“How do you do that?” my friend, Linda, asked from the front passenger seat.
“Do what?” I tapped my fingers on the wheel.
“Hit every red stop light? No wonder you’re always late.”
She didn’t know the half of it. “Just lucky, I guess.”
That morning was typical. The toaster burned the bread. The electric kettle wouldn’t boil water. The car starter just turned over until I got out, fiddled with the cable and knocked on the engine block three times. Bad cable you may say but I’ve replaced that cable five times in the last six months.
Anything electrical or electronic is a challenge. At home that night I lit a few candles and an oil lamp and sat down to read. I was half a chapter into the book when I could smell the ozone and hear the zz zz zz. “Come on out, don’t be shy,” I called as I marked my place and set the book on the coffee table.
They did, just like the night a year ago when my great-aunt, Emily, came over to see what I was talking about. We sat in the living room, the lights on, chatting about her bridge club when the lights went out with a huge crackle. Then we saw the little balls of sparks flew out of the kitchen and race around the room, dancing up and down the walls where hidden electrical lines were buried. At the end they drifted to me, circling my head, making the hair on my arms stand up. They raced up and down my body and when I raised my hands, palms up, several settled in each palm, sparkling like fireworks.
After they drifted away and disappeared Aunt Emily took a breath. “Poltergeist, that’s interesting. Can you control them?”
The thought hadn’t occurred to me but from that point on that’s how I spent my evenings, learning to control my little electrical poltergeist. I’m getting pretty good. Most nights I let them come out when they want to. Some nights though, I call them. It was tough at first. I had no idea how to start. It turns out it’s a feeling, a need or desire. Once I mastered that, I began working on sending them to different parts of the room. Their reward is that I call them to me and let them swarm. Cuddle time, I call it. It doesn’t hurt, I feel energized, actually.
Recently I’ve been working on getting them to do actual work. They’ll turn on my lamp for me now when I ask. A week ago I was home, practicing with the poltergeist, when I heard the back door open. A shot of adrenaline surged through me. The little balls of sparks flew around the room in what I could only call a panic. “Who is it?” I rose from my chair.
Something glass hit the floor of the kitchen. The poltergeist shot toward the kitchen door and hovered there. I crept to the door jam and peeked around the corner. The light from the sparking dimly lit the room. A guy was standing in the middle of the floor, glass shards sparkled at his feet. The light from his flashlight hit me in the face. “Get in here,” he growled.
He had a knit balaclava over his head but his eyes were visible. They were wide. I can just imagine what I looked like with balls of sparks flying all around my head. He waved me into the kitchen with the hand that held a bag. “The lights were off. I didn’t think anyone was home. Sit in that chair.”
I slowly moved to the chair next to the kitchen table, pulled it out and sat down. The poltergeist were still with me.
“What is that?” He pointed the flashlight at the balls of sparks. Fear tinged his voice.
“I have poltergeist.”
He took two steps toward me, glass crunched under his feet. “Don’t be smart.” He batted at one that flew close to him.
“It’s true.” I stared him down. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
“Shut up.” He raised his flashlight and pointed it at me. “Where’s your cash.”
“My purse is on the cupboard,” I pointed to my right.
He crunched across the floor and dumped it on the counter. He ignored everything but the wallet. After he opened it he dug out my cash. “Seriously, twelve bucks?”
“Sorry, didn’t know you were coming.”
“Don’t be wise.” He pulled my credit card out of my wallet and turned to me. “This all you got?”
“Yeah. How many do I need?”
A few of the poltergeist swarmed over the credit card the guy was still holding up. That was going to ruin the magnetic strip on the card but I wasn’t going to tell him. He jerked his hand away and batted at the sparks with the flashlight.
More of the poltergeist flew over and swarmed the flashlight which went out. The guy batted furiously at the sparks. That caused all the rest of them to swarm him, up and down, round and round. I could see him in their light, whirling around and around, swearing. He began to choke and grab at his chest. The flashlight fell to the floor with a crash and rolled under the table. The would-be robber sank to the floor, groaning and gasping for breath.
I got up and went to my landline and dialed 911. “I have a robber in my house. It looks like he’s having a heart attack.”
Ten minutes later, the cops, then the ambulance were at the front door. I’d turned the lights on and encouraged the poltergeist to disappear. The cops took a statement; the EMT’s took the body. Heart attack, they told the cops.
After they left, I swept up the broken and crushed glass. The poltergeist came back out to play. I can think of several ways my friends could be useful.
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