Morbid CuriosityDante D. Ross / Humor / Horror
By Dante D. Ross
Copyright © 2013 by Dante D. Ross
“I do a lot of stuff. I mean, you know, charity work.” - Sylvia Browne (dead psychic)
I don’t know why but I get calls like these usually on Mondays. Monday is too early in the week to deal with this much crazy. I swear I’m never going to church again. That’s how all this nonsense started. I’ll get to that later. Right now I got a mother in denial to deal with.
“He didn’t kill himself!” This is Mrs. Stanton. She’s what I call semi-crazy. One of the types that believe in things like ghosts, the afterlife, and monsters and keeps it to herself. But when she meets someone like me who has no choice but to see these things she vomits all the information she knows. She contacted me after a ghost began knocking over her favorite porcelain figurines. She thinks it’s her son that died about a year ago haunting her. I think she just gets so drunk that she doesn’t remember smashing shit in her sleep.
“Whatever you say, ma’am,” I mutter to her. Lord, her house smells. I swear I detect cat pee but see no evidence of a feline in the place. I’m ready to leave when suddenly one of her small half racist figures floats off of the table in front of the two of us and shatters against the wall. “Holy shit!” I shout.
“See, I told you!” she screams at me. “Roscoe, please stop! We want to help you!”
“Roscoe?” I ask her. “You named your son Roscoe? No wonder he’s pissed.” Another figure I swear looks like a burning Southern church almost hits me in the face and I dive under the table. “Hey, Roscoe. You wanna let me see you?” This works more often than not. Ask a ghost to show themselves and they try to create some angry version of what they were like when they were alive. Most times though they just look the way they did when they died. Apparently Roscoe blew his brains out. “You look like hell, kid.”
“Fuck you...” Roscoe hisses at me. “You don’t know me.”
“I know that you’re a jackass that shot himself in the head” I tell him. I pick up a photo of Roscoe and hold it up to him. “I think you look better dead.”
“You’re a dick,” he says. “Aren’t you supposed to give me some spiritual guidance or something?” Roscoe turns to the side and I see straight through his head.
“Does that thing make a sound when wind blows through it?” I ask him. He picks up another figurine and flings it across the room. “Oh, nice, kid. I’m not here to do anything but get you out of your mom’s place.”
“What is he saying?” Mrs. Stanton asks me. “Can I talk to him?” she asks, stumbling around feeling the air for him. I wish she'd leave the room but there's no chance of that happening.
“You didn’t wanna talk to me when I was alive!” Roscoe shouts. He looks for something to throw but can't find anything. He flips a table over.
“Why don’t you move on, Roscoe?” I ask him.
“No, don’t!” his mother shouts.
“Really, lady?” I ask her. “Look. Either you want me to make him leave or you want me to let him keep breaking your little toys. Pick one.” I don’t have time for this nonsense. I have to meet up with my ex wife in an hour. If I’m late she’ll use it as more fodder for her lawyer. As if she needs anymore than she has. I walk over to Roscoe and grab him by the collar and start dragging him out the front door. He’s kicking chairs over and spitting at me. Of course I can't feel any of it.
“What the fuck are you doin’?” Roscoe shouts.
“I’m getting you out of here so I can meet my ex wife” I tell him. He grabs the doorway and tries to hold on. “Too late for that, kid. You wanted to die and that’s what you got. It’s not so bad once you get used to the burning.”
“Kid, you killed yourself,” I remind him. “Whether you believe in heaven or hell they exist and ‘Offers’ go to hell first.
Purgatory if you’re lucky.
“Suicides,” I tell him.
“Leave him with me!” Mrs. Stanton screams to me. She dives for my legs and holds on to my ankles. “He’s my boy!”
“Fine” I say and let Roscoe go. He runs back into the house. “Pay me” I say. She hands me $600 cash and I smile and wave to her. “Call me when you get sick of having your shit damaged.” She gives me a look but says nothing. I walk to my car and count my money. I always get paid in cash. Always. Inside I hear glass shattering and Mrs. Stanton shouting.
Did I tell you how much I hate Mondays?
“You’re late” Louise says as I slide into the booth. I wave the waitress over and she sighs at me. It’s way too hard to find good people that work in customer service. She slaps a menu on the table and walks away.
“I just want a coffee,” I tell the back of her head. She nods to the pot on the table. I grab it and pour it into my lap. She screams. “It’s ice cold. And could you bring me some napkins?” She heads off and Louise stares at me and shakes her head.
“You never change,” she says to me. “What if the coffee had been hot?”
“What if you’d never cheated on me?” I ask her as I shift in my seat; nothing like ice cold coffee seeping into your ass crack to perk you up. “So where’s your lawyer? I can barely smell him on you.”
“Out of town,” she says with a sigh. Oh, I forgot to tell you. She cheated on me with her mother’s divorce lawyer. It’s so ironic that it went past funny to sad and back to funny again. “He knows that we’re meeting though. How have you been?”
“Same old same old,” I say as the waitress drops some paper towels on the table. “Thanks. Yeah, so I had to save this old broad from her crazy ghost son. She wanted him to stay but...”
“Enough, Steven” she says to me. “It was hard enough dealing with your crazy stories when we were married. I’ll be damned if I’m going to listen to them now.”
Louise never believed me. She never questioned where the money I brought home came from. Maybe she thought I was a drug dealer. I offered to take her with me on one of my jobs but she refused.
It’s not like I asked for this.
I guess I should tell you how I got this curse in the first place. It happened one day in church. I was 7. My parents are very religious people. Very religious may be an understatement. According to them 99.9% of the world sinned and would burn in hell including me when I didn't pick up after myself. I don’t mean that they go to church on Sundays and Wednesdays. That's for rookies. They went six days a week and me and my little sister were dragged along with them.
“They’re going to Hell,” they’d always say about people. J-walking? You’re going to Hell. Laughing too loud in a theater? You’re going to Hell. Not saying hello to them? You’re going to Hell. Grinning? Hell. It got old really quick. I tried talking my way out of going a few times and showed up to church with a black eye or swollen lips. Backtalk got you sent to Hell but beating your kids apparently did not.
One night we showed up late. My sister spilled wine on her dress. How did she get wine? How could she not, is a better question. It was all over our house. By the time we arrived we had to sit against a wall in the corner underneath a massive statue of Jesus Christ. That thing always gave me the creeps. Not that I’m afraid of Him or anything. But it was so big that it was life-size. His blood looked real and so did the pain in his eyes. I’m sorry but after the crown of thorns humanity would’ve been fucked. I could not die for the sins of people I’d never met let alone the ones I have.
So we’re sitting there and all is well in the world. That is until my mother, in an enthusiastic fit, bumped into me. Hard. I slammed against the wall knocking the massive Jesus loose. I looked up just in time to look into the eyes of our Lord. He looked surprised to see me, too. I woke up in bed hours later. My parents didn’t believe in hospitals. “No one gets better in a hospital!” my mother would shout as she splinted our broken arms and legs. My elbow still clicks to this day.
“What are you thinking about?” Louise asks, snapping me out of my flashback––Sorry. I’ll get back to it later. “I came for a conversation, but if you’re going to sit here and look strange I’ve got better things to do.”
“Don’t you mean people?” I ask.
“I don’t have to sit here and listen to this bullshit from you, Steven” she says as she leaves.
“Sit down” I tell her. She looks at me and frowns. “Please?” She sits down and sighs into her hands.
“I don’t know what to do with you, Steven,” she says.
“Well, you could pick up the tab” I say. She looks up at me with fire in her eyes; there is no love left in them for me. “You had an entire