It was a long apartment with a ghost in it. The ghost didn’t run around or anything. In the early hours of morning I would see it in my half sleep; an old man hunched over by my clothes rack. I would go back to sleep thinking it was just my coats hanging together on the rack. But after Kris took the room he asked me if I’d ever seen an old man in there in the mornings. That’s when I knew it was a ghost.
The apartment was on the second floor, which made sense because spirits fly above the ground. ‘Something comes through here in the mornings,’ one of the couch surfers said. She meant something like a something something. A spirit that sort of blew through Callie’s room, down the hallway and into my room. You didn’t see it though. You just felt it being evil.
Living with Callie wasn’t the best way to avoid that kind of stuff. Everyone knows a spirit loves a crazy bitch; especially that certain kind of cyberpunk earth mother with a black dye job and blunt fringe. According to Callie her psychic abilities were increasing. Apparently that’s normal, as you get older, especially if you use them on a daily basis. Clients would come into her room at the front of the house and she would read their minds. That was worth $300 an hour.
When Callie decided to up her rate she did a promotional ‘blindfold retreat’. She wore a blindfold for a week, crawling around on her hands and knees trying to locate a can of nuts she had placed in her room for sustenance. The theory was that once she removed the blindfold she’d be extra psychic from the sensory deprivation. It was a great excuse to charge an extra 100 bucks. She’d be able to peer into the deep reaches of your brain and pull out shit that even you didn’t know about yourself.
Yet Callie wasn’t able to read me, even after the retreat. Maybe it’s because she wasn’t a real psychic. Sometimes I’d be in my bathroom taking a shit and Callie would barge through the door. A real psychic would know I was in there. A regular person would listen for sounds of someone taking said shit before they attempted to steal their toilet paper.
What she lacked in psychic abilities she made up for with charisma. That’s what people were paying for. She could spin a tale with conviction. It was compelling, even if the content was ridiculous. When I moved in she was in the process of drawing up a document that was titled The History Of Everything. As evinced by the title, it contained the significant events of history. But if you thought history was all World War Two, climbing Mount Everest and inventing the Internet, then you’ve been too distracted by reality.
Callie’s History Of Everything took place in a dimension adjacent to this one. It contained all the conspiratorial content that they don’t teach you in the classroom. You know that stuff about the shape shifting reptilians that secretly control the planet from an underground lair coincidentally entitled ‘Middle Earth’. These are the same shapeshifters that murdered Princess Diana. In fact their leader is The Queen, assisted by Al Gore. Feline people were involved and of course The Illuminati.
The History Of Everything was a twelve-page document. That’s how long it took to cover everything. Callie was evangelical when discussing the contents. She preached them to her followers on YouTube. It was as if she’d just run off a Dead Sea scroll on her MacBook.
‘Callie, this part about everything in reality being a hologram, isn’t that ripped directly from The Matrix?’ I asked her.
‘That’s a documentary.’ She said this with a straight face. Science fiction was true. You had to admire her gall.
And many did. Callie was a fierce advocate of The Secret, the Doctrine based on the ‘law of attraction’ that dictated that if you thought something enough, it would happen to you. Like if all you thought about was astronauts, you would attract astronauts and then become an astronaut. Callie spent her days attracting people.
She was obsessed with money, so she courted the rich in her private and professional life. Psychic readings were just one arm of the business. She also held daylong seminars about the reptilian agenda, and classes on ‘how to be psychic’. These were popular with professional men eager to gain a psychic advantage in the corporate world. Callie didn’t require social welfare benefits. Her constant hustle supplied a steady stream of cash.
Putting out cash vibes eventually ‘paid off’ when Callie met Emmy at the Rose Street Artists market. Emmy was a building manager with a long mane of strawberry blond hair, who dealt with corporate office leases. This meant she had money, which was attractive. Despite Emmy being heterosexual she was mesmerised by Callie.
Callie had to ditch a handsome cowgirl in far north Queensland with whom she was having a long distance relationship. Because of the nature of long distances, there was some overlap between the two girls. That agonising period in which Callie had to decide whether or not to choose love, or the money— which she loved.
Meanwhile Emmy was staring down the barrel of a whole new world. And no, I don’t mean lesbianism. I think girls have an easier time figuring that out. She was about to start hanging out at our house. There were standard aspects to their courtship: the usual sex binge, excess food consumption and psychic readings that every new couple does with each other. The weird houseguests however took things to another level.
Callie’s section of the house comprised the front room, an antechamber and a bathroom. On her third visit Emmy slipped through the antechamber to the bathroom, and when she returned she allegedly found Callie sitting there with two aliens. The aliens were bathed in blue energy. Callie gave Emmy a knowing grin.
‘What are they doing here?’ Emmy asked from the doorway.
‘Relax Emmy. Welcome them.’ Said Callie, as if hospitality was the main concern. Unnerved, Emmy moved into the centre of the room and sat cross-legged with the blue aliens. When Callie related the story she didn’t include whether or not she’d offered the aliens some tea, or perhaps some nuts left over from the blindfold retreat.
It’s no ‘secret’ that aliens were discussed at St Georges Road. The History Of Everything had now been translated onto a giant canvas with a timeline running through its centre, delineating everything major an alien had ever done. Somehow that painting came to be in my bathroom, meaning each time I took a shower I could familiarise myself with alien history. Still it was kind of a shock to discover that they’d been at the house. I hadn’t seen a UFO parked on the roof.
“They exist in another dimension,” Callie explained. ‘They vibrate into ours.”
Vibrations were a big deal. Everything was vibrating, all the time. Apparently if you vibrated superfast you’d switch dimensions like the aliens did. If I were Emmy I would have been out of there at that point. Trans dimensional aliens bathed in blue energy are cool on TV but I’m uncomfortable with them in my bedroom.
Emmy wasn’t deterred though. Within weeks Callie packed up her den and they had moved together to an undisclosed location. Her sudden departure had a soap opera style quality to it, complete with a scene of loading up boxes of belongings in the 4WD. Just like that she’d been written out of the show. I was left with Kris and a house so vibey that no amount of burning sage could quell it.
Years later when flight 370 disappeared someone sent me a link. It was a YouTube clip of a southern woman broadcasting from her wardrobe. She’d seen in the plane in a vision engulfed in blue energy: A garden-variety trans dimensional portal that removed 370 from the sky. ‘It’s not aliens,’ she pointed out, ‘but it is alien technology.’
I was reminded of Callie and her aliens.It struck me that I’d once seen a ghost, and it wasn’t as shocking as a real life event. Like Callie extorting cash from people who wanted to see the future, or an aircraft that vanishes over the ocean. Blue energy was a distraction from a reality way more confronting than any trans dimensional portal.
It was a long apartment with a ghost in it. He wasn’t my focus.
This story originally appeared in The Suburban Review, Volume 3, May 2014