Thursday, 11 February 2010

Ghost in the machine

There have been some frankly spooky goings-on at Chez Underscore of late. I think I have a poltergeist. He lives in my washing machine. The other day I washed all my undies and strewed them across radiators to dry before putting them away. The next morning I was surprised to see that the pair of knickers I had reached for had been cut through the gusset, with what looked like jagged scissors. I pulled another pair out - and found the exactly same thing. On checking 12 pairs of knickers, all but one pair had been cut this way. All through the gusset. I am sorry. I know that is twice I have referred to the 'G' spot - but there is surely a clue to the ghoul's troubled past in this violent, gusset-savaging modus operandi.

Now, my utterly nutty Aunty Joan once was convinced she had a poltergeist. This was a very troubled spirit who toyed with the dithery spinster by moving her corn plasters about, willy nilly. I should make clear, these weren't the corn plasters that were on her corns (no self-respecting spectre would want to actually touch my Aunty Joan's crusty hooves). No, the naughty ghost kept moving the PACKET of corn plasters.

'I put them down somewhere, and then I just can't find them. Then, just when I have given up hope of ever seeing them again, they turn up. Oh, he's a wicked spirit, this one!'

'Are you sure you just haven't mislaid them, Aunty Joan?' I asked soothingly.

'No of course not, you silly girl. Are you saying I am ga-ga? That I've lost my marbles and have distemper! Do you want to have me committed? Is that your plan Enid?' she snapped.'

'I think you mean dementia Aunty Joan. And it's Elizabeth, not Enid.'

'Anyway, I have more proof. Joanna Lumley has confirmed it. I have mysterious pools of water that appear from nowhere on the carpet. Joanna Lumley was talking to that charming, handsome Richard Madeley the other day, and says that pools of water are a conclusive sign of supernatural activity.'

Hmmm. I glanced at the politically-incorrectly named Blackie, Aunty Joan's skanky, flea-ridden and malevolent tomcat. He was skulking away from a spreading damp patch by the pouffe. I think I had found the source of the mysterious pools of 'water'. But never mind that. Hadn't Joan just referred to Richard Madeley as 'charming and handsome'? Dear God. Maybe she did have dementia after all!

Anyway, I digress, back to my knife-wielding, knicker-ripping poltergeist. What could the explanation be? After finally finding a pair of knicks that were intact I grabbed a freshly washed bra. The straps had been cut. What would Joanna Lumley say about that, I wonder?

Chatting to McF the other night (who is actually called Giovanni, would you believe - an Italian fireman - it really is every woman's fantasy), I mentioned the time Madam Noir and I visited our local Spiritualist church. We had both recently lost a parent to cancer: Rachelle had lost her mum, I had lost my dad. We were more than a little nervous about the whole thing, but had been reassured that it was a very relaxed and informal vibe. So, you can imagine our unease when we turned up to find the church was a creaking Victorian ruin lit by hundreds of flickering candelabras. I hadn't seen that many candles since Meatloaf's 1980s music videos.

Things got worse. I nervously sat down in the gloom and immediately felt a rough, meaty hand on my shoulder. A man's voice gruffly muttered the words 'spotty dog' in my ear. Dear God!!! I spun round and was relieved to see a familiar face in the candlelight: a kindly, bearded neighbour who always stopped to chat and pet my Dalmatian dog, Kipper.

Anyway. Just as Madam Noir and I were getting used to the dark, gothic, funereal ambience we were suddenly plunged into dazzling brightness. Every light in the building unexpectedly came on, without warning. I almost screamed in terror. Then I heard some rough mackem accent cut through the silence.

'I've figured it out, like. It was just the fuse.'

A swarthy and unwashed workman burst through a doorway, brandishing a fuse. It turned out, the candles were not a regular part of the service at all, but a necessity brought on by a power cut!

I never got a message from the other side. I went back to the church a few times. I think I lost hope when Madam Noir got her first message. It was from Sally. Sally was her mum's dog. You know: mums, dads, friends, family. . . all 'in spirit', all waiting to communicate with their beloved who have been left behind. . . and who gets in there first? The bloody dog! Well, Sally did have a bit of greyhound in her, didn't she Madam Noir? No wonder she was first out of the traps.

Speaking of communicating with the dead, Rochester has gone deathly quiet again. I find that so fucking rude and trifling, to be honest. After an eternity of silence, he turns for some inane lezza chat and then fucks off again. Maybe I need a OUIJA board to communicate with the flaky fanny rat. I know what it would spell out.

Y O U ' R E A C U N T E L I Z A B E T H

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