Read The Tsar's Dwarf (Hawthorne Books)

Read The Tsar's Dwarf (Hawthorne Books)
"A curious and wonderful work of great human value by a Danish master." Sebastian Barry, Man Booker finalist (Click on the picture to go to the book's Amazon page)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Ghost at Tower Bridge (A True Story)

I was just in London for the weekend.

As most sane people, I like the city immensely. London is full of fun and excitement - for instance, there are so many ways you can get run over in England. The British cars come at you from unexpected angles. It's part of that London experience: when are you going to get mowed down - and by what? The first time I was in London I was hit by a double decker; the next time by a milkman. Yes, London is great fun and the British hospitals are cheery places - I usually bring a date.

London is also a city full of ghosts.

No, I'm not talking about Tony Blair. He is gone. I'm talking about real ghosts in real apartments. You don't even need to stay at a castle or an old inn. You can find many in the posh Tower Bridge district.

I should know because I visited my friend Ruthie who has psychic abilities. Let me give you an example of her amazing gift: The first time she saw me she knew I was an asshole. That was in Koh Samui six years ago at a health spa. We both got dengue - at a health spa! And lost seven kilo. You could say that we bonded over our diarrhea.

But back to the ghost: There's a dead guy in Ruthie's apartment and he sucks the air of the place.

He's not a scary ghost, mind you. He doesn't tackle you rugby style or make you trip over stools; he just stares at you from his corner - you feel that some one is watching you; it's a bit like being in Syria.

"What am I going to do with Presence?" Ruthie asks me one evening. That's her name for the ghost. Not Jerkface, but Presence.

I find that endearing. But I guess you should be nice to your ghost. There's no reason to make him angry; the ghost might get a heart attack and die.

Ruthie has tried to get rid of him for a long time. She has tried Buddhist rituals and Japanese chants. She even reads him Norwegian poetry, but good old Presence just stays around sucking the energy out of the apartment. She can't write in her own place, it makes her tired staying there for more than a night.

"What do you think Presence wants?" I ask Ruthie who is a lawyer who has gone to Psychic School, "your legal advice?"

Ruthie sighs. She's tired of him but a bit fascinated as well. It's probably the fascination that keeps him there.

But ghosts don't belong on earth. They should go back to their ghost towns and rest.

Isn't that part of the curriculum at Psychic School - along with channeling God and deceased poodles?

The last day I'm in the apartment Presence fucks with the internet. Ruthie can't get online. But funnily enough, I can.

"It's because of my un-psychic ability," I tell her. However, it's not true because I suddenly catch a glimpse of the ghost and sense him, too. Presence has come back. He wasn't here when I arrived. Maybe he went to Wimbledon to watch some tennis?

"Please stay here with Ruthie," I tell the ghost, "don't stalk me; my girlfriend won't like you."

But when I get back to my apartment in Copenhagen I actually see some one next to me when I work at my computer. I won't name the porn site I'm on, but let me put it this way: That ghost is a bit of a pervert.

But how an alien like him got through Danish immigrations I'll never know.

This British woman has obviously seen a ghost at the fruit stand. Or is it just the obscene prices she reacts to?

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