Saturday, October 29, 2016


Breaking Up Is Always Hard

My old ghoul friend dropped by last week.  I was surprised to see her.  Not because the last time we had been face-to-face she was in an open casket.  I always knew she'd come back as a ghoul.  She said she didn't have any other place to go, and it was almost Valentines Day, and we had had such good times when she was alive, etc. What could I do? Slam the door in her face?

OK, her death was totally not my fault.  I wasn't even there. It was a Darwin Award kind of thing. "Hey, hold my beer." Except she'd been drinking Margaritas. I don't want talk about it. Roof boarding is one thing, but the Boulevard is six lanes wide!

“Look, I'm really sorry about what happened,” I said, “but you have to understand it changes things between us.  A lot.  For one thing, I want children.”  Not to mention what my live girlfriend would think about sharing with my ex-girlfriend! And where would she sleep? I didn't know how to put this delicately, but I wasn't as attracted to her as I once had been.

The problem was, Sharon had nothing to do but follow me around, and eat.  In life she had kept busy all the time.  She hadn't liked TV then, and it didn't hold her attention now.  I made sure to keep raw meat for her, after a couple of neighbors posted “lost dog” signs. Syl, my current girlfriend, grew increasingly suspicious about “my ghoul cousin from Iowa,” who was “visiting for a few days.”

“Sean, I've seen how your cousin looks at people, and pets.  Is her father the uncle who ran a daycare and went to prison for child molestation?”

“No!! And that was probably consensual...ok, maybe not. But she's from another branch of the family. Never met him." (This last was true.)

“And she's weird.  Her teeth are so BIG.  No wonder she can hardly talk.  Poor thing.”  That tender spirit's one of the things I love about Syl. We ended up with me promising to "do something."

Sharon needed a job.  It was the only way to keep her from wrecking my home life.  I made a few calls and discovered that finding regular employment for a ghoul can be a challenge.  Seasonal work in late
October, sure, bit parts in B movies, occasional “he'll-crap-his-pants” jobs wherever twentysomethings or college students get drunk – it's not enough for groceries, and the last thing I needed was her foraging in town.  Then I saw a display of king cakes in the grocery store and had a brilliant idea.

“Sharon, I found a great gig for you.  One word: New Orleans.”

“Thash two worsh.”

“You know what I mean.  Year-round employment in the old cemeteries. It's just like living near a college campus, but it's every night and they don't usually puke on you. They take tourists in those places and they want to be scared.  Don't take this the wrong way, but you're a natural now.”

She took a little convincing, but the thing I most worried about, that she was still in love with me, was a non-issue.  

"Thawn. I know I uthed to love you, but I'm thorry. I thtayed because I had nowhere elth to go. I took adbantage ob your thympathy. I habe other intereth now."

"So you prefer making tourists wet their pants to being with me.  I guess the dead really are different." I was surprised to realize that I sounded bitter. My feelings were hurt. Rejection is rejection.

Syl, on the other hand, was down with the situation as soon as she heard about it. She'd arranged job interviews with New Orleans tour companies and bought Sharon a bus ticket before I could get over being dumped by a dead girl.


Publ. The Simian Abduction, 2010

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