I am ashamed to say I could not resist going back to visit Tyrone. I persuaded myself that his dog did not really see me, that it was my imagination as well as Tyrone's, and I just could not bring myself to go back to the hereafter where I belonged. It was warmer and cozier back on earth with my kids. I had no more come in where Tyrone was sitting at the desk, writing, than his dog Jilly set up a terrible hallabaloo. She looked right at me as she barked, and it was obvious she was not happy with my visit.
Fortunately Tyrone has a great sense of humor and said, "Oh, has Mom come back to see us? Jilly, that's Mom, you know her, come on, lay back down. I promise you, she won't hurt us."
Jilly seemed to force herself to lay back down. She was even trembling a little. She rested her head on her paws and closed her eyes. She seemed to be willing herself to try to pay no attention to the ghost that was now haunting Rafe's house.
That did it. I decided I would have to leave. I could not put Tyrone's dog through such ordeals any more. The least I could do was go visit some other people who might not be able to detect my presence as well as this dog. She was such a psychic dog I had no doubt if Tyrone could somehow go on TV with her she would become the most famous dog in the world.
I went outside but not before I heard Tyrone dialing his phone and saying to someone, "I have just had the most amazing experience with my dog, Jilly. She has seen Mom again."
I shook my head. If I was not careful with my visits people would think Tyrone had gone mad as a hatter. He knew his dog. He knew she had seen something extraordinary. Heck, I could have told she was seeing something very unusual just the way she barked. But I did not want Tyrone to get any worse reputation than he already had by claiming his wonder dog was seeing spirits. I really felt quite spooked and wondered when I would ever dare to come back to my son Rafe's house where Jilly and Tyrone were staying.
Instead I decided to pop over to the LeGrand Hotel where I used to live. I had not been there since I passed, and residents claimed it was chockful of spirits who had lived there and still seemed to. I would surely run into the spirit of some resident I had known.
Sure enough right outside the hotel I ran into the Earl. The Earl was a former resident who had been taken away from there to another place. I had not known whether he died or not, but I could see by the fact that he was walking on two legs, he was now in spirit form. "Oh Shadow," he said, "I have been trying and trying to get in touch with you. I am back staying here in the LeGrand now, and I have been trying to get together a reunion of spirits who lived here when I did."
"Come to think of it," I said, "I have been dreaming about you quite a bit lately, but I had no idea that I would get messages from spirits in dreams now that I have passed. So I paid no attention."
"Oh, so you picked up that I was thinking about you," said the Earl. "I don't know if any of the spirits are around right now. It is not a day for spirits. Come sit down and let us catch up on the news."
"Here?" I said, pointing to one of the chairs in the lobby.
"Oh, let's not sit there," said the Earl. "Someone is sure to sit on us if we do. I like the conference room better."
So we went into the conference room overlooking the patio. I said, "So you are now haunting the place along with the other ghosts that used to interest you so much?"
"People just aren't as interested in ghosts as they ought to be," I thought he said, but the Earl changed his comment to, "--as they used to be."
"I don't plan on coming back here to live," I said. "I don't want to haunt any old hotel."
"What are you going to do?" asked the Earl as though he was surprised that anyone would want to do anything else besides haunt old hotels.
"I don't know," I said. "I haven't been here since I was carried out of here on a gurney for the first and last time. The bell finally tolled for me."
"I left here when I was scheduled to lose one of my legs. I wasn't handling it very well, so they decided I should get some help. It was an awful ordeal. I just did not want to live after I lost my leg it was so hard to get around. Now your companion was lucky. He had you to nurse him when he was dying."
"You mean Terrance? I tried not to nurse him any more than I had to."
"You never even looked at me after I sobered up. I have never seen a woman so attached to an old drunk as you were to Terrance."
"Terrance was amusing, but he was certainly not an easy companion to tolerate. No alcoholic is."
"Have you reunited in heaven?"
"No, Terrance is in the Camp of the Resisters. You know what that means, don't you?"
"He can't sober up even after he has passed," said the Earl, promptly. "That is what you call a hard hard core alcoholic. He doesn't ever want to sober up, so he virtually shuts down. He tries to obliterate himself."
"That's Terrance," I said.
"I thought he was more intelligent than that," said the Earl. "I thought I was the worst alcoholic in the LeGrand, but even I sobered up. Everyone was willing to let me drink myself to death, so I resisted. I showed them I could sober up if I wanted to."
"It's nice to see you are still sober," I said. "And are not in the Camp of the Resisters. I take it Alex is still on the other side of life?"
"As far as I know. He has not showed up here yet. I guess he sobered up, too, after he was evicted from the LeGrand. He was pretty much evicted from every place he rented for a while there."
"You could never tell whether Alex wanted to sober up or commit suicide. I never saw a man have so many near death moments."
"Alex is an extremist, always was. He wasn't a steady sipper like I was. Alex sincerely tried to kill himself every time he binged. He inhaled his alcohol. I lacked the capacity to put it away like he did so I had no chance of really killing myself."
"I was almost glad Alex finally got evicted from the LeGrand. Everybody loved him, but every time he went on a binge, trying to kill himself, he had the whole complex in an uproar. He was loved, but he was wearing. Everybody took turns trying to save Alex. I know I must have saved him several times."
The Earl laughed, "I saved him at least once. I had security let me in his apartment when he did not answer. I found him out cold. The Emergency crew said that if I had been another hour finding him, they could not have brought him back around. As it was he was in a coma for three days."
"It was so distressful saving Alex and then having to do it again the very next week. I know an angel saved him once, or at least everyone thought she was an angel in disguise. No hospital would take him, but she had some kind of pull and got him in and they spent thousands of dollars bringing him back from the dead as he was practically comatose with infection. He came back to us days later, after God knows how many medical personnel worked on him, sober, strong, and a month later he got drunk again due to some terrible event in his life, I think they said one of his kids died."
"Alex needed people trying to save him to believe he was worth anything."
"I guess someone is still saving his life then, if he's not here."
"Everybody loved Alex. I was so jealous of him. Even you were in love with him," said the Earl in accusatory tones.
"Yes, but I could not you know actually love him. He wasn't any one person's to love. He just could not resist all the love and sympathy women in the LeGrand wanted to give him."
"Well, I know."
"On the other hand I always knew where Terrance was at any given moment, and he hated having too many women interested in him. He was such a tight wad, you know, and they were always hitting him up for money. I never tried to get any money out of him, so he could tolerate me."
"He should have paid you plenty for putting up with him."
"He would always say he was going to pay me, but he never did. Besides, I never wanted his money, or anything that would have obligated me. I tried to keep my ties to Terrance super light, no sex, no money, no legal tie. He could still be a drag. So I am taking a much needed rest from male companions right now."
"I see your other long time companion here now and then, Marquis."
"Marquis. Oh, is here?"
"Have you seen him yet?"
"No, Marquis and I had a falling out, just before he fell ill and I had to nurse him through cancer. He did not have anybody else who would step in."
"That's the breaks. You should have gotten away from him before he fell ill with cancer."
"I didn't detect it and neither did he. He kept saying he knew what it was, his back, an old injury. I never saw a man more shocked when they told him he only had days to live. He did not believe it. He was by death surprised."
"He did not even have time to prepare?"
"Well, months of pain, but he was an unflappable man. He said he had been in some kind of pain all his life and he never let pain get him down. He did have a night or two of unbearable agony but that was all. How was your passing?"
"I don't even like to think about it."
"I never had any pain at all. I just went numb."
"No shit? Or I mean I did not know you could die that way. You got off easy."
"All I could figure out was that my childhood worries must have burned out my pain centers."
"They must have been gigantic," said Earl.
"Oh, I don't know. It was hard for me to judge," I said.
"Well," said the Earl, "it has been very nice talking to you. I just remember, I have got to go somewhere, so keep your antenna up for my signal, and I will see if I can get a reunion together. Maybe I will wait until after Alex arrives. Then it will be more interesting."
Off he went. I had forgotten to ask him about his dog, Danger. Danger was once the most famous dog in the LeGrand Hotel. Everybody knew Danger. I made a note to ask the Earl about Danger the next time I saw him, and I wanted to tell him about Jilly. The Earl would be more interested than any spirit I knew in a psychic dog.