Jay hated Thanksgiving. He hated watching his relatives give each other fake compliments. Aside from a few holiday gatherings and the occasional funeral, they rarely spoke. Deep down, nobody really gave a shit. It was an excuse to eat, drink and brag about children, money, or other-worldly possessions. The spectacle had made him so nauseous, he barely got through dinner.
The highlight of the evening was the ounce of weed he bought off his cousin and the fog machine they’d stolen from a neighbor’s Halloween display.
“Serve’s the asshole right for leaving the shit out, Halloween is OVER!” his cousin said.
Hours later, everyone was finally gone. The dishwasher humming in the kitchen, the fridge stacked with leftovers and his parents retired upstairs, hopefully asleep. It was time to get brutally stoned. His plan was to head downstairs to the laundry room and smoke one joint after another until this gluttonous holiday was completely obliterated from his mind.
He was on his fourth joint when the ghost appeared. Jay had been enjoying his joint; he blew out a hit and saw the silhouette of a woman materialized before him.
“Woah!” said Jay coughing out smoke, for a second he thought drugs had finally done him in but she was real.
He noticed, the more smoke, the more defined she became, a beautiful woman wearing a bikini. She motioned to him! She wanted him to follow her out of the laundry room. He needed smoke to see where she was leading him and he was down to his last joint. He quickly switched to cigarettes but that only got him as far as the hallway. She wanted to go upstairs. That’s when he thought of the fog machine, he grabbed it and quickly turned it on.
She appeared right away, more defined, a three dimensional beauty wearing grey make-up.
He’d positioned the fog machine at the bottom of the stairs pointing up towards the kitchen and his bedroom. Thank God his parents were on the third floor; far removed from these insane antics.
The ghost smiled, sized him up intently for a few moments then turned and began walking upstairs. Jay tugged on his set of extension cords and followed.
“This ought to get me as far as my bedroom” he mumbled to himself.
Jay followed the woman upstairs. She was heading for his bedroom. The entire kitchen filled with fog. Jay felt like a character in a horror movie, following a scantily clad ghost.
She stopped just outside the bedroom and pointed to a nearby closet.
Jay had been hoping she was going to lie down on his bed or at least take off her bikini. He wondered what it would be like to make it with a ghost then reluctantly opened the closet door.
The ghost stepped forward and pointed to a spot inside the closet. Jay set the fog machine down and stepped over to the area. He felt a board underneath the carpet creak under his foot. He turned back and looked at the woman. Her expression seemed to urge him on. He went into the kitchen and retrieved a butcher knife. He used it to cut out the carpet.
“She must have lived here before she died”, he thought.
His family moved into the house two years ago. His parents mentioned the previous owner briefly, a handicapped lady with mental problems who died of a stroke.
Once he had the carpet up he went into the garage to find a screwdriver. One of boards, under the carpet, had a set of screws in it, someone was hiding something.
It took longer than expected but Jay eventually got the board off.
Underneath was a shiny copy of HOT BODY magazine. The ghost was the woman on the cover! “I guess I am going to see her naked after all” Jay said as he flipped through the magazine.
He was so engrossed in this act he ignored the ghost, who was pissed. She stamped her feet and took several swings at Jay’s head, eventually focusing her strength and knocking a lamp off a nearby table, finally getting Jay’s attention.
He looked up at the steaming ghost “What is it? Did I miss something?”
The woman pointed back at the hole in the carpet.
“Is there something else?” he asked.
The woman nodded her head yes. Jay put the magazine down and went back to the hole.
Suddenly, he heard the front door open. Jay turned off the fog machine and covered over the carpet. He heard a female voice downstairs.
“Jay, are you here? Was there a fire?”
Jay opened the window in his bedroom hoping to air things out before his girlfriend got upstairs. He watched the ghost disappear with the stream of new air. She did not look happy.
“No fire, just your crazy boyfriend playing with a fog machine.”
“Where are your parents?” asked Dani, a petite blonde, appearing in the doorway.
“They’re asleep, ate a shit load of turkey.”
She came into the aired-out bedroom. “What were you doing with a fog machine anyway?”
“I stole it while I was out with my cousin, just wanted to see if it worked”
“So, you turned it on in the house?” She stepped into the hallway to examine the fog machine and noticed the copy of Hot Body magazine.
“What the hell is this?” She asked picking the magazine and paging through it.
“I dunno, I just found it” Jay stammered.
“Beverly Morton! Jesus! Did you know she was from here? My mom went to high school with her, you know, before she disappeared. This magazine is mint! I’ll bet it’s worth something.”
Jay glanced at the front cover it said: Beverly Morton xxx-posed!
“That’s her name, Beverly?”
Dani gave Jay a stupid look. “Are you telling me you’ve never heard of Beverly Morton?”
“I don’t think so, what’s her story?” He asked.
“She was this sex icon back in 1980 around the time of VHS tapes. I guess she was the first woman to do straight to video porn, you know way before DEEP THROAT.
She supposedly disappeared making a movie that never got released. Some theorize it was retaliation for trying to get out of the sex trade”
“She was never found, huh?” Jay asked, his mind putting two and two together.
“No. There were many theories. My mom said she was smuggled to Asia to be a sex slave. Others think she was buried in the foundation of some house around here. You know, these subdivisions were built around the same time? My dad was in charge of construction before he died, kind of a cool mystery huh?”
“Hell yeah” he replied with his mind in overdrive. “Sorry to make you think about your Dad”
“That’s ok, it was twenty years ago, I was three, I don’t really remember him”
Dani moved down to Jay’s midsection and started un-buttoning his pants. “Stop being so serious Jay, all this talk about dead porn stars is making me horny”.
Later that night Jay awoke in a cold sweat. He had a bad dream. While having sex with Beverly Morton, she got angry and ripped his dick off. His hands went immediately to his member, thankfully it was still there. He looked over at Dani. She was sleeping soundly. He quietly slipped out of bed.
Any normal person would have gone right to the spot under the carpet and looked for whatever was left to find but Jay was not normal, his drug habit forced him to contemplate things for weeks, sometimes years, before he decided to act. At twenty-five years old this was the main reason he hadn’t moved out of his parent’s house or asked Dani to marry him.
Jay headed to the laundry room for a smoke. He rolled a fresh joint, lit it up and inhaled a few puffs. What the hell is going on here? He thought. Why was a dead porn star speaking to him? Was she buried in this foundation? Did she come back to have him find her body?
The room was filled with pot smoke. Beverly Morton appeared.
“I wish you could talk,” he said. “You could tell me what the fuck you want me to do.”
The face smiled back at him then abruptly disappeared.
He stood up and looked around the smoke-filled room but there was no sign of Beverly.
Jay stared awestruck as the word L-O-C-K-B-O-X was suddenly spelled out in mid-air.
“There’s a lock box up there?” he asked.
Beverly spelled out the word Y-E-S in the smoke.
“Better go upstairs and check it out.” Jay mumbled as he left the room.
She spelled Y-E-S again but the fresh air forced out the smoke.
Beverly was rendered invisible again.
Jay tiptoed upstairs, careful not to wake Dani. He pulled up the carpet in the closet and took out his pen flashlight. He quietly pried up the board. Sure enough, there was a lock box wedged between two support pieces. He took the box out, it felt heavy.
Dani moved around in the bedroom across the hall and let out a sigh. Jay held his breath then quickly replaced the board and carpet. He left as quietly as he could with the lock box wedged under one arm. As he proceeded downstairs, his mind mulled the lock box. He could definitely get it open but what was inside? Jewelry? A high-class porn star like Beverly Morton was sure to have jewelry he thought. How about money or savings bonds? All were possibilities but when he opened the box he was surprised to find a single item, a handgun.
The weapon had been stuffed into a brown paper bag but it was secured in a zip-lock baggie.
This was no doubt a murder weapon; perhaps the weapon that had killed Beverly Morton.
She had been the victim of foul play.
“Shit!” he said louder than he intended “All this for a fucking gun.”
He grabbed the fog machine, went downstairs, turned it on and waited for Beverly to re-appear.
“What’s going on here Beverly?” he said. “Why did you make me get this gun?”
He held it up in front of her and watched her eyes light up. The sight gave him an uneasy feeling.
“Where you murdered with this gun Beverly?”
Beverly began to nod her head furiously. She turned around and lifted up her long black hair. Looking at the back of Beverly’s head, Jay saw the huge gaping bullet hole left by her assailant.
“Shot in the back of the head, any idea who did it?”
Beverly nodded yes again. Her eyes flashed like they still contained life.
“You’ve got the killer’s fingerprints on the gun, don’t you? That’s why it’s in the bag, but, who put it there? Not you, not with the back of your head missing.”
Beverly spelled out the word S-I-S-T-E-R in the fog.
“She owned this house, hid the gun but her handicap, it kept her from going to the police?”
“What do you want from me?” he asked, “Take the gun to a television station or something?”
He was surprised when she spelled out the name D-A-N-I.
“Dani? What do you want with her?” he didn’t like the look on Beverly’s face.
M-O-T-H-E-R and M-U-R-D-E-R-E-R were the next set of words.
Now things were starting to make sense. Dani had told him earlier her mother, Gloria, knew Beverly Morton. Frankly, it was hard for Jay to believe Danni’s yuppie/socialite mother had known Beverly Morton, let alone killed her but 20 years had gone by and he guessed anything was possible.
“What do you want me to do?” Jay asked.
Two weeks later. Jay and Dani found themselves straightening up Jay’s parents’ home in anticipation of their guests.
“I’m so glad the two of you finally decided to tie the knot, what a gift!” exclaimed Jay’s mother.
The announcement was a cause for celebration. Jay had finally popped the question, now both families were meeting for the first time over a pre- holiday dinner.
The doorbell rang. Jay opened the door to find a short, snobbish looking, woman in a fur coat. Gloria Kranson entered the home with an air of superiority.
“I haven’t stepped foot in this drab house for years” said Gloria.
“Did you know the previous owners?” asked Jay taking her coat.
“Unfortunately” said Gloria “They were friends of my late husband”
Gloria’s husband Michael had a heart attack in the parking lot at work. It was late at night. He suffered a heart attack in his car the night before. This was before the time of cell phones, there was no help. They didn’t find his body until the next morning after when Gloria called the job site concerned.
“Everyone is gathering upstairs” he said.
As he watched the old woman climb the stairs, he wondered how in the hell he’d let Beverly Morton talk him into this. He never made rash decisions.
Gloria Kranson definitely did not like him. In fact, he was surprised the old bag had agreed to attend this party let alone give him her only daughter’s hand in marriage. She must have an agenda of her own, he thought. He suspected both women, dead and living, were up to no good. If Beverly Morton wasn’t a ghost, he would have flushed the idea altogether but he secretly wanted to know how this would all end and figured a spirit could do little to harm the living.
Jay stepped into the laundry room and took a quick puff of a recently rolled joint.
Beverly came out immediately. She had been anticipating this moment for decades.
“Remember. You promised you’d only reveal yourself to Gloria” he said.
“Wait till she goes into my bedroom”
The doorbell rang again. Jay sprayed some air freshener. The party had begun.
Gloria Kranson stumbled out of the bathroom. The wine had really gotten to her. She hadn’t expected to drink so much, especially tonight, but the conversation Jay started about Beverly Morton had really set her on edge. It was bad enough they moved into this house. Now the struggling pot-head was trying to pull her strings! “Where the hell had he gotten her name, probably the internet” she thought. As if that slut hadn’t done enough to her already, now she was bugging her from the grave! Well, she’d buried the bitch once before, she’d just have to do it again. Thank god her feeble-minded sister had finally died. A week later, she’d broken in and tore the place apart looking for the gun but who knows what the little retard really did with it? Not that it matters now anyway, both women are dead.
As Gloria made her way down the hallway, she decided to feign a headache, say her farewells and be out the door in five minutes. She didn’t expect the light to be on in the bedroom, the bedroom where it happened. Despite her better judgment, morbid curiosity forced her to enter the room, “why the hell is there a fog machine on?” she thought.
The room was magically transformed to twenty years ago, complete with black satin sheets, framed Nagel pictures and a mirrored ceiling. A VHS camera stood on a tripod at the foot of the bed, red light blinking, ready to record any sex action. This was the playroom of Beverly Morton and Gloria Kranson was sickened by it.
She recalled that fateful day, the day she had killed Beverly. She’d entered the room, her husband’s gun in hand. She could hear their passion, her husband, giving himself to that whore.
They’d all begun as friends. Michael was a bright man who realized immediately what VCRs and home viewing would do for the porn industry. He contacted Beverly Morton, an old friend from high school and started a new business. They made movies and made a lot of money.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough just watching Beverly fuck guys, Michael had to fuck her himself and Gloria couldn’t stand for that. Making money immorally was one thing but sharing your husband with a whore, was another. So she shot Beverly in the back of the head while she was going down on her husband. She hadn’t expected Greg to die but the brutality of the act was just too much to handle. He had a heart attack and dropped dead on the spot.
What happened next seemed more like a dream. They had just finished dropping the cement for the subdivision garages, who would care if she dumped some slut in there?
Her husband posed more of a problem. She had to dress him, put him back in his car and drop him at work. Everyone thought he’d died of a heart attack in the parking lot.
The only thing missing had been the gun. It never turned up, she assumed the invalid had found it but no one had ever connected the two deaths. She hadn’t thought of the mishap until just recently, this Thanksgiving weekend had been the 20th anniversary of Beverly’s death.
Gloria stood in a daze as the ghost of Beverly Morton appeared in the fog before her.
“You!” was all the old woman could muster.
No one will ever know exactly what happened next. They all heard a big crash and the sound of breaking glass coming from the bedroom. Jay rushed to the locked door, but Gloria had done herself in by the time he had broken through. They found the old woman hanging from a bed sheet outside the bedroom window.
Inside her purse was a chrome-plated revolver and note detailing the murders of her husband and Beverly Morton. She claimed being in the house “brought back old memories, she wasn’t prepared to deal with.”
Jay was sickened. He supported Dani as best as he could. He talked to the cops, helped make funeral arrangements, even put the house on the market, but for the life of him, he just couldn’t bring himself to watch the mysterious video tape with a big red bow he’d found while cleaning out the hallway closet. It was undoubtedly a Christmas gift from Beverly Morton. \m/