Complete Short story - Ghost Writer
Confessions of a Ghost Writer
Sitting alone on a tombstone at midnight is my idea of a highly profitable business venture. My partner in this is a famous writer who doles out regular doses of scary literature to horror-hungry masses. His first few blood-freezers were entirely written by him, until he suffered from what even horror-writers have a horror of: a writer's block. Though he had quenched his thirst for fame by then, he had to continue, as he had just accepted an advance for a screenplay and his farmhouse was only half-built. That was when we met.
When I suggested he use me as a ghostwriter, he was outraged. Screamed like a furious vampire. Said he wouldn’t stoop that low. I joked that he would be doing that only to conquer, but he wasn’t amused.
“This expletive block will go away. Even the expletive great had suffered from this. And I don’t believe that you can expletive write expletive stories the way I’m expected to. And kindly don’t expletive insult me again like this.”
I let him rest in peace for a year and then insulted him again. Told him I had a great story and all he had to do was to postpone his decision until he had listened to it. By then, he was under pressure from the movie company, who wanted to sue him, from his creditors who wanted to latch on to his earthly possessions and play safe, and from his wife who threatened to leave him if he was not going to complete building the farmhouse. That last threat had nearly frozen the blood of the expert himself. He was forced to be open-minded about ghostwriting. He heard my story out.
He grudgingly acknowledged that my story was superior to any that he had written before. But he tried to snatch back his self-esteem with his next statement.
“But a good plot is only a expletive skeleton and I have to give it flesh and life for it to be a great novel. Which I can still expletive do.”
I joked that a story without a skeleton wouldn’t be horrifying enough, but he neither laughed nor appreciated my pun. He was a serious man, our famous writer.
I agreed to provide him lots of plots and he agreed to support me in the style I was accustomed to. Since then I have given him three thrillers and a collection of twelve short stories. I had argued with him for wasting twelve good ideas on a single book when he could have expanded them to twelve novels to our mutual benefit. But he hadn’t listened.
“ You don’t expletive understand. There are novel plots and there are short story plots. And I have been in this expletive business long enough to tell the expletive difference. But you don’t have to brood over it. Do your work. Get me stories. You just wait and see, this expletive collection will top the lists!”
And he was right. It did. And I stopped telling him how to mind his expletive business and devoted my time to minding mine. Getting him good plots…
Getting a plot is like fishing for most writers: You wait and wait, and when you sense the hint of a ripple in the still waters of your thoughts, you pull in the line with all your strength.
But my methods are more like the man whom the ancient mariner fixed with a glittering eye: I travel a lot, visit graves all over the world and wait for my sources. Usually they make their appearance after midnight and they do it cautiously lest they scare an unwary human. Contrary to popular notions, most ghosts are kind and understanding, especially the ones of those people who die old. They pass the time of night with me, and tell me all kinds of ghost stories. Most ghosts are talkative, especially the ones of those who die old. The young are usually impatient with the ramblings of the old, and in me these ghosts see a willing, note-taking listener. Every soul is happy, if you see what I mean.
Every life is interesting but after death, real adventure starts. After death, ghosts get a new perspective on the petty problems of the living. And access meanings and answers that had eluded them when they were alive. When I get my hands on a good after-death story, I pass it on to my friend who mixes in some metaphors, stretches out the suspense to the required length and passes it on to the world. Then he sits back, curses the publisher or the agent, and waits for the credits from the papers, cheques from the publishers, awards from panels and endearments from the wife.
And I sit on tombstones, night after night, waiting for passing ghouls and their stories. And as I am the only being I know who has the power to communicate with both human beings and ex-human beings, I remain the best horror-ghostwriter ever.
Talking to ghosts is naturally easy to me but pushing a plot across to my friend is as difficult as it was the first time I contacted him. Actually, we made contact one night when he was fooling around with an ouija board after his brain had drained and he came up against this block. You know how it is, people are easily influenced by the occult when their finances run low and nothing is working out for them. Some even express a willingness to place their soul in the devil’s market for a negotiable price.
Using the ouija board is hard work. But hard work is the backbone of industry and ghosts don’t groan at hard work. When he speaks, I lip-read, but the only way I can communicate with him is through the board and I painstakingly unfold the plot letter by letter at the rate of 50 letters-a-minute. That is, unfortunately, the only technology available for the deeply mourned to contact the still living.
“And what is the percentage? What is there in it for you?” might be your logical question. My friend may host parties with his wife at their farmhouse, secure in his status, as long as he pays me my due. He has to say it with flowers. At the rate of a rose a word. For, in the spirit world, money does nothing to your status. Flowers on your grave do.
After a few years and many flowers to my credit, I plan to retire. Probably I might apply for a visa to heaven and check out that joint. But now I am just dying it up.
You see, I am the richest ghostwriting ghost out of the world today.