Richard scowled and checked his watch. 10:15. A bit late to be starting the day but after all, who was watching? He stepped into the hall, turned for the stairs and nearly thumped into Heidi, who was carrying a spectral tea cup and muffin. An elaborate series of dance steps ensued and the two avoided collision.
Richard managed to grab a handful of tookus, en passant as it were. Not bad for an old broad he thought, and not for the first time.
“Uh-oh!” said Heidi, “One of those days, is it?”
“Noonish in the spare bedroom for a little hurgely burgely?” he suggested.
“If you think your burgle is up to it I will gladly hurgle you into a coma” said Heidi and winked. “Deal?”
“Deal!” agreed the ever affable Richard
His affability waned when he entered the kitchen. There was Victor, doing his God’s gift routine, and his sweet Violet, hyperventilating as usual. Belching thoughtfully he pulled the fridge door open.
[No, not Violets refrigerator door. Richard could no more open a material door than he could bench press a Buick. He opened the spectral door, of course!]
Ah! There among Violets neatly arranged health foods, lovingly made and neatly labeled deserts and casseroles and organic veggies were his spectral Coors and half a cold pizza. He tossed the latter on the counter and cracked the former, took a healthy swig.
He engulfed half of the first pizza slice with one manly gulp, and belched again.
Victor. A lawyer, for the love of God. He picked a bit of sausage from his slice and flicked it casually. It struck Victor just to the right of his cosmetically altered nose, clung for a bit and then slid down his cheek to drop to his tie, before disappearing into the ether.
Richard smiled wistfully. Oh, it was amusing enough to besmuttle Vic with random ghostly food items, or cat by-products or perhaps to fill up his shoe when the ghostly beer had worked its magic but ultimately it was profoundly unsatisfying. Victor could not see, feel or otherwise detect such shenanigans and it pissed Violet off mightily when she noticed.
“Hmmm”, thought Richard, “I guess I’m running under her spook detection threshold today. Ah well, how soon they forget.”
Richard finished his pizza, tossed the carton in the trash where, after a few seconds it faded to nothingness. He drained the Coors and turned again to the trash when a thought struck him. Crushing the can into a tiny ball he rolled his shoulders by way of loosening up. Thus loosened he stepped into an open spot, wound up and delivered the high heater that had made him the terror of his high school baseball league.
It struck Victor between the eyes with a satisfying “poink!” which only a phantom could have heard. Ricocheting off the toaster it bounded high into the air and vanished.
Frowning slightly Victor waved a hand in front of his face.
“What?” said Violet.
“Bit early for mosquitoes, isn’t it?’ Said Victor; glancing around. “Well anyway, as I was just pontificating…”
“Oh HO!” thought Richard, “Oh ho-de ho ho!” He felt that! A few years and who knows what wonders a brick might accomplish?
Turning, he regarded the cellar door. “Dickie, me boy”, he thought, “it’s time you took a little walk.”
Richard took one last look at the duo decorating the kitchen, shook his head and stepped through the unopened cellar door. He drifted down the stairs.
“Damn.” he thought, “Just look at my chisels and power tools. She never uses them but worse she never cleans or oils them. Women!”
Resuming normal bipedal locomotion he strode to his work bench. The Garcia Y Vega cigar box was exactly where he had left it last. It held the special chalk he needed, along with other more mundane markers. He reached through the cover and plucked out the worn white cylinder.
Stepping to the brick wall at the north end of the cellar next to the oil burner he searched out the faded remnants of his last visit. There on the wall were the vague outlines of a door sized rectangle equipped with a round doorknob and two hinges. He scrawled over the existing lines, enhancing the image. Satisfied he returned the chalk to Mr. Vega’s care.
“Whoever wrote Beetlejuice knew a hell of a lot more about the afterlife than he should know and still be breathing”, he reflected, “the damned sand sharks for example…”
The thought faded as he squared himself in front of the drawing. Reaching out he could actually feel a doorknob under his fingertips. He grasped it, twisted, pulled and stepped through into…
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