Arranging to be Punched
I love writing fiction. I love the world of Ghost Punchers. So I’ve smashed these two loves together like a pair of Siamese twins joined at the fist in order to present a bit of ghost-punching flash fiction. If you enjoy it, please share it! (You can find previous ghost-punching flash fiction here and here.)
Two women sat across from each other in the back booth of Joe’s Sunset Diner at 11:35 PM. One was dressed in an aggressively-professional pant-suit. The other wore a police uniform. Each had a cup of coffee and a manila envelope in front of her.
“Did you do it?” asked the cop. “Did you dump him?”
“Oh yes,” said the suit. “You were absolutely correct. He was cheating on me.”
“The woman from his office?”
“No. An old girlfriend. You were right about that, too.”
The cop smiled slightly as she sipped her coffee. She tried not to look smug.
“Go ahead,” said the suit. “Say it.”
“I told you so?”
It was the suit’s turn to smile. “That’s right. You earned it. Say it.”
“I wish I hadn’t been right, though. Sorry. About him, I mean.”
“Nonsense,” said the suit. “I knew he was a cheater and I was foolish to go out with him in the first place.”
She glanced at the clock behind the diner’s counter and gave an almost imperceptible frown.
“Down to business, then?” asked the cop.
Without waiting for a reply, she slid her envelope across the table.
“Got some good stuff for your boss this week,” she said. “Couple of weird locked-door suicides that don’t quite add up. A guy complaining that someone’s rearranging his furniture in the middle of the night. And a whole string of folks reporting screams and ‘inhuman howls’ over in the Crown Crest building.”
“Crown Crest?” asked the suit. “That’s one of those exclusive new apartment buildings downtown, right? Where they won’t even look at your application if you make less than two hundred grand a year?”
“Yeah, that’s the one. Heard they got sued over that policy. Not sure how it turned out.”
“No doubt they settled. Those types of management companies are loaded with cash earmarked for throwing at problems until they go away.”
“Sounds like your kind of client,” said the cop.
The suit smiled. “You know my employer well. The suicides and the other cases I’ll pass along to Jackson and his amateur Scooby gang. But yes, we’ll definitely be talking to someone at Crown Crest.”
She slid her envelope across to the cop. “Your usual fee.”
The cop sighed, shook her head, and pushed the envelope back.
“Actually…” she started.
“Is there a problem?” asked the suit.
“No. Not with… not with our arrangement. But I was hoping that instead of the usual fee, you could help me with an… unusual problem of my own.”
“Of course,” said the suit. “Name it.”
“It’s my daughter. She’s been hearing things. In the walls, at night.”
“Yes, but other things too. Groaning and creaking. Heavy footsteps.”
“Is this at your home?”
“No. No, this is at her dad’s place in the suburbs. She comes back after a weekend out there and she’s exhausted. Can’t sleep at night, and of course he won’t believe her.
“She’s scared, Julia. She’s only nine and she can’t handle this sort of —”
“We’ll take care of it.” The suit—Julia—placed a reassuring hand the cop’s wrist. “I’ll talk to management. I’ll explain what an essential resource you are, and how… how you’re a friend. To the company. To me.”
The cop’s shoulders slumped with relief.
“Think nothing of it. By this time next week, your ex’s house will be ghost-free, and he’ll be none the wiser. That’s the Singular guarantee.”