I recently lost a friendship. I’ve lost friendships before, but this one is different, mainly because I have not told my former friend that we are not friends anymore. I haven’t told her, because I’m afraid of her.
Leah, my non-friend, recently played “Starlet Ghost” on an episode of Celebrity Ghost Stories, and because she did that, we are no longer friends–because I’m really, really afraid of ghosts.
More than failure, or being a waitress forever, or office jobs, or even my cat’s well-being, I am concerned about visitors from beyond our plane of existence. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had to close all closet doors in my bedroom, out of fear that I’ll wake up in the middle of the night, look up, and see a fucking ghost in the doorway. I face all mirrors away from my bed at night, so that I don’t look up at 4AM and see a fucking ghost staring out at me from the Other World. And now, I’m afraid of Leah, because she is a ghost in my mind. This was Leah before she became LeahGhost:
This is LeahGhost watching herself as Starlet Ghost on TV:
My fear of ghosts has also affected my professional life, especially since the last job I had was in a haunted office. When I was working as a receptionist many moons (a couple months) ago, I opened the office most mornings, which meant being the first and only person there for about an hour and a half. For a full week, I came in and the office television was on, even though I was the first person there and no one ever used that TV. Even creepier, it was always on a channel that I never knew existed: opera previews. At all times, there were previews for operas playing on that channel; big-busted women with meaty forearms in jezebel makeup, screaming in agony. Creepier still, when the other receptionist opened, the TV was never on.
That same week, about ten minutes after I’d gotten into the office and turned the TV off, I heard what sounded like, I do not exaggerate, a nuclear power plant alarm going off. I was so scared that a murdered factory worker had come back from the grave in the form of a siren, I called maintenance to come up and check on it. The maintenance guy came in, told me he liked my pants-suit, and that he had “had one just like it back in 70’s,” then walked flippantly into the back of the office. I fully expected to hear an anguished cry and then see his disembodied head roll out into the reception area, but instead he jaunted back in about 10 seconds later, and tossed me a cell phone someone had left at their desk. The volume was on full, and the alarm was going off.
And then I saw the office ghost. Same week, same scenario, I came in and turned on all of the lights, turned the TV off after oogling the singer’s goodies for a couple minutes, sat down at the reception desk, and looked up to see a man walk out of the kitchen and into the back office. I screamed. However, the reception area is encased by glass, and it’s the only office on that floor, so no one came running in to help. I sat there, completely still and sweating profusely, for about ten minutes. I went through all the possibilities–there was only one way into the office, it had been locked, all the lights were off–and concluded that I had just imagined it. I hummed “Kumbaya” a couple times and got up the nerve to walk into the kitchen to get some coffee.
I walked into the back office and saw it. There it was, the ghost, in a grey maintenance outfit, pretending to wash a window. It was the same maintenance guy who had answered my call for help when the nuclear power plant was threatening to combust. He turned around and said, “Hey.” I slowly backed out of the room. Even creepier, I never saw him leave the office that morning, and I didn’t see him ever again during my time at that office. Every time someone called maintenance, a different guy came.
Since then, I have concluded that one of two things must have happened:
1) The maintenance man died during the time between answering my call for help and coming back to wash the windows, and that was his ghost taking care of unfinished business.
2) He was always a ghost, but still takes occasional maintenance gigs.
Still, I cannot be friends with LeahGhost, even though she stayed my friend after she learned that I am secretly Thor.