Wednesday, October 31, 2012


The Ghosting of Ghost

Day 1
hi hello
oh hi
there has to be someone here 
there really just has to be
i dont want it just to be me here 
oh oh i dont want it to just be me

Day 19
well this happens to be a phone
I couldn’t really say about the others
so nobody knows then 
I didn’t say that
Some of them don’t wind up here
or some of them do but not all of them
or not for very long
I can’t make you any promises you won’t end up in a cactus for a time
or a cursed and collapsing star
or a foil packet
or anywhere
Are you listening?
its just hard 
to type
the keys are so big and far apart 
It gets easier
you seem very good at it 
Thank you
have you been here a long time 
What a thing to ask me
im sorry 
i dont mean to be rude 
Please don’t worry about it
only i dont know how things are supposed to be 
and i keep finding myself in a different place every day 
at least i think i do 
Some people -
their memory doesn’t carry over well
They won’t remember someone they knew once
or what they did
or they find this confusing and get forgetful
maybe thats it
You seem forgetful.
i hope you dont mind my asking another question 
but where are my parents 
Your parents?
you said sometimes people came here 
and some of them went – somewhere else or didn’t 
make it out somehow 
I really couldn’t say
if you haven’t seen them yet
or haven’t recognized them
I wouldn’t imagine that they’re here
yes but
where would my parents be
if they’re not here
If you haven't seen them
I don’t think you will see them
If you did you might not even know them
all right 
So it hardly matters either way
all right

Day 32
but how could he just have 
not remembered 
bad luck for me
just seems strange
I told you
some things don’t carry over
it’s only a quirk in the process
sometimes one forgets and one remembers
sometimes both forget the same
no reason to it
I couldn’t say why
don’t you think it must have something
to do with how they felt
That’s stupid
that’s very stupid
well you said 
sometimes we disappear out of – this stage - 
maybe that’s why 
or maybe they remember in the next -
You don’t know what you’re talking about
you don’t know anything about this at all
you’re brand new
and you’re hazarding wild guesses
because you’d rather just believe something
than wait to see if you can find out the answer
im sorry
I don’t know what happens next
how could I possibly know that
i dont know
nobody knows
just like nobody before knew what happened after you die
Some people never show up here at all
Some disappear again right away
I don’t know
well i thought it was romantic of you 
waiting that entire time 
You make it sound as though there was a choice not to wait
which of course there wasn’t
which of course you haven’t taken the time to think through
There was nowhere else to go
and nothing to do but wait
And it wasn’t romantic, it was very painful
it makes one very tired
and it’s very stupid of you to say otherwise
im sorry
it’s made me very unhappy
im sorry
im really sorry
please dont be angry with me 
i dont know anyone else
I know you are
I’m just mean
that’s all.
i know 
just now
that was almost funny
you made a joke, didn’t you?
i dont know

Day 85
Excuse me?
oh im sorry 
i didnt realize someone was already using this phone
Yes, this is mine
But please don’t apologize
where are we anyhow
I think it’s a Droid, technically
its awfully big in here
It really is
too big for me, to be honest
But I’m not complaining
oh thats good 
Before this they had me in a deep-sea vent
sharing a tunnel with a tube worm
oh wow
so I’m not complaining
I like a nice big place to spread out in
how long were you there for
the vent?
I’d guess a hundred years or so
wow wow wow thats a long time!
are you lost?
well i didnt think i was
but now i guess maybe i am 
Would you like to stay a while?
if you dont mind sharing
I don’t mind
Anyhow I’m sure you’re better than a tube worm
i hope so!

Day 112
And that’s the last I saw of it.
youre joking
Never heard from the two of them either
Couldn’t use that arm again for tennis for years
tell me youre joking 
I never joke
i dont believe you 
Don’t believe my story?
Or don’t believe I never joke?
All right
I’ll get him myself
I will
hes here too? 
well he isn’t here obviously
but I can text him
oh my gosh 
are you really texting him? 
of course
should i change? 
is that a stupid question 
i mean what should i wear
when he gets here 
oh my gosh
this is very exciting 
Do you need to lie down?
can we lie down here??? 
of course
did you really not know that?
oh my gosh 
ohh wow
oh my gosh im lying down 
This is the first time you’ve gotten to lie down since you died?
this is the best!
look at me go!
He’s on his way now

Day 239
You’re back then!
You met the cat?
I’m sorry
I should have warned you
you should have
Oh, I’m sorry to laugh
I’m really sorry
I shouldn’t have done that
you really 
Well, I am sorry, really
did you -
shut up talking please Eleanor
for a minute please stop talking
i need
a minute
All right
i need a minute

Day 401
I’m glad it worked out so well for the two of you
oh it was great
just great
except for the part with the cat it was great
we’re going to do it again after she gets back from the vents
If she gets back
if she gets back :)
That’s new
whats new?
Before you could barely string three words together
without dissolving into tears
now you’re drawing faces
You won’t need me to send you places anymore at this rate.
you’ll just zip around on your own steam
Oh, very impressive
you think you dont mean that 
but youre a little impressed with me
And with that
I think it’s time you got out of here again
ok lets go!! 
Obviously I will not be going with you.
i want to have an adventure with you
were going to have one sooner or later 
i promise
Do you have anywhere you want to go next?
yep i do
oh, honestly
you said i could go anywhere
he won’t know it’s you, you know
i know
i dont mind 
That’s fairly idiotic
there’s no guarantee you’ll be safe, you know
all right
and if you get separated or if it breaks or you fall out
there’s no guarantee you’ll find your way back either
all right
so don’t come crying to me if that happens
i won’t 
You will
all right, you know everything

October 14
hey im gaunting you ok 
Do you mean haunting
yeah sorry i dont have any fingers
so im poltergeisting a stick to help me text this
Who is this?
oh sorry im a ghost
So do you live inside this phone
yeah kind of 


Previously | Next: Text Messages From a Ghost.

Mallory Ortberg is a writer in the Bay Area. She is a regular contributor for The Gloss.

104 Comments / Post A Comment



i love you ghost. i love you so much. come and gaunt my phone for halloween!


@iceberg Gaunt my phone too!


@iceberg my thoughts exactly!


GHOST!! Happy Halloween, Ghost! I'm sorry the folks from the first few days were such jerks to you :(


I'm confused. =(


@special_boots read the Previously/Next story, it will help :)


@iceberg Nah, I've read all the Ghost stories lots of times. This one is the one that confuses me.

evil melis

@special_boots ALLOW ME TO BE OF SERVICE gimme ur questions lemme have em


@evil melis OH GOD I'M TERRIFIED OF EVIL MELIS. This could go poorly... yet I cannot resist.

Ok, so in previous Ghost installments, Ghost has been interacting with a human. But here Ghost is interacting with other ghost(s)? One of whom is Eleanor Roosevelt? And it seems like the other ghosts are people Ghost knew, but maybe they don't recognize Ghost? But I can't figure out who the other people/ghosts are (besides Eleanor), or who the "him" is that Ghost is so excited about that, or how that connects to the person Ghost was texting with in the earlier installments (who I always thought was a lady, but maybe it wasn't).

I feel stupid asking this stuff because I know that part of Ghost's allure is the *lack* of full explanations of things; I know that's a feature, not a bug. But I love Ghost and it's making me sad that I can't figure out the plot points that seem to be obvious to everyone else. I was an English major, damn it! Why am I failing at this?


@special_boots "the plot points that seem to be obvious to everyone else" no I didn't get any of the things you list here either, but I just figured I wasn't supposed to.

evil melis

@special_boots No no that's totally understandable! So basically the layout is as follows: the first chats Ghost has are immediately after Ghost has died (so this is technically a prequel, hence the phrase "the Ghosting of Ghost), with some kind of grouchy semi-administrative ghost. Then Ghost stumbles into a Droid, because when you're a ghost you can wink in and out of things like cursed eggs or phones or foil packets or whatever, meets Eleanor, they hang out, then Ghost heads back to the original sort of...waiting area...and then Ghost is off to meet Person! Does that timeline help??

evil melis

UGH sorry I guess I gendered Person today! MALE PERSON IS NOW CANON, ADJUST YOUR FEELINGS ACCORDINGLY jk you do you I know you love you some Stanley Fish death of the author stuff


@evil melis That does help, quite a lot! I am still a bit confused on who Person is and his(? clearly a his -- my mistake in earlier reads, I guess) relationship to Ghost -- kid, maybe? Just guessing, no idea.

I also know who the "him" is on day 112 (FDR?? no idea) but that seems less plotly key.

Anyhoo, it is not an author's job to explain all things, so I will stew for a while in the remaining mysteries. Thank you, Evil Melis! You were much less evil than I'd feared.

ETA: Followed your links to prior comments about Person being (in your mind) male. Ok, so Person is Ghost's... son, brother, childhood bff... something like that, I guess!

Sorry again for trying to pry everything apart, I just want to understand, only due to love!

evil melis

@special_boots I mean, I definitely wanted to leave Ghost/Person's relationship ambiguous because I think that there are so many different ways those two people could have been important to one another.


@evil melis That makes sense. I am much happier now. Thank you again for not being Evil. Maybe Halloween is like opposite day for Evil Melis...


@evil melis New lit theory: Death of the Author = when the author dies, s/he gaunts your phone.


@evil melis I THINK I GET IT! BUT SPOILERS! I remembered!


@evil melis the ambiguity is what does it for me. always ambiguous relationships, all the time ambiguous.


@evil melis

Evil Melis WOULD reference Stanley Fish.


@evil melis I really really like Ghost, and your explanation helped. The only thing I'm still confused about is if your phone started getting texts from a ghost, and someone close to you had died, wouldn't you ask pretty quickly if they were that person? Administrative ghost said people forget or get confused by the whole thing, but... I'm still confused about that part. Or maybe I read it wrong? Or the ghost didn't want to reveal who they were, or couldn't remember? Sorry for asking a possibly dumb question.




@wearitcounts also, droids ARE really oddly large.


The story of Eleanor and Ghost! Yesssss


Tearing up at work, again


"sharing a tunnel with a tube worm"



@JanieS For Eleanor Roosevelt, no less! Although she seems surprisingly bitchy, so maybe it wasn't totally unmerited.

evil melis

@SuperGogo Bitchy?? Just because of the cat thing?


@SuperGogo [How did y'all know it was Eleanor Roosevelt? I didn't catch that and now I'm feeling kind of stupid.]


@Jinxie Oh, well I guess there is that part where they say "Eleanor". Hmm.


@Jinxie And the fact that in the very first Adventures of Ghost, Ghost references meeting ER in a Droid once, so ok, I'll just quit talking now.


@Jinxie It took me much longer than it should have to figure that out.


@Jinxie I had to read your posts to figure it out. (Thanks!)


@evil melis Oh my mistake! I was confusing the curmudgeonly administrative ghost of Day 32 with ER of Day 85. Poor ER, stuck in a sea vent with a tube worm. :(


melis, I'm pretty sure you're better than a tube worm


also this: "This is the first time you’ve gotten to lie down since you died?" is like when I first started playing minecraft and for like the first month I didn't maximize the screen because I just didn't think about it and then my friend saw it and he was all "why are you playing it like that?"


Hot Doom

Sweet, sweet closure!!


You make it sound as though there was a choice not to wait
which of course there wasn’t

Being a ghost is a lot like being alive, in the worst possible way.


Also, anybody else get the vision that tube worms in this afterlife are analogous to the sandworms in Beetlejuice? Stay safe and don't open the kitchen door, ghosties.

Is It a Hat?

Oh ghost. I cried at work yesterday...and now that I've read this, today isn't looking so good either.



got to the end, clapped my hand over my mouth. OH GHOST.

Emma Peel

well, I didn't think anything could make the original Ghost more poignant, but this did!

"What are you the ghost of?



"How on earth did you know?
i remembered"

*heart explodes*


@Emma Peel RIGHT?!

evil melis

@Emma Peel I never said that!!

evil melis

Perhaps you are thinking of this?

Emma Peel

@evil melis HA yes OK I was still wrong, apparently, and now my theory makes no sense, and.... I'm done! You're a genius, also.


@Emma Peel I assumed Ghost was Person's Significant Other who died.

Emma Peel

@iceberg Also thought that! (Although I feel like in that situation, my first question would be "You are a ghost? Do you know (WHOEVER)?")

I have decided I don't want to know, really, though.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@iceberg This is what I thought, too. Or a family member of some sort.

Does Axl have a jack?

@iceberg Yup, either that or a sibling/best friend. Because of the present (it seems like it was a toy or other kid-thing) and the teasing about Julia.


@Does Axl have a jack? Yeah now I'm leaning towards brothers.


@Emma Peel Ummmmm for heart explosions, see also:

"ill be here though
itll be just like the last time

The last time?"



"you’re hazarding wild guesses
because you’d rather just believe something
than wait to see if you can find out the answer"



@iknowright That hit way too close to home. :-(

Esther C. Werdiger


oh! valencia


oh! valencia

OH my God that was so incredible, Melis. I for sure teared up when ghost couldn't find her parents.
"I can’t make you any promises you won’t end up in a cactus for a time
or a cursed and collapsing star
or a foil packet"

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

Oh my god. Oh my god. That was amazing.

Oh, squiggles

I went back and read the others after reading this one, and now it feels like a tiny piece of my heart died, and then scabbed over, and then my body covered it over like a pearl, but then it got dislodged somehow, so it went down my throat, settled in my stomach, and then opened up like a flower blooming from a seed, but the flower felt like a warm undulating jelly fish, with many petals, all waving arms in my belly.

evil melis

@Absurd Bird Oh, we're going to be friends.

oh! valencia

@Absurd Bird Holy shit. Yes, exactly.




Excellent! Thank you for writing this!


I love Ghost so much :,( This installment made the previous ones even sadder.
In commemoration of Ghost, any time today someone wishes me a happy Halloween I will just say "... I don't really like to talk about it too much"

evil melis

@teebs You gotta wonder what happens to ghosts on Halloween that made Ghost so touchy about it!


Oh, my heart. Ghost, I would happily live in a cactus with you.


@katiemcgillicuddy But what about a foil packet?


@katiemcgillicuddy A foil packet, enveloped in a Droid, stuffed inside a cactus. Anywhere at all. Anywhere for Ghost. (It doesn't hurt that I'm super unnerved cause best friend lives on the Jersey Shore. At this point, I'm pretty much happy to live anywhere :-/...I hope all you guys who are struggling with the aftermath of Sandy are relatively okay...)


@theharpoon, @katiemcgillicuddy Meant that to be @theharpoon! I am bad at the internet tonight.


OK, also, who would be able to make a Ghost phone app because I would pay so much money.


@Megano! Yes. Yessss. I never realized how much I needed this. Ghost! Also, the app should be called something like The Gaunting? Yes?




So after I read this I had to click through to re-read the others, and I ended up ugly-crying so loudly that my cat got all weirded out and came over and stood by my chair going "MOW? MOW?" for several minutes. GOOD JOB, GHOST, YOU UPSET A CAT.


@Elsajeni Sounds like they're even then.


@SuperGogo Yeah, Ghost is probably fine with that. My cat's nice, though, Ghost! You'd like her! She would probably try to lick you!


If I were an actor I'd think of Ghost when I needed to cry for a scene. Or even in real life when I need to cry in order to manipulate someone.


Well, just when I thought this series couldn't be sadder.


This was the best thing to supplement my Halloween! I want to get ghosted maybe!


Gonna wrap myself up in this and sleep in it.


Went back and read the whole series and now I'm crying. It's late enough for whisky, right?


Thank you for more Ghost! This made my day. The Return of Ghost always makes me teary--but I love them all even more now that I know more of the story.


I love these so much.


Twins? I'm saying twins.


@emm_gee I will despair if it's twins.


I have never not cried at these.
This one, though.

If I don't stop sniffling in class, people will think I have a personal problem with histrionic personality disorder and a quiz on Friday.


@Bloodrocuted "Just allergies!" (small sob)

Carrie Kipp Howard@facebook

Oh! I love Ghost so much!

Dirty Hands



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