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The Ghost Writer

26 Jul

When I went to school to become a writer, I had no ambition to be a ghost writer. I wanted to be able to go out and create my own work. Something fun and exciting for people to love. Throughout my classes people talked about how ghost writing was a great way to build up a resume, and maybe it was, but it was still something I had no ambition to do.

And yet, here I am. I sit patiently in my office while my client, a Mr. Johnson, droned on and on. I should be taking notes on whatever part of his life he’s on, but instead I sit here and blog about it instead. I think I’m writing this because maybe it will be a way to reach out of my comfort zone, to not write what my office requires me to write.

“So then in ’92, that’s when things got really hot and heavy between me and my third wife,” Mr. Johnson says. Awesome, is all I can think. This man, like so many others that come to me to help write their autobiography, believe that it clearly needs a steamy sex story. Pro-tip, it doesn’t. Sex mainly sells in advertising, where your audience can SEE the sex.

I nod my head for the benefit of Mr. Johnson while I continue to clack, clack, clack, away on my keyboard writing this. I wished my bosses gave me a better office. Here, let me paint a picture for you:

The office is maybe 186 square feet, give or take. In a most basic sense, it is set up just like a therapist’s office. I personally believe this is done intentionally so that our customer’s feel inclined to share their feelings. Anyway. You open the door to my office, and it’s a worn down oak if anyone cares about such things, and the handle is pretty much broken. On the east wall is a couch that somehow still looks to be in mint condition. On the west wall is red chairs that match the couch. It’s where I’m suppose to sit. In between the couch and chair? You guessed it, a coffee table. On the north side of the room is a large window looking out into the city. In front of it is my glass desk. That’s where I actually sit.

“Are you even listening to me,” Mr. Johnson says with a moan. I look up from my laptop and give him a smiling nod. “Well if you are,” he continues, “what did I just talk about?”

I look back down at my computer and read the paragraph that I just wrote on the description of the room. I forgot to mention the ceiling and walls are an off-colored white and the carpeting is a worn down beige. I should also mention that the office is cold, always so damn cold. I blame Mr. Johnson in my head but for now I need to give him some kind of answer.

“You were talking about how you and your third wife were having intercourse,” I say. Mr. Johnson stares back at me, a lost look in his eye. I wait for him to tell me that I’m right. Instead, he reaches for the flask that was set on the table for him when he arrived.

“No,” he said. “Maybe I chose the wrong person to talk to. I was told you were the best in the business, but I guess that was just old news.” I watch as he inches closer to the flask and I try to decide on if I want to stop him.

“Look Mr. Johnson,” I begin, “I’m sorry, today is just an off day for me.” I feel this is a harmless excuse everyone buys, and sure enough, Mr. Johnson does. “I have my notes right here. How about you just tell me what you said after sex with your wife and we’ll move on from there.” Mr. Johnson stares at me again with lifeless eyes before giving his response.

“No, I think I’m done with today and with working with you,” he says. “If you can’t bother to listen to how my wife murdered me that evening, why should I bother confiding anything else in you?” Mr. Johnson had a great point so I did the only thing I could, I shrugged. “That’s what I thought.”

With that, Mr. Johnson flew up into the air and I watched as his flask stood on end and he dived headfirst into it. This was the only part of the job that always amazed me. It never got old watching the ghosts re-attach themselves to the item their soul couldn’t break free from. They always did it with such pizazz, almost as if they were trying to show you why you should care about what they had to say and to question the importance of the item. I sighed with relief as the room warmed up. In a minute, a custodian would be in to collect Mr. Johnson and store him with the rest of the ghosts.

As I sit here and wait, I struggle to come up with anything more to write. It’s horrible, because I know I have more to say, more to create. Sadly though, all I can think of is Mr. Johnson and the stories him and his ghost pals have. Maybe I’ll wait to leave this job after all. The bosses won’t mind if I haunt this office until a better job comes along.

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