Friday, March 15, 2013



I can see ghosts! Did you know that? Yes, I can see them, but there's only one problem. They all need my help.

This is Gladys. She died over 20 years ago, and she needs my help setting a few things right before she can move on. Basically it has to do with an argument over actor Raul Julia. She and her sister Marie were having lunch in 1987 at a now closed Greek restaurant called "Dino's pizza Parthenon and salad bar." Gladys was having the stuffed grape leaves and her sister was having a side salad with dressing on the side. Marie and Gladys were having a heated debate about the 1986 Oscars or the 58th Annual Academy Awards. At first, they were both in agreement that a lovely film like Out of Africa should  have never been up against a film like Kiss of the Spider Woman (a film they had not seen of course, but they had heard from a friend that it was pure smut). However, the conversation turned hostile when they began to disagree on the name of the "hispanic gentleman" that had been in the film. Marie was sure that it was Andy Garcia, and Gladys was sure that it was Anthony Quinn. Well, Marie was sure that she had caught Gladys in a mistake because as everyone knows, Anthony Quinn was Greek. Gladys disagreed and an argument ensued until they were forced to ask the waitstaff of Dino's whether or not Anthony Quinn was Greek. Well, the busboy (a Portuguese man) and the waiter (Scotch Irish) both came down on opposite sides of the Anthony Quinn debate.  They even involved the owner of Dinos who turned out to be Lebanese and had simply named the restaurant due to his love of Greek mythology. In the end no one could be sure of what nationality Anthony Quinn was, although everyone agreed that Andy Garcia was Cuban. Two days later Gladys choked on a peach pit and since then she has been trying to get word from the other side to her sister Marie that she was right as Anthony Quinn was born in Mexico. She is however willing to admit that they were both wrong in a way because it was in fact Raul Julia who was in Kiss of the Spider Woman. He was born in Puerto Rico.

     This is Renee Chapman (on the left). Her friends called her "Renee Chapstick". Renee died tragically in a horrible fire. In 1998 she was babysitting and had decided to reward the children with homemade smores. Well the children were so excited that they neglected to remember that they did not have a fireplace and therefore could not melt marshmallows properly. However, they had their hearts set on smores, and Renee was reluctant to disappoint them as she had been the one to suggest smores in the first place. Eventually Renee realized that she could probably melt the marshmallows on a gas stove top. The children were delighted, until they realized that they in fact did not have a gas stove, but an electric stove top. Well, by then the smores frenzy had reached a fever pitch, and Renee was hellbent on providing the children with the promised treat. Eventually, Renee decided to place the entire smore in the microwave. Although the graham crackers became soggy, on the whole the smores were melted enough to every one's liking and the children went to bed happily. As the children slept, Renee cleaned up the mess that making smores in the microwave had created. She realized that in their haste to check the stove for it's melting abilities, they had  also left the oven on and a small piece of last night's dinner that had fallen through the bottom racks and into the bottom of the oven was now smoking.  Panicked, Renee turned off the oven, and attempted to retrieve the smoldering piece of food. She reached deep into the oven and grasped frantically at the burned piece of food. Eventually, she was able to retrieve it with the help of plastic salad tongs. Unfortunately, the plastic tongs were unable to withstand the heat and they began melting. As she pulled the stray piece of charred food free, the plastic dripped from the tongs onto and onto her poly blend top causing it to singe. Well Renee, trained in fire safety, quickly placed the tongs in the sink and dabbed her shirt with cold water. She then proceeded to drink a root beer and fall asleep on the couch to an episode of the X-Files. Unfortunately, Renee had taken up smoking the previous week and she fell asleep with a lit cigarette in her mouth and half a root beer leaving a water stain on the coffee table. The whole house caught fire killing Renee and the two small children she had been hired to watch. Now she roams the netherworld lamenting her fate. When she came to me to pass a message along to the living, I agreed hoping that it might give her family or the family of those poor children peace. Renee's only message however, was to her friend Arthur (seen on the right). It seems that Arthur is the friend who came up with the nickname "Renee Chapstick".  Renee wants Arthur to know that she has always hated the name, and that she thinks he's a dick.

Roberta Simmons has roamed the netherworld for many years. She can be found on the staircase of her mansion waiting for a passerby to whisper her ghostly tale in his or her ear. Hers is a story of desire, unfinished business and a death that came all to abruptly. Roberta died on that very staircase in what the police called "suspicious circumstances". She was very wealthy, and after her death a series of relatives and possible charlatans came out of the woodwork to claim her inheritance. I met with her at the stroke of midnight on the top of the stairs to hear her story and perhaps fulfill any last wishes that she may have regarding the placement of her wealth. Although I was able to communicate with Roberta from the spirit world, she would only speak to me about one subject. Roberta it seems was a fan of her local coffee and sandwich shop "Bagels on Broadway". She had a passion for poppy seed bagels and a large espresso. She was such a fan, that she had agreed to be part of the shop's promotional "coffee card club". Basically, the rules were simple. All Roberta had to do was purchase nine espressos (or bagel sandwiches) each time getting her card stamped. After the ninth stamp, her following trip to the coffee shop would be free. Roberta was not impressed at first by the promotion, but after realizing that she had made it to seven stamps, she began to relish the idea of a free tenth trip. Unfortunately, she was pushed down the stairs by her sister Maureen (Maureen has since fled to the Cayman Islands), and she was unable to get the last two stamps necessary for her tenth free cup. Her only request is that I find the coffee card, purchase two more cups of espresso, and acquire the remaining stamps necessary for the free tenth cup. Then, I am to take the free tenth cup of espresso and place it on her grave in a final act of triumph. Because the price of the two previous cups of coffee would come out of my pocket, I have not fulfilled Roberta's final wish. In an act of revenge, she has promised to haunt me for the rest of my days. I agreed and even suggested that for every nine hauntings, I would allow her to haunt me and a friend or family member of her choosing on the tenth day. She agreed, and was quickly disappointed to learn on day seven that I was an orphan who sees ghosts, and as such has no real friends.

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