Friday, May 14, 2010


It's been a really weird couple of afternoons here in Unemployment Central.

On Wednesday, I was having an email conversation with one of my best friends, who was telling me about some trouble he'd gotten into the night before. I can't name names. And I can't say what he did. But for all intents and purposes, let's say he got drunk and ate a whole cake, possibly two of them, and woke up next to the crumbs but doesn't remember what happened or how the cake or cakes might have taken his keys. So as we're having this going back and forth I walk into the living room and see that somehow, noiselessly, this friend's picture is suddenly face down on the floor, and a large couch cushion has been used to knock it down and was now resting beside the picture. But it couldn't have just fallen off the couch or been nudged accidentally. Someone HAD to have moved it.

It wasn't me.

And it wasn't my cat Bruce. It's too big for even him.

No one else had been in the apartment all day.

Plus, as I said, this act happened without any detectable sound, like the crash of the picture onto the hardwood floor or the thud of the cushion, or anything.

Now, I've suspected there might be a ghost here for some time. I live right next to a funeral parlor, after all. And there are niches in the stairwell in this house, a.k.a "coffin corners." That's never bothered me. But often items I know are kept in certain places disappear or get moved, not by me (things I wouldn't move, even when I'm drunk). And there is occasional knocking on the wall that gets louder and quieter then louder again. But this is a new one. And let me tell you. This freaked me the HELL out.

A librarian friend sent me some public records about the house, and it turned out that there was a certain Elizabeth Montgomery (yes, sharing same name as the actress on "Bewitched") who died here in 1898. Could have been her, could have been someone else, but I've been going around calling out to her since I found out. She has yet to respond. Makes me feel a bit like Red Foxx's Fred Sanford on "Sanford and Son" when I do this. "ELIZABETH!!"

And then: Thursday morning I take a shower and the water refuses to drain out of the tub. I have one of these old school tubs with the stopper on the outside, a "standing drain." It seemed the weight was just not engaging with the mechanism so the tub could empty. Some back and forth with my landlord and he called a plumber, who said he'd get back to me with a time he could come over to fix it. Long story short, he doesn't show up when he's supposed to. Then when he does, I get quite the treat.

It seems that in the three or so odd years since my landlord Andy needed him, he's developed quite the drug habit. Now, be that as it may, I think he probably had Tourettes even sober, but the combination made quite the doozy of an afternoon. So here's this guy, using a power charged plumber's snake in my tub (despite me telling him I didn't have a clog, but a problem with the drain itself) squatting in six inches of now mucky water. Every once in a while I'd hear the snake turn off, some barky cussing to the air and what should have been inner dialogue to some unseen person, who apparently didn't have a very nice mother (perhaps maybe he was talking to an unseen Elizabeth?) and then loud snoring (!!!!) that would last a minute or two. Then the machine would start up again. So great. Andy sent me a Narcoleptic Junkie Plumber with Tourettes!

I tell you, I would have preferred the requisite ass crack to this.

The job was taking forever as he kept dozing off. And I needed to leave for an appointment. He said he had to go out to his car, which is when I called Andy and told him what was happening. He immediately came over and said he'd stay there and take over the situation so I could leave. I spied the plumber wandering back up my block in a daze as I turned the corner. Andy assured me that when I came home, come hell or what was literally now high water, my tub would be fixed. Sure enough it was. Andy is an ex-cop.

It's Friday and I'm happy to report that thus far, the tub is working, and Elizabeth seems to be amusing herself in the after life in other ways. All's quiet on the cracked up front.

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