New York Hostel Ghost Story, Pt. 2

Later I look up Viking history on my phone and learn of the brutality and sheer vivid life they had. The ghost wasn’t lying. It was a different time. 

*    *    *    *   *   *    *    *    *   *

Once over tea she tells me she refuses to haunt anyone vacuuming. 

   “Why?” I ask.

   “I’m not sure. I’ve heard rumors of ghosts getting sucked up by them.”

   “Kind of like a powerpack.”

   “A what?”

   “A powerpack. You know, from Ghostbusters.”


   “Yeah, you know, ‘who you gonna call?’”

   She stares at me blankly.

   “Don’t tell me you’ve never seen Ghostbusters,” I say.

“Okay,  I won’t”


   “I really haven’t. I watched a cartoon about ghosts a few times. Forget the name.”


   “One of the more recent members of Spectre-“

   “-like James bond?”

    “-Who’s Jay Sbond?

      “Sorry, go on.”

   “A new ghost. She mentioned the Ghost Busters in a discussion.”

   “What were you talking about?”

   “We were all having a debate in a cloud. She says motion pictures are ‘spectre-phobic.’ I told her, ‘yeah, Janni, of course they’re going to be afraid of us. Our whole job is to HAUNT people.’”

    “What did she says to that? 

    She said I had ‘internalized oppression.’”

   “What was she in this life?”

    “’Professional blogger’”


*    *    *    *   *   *    *    *    *   *
   It’s early afternoon in the hostel public living room/kitchen area downstairs. A lot of us young folk are hanging out. This is the affliction of those with the drive to travel but a lack of fun(d)s. You don’t go get a New York slice of pizza because you can only afford very international chicken and/or beef top or maruchan ramen. You don’t go to a Broadway show because a Broadway show ticket is, in modern US dollars, the rest of your trip.

    Besides, we’re non-mainstream (ha!) and supposedly outside proverbial boxes of tourist consumerism, mostly because we’re, you know, broke. But riches abound here freely. There’s a Norwegian guy playing the meanest blues harp you ever could hear, and a group has gathered at the tiled table to debate politics and possible ghost sightings and favorite tv shows. Sample:

“I just think the structures of late capitalism won’t hold with both the Democrats and Republicans collectively losing their minds.”
“You know what else is making me lose my mind? The freaking noises at night. I swear. It’s like this place is haunted.”

   “I wonder the same thing. In fact, it kind of reminds me of this show I’ve been binge watching called Dead Case. It’s about a detective, but he’s a ghost, but he doesn’t even know he’s a ghost till like episode five, and anyway sorry spoilers but yeah he solves cases and tries to help out his ex wife. She’s sick. Oh and their daughter, who’s wicked smart but is getting into a bad crowd.”

    “Seriously, late capitalism.”

*    *    *    *   *   *    *    *    *   *
Later I tell the ghost the patrons are talking. 
“What of it?” She says. 

“Aren’t you concerned?”

“Not at all. I’m not even haunting this place. I just stay here and drink tea.”

   “Okay, if you’re sure.”

    “Sure I’m sure.”

    She kisses me.

*    *    *    *   *   *    *    *    *   *

   A few days I walk by some German visits vacuuming the air. 

   “For ich bein spectre”

   “I see.”


   “Where did you come to this conclusion?”

   “From your Ghostbusta movies.”

   “Ah. Any luck?”

   “Not yet.”


   “You are skeptical?”

  “A little. Not of intent, but of the vacuum. Why not a mirror? Aren’t ghosts afraid of mirrors?”

   I have, it should be noted, no idea what I’m talking about. But I’ve seen the ghost look in the mirror many times to freshen up. She’s safe against her reflection. 

  Another German says, “He has un point, Klaus.”

 Klaus turns off the vacuum cleaner and looks at me hopeful.  

  “Ve vill next try ziss meera.”



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