I watched my mother, once, holding a corpse the size of a honey baked ham. Late evening. Corner of our old street. From my seat on a cloud I recognized its form; watched its tissues dissolve like blood sausage on her just-manicured nails; the spoils of its bloody clots lingering over her lacquered loveliness. Eyes dry. Cheeks sucked in, she buffed her nails, turned on heels that hurt the pavement as the ignoble puddle sizzled, frothed, burped and then congealed into her story.
This, of course, is a dream. But most of my ghost stories, which are often nightmares, occur inside my head. I’ve never been afraid of the real ghosts because they are shy and scurry away as soon as they’ve been spotted. But they remain lodged inside our heads and make their pre-Broadway appearance night after night in our skulls. That’s what dreams are—ghosts playing hide and seek inside those craniums.
Take this other one. It won’t leave me at all. The best way I could describe it would be like this:
Early one evening, six naked men, calmly observed by 36 six onlookers in the children’s section of Central Park wrestled a white pit bull with blue eyes and blond lashes. Why they were naked and why one of them seemed more to be humping the dog’s belly only God knows. Drawn by the moans of the comatose canine, each man pried its mouth open and took his turn looking down the throat of the shivering creature. One man reported he saw shreds of a mongrel the dog had eaten and said that that was what the world was turning into; nations full of mongrels. Another said he saw a lot of pink that looked like the inside of his wife’s vagina and that he’d never love a woman again. Another got up off his dusty ass and said he’d decline to look. If a similar fate awaited him he’d rather die.
He walked towards a little girl, reported to be about five, whose mother said: “Here Mister, take my baby.”
Tenderly, he removed her yellow satin frock, silver shoes and hand in hand into bushes behind the swings they walked. All 36 onlookers heard the girl moan and the man scream in agony. He was found dead.
Glorious day it was when yet another pried the stiffening creature’s dentures so wide he buried his head deep inside its mouth and then, just then:
Big Doggy, his face a bloody red mess, snapped its jaws tight and stood on his hind legs.
Everyone heard the wrestler’s neck snap but was more hypnotized by his erect cock.
Good Doggy thrust his head back and the man’s waist turned a Calypso twist.
This brought wild applause and thus began the carnival in Central Park that is still going on.
This is an apocalyptic dream that portends disaster and the breakdown of all boundaries that keep me, perhaps, alienated from my own animality. But it scares me. A loincloth separates me and the dog. It represents untamed vitality–the Life Force. I can’t go there. I won’t go there. The Super-ego is huge. I sense my late grandmother’s presence. I can only watch.
I have no children. But a ghost who is a little boy is with me. He is 7 years old, the dawn of moral consciousness in Catholicism. He says that the aftermath of God’s Uteral Prolapse was not Genesis after all. He says he dreamed that that Garden was the imagined Uterus God willed to grow outside of him.
“Daddy”, he murmurs in his sleep, “at five hundred inches, there’s only so much a waist can grow. Genesis is yet to come.” As the 747 climbs through the billowy baby blues and soft cotton coils, my sweet little boy swears he sees in-Vitro wackos holding fish bowls under some squatting silhouette.
Oh, my Lord, it is a bloody heave weighing in at two hundred pounds—all glorious fat fried to a crisp at the edges. I make the sign of the cross, remind him that we are 34,000 feet above safety, and order three Bloody Marys. I think we’ll do down. I think we’ll never come back up. When I look, my ghost boy has gone. A diaphanous satin sheet hangs from the window of the aircraft. I cannot see the future. I cannot see my destiny. I scream and scream and when I pull the sheet he is there—grotesque, monstrous, and suspended in mid air, clawing at the face of God.
Jason D Hill was born and raised in Jamaica. He came to the US to become a novelist, and is now a Professor of Philosophy. His most recent piece for Backhand Stories was Jamaica Preacher Man