Saturday, May 19, 2007

Henri Does Old Man Hessop

It was getting late. Boo had ordered pizza and he and I were sitting around, throwing pizza crusts at Boo's dog who was scrunched up in between Boo and I. Quite a threesome in a 4x6' dog house.

Quite frankly, I think the dog was having more fun than we were, but we were okay. The moon was out, the sky was clear and Juicy and Maxine were nowhere in sight.

Maxine, btw, is Boo's wife.

I'd known Boo as far as I can remember. After we both died, we lost touch for a few hundred years, then caught up with one another on Halloween night, of all nights, in the cemetery of Old Man Hessop's place.

Old Man Hessop was a mean cuss and the only reason I was in his cemetery was because I was looking to see if it were true he came out at night and overturned all the headstones like they said he did.

I'm figuring it was an old wives' tale because I never saw him.

He died an untimely death in 1864 just as Boo and I had, only it was for an unjust cause. He'd been caught with the sharecropper's daughter at high noon underneath the hickory tree in the same cemetery Boo and I were standing. From what I heard, it was a simple peck on the cheek and Old Man Hessop's wife comes running after the two of them, causing the both of them to get run down by a herd of cows that had gotten loose.

Or, at least that's what was reported in the Ghostly Times. And Old Man Hessop never showed his ghostly face around these parts again. But, the locals say he loved to return on Halloween night, overturning headstones on a quest to find the sharecropper's daughter; a fact, I'm not sure was true or not.

It was there I was moseying around, trying to see what I could get into, when I caught a faint glimpse of something moving by an old hickory tree. I figured it was Old Man Hessop trying to create a scare in dear ol' Henri; but instead, it was Boo. He walked over to me and gave me the biggest hug I'd ever gotten.

But, there was something about Boo that troubled me. He was different. Of course, he wasn't a mortal anymore, but it was something else about him that made the hairs on Henri's chest stand straight up. Now, when that happens, something's going on and I was bound and determined I was going to find out what it was.

He had the same smile he always had - kind of crooked on one side as if he'd run into a brick wall or something - but that smile, it could light up a whole room if you gave it time for the other side to catch up.

But, all in all, except for this feeling something was very wrong, Boo was the same ol' Boo.

I asked him how he'd been doing and he said fine, but I knew he wasn't fine at all.

Finally, I had to get him to open up, so I said, "Where's Maxine?"

That's when his face fell and with what little spirit he could muster, he put his hand on my shoulder and he said, "Maxine's been captured."

I looked at him kind of funny because I wasn't sure exactly what he meant by that and he picked up on my confusion right away and said, "Well, it wasn't too long after you left that Maxine and I met our own demise at the bottom of the Chauteleau Lake after a storm overturned our boat. Both of us drowned.

"I tried searching for Maxine all night long. I didn't even think about my own death at the time. I just wanted to find Maxine."

"You did find her, didn't you?" I asked.

"Oh, I found her all right. Watched her spirit soar into the sky and I don't know where she ended up from there. That's when it hit me. I was dead and I knew they'd come after for me, too, so I hid behind a rock in a cavernous gully that was cut out of the side of the mountain.

"They never found me."

I knew who "they" was. The energies from the other side.

"So what did you do after that?"

"I roamed. Did a few things I could never do as a mortal; you know, ghostie things."

I nodded.

"But, then, everything started getting old and I missed Maxine terribly."

"You mean, you haven't seen her at all after all these years?"

He looked to the ground, his head bent low, and he said, "Nope, not at all."

"Well, damn, Boo," I said, "that really stinks."

We sat there, Boo and I, by the old hickory tree in Old Man Hessop's cemetery, watching the clouds pass over top the moon when suddenly I heard a commotion in the farmhouse which sat at the edge of the cemetery.

There were stories of how Old Man Hessop's farmhouse never got rented or sold because it was claimed to be haunted by the old geezer himself, so automatically I figured it was he inside just fixing himself some dinner or doing laundry, much like he did when his wife was still alive.

Curiosity got the best of both Boo and I, so we flew closer to have a look see.

When we got to the farmhouse, the commotion had died down except for a coon hound barking in the distance and the sounds of a few hairy bats flapping overhead.

Now, Boo and I, we were never afraid of anything even when we were kids; so naturally, we just flew through the front door like it was nothing.

Cobwebs were strung through rafters and and beams and you had to dodge'em or they'd attach to you like glue, but Boo and I wanted to see what all the racket was all about so we kept going.

It was then we saw Old Man Hessop himself sitting on an old piano bench by the French doors that hung half off their hinges. A picture of his wife still hung above the mantle and it seemed as if she were watching our every move, but our attentions were focused on the lonely, old ghost of a man, sitting alone on a half-broken piano bench.

When Old Man Hessop saw us, he stood up and waved for us to come to him.

Boo looked at me and I looked at him and I knew he was thinking what I was thinking. We were already dead. What did we have to lose?

So, Boo and I flew over to Old Man Hessop to see what he wanted.

"I heard you two lads talking in my cemetery," he said. "I hear you're looking for a ghost by the name of Maxine."

Well, that's about when Boo went all postal and started after Old Man Hessop figuring he'd been having his way with her all these years only Boo had no say in it of course, but I told him to get a grip and let's just listen to what the old man had to say.

Old Man Hessop turned toward the French doors, pointed outside, and said, "You see that old hickory tree?"

We both nodded, kind of confused-like, as we gazed out the window at the hickory tree from which we sat just a few minutes before.

And there sat Maxine, Boo's wife, who he hadn't seen in over 200 years.

"How did you do that?" Boo asked.

Old Man Hessop smiled a toothless grin and said, "All these years you've wanted to see her, yet she never appeared. Is that right?"

"Sure, but.."

"And all those years have passed and not once did she make her presence known. Am I right?"

Boo kind of stuttered and scratched his head and said, "I'm not understanding."

Old Man Hessop laughed. "You are so much like a mortal. Mr. Boo, I hate to be the one to tell you but Maxine has been with you all these years and you were so determined to find her that you forgot that the spirit is not of the flesh. What you were looking for was Maxine, the mortal, and not Maxine, the spirit, and truth, be known, her spirit has been within your spirit, your soul and your heart, all along. You were just too blind to see. Go to her. Her spirit is calling you, man."

I will never forget the look on Boo's face that night. Standing in the middle of Old Man Hessop's cemetery clutching Maxine as if there were no tomorrow.

And, now, we're both sitting in a dog house watching Boo's dog lick his balls.

Love is funny. One minute, they get on your everlasting nerve and the second minute, it takes a time out in a dog house to realize you never know a good thing until they're gone.

I leaned over to Boo and said, "Look. I think it's time we went home and deal with the consequences like a real ghost."

Besides, I was in the mood for a cool Coors Light.

"Yeah, I guess you're right," Boo said.

We thanked Boo's dog for letting us room with him for awhile and headed home - Boo back inside to Maxine and I back to Ezra's to deal with Juicy in the morning.

I wasn't sure if she was going to be able to handle my superstardom, but I guess time will tell.

Wish me luck with that one.

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2 Comments:

Blogger elysabeth said...

Good for you Henri. But you are still not facing the music. I had a ghost visit me last night when I went to bed and I don't know who it was. I don't even know why I was having visitations with a ghost. Never spoke, just sat there staring.

Maybe I'll find the reason at some point but for now I must get myself in gear to work and then go to the exercise area - E :)

May 19, 2007 at 7:39 AM  
Blogger ERiCA said...

Love is funny. One minute, they get on your everlasting nerve and the second minute, it takes a time out in a dog house to realize you never know a good thing until they're gone.

c'est trop vrai!!

May 19, 2007 at 7:16 PM  

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