To be honest, my internal jury is still out on the existence of ghosts. I mean, I've seen some things in my life that can't be explained away by a mere Jim Beam overindulgence, but I also have doubts.
However, I'm a horror fiction writer. A part of me is required to believe. I'm not sure, but I think it's part of the Horror Fiction Writers Union credo that belief in ghosts, vampires, werewolves, zombies, soulless night walkers, Lindsey Lohan, and other members of the undead is a requirement. To give in to the notion that beings from beyond the veil don't exist might call into question my integrity as a professional story-maker-upper.
So I'm going to go on the record here and make the bold and firm statement that I believe ghosts might possibly sort-of maybe could theoretically have the opportunity to perhaps exist. Or not.
That said, if ghosts do exist, I wish one would set up shop in my residence.
It's not that I relish coming face to face with one of Casper's rogue brethren, or that I desire sleepless nights caused by rattling chains. The truth is, I'm already awakened nearly every night around 3:15 a.m. by the rattling chains of my dog's collar, because Cree has this deeply-entrenched habit of wanting to go outside and pee on something at exactly that time. It gives a whole new meaning to the term "wee" hours of the morning. Midnight is the Witching hour, but for Cree, 3:15 a.m. is the Whizzing hour.
My reason for wanting a manifestation infestation is to combat the effects of old age.
Here's what I mean:
I find that some of my personal belongings occasionally become misplaced. Keys, pens, sticky notes, a wallet...these are just a few of the things that I sometimes have difficulty locating.
Because I've been on the planet more than half a century, I'm concerned that those misplaced gadgets could be attributed to my aging, forgetful mind. It's not an alternative I like to consider. It would be much better if I had someone or something else to blame.
Before I got married, missing items such as these were easily chalked up to the reference I made earlier about Mr. Beam. After a night at the bar (I used to be a performing musician), it would be a completely reasonable claim that the bourbon was responsible for my missing keys, missing wallet, or missing car.
Then I got married. One of the advantages to having small children in the house is that they are easy to accuse for objects that have gone AWOL. For starters, they usually did it. And even when they didn't, the precedent has been established, which as any good lawyer will tell you is almost as good as actual evidence or confessions.
Now that the kids are all grown, it's tougher to hang missing goods at their doorstep.
So who do I blame today when I can't find my iPhone, or my toenail clippers go missing?
If I had a good, legitimate ghost to blame, I would feel a lot better.
I could also pawn off other inconveniences on such an entity.
For example, I have left my desk in the morning with a stack of 20 papers on it, only to return in the afternoon to find 40 pages there.
The papers on my desk seem to be multiplying like uncaged rabbits that have nibbled through someone's Viagra garden.
My desk is always a mess, always overrun with books, boxes, paper, pens, and unencumbered office supplies, even after I just finished cleaning it.
I wanted to blame alien civil servants, figuring they were likely candidates to be so obsessed with paperwork that they would come to Earth and inundate an innocent piece of furniture with their paper mill excrement of forms, instructions, and reminders.
Then I remembered that I don't believe in aliens.
It would be much easier if I could claim that the office in my house is haunted by the ghost of a former insurance agent. I've been in that business, so I know how enamored those in the indemnity industry can be with higher and higher piles of paper. In fact, I was in the insurance business back when computers were really taking over and the term "paperless office" became a popular catchphrase. What I remember best about those times was the fact that the volume of printed materials actually quadrupled under the "paperless" mantra. (It wasn't the computer's fault; the PC's evil cousin, The Printer, was to blame.)
An insurance agent ghost would also be a genuine explanation for misplaced items. Whenever my favorite pen isn't on my nightstand where I insist I left it, I could blame the Prudential poltergeist for moving it when the pen turns up on the living room end table the next day.
In a perfect world, the Allstate apparition would be married for time and eternity to an expired laundress, which would explain the thousands of right socks and monogrammed handkerchiefs that have gone missing from our dryer over the last 10 years.
Unfortunately, one of the disadvantages to living in a newer house devoid of ghastly histories involving murder and mayhem is that I can't conjure up tales of headless John Hancock agents wandering the hallway in possession of my always-absent scissors.
So for now I'll have to continue finding new and creative ways of blaming the dog whenever things go missing from my desk, a claim that will have little credence until the next time I find my keys near a wet spot on the lawn at 3:15 a.m.