Monthly Archives: December 2016

No. 596

The last business in the Gantry Building closed in 2002. Because the Gantry had been completed in 1886 and was classified as an historic site, it was prohibitively expensive to redevelop. The building sat empty and decaying until 2007, when it burned. Most local residents were secretly pleased to see the eyesore gone. The single, eternal resident of the Gantry was less thrilled.

Jack Newman had died at his desk, January 3rd, 1901, and had haunted the Gantry ever since. When the new, shiny office tower went in, he found himself still on the fourth floor. Except now instead of a window-view, he was trapped in a break room. Just him, a microwave, and a coffee-pod machine.

“I hate this,” he said, watching the fourth intern of the day arrive for their coffee. “Look at them,” he muttered to himself. “They’re not even wearing ties, anymore. Not dignified at all.”

“What was that?” said Lewis Canmore. He turned to face the door, but saw no one. “Hello?” he called down the hall. There was still no sign of life, so he shrugged and returned to his drink. It was still early.

Jack was shocked. Did the intern just hear him? If so, this could be his chance to escape! “Hello, boy!” he shouted at the top of his spectral lungs.

Lewis jumped straight up.

“You can hear me!” said Jack.

Lewis was terrified now. “Who’s there?” he asked the seemingly-empty room.

“Calm down,” said Jack with an authoritative tone. “In my day we just assumed the building was haunted, what with the construction deaths.”

Lewis swallowed hard, and tried to catch his breath. “Are you a ghost?” he asked the ceiling vent.

“I’m over here,” said Jack, from beside the microwave.

Lewis’ head turned quickly. He looked closely, but did not focus on Jack.

“Strange,” said Jack. “Most can see, but not hear. In any case, we can work with this.”

“Yah huh,” agreed Lewis.

“Now that we’re agreed that I exist,” said Jack, “the first thing you must do for me is turn off the wifi. It causes a terrible itch.”

No. 595

“I know you’re checking out my ass, Dan,” said Alice as she wrapped a scarf around the snowman.

“I’m appreciating it,” clarified Dan, from his chair on the front porch.

Alice laughed. “Since just about forever.”

“That was the camera’s fault and you knew it!”

“Well, the camera certainly had things figured out,” said Alice as she crossed the yard to snuggle up to her fiancé.

“You’re right. I fell in love with an ass,” said Dan. “What can I say?”

“Hey!” Alice scooped a handful of snow off of the railing and tried to cram it into Dan’s coat.

“That was a terrible plan,” Dan said with a smile as he rose from the chair.

Alice was too busy giggling to make a proper escape, and they tumbled into the pile of snow that had been cleared from the deck.

“This is my boot,” said Dan, as he stole hers. “This is my sock,” he continued. “And these are your icy-cold toes!” he finished, as he heaped snow over Alice’s foot.

Alice wriggled herself free and hopped on one leg just out of range of Dan’s gloves. They both lay in the snow until they’d caught their breath from laughing.

“Do you think the neighbors think we’re weird?” asked Alice.

“Most definitely,” said Dan. “But I don’t think they’re having as much fun.”

No. 594

The aftermath of the storm left clear skies and the roads covered with a perfect sheet of ice.

 

Alice, overjoyed that school was cancelled, stepped out of her house and exhaled to watch her breath. The sun flashed off of the street, drawing her eye to the unbroken rink. She smiled and lost no time putting on her skates.

She glided to Danny’s house and arrived with a pointed stop. “Come out, loser!” she yelled from the edge of the driveway.

Danny put his head out and frowned. “Cold,” he declared.

“What took you so long?” Alice accused.

Danny laughed. “There’s lots of losers on this block. How was I supposed to know you meant me?”

“Hurry up,” said Alice, with a graceful spin for emphasis. “And bring your camera.”

 

They skated for miles, past the Miller’s farm, and over Deer Creek Bridge.

“Hold up,” said Danny. “The light here is good.” He lifted his camera to take a picture.

“Let me help,” said Alice. She used one gloved hand to lift the edge of Danny’s toque away from his eye.

“There,” she said. “Now you can see.”

Danny blushed. “Remember what I said about cold?” he managed, trying to distract from his reddening face. He pushed his toque back down roughly. “Why don’t you skate down towards that tree, then come back this way?” he pointed with the camera. “I think it would make a good shot.”

Alice did.

Danny took two pictures on her way out, and six on the return trip.

“Here, look at these. They look nice.” He said, tilting the camera display toward Alice to scroll through the photos.

“Ha!” she said at the first one. “You focused on my butt!”

“No I didn’t!” Danny protested. He looked closer, then fell very quiet. She was very right.

“You totally did!” teased Alice. “Admit it! You like my butt. You always have.” She gave him a quick hip-check for good measure.

Danny almost fell into the snowbank from shock.

Alice grabbed his free hand and pulled him back to a stable footing.

“Come on, silly,” she said. “I’m joking.”

“Right,” said Danny.

“Let’s see the other ones,” she said, leading him on.

Danny became very aware of how close they were, as she leaned in to see the screen.

He advanced the frames. He was quite talented, and the photos showed it. “You do look very-” he hesitated, trying to think of the right word. “Pretty,” he decided.

“Thank you, Danny, that’s awfully kind of you,” said Alice.

But now the tension was too much, and neither knew how to handle it.  Snowflakes began to float down from the surrounding trees, and Alice had to make her move.

She punched Danny in the arm, and took off at a breakneck pace. “Come on, loser! Last one back over the bridge owes me a Coke!” she called over her shoulder.

“That won’t even make sense when I win!” replied Danny as he raced to catch up.