There is a time and place for everything. So right now I declare this the right time and place for a little bit of bizarro. There may be a point to this or maybe there isn’t. Maybe this is just the strange imaginings of a very very strange man. I don’t mean me of course. I’m ok. I have the papers that say so and every thing. Really… quit looking at me like that…
They call me free. But I never quite understood what that meant really. Happens when you’re dead awhile I think. After a long time you lose a sense of what life might have been like.
It isn’t a huge change, not really. You know what they show in the movies, that ghosts can’t really interact with the mortal world and what not. But that isn’t true, not entirely. I’ve tossed a stone or two in my day. After a while it gets old. Never thought of that did you.
Ya, you get tired of it all after a time. I don’t know, maybe it was a couple hundred years that I stopped paying attention anymore. I had to move on, but with no where to go. I just settled. Like a mountain, I settled.
I dropped down into my own small space away from everything else, a coffee can. It was empty, I had enough room to squeeze in. This is the advantage of being a ghost. Sure we can still feel things. Our bodies are malleable. I can form myself into any shape I feel like throwing myself into.
Wow, I just realized I have been blabbering for a good few minutes and you have no idea what I am even talking about. Course, you aren’t really listening are you. Yes you, bald guy on the park bench. Nothing…
Happens every time. Ghosts can feel and shape themselves and be all spooky. The living ignore us in their efforts to get on with their lives. Talk about being left out in the cold.
I’ve been making my rounds through this section of town for years now. Bus route 354 takes me through the theater district. Talk about some crazies. I think some of them have a chance, a chance, to see me half the time. Something about their personalities and maybe some heavy coke use.
No I am not stereotyping. I’m a friggan ghost for Jiminy’s sake. All you fleshies look the same to me either way. The coke though, call it a vibe. We can feel it. It’s a bit of psychic residue that permeates the air around the fleshies hopped up on it. I hate touching fleshies on a normal day but one hopped up on coke, makes my skin crawl.
Anyway, I’ve spent some time on this route. I’ve seen quite a bit too. More than just the coked out theater freaks. Like this one time, we made a stop in a bad section. Not judging, there’s this line right, it’s something you can see as you pass through the neighborhoods.
There’s this line that marks the change in economic status of the people who live in the neighborhood. It isn’t gradual. Like I said it’s a line. As soon as you cross the line you end up in the run down poor section. Makes me want to see the backyards of the houses at the line. Can you imagine, one yard is all tightly trimmed and the other, just over the fence, is patchy and barren. Probably used car parts and such scattered all over the place. Or maybe remnants of children’s toys half buried in the earth like modern day fossils.
It’s a detritus of the modern age. This section of town wasn’t always like this. I overheard a couple fleshies talking one time about some factory that used to exist around here. The place closed down and put a number of em out of work. Wow, that was some time ago. I can barely imagine work anymore. Guess that all goes back to money or something.
You ever been so hungry that it hurt, like your body feeding on itself. And there is nothing you can do about it. Shooting pains that begin in your center but travel through and carry up and down your torso. Shocks to your legs, trembling with weakness and pain. There I go again. Off on a tangent.
I think that might be the real difficulty of being dead. I can’t seem to contain my focus through a full interior monologue. Or maybe it is the same monologue I have had for the past millennia or something like that.
The bald guy isn’t much for company of course. I push and blow at his head and he just pulls his hat down tighter. A red and blue trucker’s hat covers his head, the kind with the mesh back. It’s a bit like looking through a screen door at the shiny bald scalp. He must shave and polish the thing. Like maybe he’s proud of his baldness. But then why would he wear a hat? Fleshies, right?
He’s been on the bus with me for a while now. Hasn’t moved from the spot. Still breathing, I watched the rise and fall of his chest for a while. He’s been asleep for a bit. Strange really, how he shut himself off to the world around him.
“What the hell are you doing?” That voice, I knew it well. Saltwater Sal. She drown near the docks a while back. Mean bitch. Every now and then the bus would pick her up when she wandered the streets. “I said what the hell are you doing?”
I couldn’t hide from her. Not now at any rate. She saw me and seriously what could I do, jump off the bus? That’s crazy talk. I told you ghosts can still feel things right? I’m not prepared to feel the smack and drag of the pavement across my back. It takes weeks for that to heal and every moment is intense pain. We don’t have the benefit of pain drugs like fleshies. So all you feel is little needles that rip and tear at your nerves for weeks on end.
“Who are you,” she said. Her face, bloated and puffy inches from my own. Never works to play fleshie with another spirit. You can tell right? I mean seriously spirits aren’t nearly as oblivious to the world around them as the fleshies are.
“Fuck off,” I said. I made my stand strong in the face of ghostly might. Well if you could call it might anyway. She had this energy about her. Always did have it from the first time I met her anyway. Something about the power of the salt water that mingled with her ghostly spirit. Intensified its strength and magnitude.
That’s a thing right. Ghosts have spirits associated with the place they died. Different places gave them a different stink of death, different texture to their ghostly flesh. They could sense things differently based on where they came from. They also had a different temperament based on where they died. Fleshies think it has something to do with how they die, but that is just fantasy and speculation. It all comes back to where they died.
And Sal, she was a downright bitch. The saltwater ate at her corpse as she died. Mutated and bloated with the power of the sea. She raged and stormed like a hurricane most of the time. I always hoped she would blow by when she came at me. Sometimes it worked but that was only sometimes. The bitch came in with the tides and if you caught her at the wrong time she would be in full flow.
“I’m just passing through, Sal.” I couldn’t lie to her. Funny thing that, the one thing we tend to lose when we lose our earthly ties is our abilities at subtlety. Ghosts just don’t have it in them to lie. This doesn’t help with attitudes when you meet another ghost at the wrong time but they can never say you lied to them. Imagine a world of total bluntness. Crazy right. It never ends.
She drifted away. As the bus pulled away from her moorings she was shifted out and away from the bus. I didn’t have to talk to her, didn’t have to fight against the surf of her onslaught. Some ghosts had issues like her. They couldn’t drift too far away from their death location. Seems like that is one of the things that fleshies got right.
All that makes up a ghost is tied to their location of death. Most of them can’t leave where they started, they can’t wander the earth in their misery. And then there are the ones like me.
I died on the bus. It’s been my home for ages it seems. I can’t move outside its space but I can wander the whole of it. My nights are boring when the bus is shutdown for repairs and such. Imagine spending all your time in a dirty garage and never being able to get out in the public and mix it up.
Remember when I mentioned the bit about how a ghost is tied to their location of death. It molds and shapes the spirit. Most times when a fleshie does experience that I am there, they have been known to smell burning rubber, torn flesh.
It was the accident that brought me about. The memory comes to me in flashes. I sat behind the driver that night. I’m not even sure how I know that. I feel cold when I walk to that part of the bus though. It isn’t a comfortable place for me. You’d think that it would be the most comfortable place for me on the whole damn bus but it never works that way.
Maybe that’s the whole thing about it. People like Saltwater Sal become angry and bitter because of the pain of their death space. Trapped forever to roam the space around it but never able to call it home. At least not in a way that you can be comfortable in the experience.
West 8th street, I can always feel it when we pass through that section of the road. Much like the area behind the bus driver, I feel iceberg cold when we cross West 8th. The bus had been slammed by a dump truck there. Right in the side.
I have no clue how they managed to save the bus. They couldn’t save me but they could save the bus. I was the only one to die in the accident. The driver took some minor damage. I can still see it now. His left arm broke at the forearm. Snapped right in half. Bone ripped through the flesh and he could do nothing to break himself free of the seat. He had no strength to undo the seatbelt that held him firmly in place.
It didn’t matter for me. I slammed across the bus to the other side. My head exploded out the window, shards of glass sliced and tore the flesh from my neck and skull. Nothing was left of me after that. They couldn’t save me. The bastards couldn’t do it. They had nothing, nothing to break me free of my pain and torment.
That’s right, I didn’t die right away. It took hours. Hours in a limbo of half life and all pain. As you die you don’t really become numb to the pain. Hell, once your dead you never really forget the pain that brought you there.
You’re just dead right? Death and pain go hand in hand. And there is no end to the torment of the pain. Stuck forever in the place where you died to suffer forever the torments of the pain that brought you there.
Look at them, the few fleshies that still sat on the bus. Cold unfeeling fleshies. They know nothing of pain, nothing of the half life that waits for them when they will breathe no more. I could show them. I’ve done it before. One day I will do it again.
The red lights of the stop request flash around me, a blinding torment that continues to assault my eyes until the bus comes to a complete stop. The bald guy is getting off, survived another day on the bus.