Category Archives: Ghost Boy Blues

Ghost Boy Blues 22

Twenty-two

No one likes being evicted. Not even me. Charles Bruner thinks he’s being strong willed forcing me out of his body. In his defense, he probably isn’t aware there is a spiritual entity inside of him. Perhaps he sees me as just random thoughts that don’t belong in his well ordered head. When I was alive I’d felt that way myself on occasion. You know, when you get these off the wall, out of character thoughts and you go, “Where the hell did that come from?” Well, now you know…

It’s no doubt Bruner is a big fan of education, so he’s going to be my means of it. He will be the vessel in which I test my limits and abilities. He’s of a strong mind. The perfect test subject. If I can control him, I can control anyone. I don’t know why I’d want to be in control of anybody, but hey, I’m bored now. My crush, Anne, has left the building for today. What else am I supposed to do? Go to the study hall and throw ghost paper planes out the window?

So the eviction notice is ignored. I’m staying. This irritates Bruner at first. He tries to force me out of his mind. But I hold my ground. It is not easy. His will is like a moving wall crushing in on me. It makes me feel like Luke Skywalker stuck in the trash compactor while trying to rescue Princess Leia. And yes, Charles Bruner is a little short to be a stormtrooper. With that thought, his mind goes flying off into a whole myriad of Star Wars quotes and memorized scenes. Lucky for me, he is such a sci-fi nerd. Now his guard is down, his mind is free, and it’s all mine. I’m moving into the vacant apartment. I’m behind the wheel now, so to speak. He still has control of his motor abilities and most of his mind, but I’m like the Student Driving Instructor. If I need to take over to avoid a crash, I feel like I can.

Bruner closes his locker and heads for his next class. The last one of the day. He sighs, lamenting in his head that he feels woozy and doesn’t know why. I’m not sure which class he has. I’m letting him steer and now he guides us directly into the path of Mrs. Meliora, the most evil teacher in the whole school.

To say she is evil is probably unfair, but the consensus amongst most students is she is downright unfriendly and mean. When we run into her, I pull myself, or I should say Bruner, up short. She always had it out for me I’m thinking, but then I realize she isn’t seeing me but one of the best students in the whole school.

Instead of a scowl, she smiles, and it has to be the most alien thing I ever saw in my life. “Charles,” she says, “you better hurry. The bell is about to ring. You know my expectations with being in time.”

If I’d been in my own body instead of this one, she wouldn’t have said it as pleasantly, but she appears to like her student Charles. In fact, it appears she likes him more than a teacher is supposed to. I say this because she puts her big paws on our back and rubs it gently. Gently, as in sensual. This can’t be. Is she trying to hit on Charles? Hey, I don’t care what school you are in, teacher student relations are pretty much frowned on. To be honest, her touch serves to do nothing except make me feel uncomfortable. And that soon turns to anger as she continues to rub Bruner’s back. When she turns away I go to grab my crotch in every boy’s favorite show of defiance. The problem is there isn’t a crotch there. Or at least the kind I am accustomed to. That’s because, surprise surprise, let’s make school life interesting, Charles Bruner is a girl….

To Be Continued…

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“Ghost Boy Blues” 2018 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

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Ghost Boy Blues 21

Twenty-one

The Volkswagen drives off. Nothing so much as a wave goodbye. But from where the car had been parked, I see something else. It’s a figure sitting in the grass, their back against a tree. This is the spot where a lot of the students sit waiting for their rides. Today only one person is there, sitting and staring off into space, their face empty of emotion. Even from here however, I know they have been crying at some point, for I can see the streaks of dried tears. I’m a good distance away, but I can see these things clearly. I can also see it’s Donald Pluth.

My heart feels for him. Having fled the bullies and school itself, he’s now just sitting there as if waiting for the grass and weeds to grow up over top of him. I wish I could leave the school building and go over to him and tell him it wouldn’t always be like this. One day he’d free of bullies, but I’m not so sure of that. We are picked on mercilessly as kids, and I’m uncertain if we ever escape that. Perhaps we just trade in school bullies for those in the workplace as adults. Teasing at the water cooler. Harassment at the annual office party. A supervisor bullies you into quitting so he can hire his wife’s brother’s cousin. Perhaps bullying is a vicious whirlpool, and once we get caught in its current, it never stops until we drown in it.

Looking at Pluth, I wonder what he’ll be like when he grows up. Probably a timid shell of a man, scared of relationships and people in general. I hope that isn’t the case, but it’s still better than being me. Better than being bullied to death. Wait a second. Is that what happened to me? I don’t remember the details of my passing. Could fate be using Donald Pluth to tell me this is how I died? Is he the one to lead me to the light, to find my closure and die the way people are supposed to, peacefully and going on to Heaven, Nirvana, Valhalla, or whatever?

I wish I could remember. This really sucks being a ghost and not even knowing the details of your death. But maybe someone else does. Perhaps if I keep taking over bodies, inhabiting other skins, I’ll eventually find someone with that memory. Then I can relive it myself through someone else’s experience.

I turn away from the door. Anne won’t be back until at least tomorrow. Until then I can look for someone who knows why I’m like this. But before I can think about it too much, the bell rings signaling the end of another class. Doors open and students pour out into the hall. For the next ten minutes I know it will be chaos, as kids rush to lockers, then to the next class. With all the confusion, it is the perfect time to become someone else again. I’d done it twice before, and each instance had been somewhat bizarre, if not eye opening. So I close my eyes, take a deep breath, hope for a better experience. And take a leap.

I brace myself for the impact of colliding with another’s emotions, but the cacophony of thoughts are not emotional this time. There are no big secrets bubbling to the surface, no fear and anguish about bullies. Instead it’s a jumble of numbers and equations, a passage from “The Red Badge Of Courage”, the path of a maze in “Legend Of Zelda.” I don’t even have to open my eyes to know I’ve leaped inside Charles Bruner.

Bruner is the kid every parent wishes their kid was. He gets excellent grades, never misses a day or assignment. He is attentive in class and doesn’t participate in many extra curricular social activities. He’s one of the few kids who doesn’t have his own cell, but he does carry a pocket calculator that can translate up to seven different languages, so there. He’s clean cut, great hygiene, and most of all, never, ever gets into any kind of trouble. And though it seems he is ripe for bullying, the bad kids don’t mess with him. It’s like he is existing in a universe all his own. No one steps inside of it, and he certainly doesn’t step out of it.

But now I’ve stepped inside. I am Charles Bruner. And for a moment, he is me. There is nothing remarkable in my spectral head, so he manages to push my thoughts aside for his own. It throws him off for just a second and then he is back in control, the dominant mind between us. Now I’m just an observer, unable to make him do anything. It’s like I’ve taken a taxi that goes where it wants, no matter where you tell the driver to take you. And right now he is taking me towards his locker to switch out books for his next class.

We move down the hall, sliding past other students who pay him no mind. And he is so focused he isn’t paying them no mind either. In fact, he is thinking of an upcoming trip with his dad to the science museum. Lost in thought, he is on automatic, turning a corner, going up a staircase, around another corner and stopping at his locker. He works the numbers of the combination lock as if it were a Rubik’s Cube and opens the door. Before I can catch a glimpse of what’s inside, I see goth girl out of the corner of my eye. It’s easy to spot her. She stands out like a sore thumb with her Ghost BC shirt in a sea of students who don’t even know who that band is. Just more Satan stuff for a creepy girl.

But for me I’m excited to see her. She stands out to me in a good way, possibly the ticket to learning what happened to me. I still don’t know her name but I find myself yelling, “Hey!” Except it’s not me yelling. It’s Charles Bruner. And he doesn’t know why he yelled. I’m surprised by it too. He must have let his mind wander for a second, and then mine took over, if only for that brief moment.

Goth girl has stopped and turned. A look of surprise or annoyance on her face, I’m not sure which. “What!?” She declares to a confused Bruner.

He stammers, and for a second I think he’s scared of her. “Um…nothing,” he replies, now back in control of his mind. “Uh, sorry…I don’t know what…”

She doesn’t wait for him to finish. She turns away and resumes her way down the hall. I force his head to follow her. It’s not that I want to see where she is heading so I can catch up later. Not really. No, I’m watching her and wondering to myself why I never noticed her much before. Most of my peers, if they had been watching her walk away at this moment would have been thinking, there goes a freak. But I, and even Charles Bruner against his will, is thinking , there goes a girl on her way to being a woman. An old song my dad used to listen to, “Girl, you’ll be a woman soon” pops into my head, or I should say Bruner’s. He doesn’t seem to like it as much and gives me my eviction notice.

To Be Continued…

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“Ghost Boy Blues” 2018 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

Ghost Boy Blues 20

Twenty

“What’s wrong, Stella?”

Anne’s voice brings me out of my thoughts of superiority and makes me feel weak again.

“A boy is following us,” her aunt answers.

Anne turns her head to look behind. If she could see me, she’d be staring right at my face. As it is, I am invisible to her.

“No one is behind us,” she says.

“No one you can see. But he’s there, trust me.”

I want to scream at the woman and tell her to shut up. Even though I’d like Anne to know how much I like her, this isn’t the way I’d like to handle it.

“Aww,” Stella says. “I can feel his feelings.”

Now I’m really freaking out. I’ve always kept to myself, never revealed to anyone my innermost thoughts, but Stella seems to be able to pick them up like bread crumbs on a trail.

“He’s shy,” she continues apparently reading me as I’m thinking. “Oh..and I thinks he’s smitten with…”

“Stella, don’t do the ghost thing anymore, please.” Anne is very unnerved, looking all around her in a small panic. “You know they creep me out.”

Oh great, I was a creeper when I was alive, and even more so now. It’s just my luck. The one girl I’ve been crazy about and she doesn’t like ghosts. There must be a group of angels on a cloud somewhere having a smoke and a laugh at my expense.

Stella is smirking. “There’s nothing to be creeped out about, Anne. They are just like you and me, except dead.”

“Stella, stop it!”

“Okay, okay. I got it! No ghosts…”

She turns to me. “Hear that? She doesn’t like you. Now please buzz off!”

They are heading for the front doors. They are leaving. I don’t want Anne to go. She seems to be my purpose in all this. Everything I think about now leads to her. And I feel like Stella is taking her away forever.

I had a similar feeling last Summer at the Vans Warped Tour. Anne had been there with some of her friends. I had been there with…well, my dad. He had no interest in punk or emo, but his favorite 80’s rock band The Alarm was on the tour this year, so he decided to embarrass me to no end by insisting we both go. I’d wanted to go anyway, but to go to a music festival with one’s dad means you won’t be catching the eyes of any girl. You’ll just seem like a bigger loser than you actually are.

So anyway, The Alarm were onstage singing about love, hope, and strength, and I was trying to stay close to Anne and her friends, so I could work up the nerve to go and talk to her. It wasn’t like the time when I wanted to catch her at her locker and lay a kiss on her. That was a silly notion. No, this was more serious and not so pushy. I wanted to just introduce myself, see if she knew me, or had heard of me, anything to open the door and hopefully step into her world. But it hadn’t worked out. While I had been distracted by the band, and my dad’s very poor attempt at rocking out, she and her friends managed to disappear into the crowd. I ditched dad and walked through the crowds the rest of that day seeking for some kind of sign of her. I never could find her amongst all the screaming music fans, but hours later as I stood at the front gates, I spied her out in the parking lot. She was leaving the venue, moving away from me and every opportunity I would have. In desperation, I tried to call her name. But she couldn’t hear me. Just like today as I watch them go through those front doors and into the sun. Anne doesn’t even look back.

Today my determination is stronger than at Vans, though. I follow them through the door. Or at least I try to. I don’t quite make it. I can’t step over the threshold. There’s something there stopping me. It’s nothing I can see. It’s like an invisible wall, an impenetrable barrier that won’t let me go no further than the doorway. I try to get past it, or go around it, but I can’t. I beat my fists against it, raging at my apparent imprisonment. For some reason I am trapped here. Stuck in school forever.

I watch them go across the parking lot. Tears are welling up in my eyes. Part of it is sadness to see Anne leave. But another part is anger at my predicament. I lean against the invisible barrier, hoping someone will at least see my frustrated tears running down it, as if ghost tears are visible or something.

They get in Aunt Stella’s car. It’s a paisley VW beetle with a bumper sticker that reads: Co-exist. Yeah, like we can co-exist, the live and the dead. We have our own separate rules, and none of them seem to be compatible with the other. I wish I was dead. Just stone cold dead. Not existing on another plane like this. But I wish to be nothing. For my mind to be turned off so I can no longer have these human, living emotions. They seem worse now that I’m spirit and can’t do a thing with them. Maybe I shouldn’t even be chasing after Anne like this. Perhaps I need to let the notion go that I could be something to her.

Continue to Ep. 21

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Ghost Boy Blues 19

Nineteen

Stella, the self proclaimed ghost whisperer, doesn’t seem to stay in one spot for long. I notice how she moves about the room, never standing still for more than thirty seconds. To some this may seem like the behavior of someone who is loaded with nervous energy, but I believe it’s for protection. She keeps watching me out of the corner of her eye as I’m going to lunge at her or heave a paperweight off of Deaner’s desk. I guess she’s not very popular with spirits. She doesn’t seem all that popular with her niece, either. It’s not that Anne doesn’t like her. I just think she embarrasses her. The assistant Principal and Guidance Counselor appear uncomfortable too, as they watch her saunter around the office, picking up things, touching this or that, as if she can pick up psychic vibrations or something.

“I thought of being a teacher once,” she says, though it’s not clear who she is really talking to, them or me. “But I wouldn’t be able to tell the live students from the dead ones.”

“Stella!” Anne shouts in irritation.

Her Aunt laughs. “Oh, relax Annie. I’m just playing. You know I love a good reaction.”

The other adults laugh with her, but it’s strained and nervous.

“Can we go now?” Anne protests.

The woman sighs. “Okay, okay. Let’s go see what Jeremy did to your mother this time.” She turns to Deaner. “Do I need to sign her out or something?”

“At the front office. Yes.”

“Well, it’s been a pleasure meeting you,” she says to them, then glances my way. At first, I think she is going to say something rude, but she just gives me a quick, condescending look, before saying to Anne, “Let’s go, chickie.”

Anne slings her backpack over her shoulder and breezes past her aunt. She doesn’t even speak to the other adults. Deaner tries to flash an encouraging smile in her direction and says, “Take whatever time you need. Hope your mother is going to be okay.”

Part of me wonders if the school staff would be half as nice to Anne if she wasn’t an honor student. Probably not. People like me, live ones that is, always get lost in the shuffle. We are too insignificant. No wonder the adult world holds so many distinct social classes. They train us to frown on others when we’re young.

Passing through the walls and emerging out in the main hallway, I see both Anne and her aunt Stella. They haven’t wasted any time and are moving down the corridor at a hurried pace. Stella is speaking to Anne in hushed tones but I am too far away to hear. I pick up the pace to catch up as they round a corner towards the main office. I manage to hear Stella say, “Your mother loves you Anne. It’s just she has always loved the men more.” Then they are in the office.

I don’t follow them in this time. I know they won’t be long. While I wait in the hall, I look over at the trophy case against the wall across from the office. I never have noticed it before. Never put much thought into such things as achievement. Inside the glass case, there are award plaques, trophy statuettes with names engraved on their bases, and other notable displays of the school’s best students. Of course, Anne is in there among them. A plaque for school spelling bee champion, a trophy for gymnastics regional champion, and a photo of her in costume as Galinda in the student production of Wicked. From this, one can determine that Anne Taynor is amazing. She is more than adept at spelling, sports, and singing. I beam with pride, though I don’t know why. She never gave a damn about me in life. She never even knew I existed, and even if she had, she wouldn’t have been interested in an underachiever like me. Girls like her don’t date the class loser. None of those things matter now of course. All I care about is that she’s happy, and when she and her aunt emerge from the office, I am determined to follow them out and make sure Anne is going to be okay.

I follow them down the hall as they head for the front doors. I see the afternoon sunshine coming through the glass. I wonder if when we get outside if I’ll be able to feel the warmth on my face. Or is that another thing that is completely lost on ghosts? I am pondering this when Stella turns around and looks at me. Her glare says she is irritated.

“Stop following us,” she says in a firm voice. “I know there’s something else you could be doing.”

For a moment I do stop, as if she has some kind of power over me. But then I realize, Hey, I’m dead. I don’t have to listen to her. I don’t have to listen to anyone.

Ghost Boy Blues 20

“Ghost Boy Blues” 2018 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

 

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Ghost Boy Blues 18

Eighteen

When you’re dead, thoughts come out of nowhere. They aren’t always linear, or even clear, but when they come, they seem to dominate everything else. Looking at Anne, she looks like a deer caught in headlights. I catch a quick vision of an oncoming car, a distraught Anne, an emptying of her soul. And then it is gone. Not only do thoughts come out of nowhere, they sometimes disappear before you can analyze them.

Before I can try to grasp the thought again, there is a light tap on the door, prompting Assistant Principal Deaner to say, “Come in.”

The school secretary, a white haired woman whom some say has been here just as long as the building has, poked her head inside. “Pardon the intrusion, but Miss Taynor’s Aunt is here.”

I breathe a soft sigh. Despite being spirit and without form, a room can still get stuffy and claustrophobic. Deaner’s office might be simple and quaint, but I feel like I might be having the beginning of a panic attack for ghosts. I don’t know why but suddenly the room doesn’t seem so pleasant anymore. I am overwhelmed by the feeling of impending doom. This heavy weight is descending, dimming the room before my very eyes. I wonder if I’m having some kind of waking bad dream. Or perhaps this is the way nightmares are for ghosts. Maybe we can’t determine between awake and sleep. That it all runs together with no differentiating between the two.

A tall woman walks into the room. She almost looks like she stepped out of 1969 and the hippie culture of that time. She’s wearing a long flowing dress of psychedelic design, topped with a leather vest. It looks like there are runes burned into the leather. I think I recognize a few from my dad’s favorite Led Zeppelin album, the one with the guy carrying the bundle of sticks on his back. The woman’s hair is long, blond, and intricately braided. She has a couple necklaces she’s wearing. One has a pentagram charm, the other an Egyptian ankh. As she steps further into the room, I notice she is wearing open toed sandals. Her toenails are painted black with the eye of Horus on them.

“ Anne,” she says in a thick southern drawl. “Poor child. Come give Aunt Stella a hug.”

At first, I don’t think Anne is going to do anything, and I don’t blame her. Her aunt is so freaking weird. But then she gets up and allows the woman to envelop her in her arms. The woman is much taller than Anne and it reminds me of a polar bear hugging a penguin. It’s easy to see the teenager is embarrassed.

Unfazed, her aunt turns to the other adults in the room. “Hi, I’m Stella Taynor. Nice to meet you,” she says to them, extending a hand, though it’s clear she’s addressing the sole living male in the room.

He shakes her hand. “Assistant Principal Deaner.”

She smiles, though she has a curious look on her face. “Did I have you once?”

He is taken aback. “Um….excuse me?”

“I went to school here. About fifteen years ago. Were you a teacher then?”

He breathes a sigh of relief. I guess he thought she was trying to hit on him. “Oh yes. Yes of course. I was. But not here. I transferred about eight years ago.”

She seems to look him plane down and replies, “shame.”

“I’m Miss Watkins,” our guidance counselor interjects, trying to dislodge this conversation, wherever in the hell it’s heading.

Again, Stella the weird is unfazed. Or maybe she’s just oblivious, I’m not sure. She smiles at Miss Watkins. “And what are you?”

“I’m Anne’s guidance counselor.”

“Ah…of course you are.” She doesn’t shake the woman’s outstretched hand. Instead, she turns to me. “And you are?” She asks.

I am startled half out of my wits. Did she just speak to me?

“Uh….w…what?” I stammer. “Excuse me? You can see me?”

She turns back to the others. They all have looks on their faces that belie the fact she might be half crazy. “Just kidding,” she says. Then she reaches in her purse, which looks more like a potato sack, and pulls something out. “But if I wasn’t, here’s my card.” She hands it to Deaner. “I’m something of a ghost whisperer,” she says in a hushed, secretive tone. I notice she gives him a wink as well, which appears to fluster the poor man.

He’s not the only one flustered however. I’m thinking, Oh crap. I’m really in trouble now. Anne’s aunt, if she is indeed a whisperer, might have the ability to get rid of me, to send me on to wherever she thinks I’m supposed to go. But I don’t want to go anywhere. I’m just trying to find my place in all this. To discover where I belong. There has to be more than just being sent to the light or whatever.

Continue to Ghost Boy Blues 19

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Ghost Boy Blues 17

Seventeen

Assistant Principal Deaner is behind his desk. His office is sparse, much lighter than I imagined. There’s only a few pictures on the wall, mostly of his family. There are no awards certificates, no educational recognitions, not even a diploma. The place screams humility.

It is my first time in this office. In my life I never had to get summoned here, which is pretty good, I suppose. You only come to Deaner’s office if you are in trouble or something bad has happened. One look at his face and the way in which he eyes Anne tells me today it is the latter. Before he opens his mouth, I know this visit isn’t to go over her academic record, no matter how promising it looks.

“Miss Taynor, please have a seat,” he says, offering her a chair in front of his desk. She does as he says, carefully folding her skirt under her. She glances at Miss Watkins, who sits down in a chair next to her. The guidance counselor reaches over and pats Anne’s hand in a gesture of reassurance. I find myself getting nervous about what is to come.

Deaner sits in his own chair behind the desk and folds his hands in his lap. “I have some unfortunate news,” he says. “There has been an accident.”

Anne pushes a lock of hair away from her face. “What kind of accident?”

He clears his throat. He seems to be a little uncomfortable with this. “It’s your mother. She’s…”

“Is she dead?”

Her response surprises them. Assistant Principal and Guidance Counselor look at each other, neither one quite sure how to answer.

After some hesitation, Deaner manages to reply. “Um, no. But she is hospitalized.”

“Not life threatening,” Miss Watkins adds. “Your aunt is on the way to pick you up.”

I’m looking at Anne now. Her eyes are tearing up, but she doesn’t seem ready to let them fall in front of the adults. I want to go to her. Wrap my arms around her and convince her she can cry on my shoulder if she needs to. But I know that’s impossible, unless I take over one of these adults and then try to console her. I think that will be just a little too creepy for her though.

“Why isn’t Jeremy picking me up?”

If the question throws me off, it seems to throw off the adults even more. They look at each other and the distress I see on both their faces tells me the answer before they speak it.

“He’s being detained by police,” Deaner answers. “They are questioning him about the incident.”

I notice they don’t give any detail about what has happened, but Anne doesn’t appear bothered by the omission. It almost seems that whatever happened, it was expected. And though I’ve never heard of this Jeremy person before, I can take a guess. Dad. Stepdad. Her mom’s boyfriend. I know it’s not a sibling, because she’s an only child. You learn these kind of things when you are obsessed with someone.

“The incident,” Anne says flatly. “What exactly happened?”

“Um, they’re not sure yet, “ replies Deaner. “We can’t really say…”

“Is there anything you wish to tell us?” Miss Watkins interjected. “It can be confidential if you wish.”

“No, not really. I mean, I knew one day he’d hurt her. That’s what he did, right?”

“We don’t know. All we’ve been told is she has some facial injuries. She apparently called police and then told them that she walked into a door during their argument.”

Anne scowls. “Of course she did.”

The Assistant Principal rifles through some papers on his desk. I know he isn’t looking for anything. He’s just nervous. “Well, take all the time off you need, Anne. If you need a couple of days, or even more….”

“No, I’ll be in school tomorrow. They aren’t going to ruin my education too.”

I’m seeing a new side of my dream girl I have never seen before. Angry and determined. Anne has always been a good student. Exemplary I’d say. She gets good grades, treats teachers and other students with respect. I can see her being valedictorian or prom queen easily. But here in the office, she is letting her guard down and showing a side of herself no one else gets to see. And though it throws the adults off, it adheres me to her more.

“You know, she’s not the first person he’s hurt,” she says, and for a moment I wonder if she is saying this for Deaner and Watkins’ benefit, or her own. “If they don’t do something, she won’t be the last either.”

“I’m sure the investigators will do their best to get to the bottom of things.”

Anne just nods her head. I know she doesn’t believe that. Things have apparently been bad at home a long time. She wears one face at school, and it’s not the same as the one her family sees. All this time I have thought her a charmed girl, leading this perfect little life of joy and happiness. Until now, I’d never even seen a frown on her face, much less anger or resentment. But here it is. Behind Anne’s walls, the rest of her world is crumbling. I wish I could have seen this side of the wall sooner. I know it wouldn’t change things. I’d still be unnoticed, an unknown and unseen admirer, but maybe in life, I could have done something for her. I don’t know what, but something to let her know that on this side of her wall she was not alone. Her problem is a lot like mine used to be. Except mine didn’t run me over; hers did.

Now where in the hell did that come from?

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Ghost Boy Blues 16

Sixteen

I stand in the hall a few moments. Mr. Jeffs is right in front of me, Donald Pluth’s schoolbooks under his arm. If I were alive, he would see me easily, but because I am death not quite warmed over, I am invisible to his eye. Even when I step up to him, my face mere inches from his, he doesn’t seem to feel my presence. I’d read once that most adults don’t have true ghost experiences because they have lost the innocence and open minds they had as children. There is something about the onset of adulthood that robs us of many things, including the ability to see the world as it actually is.

As if to prove this theory, Mr. Jeffs steps forward, passing right through me, heading back to his class. It is strange, his moving through the same space as I. I don’t feel a thing. Not a shudder, nor a shiver. Not a single emotion washes over me in those few seconds we occupy the same area. Perhaps if he was one of my peers, a teenager, I would feel something. I would be able to connect somehow, and be tempted to take him over to live inside his skin. But there is no temptation. In fact, I don’t think I can interact with adults in a spirit sense. We have nothing in common, I suppose. If I am to take on a new body it will have to be one of the students. And then it hits me. Goth girl. She seems to be the type who wouldn’t mind being taken over by a wandering spirit.

I head off down the hall, realizing I don’t really know that much about her, other than she has been gothed out all year, and probably the year before too. I can’t say for certain because I’ve never paid her much mind. I guess in a sense she is the female version of me. No one paid me no mind either, except my best friend Will. I don’t know how we got to be friends. We are nothing alike it seems. He plays team sports, gets good grades, and while not ready for his own hunk of the month photo shoot, is good looking enough that the girls call him Sweet William. Sometimes I wonder if this is flattering, or an insult on his soft, almost feminine voice. He told me once the nickname itself came from Mr. Jeffs, who dubbed him that after a song by Van Halen or something. Hell, I would have been happy to be named anything when I was alive. I guess with me gone from their plane of existence they could call me anything now. But still I’m nothing to nearly everyone. I remember my grandma saying when I was little that things eventually get better. But she was wrong. If you start out as nothing, that’s how you’ll end. Even death doesn’t make you popular. I hate to be so negative about it all the time, but I’m dead, you know. I am the original negative, absent of life, yet still chasing a dream.

And right now that dream’s name is being announced over the school public address system. I stop and listen. They are calling her to the office. They don’t say why. They never do. But it must be something bad. What in the world could she be in trouble for? I head to the office to find out myself. Along the way, Anne comes out of a classroom, her bag slung over her shoulder and a fast pace to her walk. I fall in behind her. I want to tell her not to worry; I am with her. But she doesn’t know I’m there. She didn’t know when I was alive either, so it’s no biggie, I guess. Still, I hope to find the means to let her know I’m watching over her. Somehow. Someway.

We round the corner together and here we are standing in front of the main office. She hesitates and takes a deep breath. As she reaches for the door knob, it opens. They have been waiting for her. Assistant Principal Deaner and Guidance Counselor Miss Watkins. This isn’t going to be good. I take a deep breath myself.

“Anne,” Miss Watkins says with a forced smile. She is holding the door open and motioning my dream girl into the office. When Anne steps over the threshold and asks what’s going on, the guidance counselor closes the door behind them. Doesn’t matter. I pass through it and follow them. They will need an exorcist to keep me out now.

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“Ghost Boy Blues” 2018 Paul D Aronson.