The internet is my new devil and facebook is crack for the fearful. On another note, I started another story and it might take over. It makes more sense and is seemingly falling into place. There is a long way to go and I'm not sure but I think I am supposed to finish one before I jump to the next. The odd adventure is moving along pretty well but I'm kinda hooked on this new one. Here's the opening bit that I did so far today. If anyone is chummy with a publisher or agent, I'm all kinds of ears.
memoir of the untold. a ghost story.
I was never one for writing. It's a tough thing. Saying what you mean and not just doing what you need. Not much of a talker, either. I guess I'm a pretty boring person and I still am. This story isn't about me. It's someone else's but they aren't around to tell it and I have been forced by circumstance to be the one. I guess it won't make sense if you don't know my part. What I read on writing a book said to start at the beginning. Problem is, I don't know where the beginning would be but I figure I'll just start where I started.
A year and a week ago, I moved into the North Street Lofts. I was in the tailslide of a bad breakup. I couldn't afford the apartment I was living in without the two-faced whore's part or me taking a second job. I hated having some punk tell me what to do too much to have a second jackass tell me what to do so I could make the rent. Besides, I needed to move out of the place with it's nasty history. The halls reminded me of her and every few minutes I would think about the misery she created, using my heart as a tool of its own destruction. So I packed what shit I had left and found a new place downtown. I liked that, feeling like I was in a real city and not just the wannabe version the rest of this foul river town feels like.
The North Street Lofts are old projects or public housing or whatever you want to call them that had been gutted and redone in the contemperory style. I'm confused by that name. How long can that mean what it means before it's wrong. Words ain't my game and so I'll just let it be. Number 108, that's the one I got. It's a two bedroom. Some clothes, a stereo, my bike, and my paints. I'm not an artist. I just make copies of other stuff. The last one I did was a Lady looking in a mirror by Picassso. I give them away. I haven't bought a Christmas or birthday present in ten years. It took Patrick, my best friend, and me one afternoon to get it done. I don't have a car. I ride my bike everywhere. People think a thirty-seven year old man must have a car. They also think a lot of other stupid things.
I work at a Circle K. Maybe I am a loser, like the bitch said, but I don't hate myself.
The apartment has an old tub, cement floors and brick walls. Everything else is new and shiny with no buttons or knobs. Clean, that's the way it is supposed to feel. That feeling didn't last for long. They built the building in the fifties and fucked up things happen in this town and even more fucked up things happen in the projects.
I put my dishes where they go and all the other civil details of normal living. I was at work for the next week. I would ride around for an hour or so on my way home and make myself tired. I didn't want to resort to drinking my way through the breakup and I couldn't go to bed and wake up on the other side. After getting home and taking a shower, I spent another hour cleaning. I like order. Some call me anal but I find it better than being a slob. People are so dirty and they leave traces of their nastiness everywhere, like slugs. I hate slugs. Have you ever stepped on one barefoot? It's as enjoyable as you may imagine.
I don't know when it started happening but I do know when I noticed it. It was on March 21st. I came home from my aunt's funeral. Her various cancers finally caught up to her. I came in and took my clothes off and put them over the back of my painting chair. I went to the hall closet to find a change from the black church clothes. I went for jeans and a t-shirt. It was a nice spring morning and I thought I might go to the park and stare at the sun through the back of my eyelids. After changing, I went back to hang my nice clothes up. Most of it was where I left it but my tie was hanging over the door knob. It was not where I left it and I knew that. I could think of no real reason and so I decided I might have a ghost in my apartment.
I treated ghosts a lot like god. I've never had a reason to believe them. The world is nonsensible enough as is. But I found it silly to discredit them. Why would some try so hard to say they are imaginary? What do they benefit? They are the ones who want to tell kids that Santa is a dime store creation. I think they just like to feel like everyone else is wrong. The point is that I figured I had a ghost and found it odd but not fucked. What better way to learn about them than to live with one, right?
When I don't know nothing about something, I go find someone who does. If they don't know then it's just the way it is and we aren't supposed to know. I got on my bike and rode to the psychic place on Madison. One thing about riding everywhere is that you know where all the hidden places are. Cars move too fast and take the real out the neighborhood. They are only good at getting you where you're going and keeping you dry. I don't mind getting wet. It's a cleanse that the shower can't do. She wasn't open yet so I went down the street and read the paper. The news is supposed to be new but it sure never seems to change around here. Someone got shot, some fat cat stole something, a bloated guy hit a ball real far, and some place got blown up. After half a pot of coffee and flipping through the paper, I figured the lady was there and I went back over. It was like I figured with beads and the gypsy cloths and bells. It smelled like Morocco, or what I thought Morocco smelled like. She wants to do the crystal ball or the cards and I just want to learn about ghosts.
“Honey, you have to know about yourself so you can find out who this spirit was. No person is more desperate for attention than a ghost but that's because you have to be able to know the boundaries of yourself so well that you can sense the nearness of the spirit's.
"Some people say to learn the history of the space and you may find some of the clues. It makes sense. Once you can, you start to learn the ghost's story and it if you do, you might be the one to release him. He may be stuck here forever but I doubt that. Does that help, can I read your palm?”
I didn't feel like the rest of the stuff so I gave her twenty dollars for the information and left. My next step was to the library. Public records might have who stayed there. If something really screwed happened than it should be in the paper at some point.
Research made people smarter twenty years ago. Now you just type in the question and the answer appears. I recall searching through stacks of books to find what I needed. It was a treasure hunt and the incidental effect was that I would read about all the other weird things in the New Organic Journal of 1967 or whatever it was that I was nose deep in. This is not to say I did a whole lot of reading. Most of my school years were spent skipping class and doing nothing with my friends. We talked about doing all manner of things but we really didn't do much but waste a whole shitpot of perfect time. I know the teachers knew we were cutting because we were bored. They should do something about that. Give kids like us something to do. We all know we shouldn't be left to our own devices, teenage boys just want to tear it up. It turned out, none of us lost an eye, but my friend Oliver did blow off a piece of a finger.
“I know who I am.” I told myself as I left. It didn't take me two blocks to question that answer so fully as to realize that I did not know myself. I decided to become far more disciplined. It seemed like the best way was to shut the world out and live within tight rules. I don't mind rules, I merely hate exceptions to the rule.(that is my favorite line of anything I have ever written.)