Our Ghost, Mr. Clean-Freak by: Bonnie Bernard
Our Ghost, Mr. Clean-Freak
Mr. Moody lives in the basement/garage of our seventy year old home. Thanks to the ninety year old woman in the house two doors down, we know our ghost’s name, we know he lived here for fifty five years, and we know he loved to tinker in the basement/garage (think “Batcave”…that’s what it looks like). Mr. Moody kept a pristine workshop down there, with homemade cabinets, handcrafted drawers, sprawling shelves with built-in tins for everything from 2” grabber screws to 16 penny nails. All marked and kept in tidy order…until he died and then my husband’s tinkering gadgets moved in.
Mr. Moody and I get along just fine. Not so much Mr. Moody and my husband, Doug. So I’ll let him tell you the story. I’ll just write down what he says. It’s appropriate, since this will be printed on October 4, his birthday.
I was in the Batcave tinkering on my dirt bike when my gut grumbled for lunch. So up to the kitchen I went to build a ham and Swiss sandwich. Just as I squeezed on the mustard, a loud crash came from the basement. Glancing toward the living room, I saw both of our fat cats and our lazy dog piled on the sofa, everybody snoring. And Bonnie wasn’t home, so the crash wasn’t her knocking around in the laundry area. Stepping away from my sandwich, I headed to the basement doorway and peered down.
“Is that you, Mr. Moody?” I hollered.
Another crash was my answer.
I grabbed my sandwich and tromped downstairs. Halfway to the bottom, something reached between the stair-treads and tugged on my pant leg. Startled, I dropped the ham sandwich and it busted wide open, landing mayo side down. Right in the cat litter box. Great.
“Damn it, Mr. Moody.”
Scanning the basement, I noticed my drill on the floor. Not where I left it. Then I almost tripped on my reciprocating saw at the base of the stairs (I didn’t leave that there either). I leaned down to pick it up just as something zinged past my head and clunked against the water heater. Well, finally - there’s my hammer. I’d been wondering all morning where it had disappeared to.
“Moody, dude,” I grumbled. “I’m sorry I left stuff lying around everywhere, but I needed a lunch break. And now, I’ve gotta go back upstairs and make another sandwich. Thanks to you.” Meanwhile, Mr. Moody would continue to take out his anger on my stuff. That’s just how it goes. I don’t mind living with a ghost and Bonnie insists not everybody gets so lucky to have one, but she and Moody don’t have power struggles.
I pointed up to the necklaces my wife and her best friend had strategically strung over the water pipe and around the heating ductwork.
“Those chains are there just to entertain your obsessive-compulsive ass and they worked just fine until today. What the hell is your problem all of a sudden?” Of course, when I looked up, I answered my own question. Bonnie and Kristy had hung the half dozen shiny beaded necklaces up there four years ago, back when Mr. Moody kept throwing stuff around and pushing the garage button to open the door in the middle of the night. My wife and Kristy hung the chains to keep Mr. Moody occupied and it had worked like a charm, at least until that day. See, the chains had been hanging there for so long that they’d gotten grime-covered and grown cobwebs. That’s our problem, Mr. Moody and me. He’s an anal retentive carpenter and I’m a member of the dust dynasty.
Pulling the chains down, I wiped them across my shirt until they were bright and shiny again. Then I looped them back over the pipes and ducts. After that, I reached down to pick up my drill.
“I will clean this place up good tomorrow,” I promised. “Okay?”
A swift boot against my ass was the answer. As I fell forward, I could’ve sworn I heard a snicker.
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