As a bit of a supplement to my upcoming book, Ghosts are Assholes, here is a vignette into Vincent’s life that I hope you enjoy. It is entitled Do I really have to do this?
“This place is really nice,” Vincent told the apparition as he waited for the elevator. From the way Edward Freeman had described it, Vincent expected the place to be decrepit. Instead, he found himself in a beautiful ten-story glass building with a pianist in the lobby, the most definite sign of a classy establishment.
“A gilded cage,” Edward snarled floating above Vincent’s shoulder.
“You made the place sound like a dump.”
“I admit I may have exaggerated the level of decay. Call it artistic license, symbolic of the torment I experienced within these walls.”
Vincent’s conversation was beginning to elicit stares from passerbys as they were unaware that he was a medium having a conversation with a ghost only he could see. Vincent practically blushed when he noticed others looking at him. His stuttering attempts to explain his behavior only made things worse. The elevator reaching the bottom floor saved him further embarrassment.
Unchained Melody emanated from the piano as he entered the elevator, much to Vincent’s delight.
“I will wait for you at the top floor,” Edward said as the doors began to close, “These contraptions take an insufferable amount of time.” Vincent shrugged as the spirit floated through the ceiling.
Edward was the type to always complain about something. Even within the limited time he spent with Vincent, Edward always found something to critique, whether it be his driving or even his supposed lack of grace and refinement. Nothing ever seemed good enough for the dead man.
The bell rang and the elevator doors opened. Edward spoke to him immediately upon arrival making Vincent long for the silence the lonely ascension had provided.
“As I said, an insufferable amount of time. When will they do something about those elevators?”
“It was a couple of minutes at most,” Vincent muttered.
“Do you have the script ready to go?”
“You mean this?” Vincent grabbed a slip of paper from his coat pocket.
“I would have preferred to be your Cyrano de Bergerac.” Edward sighed. “If only the words flowed more naturally from you during rehearsal. It will have to do. Read exactly what it says. Improvisation is unnecessary.”
“Fine,” Vincent muttered as he sauntered to his right. As he put his hand on the door whose imprinting read, “Ollie Castor, Agent”, he looked over his shoulder and asked, “Do I really have to do this?”
“You must fulfill my last request. Isn’t against your duty to do otherwise? ‘The superior man is the man who fulfills his duty.’ Eugene Ionesco.”
Vincent shook his head and opened the door.
The young man was surprised to see the office was adorned with pictures of the late Eddie Freeman in black picture frames. The woman sitting at the desk to his left held a pink handkerchief in her hands as tears flowed down her cheeks. Eddie ignored the various memorials and floated expeditiously to the room behind the crying woman.
“Are you okay?” Vincent asked as he approached her.
“Huh?” The blonde, shrill voiced woman looked up from her mahogany desk. “I’m sorry. Are you Mr. Pietro?”
“Please call me Vincent.”
“Mr. Castor is expecting you, Vincent. Go ahead.” She pointed with her petite hand to the door behind her. Vincent dutifully complied.
A tall suited man smiled and stood as Vincent entered. Had he known that a specter was standing next to him, chastising him by using movie quotes, his disposition may not have been so pleasant.
“Mr. Pietro!” the man exclaimed as he shook Vincent’s hand, “I’ve been expecting you. Please have a seat.” The man gestured to a black chair in front of his desk.
“As you can see we’re having a tough time right now,” Ollie continued as Vincent sat in front of him, “We had just seen him Friday. Who could have foreseen that boating accident? He loved single-handed sailing so much I could never convince him to bring a partner.”
Ollie let out a heavy sigh. “Normally we wouldn’t admit visitors at such a terrible time but we’d do anything for a close personal friend of Eddie’s.”
“Edward,” the ghost corrected, still seemingly unware that the only one that could hear him was Vincent.”
“I knew him through my mother.” Vincent replied.
“Ah, yes, the two grew up together and remained close friends. I’m dying to know what he wanted you to tell me in case of his untimely demise. I’m surprised he even had the foresight to think of such of thing. So please, tell me.”
Vincent sighed and pulled the piece of paper from his pocket. “Ollie,” he read, “You are the biggest rube I’ve ever had the misfortune of meeting. If it weren’t due to pure avarice I would have dissolved our relationship eons ago. You doomed me to a career of popcorn films though I guess I shouldn’t be surprised considering that you are barely literate. At least the sting of death is lessened knowing that I will never have to see yours or Rachel’s ugly visages ever again.”
Vincent looked up from his sheet. A stunned, pained expression was plastered across Ollie’s face. In contrast, Edward smiled smugly.
Hastily cramming the paper back into his coat, Vincent stuttered, “I am so, so sorry.”
“Is this some sort of sick joke?” Ollie snarled.
“I assure you, he really did want me to tell you this!”
“Goddamn teenagers and their pranks!” Ollie shouted. He pointed towards the door. “Get out! Now!”
Sheepishly, Vincent did as he demanded. He did not even look at the dumbfounded Rachel as he swiftly marched out the door. Edward smirked as he followed Vincent to the hallway.
“That expression he had on their faces,” the ghost cooed, “Simply marvelous! I am simply a genius! What a well thought out plan I devised to exact my revenge!” Edward was giddy as he faded from the world.
“Geeze, what an asshole,” Vincent said as he waited for the elevator.
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