Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dutch Apple Pie.

Dutch Apple Pie
by james bezerra

There was a ghost waiting at the bus stop and I just can’t pass up that sort of thing. I didn’t need to ride the bus anywhere but I sat down on the bench just next to her and cleared my throat and said:
- Excuse me but did you know that you are glowing?
- Oh yes, quite sadly I do.
- Might I ask then how did you come to this ghostly state?
- Oh I’m not a ghost. A ghost is a lost soul. I’m on my way to get my soul. I just hope the bus isn’t late.
- Your soul won’t wait?
- Oh no, they’re flighty things. Like frightened birds.
- Where is your soul?
- With my body, still, I hope.
- And where might that be?
- Oh, they buried me today.
Just then the bus arrived, and though I don’t need to go anywhere, I also had nothing better to do. I located some bills in my wallet and boarded behind the ghost/not-ghost. Obviously she paid a discounted fare.
- If you don’t mind me asking, how did you die?
- Baking. Right there in the kitchen, I had a massive brain aneurysm. My pies burned too.
- That’s terrible.
- It is. Dutch apple I was making. I had vanilla ice cream waiting in the fridge. Got to put it in the fridge first to soften it up because my wrists can’t scoop it frozen anymore.
- I like it a little melty too.
- That really is the best way. Now would you pull the cord?
I pulled the cord and we disembarked at the dark and hazy cemetery. Her glow threw enough light for us to see by.
- I think this is me. Yep. Here I am. Gosh that’s a pretty stone they got me.
- Your family?
- Two sons, adopted. I couldn’t have them myself, we tried all the things, but my body just wouldn’t. At a certain point you have to give up on making your own tragedies. So that’s how I got my two boys. Only one was here today though.
- It is very pretty. I’m sure he wished he could be here.
- I know he did. Now let’s find a good hiding spot.
For an older lady she hunkered down quite spryly behind a large headstone nearby. I laid on the wet grass behind a smaller stone and we talked in hushed tones while she assembled a butterfly net from pieces in her purse.
- What is it like to be dead?
- Well, it comes as quite a shock. The death part comes quite quick though. It makes me so glad I didn’t have a drawn-out death. The act of dying is the tail end of living, you see. That’s worse than being dead. Makes me think of my poor Robert, it took him years to go, but then he always was a touch lazy. I will say, I do like not having a body anymore, mine was worn out like old socks.
- You don’t miss your body but you need your soul?
- Well heavens boy, you try living without a soul! I can’t tell which way is up. I’m half tempted to run for Congress or some such thing.
With her net assembled, we waited. I offered her my coat to help hide her glowing and she draped it over herself thoughtfully and efficiently, like her own snug ghillie suit. We waited and waited. It grew cold enough that I started to miss my coat.
- Here we go now, get ready.
- What? That green light?
- Sshh! Your voice. Yes, see how it’s coming out of my plot there? That’s the soul waking up. Death is much harder on the soul and it takes a few days.
The green haze around her headstone began to take some shape and narrow down into something of a beam coming out of the recently placed sod. Then within the beam there was something else. A trail of little lights began to ride up the beam and swirl around. They looked to me, as I peeked around my headstone, to be tiny trained insects performing some choreographed dance in the air. It was a frantic green ballet. They began to swoop and swirl around each other until there were enough of them that they began to follow one another and then they were spinning in the air like a double helix twisting and and then the little insects began to form together into the simplest impression of a vaguely human form. Small and helpless in the way a fat baby is small and helpless, and all the while floating in the air above the grave. The bugs went through several incarnations, from fat baby to little girl to big girl to young woman to woman then to a form I distinctly recognized as a mother, though I can’t explain how I knew that in that moment. Each form melted away as the bugs zipped apart and then back together.
- It is trying to remember ... Now get ready …
The insects began to swirl into a sort of ball which continued to float and rotate there above the grave. They seemed to like this shape and became less restless.
- Now!
She shed my coat like a second skin and then she was running toward it with the net above her head. Having no net or any sort of an idea what I was doing, just just ran behind her. With a swift swoop she netted the glowing green ball. She was quick to twist the with her hand to prevent the ball from escaping. It jittered with life and tried to fly up and away, but it was too solid now to escape through the net. I knelt down beside her and we waited for the ball to calm down.
- Poor thing doesn’t know anything about the world.
- You’re very good with that net.
- One can learn to be good at anything if one needs it badly enough. Now hold right here, I’m going to fish it out.
And so she did, while I held the net she reached carefully down into it and withdrew the glowing globe, which was placid enough now that she could hold it with both hands. I went and retrieved her purse and gently she placed the ball inside. We walked back to the bus stop.
- I can not thank you enough for your help.
- No thanks are necessary, but you are of course very welcome.
- I can walk from here. I don’t have far to go now. Do you have correct change for the fare?
- I do.
- Well best of luck to you then. Be safe.
- You as well.
As I waited for the night owl bus, I watched her go off down the block. When her shape was too far away to see anymore, I could still make out her glow, but then the bus approached out of the long darkness and its white yellow lights washed her out. I boarded and moved to the back to look out the window, but by then even her glow was gone.


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