Tag Archives: floor

You call this a haunting?

Yes, I’m having trouble putting a lot of what’s happening out of my head, but I can’t let them know that they’re on to me. I figure, just chill out, pretend like nothing’s happening, as long as they can’t get a reaction out of me, maybe they’ll leave me alone.

Maybe they’ll go away. It was like, when I moved in, yes, I was pretty freaked out. It wasn’t anything in particular, it was just a general sense of dread, that same feeling I’d get when I was a little kid, I’d have to go get something in the basement and, regardless of the time of day or who else was in the house, I’d hit the lights and take those first few steps, I could feel it, that tingling on my back, like something was behind me, something grabbing out for me, just an inch or so away.

And so I used to run, sprint up the steps, but that didn’t do anything. Regardless of how quick I made that trip, it always felt so close, right behind me. Whatever was down there, it probably wasn’t anywhere, it had to have been in my head. So as I got older, I forced myself to stop running. No, the feeling of panic, like I was right about to be dragged backward, it never went away, but it never actually came true either. And so I told myself, whatever that feeling is, I’ve just got to go about doing what I’m doing as if it isn’t there.

That’s exactly what it was like the first time I was alone by myself in this new place, always right behind me, like a breath hitting the back of my neck, but not really, almost imperceptibly. Almost immediately things started to happen, my toothbrush wouldn’t be where I’d left it, maybe it was like two inches to the left, or on the other side of the sink.

Just pick it up and brush your teeth, I told myself, don’t let whatever’s in here get the best of you. That was the idea anyway, if there was some sort of a presence or spirit, and jeez, it sounds ridiculous when I write it out, but just don’t acknowledge it. Is it watching me? Why else would it move the toothbrush if not to get a rise out of me.

Like I could pick it up, I wanted to scratch my head curiously, maybe even look around suspiciously. I could call out, “Hello? Is someone in here? Did somebody move my toothbrush?” But that’s just validating whatever’s going on, it’s saying, out loud, hi, my name is Rob, and I’m acknowledging that I’m starting to get really scared of what’s going on here. I hope this is as spooky as things are going to get.

But it’s persistent. I ignored the toothbrush. I started picking it up off the floor, one day it was missing completely, I opened up the toilet seat and there it was, floating in the water. I didn’t bat an eye. I got out a pair of rubber gloves, threw it out, and opened up a new one.

You think I’m going to lose my shit over a disposable toothbrush? I don’t care, I’ll use a new toothbrush every day. And yes, toothpaste all over the mirror, that’s a little bit more aggressive, definitely harder to ignore. But what are my options, really? Do I want to directly engage this thing? No, I just clean it off, yeah, tiptoeing around it is starting to take up more and more of my day.

So it’s like, I don’t have to clean up the toothpaste, no, it’s almost better if I don’t, right? I’m giving it less stuff to throw in my way every day. I can kind of see my reflection, and it’s not gross, I mean, it’s minty, it smells nice. And yeah, if I’m watching TV and the channel changes abruptly while I’m watching it, or if my alarm clock always goes off at three in the morning, yes, I have to deal with that, but you’re crazy if you think you’ll get any more of a reaction than  me hitting the channel down button or shutting off the late-night beep, beep, beep.

I’ll keep this up as long as you want, all right, because I’m not afraid of this, whatever it is. It’s nothing. There’s nothing there. And that’s why I’m not afraid, OK, it’s not going to kill me, right? I mean, those bruises on my legs when I wake up, that’s not a huge deal. People get bruises. And that shadow behind the door, go ahead, keep looking this way buddy. I’m not getting up to investigate. I can’t fall asleep, no, but I can pretend to be asleep. I can’t not be afraid, but I can pretend to not be afraid. And eventually it’s got to move on, because isn’t this a little boring? Huh? You’re going to spend every day haunting me when it’s clearly not messing with me at all? Doesn’t that get a little old? Don’t you want to maybe find someone who will at least visibly be bothered by such cliché tricks? Because I’m not going anywhere, all right, I almost feel bad for you, because it’s just so lame, just go do something else, OK, as far as spirits or ghosts go, you’re a total loser.

I found a twenty-dollar bill on the sidewalk

I was walking down 21st Street the other day when I noticed a twenty-dollar bill lying on the ground directly in front of me. “What are the chances?” I said out loud to myself as I bent down to pick it up, which I realized right away was a mistake, not picking up the twenty, but saying out loud, “What are the chances?” Because as soon as I did, there were these two guys pretty close to me, and I definitely caught their attention.


I wasn’t trying to flaunt my good fortune. I was genuinely happy. But one of the guys stopped and looked toward my direction, he said, “Hey, uh, I think that’s my twenty,” and I knew I was screwed. What was I going to do, protest? I didn’t have any defense. It wasn’t my twenty. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that it wasn’t his twenty either.

Still, I didn’t know how to proceed. In a situation like this, you either act or you don’t. If I hesitated at all, it could have started a fight, the guy might have gotten aggressive. And what if he did get aggressive? For all I knew it really was his twenty. I just had a gut feeling that it wasn’t. I know that if I were in his position, and it wasn’t my twenty, but I wanted the twenty, I would do exactly like he was doing, I’d try my hardest to pretend that it was mine, getting really upset that this other guy wouldn’t hand it over.

I just kind of stood there stuck in thought, until he started moving in to take it out of my hands. Luckily, that third guy chimed in, “Hey man, actually, I think that’s my twenty.” Now I could safely recoil my hand, even if just to help get to the bottom of this. Whereas before, I only knew that the twenty wasn’t mine, coupled with a hunch that the first guy was lying. Now I had two guys, one of them definitely lying, maybe even both of them lying.

“Really? Because I’m pretty sure this was my twenty,” I surprised even myself when those words came out of my mouth. It was a ballsy maneuver, but I figured, worst case scenario, two of us would be lying, meaning that there was no way I was getting teamed up on here.

But for real, I could just tell that all three of us were lying, because, again, I’m putting myself in a situation where I drop a twenty and then two other guys come over and make a claim on it, I’d be like, “All right, that’s my twenty, I’m taking it, bye.” But we were all just kind of a little too hesitant, nobody ready to make any direct accusations, everything was pretty civil so far.

And I still had the twenty in my hands. Should I try to make a run for it? I could have gotten away, again, I’m pretty sure I could have gotten away. I’m really fast, but I always like to keep a slight check on my abilities. The more and more I get used to just assuming that I can sprint my way out of any situation, it’s just setting me up for a huge fail when I try to get away from that one person capable of chasing me down.

“How about …” it was guy number three, “How about we all just split it?” and guy number two immediately jumps in, “Nope. That just proves that it wasn’t yours in the first place. My claim still stands. You?” He was talking to me, damn, did this guy have some sort of experience in situations like this? I didn’t know what to do, it was that same indecisiveness that I was dealing with when it was just me and him. I kind of held out my hand, he slowly moved in to make the grab.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, let’s just hold on a second,” guy number three again said, “That’s not your twenty,” I recoiled my hand slightly, “You’re faking it. Tell me, where’d you drop it from? What pocket do you keep your wallet in? You got any other cash in there? Why didn’t that cash fall out? How you going to prove it’s yours? Huh?”

I couldn’t believe it, but it worked, kind of. At least, guy number two fell for it, the rapid-fire asking of way too many unnecessary yet detailed questions. He should have just kept answering them, one after the other, making stuff up if he had to, because he already had the upper hand. But he just stood there with his mouth open, just five seconds too slow.

And that’s when he caved, he said, “All right fine, let’s just split it.” So then I got a little ballsier, I thought, I’m the only one who hasn’t deviated from his original claim, “Actually guys,” I chimed in, “It’s actually my twenty, I’m going to …”

“No, nope, no chance pal, sorry,” it’s like they could just tell. Guy number two yanked it out of my hands and they both started walking to the McDonald’s on the corner. “Guys?” I called out, “Am I part of the split? Guys?”

I followed them inside, they both started ordering, “Guys, can I at least get some food too? Come on, a Big Mac? We can all get Big Mac meals. There’s enough.”

Guy number three gave me a look like he wanted to say, get the fuck out of here man, but then he looked toward guy number two, gave him a look like, what are you going to do? He turned to the cashier, and said, “And he’ll have a dollar menu double cheeseburger.”

I was like, “That’s it? Dollar menu?” Guy number three said, “Take it or leave it,” and his look got real stern, like I could tell he meant it.

“I’ll take it,” and I took it. Whatever, free double cheeseburger, right?