“The Pests from Beyond,” by Ryan Currier

Dec 20th, 2011 | By | Category: Fiction, Prose

When ghosts moved into my house, my first thought was live and let live. Actually, my first thought was, Great, here comes the dementia. My second thought was that I was the victim of some kind of perverted trick, played out by one of my friends. I hoped it was my perverted friend Bob, so I could flatten his nose so bad he’d only smell lip.

But no, these were definitely ghosts.

After I got a quote from an exorcist ($300!!!), that’s when I had my third thought–live and let live. And times were good. Without a care in the world, ghosts scurried about between the walls. Ghosts climbed through the dishes in the sink sounding off a ceramic cacophony. Sometimes ghosts would even wake me in the middle of the night with their warm, furry, scratches. Positively otherworldly. Ghosts aren’t all bad, and they did some good too. I have this problem, see? During reruns of Everyone Loves Raymond, my mouth releases a constant spray of food, the result of clam chowder and top-rate comedy writing. Like clockwork, each mess I made disappeared in a matter of weeks, only to show up elsewhere in the form of ghost-pellets.

My long-term girlfriend, however, wasn’t convinced by my stories. The ghosts were clever enough to only operate at nighttime, and no one believes a drunk. My long-term girlfriend told me again and again that my house was infested. “With ghosts,” I’d add, and she’d storm off, unable to believe anything other than her own narrow point of view. Things got so bad that she considered moving out, and so I capitulated by calling an exterminator, though the quote they gave me was too high for full capitulation ($300!!!). And so I thought, live and let live.

Then things changed. Something must have pissed off the ghosts, probably my long-term girlfriend, because they started to act out. What could I do? Its not like I could flatten a ghost’s nose. Heck, I’m not even sure if they have noses. The ghost pellets started to turn up everywhere. I mean everywhere. I didn’t even have to look under my stack of festering trash bags to know what I’d find down there. They even got into my chocolate sprinkles. For three hours I sorted ghost-pellets from sprinkles before I realized—I don’t even own sprinkles. Unfortunately, I realized that after I fixed up a Sundae.

About a week or so after that, quarters and dimes began mysteriously disappearing from the change jar. And then my longtime girlfriend accused me of smoking, a vile and nasty habit she cured me of when we originally started dating. Because she doesn’t date smokers. So what if some change went missing? So what if my clothes reeked of smoke, and cigarette butts fell out of my jean jacket pocket? But those arguments aside, my long-term girlfriend still wanted answers. It was clear to me. “Ghosts,” I told her.

The next afternoon, I came home from a hard day of checking parking meters, vending machines, and the pockets of sleeping sidewalk men for loose change. I walked into the most horrific scene. All of my possessions—my clothes, my collection of rocks and semi-precious minerals, my newspaper clippings of chip-dip recipes—all heaped into a pile in the middle of the living room. And then I heard a voice, almost ethereal, emanating from the mouth of my long-term girlfriend. “Get out,” it said. “Ghosts,” I thought, “big-time.” I had never seen levitation before, but a one pound hunk of drusy quartz shot across the room, barely missing my forehead. The incident was no less spectacular that the mineral was helped along by my long-term girlfriend’s throwing arm.

Why it is that ghosts chose that house, I don’t know. Was there a violent murder there? Was it built over of an Indian burial site? Or, like some undead beacon, were ghosts drawn in by that stack of trash bags in the kitchen? The house stands empty now, occupied only by ghosts. Ghosts and my long-term girlfriend, and some new guy named Shawn. I walked by the house the other day. I noticed a fresh coat of paint and new window treatments. Definitely ghosts.


Ryan Currier has a fear of clowns and failure. I guess if he had to rank them it would go failure first, clowns second. He’s also afraid of being alone, but then when he’s around people for too long, it’s like AAAAAH, give me some me-time, you know? So I guess that’s a distant third. He believes every mystery pain is a sure-sign he’s dying and he lives in the Baltimore area.

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