FLASHBACK FRIDAY: 9 WAYS TO KNOW YOU’VE BEEN GHOSTED

I wake up at 3am with Karl Marx looming over me. “There is a spectre haunting this bedroom,” he says, “the spectre of—”

I wave him away: I know the punchline. A communist! he’ll say and he’ll grin and spread his translucent hands wide, dadlike and expectant. He’s corny, but at least he’s not the other guy.

***

The Spirit of the Age is following me around at work. I have bags under my eyes; my performance is suffering, and my boss has noticed. The Spirit suggests I yeet my boss into the fucking sun. I click on the wrong spreadsheet tab and bite back a fuck—Susan across the table is a swear-narc.

Susan owns two investment properties in the Wairarapa. They are worth 500% of what she got them for in the 70s. Last night I caught myself eating a cold flour tortilla straight out of the bag. Susan’s investment properties gather dust.

The Spirit is flossing sadly, his hands moving side-to-side like the pendulum of a broken clock. I shoot him a smile. He half-returns it. I hope the kids are alright.

***

The three spirits of Christmas don’t have much to do this time of year. They sit in the corner of my lounge and play chess. Christmas Past keeps knocking over the board the instant anybody declares check. Christmas Present can’t do shit about it. Christmas Future is silent—you could cut yourself open on his bladelike cheeks. I looked into his eyes once: I expected a deep and endless void, but saw nothing, and heard only wind.

***

My phone buzzes at 6am and it’s the Ghost of My Youth with his daily bro did u make it y/n

I check my pulse, and text back “Y”.

It’s not quite a lie, and he’ll need it later.

***

We are looking for a junior marketing superstar to join our team! Does this sound like you?

  • Four years’ minimum experience
  • An appropriate postgraduate qualification
  • A flexible schedule

This is a 3-month contract.

***

A cute boy slides into my DMs. He loves my work. I wonder what his lips taste like, whether he’s just drank coffee, whether he will be bitter or sweet. I don’t respond, I close the app—I will disappoint him, and I don’t want to do that. The Ghost of Christmas Present peeks over my shoulder.

“Yeah mate,” he says, “that’s how it starts.”

***

Dear Sir or Madam, we regret to inform you that we will not be moving ahead with your application for [].

***

I take a cold flour tortilla out of the bag. There’s chicken in the freezer, but I forgot to defrost it; I have been forgetting to defrost it for months. I bite into the tortilla. It is dry. I try to put it back, but the bag is closed.

***

My phone buzzes at 6am: bro did u make it y/n

I do not text back.

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