colored wig. “Nice of you to ask since I haven’t seen you in months?”
His face, the color of sandalwood, flushed crimson. “It’s only been a couple of days.” He fiddled with the papers in his hand. “You’re all set to move next week.”
“Don’t exaggerate,” her mother snapped when Sarah phoned about her new boss at the Bureau of Land Management. “I’m sure he’s only a demon from the horde. The Apocalypse’s been hard on everyone. Just be glad you have job security.”
Sarah wasn’t surprised. Even with the world in flames her mother had to focus on her career. Still, she tried to protest her boss was, undeniably, the Beast of Revelation, but she was interrupted by a horrifying scream from somewhere very close to her mother before the line went dead. A minute later her mother texted: dead rising at B’Nai Abraham, grandma not looking too good, call you back.
Mr Evans burst into the classroom. “Thatcher’s out!”
Instinctively we cheered.
None of us knew exactly who Thatcher was but we knew it was good.
I didn’t expect my upstairs neighbors to have tentacles, or to have such great taste in music.
All I wanted was to sleep. It didn’t seem like too much to ask, but the people in the apartment above mine were constantly partying. The only upside was the music. The bass that throbbed from my ceiling was endless, although at least they chose good songs.
I wanted to be the cool neighbor. I would pop upstairs, compliment them on their musical taste, and ask them to be quieter. No problem.
My line blinks red, so I press the button on my headset to answer. A woman’s whisper I don’t recognize says my name, my real name. For liability purposes, we’re not supposed to use our real names. The operator probably goofed and let it slip when transferring the call. It happens. Leaning back in my chair, I contemplate hanging up. It’s Monday, and I get the same hourly pay if I pick up or not. Plus, it’s tough going into a reading cold. When I can’t get into character first, I have trouble taking everything seriously. The whole back-and-forth feels like an elaborate prank call.
“Eric?” the woman says again, my hand hovering over my ear.
“I think you might have dialed wrong, miss. This is the Mystical Medium Hotline. There’s no Eric here.”