Saturday, January 22, 2005

Desperately Seeking Ghosts

Well, striking out on your own is all care and no responsibility! Someone from Blog Explosion gave me a 1 out of 10 and I keep checking for comments! What a palaver! So anyway, the lovely Mr Panda'lus over at this fine site wants nana to ramble on about ghosts for a bit . So this is what I came up with my lovely 2 readers...

Desperately Seeking Ghosts

I was driving my child Tanaya to the doctors yesterday, and trying to teach her the joys of Hilary Duff. She screwed up her face, and inevitably began to wriggle as if her existence depended on impressing some kind of invisible wriggling judge, who was scoring her out of ten. It was only when I skipped the CD to "I'm Still Alive" by Alex that she settled down and settled into a routine of merely quiet, contemplative gurgling.

My mind began to wander, past the point where I wonder who actually watches that show where you've got 30 seconds to perform your act, past even the part when I get bored and start reciting Rodney Dangerfield jokes, and to the point where I begin to drift to whether ghosts really exist. I don't have any real basis for a decision either way, except our Grade 8 camp, and that was purely circumstansial anyway, depending on how you listen to.

Our Grade 8 camp (and I'll milk the 3 days before I'm out of stories I promise) was in Ballarat, and it was the first real quality time I got to spend with Claire since her return from living in Scotland for 4 years. She was still my unofficial best friend, but she was pretty unhappy for a while, proclaiming everything was better in Scotland, and missing going to watch Celtic. Worse, her previous school trip had been to Zurich, and Ballarat just wasn't cutting the mustard. Much like Jennifer Danielle's obsession with Sweden, we were tiring of Claire's endless tales of skiing and drinking white wine spritsers and cute skiing instructors. For most of us, the chance to pan for gold in a puddle with a bloke called Russell trying to look ye olde authentic and keep his fake beard on was sounding pretty good. After all, there would be no parents around - we could sit up to 1am, and maybe even watch Chances.

On the first night, after the teachers had all gone to bed, tired from too much Trivial Pursuit, the girls retired to the rumpus room, which was very girly, apart from a giant pool table. Even though I wasn't in the cool circle, I was pretty much friends with everyone, and thus was able to negotiate across the room what we would do with this strange, intoxicating freedom. The bennys wanted to go to sleep or play cards, the cool girls wanted to watch a video of Beverly Hills 90210, and the bitches wanted to go and meet some local boys who had invited them out earlier (we warned them off - too much flannel). I took all this in, and came to a fair compromise, we would watch Chances and Beverly Hills 90210, the bennys could control the cassette player, if anyone wanted to meat a Ballarat local called "Dwayne", they were free to do so, and then we would tell ghost stories. Everyone applauded. I could sort the worlds problems out me, if I could be bothered.

So that was everyone happy, except Claire. "I've seen this episode" she pouted, as the tape player showed Shannen Doherty wandering into Steve's car for a lift to the Peach Pit. "There's too much Jennie Garth!" she moaned, and sighed deeply. "How can you have too much Jennie Garth?" I said, spinning on my heels to look her in the eye. "Jennie Garth sucks!" she said, filing her nails. I was stunned, and swallowed my gum. "What's wrong with Jennie Garth?" "Everything!" "Everything?" "Yeah - Shannen Doherty's heaps better!"

A life long debate was born - who's better, Jennie Garth vs Shannen Doherty, a debate that's never been settled. I looked Claire deeply in her mardy blonde eyes, and pursed my lips.

"I don't even know you any more..." I said, storming off. After 5 years of friendship (albeit with 4 via mail) we had our first fight. It was a tense moment. We wordlessly sat through the rest of the episode (I think someone stole Steve's car, maybe even Garth) and then an episode of Chances, while at least two of the bitches went off to find Dwayne, and some of the bennys went to bed to read Proust or Smash Hits or whatever. We were left with a smattering of cool kids, hangers on, Claire, one or two of the skipping team, other Claire, some of the bennys who couldn't sleep because they'd had too many push pops, and me, brokering the awkward peace between everyone, and fending off Claire's insistence everything was really lame.

There's a particular ghost story about a ghost killer which involves turning all the lights out, and then spinning a torch round a circle, and the key part of it involves a loud thumping noise. To cut a long story short, the end of the story is "...and the killers next victim was....YOU!" at which point, you stop spinning the torch and just shine it on someones face - scary stuff. I felt that my role as peacemaker across the school would be jeopardised if I didn't at least try to make peace with Claire, and obviously the best way to do that was to attempt to scare her with my amusing ghost story. So I span through it, blah blah, thump on the roof, thought it was rain, get out of the car, "What is it", don't look behind you...all that stuff, I had even the cool kids going - and then, the big finish...

"...was YOU" I said, shining the torch in Claire's face. Everyone squealed, except Claire, who casually began filing her nails. Amber Bennett (who was utterly desperate to do anything to get her cool points back by this time) turned the lights on, and I went up to Claire, and got in her face (I wouldn't do it now by the way, she'd kill me).

"Oh what - ghosts stories not what they do in SWITZERLAND" I said, as angrily as I can.

"It's so little league, everything is just so - backward!" she said, motioning around the drafty room.

"FINE - go to bed then, we don't want you up!"



And with that, Claire went down the corridor and to bed, as Amber Bennett tried to suck up to the room. "What's her problem!" she said.

"She's just...I don't know..." I sighed sadly. Was it true, Claire had changed, she wasn't my best friend anymore? I slumped on the beanbag, and even the cool kids were sympathetic.

We sat in silence for 5 minutes, while Amber Bennett made Milo and said "please be my friend" a lot. It was Megan Barker (not Megs B) of no fixed social standing who first piped up "Do you hear that?"

There was a loud, repetitive thumping noise coming from down the corridor...thump...thump...thump...we all stopped, Amber Bennett put down the sugar...thump...thump...thump...Megs B hid behind a beanbag..."You heard it!" opined one of the cool kids, maybe Lisa Davis, to Megan Barker, who shook her head vigorously. Thump...thump...thump..."maybe it's the ghost killer, Alyson summoned her" said Siobhan De Vogt. "Hey, don't blame me!" I said, nervously. But it was obvious Siobhan had struck a chord with the room, and pretty soon, I was being sent down the corridor to investigate the thumping...and it was coming from Claire's room...with great bravery and personal disregard for my own safety, I pulled on the handle of Claire's room, and Claire came tumbling out, breathing hard and looking extremely anxious...Amber Bennett made her a Milo, and she sat in the middle of the room recounting what had happened.

"I left my watch on the beanbag, but when I tried to get out of the door, I couldn't...the door wouldn't open...I couldn't get out..."

"It was the ghost, it was angry," opined Siobhan, and we all nodded in agreement, turned off the TV, and took turns to guard the corridor, lest the ghost come and attack us all in our sleep...

I looked back and Tanaya and smiled. "What Claire has never known to this day," I said, smiling at my little baby, "was she was trying to push the door when you in fact pull it open...I found that out the next day when I was searching for the ghost..."

I smiled gently at Tanaya. "I know you'll never tell will you? As far as Claire's a real life scary ghost..." And with that, we pulled into the doctors, laughing together at our little secret...


Blogger Steve said...

Fantastic! I even got Doherty/Garth into the bargain - yay!

2:11 AM  

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