Haunted by a phantom telephone
Several times during the night I heard a mournful mutter coming from my kitchen and went to investigate. It was a distinctly human cry, but the kitchen was empty each time. I checked the broom cupboard for captive dwarves.
Not a sausage. One night I was in the kitchen during mid-groan and followed the voice. It came from outside the window, so I armed myself with a carving knife and a can of Ghostaway Spookicide and tiptoed out.
The sound was coming from two gnarled tree branches in my neighbours’ garden rubbing together in the wind. Even from close-up it sounded like an unhappy human, but once I had identified it I put away the spook spray and decided to live with it.
Sometimes we chat.
“Ooh, ow!” says the ghost and I lean out and say “Never mind, Spookie, they’re developing a vaccine for it”, and we both go back to bed.
Last week I was haunted by a phantom telephone. I was awakened from a peaceful afternoon nap by my phone ringing downstairs. I stumbled down half asleep and muttered “Hlloosit?” No answer.
I tottered back up and was hardly asleep when the damn phone rang again. Must be urgent, I thought and bounced downstairs again. No reply.
I decided to wait in case it rang a third time, and sure enough it did. When I answered it it continued to ring. Then I followed the sound and discovered a car parked in front of the house, with a mobile phone ringing plaintively.
Cellphones don’t usually sound like landline phones, but this one did. Most unsporting of it. The owner’s car had broken down and he was trying to call a mechanic to fix it. By a strange quirk of acoustic oddity the sound of the ringing phone seemed to come from inside my house.
When I went down to the owner of the distressed phone I could hardly hear it even when standing next to the vehicle. It seems the air has tides and ripples, just like the sea. So be careful when you drop an indiscreet comment in the privacy of your garden.
When Joe’s father died he ordered the undertaker to arrange a lavish funeral.
“Spare no expense,” he said. “He was a great father.”
The funeral was indeed spectacular and Joe received a bill for R20000, which he paid without complaint.
A month later he received a bill for R250 from the undertaker, and paid it too. The next month brought another bill for R250 and Joe decided to query it.
“Well, you said I should spare no expense,” said the undertaker, “so I rented a dress suit for your Dad,”
* "Tavern of the Seas" is a daily column written in the Cape Argus by David Biggs. Biggs can be contacted at [email protected]
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.