Mark the Ghost
Q. This must be a lonely time for you.
A. Not hardly.
Q. You’re down to… two months now?
A. More or less.
Q. How more or less?
A. Us ghosts don’t count the days.
Q. I don’t believe that.
A. Facts don’t need to be believed. They just are.
Q. It’s been 12 years and 1 month, correct?
A. There abouts, I believe.
Q. Your initiation date was August [redacted], 1999 correct?
A. It’s not really a precise ‘month’ thing
Q. But it’s a regular, constant measure…
A. 107,406 hours. Just about 12 years and 3 months. That’s what we’re told.
Q. So you’ve got two
A. But honestly, for us ghosts the whole day thing sort of loses significance. No job, no sleep…
Q. You don’t have a watch or clock of some kind
A. Ghosts aren’t much for objects
A. Very limited ability to manipulate them, or anything on that plane.
Q. Yes. Well. I could actually see that resulting in a strong interest in objects. That which you can’t, right?
Q. …Some kind of countdown mechanism that tracks your 107,406 hours
A. Some of us do.
Q. And you’re not one of them?
A. Listen: We’ve got only a certain amount of time left, yes. We are aware of this. We don’t dwell on it. We don’t think about it. It’ll happen. We’re aware of this. We’ve died before. Except this time I’ll have no obligations, or attachments, or relationships.
Q. And all of your clues have been properly allotted?
A. There’s no “my” clues. I move the clues I can and those I can’t will get picked up by other ghosts. We don’t have those kind of attachments, property, obligations
Q. Romance? Friendships?
A. Ro- how? Explain how that would work.
Q. Well, I mean, you yourself are a skirt-lifting ghost– skirt hems are your objets d’or. You must have some kind of libido, correct?
A. Oh sure. But there’s no such thing as ghost dick, so ain’t exac
Q. There isn’t?
Q. Friendships don’t require a ghost dick.
A. And we have friends. It’s just– we all know the score because all us ghosts share the same
Q. But isn’t it sad when a friend disappears forever?
A. Sadness isn’t a part of it for us
Q. What about
A. Well most of us. –You know, you living really project a lot of your own inadequacies on us ghosts. If we were to go by your depictions we are hyper-emotional, grave-fleeing, Earth-clingers. Nothing could be further from the truth. At least for the vast majority of us.
Q. Why do
A. You write ghosts as the long-sufferers of deserved punishments, or important death lessons, or implacable desires. But it’s not. As far as we can tell, it’s a bonus. An added 12 years for good behavior. Or maybe just because. No obligations, n
Q. Now you keep specifying obligations.
A. Because that’s an example of what we ghosts don’t have that
Q. Sure, also attachments. But ‘obligations,’ ‘attachments’– even ‘relationships’– these are all distancing terms
A. And what could be further distance from all these living things than death.
Q. But I’ve spoken to other ghosts before
A. And what– did you get all waterworks with them? Get ’em to admit how much they missed being alive? How they still had all the same needs, deep down, but were burying them, playing empty, wearing sheetface when all they really wanted was someone to Swayze?
Q. No. Quite the contrary– and keeping with your description– they were to a ghost quite detached and, well not content to be so, but certainly not longing.
A. See… it’s like I said.
Q. But they all also referred to the trappings of the living, if not with affection or loss with detail and interest.
A. What details do you want? I’ve got 399,697 pairs of panties floating around in this lack-a head of mine.
Q. Wow. Closing in on 400,000. Do you think you’ll make it?
A. I’ve got almost 1500 hours left, of course I’ll get to 400,000.
Q. How almost?
Q. …are you trying to scare me?
A. No, I’m expressing disappointment. It’s the only way we know how.
Q. So you can get disappointed? It seems like that would require
A. Ok, ok– one gotcha question at a time.
Q. Fair enough.
A. Yes. Ok. I know. I know exactly how many hours I have until I poof.
Q. And that is?
A. Fourteen hundred seventy-one.
Q. … so, that’s… um
A. A little over 61 days
Q. So do you have the countdown ticking down in each form of count: days, months
A. No. I’m just good at arithmetic.
Q. Oh. So
A. There is an hour counter. No minutes, no seconds. Only flips each hour. Every ghost has it. Every ghost knows.
Q. That must be awful for you.
A. I don’t know how much clearer I can make this
Q. No, yeah. I know. No attachments, no obligations. Not suffering– it’s all multi ball.
A. Every “day” is a no-whammy day for us ghosts.
Q. For you.
A. For all ghosts.
Q. That’s another thing. You speak about the experience of ghostkind not
A. Our lack of attachments and obli– responsibilities?
Q. Don’t change your word choice on account of my questions. I’m just curious about you. Who you are, and why you are who you are.
A. ‘What’ would probably be more accurate than ‘who’
Q. See– that’s interesting. Why ‘what’?
A. Can you guess? Have you been listening to what I’ve said or just how I’ve said it?
Q. I would imagine, then, that it has to do with the lack of attachments and obligations and perhaps some kind of resulting lack of subjectivity.
A. Your imagination is correct.
Q. Or probably just weakened subjectivity
A. As it is for all ghosts.
A. It is.
Q. You’re right, I’ve noticed that. It’s just, why push off so hard against personhood? It, ironically, makes you sound more human. More living.
A. Not this living shit again. I
Q. I just want to know. I find it fascinating: why you’re so resistant. It’s, and pardon the analogy, but it’s like finding a raccoon that uses napkins.
Q. Mark, are you
A. I never made it.
Q. Never made it where? To the
A. Not where, I…
Q. … not where… Oh, wow. Really.
Q. I’m sorry. But this is fascinating to me. I’ve never met a hangeron before.
A. Please don’t use that term.
Q. I mean it makes sense now. I’m not sure why I didn’t see it.
A. Seriously, I don’t deserve to be treated like that.
Q. Shoot. I’m sorry. I just got lost in that first flush of discovery.
A. It’s my fault for being discovered.
Q. That’s. I’m sorry, Mark. I didn’t mean anything by it.
A. Thank you.
Q. I’d like to put this on record if I might…
A. I’ve only got 1471 hours left anyways, I just ask you don’t publish anything until then.
Q. Is that actually true?
A. Is what
Q. I thought you ha– I thought goal-driven ghosts didn’t have the same time limit.
Q. Don’t worry. I think it’s cu– neat.
A. I also apologize. It’s just, I really can’t stand being caspered.
Q. And I hate doing the caspering– there’s nothing I hate more than condescension– but did you make up that time limit?
Q. But other non-GDG do have them, right?
A. Honestly? I don’t know. Not for sure. I spend pretty much all of my time and effort thinking about pussy.
Q. Because you never made it while alive.
Q. A– I hope you’re alright
Q. I hope I didn’t cause any
Q. Or Rumpelstiltsk
Q. It’s ok to die a virgin.
A. OOOOOoooo really?
A. No one’s ever told me that before
Q. Well it is.
A. Really. I, this is, so liberating. Tell me more
Q. Is this ghost sarcasm…
A. No. Just regular sarcasm.
Q. I was just trying to help, Mark.
A. Exactly. If you really want to help, look for some clues. Otherwise I can figure my own way out of this.
Q. Where would I look?
A. Everywhere. They’re so easy to find there are so many of them.
Q. Ok. But I don’t have a ghost’s knowledge of old murders.
A. Right. I forgot about that.
Q. I probably wasn’t going to anyways.
A. I suppose you’re hunting clues of your own.
Q. Thank you. That’s a good way of putting it.
A. You’re welcome.
Q. So… do you think you’re close?
A. Not really.
Q. What will it take, do you think? I mean, you can’t — I’m pretty sure you can’t
A. I don’t actually know.
Q. … this must be a lonely time for you.
A. Well, at least I get to look at a lot of–
Q. Can we actually, go for a walk maybe?
A. Yeah. Absolutely.
Q. Cool, cool.
A. Beats getting grilled about my choice of ‘obligations’
Q. Sorry about that. It’s just, you know, interviewing tactics taking control, taking a life of their own
A. It’s ok. Hey– maybe we can hit 400,000 together
Q. Wow. Really? That many?
A. I have a gift, friend. My — what did you call it?
Q. Your objet d’or
A. Yeah. Let’s make this creepfest sound as classy as possible.
Q. French has never been more a propos
A. Ok, grad school. Enough college talk; time for some thin cotton action. Any requests?
Q. I hope we see green ones.
A. That might take a while
Q. C’est la vie
A. Man, I th–
Q. Ah, pardonez-moi: C’est le mort!