A journalism student had requested an interview with Howard the Medium. Howard’s phone number was freely found on subway station posters that, on first glance, appeared to advertise an eccentric hairdresser with a penchant for costume jewelry. On the night of their appointment, the pimply young man arrived late to Howard’s apartment. While waiting, Howard drank too much wine and became pissy.
“You don’t want to interview me,” he said, slurring as they sat at his dining table. Decorating the room were plaques, many honoring Howard as Mystic-of-the-Year. He stood a wine glass before his guest and uncorked another bottle. “I’m a freak entertainment, available for your next soiree.”
Howard’s bracelets reflected the room’s candlelight while he poured drinks. “The compensation seems fair,” said the student.
Howard followed the kid’s eye to his wrist. He wrinkled his nose about feeling judged. “Whether rich or pauper, one must care about one’s appearance,” he said. Supporting this assertion was his thin, white mustache, resting a quarter-inch above his lip, and his gold necklace nestled on a bed of gray coils at his shirt’s open collar.
The student sneered. “So, you’re an entertainer?” he asked, penciling notes on a pad.
Howard sipped his Merlot. “At a typical event,” he said, “a housewife pays me to mesmerize her guests with messages from beyond. Before my performance, they think I’m a sham; during, a genius; and afterward, a freak. But everyone has second sight. My gift is just stronger. That’s why I’m not, say, a real-estate mogul.”
“So, it’s a performance?” the kid asked. He crouched, stalking his prey.
Howard studied his guest. “Talking to the dead doesn’t make my life easy. But it is a marketable skill.”
The kid tapped his chin with his pencil. “Yet,” he asked, “do you ever feel guilty about misleading people?”
“I see.” Howard reclined and folded his hands upon his round belly. “No, I only regret the blood.”
“The blood?” The kid arched his eyebrows.
“From the sacrifice,” said Howard. “Even with tarps, a gutted goat just sprays all over.”
“Goats?” the kid asked. He feverishly jotted this down.
“And the virgins,” said Howard. “The Dark Lord requires at least one be deflowered. Of course, the girls are rarely cooperative.”
The student asked, “Say that again?”
“Actually,” said Howard. He grabbed the kid’s wrist. “Should Satan make an appearance now? It only requires a little spike of the vein—”
The student leaped backward. The chair skidded behind him. “No, thank you,” he said, clumsily grabbing his knapsack and notepad and backpedaling toward the door. “I think that’s enough for my assignment.”
Howard drank both glasses dry. As the front door slammed, he muttered to himself, “Should’ve seen that coming.”
* * *
A skunk-like stench awakened Howard. The smell seemed odd on the third story with his windows closed. He lay in bed, pondering the odor, until a clatter of pots came from the kitchen.
“That you, mother?” Howard called but heard no reply.
Clad in satin boxer shorts, Howard shuffled down the unlit hallway, grumbling. “I swear to God, I lack the patience…”
A marijuana cloud hung in the darkened kitchen. Standing before the glowing, open refrigerator with a doobie in his hand and drinking milk from a carton was the source of the smoke: a fat, dreadlocked ghost. One might imagine Bob Marley addicted to weed and Twinkies.
Howard switched on the overhead light. The ghost flung the milk carton with a yelp.
“Holy Jah,” said the ghost, patting his heart. The carton gurgled milk around his sandals. He wore a green and red dashiki like a Jamaican St. Nick. His graying dreadlocks had grown like a knotty tree trunk down his back. “You scared me half to death.”
From the doorway, Howard asked, “So, you’re a ghost?”
“Sorry for the noise,” said the raspy ghost. He pointed at the overhead rack. “Why d’ya hang pots from the ceiling where your head can hit ’em?” He paused and ran a dreadlock through his hands. “You really can see me?”
Howard shrugged. “I see dead people. I’m a medium.”
“I’m a large, mon,” said the ghost, slapping his belly. His smile revealed big, yellow teeth. “So you’re just the mon I seek.”
Howard watched the intruder step carefully around the milk puddle and seat himself on a stool at the center island. From the sink, Howard retrieved his wineglass and filled it with Merlot.
When the ghost spoke, his hands conducted the air. “There I was, in the stream of the afterlife. I feared the demons that lick the brains from your skull. So, I jumped through the first portal I saw. Now Rastaghosta finds himself in New York City, of all places.”
“Uh-huh,” said Howard, swishing the wine in his glass. “Skull lickers?”
“Skull lickers, mon,” said Rastaghosta. He slapped the countertop emphatically. “D’ya never read the Book of the Dead? Who knew the Buddhists got it right?”
Resting an elbow upon the sink, Howard examined his visitor. He asked, “The portal dropped you here?”
“No, brah,” said Rastaghosta, sucking another lungful of smoke from his joint. “I got to the Bowery, looking for a way home. Then I saw your poster, Howard the Medium. And some ghosts directed me here.”
Howard fanned the foggy air and shook his head. “You want my help, but break in and trash my kitchen?”
“Apologies,” said the ghost. “I got a wicked case of the munchies.”
Howard drained the glass in one swallow and returned it to the sink. Straightening, he said, “I’m afraid I can’t help you.”
Rastaghosta displayed his palms to Howard. “Please, you’re my only hope,” he said. “I must get back to Iowa.”
Howard asked, “Is that a city in Jamaica?”
“The state of Iowa,” said the ghost. “That’s where my family be. Won’t you take me, brudda?”
Howard drew an X in the air. “One hundred percent no,” he said.
Crestfallen, the ghost lowered his head. He started to speak, but a shrill voice pierced the apartment’s quiet. From the bathroom, down the hall, Howard’s mother called, “What’s going on? Somebody’s there?”
Howard dragged his fingers like claws down his neck. “No, mother,” he called through clenched teeth.
“Please, I miss my kids,” said Rastaghosta. Grief made his voice tremble.
“Is there an intruder?” the mother asked. “Howie?”
“Never mind, mother,” yelled Howard. He assessed the pathetic ghost, whose poignant eyes stared back at him. At last, Howard relented and said, “I’ll sleep on it.”
“For real?” asked Rastaghosta. He bounded to his feet. “Jah will smile upon ye, mon!”
“I’m only considering it,” said Howard. He sidestepped the ghost’s attempt to hug him. “I don’t want any trouble tonight. I’ve exorcised troublemakers before—”
“I’m a good boy,” said the ghost, his hand over his chest. “Not to worry.”
“Secondly,” said Howard, “avoid my mother, for both our sakes. And finally, ixnay the ganja. This place smells like a skunk’s anus.”
“But my tendonitis,” the ghost complained. He rubbed his elbow to demonstrate its sensitivity. At last he agreed. “But you might consider a toke to relax yourself, brudda.”
“No, thanks,” said Howard. “And clean up the milk.”
As Howard retreated to his room, his mother whispered to him from the bathroom. Her hands, in rubber yellow cleaning gloves, opened the door wide enough to show her face. “What’s going on, Howie,” she hissed. “Who’s here?”
“A marching band, mother,” muttered Howard.
* * *
That morning, Howard opened the bathroom door to reveal his mother kneeling by the bathtub. For eternity wearing an apron and rubber gloves and her silver hair tied in a bun, she scoured the wall tile furiously.
“All night I scrubbed to no avail,” she panted. “How do you make it so filthy?”
Dressed in a purple polo and Capri khakis, Howard asked, “What’s the problem?”
“The grout!” his mother exclaimed. “I swear I raised a slob.” She squinted at him. “And did a girl come here last night?”
Howard rolled his eyes. “No, mother. A Rastafarian.”
She rose creakily and limped to the doorway. She craned her neck to peer past him, down the hall. “Was that what I smelled? No doubt he’s a dirty Rastafarian—”
Howard tilted his face ceilingward. “Why don’t you haunt dad instead?” he asked.
“Couldn’t stand him while I was alive,” she muttered. Hiding behind her son, she stretched her face further into the hallway.
“For the love of God,” said Howard. He walked toward the kitchen with his flip-flops making a slap-slap noise. His mother followed, tugging his arm.
“Why don’t you ever bring a girlfriend by?” she asked. “She wouldn’t see me—”
“But you’d see us,” Howard grumbled. He reached the kitchen without finding Rastaghosta.
“I’ll cover my eyes,” pleaded his mother. Howard sniffed the air and followed a skunky, herbal fragrance to the living room. Arriving there, his mother said, “Oh, he’s a big Rastafarian.”
Rastaghosta was in repose on the couch and blowing smoke out a window near the armrest. Sheepishly, he said, “I held off as long as I could. My tendonitis.”
Horror twisted Howard’s mother’s face. She whispered, “Is that marijuana?”
“Mother—” Howard began.
“Mama, you can call me Rastaghosta,” said the couch-laid spirit, grinning broadly.
Howard’s mom tried to scale her son’s arm. She hissed, “Howie—”
“I’m driving him to Iowa,” said Howard, suddenly. He cast a blistering look upon her and said, “And you know I like boys.”
“Howard, you’ve gone crazy!” his mother wailed. She covered her ears and scampered to the bathroom. Howard’s gaze returned to the ghost. “I need to get out of here,” he said.
“My hero,” said Rastaghosta. He reached to close the window. “Are you as starved for breakfast as I be, mon?”
At noon, Howard, with a travel bag, and the ghost took a taxi to a car rental agency. Rastaghosta suggested they rent a van. Howard wanted a European sports car. Their debate continued to the rental counter. The woman employed there heard Howard whispering, “You’re the ghost, I’m driving, so button it.”
She smirked and asked Howard, “Are we enjoying planet Earth today?”
He rolled his eyes. “What’s the wildest car you have?”
Thirty minutes later, our travelers left the parking ramp in a canary-yellow, Cadillac convertible. Into the wind, Rastaghosta yelled, “I’m coming, my babies!” And Howard, in driving gloves and Ray-Bans, allowed himself a half-smile.
* * *
Howard drove toward the city line. Into the dashboard-mounted GPS unit, Rastaghosta entered, “Loess Hills Trail, Iowa.” When the screen produced directions, he angled it at Howard. “Nineteen hours to go,” he said.
Howard’s mouth stretched wide. “Are you kidding?” he exclaimed. The car swerved in and out of its lane.
“Easy,” said Rastaghosta. “Don’t you know that Iowa’s in the middle of the country?”
“I failed geography,” said Howard. He fanned his face and gulped a rapid series of shallow breaths. “Nineteen hours? That means hotels. Lots of bathroom breaks. I’m fifty-five years old, in terrible shape. My prostate has my urethra in a choke hold.”
The ghost said, “TMI.” He cupped his hand to light a doobie.
Soon after his heart recovered, Howard’s phone chimed. Upon reading the reminder alert, he groaned and called “Magical Martha Whipple.”
“Marty,” he said. “I’m out of town. Can you cover my gig at the Schwartz’s tomorrow?”
Magical Martha could, to Howard’s relief. Afterward, Rastaghosta said, “You’re a good man to miss work for me.”
“Don’t sweat it,” said Howard.
“A wonderful dude,” said the ghost.
Howard turned in his seat. “Driving you is about hating my life, not the quality of my character. So, please, quell the flattery.”
Rastaghosta eased back and shut his eyes against the sun. “You’re a strange duck, though, Howard,” he muttered.
They came to a queue of cars at a toll booth. The toll taker’s meaty arm moved in and out of his box. Upon reaching the booth, Howard threw his money at the worker and fled when the mechanical bar rose.
Rastaghosta, puffing his joint, watched in amusement.
“They make me nervous,” said Howard. His gloved hands squeezed the steering wheel. “What kind of psychopath opts to work at a toll booth?”
Rastaghosta chuckled. “D’ya think he’d grab you, mon? That tiger looked ready to pounce.”
Howard ignored him. After a while, he searched the radio until he found an easy-listening station playing the Carpenters. Almost immediately, however, his rider jammed on the buttons to hunt for some funk.
“Where’d the Carpenters go?” Howard asked.
Rastaghosta said, “That song made me want to kill myself and I’m already dead.”
“Well this sucks,” said Howard, flicking his wrist at the thick grooves presently vibrating the speakers. “I can turn this car around, you know.”
“Fine,” said the ghost. He re-tuned the radio to the Carpenters’ station. He curled up in his seat, feigning a nap. When the Bee Gees started singing, he folded his arms over his head.
Eventually, they stopped at a rest area so Howard could stretch and pee. Rastaghosta chased a dog around the lot. Back on the road, with the stereo off, the ghost’s spirits had been restored. He said, “I-spy with my little eye—”
“Nothing,” said Howard. “We’re not playing that game.”
“Party pooper,” said Rastaghosta. “Maybe a joke? What’s the nosiest thing on a Chinese menu?”
Howard rolled his eyes.
“Peeking pork.” Rastaghosta barked a laugh. “Lighten up,” he said. “Tell me about yourself.”
“That requires a lot of wine,” said Howard. He dabbed his forehead with a handkerchief. They drove without speaking. At last, Rastaghosta asked, “Whatcha thinking about?”
“The joy of silence,” said Howard.
“You never ask about me,” said Rastaghosta. His bottom lip pouted. “Can you guess what killed me?”
Howard shifted in his seat. Summer heat made his hind end swampy. He said, “What?”
Rastaghosta said, gravely, “Smoke inhalation.”
Howard’s handkerchief mopped his brow. “That’s ironic.”
The ghost said, “There was a fire while I slept. Some of my babies didn’t survive.” His moist eyes turned to watch the scenery along the highway slide by.
Howard lowered the handkerchief. “I’m sorry.”
“My heart hurts,” said Rastaghosta, still gazing away. “Maybe silence was best after all.”
They traversed Pennsylvania, tacking their route with rest stops, and finally entered Ohio. Howard checked into a hotel outside of Cleveland. He declined a smoking room, to Rastaghosta’s chagrin.
In the room, Howard showered. He emerged to find that Rastaghosta had spread brochures across the bed.
“D’ya want to go on a ghost tour?” he asked. Howard looked sharply at him. “Alright,” said Rastaghosta. “What about the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame?”
Howard swept up the brochures and put them on the side table. “I think not,” he said.
Rastaghosta asked, “Because they didn’t induct the Carpenters?”
Howard turned down the bedcovers. “Let’s have an early start tomorrow and go bed.” He switched off the side lamp.
Availing himself a corner chair, Rastaghosta said, “Don’t worry. I’ll just sit here and be quiet.”
Howard climbed into bed and adjusted his pillows.
“I was thinking,” said Rastaghosta. “You should write a book about your life and ghost adventures.”
“No one would read it,” muttered Howard, yawning.
Rastaghosta stroked his dreads. “D’ya miss your home? Or your mama?”
“Neither,” said Howard. He pretended to sleep to end the conversation.
* * *
They checked out at 8 a.m. Before leaving town, Howard bought a venti coffee, Advil for his aching back, and zinc for his sunburned nose.
Then they were motoring across Ohio. Howard introduced his bladder to numerous rest areas along the way. Highway construction diverted them through a cycle of small towns. In one, they stopped at a farm stand selling Rocky Mountain Oysters to unwitting tourists. Howard bought two servings.
Collecting his purchases, he said to the girl at the stand, “We aren’t in the Rocky Mountains.”
The girl said, “And those aren’t oysters.”
Whatever they were, he and Rastaghosta called them delicious. At another stop, as Howard returned to the car, Rastaghosta waved frantically at him.
“Howard,” yelled the ghost. “A guy stole your bag from the back seat while you were peeing.”
Howard waddled to the convertible and swatted its door in anger. “You didn’t stop him?” he demanded.
“What could I do?” asked Rastaghosta. “Say oogie boogie?”
Howard punched the air. “Where’d he go? What did he look like?”
“He’s gone,” said Rastaghosta. “He’s a white man—y’all look the same to me.”
Fortunately, the thief escaped with only Howard’s laundry. But Howard felt violated and he treated his passenger to silence. He mapped a route to a mall of outlet stores and there, while Rastaghosta waited in the parking lot, Howard filled up his credit card with a new wardrobe.
When Howard returned to the car, Rastaghosta was biting his fingernails. Howard keyed the ignition, but paused. Clearing his throat, he said, “Being robbed sucks. But shopping is fun. And I hadn’t realized how badly I needed to update my wardrobe.”
“Good for you,” said Rastaghosta. He clapped his hands merrily.
“And I should’ve locked the bag in the trunk,” said Howard. “I’m sorry I yelled.”
Rastaghosta said, “No worries,” and rubbed his head against Howard’s shoulder. Howard allowed it and chuckled.
They crossed into Illinois. They made a few sightseeing stops along the way. Abe Lincoln met them at his childhood home, but Rasta-talk left him dumbfounded. They visited the world’s widest, free-standing length of PVC pipe. “Now that’s impressive,” said Rastaghosta. He had stars in his eyes, dreaming of the bong possibilities.
In Chicago, they cruised by the Sears Tower before choosing a hotel. At the hotel’s restaurant, Howard drained a bottle of wine during dinner while Rastaghosta smoked outside by a geysering fountain. Afterward, they reconvened in the Jacuzzi, near the hotel pool.
“I know you don’t like compliments,” said Rastaghosta. They sat belly-deep in the burbling water, Howard in a new swim suit, the ghost in his dashiki. “But you’re a good traveling partner. I feel close to you.”
“Likewise,” said Howard. He let the Rasta hug him, but asked, when they separated, if ghosts could brush their teeth. As he fanned away the wretched breath, Howard saw over Rastaghosta’s shoulder. Two skinny boys in shorts stood beside the whirlpool, staring at Howard.
“Go back to The Shining,” Howard grumbled and got out.
Our exhausted travelers retired to their hotel suite. The night proved restless, however. Howard slept with a pillow over his head to muffle the sound of ghosts carousing the halls.
“Of all the hotels in Chicago,” he muttered, “we pick the haunted one.”
* * *
Crabby and bleary-eyed, Howard bid farewell the next morning with parting advice for the hotel clerk: “You really should do something about your paranormals.”
Before noon, they crossed the Iowa border. They passed Iowa City and drove Route 80 west through Des Moines. Most of the state was flat enough to register as dead on an EKG. Howard saw a lifetime’s worth of cornstalks. “I’m suspicious of any food that’s the same going in you as going out,” he said. “And watch those fields for demonic children.”
Rastaghosta, however, could not sit still. In the passenger seat he did the Cabbage Patch and gleefully said, “Almost home. What do you think of Iowa?”
Howard said, “Isn’t it the Indian word for snore?”
Rastaghosta waved his hand. He said, “How about that fresh air?”
Howard said, “It lacks the urine aroma of New York.”
The ghost beamed and fired up another spliff. Howard coughed, as he often did when Rastaghosta lit a joint. “I’ve grown quite fond of you,” he said. “But I won’t miss all this smoke.”
Rastaghosta said, “Apologies,” and beamed. But his smile faded as he watched the scenery. He gnawed a thumbnail between puffs. Howard asked about it and the ghost said, “You might not like my family.”
“Nonsense,” said Howard.
Rastaghosta’s fingers fretted over his dreadlocks. “What if they’re not what you’re expecting?”
“Like ghosts?” asked Howard.
“Not exactly,” said Rastaghosta, trailing off.
Lost in his own thought, Howard softened. “You know, I have friends like Magical Martha,” he said. “But no one to go adventuring with. There isn’t anyone I can tolerate for an hour before I wish a meteor would hit them.”
“What will you do differently then?” asked Rastaghosta.
“Well, I thought I’d like to visit you again someday,” said Howard. “And find a friend to bring along.”
“That’s your best idea yet,” said the ghost. “Go make friends like I do. Plant seeds, water ’em, give love, and a whole new family springs up.” He winked at Howard. “You’re on your way with me, I say.”
“Thank you,” said Howard. “Yes, I need to practice being kind. Inquire about people. Anticipate what they might need—”
“For sure,” said Rastaghosta, rising in his seat. “And what you need to know now is we’re here.”
* * *
They drove on a two-lane road. The left-hand landscape was sun-browned and Martian. The endless expanse had been worked by farmers who must have developed keenness in trance meditation. The property value was evident in the absence of strip malls.
And yet opposing that were mountains, densely covered with lush, green foliage. The dichotomy of the halves, divided by a ribbon of road, was striking.
Along the mountain side were farmhouses at points where the land leveled. These were separated by stretches of unmitigated brush and trees and more mountains. At an undistinguished spot, Rastaghosta said to pull over on the grassy shoulder.
“This doesn’t look residential,” said Howard, eyeing the incline beyond the window. “Where’s the driveway?”
Rastaghosta smirked. “Gotta hoof it.”
Howard followed him from the car. They crossed the grass and started on a footpath that traced up the mountain.
Howard traipsed through underbrush that whipped his calves and past eye-level tree branches bent on taking his Ray-Bans. He paused to baby his face with his handkerchief. “This activity is unbecoming of an old queen,” he said.
“Not much farther,” said Rastaghosta, skipping ahead.
“Easy for you,” said Howard. “You zip around like a zephyr. Meanwhile, my boxers have burrowed into my ass.” He winced. He panted. He groaned. Sweat circles colored his shirt. He knotted his handkerchief around his head and used a walking stick. He said, “My hemorrhoid makes this entirely unpleasant.”
“Almost there,” said the ghost. “You can still smell the burnt wood.”
Howard swatted at insects that attacked his face. He sniffed the air and said, “Yep, I just inhaled a gnat.”
Shadows stretched as the sun entered the sky’s lowest quadrant. Still they continued. “I’m wearing sandals,” said Howard. “You didn’t mention climbing Mount Olympus.”
Finally, they crested the ridgeline. From there Howard saw into the basin of earth surrounded by peaks. Rastaghosta stood beside him. Ahead of them was a grassy glade, also furnished with weeds, thickets, and multicolored wildflowers. On the ground in the glade was a charred rectangle, the remains of Rastaghosta’s home. Howard’s breath caught in his chest.
“Did your family die there?” he asked, softly.
“No, mon,” said Rastaghosta. He smiled with enormous eyes. “Those are my family,” he said. He waved his arm majestically at a garden that stretched down the hillside, beyond the glade. The plot was blanketed by waist-high marijuana plants.
Howard drew back like a drowning man breaking the surface for air. “Are you kidding me?” he yelled. “We came here for plants?”
“My family,” said Rastaghosta. He skipped ahead and along the rows of plants that reached to touch him.
Howard snarled, “We drove halfway across the continent for weed?”
Rastaghosta halted his gallop. He raised his hand against Howard’s rising volume. “You wanted to take me home and you did,” he said.
Howard crossed his arms and stuck out his chin. “You misrepresented yourself, sir.”
Rastaghosta approached him with a pained look. “Don’t be angry, Howard. Why can’t my babies be green and leafy?”
“I thought you had children who died in a fire.”
“So they ain’t what you’d expected. But I can make family whatever I want. Why flesh and blood? Family can be plant or pet or ghost, like me. Can’t I be your brother?”
Howard lowered his arms. Rastaghosta took him by the shoulders.
“I’m dead, but have more passion than you,” said the ghost. “You lived like your life’s already done. I was sad for you, Howard. But now that you’ve tasted real life, what will you do?”
Howard blinked back tears. He said, “I don’t want to go back.”
“Then go live like your ass is on fire, mon,” said the ghost, laughing. “Write a book. Sail a sea. Pet a lion.”
Howard squeezed Rastaghosta in a bear hug for a long time. “Won’t you come along?” he asked.
Rastaghosta shrugged. “This is my home. Only Jah knows what will happen next to my property. In the meantime, I’m happy to wait for Him. And look at all the ganja!”
With that, he pranced off among his babies.
* * *
At the bottom of the footpath, Howard found his car—and a stranger waiting. A leather-skinned farmer had parked his truck across the road. He’d found the convertible and now sat, chewing tobacco, waiting to see to whom the car belonged.
“Been hiking?” the farmer called. He hung his crossed arms through the open driver-side window.
“Just, uh…” said Howard. A sunset tinted them pink and gold. Gnats persisted around his head. He rounded the Cadillac and rested his back on the door. “Did you know the guy who lived up there?” he asked.
“The Rastafarian?” asked the farmer. “Shame what happened.”
“So he did die in the fire?”
“Ah-yuh, last spring,” said the farmer. “Can I ask why you’re asking?”
“I briefly knew him,” said Howard. “Not very well.”
The farmer pushed his big-brimmed baseball cap up his forehead. “I can vouch for him. He smoked enough wacky weed to kill a cow. But he helped re-build my barn and brought in my hay every year. I’m old, if you can believe it.” The farmer spat a brown stream of tobacco juice at the road. “He had a shack up there. Kept to himself. An uncle left him the parcel in his will. I can vouch for the uncle too, if need be.”
“Not necessary,” said Howard. His finger touched his hairline where a thought bloomed. “Wasn’t he Jamaican?”
“Nah, born in New Paltz, New York,” said the farmer. “He wanted to be Jamaican, though. Goes to show you can be whatever you want.”
“New Paltz,” Howard said. He couldn’t understand. He shifted his weight back and forth. “New York?”
“Mm-hmm. How’d you know him?” asked the farmer.
Howard composed himself. “He fell into my life,” he said. “Actually, he convinced me to write a book.”
“Ah-yuh?” asked the farmer. “What you write?”
“An autobiography, I think,” said Howard. “We’ll see.”
“Ah-yuh. Well, good luck,” said the farmer. He drew back into his truck.
“Wait,” called Howard. “Which way is west?”
The farmer pointed and Howard thanked him.
Russell Richardson lives with his wife and sons in Binghamton, NY. His publication credits include: “Still Life” (WOLVES), “Bird in the Works” (Cheat River Review), poetry in Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine, and haiku in Three Line Poetry.
WHY WE CHOSE TO PUBLISH “Rastaghosta”
Author Russell Richardson delivers an amusing, yet touching, piece with all the elements of a good story that wends its way smoothly from start to finish along with excellent characterization, some great lines, a couple of surprises.
And we loved the lines: Howard shrugged. “I see dead people. I’m a medium.” “I’m a large, mon,” said the ghost, slapping his belly.