25 fragments from “Dusty Waters, a Ghost Story”

Just to offer a taste of what is within…

#1 from vii

What did one ghost say to the other ghost? Do you believe in people?

#2 from Page 7

“What would make you feel safe?” he asked one night.

“A fire breathing dragon,” I replied. “Her name is Lucy.”

“A girl dragon?” he asked with curiosity as if a female dragon was unheard of in the realm of dragons.

“I’m a girl—why would I want a boy dragon?” I reasoned.

“I guess it would be icky, the boy dragon would have to look the other way whenever you changed into your jammies. Okay, where will she live—in your closet?”

“No—under my bed—she’ll also keep the dust kitties away—they make me sneeze.”

“Oh, I see, she’ll be a double-duty dragon—bad dreams and dust kitties,”

#3 from Page 11

A little bit at a time, I started to give a damn about things like a man named Nixon, the President of the United States of America. I pledged my allegiance to the flag of our country in school even though I had no idea what half of it meant because no one ever explained it—I just did it because the teacher expected me to follow without question. Being a little kid and fairly sheltered in a comfortable life, I had no reason to question the things expected of me. Democracy was still an abstract concept of freedom given to me in big word form, and Capitalism, unbeknownst to me, had everything to do with how many pennies it took for me to buy bubble gum at the corner store. Communists, nuclear bombs, and Vietnam were bad things in our world that the television reported with nightly regularity when I would much rather be watching Popeye kicking the tar out of Bluto to the tune of Columbia, Gem of the Ocean. I still had a lot to learn.

#4 from Page 16

Distinguished is an indistinguishable looking critter—blue, pear-shaped, and fuzzy with ping-pong balls for eyes and a pink plastic curler for a mouth; he’s an alien from a faraway planet of blue fuzzy critters. In spite of his startling appearance, he is a benign little guy, often confused by the world around him, but happy to be here.

#5 from Page 39

…the longer I stared up at the canopy with restive eyes, my imagination got the better of me; the canopy scared me because of that old movie Thirteen Ghosts. “Lucy, I’m scared,” I whispered.

#6 from Pages 48-49

I secretly went there to lie on my stomach with my arms flung open to embrace the earth; I’d press my face into the sun-warmed grass, loving its ancient being with its memory of the world carved by glaciers; a life that emerged from the rubble of time.

#7 from Page 53

“Wow, you live in the Witch’s house!” Dede blurted out. “It’s so creepy—how cool is that? Is it really haunted? Is it true that Phoebe Lamoureux hung herself in the attic?”

#8 from Page 61

“Engine, Engine Number Nine going down the Chicago Line, if the train should jump the track, do you want your money back?”

#9 from Page 81

“Easy there, Dede Sage, pull up your socks, I have no quarrel with you—I deserved the fat lip fair and square,”

#10 from Page 88

“Mommy, Mommy, the school is throwing up!”

#11 from Page 106-107

“I regret deeply any injuries that may have been done in the course of the events that led to this decision. I would say only that if some of my judgments were wrong, and some were wrong, they were made in what I believed at the time to be the best interest of the Nation.”—Richard M. Nixon, August 8, 1974

#12 from Page 138

Some little kids are like that, nigh indestructible, they can wipe out as bad as the Agony of Defeat Guy on ABC’s Wide World of Sports, and get up to go about their business like nothing happened except for the annoyance of a scrape or bruise.

#13 from Page 140

Why hadn’t they walked with her? Because, they said, Sandy wanted to stop at Mooney’s for candy. Why? Because she found a quarter on the playground. Why didn’t you go with her? Because we can’t walk downtown because we aren’t allowed to go there without our parents. Sandy should have known better because there’s no Safety Patrol on the corner of Broad and Church Streets because it’s dangerous.

#14 from Page 157

“Why do I see these things, why do I hear everything from the past—I can’t touch anything in this house and not have it talk to me or show me something—I need to understand why am I like this?”

#15 from Page 180

I hated to think that my relatives were a bunch of boring girls who did nothing but sit on their bustles, drinking tea, eating cake, darning socks, and popping out as many babies as humanly possible during their child bearing years.

#16 from Page 184

Tell me you wouldn’t do the same if you could stop the diabolical deed of choice from happening by hitching a ride with Dr. Who in the Tardis, traveling to the past to make a particular bad person go away. Okay, I’ll leave you with your pondering feet dangling from that metaphorical fence.

#17 from Page 187

What’s she gonna do, scare me? Yeah right, “BOO!” I ain’t scared of no ghost.

#18 from Page 207

Today has been one of those days in which I thought boredom might kill me; I don’t know why I feel this way, but sometimes I have this overwhelming urge to implode or something messy—

#19 from Page 217

“I think you need to go to the shut-the-fuck-up room,”

#20 from Page 260

“Everything’s wrong—what the fuck, I can’t even die right!”

#21 from Page 266

Tag, I’m it—he got me—now it’s my turn to be dumbfounded. Just because he’s dead, he ain’t stupid—I’m the smart-ass idiot, who suddenly thought she knew, but I didn’t, and I still don’t. He’s the one dead, yet more alive, I have unfortunately fallen into a natural progression of prejudice that occurs when there are differences between people—I’m alive, he’s dead; I’m tangible and he’s not. Just because I can’t touch him—or to be crass—can’t fuck him, it doesn’t make him less of a being without his human parts. “He ain’t nobody without no body,” you say? I beg to differ, especially after this day.

#22 from Page 292

“Don’t ever try to surprise me without asking ever again.”

#23 from Page 294

I definitely looked like some moldy leftover rock star that got forgotten at the back of the music industry fridge—I was a walkin’ freak show. “Hi, I’m sore thumb, nice to meet ya.”


#24 from Page 297

“Listen, honey—I know how hard it is being a girl on her own. I’ve disentangled myself from enough relationships with men to know what you’re going through. You feel guilty for leaving him because you’re afraid he can’t take care of himself, or he’s gonna kill himself, or find you and drag you back to the cave by your hair—whatever flavor your nightmare is, it will pass. Forget him—you need to take care of you. Trust me, one day will come you will look him in the eye and know in your heart you did the right thing leaving him.

#25 from Page 320

I looked up at the solitary white cloud in the blue sky—its shape shifting, a spirit from a puddle somewhere—or a ghost from a river—now a mysterious little goddess figure, and then a god, its existence shredded to pieces by the lack of faith of its followers.