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My Ghost Problems

Wrote this for Patrick's story, but it wasn't used so I figured I'd throw it up here so the effort doesn't go to waste.

My one and only experience with the paranormal took place when I was 5 years old; that cornerstone of cultural significance: 1991.

Ah, 1991. Terminator 2: Judgment Day was lighting up our movie screens, Nirvana had ushered in the Grunge movement with the release of Nevermind, and we were all playing Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom on our NES.

It was a good year.
It was a good year.

The '90s were the beginning of the end for the "traditional" nuclear family. As a modern family, my dad would work all day as a mail carrier, and at nights, my mom would go to her job working for the bank. My experience begins on one such night, when my dad, after a long day of dropping papers into boxes and fleeing from unleashed dogs, plopped down on our couch for some much earned relaxation.

Like any good father in his mid-twenties, he knew that children are always learning and developing, and that good father-son time is increasingly rare as both get older. And so, I was sat down indian-style in front of the family TV next to my toe-headed two-year-old brother Michael, while my dad "rested his eyes" until just before my mom was scheduled to get back from work. Our viewing selection for the evening? The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! on VHS.

The episode that we were watching was the aptly named "Mario Meets Koopzilla". It involved our favorite video game plumbers in a blatantly Japanese city, searching for Super Sushi to help in their battle against King Koopa. Despite specifically mentioning that said sushi doubles a person in size, Mario and Koopa both wind up the size of skyscrapers and battling it out high above the city of Sayonara after downing a plateful. Overindulging has its benefits when it comes to size-enhancing seafood, I guess.

Anyway, after the episode ended, we found ourselves with a world of playful possibilities as my dad snored from the sofa. We ran into the dining room, where we found our vacuum, presumably left after dutifully sucking up discarded Cheerios and Cap'n Crunch.

Just like in Jack Thompson's wettest of wet dreams, the violent media we consumed immediately influenced our actions. We began grabbing vacuum hoses and attachments, hoping to reenact the pivotal scene in which Mario grabs a passing train to ward off Koopzilla's radio antenna barrage. As I stood before my younger brother, vacuum attachments in hand and sashimi-fueled vengeance in my heart, I began to swing, assuming he would easily deflect my blows with his, frankly, shoddy vacuum- hose nunchuck work. Just before the point of no return, where my viciously skillful attack would have connected with his still-forming skull, I heard a loud and deep voice shout, "NO!"

You guys, he is SO hard right now.
You guys, he is SO hard right now.

I stood still in my tracks, frightened, confused, and really needing a pee. My younger brother also stopped. I looked around quickly. Seeing nothing I asked Michael if he had heard that voice too. He nodded, unconvincingly. I wasn't sure if he was being honest, or just mimicking my emotions and telling me what I wanted to hear, two-year-olds are a lot like dumb pets in that respect. I ran to the nearest door, leading to our basement, to see if someone was down there, Michael quick on my heels. Seeing nothing I ran to the living room, to see if my dad had been the one to prevent me from injuring the toddler. He was sleeping soundly. The house was empty. We were officially unaccompanied minors. For the rest of the night, I sat perfectly still, perfectly quiet, next to my dad's slumbering form, hair on end, hoping to not piss off that disembodied voice.

Looking back, I'm not sure what it was I experienced. It may have been a ghost, or a guardian angel if you're into the whole "religion" thing. It may have been a voice in my head that has since submerged into my subconscious until returning one day in my middle- age to command me to burn down Washington. It may have just been a coincidentally timed outburst from Bull from Night Court, speaking to me from the still-playing television in the other room. The world may never know, but I know what I choose to believe...

Thanks for saving my brother's life, Richard Moll.
Thanks for saving my brother's life, Richard Moll.
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