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S. Wiley on Ghosts

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By Ken Begley

 
It was a dark and stormy night. 

Well, maybe it wasn’t stormy exactly but the extended weather forecast said it would be by next week.  It might not have been dark either as I remember a full moon that night.  Naw, I remember now it was dark.  The full moon came from some kids that drove by as I was dragging my garbage cans down by the road.  That was the only “full moon” I saw that night.
Okay, so it was not a stormy but a dark night.
Yep, that’s it.
I like to be accurate when I write.
The kids were all gone somewhere or other and Cindy was at a knitting class she was taking.  I was left all alone at the house.  That’s something that happens to me once every five years.  It was quiet.  Too quiet.
I went to bed early and was reading a book.  No doubt, it was one of the classics from Shakespeare, as I am an extremely literate, high-class individual of great refinement
Anyway, there came a tapping, a gentle rapping upon my chamber door. 
You know what?  When you’re home alone you don’t want any gentle rapping on your chamber door.
The rapping wasn’t so bad, especially when you compare it to the chain rattling and low moaning sound that came afterwards.
About that time, I pulled the covers up over my head in order to put a protective “ghost shield” around my body and to check the condition of my new pair of underwear.  It was a time-tested technique that I perfected as a mere lad at my parent’s house.  I figured at 54 it should still do the job.
Unfortunately, the shield doesn’t block out sound and I heard my name called out.  It was like, “Keeennnn, Keeennnn, Keeennn . . . .”
It was about that time that I made a prayer to the Good Lord that after my wife and kids were all gone I’d go into the missionary field in Africa and donate all my money to charity.
I heard the voice again say, “Keeennn, wheerree’s the peanut butterrrrrrrrr.”
I felt my heart about explode in my chest when suddenly I thought, “What self respecting ghost would want peanut butter?”
I then “up periscope” by peaking with one eye out from under the covers.  What I then saw made me jump back under the covers as fast as I could.  The horror of the sight that I beheld cannot be explained by humans in so inadequate a form as mere words.  Yes, you’re right.  I saw 93-year-old Mr. Wiley in his footy pajamas.
Mr. S. Wiley, or Slick to his friends and the folks at the FBI, is my 93-year-old “personal advisor,” formerly from New York City.  Mr. Wiley used to be my financial advisor until he lost all my money, and that of the rest of his clients.  I’ve been holding him hostage in an attempt to recoup my loses from his loved ones.  However, strangely enough, no one’s come looking for him despite my many ransom letters.
“Dang it, Mr. Wiley.  How did you break those chains I keep you locked up with in the crawl space?  And quit dragging them around.  It’s leaving a trail of mud on the carpet and Cindy’s going to be mad.  You liked to give me a heart attack.”
“Well, from the smell of things in here you’re leaving a trail that Cindy’s going to like even less.  Anyway, how about that peanut butter?  Imagine a man of your age believing in ghosts.  But then again you also believe you’re going to get all that money of yours back that I invested away.  You sure are gullible, aren’t you young man!”
“The odor is because my tummy hurts not that I was scared.  You invested it all right.  You spent it all on wine, women and song and then like a dumb fool you squandered the rest.  I’d still like to get into your head and see what your were thinking when you did it.”
“Well, I sure wouldn’t want to get into your head.  The thoughts there would be scarier than ‘Friday the 13th - Part 20.’  Anyway, let me borrow your Sports Illustrated I see on the bed and tell me where the peanut butter is.”
“Sports Illustrated?  Oh yeah, I mistook it for one of my volumes of Shakespeare.”
“Volumes of Shakespeare?  You’re not still telling people you read Shakespeare are you?  Your nose is going to grow bigger than Pinocchio’s.  It’s big enough now that I’d be rich if it was full of nickels.”
“The peanut butter is on the third shelf in the pantry.  Now get out of here you crazy old man!!!”
Mr. Wiley then said, “I may be crazy but at least I don’t believe in ghosts,” and left in a huff for his peanut butter.
I resumed reading when about ten minutes later I again heard the low moaning sound and the rattling of chains coming down the hall.
I used my manly authoritative voice to holler out, “MR. WILEY, YOU BETTER CUT THAT CRAP OUT NOW!!!”
About that time, the bedroom door burst open and I recoiled in horror.  You know a 93 year-old man with peanut butter and breadcrumbs all over his mouth can give you quite a stir.
“What the heck are you screaming like a little girl about back here?”
“That stupid chain rattling and moaning you’ve been doing again!”
“What are you talking about????  I’ve been eating my peanut butter sandwich.”
About that time Mr. Wiley and I both heard the rattling of chains and moaning upon which Mr. Wiley took quick defensive maneuvers to avoid the ghost by diving under my protective anti-ghost shield.
Mr. Wiley then turned to me under the covers and said, “As you are the subject matter expert in this area, how long do we have to stay under here until the ghost leaves.”
“Until Cindy gets home and chases the ghost away.”
“That’s just great.  I either stay here under the covers and die from asphyxiation from the odors you’re emitting or go out and let the ghost get me.  Either way I‘m going to die”
“I told you my tummy hurt!”