Sunday, July 16, 2006

Talking To The Walls

This is part two of the story, to read the beginning Click Here.

Greene sat slumped on the sofa. He was questioning his very sanity at the moment. He was trying to analyze what was happening to him. He had turned the apartment upside down looking for wires, or anything electronic. There had to be a hidden microphone, maybe even a camera, somewhere in the place. It was the only thing that made any sense.

"Satisfied, Michael?" asked the disembodied voice. "This apartment is not bugged."

He groaned audibly and looked around the room. If someone were playing a cruel joke on him, they were damned clever.

"Care to talk, Michael?"

"No!" He shouted in defiance. "Leave me alone!"

He had resigned himself to the fact that he had to be suffering from delusions. He wasn't about to let the voice get the best of him. One thing however, was beginning to get under his skin. He was getting agitated by the formality of his invisible house guest.

He stood up and said, "...And stop calling me Michael!"

"It's your name, is it not?" replied the voice.

"Mike! Call me Mike!"

"Certainly. Mike it is!"

Greene sighed, "Now, what should I call you, asshole?"

"You can call me anything you wish. Just don't call me late for a haunting."

The man frowned, "So, now you're telling me you're a ghost?"

"There are no such things as ghosts. You know that."

....Greene wanted no part of this battle of wits. He knew that hidden somewhere within that apartment, there had to be some kind of sophisticated surveillance equipment. He was growing more and more concerned that the authorities were monitoring him. Could it be that someone wasn't certain he had nothing to do with the murder of his ex-wife?

"Okay, Casper...Why are you here? Why me?" He asked the wall before him.

"Like you, I'm leasing the place. I'm here...because...I am!"

"Swell," Greene said, "I get a ghost who thinks he's Descartes."

"Face it, Michael... ah Mike, we're room mates."

"Room mates? Then why don't you fork over your half of the rent, roomie?"

I'm afraid I don't carry cash. I don't even have pockets," Casper replied.

This was getting him nowhere. If it wasn't bad enough that he was carrying on a conversation with the walls, the fuckin' wall was a comedian...and a ghost! He had to get to the bottom of this insanity.

"Listen, Casper," he spoke calmly, "How do you know my name, anyway?"

"From the lease agreement, of course. You did sign one, didn't you? Everyone has to sign a lease."

Perspiration began to form on his furrowed brow. Yes, he had signed a lease agreement, but not under his real name. He had moved into this apartment under an assumed name - not as Michael Greene.

He darted to the front door and called out, "Stay right there! I'll be back."

"Great!" exclaimed Casper, "A room mate who thinks he's Arnold Schwarzeneggar!"

Greene's frantic rapping at the door was finally answered by his irritated landlord.

"Yes, Mr. Greene?" From the water dripping from his body, the disheveled hair and the towel wrapped around his body, it was apparent he had been in the shower.

"I'm sorry to disturb you, Mr. Jensen," he said politely. "This will only take a moment of your time. Please?"

The landlord nodded but it was obvious that he was angry at the unannounced intrusion.

"This is going to sound strange," Greene began, "but can you tell who occupied the apartment before me?"

Mr. Jensen seemed startled by the question at first, but he answered it nonetheless. "It was a man by the name of John Hayes. It turned out that he was wanted in connection with a robbery and murder at a convenience store across town."

Greene drew in his breath and exhaled quickly, "Did they catch him?"

Jensen was clearly uncomfortable with the conversation. "Are you a cop or something?" he asked.

Greene shook his head.

"They...I found him...Dead in the apartment," he said forcibly. "They said he'd allegedly hung himself with an extension cord..." His voice trailed off.

Greene stood there, his arms folded across his chest. The landlord nudged him away from the doorway and said, "Look, I don't wish to discuss that terrible day any longer. It was six months ago. I'm trying to forget..."

Greene raised his hand, "It's okay. I understand. Once again, I'm sorry to have disturbed you." He turned to walk away.

"Why are you asking about him, anyway?" Jensen was looking through the crack of the open door.

"Just curious, Mr. Jensen. Just curious," he said over his shoulder.

The landlord had stepped out into the hallway, "You're writing a book! Aren't you?"

Greene smiled. Apparently the fifteen minutes of fame he'd gotten back then wasn't enough for the man. He stopped and turned to face him and replied, "Don't worry, I'll be sure to mention your role in the matter."

Back at his apartment he called out, "Hey Casper. You still here?"

"I have nowhere else to go," answered Casper.

"Listen, Casper, " Greene said, "Or would you rather I call you John? John, as in John Hayes?"

His question was answered with a deathly silence. The apartment seemed suddenly cold and empty. He looked at the wall in the living room and spoke again. "What's the matter, John? Nothing to say now?"

The voice sounded strained and unsure when it finally answered. "I'm somewhat relieved."

"How so?"

"They say that confession is good for the soul, Mr. Greene."

"Do they, Mr. Hayes?"

"Yes," said Hayes' voice. "I've often wondered, just who are they? Well, that doesn't really matter, does it?" After a brief pause, it spoke again, "I shot that man at the convenience store. I was desperate. I needed the scratch."

"Drug habit?" Greene interjected.

"No. It wasn't as simple as that. I needed the money to pay a detective's fee."

"Detective? Go on," he said to the voice.

"You see, Mr. Greene, I suspected my wife of cheating on me. I had to know. I wanted her followed. That detective didn't come cheap."

Greene thought for a moment and inquired, "Why didn't you just follow her yourself?"

...."Restraining order, Mr. Greene, restraining order. We were divorced. She got everything. Even the kids."

For a moment, Mike felt a pang of compassion for the voice and for the man it once was. The feeling passed quickly however, and he pressed Hayes further. "How did you end up here, in the walls of this apartment? How is it that you are here and in my head?"

"We cannot talk anymore, Michael."

"What? What do you mean?"

"Remember what I said before about confession being good for the soul? Take it to heart, Michael."

"Yeah, I remember," Greene answered, "But what's that got to do with me?"

"Goodbye, Michael. My lease has just expired."

Greene paced the floor for several excruciating minutes. The silence was almost deafening.

"Hayes?" he called out. There was no answer. "Are you there? Casper, where are you?"

It had been six months since the mysterious death of the man identified as one Michael Greene. His lifeless body was found wrapped in a shower curtain. The man had suffocated. It was the landlord, Mr. Jensen who had discovered the body and had called the police. Not unlike the time that John Hayes had apparently hung himself in the very same apartment, Jensen had once again found himself in the public eye. He had garnered himself another fifteen minutes of fame.

Miss Jennifer Martin was ecstatic to have found a vacant first-floor apartment near the waterfront. It was good to be in a new city. Seattle was behind her and on the other side of the country. She was home free.

She had covered her tracks brilliantly. The only person who could have possibly connected her with the embezzlement was her ex-lover. He had died however, from an apparent overdose of sleeping pills. She had a lot of money and was starting a new life. Her fortunes couldn't have been any better.

She placed the key into the lock and opened the door. It was a lovely apartment. She was going to like it here.

Michael stirred. Finally, he had a room mate.

"Welcome, Jennifer."


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Everett, Massachusetts, United States
(Aka Mike Ashley)&(The Pointmeister) Transplanted HillBilly - left WVa in 1971 to settle in suburb of Boston, Ma. Served 4 years in USN during Vietnam War. Spent 20 years in Stock Market before going into elderly services.