November 6, 2003

Nov 06 2003

As recently as World War II, talk still aspired to the condition of writing. Now writing has uniformly descended to the condition of talk.

— J. Bottum, today’s Wall Street Journal

Ghost Story, part 3

The young man hesitated. “You’re dead, you know.”

“Yeah. I figured.”

The new guy sighed in relief. “Good. Some people have such a tough time with that.”

George continued looking at him impassively. “I’m sorry,” he said, though he wasn’t, “but who are you?”

“The young man gave him a sparkling grin and replied, “I’m Peyton. I’ll be your guide.”

“Mmm. Where am I?”

Peyton shifted, grew a laconic grin. “Well, like I said, you’re dead. But first, I’ve got to ask you a question.” He paused, pursed his lips. “Have you ever heard of Amway?”

George’s eyes bugged, then Peyton laughed and made a dismissive wave of his hand. “Just kidding,” he said. “What do you feel right now?”

George blinked. “I don’t see how that’s any of your business.”

Peyton let out an exasperated breath. “C’mon. If I’m going to be your mystical spirit guide, you’ve got to trust me at least that much.”

George pursed his lips. His options were pretty limited. Might as well trust him this far. “I feel…nothing.”

“All right. Good. You’ll fit in well with us.”

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