by Mary Lamphere
“You’re seriously going around the block again?”
“Yeah,” Josh says, idly spinning the steering wheel in an arc. “I told you, we’re picking up that ghost chick tonight.”
“Okay, but when you said ‘ghost chick’ I thought you meant one of those goth girls that hangs out at Café Zombie. I’ve heard those chicks are frea-ky.” Byron’s voice goes up with the last two syllables. “And,” his voice drops, “sometimes the chicks are duuudes.”
“You never heard about Resurrection Rosie? Back in the 70’s, her boyfriend brought her to the city for a show then hooked up with another chick. When she saw him macking on that new girl, she ran across the street in pouring rain to confront him and got hit by a car. They say her spirit is trapped on Conner Boulevard between Manor Avenue and Strop Street.”
“Yeah.” Byron shrugs. “So?”
Josh barks a laugh. “So I’ve heard she’s hot and if you pick her up, she will fuck your brains out then disappear. Sounds like the perfect date to me.”
“You would bang a ghost?”
“But she’s a spirit, no corporeal body. Hence, nothing to…you know, put it in.”
Josh shrugs. “Whatever. Supernatural sex. Worth a try—am I right?” He lifts a hand in high-five.
Byron listlessly smacks his friend’s palm. “I cry bullshit. It’s a rumor. Nobody’s ever really seen her.”
“Dude, lots of guys have seen her! And picked her up. And been ‘rewarded’.” He flexes two fingers in air quotes. “All rumors are based on fact.”
“So lame.” Byron sinks deeper into the bucket seat. “I’m bored.”
“Shut up, man. I can feel it, tonight’s the night I find her.”
“You’ve done this before?”
Josh nods, once again turning a lazy corner onto Connor. He’s in no hurry. He’d hate to see her and not be able to stop in time to pick her up.
“This is insane. Can you at least swing through the McDonald’s drive-thru? I’m starving.”
“Big Macs are for post-coital celebration.” He considers, then blurts, “Ghost coital!” and busts out laughing.
“Dude, this is nuts. Why would a ghost have sex with you anyway?”
“A,” Josh says, ticking off his index finger, “she’s trying to get home. And two,” he juts his middle finger in the air, “she’s really pissed at her boyfriend, okay? So she fucks strangers for a ride and to get back at him.”
“How did I not know this?”
“Right?” Josh looks at his friend. “It’s a famous story.”
“No, not about the urban legend, about you being bonkers.”
They lurch forward as Josh slams on the brakes mid-block. “Get out!” Then, “Let her in,” he clarifies.
Rubbing his shoulder where the seat belt bit, Byron looks at the animated driver. “What the hell?”
Angling to the curb, Josh repeats, “Get out of the car. Now.” His voice comes through a side-mouth whisper as he says, “She’s right there.”
Byron swings his gaze out the passenger side window. “Holy shit!” He fumbles with the seat belt latch, finally engages it, opens the door and steps aside, offering the lovely young woman his seat.
“Are you…are you Resurrection Rosie?” Byron stammers.
She smiles wanly. “My name is Dawn.”
The blonde girl is soaking wet. Her white with powder blue trim baseball shirt hangs below the fringe of her cut-off jean shorts. The outline of a pale pink cotton bra can be seen through the clinging rainbow emblazoned across her chest.
“Why are you wet?” Byron asks, holding the door for her.
Byron looks at the clear evening sky. Diamonds sparkle against the black velvet of the night, faded gray by the glow of the city lights. He hops in the back seat.
Josh is making out with the girl. Damn, that was fast. She can’t be a ghost. Byron can see the smoothness of her skin, the water smudged eyeliner over her closed lids. He can hear the pucker and suction of their kissing and see Josh’s fingers entwining through her damp hair.
She breaks away, wiping her mouth. “I need to get home. My mom is going to kill me.”
“Okay,” says Josh. “No problem.” He looks through the seats and winks at Byron. “Where to? Maybe…someplace a little more rural? You know, where we can have a bit more, uh, privacy.”
She throws her body against the seat, bumping Byron’s knees. “I can’t believe my boyfriend bailed on me.” She crosses her arms; the flesh makes a squelching sound when it meets the wet shirt. “What a prick.” She stares out the front window. “Asshole got me kicked out of the concert and then hooked up with some slut.”
Unnerved by this outburst, Josh clears his throat and asks again, “Where to?”
“Home!” she screams.
He puts on the turn signal, checking the mirrors to get back into the flow of traffic. “Okay…”
“My mother is probably freaking out right now. She never liked Gary. Nothing but trouble, you deserve better, blah, blah, blah. Gah!” she screams, “I want to rip his fucking heart out!” She slams a fist against the dashboard, startling her captive audience.
The girl turns to Josh, reaching across the console, she places a cold hand on his knee. With round eyes, she apologizes.
“No, uh, problem,” Josh stammers.
Shaking her head, she says, “I just need to get home.” Her voice quiets. “Will you take me home?” She drags her fingertips up his leg.
The wheel jerks in Josh’s hands and he turns off the indicator then puts the car in park.
Knee to mid-thigh, she strokes, back to knee. Knee to—upper thigh.
Josh gasps. Then grins. “Be happy to trade you a ride for a…ride.”
Torn between watching and not watching, Byron shifts uncomfortably in the back seat. “Maybe I should get out. Wait here. You know—”
“No!” She collects herself and tells Byron to stay. “It’ll be…fun. Gary had one, I’ll have two.” She bats wet eyelashes at him and bites her lower lip.
“Byron is gay,” Josh states flatly.
“Well then,” she says pensively, “why doesn’t Byron drive and you and I,” her hand delves higher, “move to the back?”
Josh is out of the driver’s seat before the invitation is even complete. Hands at his waist, unbuttoning his khakis, he slips into the back and closes the door. He kicks a foot at Byron, hissing, “Get out.”
The girl is laughing amicably when she slides in.
“Brrr,” Josh says. “So cold. And yet, so hot.”
“Uh, where to?” Byron asks, adjusting the seat to accommodate his lanky body.
“Just…drive,” Josh responds breathlessly.
Byron checks the rear-view mirror. Her face pops into sight.
“Sure you won’t join us?”
“Noooo.” He averts his gaze and concentrates on driving. He hears moaning. Mumbling. He tries not to listen, focusing on the cars zipping past. He thinks he hears her say, “Oh, Gary,” as an opening in traffic allows him to accelerate into the flow.
The scream causes his foot to punch hard. Oncoming vehicles honk and careen as the car bolts across lanes and through the intersection.
Swearing loudly, Byron overcorrects, casting a glance into the back seat. His face is splattered with warm, wet, gore. The girl is gone but there’s a gaping hole in Josh’s chest. The gurgles of his dying friend are the last sound he hears before slamming into the post of the traffic light.
Whooping sirens and flashing lights ignite the assemblage of onlookers across the street in blaring blue and red flames.
In the midst of a crowd, a gangly teenager shakes his head as the emergency crew uses the jaws of life to extract the body. Bodies, he notices, when a second stretcher is called.
“Think this was her again?” an elderly man asks.
He nods. “Oh, yeah.”
“How many she up to?” a suited man asks.
“At least twelve,” a bystander offers.
The kid scoffs. “Since 1979? Trust me, there’s been more.”
“Could be a normal, regular, everyday accident,” the bystander defends.
This time the kid laughs outright.
“Why do people continue to pick her up?” another voice wonders aloud.
The young man shrugs. “Wish I knew.”
“You think any of her johns come back, too?” he overhears a woman ask.
“Naw,” a lady beside her says. “Can you imagine? Throngs of horny ghosts wandering the streets.”
“Ha,” the first woman responds. Eyeing the crowd, she chuckles, stepping closer to her friend.
“You ever see her?” someone asks.
Reaching for their chests as if pledging allegiance, a chorus of voices offer, “I have.”