Friday, August 23, 2013

I Wouldn't Be A Very Effective Ghost Anyway

So, yesterday evening when I left work, my coworker and I walked to our cars, chatting as we usually do at the end of the day. I hit the unlock button, opened the passenger door, leaned in to toss my work bag and purse in that side... and jerked back like I'd been stung by a bee.


My coworker looked up from where he was tossing his own things into his car. "What?"

"My car smells like gas!"

I looked underneath, but there was no leak. The smell was nothing until you leaned your head inside, and then it was so strong I was all but dizzy immediately. My coworker walked over and frowned, sticking his own head in. "It really does smell like gas." We both pulled back, standing and staring at it.

Then... I knew. I actually felt my eyelids flare in recognition.

The look I turned on Coworker must have been something, because he almost flinched when he turned to look at me. "What?"

"I'm gonna kill him."

That didn't seem to reassure Coworker at all. He took a step back.

"You're going to kill who?"

Instead of answering him, I popped the trunk, threw it up, and pointed.

"I'm gonna kill him," I repeated.

Coworker, while keeping a safe distance from me, leaned over to get a better look.

Then he whistled.

Inside, lying on its side, was a glass bottle with the top blown off of it. Originally, that bottle had been moonshine from our favorite distillery, but after we emptied it out, Jason had been using it to store fuel for the forge.

As I've mentioned, Jason is a trained and schooled blacksmith. While he's not able yet to make a living on it, he often does demonstrations at a local gristmill outside of the little mountain town I work in. It just so happened that the Saturday before had been one of those demonstration days.

At some point, the part where I have to park my car in broad sunshine on good days had heated the gas up until the air had to escape. About two-thirds of the gasoline was still in the bottle, fume-y but intact. The bottom of the stopper was floating around in the gasoline quite cheerfully, the rest of it was on the entire other side of my trunk. The smell was... powerful, now that we were up close.

I dumped the rest out on the pavement so that it would evaporate without hurting anything in my work's garden, stuck the bottle back upright, and looked at Coworker.

"Is it safe to drive home?"

He laughed. "What do you mean, is it safe?"

"Will my car catch on fire?"

"... No, Katie. Your car will not catch on fire because there's some gas in the carpet in your trunk."

"You're sure? There's no chance a tiny spark will light on the carpet and then I'm a fireball?"

"I can pretty definitely say I'm sure that won't happen. If it did, I would be as surprised as you."

"You know, that's not actually very comforting to me." My very serious tone only made him grin wider.

"It'll be fine. Geez, you had me worried there."

"I was worried! It's not like my car often reeks of gas!" There was a moment of silence, both of us paused in getting into our cars. I looked my coworker right in the eye and instead of saying goodbye, said, "If you're not telling the truth and I turn into a flaming car of death, you will be the first to know."

"I'd think the firemen would know before I would," Coworker said amiably.

"Oh, no. You'll be first. Because I will start haunting you immediately." I pointed two fingers at his eyes, then back at my own, then back at his. "I will haunt you forever. You will rue this day."

Then I got in my car and drove home with the windows down, the music up, and the wind in my hair, and nobody rued anything.

Well, except for Jason, who kind of felt some rue when I came in and mentioned my car smelling like gasoline. At least, he moved like someone feeling regret.

I had to drive to work and then back home with the windows down, too. It is all fumes, all the time in there.

This makes me sad.

So... maybe there's some rueing after all. Only it's me doing it.


  1. Haha, uh, stores gasoline in an EMPTY MOONSHINE BOTTLE?!?

    Judge's ruling: unacceptably jank. Literally any workaround that saves $10 or less is unacceptably jank.

    1. Well, normally it's kind of adorable because it's for his demonstration work at a local old-style 1800's-era mill. He volunteers there during their monthly third-Saturday shenanigans. And there's a moonshine still there! So it's all very appropriate, I promise. It's... thematic. We'll go with that.


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