I know a student who very much wants a ghost of his own.
Yes, that’s right. He wants a ghost. All respectable families have at least one. I should know: while I have been blessed in other venues, the having of a ghost is not one of them.
If anyone could have helped my student acquaintance find a ghost, it would be Wallie the Imp. After all, ghosts aren’t a far stretch from goblins, and goblins must be cousins to Imps (Wallie disputes this as defamation, to be amended, at his request, in a future article).
My Friend was rather upset when the Student and I asked him to explain the matter to Wallie in Impish, the language of the Imps.
“You can’t pick out a ghost like a new pair of shoes, or a hat!” he said.
I insisted. Wallie was happy to invite several ghosts to dinner.
Two after the mark, we were joined at my Friend’s apartment by a long grey ghost wearing a long grey scarf.
Then there arrived a very large ghost in a baker’s hat, and fifteen past, a Banshee from across the blue Atlantic.
The student was a bit astonished by the ghosts’ sudden appearance but remembered his manners in time to ask them if they would like anything to drink, or a slice of pizza.
The grey ghost asked for a lemon. The Banshee took two slices of the cheese.
The baker declined.
“Here’s the thing,” my acquaintance said. “I can offer you two floors and the attic in exchange for haunting. You will haunt from sunset to sunrise, with Sundays off. What do you say?”
The ghosts blinked.
“You see?” said my Friend. “You cannot box a ghost or order a haunted house by custom. There is meaning behind it. There is history.”
The ghosts blinked twice.
My acquaintance looked around the table. He was a bit unnerved by the ghosts’ blinking.
He thought perhaps he should go.
“I think you should,” agreed my Friend. “Now these poor spirits can properly haunt, just as they please.”
Wallie said something to him in Impish.
“What’s that?” I asked.
My Friend turned pale.
It turns out that the ghosts did not have homes they wanted to go back to.*
“But you can’t stay here,” pleaded my Friend. “Oh this is dreadful. What will I do with them?”
Wallie had several ideas for that.
*The grey ghost’s abandoned house was removed for public safety, the baker’s bakery was a fast food joint, and the Banshee’s tower was off-limits to the public, which is no fun for any ghost.