Friday’s Short Story: The Ghost of Dave

storyteller Harry had definitely gone to bed drunk, and he had certainly eaten a lot of cheese. These were two facts: solid, uncontroversial, the kind of truths you could rap your knuckle on.

“I am a bit drunk, and I have eaten far too much cheese on toast,” he said out loud, but the ghost just stared at him, impassively.

He had never seen a ghost before. He didn’t believe in ghosts. These were also facts. Stating facts was helping prevent him from panicking.

“I have never seen a ghost before. And I don’t believe in them. So.”

He gave an attempt at a nonchalant, dismissive shrug, but the ghost did not appear ready to be dismissed. It bobbed, slowly, up and down. It was see through, Harry noted. And it was floating, hence the bobbing. And it was pointing at him, which Harry felt was unnecessary, given that he was the only person in the bed. He wouldn’t have been so drunk, or eaten so much cheese, if there had been anyone else in the bed. That’s what he had told himself earlier as he grated half a block of Pilgrim’s Choice over the four large slices of…

Why was he thinking about cheese so much? Cheese was not currently the issue. The issue was the ghost. The ghost of Dave. The ghost of Dave which was floating in his bedroom just now. He liked Dave, he liked Dave more than he liked cheese, and he liked cheese a whole lot. Not just cheddar, and not just when drunk. If he had to pin down his favourite cheese it would probably be…

The ghost of Dave opened its mouth and went “Woooo”.

Harry tried to concentrate on the ghost. All this cheese stuff was clearly some sort of coping mechanism. Maybe, in a way, cheese had always been a coping…

“Wooooo,” said the ghost of Dave.

Harry was 34 and single and had therefore spent many a drunken evening discussing religion, philosophy and the supernatural loudly, vehemently and at length with his drunk, single friends. They often accused him of being “closed-minded”.

“Ah, but the danger with being too open-minded,” he would proclaim, “is that you have to be careful your brain doesn’t fall out.” It was a good zinger. He had got it off the internet.

“Woooo,” said the ghost of Dave.

“What? What do you want?” said Harry.

He reached over to his bedside table, and fumbled for his phone.

“Wooooo,” said the ghost of Dave.

There were no new messages from Dave on his phone. He hit “dial”. Dave answered.

“What the fuck, Harry?” said Dave, because it was 3am.

“I… have eaten cheese and I don’t believe in ghosts,” said Harry, into the phone, while staring directly into the eyes of the ghost of Dave.

“Fuck’s sake” said Dave, before hanging up.

“Wooo,” said the ghost of Dave.

Harry didn’t know what to say. He put the phone down and shut his eyes and prayed for sleep.

“Woooo,” said the ghost of Dave.

Sleep came.

******

Harry awoke bright and early the next afternoon, which was a Saturday. There were no ghosts in his bedroom, which was super good news as far as he was concerned.

He texted Dave: “pub” and got the reply: “y” which was Dave’s version of enthusiastic accord.

At the pub Harry found it hard to look at Dave.

“Something weird happened last night,” he said.

“Yeah, I got that,” agreed Dave.

“I thought I saw a ghost,” said Harry.

“Weird,” agreed Dave.

“Well, yeah, it was, because it was your ghost. A ghost of you.”

“And that’s why you called to tell me about the cheese?” asked Dave.

“Well, exactly. I didn’t know what to do,” said Harry.

“I’m not dead though,” said Dave, “and you don’t believe in ghosts. You told me.”

“Woooo,” said the ghost of Dave.

“Oh fucking hell,” said Harry, because the ghost of Dave had just floated down, through the ceiling of the pub, and was now bobbing behind Dave. Harry clutched his forehead and stared emphatically at the table.

“Hungover?” said Dave.

“Wooo,” said the ghost of Dave.

“Yeah. I must be,” said Harry. He realised he was crying. This was all a bit much. He tried hard to think about cheese, but apparently that particular coping mechanism was currently offline.

“Wooo,” said the ghost of Dave. Harry looked up. The ghost of Dave seemed to be attempting to communicate with its see-through head, nodding it towards Dave and then shaking it towards Harry.

“What?” said Harry.

“I didn’t say anything,” said Dave.

“Dave, I can see the ghost again,” said Harry, tears streaming down his face.

“How much cheese did you have last night?” laughed Dave.

“Wooo,” said the ghost of Dave, and there seemed to be an urgency to it.

“I don’t know what you’re saying,” wailed Harry.

“I’m making a joke about cheese because… oh, fuck it,” said Dave. He quickly looked round: nobody was taking any notice because this was a Wetherspoons and everyone in there had their own problems to deal with. He reached out and grabbed Harry by the throat.

“Ack!” said Harry. Probably, he thought, my favourite cheese would be a Brie.

“I don’t believe in ghosts either,” said Dave, or whatever had taken the place of Dave, shaking his head sadly, then vigourously, and then so quickly it became a blur. There was a dreadful snapping, cracking, squishing sound as Dave’s head split open, and two barbed tentacles shot out from the grisly gap, smashing into Harry’s forehead.

“Brie,” thought Harry, just before his brain was tugged physically from his head, landing on the table with a noise that Harry would no longer be able to describe.

“Dave” grabbed the brain with both hands and greedily stuffed it into his gaping neck hole.

It occurred to the ghost of Harry that if he had been a bit more open minded this might never have happened. The ghost of Harry watched as whatever had killed Dave ate first his brain, and then his body, noisily. Nobody in the pub was taking any notice, because it was a Wetherspoon’s.

The ghost of Harry turned to the ghost of Dave, to share the irony.

“Wooo,” he said.

“Woooo,” agreed the ghost of Dave.

******
The Ghost of Dave
by Harris
more tiny tales

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