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.”

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