Episode 8.

Lucky Dragon Socks, John Wayne Spacey, etc.

Read the Episode:

Micheal Midas here. I can’t believe it. It’s late Wednesday morning, and I’m half-asleep at the local laundry mat. I’m leaning on a hard folding table, and going bug-eyed from watching the washing machine vibrate in spun cycle. My third coffee tastes like my ex wife poured bleach in it.

So, how did I get here?

Well, it’s not quite a long story, but darker than a go-go bar at breakfast.

I spent most of last night, rolling around in bed, wondering about the old lady who was found dead at the bus stop by my house. Man, they found her a few hours before I usually get to sleep. It was a bit inconvenient, but I wish I’d seen her face. I’ve had this inkling I might have met her before.

And, I was also invited to a funeral last night, which is happening later today. And my neighbour Ebba is coming along – but her husband isn’t.

Anyway, with all that kept me awake last night, I forgot to do a very important load of laundry. You see, I own a lucky pair of socks that I wear on Wednesdays. They are black and have a Chinese dragon decal sewn on each one. I swear they help bring in customers at my antiques store during the midweek, when sales are little slow. I’ve had a few pairs of them made over the years, but I’m down to the last one.

I finally remembered to wash the socks at about three am. I went to my laundry room, loaded the precious pair and a few other items in my washing machine. I added soap, and pushed the start button. Instead of hearing the water smoothly fill up the basin, there was a clank, a fizzle, and then Beelzebub.

(music) and Beelzebub son (rap lyrics) explosion sound.

Now, any courageous person would hand wash the socks, but I have this worry they won’t be clean unless they go through the spun cycle.

(phone ring)

I found a repair man who could show up fast, but he can’t get the part for my washer until tomorrow. So I’ve taken the day off work, because I fear something bad might happen if I don’t wear the socks, and that includes at the funeral later on. But the they’ll be ready by then, and I’ll be in top form to mosey on by the organist’s casket, and say good-bye to him for eternity.
Great, I’ve got mail on my phone. Must be a long lost relative who’d like to invite me for dinner, or a buyer for that ancient baseball glove I’ve been trying to sell in the classifieds.
Oh no, it’s a scam email that got through my junk filter. Well, it’ll be more interesting than everything else I get, so I might as well read it.

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That’s not even a pipe dream, it’s a bong nightmare.

I’m just at the front door of my house, and feeling relieved. My lucky socks are on my feet, after I changed into them at the laundry mat. Oh my, there’s a note hanging out of my mailbox. Let’s see what is says.

It’s from Ebba.

Dear Micheal,

Thank you dearly for inviting me to attend the organist’s funeral. The offer sounds truly engaging, especially since a buffet dinner will be served before the service, but I must decline. My husband Swen has surprised me with a trip to the Cayman Islands, and we’re leaving later tonight. By the way, can you feed our cat until Sunday afternoon, when we return. The key is under the mat and we left some herring in the fridge in case you’re hungry.

I scratch my head in bewilderment.

It’s good news, I guess. I won’t have someone else’s hot Swedish wife tagging along with me to a funeral. Hmmm…hold it. Ebba said that I invited her, when it was the other way around. Did she make an honest mistake, or is she using me to make her husband jealous so he’ll take her on an extravagant vacation? I’ll have to ask when they get back.

I wish I could read a cat’s mind. Little Finnegan was surely around while Swen and Ebba discussed their trip to the Cayman Islands. I should get a hold of Boris Yaktuvavitch. He might be able to channel some information out of Finnegan. That fake Russian can talk to dead people, so why not cats?

Look, there’s a flyer in my mailbox:

It’s a notice of public meeting – about a new statue for our community.

What?

The Satanic Coalition for Freedom of Culpability are proposing to erect a statue of John Wayne Spacey outside the Bluffs Public library.

According the Coalition, he is history’s most prolific serial killer, and his image should be immortalized as the embodiment of evil.

Any objections will be heard at the public meeting to be held on May 1 in the Swiss Room of the Howard Johnson International Conference Center.

Hmmm…I’ll make a mental note to attend the meeting and object to the statue, because I’d rather see one of my ex wife in front of the library.

I am sitting alone on the easy boy chair in my living room. The emptiness of the still air makes my home feel like a museum of what could have been.

On a bookshelf I spot the photo album Zelda bought the day after we returned from our honeymoon. I looked in it a while back only to discover it was empty.

She couldn’t find the time to put our wedding photos in it, though they weren’t the best anyway since her cousin was the official photographer. He was a bit drunk to catch the magic moments, unless our fondest memory is supposed to be the busty bridesmaid he was hitting on.

And I have no idea what happened to the honeymoon photos. The two week vacation in Guatemala was a three way marriage. She loved the pricey camera I bought her like a second husband. But I have a gut feeling the pictures were accidentally deleted when she tripped and fell into her fitness instructor’s bed.

A door opens and closes on the second floor.

“Zelda, is that you? Did you make a spare key for yourself?”

I get no answer, but light footsteps patter down the stairs then towards the living room entrance.

“Zelda, this better not be a joke. Did you forget something you don’t want to tell me about.”

Oh my god, it’s…it’s (scream) Jill the ghost.

She’s translucently beige, and wearing a long, straight dress. She kind of looks like Loretta Young.

“Jill, I haven’t seen you since, since.”

“You were a teenager when I disappeared.”

“I can’t remember exactly how old I was.”

“A few years here and there doesn’t matter, you fool. I’ve walked this planet as a ghost since the Attila the Hun burned down my Balkin village.”

“You never told me that before.”

“Why would a teenager need to hear such a tragic story? It could have emotionally disturbed you.”

“Jill, you didn’t hold back when you warned me about a horrifying event that was about to happen at the local shopping mall.

I was wide awake in bed, so excited because I was going there the next morning to buy a model kit of Jupiter 2, the flying saucer from Lost in Space.

You said a girl from my school would be at the mall as well, and she’d bite my ear off. Man, it sounded like you didn’t want me to buy the model, because you hated science fiction shows from the sixties – but you were right.

She smuggled a large pop bottle filled with gasoline into the toy store, lit the doll section on fire, then bit and kicked customers until the smoke was too thick for her to breathe.

She ran out, leaving four people to die, then went home and watched Gilligan’s Island until the swat team knocked her door down. She was placed in an institution for child offenders and never heard of again. Strange thing, I can’t remember her name.”

It was Macy Maxton.

“Macy. Hmmm…I’ve heard the name recently. Anyway, where have you been haunting for all these years?”

“I’ve been inhabiting a penguin’s body in Antartica, but that doesn’t matter, you fool. I have come to you with an important warning. Your neighbour Swen is plotting to blow up the New Moon Church, and many people could die.”

“Man, you always find out about the destructive creeps before they engage in evil actions. But why me, Jill? Aren’t there a thousand and one mishaps waiting to happen to unfortunate souls?”

“I am your ancestor, Micheal, and our fates have crossed paths once again. Your destiny is marked with a fiery event -just like mine was, so it’s my duty to warn you about threats that can end your life tragically.”

“Since my destiny has this mark on it, I’ll forever have to face these threats.”

“Yes Micheal, but you can have a fruitful life with my help.”

“Then why didn’t you save me from marrying Zelda? My life hasn’t felt fruitful after she ran off with her fitness instructor.”

“Your ex wife is an Ice Queen, and I can only help with fiery catastrophes. But your life is still fruitful. The antiques store is doing great, and this house is much larger than for one man.”

“It all sounds dandy Jill, but why would you inhibit a penguin in Antartica and not be able to save me from an ice queen?”

“I am forever burnt from the fire that destroyed my village, and life in the south pole distracts me from the pain.”

“You’re a ghost, Jill. You have no skin to be burned.”

“To a ghost, the burn seems like a fur jacket in an sauna. So the pain isn’t actually a tangible feeling, but it creates the essence of discomfort.”

“You’ve still got bad vibes from the fire.”

“Yeah, that’s what I mean.”

“There must be a way to save you from eternal discomfort, Jill.”

“None that I have found.”

“I can search for a cure. I’ll bet it’s in an ancient Egyptian scroll that’s hidden away in a Moroccan gift shop.”

“I’ve lost all hope, Micheal”

“No, there must be a way to save you.”

My cell phone rings and Jill disappears in a snap.

“Hello? Jeeves, are you taking good care of the antiques store? Are you serious? A detective wants to look in the company van? What for? He’s investigating the suspicious death of Lily Visser. I guess he can look in the van. We’ve got nothing to hide. That’s right. I’ve got nothing to hide. Did you tell him that nobody’s driven the van since last week? Tell him that. The woman he’s investigating was found yesterday, so it’s impossible the van was involved. How do I know she was found? Cause she was found on my block, and I talked to a cop about it. I mean police officer. They’re looking for someone in a white van, so I told him about ours. Right I mean mine. Hey did you drive the van last night, after I went home? Cause if you did, you better tell the detective.”

Click

“Man, my own employee hung up on me. Maybe he has something to do with Lily Visser’s death. Hmmm…Lily, the name rings a bell too. Just like Macy Maxton. It’s kind of odd I’d hear two names that sound familiar in such a short period of time.”

Here I am in the foyer of the New Moon Church. I’ve just finished eating at the Chinese Buffet in the education centre. There was so much food that the helpers were marching from table to table with plates of noodles and spring rolls, insisting everyone have another helping. I’ll be sitting through the organist’s funeral with a stomach that feels like a medicine ball. Speaking of which, I better get a seat fast. This service is guaranteed to be standing room only.

Fast Track to Nave.

Organ music is playing.

I managed to grab one of the last seats available, which is next to the center row. The organist’s coffin is eye candy. Its glossy black finish reminds me of a grand piano. Kind of strange though, it’s a closed casket ceremony, and there is no reason why the attendees wouldn’t want to see his body.

Anyway, the crowd is quieting down fast as the Spiritual Leader of the Church has just stood at the podium. While he sips a glass of water, I can’t help but think how recognizable he is from Becky’s coffee’s shop, when I saw him steal Bill the blind ex fireman’s watch.

His muscular build and long blond hair are blatantly distinguishable from any other man I’ve seen since the incident. I make a mental note to ask Denise if she can still identify the culprit. She was the server at working Becky’s coffee shop when the incident happened.

Hold it – she gave Constable Randy a description of the spiritual leader. The Constable must know it matched his appearance, even though he denied it. Strange thing – I haven’t seen the Constable here yet, nor the man who invited me to the funeral. Anyway, the spiritual leader is about to give a eulogy:

Distinguished members of the New Moon Church, and Guests from the Community.

This evening we say good-bye to an outstanding member of the church, Charles Norton. We will long remember him as the man who brought us joy with his music, and support with his obedience to our beautiful religion.

And as we are gathered here, sharing the warmth of each other’s compassion, I’m proud to say that we are the family that gave Charles a place in this world, as he was raised in a foster home, and knew nothing of his blood relatives. Yes, Charles was a member of our Church from the start of his adult life. In fact we loaned him money for his music education, and he was forever grateful.

It is why he is resting in not just any heaven, but the most peaceful heaven that a soul can check into for eternity. And all because he gave us his ultimate devotion.

His loyalty has gained him the ultimate respect and admiration a church member can ever hope to achieve. It is a loyalty we all deserve, with the right effort.

Charles Norton knew this in his heart. Why, after music school, he wisely continued his learning experience in our education center. Most of you know what I’m talking about, as you’re enlightened members of the church.

But for our new comers – in the hall next door to us, where the free Chinese buffet was served, we offer an unrivalled method of study for the ambitious.

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Hi Micheal Midas here. The man who invited me to the funeral last night has finally arrived, but not in the humble spirits I would have thought. He just by marched by me, and he’s headed to the coffin. What’s he going to do? Oh my, he’s opening the lid. My God, he’s putting his hand in the coffin. He’s banging on the bottom of it.

“You see everyone, there’s nobody inside. It’s a fake funeral.”

End of Part 8.