October 5, 2011 by Ray Yanek
The Prompt: Make the story odd…that’s it.
Length: 1000 words
I was huddled in the corner, arms wrapped around my knees and seriously considering pissing myself when I heard him speak for the first time since entering the abandoned hotel.
“Did you see it?” Jacoby Jeffries whispered in the dark.
I did see it, by god, through the screen of the camcorder, in the glow of the infra-red lights. A shadow had darted out of a doorway and took off down the hall like it was buck-ass naked and sprinting across a football field.
I heard a few spritzes of air off to my left. I recognized the scent that followed. Brut cologne.
“It’s just like I always said,” Jacoby whispered.
The potent smell of the cologne told me he was coming closer. After fumbling to find the camera, I lifted it again and saw Jacoby Jones’s long, gaunt face staring back at me on the screen. He was bald on top, but thin strips of hair hung over his ears, hairs as thin and almost as long as the handlebar mustache that draped his lips. Thick coke bottle glasses covered his eyes.
And he was wearing a black bathrobe.
To call the man ‘odd’ would be an understatement. But the guy got results. He found ghosts; he got them on film, and because of that, Jacoby was somewhat of a rock star. He’d been making the circuit of day time talk shows. He had even made it on Dr. Phil. And he had told everyone that tonight was his night. Tonight he was going to officially introduce the real world to the spirit world. News crew were packed elbow to elbow out in the parking lot but I was the only one allowed to film Jacoby’s hunt.
I decided, therefore, it would behoove me to ask some questions. “And what do you always say?”
“That spirit folk ain’t no different from normal folk.”
“And how is that?”
“Because their whole existence is predicated around the pursuit of two things—feasting and fornicating. Just like us.”
“Why you think them ghosts always go to moanin’?”
“Because some ghost is getting a phantasmic piece of ass?”
Jacoby’s face went blank in the screen.
“Get it?” I said. “’Phantasmic. Fantas—“
Jacoby’s mustache drooped. “You’re a sick sum bitch.”
My face flushed a bit.
“They moan because they got the equivalent of a full belly. It’s like they need to kick back, undo their belts, and fart.”
And now a yet another meaning behind the term ‘ectoplasm’.
“There!” Jacoby whisper-yelled. He spritzed himself with Brut, rose, and loped down the hall.
I scrambled to my feet and followed, stopping when he did at the end of the hall. Closed doorways stood on both sides of us. Jacoby bent at the waist, hand cupped around his ear, and listened. I had to stifle a cough as once again I was assaulted by the cologne.
After hearing and seeing nothing, I ventured a question. “So what do they eat that gets them all gassy?”
“Energy. Sometimes energy from people but usually it’s just the residual stuff. That’s why hotels are usually the most haunted.”
“Because all the people that stayed here left a smorgasbord of residual energy?”
Jacoby regarded me thoughtfully. “No. It’s because hotels is where people come to fornicate.”
“Shhh,” Jacoby said. “You hear that?”
I hardly heard his question. Things were begining to clarify in my head–the bathrobe, the cologne—it was making sense.
“You’re going to offer yourself up aren’t you?” I said.
I winced. “As food?”
“Hell no,” Jacoby said. “I’m fixin to get me some.”
I shook my head. “How in the hell—“
“You heard of spirits touching people right?”
“Jacoby, I swear to God, if I see that robe start to expand—“
“Shut up, boy! You can’t hear that?”
Jacoby ignored me. He began to circle his hips, his strands of hair and his mustache swirling in time.
I understood now, why the earlier spirit had run so damn fast.
Jacob froze, hips thrust forward. Ice trailed down my back. I panned the camera to the general area Jacoby was now staring and saw that the door to my left was slowly swinging open. Had I not just been told this pervert was about to copulate with a spirit, I may have been shocked.
Jacoby crossed into the room, circled it a few times with his hands out, searching, feeling. He found whatever he was looking for in front of the curtained windows. He sighed, then spread his arms like he was Jesus on the cross.
He moaned again; I threw up a little in my mouth.
Then, he released the tie on his robe and let it fall to the ground.
Of course I was expecting bikini briefs. I wasn’t disappointed.
After everything I had experienced, I thought my disturbance had plateaued. But then his hips gyrated again…
“Oh you know it,” he said. “Jacoby, he love you long time.”
I broke. “Jacoby? Seriously, man? What the fuck?”
“Check the K2.”
I was already in this far, so I took the meter out of my pocket and looked at the bars that would measure the presence of electromagnetic energy, the energy that ghost supposedly exuded.
All five lights were lit.
“Don’t doubt me, hater,” he said without turning around.
My first thought was to bounce that video camera off his bald-ass head. I would have too, if he hadn’t started moaning again.
I was seriously hoping it was because he needed to fart. Unfortunately, I knew better. In the view screen, his back was covered with goosebumps. The hair on his arms stood on end. The hair over his ears began to dance on its own. He threw his head back, muttered some sexual things I would like to forget, and then it all happened.
His underwear fell from around his waist. No, not fell, they plummeted to his ankles like he had been pantsed in the boys’ locker room. No sooner did his drawers hit the ground did the curtains tore open on their own, flooding the room with light from the news crews outside.
I thought I heard Jacoby sigh. But he didn’t move; he didn’t lower his arms, nor try to cover himself. He merely stood there bathing in the lights.
I couldn’t pass it up. “Wow. You were right. You did get screwed.”
Jacoby’s arms finally fell to his sides.
“Get it? Screwed—“
“You’re a sick sum bitch,” he said. “A sick, sum bitch.”