Don’t believe the hype; being a ghost is no fun. You can’t read minds, you can’t possess people or influence their thoughts or actions, you can’t reach anyone, or anything, physically, and you can’t move things with your mind. Nobody can see you, nobody can reach you, and worst of all, nobody cares, cos – guess what – you’re supposed to be dead, stupid! You are completely cut off, condemned to remain a powerless, pitiful spectator. I should know.
My name is Femi, and I’m a ghost.
Well, maybe not a ghost…not exactly, cos I don’t remember dying. I don’t think I’m actually dead. But whatever I am now, it’s close enough so I can say I’m speaking from personal experience. Read my lips – if you can see them – ghosts aren’t superhuman. They’re actually sub-human. Or what else would you call this miserable state of being? Sub-sub-human? Then you’d be right. Even Brandy is better off!
I guess I should be thankful that he can see me. It’s not like that has done me any good so far, but at least he’s not taken in by that thing that has my wife under its spell. This is worse than death. At least if I were dead I wouldn’t have to watch this other being take over my life, with my wife gladly obliging. One other ghost myth, by the way: they say ghosts don’t feel pain. That’s the biggest myth of all. I know because now every time I see her, I ache all over. This is all Shola’s fault, though I had said I hated my life and wanted out of the whole thing. And I did use those exact words. Only, I didn’t know I was saying them to someone, or something, who could actually make it happen.
The night I left the house, Shola and I had fought – this time about my newest assistant, Nikki. She’d always said Nikki was after me, said she could see it in her scheming eyes. That night, I’d come home late from a business dinner, which Nikki, as my assistant, had attended with me. I’d come straight home from there, but Shola had insisted that Nikki had something to do with my ‘constant’ late nights. I’d said there was nothing between Nikki and I.
“Then fire her. Immediately,” Shola had said.
“I said fire her. And then hire someone not so single, and not so attractive. Better yet, hire a man!”
I’d struggled to keep my voice patient. Shola had an explosive temper, and I could see she was reaching her boiling point.
“Shola, I’d have no good reason to…”
“Since when do you need a good reason, Femi, you own the bloody company!”
“…she’s very professional, very efficient. She’s been nothing but an asset since she joined us.” I’d been about to add that she had a great ass too, but somehow I’d doubted Shola would appreciate the humour. It wouldn’t have been all joke, though, cos Nikki was very attractive. And she did have the hots for me. Contrary to what men might say or what women might think, a man can always tell. We men are really not as dumb as we pretend to be. We only make you ladies think we’re dumb so that when we mess up we can get away with you shaking your heads and calling us mumus under your breath.
Anyway, I’d said I wouldn’t fire Nikki, and Shola had gotten mad and started calling me names. I’d told her to shut the hell up. That was when she’d really lost it and started throwing things at me. I’d tried to stop her, but she’d slapped me so hard that for a moment the whole world went still. When I could move again, I’d picked my keys from the table where I’d left them minutes ago and walked out of the house, ignoring her screamed threats. We’d had several fights, but before that night, Shola had never hit me.
After driving around for a while with my windows down and the wind blowing in my face, my amazement had turned into anger. Who the hell did she think she was, hitting me like that? If my mother hadn’t raised a gentleman I would have given it right back to her. Shola had always been a bit too protective of her turf, but I’d never seen her act like she had. Granted, Nikki was a hottie, but I hadn’t married no Ugly Betty either, trust me. Shola had always been too insecure for her own good. It had taken a whole lot for me to keep her from driving away all my female friends. I’d cut down my interaction with them just to make Shola happy, and they’d never stopped complaining and yabbing me about it. But nothing was ever good enough for Shola. Well she could go screw herself to a pole. And she could take her stupid paranoia with her!
I’d found a bar so I could drown myself in alcohol. Stalking to the bar, I’d growled my order at the barman. I’d taken a stool and sat staring at the marble countertop, wishing the past five or six years of my life had never happened. I had thought back to the day I first met Shola. It was at my cousins wedding, and she’d been the planner. Weddings were not my favourite social gatherings, but I’d stuck around longer than I would normally have just so I could talk to the lady in the blue dress that lovingly clung to every contour of her glorious body. Watching her take charge of the event without breaking a sweat, I could easily imagine her taking charge of me, in certain…situations. And I would let her. Gladly. What can I say, I like a woman who can handle her business. It wasn’t until after I’d married her that I’d seen her for what she really was: a bloody control freak!
“Is this seat taken?”
I’d been well into my third drink when I heard the voice, and had been only too eager to give a smart ass answer. Then I’d looked up. Even the poor lighting in the bar had been unable to hide her stunning looks. She’d been wearing a shimmery silver dress that looked like it had been painted on her coke-bottle body. The dress had stopped way above her knees, giving me room to appreciate her endless legs. At the risk of sounding like a pig, I will also mention that her breasts had looked like they’d been eager to leave the confines of that dress. I’d finally got to her face, which was no less spectacular. Her eyes had worn a bemused look as she took the stool beside me. I’d stared at the shimmery fabric of her dress, and at that moment, I would have given anything to be that dress.
I’d offered to pay for her drink, and she graciously accepted. We’d chatted aimlessly for a while, me enjoying the fact that she didn’t mind that I was talking to the freedom-fighting boobs.
“How’s married life treating you, anyway?” she’d asked.
Taking a sip from my glass, I’d replied: “Marriage is overrated.”
She’d made a sexy pout.
“Oh, you poor baby,” she’d said, reaching out to pull my chin playfully.
“You should know,” I’d said, nodding at her wedding band.
She’d looked at it like she’d been seeing it for the first time.
“I guess I should know, shouldn’t I,” she’d said with a smile, which I couldn’t help but return.
“You know, I never saw myself as the punching-bag type, but my wife obviously sees me differently,” I’d said, staring into my glass.
“Your wife beats you?” she’d sounded like was trying to suppress her laughter.
“Well not ‘beat’ ‘beat’ like that sha. She just slaps me around a bit…”
She’d thrown back her head and laughed like a banshee. The whole bar had turned to stare, but I hadn’t minded. She was smoking hot. And I’d made her laugh. That underdog stuff always worked.
“Well, I’m sure you could show her, if you wanted to,” she’d said eventually.
Then she’d leaned over to press and prod my biceps for emphasis. The freedom fighters had practically been grazing my arm, and I flexed my muscles a bit to keep them there a little longer.
I’d raised my glass when she was done. She’d raised hers too, her eyes questioning.
“A toast…to say…to hell with marriage, joint accounts and bitch-slapping wives,” I’d said. She’d done her banshee laugh again.
“But seriously,” I’d said after her laughter had died down, “I hate my life right now. I just want out of this whole bloody marriage business. I feel like I’ve fallen victim to the oldest con in the book.”
She’d started at me until I raised my eyes to meet hers.
“You really mean that?”
“I’ve never meant anything more in my life. I wish I could change everything.”
She’d smiled slowly. Then she’d stood and held out her hand to me. I’d stood and taken her hand.
“There’s nothing better than a ‘to hell with marriage’ gesture to lift your mood. I know a place where we can be alone.”
I’d started to protest.
“Shhh. Look, it doesn’t have to be one long thing. It’ll just be a way to give your wife the finger, you know. Trust me, it always works. I know. You’ll feel much better when we’re done. And you don’t even have to call me, unless you want to. We don’t even know each others’ names…you see?”
Now I’m not trying to make excuses for my behavior, but I tell you, there’s no man on earth who would have passed that up, not with the way she’d held me with those eyes; not with that body and that dress; not with that body in that dress. Besides, Shola had always been convinced I was a no-good cheat. It would be great to live up to her expectations for once.
We’d taken her car, and she’d driven to some small, but surprisingly classy hotel. She’d booked the room while I’d tried to blend in with the furniture in the lobby. She’d taken my hand as we made our way to the room, squeezing it intermittently. Despite my discomfort, I’d been looking forward to unwrapping her. And no strings attached had sounded really good to me.
We’d grabbed each other as soon as the door shut behind us. Our lips glued together, we’d struggled to get each other out of our clothes. I’d heard a loud ripping sound and stopped long enough to notice the long, vertical tear I’d made in her dress. I’d been about to apologize, but she clearly hadn’t minded cos she’d just grabbed me again. Having successfully rid each other of our clothing, we’d stumbled onto the bed. I’d initially heard warning voices in my head, but her artful ministrations quickly silenced them.
Just when I could wait no longer, she’d stopped me. Our eyes had met and held.
“So you’re sure you’re ready for a change?” she’d asked.
At that moment, I would have said my name was Rumpelstiltskin – and given enough evidence to prove it in a court of law too – if she’d asked me to.
“I’m so ready.”
She’d smiled into my eyes.
“Then welcome to change, Mister.”
And then she’d let me take her.
Note to readers: I didn’t originally intend for Pet Peeves to be a series, it was supposed to end right where it did in the first part. But I gave it some thought and decided it would be fun to see how far I could go with the story, so here’s Pet Peeves II. I decided that if I was going to draw out the story then I would have to tell it from the perspective of characters other that Brandy. I also realize that the title should change, since the story would now go beyond Brandy, but for the sake of continuity, I’ll keep the same title. As it stands now I have little idea where this story is going, so for the first time, really, I’m ‘winging it’. So here’s to that. Enjoy.