11 June 2010

"Dickly Departed"

By Curtis C. Chen

"Why do military types use so many abbreviations?" Erva asked.

"Why do lawyers use so many Latin phrases?" Densin replied.

She closed her book, leaned toward the other side of the bed, and planted a sloppy kiss on his nose. He made a face, put down the file folder he was reading, and used both palms to wipe away her saliva with exaggerated swipes.

"I hate it when you do that," he said.

"I know," she said, smiling. "Gotta pee."

"My wife, the romantic."

The ghost appeared while Erva was sitting on the toilet. She did her best to ignore it, hoping it would go away, but the luminous form kept crowding her while she washed her hands. It shoved one arm under the running faucet and fouled the water. Erva sighed.

"Den!" she called into the bedroom. "Your friend is back."

Densin rolled out of bed and plodded into the bathroom, grumbling all the way. As soon as the ghost saw him in the doorway, it drifted away from Erva. Densin waited until the glowing figure was flying across length of the bathroom, then took one big step back.

The ghost pancaked against the invisible plane separating the bathroom from the bedroom. It wiggled and shimmered, trying to free itself.

"I wish you wouldn't do that," Erva said, putting her hands on her hips. "Now it's going to be glowing there all night."

"We can close the door," Densin said.

"And how am I supposed to get out now?" Erva crouched down, looking for a space between the ghost and the door frame large enough for her to slide past without touching the specter. There was none. "Great. I just washed my hair, too."

Densin knelt down to study one of the ghost's tattered sleeves, which was vibrating just beneath one of the door hinges. "What's the big deal? We're just going to bed."

Erva stood and folded her arms across her chest. "Well, at least one of us wanted to do something before going to sleep."

"What?" Densin looked up at her. "Oh."

Erva shook her head. "I swear, sometimes you're like talking to a brick wall."

"We can still do it," Densin said. "You won't smell that bad."

"I know you won't be able to smell it," Erva said, "but I'll be able to feel it. Forget it. Just throw me a blanket and a pillow. I'll sleep in the tub until this thing goes away." She waved at the ghost.

"No, come on! We can figure something out."

"Blanket. Pillow." Erva turned away from him and stepped into the tub. "Sleep."

Densin sighed and stood up. The ghost's half-decayed face was contorted into what might have passed for a shit-eating grin.

"Asshole," Densin muttered.


Photo: greeting dummy at Pearson Air Museum, October, 2009