Here is the first scene of the new story. The rest of it will follow later today as a file you can download. Enjoy!
The Breakfast Challenge
I might have seen a ghost.
For real. Convincing my table people that I did was a whole different bag of fries. They might actually be impressed if I could talk them into believing me. But that would take some work.
Some days just fall on the high side of the fun meter and the cafeteria is a great place to gauge that. This particular day brought great argument to my table—not that I owned the table or anything; we just always sit in the exact same spot every day of our lives so it feels like my table—Do ghosts really exist?
Extremely controversial, right?
New word from Language Arts class: volatile!
Oh, we’ve had the argument before. In fact, we’ve had it many times. Everyone has a ghost story, right? Well, today the guys brought out their best (including pretty darn good lies, I think).
Ray Medina, my best friend, kicked it off over a droopy slice of french toast and some breakfast tots.
“You guys hear about the ‘Ghost of Christmas Past’ story from YouTube yesterday?” Ray is super smart and has time to like read and watch everything on the planet.
“Isn’t that from the Muppet movie about the Christmas Carol?” Johannes asked.
“Yeah… no, that’s not it. It’s from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens,” Ray said. “Anyway, some dude says when he puts a little nutcracker ornament that his grandma gave him on his Christmas tree, her ghost visits every night. He showed a video of some sort of eerie light when the tree lights are on, but heck, anyone could make that happen.”
I thought it was super odd that Ray brought this up because I thought I just saw one the afternoon before. Late afternoon, in my defense. You know… it was getting dark and all that.
Some other guys brought up stupid points like ghosts were real they just don’t like to show themselves to people, but I asked the question of all questions.
“Do you think they exist, Ray?”
I wasn’t exactly baiting him, but he was too smart to waste this chance. Sometimes I think Ray should have his own YouTube channel to share all the stuff he knows. He thinks I’m crazy. And with what I was getting ready to pop on the little knot of unsuspecting boys, I would confirm it for him.
“Come on, Abe. You know the trouble we went through with that little charade (Ray often used big words like that) with Liz and what we, you, thought was a ghost here at school. Remember? People make stuff up. That’s all there is to it,” he said… like there was no point in continuing. Conversation closed. Done. Don’t even think about adding something.
Well, I did.
“I saw a ghost yesterday afternoon,” I said. Not at all how I planned on breaking the news!
Gravy shook his head and said, “Yeah, right, like anyone is going to believe you after Liz.”
“You got proof?” Pick asked.
I’m sure at this point Ray was sizing up what I was going to say and wondering why I didn’t tell him before school. I totally forgot, really. We had a huge test in Social Studies and I had stressed studying my flashcards on my phone all night and wasn’t firing on all pistons. It was sometimes tough having Ray as a best friend because I wanted to be as smart as he was, but I had to work pretty hard to keep up.
Pick and Gravy are nicknames, by the way. Pick’s name is James and he is as thin as a… yep, toothpick. Gravy, Elijah, is pretty thin too but he really likes the gravy and mashed potatoes on Thursdays.
I didn’t know if I had proof or not. I didn’t have a picture on my phone, if that’s what he meant.
Looking around at everyone like I was a brilliant story teller, I said, “I saw him at work, he was in the woods at the top edge of the grounds.” I work at my uncle’s cemetery. If anybody had proof or a reason to have seen a ghost it was me, right? I didn’t say that though. “…by the Burgess Clave mausoleum.”
Pick jumped on that. I knew somebody would. His eyes were wide and he said, “Like… the legend of Burgess Clave? That one?”
I smiled. “That one, Pick. Does that scare you?”
“Doesn’t scare me,” he said. But it did. I could tell. He wasn’t chewing his fingernails yet, but he had enough Shaggy from Scooby Doo in him. He would be soon.
“Yeah, that’s how it always is with these stories. Everybody can talk about it, but nobody can point to a ghost, Abe,” Gravy said.
“You show up, and I’ll do the pointing,” I said… with some bravado (another point for vocab in language arts). Like I thought anybody would take me up on that.
Just then the bell rang. We all got up to take our plates to the trash line.
“Well, maybe we should shoot a video at the cemetery and finally get proof,” Ray said.
Now my eyes went wide. What was Ray thinking?
“Maybe we can go into the Clave mausoleum and dance on the grave,” Gravy said.
“Would your uncle let us in, Abe?” Pick asked, leaning on his elbows over the table. He might have been shaking some too. Not sure.
“We can get in there whether he lets us or not,” I said. “I can get the key.” What a mistake! My uncle could fire me and I would get in all kinds of trouble at home. But sometimes you say stuff to show off. Most of the time, that’s just plain stupid. So we headed off to our lockers and I was more nervous than ever… and I hadn’t even gotten to my Social Studies test yet.