Monday, January 29, 2007

Diary of a Ghost

Some strange people live in this house. I was in the downstairs. The younger boy, the one with the disheveled hair. He stayed awake for hours sitting up in bed and playing with toy soldiers by the light of the moon. Infantries charging each other over the hills of his quilt. I scrutinized this scene with fierce interest until finally he fell backwards into a stupor and kicked a dozen doughboys to the floor. I never get bored.

Upstairs Mr. and Mrs. S. were tangled in their bedsheets after a bout of lazy and inattentive intercourse. He was asleep and she was not, her eyes wide open to the dark, afraid of what the day would bring. He snored and dreamt of driving a car in the town where he grew up, except he wasn't at the wheel – he was facing backwards in the backseat and suddenly remembered he had to steer, and he tried to twist his body into place to reach the wheel and see the road, and he tried to find a way to clamber over into the front to find the pedals, and he was facing down an impossibly steep hill.

The older boy had recently fallen asleep too, after obsessing over the ticking of his clock. The more he tried to ignore it the louder it got. When he focused on it he found he could make the infernal sound disappear for a few beats but then it would just as soon expand back into his consciousness, louder still, violent ticktocks blaring at him, taunting him, as though reproaching him for some mysterious sin. It never really ended but thankfully exhaustion prevailed and he passed into a dark and fitful slumber.

I slipped into the heating pipes with a hiss and a clang.