The Ghost and the Foreteller

The Ghost and the Foreteller

"I'm sorry. The last thing I should be doing as a ghost is scaring people. But, you know, I don't have a choice," Jake Orbs-Blanket says to Sybil Clinton.

Sybil, terrified, is not used to seeing ghosts, especially not in her office where one expects to encounter, what's the word—humans? She should have seen the signs: the displaced jewelry, the mysterious lights, the disembodied laughter, the screams, the footsteps, the ringing bells, and the violin playing at night. As a foreteller, it's a bit of a conundrum that she never sees anything coming.

"Are you, you know?" Sybil stammers, more stating than asking.

"I was hoping you'd see me coming," Jake chirps. "You're a foreteller, right, like an oracle? I wasn’t expecting to surprise you. I’m surprised that you're surprised—and you shouldn't be surprised that I am. If you are, then I don't know what to tell you – it's surprising."

Trying to recover, Sybil ponders her own reality. She's 40 and hopes to reach 41, but now, she's not sure. She smokes weed, wishing it would help her see—tomorrow, the future, anything. Spoiler: it doesn't. People's lives are a mystery to her; even her slight gift of reading souls provides scant help. Sure, a smile gives clues. Tears illuminate. The clothing, people's elocution, their hairdo. But that? What is that? She can't read smoke, can she? And the pillow and the sheets—it's just absurd and frightening.

"Are you… an apparition?" Sybil manages to ask, the word feeling strange on her tongue.

"I know, the sheets, the drapes, the smoke—I am a bit of a mess," Jake admits. "You must put yourself in my sheets, fumes, and… I have to go out of my way to come here from the netherworld. Living in a refrigerator, being an exception to the laws of thermodynamics, it's hard to appear as anything but a nebulous mishmash."

The refrigerator? Sybil can hardly believe the sight before her: lots of vapor, some linen, a cushion. Jake appears foggy, even transparent in places. The foreteller resolves not to smoke again anytime soon. "What can I do for you because..." she starts.

"Okay, I don't want you to freak out," Jake interjects.

"Too late for that," Sybil replies.

"I feel alive," Jake confesses, as if revealing a deep secret. A sepulchral silence follows.

"And?" Sybil probes.

"Lately, I've had sensations," Jake continues, his voice a mix of confusion and curiosity. "I am supposed to be immaterial, but...”

"Sensations?" Sybil echoes, her voice subdued, still scared. She must be waiting to wake up; it's just too weird. What the…

"Sensations, you know—down there," Jake explains, his expression hard to read. We can see some traits, even a bit of a face, but it's not very human-like.

"Sensations down there?" Sybil repeats, incredulous. "What do you mean?"

"Well, I think I can have sex," Jake suggests.

Sybil screams, horrified, then laughs. "Smoke doesn't have sex. Where is this going?” The guy is – fumes.

"I want to see a foreteller to know the future. Because everybody agrees, we can't have babies. But what if?" Jake muses.

"Pardon?" Sybil feels her sanity slipping. She checks her surroundings; she’s still in her office, trying to wake up—or freaking out.

"There are male and female ghosts," Jake pursues relentlessly. "I don't see why there shouldn't be some gender dynamics—and sex. Female ghosts who have suffered a traumatic death have extraordinary powers. They can be alluring. I deserve love. I think we can have intercourse. Can you read the future?" 

"What? I don't know. I don't have the… expertise," Sybil stammers.

"Everybody says no," Jake sighs. "Well, those who do aren't ghosts. I rest my case." He attempts to clear his throat, a challenging feat without a throat. "So, I am Lord Blanket, and I am definitely seeing a foreteller, a diviner, a prophesier—about time."

"I am Sybil."

"Are you a palmist because I have no hand at present?"

"No, more like a crystal gazer and a futurist, but..."

"You have a great reputation – most presidents of the United States have consulted with you – that's what your brochure says, right?"

"Yes. Well, at least one, and it might have happened in a nightmare."

"I don't want to scare you. I am a ghost, and a ghost is a ghost, and you are a foreteller and not a ghost, although you are a bit of a witch, but human."

Sybil smiles. She takes being a witch as a compliment.

"I have three questions. First, can I have – you know… I feel silly. I don't want to say the word, but…" Jake laughs. "Sex?"

Stunned, Sybil tries to regain her composure. "I have no idea; I am not qualified to say."

"Because there are males and females, and I am sure there are gays and trans and cis. Can we have babies?"


"Can we?"

"I don't know."

"Can you see any of the future, my future, at all?" Jake is desperate for insight.

"Yes, yes, no," Sybil replies, now less intimidated by the threat than by her own ignorance.

"Sorry, you're not being clear," Jake says.

"Well, maybe intercourse is like an energy exchange. You exert energy to arouse that part of your smoke and become aroused by the sensations, someone else too, and together you produce more smoke, and it will be the most amazing thing you've ever been through in your lif… afterlife." Sybil can’t believe her own words, and it shows on her face…

Jake smiles broadly. The reproduction of smokes and science of vapes, why not? Sybil is never smoking again.