The Return of Ghost

by Mallory Ortberg

Previously: Text Messages From a Ghost.

April 22

Hi, who’s this?
ill give you a hint
i brought you some candy babies
Ghost? Ghost!
i really did bring you candy babies though
they’re on the counter
not to brag or anything but i poltergeisted them there all by myself
I thought you were gone, I thought I had broken you or sent you somewhere I couldn’t see or hear
Where have you been?
hoo boy well
all over really
i spent some time in an egg
i had to wait to get hatched out of that so that was probably a hundred years or so
It hasn’t been that long, Ghost
oh no it wasn’t in your time
There’s a lot I do not know about ghosts, I think
enjoy the candy babies!!
What even are candy babies?

April 24

you look different now
I got old, Ghost!
Well. Older.
how long has it been for you
since i left i mean
im not too good at marking time
It’s been a long time
im glad youve had a lot of time
what have i missed?
A very long time, actually
Is julia still here
what happened with julia
A lot happened with Julia, Ghost
you know that was because of me, you know
I remember!
i just mean youre welcome
I remember
good im glad you remembered
so long as i get credit
We had kids. Great kids!
Two of them
oh wow
I still can’t believe you’re back
it took me ages to find you again
I’m so sorry about that
I did everything to fix that phone
i found you again though
You did!
i sure did
Did you get to meet Dolly?
oh boy did i ever
what a lady she is
Can ghosts date other ghosts??
she is married you know
Does that still count?
it does to this ghost

April 25

you have a cat
you didnt tell me there would be a cat
Yeah, we got him when the kids were young
Should I have told you??
no its fine
its fine
I’m sorry — I should have told you
it sleeps right
i mean
it will go to sleep eventually
Yeah, the cat sleeps a lot
ok good
that’s good
where would you guess it is right now
if you had to guess
I really don’t know
Are you sure you’re okay?
yep yep yep
Because you sound nervous
not me
im fine
im just going to go visit the tree again for a little bit i think

May 3

do you still have your birthday present
Of course
ok good
I’d never get rid of that
The kids love it
they used it all the time when they were still at home
thats good
I missed you, you know, old friend
ok good
i missed you too
especially when i was in that egg
I really wish you’d explain that egg story

May 7

Do you want to come to the beach with us?
the beach?
its pretty cold out you know
I know but the kids are in town
and they wanted to go to the beach
youre not going to drop me or anything
Definitely not
youre sure
I’m old and responsible now, Ghost!
I won’t drop you, I promise
well put me in a mitten or something okay
it’s really cold out
So you’ll come?
well i dont want to stay here alone with the cat
I think he likes you
dont be ridiculous
Do all cats and ghosts not get along? Or is there something about this cat?
i have my reasons
All right
You warm enough in there?
good reasons
theyre very good reasons

May 23

how did it go?
It was okay I suppose
I just had a long talk with Julia
about our options
This is so fast, it’s just so fast
when will you hear the results

June 2

whats the good word
not good, Ghost
oh no
I know I’m not supposed to ask
i cant
I know
I know you can’t but I just had to ask
i would if i could you know
I just thought maybe there was something you could do
Someone you could talk to
about getting more time
there isnt anybody to ask
there really isnt
im sorry
I know, I know
I figured
I know you’d help if you could
ill be here though
itll be just like the last time
The last time?
One of these days you are going to have to answer at least one of my questions, you know
i know
i will i promise
Is this why you came back?
Did you know this was happening?
Okay. Okay.
I’m glad you could be here, then
somebody will look after julia
shell be okay
youll get to meet eleanor roosevelt
shes a good friend
I remember

September 17

hello there
Ghost, are you here?
im here
dont tell anyone but i snuck inside the monitor
yep yep
Thanks for everything, Ghost
theres room in my phone if you want
or i saved you one for your own
i think youre going to like it here
Stay a minute, will you?
okay im here
see you in a minute okay

Mallory Ortberg is a writer in the Bay Area. Her work has also appeared on Slacktory and Ecosalon.

Photo by JuneJ, via Shutterstock