Friday, May 1, 2009

Ghost Story V

This is part 5 of a Ghost Story. Part 1 is here, and Part 2 here. Part 3 is about lesbians. Part 4 is here. Part 6.

"Ok Nadine, I want to tell you something now, about myself, but I'm afraid to. It could ... it could change how you see me entirely."

Nadine's eyes swiveled from her busy desk and out from the computer screen, blue and enlarging. "But I can already see you, Peter," she said.

"I don't mean the camera," said Peter, putting his hand over his face, miserably. "You would never have seen something like this just through the Chat." He was sat on the office chair in a reclined position, leaning as far back as possible, and supported by the server rack. The Wisconsin Paranormal Society didn't believe in cute posters saying "I Want To Believe" or "Xenu is Coming", but even if they had, their reticulan walls were hidden behind clusters of microphones, video cams and such electronics. And books. Stacks of books, from the ground up.

In the computer screen, Nadine had unfurled like a woken cat. Her blue eyes were now almost as large as the entire screen. "Tell me," she said, soothingly.

Peter straightened up and peered at her. "Really? Can I trust you? What we've built here?" On the screen, Nadine nodded, affirming to Peter that this was real, and actually happening. Sometimes he needed to be nudged like that. Peter lowered his head, and thought for a while. "I have," he said then, raising his hand slowly to the side of his head, and then strangely -- like a snake -- wrapping it around, so that his fingers ended up directly on top, "a bald patch, Nadine. Here." He spread the fingers around the top, to indicate the location and extent of this patch, then shot his eyes directly into the monitor, into her oases of blue.

For a long time, Nadine simply stared back at Peter from the computer screen. He stared right back, too frightened to flinch. Then, Nadine broke into a small giggle, but it was very short, quickly replaced with a warm smile. "I know about your bald patch, silly," she said.

Peter got off his chair, pointing a finger into the monitor. "No way. How could you know?"

"You can see it whenever you lower your head a little to look at the keyboard," said Nadine, still smiling, but at this point, also laughing a little at him.

Peter fell back into his chair, a couple of fingers in his mouth. Was this true? Then a small sly smile broke around those fingers. "So you're not going to leave me?"

"Of course not bab--" A phone rang, interrupting her. "What is that?" asked Nadine. The phone kept ringing, and it was extremely loud.

Peter tried to check all the programs on his computer, but he couldn't find anything resembling a ringing telephone. It was only then that he looked around the room. "I think -- I think there is actually a real telephone somewhere in here," he said to Nadine. Her eyes grew even larger.

"Who uses real phones anymore?" she said, and when the next ring rang, put her hands to her ears. "Uggh. Pick it up, it's horrible!"

But Peter was already searching frantically, pushing boxes aside. He rummaged, scattering books, and upturning microphone stands.

"Aaaargh!" screamed Nadine from the digital surround speakers. "Make it stop!"

"I'm trying, Nadine," yelled Peter, his head wedged behind the kitchenette. There was no telephone back there.

"Try to look under the frozen mice boxes, it could be under those," said Nadine, who was now trying to peer into the room from the computer screen.

Peter sighed heavily. Then, pretending to be searching, he scampered under the computer table and disconnected the Internet cable. Nadine's screams immediately vanished, only to be replaced by a different sharp pain in his ears. It was the telephone, still ringing. "Idiot," muttered Peter, as he pulled the infernal thing from behind the computer tower, disconnecting all kinds of other cables and plugs in the process. "That damn idiot! Hiding the damn telephone behind the damn computer!"

Sat on the floor now, he watched the phone ring one more time, then pulled the receiver to his ear.

At first there was nothing but his own breathing. Then a man said timidly -- perhaps even frightenedly, "Uh. Is this ... is this Egon? Egon Spengler?"

Peter was still panting from his runabout, and looked, puzzled, at the receiver. Then he remembered. "Oh, that. That. No, his name is actually Ehud. I don't know wh--" A panicked voice squawked from the other end. "Yes, this is the Wisconsin Paranormal Society. Sir, calm down," replied Peter. But the man on the other end only squawked louder. Peter rolled his eyes, and listened. "Well, why didn't you call the police, instead?" he said, after some time. "They know how to deal with missing ki --"

At that point, Ehud walked into the room, and after experiencing an initial state of shock as to the demolition of the Society, glared at Peter, who was now laying on the floor, apparently chatting to someone on the -- the telephone! "Give me that," yelled Ehud, running across the room. Midway, he tripped on a rudimentary Faraday Box, and landed sliding till his face bumped into Peter's left kidney. He snatched the phone, and screamed into it. "Hello!"


  1. This is my favorite part so far!

    "I think -- I think there is actually a real telephone somewhere in here" - priceless!