My friend Blake and I recently moved into a newly renovated house together, a little two story in the city of Pittsburgh with a pale brick front and a sort of Moorish inspired kitchen and exposed red brick on the inside. We have a habit of moving to the same city independently every few years for jobs or women or great parties and then living together when we find out that other people don’t like us, me probably because I like to mess up the refrigerator magnets, and Blake because his name makes him sound like he’s always on his way to or from some sort of gala or yacht show, the stuck up prick.
My first thought when we moved in was, “I wonder if this house is haunted?” I don’t believe in ghosts or the paranormal or Tony Robbins, but you know with these old city houses that have been around since the early 20th century, you’ve got to assume that someone kicked the bucket there at some point. Probably in some really horrific way, like typhoid or acid reflux or something. I’m no ghost expert, but I do believe angry dead people are a key ingredient to hauntings.
Strange little things started to happen. Blake said he fell asleep on the couch one night and heard people talking in the basement. “Fuck that,” I said. “I think it was just a dream,” he said. Or at least I think he said that because I had already left to go hide from the ghost in another room of the house where the ghost lived. Actually, he probably said something about a Sotheby’s auction he had to get to, the bougie trust-fund sack of shit.
One day I closed the dishwasher to start a cycle, left the kitchen, and came back a few minutes later to find that the door of the dishwasher was wide open. “Odd,” I pretended to think calmly as I had already concluded that this was the work of a demon. I closed the dishwasher and re-started the cycle and then rummaged around through my closet for the crucifix I hoped I’d had the foresight to buy on a drunken whim at some point in the past, but no such luck. Drinking doesn’t pay I realized, sipping my drink.
The paranormal events all came to a head in the very early morning a few weeks ago. I was suffering through a bout of insomnia; my eyes were just beginning to close at about 3 AM when I heard a resounding, deafening crash come from my off-suite bathroom on the second floor – where both of our bedrooms are – that woke me up instantaneously. I’m proud to say that I barely even peed myself. Technically, you could make the argument that if any pee comes out in your pants or underwear, then you’ve peed yourself, but I think that in our colloquial lexicon a significant volume of urine is required to count as “pissing yourself” or the bed or an airplane or wherever you’re at when you let loose.
My survival instincts kicked in, adrenaline surged, and I used that boost of strength and awareness to push myself into the depths of my memory foam mattress and pull up my blanket around my face like I was about to tie a bandanna. My first thought, of course, was that this was the ghost. A second thought, barely perceptible, was that this was a home invasion, which I quickly ruled out because the second story windows are almost inaccessible and the staircase leading up to the second floor creaks with even a light touch. I thought, if this IS a cat burglar after jewels or something, then yeah, take my lotion and embroidered hand towels, man. You’ve earned it.
As I’m sure you’ll agree, deciding that the noise was, in fact, of paranormal origin was the MOST rational thing for me to believe in that moment. After the clatter, with my senses still heightened, I listened intently for any further sounds, but none came. I assumed – again by deductive reasoning – that the ghost was waiting for me to open the door to check out the noise, and after I had removed the impenetrable barrier that stood between us, the ghost would probably rough me up pretty good. So like any coolly reasonable person, I didn’t take the bait, and instead tried to telepathically will the spirit to go murder my friend instead. For a good twenty minutes I stayed up listening for other signs of activity and muttering “get Blake”, but hearing nothing I finally drifted off to sleep and denied the ghost a meal of my soul.
The next day I discovered that the apocalyptic noise from my bathroom earlier that morning was thanks to a poorly installed tension shower curtain rod that in its calamitous descent had also swept off a number of hygiene products from my shelf. Why the ghost took issue with my shower curtain rod and decided to pull it down I don’t think I’ll ever know, but I do hope it can find peace.
Later in the day, Blake asked me if I’d heard the noise in the middle of the night and asked what it was, and then told me that his instinctual reaction upon hearing it was to turn up the television volume in his room, cover himself in a blanket, and pretend he didn’t hear anything at all. I was appalled at his cowardice, but should have come to expect that kind of behavior from such an elitist, entitled, and narcissistic boat-shoe wearing dick.
If anyone needs a roommate, let me know.