Tuesday, November 9, 2010

After Dark

 Photos: Blind Child/Stop For Crazy Man/Police

There once was a dead man with a dog. The dead man, the dog, and the dead man's ghost all lived together in a cluttered apartment.

The dog seemed to have equal affection for both the dead man and the dead man's ghost, but the dead man and his ghost bickered constantly. They couldn't agree on anything. They argued about whose apartment they occupied, and contested the ownership of every single possession in the apartment. They disagreed over whose turn it was to exercise the dog, what music to listen to, and whether or not to watch television. The dead man would accuse the ghost of hiding a Lester Young CD or a book by Fernando Pessoa. The ghost would make petulant inquiries regarding a missing pair of sunglasses, and the dead man would wonder aloud whether it should be "pair of missing sunglasses," or even just "missing sunglasses," since a "pair of sunglasses," missing or not, seemed like a ridiculous expression.

On the whole the dead man spent a lot more time bitching and moaning, mainly because he could still feel things. What he mostly felt was pain. Pain and sorrow, although the ghost would claim that this was as ridiculous as "pair of sunglasses," since sorrow was obviously just another type of pain. The dead man would lament his inability to be more precise, or even to make sense of what he thought of as his predicament.

The ghost would at least allow that the dead man did indeed have a predicament on his hands. The law of things maintained that the dead man should have been gone; the ghost clearly had the law on his side, as well as a small and glum cohort of angels that kept coming by to check in on things and see if the dead man had been successfully evicted yet and driven into permanent exile. The dead man, stubborn for reasons he could not understand (he was reluctant, he supposed, to abandon the dog), refused to go.

Neither the ghost nor the dead man ever slept.

The ghost eventually became fed up with the whole shitty arrangement and went to live with the dead man's ex-wife in a house full of happier memories. And there, on lovely nights when the windows could be thrown open or on cold winter nights when lights glimmered on a Christmas tree, the ghost and the dead man's ex-wife would dance to the dead man's favorite records, including the Lester Young CD that the ghost had, in fact, stolen.

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