See, here’s the thing.
T is my most sensible friend, there’s no question about that. Admittedly, the bar isn’t too high in terms of sensibilities, but still. In a late night spirited political debate, he will always be the one to demand evidence, damn him. Not a problem where the Nordic model is concerned, but when we’re talking about the inhumanity of North Korea’s 28 permitted haircuts, I struggle. Still, he’s tremendous fun, when he’s not trolling Mumsnet on the efficiency of terry towelling nappies in the eco system. We met whilst both stuck in the world of corporate prostitution – banking. It’s from there that the following tale comes. I say tale, I’m utterly convinced it’s true, for two reasons.
T doesn’t do non-factual stuff, he just doesn’t.
Even if he did, he has told the same story in several states of inebriation that would land most people in A & E and never yet deviated from the minutest detail.
Before we met, T worked in a large city centre branch of the bank, which comprised two buildings connected by an underground corridor. Often found in that corridor was Seamus, the door porter. No-one ever quite figured out quite how he attained that position since he was as deaf as a post and other members of staff had to alert him when visitors sought entry. Still, it was a system which worked, and as a cheery soul, he always had a very quick nod of his head and a smile for anyone who passed him by.
T, (the big eegit) fell head over heels in love (blonde from argiculture loans) and sought two weeks leave from the bank to get married. Returning refreshed and with a distinct lack of tan indicating a successful Irish holiday, T sloped back to his desk, but not before the traditional nod and wave with Seamus in the corridor. Over lunch, he caught up with colleagues who brought him up to speed on the sad news, that Seamus had died of a heart attack in that very corridor, ten days previously.
As is apt for the season, my regular readers will know that I’m an avid ghost hunter. Usually, I have the long suffering Mr. F on tow. We have a Mulder and Scully relationship in these matters, in that I’m a believer and he’s not, so if it takes us until we’re in our twilight years, I will absolutely prove him wrong. Here’s why.
I’ve always been a grafter, a hard worker. That’s not to boast, I just have two speeds, go and stop. I dread the day stop comes. At 13, I was working in a corner shop for £1 an hour. I’m pretty sure every part of that is illegal now. At seven months pregnant, I was to be found delivering pizzas in my car by night, whilst officially on maternity leave. Hey, the tips were great, as were the looks on people’s faces. They got me back to my car quicker than you can say “hot water and towels”.
Late one night I got a call to deliver a pizza up to Howth Head, a beautiful but in parts remote part of North County Dublin. The house I was looking for was in the middle of nowhere and I couldn’t find it, even if my cat’s life depended on it. Exasperated in the extreme, I turned the car around in a very narrow country lane when a light caught my attention in my rear view mirror. The longer I looked, the clearer she became, a white lady, standing to the back of my car. I’ve always thought that if I ever experienced anything of that nature, I would (to quote a dear friend) find myself almost no longer alone in my pants. It’s difficult to describe, but it wasn’t like that. She didn’t move towards me, she wasn’t threatening in any way and she had her head to one side, as if studying me carefully. For my part, I turned around in my seat and studied her too. I couldn’t tell you how long we stayed looking at each other, no more than several minutes I’d imagine.
I went through every possibility in my mind. I was pregnant and tired, sure, but she was clear as day. Maybe I’d fallen asleep at the wheel? I rolled the window down a couple of inches and pinched my leg hard. No, she was still there. I moved the car forward maybe fifty yards and looked back. Still there. Preparing for the long drive back to base, I put my seat belt back on and looked one more time. Gone.
Arriving back to a somewhat irate boss, I tried to explain why I hadn’t delivered the pizza but it fell on deaf ears. I was sent straight home and that was my last shift at the pizza place. Heathens.
So there you have it. You may think I banged my head, plenty of people make that assumption as it is, I really don’t care. I know what I saw and I’m pretty sure an overdose of pepperoni doesn’t produce a hallucinogenic effect. And no, there were no mushrooms on my staff pizza that night, either. It is for this reason that I will drag poor Mr. F on every ghost hunt I can find until he concedes defeat. I’m pretty stubborn like that, just ask Irish prohibitionists. I’m positive they’d prefer it if my only way of communication was via a Ouija board.