Slums wadn’t all that bad before de ‘plosion. Me and mine had a good life. Squattin’ in any ole empty house, hootin’ ‘n hollerin’ wid our pistols, eatin’ possums and squirrels ‘n roastin’ dem in barrels of fire.
Wad a good life.
‘Til dat ‘plosion. Now we stuck in dis hell.
Aww, gentrification! It’s the buzzword at the moment. What better way to improve life than to make a place liveable again? I was excited when the real estate agent explained my new digs. The fact that there was once a family of squatters in it made me even happier. A house with a history. That’s the dream!
The organic coffee shop around the corner was renovated with actual remains of the explosion. The story was: there was a big meth lab here. Somehow someone got their hands on nitro instead of – errr whatever it is they use to make meth, meth-y. It caused the biggest urban explosion ever. Destroyed all the houses, the people, the pests. Everything. How awesome is that? This neighborhood has so much character now. With it’s white-picket fences sitting on all the ash and bone that seeped into the dirt. I was immediately in love with the place.
It was my first night living in the new house when I started to second guess my decision, though. The house sat on the edge of what used to be called the hillbilly slums, and apparently it was the only one to be relatively untouched.
As I completed the finishing touches on my hydroponic – errr – herb garden, I saw it.
“What the hell are you doing in my house? Get out!” I screamed. A little boy sat on the lounge, eating my popcorn and chucking bare kernels at the TV. He looked to be covered in soot, but mostly I just noticed his feet. Toenails, specifically. They were so long.
“No, you get out,” he hissed back. “This our house!”
I stormed over to him, but before I could do anything else, a man was standing over me.
“You heared da young’un,” he said.
I jumped back. He was missing most of his teeth, clothes filthy, hair fiery red. He was pretty scary. I watched him pass right through my couch to sit beside the boy.
I might have fainted after that. Maybe.
When I woke, I caught them burning some … oregano. I wouldn’t stand for that. I jumped to my feet – pilates has given me lots of buoyancy – and stormed to stand in front of them. They stretched their heads to either side to look at the TV.
“Hey! That’s mine,” I said.
“No cause for hollerin’. ‘Nuff ta go ’round,” the ghost man said. He stared me down with his ghostly eyes but extended his hand in a token gesture.
I blinked a couple of times. It was good oregano. Shame for it to go to waste on the dead. I shrugged my shoulders and said, “What the hell.”
I sat down beside those soot-covered hillbillies and wondered if there was such a thing as dead herpes. But one whiff of the goods, and I forgot all my troubles.
I didn’t bother to learn their names. What’s the point? They’re dead. During a cloud-induced state, though, I might have agreed to let them stay here with me.
Now I dunno what ta do. I think the ghost man is tryin’ ta take ova my body. I am startin’ to talk like ’em. They spend all deir days here, tendin’ to my herb garden while I try ta write. Mayhap dey planned dis all along…
Mayhap me and mine can finally be free of dis hell! Damned hipster takin’ my home. Now we gonna take it back!