FIRST 7 PAGES
In the beginning there was Father God. At least that’s what the bible tells us. I don’t know, I wasn’t there. But what it doesn’t tell us is there was also Mother. The essence of nature and the universe, she pulled nature from her womb to wrap the strong earth that God had made. Can you imagine that? Ripping nature right out your taint? Fuck I bet that hurt. Then God made a son, Adam. So, Mother made a daughter, Lilith.
Maybe it was a pissing contest. Maybe they were bored and lonely. Who knows why gods do anything? And while Adam was captivated by Lilith’s beauty, she had a way with nature and found no interest in him. It was then God made Eve. And for a time, life was good. Then Lucifer took the form of a serpent and moved in. Can you imagine living with a big ass snake in your home? Gross. Although this was way before people began to fear them. And since he was an Angel, he was beautiful. Unfathomably so. Lilith found companionship in the serpent, but Eve was also drawn to him and his sly tongue. For no one had asked her if she loved Adam. She was made from him, for him. She had freedom while Eve had duty. She’d had no choice. And she was jealous of Lilith in that regard.
It hadn’t been hard for Lucifer to convince Eve to defy God, and Adam was powerless to resist her as all straight men are powerless among gorgeous women. What I can’t figure out is why they were ashamed of their nakedness. Own that shit. Anyway, God got pissed and threw his creations out. Then he hid the garden from even Mother herself. For centuries, his children have looked for it and romanticized it. Except for one. Meleficent.
Whatever happened to the garden of Eden was a question Meleficent had never asked and if you’d told her by the end of the week, she’d be looking for it she’d have laughed. She didn’t much care for God or the devil and was at that very moment cursing them both for giving her life and unnatural gifts. The coupling of the two had led to her current alcohol problems.
Her mouth tasted stale, her teeth were fuzzy, and her head was starting to pound. The bar top was sticky under her face and her arms hung slack at her sides. Late morning sunlight filtered through bent and broken window shades. A nasty headache was snaking behind her left eye, but she was still riding her buzz. She felt mildly okay, but she knew soon she wouldn’t. Something was always trying to ruin her buzz. She almost tensed in preparation for it.
Just at that moment, Cindy Galloway poked Meleficent hesitantly in the shoulder. “Excuse me,” Cindy said. “Are you the . . . the uh . . . the dick medium?”
Cindy had a problem she believed only Meleficent could help her with. A problem she was loathed to talk about. A rather funny problem if you weren’t Cindy.
“It’s the medium dick,” Meleficent said as she peeled her face off the rough bar and rubbed her cheek. Despite her irritable personality, she had a slim sense of humor. She was sure she’d left half of her skin cells on the gnarled surface.
Meleficent stretched with a yawn and Cindy waved a thin bony hand in front of her face to fan the fumes coming out of Maleficent’ s mouth. Meleficent had spent the night in the bar and her hygiene had deteriorated with every corpse reviver number two she’d drunk. And it hadn’t been great to start with.
“So, you’re Melef—”
“Mele will do.”
Meleficent hated her name. Once Upon a time her parents had loved it and graced their raven-haired daughter with it after their love of Disney. Sadly, they couldn’t spell, and their love of the name had dissipated when they’d discovered what a freak she was. Mele smacked the bar twice with her hand then patted down her front looking for a pack of cigarettes. When she found one, it was empty, and she tossed it on the counter.
The owner and bartender, Dunkirk set a drink in front of Mele. His establishment wasn’t even open for several more hours, but most nights he couldn’t get Mele to leave. She was a permanent fixture on the end of his bar. He wasn’t sure why he continued to serve her. She was mad as a march hare, but he’d inherited her with the bar and his father had always insisted he keep her in absinthe. And while she never paid her substantial tab, she also never got in any fights. Unlike his paying regulars. She’d almost become part of the furnishings.
Mele took a drink and spit. “What the shit is this?”
“A jaded lady. Appropriate, no?” Dunkirk said.
“I’m no lady,” Mele said before chucking the glass at his head.
Dunkirk ducked and the cup slammed into the mirror behind the bar shattering it. “You’re going to pay for that Mel.”
Accustomed to being ignored, Cindy had stood there quietly, but the sense of urgency that had brought her to the bar started to nag at her. “I’ve got a problem with a ghost.”
Mele turned her attention to Cindy standing to her left. “Why, is it your stylist?” she asked as she wrinkled her nose in disgust. Cindy was wearing high waisted slacks with a gaudily patterned button down tucked into them. Her hair was yanked back into a severe bun making her look perpetually perturbed. Though Mele didn’t really have room to talk. She was wearing a sweat soaked band tee with burn holes in it and ripped black jeans. The sole of her left shoe was loose and flapped when she walked. And while I’m at it, Dunkirk was dressed a tad hipster, but cute.
“Do you always insult potential clients?” Cindy asked.
“Insulting people is what I do.” She’d been told it was a defense mechanism by her therapist. But she never listened to her which is why she was still fucked up. Probably.
“I was told insulting the dead is what you do.”
As if the dead didn’t have enough problems, what with the whole dead thing, they’d all heard about the medium dick. And every ghost thought they could handle her insults, but so far none had.
“I do that too. For a price.”
“Whatever she’s willing to pay, Mel, take it,” Dunkirk said.
Dunkirk had never believed in ghosts, but he’d seen a lot of people come into his bar searching for the medium dick. Her business cards bore the address of the bar leading him to believe Mel was homeless. Dunkirk and his late father had quarreled over her disgusting presence in the bar on more than one occasion, but his father had insisted they keep her around.
“Calm your tits Durrkirk. I’ll get you a mirror.”
“My mirror is beside the point.”
Several years prior to the passing of Dunkirk’s father, Mele had helped him rid the bar of a ghost. In return he’d given her free drinks for life. His ghost was roaming the bar and Mele often sought his advice on life. And to freak out Dunkirk she spoke to his father in front of him. She found it rather sad Dunkirk couldn’t see the father he loved so much. His father who had bled out from a bottle wound on the floor behind Mele. Since he’d died in the bar, his ghost had gotten trapped inside the salt lines she’d laid to keep other ghosts out.
“Ma’am, I don’t dabble with the dead anymore,” Mele said. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to find a job.”
Mele had never held down a non-paranormal job for long and removing unwanted ghosts never paid her what she thought it ought to. In truth, Dunkirk’s thought that she was homeless was not far off. Mele walked past the woman, content in her decision not to help. No one had ever helped her with her ghost problems.
“Please, you don’t understand. Everyone thinks I’m crazy. No one else will help me.”
Indeed, at first, Cindy thought she herself was crazy. She had never believed in ghosts until now. But what she didn’t realize was that Meleficent did understand. And every time she heard someone’s plea for help, she remembered the first time she’d encountered a ghost.
Meleficent had been five at the time. Her parents had laughed it off at first, but as she’d persisted, their laughter had turned to fear, and their fear had cost them their daughters love.
Mele sighed and stopped walking. “Two thousand dollars, cash up front.” Mele was tired of doing work and not getting paid because her clients chose to stop believing in ghosts the minute it was out of their house.
“That’s outrageous,” Cindy said.
“Good luck with your problem. I know an excellent ghost therapist if you need a recommendation,” Mele said as she walked toward the door and slipped earbuds in her ears. Mele smiled in contentment as the thick silence enveloped her. She pulled shades out of her greasy blond hair and stepped over the salt line she’d helped Dunkirk’s father infuse into the concrete, and the late morning sun wrapped around her.
The shades were a necessity she’d long decided on so ghosts didn’t know she could see them. Just like the earbuds kept her from hearing them. Mele zipped up her jacket against the chill of death as the waiting ghosts billowed around her like a cloak. Once she got them out of their abodes, they followed her. Just another reason she hated the dead. Didn’t they have lives? Things they could be doing besides haunting her.