Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

From Linda G Hill’s Blog: Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “-tion.” Find a word that ends with “tion.”

It was Mark Twain who once remarked sagely, in the person of Pudd’nhead Wilson, that “truth is stranger than fiction, because fiction is obliged to stick to probability, and truth ain’t.”

If you asked me to pick one of the weirdest experiences I have ever had that I could apply to Twain’s quote,  it would have to be what I saw before I was caught up in the Nisqually earthquake in downtown Seattle.

An hour or so before it hit, a man in a blue plaid work short walked by my workstation. He was holding a white coffee cup and I remember thinking that I hadn’t seen a haircut like that since I was a kid and my Dad and his friends were rocking the dry look – in case you don’t remember it went something like this:

Well, I thought some of us just get stuck in a rut and that’s the way it goes.

I went back to my tasks and then I decided to go upstairs and get my friend for lunch and that was when the earthquake hit.

We were standing in a doorway, like they tell you to do in earthquake drills ( and it’s true, it’s great because the floor doesn’t move there ) and in those few seconds I looked up and the guy in the work shirt  and old school hairstyle is standing a few feet away from me with his coffee cup in his hand and he’s smiling at me, and then as if the floor isn’t turning to jello under his feet he walked away from me and headed down the stairs to the warehouse.

So a few weeks later we’re doing repairs in our building and we open up a blocked off part of the warehouse where they used to do repairs and maintenance on lighting fixtures.

We had to inspect the entire foundation and walls and what we saw right away was that it a pretty nasty in there- it was full of rusty tools, spray paint cans, lighting fixtures that were in the middle of being repaired or fitted with new wiring- and all of it coated with grime and cobwebs.

There were wastepaper baskets next to the desk in the corner and I had no desire to look inside of it. I know the smell of rat pee and I was sure there was a lot of it in that one can alone.

Our in house general contractor told me this area had been shut off back in the mid-1970’s which means nobody had been in here for around thirty years.

We poked around and I see sitting on the workbench  the same coffee cup I saw the guy in the Work shirt had been holding. It sort of nagged at me – it was just a non-descript white coffee cup with gold or yellow along the rim-  Why am I dwelling on that cup? There must be thousand of them out there.

As we’re trying to decide what cleaning this area out would involve  the Contractor’s assistant tells me that the Warehouseman who had my job  years and years ago had an aneurysm and died on the job- and he had heard he had died in his workshop.

He told me he assumed that the area was the one in the newer section of the warehouse but we guessed this was where ‘it’ happened.

Then out of nowhere the Contractor turns to us both and says, ” there are no ghosts in this building. I’ve been here for over 30 years and I’ve never seen a thing.

It was like he was challenging me, you know?

” We weren’t talking about ghosts. But if there were any I doubt they’d be haunting this place. It’s gross in here, plus it’s closed off. What’s the point in haunting something if nobody knows you’re there?

” Yeah, well. I don’t believe in ghosts.”

We finished our graphing and picture taking and note taking and we left the workshop area. I was the last one out. I remember I turned around and saw that cup on the worktable and it felt like it was yelling at me, you know?

I shut the door and then I locked it and when the cleaners came in and took care of it I never went back in.

Why?

Because I’m sure that cup is still there and it’s true, truth is stranger than fiction. I was more afraid of going into that room again and seeing that cup than I was of seeing the guy in the work shirt.

That’s why.

amm

 

It Starts With a Knock On The Door

FOWC with Fandango — Paranormal

Photo A.M. Moscoso

The best ghost stories always start with a knock on the door- my Grandpa used to tell me as he settled into his favorite chair next to our fireplace and a nice drink to warm his bones.

It didn’t matter if it was day or if it was during the dead of night, but the best ghost stories are the ones that give you nightmares, the ones you share all over the place in the hopes that you’ll get it out of your head and the ghosts from those stories will go haunt someone else for a spell.

Of course, he said, they come back and when they do, they’re more likely to knock at the window.

No wait, he said. I take that back, they don’t knock at the window. They’re more likely to scratch at the window. Scritch scritch scritch. He told me.

That’s what the ghosts in the best ghost stories do. They knock at the door and then they’ll scratch at the window, it’s always the kitchen window and wouldn’t you know it? That kitchen window always seems to look out into a backyard with a swingset and one of those swings will always start swinging from side to side instead of back and forth just when you think that nothing is out there.

The Sun can be beating down from a cloudless sky or it can be the dead of night and even if there isn’t a breeze or even a cold blast of wind that swing will start to swing all by itself.

I nodded and asked, what do the ghosts want in those ghost stories? The good ones I asked. Not the silly ones where the ghost hides in a doll or plays with light switches.

” They want someone to open the door. ” he said.

My Grandpa used to like to sip sherry when he told me what made a good ghost story. Sometimes when he put the glass I’d stick my pinky into it so that I could have a taste.

Sometimes I knocked the glass over, but he didn’t seem to mind.

Once I was about to help myself to a dab of sherry

when I heard a knock at the door.

Grandpa sat back in his chair.

We waited and then we heard, from down the hall a scratching at the kitchen window and light as the sound the tiny bells on my cat’s collar made we could hear my swing start to move in a non-existent breeze.

I felt a shiver and it sizzled up and down my spine.

Then we heard it again, there was a knock at the door and this time it was more insistent and it was a little louder and it echoed through our dark house.

” Are you going to answer it? ” he asked.

I went to the door. I put my hand on the knob and then I turned around and smiled.

He smiled back and raised his little glass.

” This is going to be a good one. ” I said hopefully.

Did You Hear That?

I love radio shows from the old days so now and then I try to dig some up and post thembut I think they are so neat I’m going to make it a regular thing.

So to start off

here are three episodes from some programs that I enjoy:

Inner Sanctum always had great stories, but my favorite part was when the psycho narrator sold Lipton Chicken soup before and after the show.

Inner Sanctum Mystery

Orson Welles…come on how could this NOT be great?

Tales From The Black Museum

The Whistler! I love the whole intro and the stories which were pretty edgy back in the day. My Aunt said she usually couldn’t make it to far into the episodes before freaking out.

The Whistler