Hi, I’m Lloyd, and I’ve been haunting your new home since I was murdered in the master bedroom in 1954. To be fair, I had it coming. Even though my wife, Merna, had never expressly told me not to sleep with her sister, it should have occurred to me. You know how women get hysterical about these things. She actually forgave me for that but when I started carrying on with the housekeeper, Olga, she just snapped. I think Merna was most upset that I was sleeping with a Russian.
“How could you fuck a commie?” she screamed at me.
I’d never heard her curse before, but then again, I’d never seen her stab me 23 times with a paring knife either. The second-worst part is that it was a gift from my mother and we hardly ever used it.
Sorry, what were we talking about? When you’re a spirit it’s easy to lose your train of thought. Oh, yes: what you can expect of me. If you feel a presence behind you in the laundry room, that’ll be me. If the throw pillows you swore were on the davenport when you left the room are on the floor when you come back; yup, that’s me. If you’re on the toilet and you hear a strange sound in the water closet that sounds like a voice whispering “You won’t see me coming”, well, that’s not me. The plumbing is bad in this house. The last seven owners have complained about it but they don’t do anything.
You don’t have to worry about me watching you two have sex. I stopped doing that years ago when Stan and Gretchen lived here. The first night they were here … oh my. I thought the gourds on the dresser were ornamental but then she crammed one in … I’m not saying I’m a prude. I mean, my dear Merna, before she stabbed me, we use to pretend that she was a school teacher and I was a kid chewing gum in class, and … OK, I see that look on your face and you know what, by George, I don’t have to explain myself to you. I’ve been here longer than you and I’ll be here when you’re gone, which I hope isn’t because your spouse stabbed you with a paring knife. I can’t stress enough what a horrible way to go that is.
My original point is that I vowed long ago not to peep, but you should watch out for Xeresious. He’s some kind of entity that also haunts this house, but only every now and then. He told me once he was something like 700 years old and he passes between realms. I don’t understand the physics of it, but you should know he’s a real jerk and he owes me 20 dollars.
I used to love changing the radio station, or turning up the volume while it was off so that it blared when people turned it on. Whatever happened to radios? I never figured out television sets, or the medium-sized television sets you young people look at on the couch while the big television is on, or those little televisions you carry in your pockets. And so many channels! They even have baseball on television, which I think ruins it. I want a grounder to second described to me by some wizened announcer who started drinking in the third inning. Seeing it takes all the mystery out of the game.
Then again, if there were more entertainment opportunities back in my day, maybe I wouldn’t have started carrying on with Olga. There was just something about the way she folded the towels. Then Merna used those towels to sop up the blood. Another gift from my mother forever tainted.
What’s that? You think I need to move on? What do you think I’ve been trying to do all this time? You think I want to hover in the foyer for eternity while you two talk about which grocery store offers the best selection on produce? Do you have any idea how long I’ve looked for the portal to the afterlife? Xeresious said he’d show me sometime if I paid him – that‘s how he got my $20 – but it was just a weird mist in a crawlspace above the living room. I think he put it there. If you guys do happen to see a portal – not sure exactly what to look for; any run-of-the-mill howling vortex is probably it – please let me know. Just shout, “Hey, Lloyd, the portal just opened in the sun room” and I’ll come quickly. Then I can be on my way and out of your hair.
Until then, enjoy the house. It really is nice place to spend time here, unless you’re being stabbed with a paring knife.