(For this first one, I stopped at Jonathan’s “We did not kiss” and wrote it out, including his (ironically).
She Said I Looked Like Jesus
She said I looked like Jesus and therefore would no longer kiss me. I’d grown a beard. Let my hair run a little. We’d been married years. Ironically, her name was Mary. Ironically, she’d had a virgin birth, which I learned after months of Mary not kissing me. Her child’s name was Alex, her lover’s name, Pete.
My dead sister shows up unannounced, looking worn and haggard, like an old whiskbroom, like she’s a hundred years older than when she died at age nine. It’s only two years after that, and I’m eleven, which would make my sister the same age since we are twins and always will be, now that she’s still dead but standing in front of me.
“What’re you doing smoking that cigarette?” I ask, as she takes a long, definitive drag.
“These things’ll kill me, right?” she says, blowing a trio of halo rings up into the universe.
“It’s our birthday,” I say.
“You think I’d forget?”
“I haven’t seen you since—”
“I got you something, but it’ll have to wait.”
“Am I the only one who can see you,” I ask, “or can Mom?”
“Mom’s been sucking down vodka in her bedroom since dawn. The bottle’s half past empty.”
“How do you know that?”
“Come on, Sport, the dead know things. We’ve got time on our hands.”
As my sister sways ever so slightly, her torso turns diaphanous, nothing but a patch of scratchy sunshine.
“I’m sorry about what happened,” I say.
Two more smoke halos wobble their way to the roof. “Sorry is a slick word, but I know you mean it.”
“They said you were the one with the ice pick, but I didn’t believe it.”
She blows a jagged halo this time, like bound razor wire. “Maybe you should have believed, just this once.”
“But why would you kill Dad?”
This time she holds the smoke in her ghost-box lungs and says, “There are some things. Well, some things I should have told you that I didn’t.”
“But you killed yourself, I know that. I was the one—”
“—who found me. Yeah, sorry about that. I know it’s really fucked things up for you. It was supposed to be Mom. I wanted her to know what was what for once.”
“What was what? What’s that mean?”
“Think about it, Sport. What’d he always call me?”
It’s too smoky and there’s too much electricity zapping my cells to think, so I say the only true thing I can think of. I say, “I really miss you, Sis.”
She grins for the first time in years, wide as an island. “Silly Goose,” she says, “I’m right here. I’m always right here.”
“Then can you come to our party?”
Sis crushes the spent butt under her shoe, smiles and says, “Only if you let me blow out the candles.”