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I have trouble with ghosts. Well, one ghost in particular. It's not the late night caterwauling from within the walls of my apartment that troubles me -- my broker made me aware of the potential for ghostly death cries inside my walls and, as a bargaining chip, offered to cut her usual fee of 38% of my first year's rent to a more charitable 32%. (so, in a sense, the wailing is a blessing rather than a curse). What troubles me is how passive-aggressive my ghost is. That's the worst kind of rommmate possible.

It started out with little things. The ghost tried to get on my sweet side by leaving difficult-to-bake pastries and cookies out for me each night. At first I was frightened, then flattered. But let it be said that nothing comes without a price.

We had agreed to split the rent and utilities. I thought this was fair and even though the ghost completed the bulk of the household chores, the trade-off was that he had all of that extra square footage inside the walls and ceiling and in this part of town space is a pretty valuable commodity. I could see the potential for this rent issue causing a bit of friction between myself and the ghost but I had no idea exactly how awkward it would become.

After about the third month of cohabitation, the notes started. Little post-its would appear around the apartment with notes on them like, "Hey, todd. Are those your dishes in the sink? Because I don't think they're mine. If you could take care of them, that would be great. I'm afraid of roaches." Really annoying stuff. And always notes; never a real confrontation. Soon, the ghost would start to leave a little less for utilities and always with a little note that would say something like, "I just figured, since I don't have a corporeal body, I really shouldn't be paying quite as much for heat and hot water. I hope you'll understand. By the way, I made profiterole -- help yourself!"

And it didn't end there. Here's one I received about a month ago: "Hope your day went well. And, oh, by the way...todd, I'm glad you are exploring your sexuality -- I think that should be a magical experience for the Living -- but I was wondering if you could refrain from bringing women back to the apartment after, say, 10pm. It's just that, well, as you know I took my own life out of loneliness and as a result am damned for eternity to have my soul pace these floors, while my physical form decays in a modest grave near the Brooklyn Aquarium. It makes it a bit difficult for me, hearing you in the throes of clumsy passion, knowing I will never know the warm flesh of another again. Let me know if it's a problem. Thanks!"

I rue the day I moved out of my cozy studio apartment, built right over an ancient Indian burial ground. I was two blocks from the train, 1 block from a laundromat. A bit expensive but very quiet, if you didn't mind the ominous lamentations of 200 Iroquois souls every night at the 12th stroke of midnight. I guess I just got greedy.


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