My mailman woke me up Good Friday morning. I was sitting upright on the end of my couch, still wearing my clothes (and shoes) from Thursday and snoring away when my phone rang and jolted me awake.
I picked it up and whispered “Hello?” I got back “Hi Doug it’s Jim. I’m downstairs.” I said “Is Shawn & Sophia with you?” (My sister Shawn’s husband’s name is Jim.) He said “I don’t know who you mean. Doug, it’s your mail carrier.” I said “Oh! I’m sorry Jim… how did you get my number?” He said “I didn’t. I’m down here in the lobby. I pressed your buzzer.”
(To be honest, it’s been so long since anyone’s pressed my buzzer I forgot that it’s connected to my landline. Also, I could only get my eyelids half open; I was dealing with some VERY heavy brain fog.)
I said “Do you need something Jim?” He said “I wanted to let you know you left your mask down here.” I said “How do you know it’s mine? It’s… not embroidered with my name or anything.” He said “It was in your mailbox.” I said Oh. He added “along with your wallet.” WHAT. I told him I’d be right down.
When I stood up my knees wobbled and I plopped back down. Easy now… as I got back up again, it began coming back to me. The day before, Thursday, I’d been to my conservative dentist. (My friend Danielle calls her Doctor Q’Anon.) It had been an early appointment, at 9am. So why was I still dressed for it? Because when it was scheduled a couple weeks ago, my lovely dentist had given me two blue football-shaped pills and said “Take the first one an hour before your next appointment, and the second one right after we’re done.” When I asked what they were, she said “Alprazolam. Douglas you are way too tense & serious a patient, and your next visit is going to be 3-4 hours long. I want you to be relaxed and happy, okay?”
Sure… who doesn’t want to be relaxed & happy? So on Thursday morning at 8am I took the first pill. After that… I have a dreamy memory of my doctor wearing a plastic shield on her face and promising to email me her photo, and holding a tray of tiny toys. And laughter, lots of laughter. My next memory was Dr. Q’s front receptionist asking if I had a ride home and me saying I only lived a bunny hop, skip & jump away.
More laughter and me promising I was going straight home. It was all hazy & dreamlike.
When I opened my front door to go downstairs, there was a white Rite-Aid bag on my welcome mat. I picked it up and looked inside. A 2-pack of Bounty paper towels and a quart of very warm milk. I have ZERO memory of going to Rite-Aid! I looked at the receipt inside, it says I bought these items yesterday at 1:44PM. It also says DAWN DISHWASH DETER on the slip but there’s no Dawn in here; I’ll be damned, someone came along & stole it!
I set the bag inside then proceeded downstairs to get my mask & wallet. When I saw Jim the Mailman, he joked “Late night?” and then told me my chest was glowing. Sure enough, in my breast pocket was a brightly lit ghost ring. Dr. Q’s tray of tiny toys…. it was rubbery and I squeezed it and it shut off.
When I came back upstairs, groggy as hell and shaking my head, I saw my answering machine was now blinking. I pressed PLAY and heard “Hi Doug, it’s Nina from Dr.P’s office? She said if we don’t hear back from you, she’s sending in the cavalry. She also said your mouth is going to be plenty sore for a few days, she did repairs to 8 teeth. Get back to us by noon if possible, okay?”
That’s when it hit me… owww my mouth WAS plenty sore. I went to my refrigerator to get a glass of juice, and right there on the top shelf was a brand new bottle of Dawn Dishwashing Liquid.
I shudder to think what I said or did for this nifty ghost ring.