THE GAME

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Cassie was bored, very bored, so very very bored, and she didn't know what to do about it. She was a ghost -a pretty awesome one, thank you very much, but a ghost none the less- and that did have its limits.

 

She hadn't thought it would be that bad, being dead and all, she hadn't ever really thought about it much beyond the usual kind of pondering. She had always imagined she would die as an old, old lady, laying regally in bed, surrounded by a host of adoring family and friends, all ready to leap up to carry out her every command. She would impart her words of wisdom, tell everyone to be good and then slip away peacefully. Once she had shuffled off the mortal coil she would once again be greeted by loved ones and then walk happily into the light, ready to take her rightfully deserved place in heaven. Job done.

 

But it hadn't happened like that. She had had a bad night and left the club she hung around at in a huff. She’d stepped outside to go home, stopping to light a cigarette to smoke as she walked. Her damned lighter hadn't worked, and she cursed at it, flicking the flint over and over, giving the useless thing a shake, trying to make it ignite.

 

At first she had blamed the lighter, thinking that if it had worked, she wouldn't have still been there, she wouldn't have spoken to him, wouldn't have leaned in closer, trusted him... And she wouldn't have been brutally murdered.

 

She had come to terms with it as best she could, she'd gotten her closure, gotten to watch her killers be killed themselves. Justice had been served. And she had seen the light, literally.... But, being the contrary cow that she was, she had ignored it, declaring it time to see the world.

 

She had met others like her, other ghosts. Not the ones with unfinished business, they were dullards, moping around like the ghost of Christmas yet to come, weeping and wailing about being dead. No, those she ignored. She was what they called an earth bound. A spirit that had chosen to stay behind and wander the earth. Dramatic, she knew, but that was how it was.

 

So here she was, in New York City, and she was bloody bored. She could touch things now, months of practice had seen to that. It was a simple case of summoning up her energy and concentration, focusing on the thing she wished to move, seeing the result in her minds eye, and it just happened.

 

There had to be something she could do while she was there, something other than wandering around looking at buildings and food she couldn't eat. But damned if she could think of anything.  She was an English ghost that was State side, most of the regular American things that people did just weren’t for her. She really had no clue, wasn't usually this bored truth told, or she hadn't been when she was alive, there had always been some drama within the Donor community, or at her day job in the local cinema.

 

She had followed a nice looking man back to his hotel room and, while he was in the shower, used her newly honed powers to move the TV remote.

 

"First thing I see, I'm going to do, no excuses," she promised herself before her insubstantial finger stabbed at the on button.

 

                                           ***

 

" Go to a ball game?" she shrieked in dismay, " why the fuck did I promise myself this?" She slumped against the bathroom door, head in her hands.

 

" Fucking fate is laughing at me again, " she threw her head back just as the bathroom door opened, her head bouncing back against the man's naked chest, causing him to shiver uncontrollably as he walked straight through her.

 

"I blame you," she announced to her unknowing roommate. "You're such a man, leaving the TV on a bloody baseball game. Now I have to suffer it too." She glared at his back, watching closely as he whipped off the towel that was tied around his waist and began to dry himself with it, his bare butt cheeks flexing as he bent to rub at his legs.

 

" OK, " she gulped, her eyes going wide as they took in the expanse of flesh on display. "I'll forgive you."

 

Sighing she turned to leave the room, her fate sealed.

 

                                          ***

 

She followed the crowd as they flowed into the stadium and took their seats on the bleachers, secretly enjoying it when people brushed up against her, it was fun to watch their reactions. Some simply shivered, others jumped and looked around, spooked, and their reactions never got old.

 

She sat there on a wooden bench that reminded her of P.E lessons or sitting for too long in assembly at school and actually felt her butt clench in preparation for the numb ass she would have suffered had she still been flesh and blood. It was a simple exercise in mind over matter but she swore she could already feel her left butt cheek falling asleep, she just prayed it didn't snore.

 

She had decided that if she was going to do this she should do it right and had chosen to sit beside a rather loud and obnoxious little kid who was sporting one of those pointy sponge fingers though she didn't know what the fuck he was supposed to do with it. She reached over and slid her hand in on top of the boys and, just for a second, pretended she was God and pointed at the guy in front of them, putting on as deep and booming a voice as she could muster “ITS YOU." Unfortunately she miscalculated the distance between her huge finger and the poor guys head, succeeding in making him jump -even though he couldn't hear her bellowed decoration- and spin round, landing a finger poke to the eye.

 

She giggled evily as the little boy protested his innocence, but of course, no one would believe that a foam finger would have a mind of its own.

 

The bloke glared some more and Cassie instinctively went into self-preservation mode, which to a woman (even a ghost one) meant deny deny deny. Any and all wrong doing did not come from her. Unbidden her fall back plan of pretending to be a lost French tourist slipped out even though no one could hear her.

 

“Oh, I is sorry.  You like dis finger? What I do wiff it, I no know, it just go…“ she grabbed the corner of the finger and  flapped her hand like crazy, making the boy scream in terror. " It is crazy non?"

 

The guy muttered something rude under his breath, but turned away, leaving them alone. She shot the offending finger a look that told it she would be having words with it later and settled down to try and figure out just what the hell was going on on the field. She had no clue what this game entailed or even who was playing, she had just focused on the game on the TV and popped up there.

 

She knew that there was a team wearing some kind of red outfits and the other was wearing yellow and green, that was about it. She looked around the stands, seeing all the supporters were taking it very seriously, almost as seriously as the English took their football, not that she was a fan of that, guys running around after a ball was not her bag. Now wrestling, wrestling she watched. She had apparently made herself a red side supporter and immediately toyed with the idea of cheering for the yellow /greens but that wouldn't be in the spirit of the promise she had made herself.

 

When she had left London and her one and only alive friend, Sapphire, behind, she had vowed to live her after life to the full, to travel and enjoy herself, and that was all well and good in theory, but in practice, not being able to interact with the world, not being able to talk to anyone but other ghosts made the whole round the world trip, kind of a drag.

 

All she could do to interact with the living world amounted to parlour tricks. Hiding a small object, knocking something off of a shelf or flicking the lights off. She hadn't even found another medium like Sapphire. Frankly, it blowed. The only fun to be had was when she was naughty, and she had to tell herself, very firmly, to behave.

 

That good intention lasted all of about thirty minutes, thirty very long and boooooring minutes. She had watched the cheerleaders, girls that were impossibly thin but with humongous tits that looked even bigger than hers. Cassie glanced down to compare, yeah she was sure they were bigger, one light breeze and they would go arse over tit off that pyramid they were forming in between their pom pom waving.  One little flick of her finger could send them all toppling … She could see it now, all landing in a heap...

 

" No, Cassie! " she yelled at herself, flinging out an arm, hitting the back of -and once again startling- the man in front, who turned to look at the young boy again, still squinting from the eye poke.

 

She felt kinda sorry for the little boy, who was now being berated by his mother, a loud redhead with very big hair that reminded Cassie of Peggy from Married with Children. She shrugged, pushing aside the flare of guilt, she didn't really like kids anyway and this one was particularly snotty.

 

The ‘action’ -she thought this loosely- on the field had apparently gotten going and it looked rather like what the English called rounders…she hated that too. Well this was even more depressing than sitting home alone at her kitchen table talking to her fat black cat, which had been an almost nightly occurrence before she died. She wondered who was looking after the bugger now, she hoped it was someone nice even though the cat had always treated her with the characteristics disdain that all cat had, like a royal and their servant.

 

She watched the little boy as he screamed for popcorn, having thrown the giant finger aside. Oh, what she wouldn't give for some popcorn, just a small taste. She used to eat it every day, getting it for free at work. The boys long suffering mother stood up, gesturing to the vendor that was walking around carrying bags in a small tray that hung from his neck.

 

That naughty little voice in her head piped up again as she reached for one of the pieces in the bag the boy was holding in a death grip, pointing out the fact the guy in front was wearing a hoodie... Before she really registered what she was doing she had dropped the nugget of goodness into the hanging hood. She giggled to herself, this was actually slightly amusing. She did it again. And again.

 

She kept stealing little pieces from the boy and dropping them into the sagging hood as she absently watched the field,  the players all chasing around after that little ball, something about strikes and some dude with a mask that was crouched at butt height behind the guy swinging the bat, one little miss swing... Suddenly she was right there beside him and ooops, her finger slipped and so did his bat, smacking the guy behind him in the side of the head. She sniggered, she couldn't help it. Maybe this game could be interesting after all.

 

" ball has a mind of its own today! " yelled the commentators, out of their minds, disbelief evident in their voices.

 

Cassie laughed out loud as she grabbed the ball mid-air and began to run with it, dipping this way and that, the ball following the pattern as it sailed through the air, ducking and curving before coming to rest a scant few inches from the poor guys bat.

 

They tried again, but this time no matter how hard the tosser (they called him a pitcher but she disliked that name) tossed the ball, it almost immediately lost all speed, slowing to barely a crawl that would make a snail with luggage look like Road Runner. 

 

She stopped improving the game, her energy feeling a little low and returned to the demanding boy and his popcorn, scooping up the last few fluffy kernels and feeding them to the grumpy man's hoodie, feeling very wicked. But at least she was no longer bored.

 

The boy was now whining again, complaining that he was hungry, trying to convince his mother that he hadn't been greedy in eating all his popcorn so quickly and eventually succeeded in procuring a tray of nachos. These crumbled very nicely and joined the small pile of popcorn snuggled happily in the hood in front.

 

Dude on the field had apparently done an entire run of some kind. Whatever it was, they on the other side of the stadium were happy, cheering away, clapping like demented seals. This wouldn't do! She had no loyalty to this team but by fuck if she was sitting on this side, then this side would win. They had to, she was risking permanent butt paralysis, she was sure it was starting to tingle and was now as flat as a pancake even though there was no real flesh there anymore.

 

Reds, reds were her team, she could go for that. Red was a good colour, she liked red. She obviously picked the right side to sit on, who wanted stinky old yellow /greens?

 

She concentrated her evil efforts on their enemies, namely the mouldy looking ones. Yellow and green were fungus colours dammit! She made a vicious jab in the air at the ball, making it do a stop, drop and roll. Then she made the bat swing wide, missing the ball entirely. Next she made the ball hit the bat and fall limply to the floor. Slowly but surely her struggling adopted team gained ground.

 

One guy that took off running suddenly fell over his previous tied shoelaces, another tripped over his own feet. Yet another simply stopped at the first base and couldn't move any further no matter how hard he tried, his baseball boots stuck to the ground.  In the end he had to unlace them and walk away leaving them where they were. Classie let them go once a small ball-boy ran over to pick them up, leaving the entire stadium laughing.

 

Balls split open, others were too heavy to throw, yet the Red team's luck seemed to be the opposite, their below average thrower guy now seemed to have the strength of a thousand men, and the aim of Robin Hood, so perfectly did he launch that ball. And the runners had wings on their feet, super speeding around before the mustard custards could even figure out what was happening, all receiving a helpful push from behind.

 

By the time the hellishly long game was over the crowd on her side went up in a massive victory cheer, the announcers saying that apparently the team hadn't made it past this first game in over ten years, ending a record breaking losing streak. He with the hood stood up with the rest, throwing his arms up to cheer just as the heavens opened and rain lashed down, urging him to lift his hood…

 

His bellow of rage was epic as he span round so fast his head seemed to stay pointed in the wrong direction for a split second, like something out of the exorcist before it caught up.

 

" You…" he growled.

 

Cassie got the hell out of there, leaving the small boy to his scolding as the man yelled at his poor, harassed mother.

 

The game had turned out to be a lot of fun, but she missed London and the one person who could actually see her. It was time to go home.