tagSci-Fi & FantasyHaunting Bob Ch. 02

Haunting Bob Ch. 02


When Bob was dressed and ready to go, Beth changed her appearance so that it seemed that she was wearing a conservative businesswoman's dress.

"It seems appropriate." she explained when Bob raised an eyebrow in inquiry. Bob nodded at her answer and held the car door open for her.

Bob's neighbor saw him opening the car door and gesturing for someone to enter. He couldn't see anyone. But Bob was acting like someone had gotten into the car. The neighbor watched as Bob got into the drivers door of the Caddy and drove off, seeming to talk to the empty passenger seat.

"Poor guy's going nuts." the neighbor told his wife later that day.

Bob reached the Motorola plant with plenty of time to spare. He walked up to the main doors and collected his security pass from the guard stationed there. Ms. Vitelli was waiting for him in Donnelly's office. "Glad you could make it." She said.

Bob took the papers handed to him by Donnelly and read them while standing. All seemed in order. Bob took out a pen and signed the contracts, passing them over to Donnelly for him to counter sign. Once the formalities were done, Bob looked at Vitelli, "Care to show me where my office will be?"

"Delighted." said Ms. Vitelli. She led Bob through the maze of corridors to a nice sized inner office. "Will this do?" She asked.

Bob nodded. "This will do fine. I'll need a better computer, but I can bring mine from home if need be."

Ms. Vitelli said, "Personal computers are not allowed to be brought in. Security reasons."

"Understood." Bob said.

"We'll get you an updated computer this afternoon, and we will assign a secretary to you from the steno pool and put a desk for her here in the outer office." Said Vitelli.

"Sounds good. What time do I start tomorrow morning?" Bob asked.

"You're on straight salary instead of hourly, so you don't have to clock in. But the rest of us are usually here by 8:30"

"Sounds good to me." Bob said. He shook her hand again. "I'll see you in the morning." Bob made his way through the hallways until he found the main door again.

"Come with me a moment," said the guard on duty at the front desk. He took Bob over to a room nearby and had him stand in front of a blue square on the wall while the guard took his picture. "Your picture badge will be ready for you to pick up when you get in tomorrow morning. Pick it up at the desk when you first get here. And please remember to sign the log book every day when you arrive and when you leave."

"Right, Sing in and out. No problem."

"Welcome to the company." said the guard.

Bob went out into the bright desert sunshine and stood there soaking up the heat. He saw Beth standing by the Caddy waving. He started over. When he got there, Beth was already in the passenger seat. Bob started the car and flipped the AC on to HIGH. He powered down the windows to let a breeze blow through until the AC cooled the car a bit.

"Damn, aren't you hot?" He asked. Then smacked himself in the forehead. "Right, ghost. I tend to forget that minor detail."

"Minor detail indeed." Beth snorted softly.

"Speaking of de tail, how is yours feeling this morning?" Bob asked with a sly grin as he drove.

Beth snuggled up close under his arm. "De tail, as you put it, is just fine this morning."

"Good then we can try a few experiments today." Bob said with satisfaction.

Beth craned her neck up to look at him warily, "Just what did you have in mind? Last night was my first time, remember?"

Bob laughed. "You have a one track mind you little vixen. I wasn't referring to experimenting with sex."

Beth blushed. She knew that she had been neatly set up. then had her chain yanked by an old pro. "I'll get you for that one." she said, but she couldn't keep from laughing.

Bob powered the windows up. the AC was kicking in nicely. "Just a few ideas that I came up with yesterday and this morning." he said. "Never present a puzzle to an engineer. He'll keep plugging away until he finds an answer."

"Plug away then." Beth said.

"Not now." Bob said in a mock surprised voice. "We're driving. Wait until we get home for that."

Beth gaped, her mouth opening and closing like a goldfish out of water.

Bob shook his head. "Beautiful women and their one track minds."

Beth gasped and smacked him on the shoulder with her little fist. "Beast." she said.

Bob winked at his ghostly passenger. "Gotcha Sweetheart."

When Bob pulled up to his house, Beth simply stood up and walked through the car door and on into the house. Bob of course, had to do it the hard way. He saw his neighbor looking at him out of his window, and gave him a cheery wave.

Inside, Bob found Beth waiting in the living room. "Good, let's have lunch. Then we'll try a few things."

Beth followed him into the kitchen where he fixed simple grilled cheese sandwiches and soup. Bob fed her as usual and Beth savored every mouthful.

To tell the truth, Bob enjoyed feeding Beth. It gave them an intimacy that he had never shared with Eileen.

After the meal. They adjourned back to the living room.

First Bob handed her the remote control for the TV. While they both touched it, Beth could easily work the buttons. When Bob let go of the remote, Beth was able to hold it and press the buttons, but the remote would not work. She could carry it around, place it in her pocket, and even walk through walls with it. When she handed it back to Bob, it again worked normally.

"This could come in VERY handy." Bob said.

Next he set up a video camera and a still camera that he could trigger by remote. The video camera never picked up a thing, even when they were in contact. But the still camera showed her clear as day when the film was developed. As long as she was in direct skin to skin contact.

Bob took her hand again and led her out into the back yard. His neighbor's wife was outside in her garden. Bob called out a cheery greeting. The neighbor came over and put out her hand. "Hi neighbor. I'm Marge Davis."

"Hi, Marge. I'm Bob Johansen."

Marge gave him a sour look. "Aren't you going to introduce your lady there?"

"Sorry," Bob said. "My manners have evaporated in the desert sun. This is my fiancée Elizabeth Cook."

Beth put her hand out for Marge to shake. Marge gave her hand a quick pump. "Nice to meet you Elizabeth."

"Please, just call me Beth."

Marge gave Bob a sly grin. "Now I know why you keep to yourself so much."

Bob laughed. "See Beth, I told you about beautiful women and your one track minds."

Marge laughed heartily, "Welcome to the neighborhood. Well, I've got to get back to my garden. Don't be strangers, y'hear?" And she turned and walked back to her garden, dropping to her knees to root out some especially stubborn weeds.

Back inside Beth was practically vibrating with excitement. "She could see me! And touch me, and hear me!"

Bob said, "Well, I figured that she might be able to as you do seem solid enough when we touch. Now we need to find a way to make it permanent."

"Do you really think that we will be able to find a way?" Beth asked.

"I hope so. Having a wife that disappears when I'm not holding her hand could prove awkward."

Beth didn't reply with words, she just dragged Bob upstairs to the bedroom, fuzzing out of her clothes as she went. Much later, She lay beside Bob, sweaty and happy.

"I love you." She said.

"And I love you too." Bob replied.

Beth woke up feeling happier than she could ever remember being. Bob was already awake. "Good morning dear." He said with a smile.

Beth stretched lazily, then rolled over and squirmed her way to lay atop him. "Good morning my love." She purred.

Bob held her and kissed her for a long delicious moment. Then he rolled her off him. "I have to get up and get to work." Bob said. "Care to shower with me?"

"Sounds wonderful." Beth said. The shower was crowded with both of them in there, but they didn't mind. They had so much fun in fact, that Bob barely had time to grab a cup of coffee on the way out the door.

Beth stood in the living room and lifted her arms high, spinning around on her toes. "Elizabeth Johansen." She said aloud. "I like the sound of that."

She didn't doubt for a second that Bob would figure something out. Such is the faith of newfound love.

For his part, Bob was trying to cope with traffic, his coffee, and thoughts of his job all at the same time. It is to his credit that he managed to reach the Motorola plant without mishap.

Bob signed in with the guard at the front desk.

"Here is your ID badge. Wear it at all times when you are on the premises. You drive that Caddy? I'll get a sticker for your bumper. That way the roving patrol can tell who belongs parked here and who doesn't."

"Got it." Bob replied cheerfully.

He found his new office easily. The girl at the outer office stood up when she saw him approach. "Mr. Johansen? My name is Pamela Jackson." Bob shook her hand.

"Nice to meet you Pamela."

"Please call me Pam." She said. "I have been assigned to you temporarily. If we work together well, you can request that the assignment be made permanent."

"I think we'll get along just fine." Bob said. Come on into the office and sit down, I have a few questions." Pam picked up her steno pad and a pencil.

Once seated in his office, Bob questioned Pam about bringing in a few amenities, a coffee pot etc.

"Those are allowed." She told him. But no cameras or tape recorders." "How about a radio?"

"Oh, they'll give you one of you ask."

"Take care of that for me will you? Something with a CD player if possible." Bob said.

Pam stood up. "Will that be all?"

"For now." Bob said.

Pam nodded briskly and left. 'I think she'll do' Bob thought.

Back at the house, Beth made a decision. She hadn't actually ever seen her gravestone. All she had seen was the graveyard that stormy night over a century ago. And she had never been back there again.

Bob's observation that most ghosts didn't have a heartbeat had been weighing on her mind. So she decided to go back home.

She floated up through the ceiling and the roof above, high into the air. Then with the swiftness of thought, she sped northeast toward the place where she had grown up. She had always been able to tell precisely where she was in relationship to her home. And now she allowed the faint pull to guide her.

Beth came to earth in a parking lot inside the Omaha city limits. She looked around at the surrounding hills, yes; this was where her family's farm had once stood. Now buried under cement and God alone knew what else.

She floated up again and drifted slowly toward where the graveyard had been. Much to her surprise, the graveyard was still there. Preserved as an historical landmark. Landing at the entrance, she searched for hours among the gravestones, seeking familiar names. Finally, She located a familiar name.

The tombstone read; Emily Cook Beloved wife and mother 1859 – 1903.

Beth wept. This was her mother's grave.

Searching further, she found her father's grave, and those of one of her brothers. But nowhere did she find a stone with her name on it. At last she realized that it was getting dark. She rose up into the sky and fled back to Bob, the one constant that she could depend on.

Bob was sitting at the kitchen table when she phased through the wall. Bob saw at once that she had been crying and was upset. He leaped to his feet and hurried to take her in his arms and comfort her.

Beth started crying again, burying her face against his shoulder and clutching him as tightly as if her soul depended on it. Bob carried her to the living room and sat down with Beth across his lap. He just held her and stroked her hair and back until her sobs slowed and finally ceased.

Beth eventually sat up and allowed Bob to wipe her tears away. "I went back." She choked out. "I went back and they're all dead."

"Who's all dead? Where did you go back to?" Bob asked gently.

Slowly, Beth told Bob of her decision to go back and visit the family farm, only to find that it was now a Wal-Mart parking lot. And that the graveyard where she had found herself that first night was still there. But that there was no grave for her. Her mother and father and the rest were there but not her. Bob just rocked Beth as she broke down crying again.

It was very late when Beth was calm enough to be rational.

"I'll have a professional do some research and we'll see what can be found out about your life and your family. In the meantime, you are here, and you are safe with me." Beth just snuggled closer and held him tight.

Her breaths were still a bit ragged as she still let out an occasional sob . Bob finally had to nudge her a bit. "Us mortals still have bladders that need draining, so unless you intend to come along and hold it while I drain the snake, you're gonna have to get up."

Beth smiled at him. "OK," She kissed him fiercely, then got off his lap.

Bob stiffly got to his feet and headed for the bathroom. He was in the middle of a long and satisfying leak when Beth popped her head through the bathroom wall. "Bob, there's someone at the door."

Bob rolled his eyes, "never fuckin' fails," he said.

Downstairs again, Bob looked at Beth. "Keep your arm around me, or keep hold of my hand. We don't want you disappearing and blowing someone's mind." Beth kissed his cheek. "I'll behave, I promise."

Bob opened the door. His ex-wife Eileen stood there. "Aren't you going to let me in?"

"Fuck no." snarled Bob. He slammed the door in her face and headed for the phone on the hall table. "I'm calling the cops."

Bob was so pissed that he didn't think about Beth. She had vanished when he let go of her hand to slam the door.

While Bob called the cops to have them chase his ex away, Beth phased right through the door and on into the back seat of Eileen's minivan.

"I can't believe that he slammed the door in my face." Eileen fumed. "And he had his slut with him. A redheaded tramp 20 years younger than him."

"Now now dear. After all, you did surprise him with this visit." Said the man in the drivers seat.

"Stuff a sock in it Daniel." Eileen snarled. "We're fucking broke and he has money. I intend to get it from him somehow."

So this was Bob's ex and her new husband. Beth was not impressed.

Eileen wasn't through yet though. "3 goddamn times I had to have an abortion before he even figured out that I was pregnant. I wasn't going to give that bastard any brats. He had money, and that was all I wanted from him."

"And why did you marry me then?" Asked Daniel.

"Because I was goddamn stupid is why." Eileen snapped.

Beth had an almost overpowering urge to slap Eileen's head loose from her shoulders.

About then, the police pulled up behind the minivan and came up to the doors. "Good evening." said the cop at the driver's window. "The resident of this house here has phoned in a complaint. He says that you are not welcome at his house, that you're being here uninvited and unwelcome constitutes harassment and trespassing. Under Arizona law, he is correct. So we are going to have to ask you to leave now and not return."

"I'm his wife." Eileen yelled. "And I ain't going nowhere until he coughs up some money."

"Screw that Eileen," Daniel said. "I'm leaving, now."

Eileen leaned over and snatched the keys from the ignition. "You ain't going nowhere Buster."

"All right, step out of the car ma'am." Said the cop in the passenger side.

"Fuck you pig!" Eileen screamed at the cop.

The cop opened the door of the minivan. "I said, get out of the vehicle."

Eileen took a swing at the cop. The cop promptly yanked her out and onto the ground face down. In seconds, he had Eileen's hands cuffed behind her back.

Daniel in the meantime sat very still with his hands on the steering wheel, watching the struggle without expression.

The cop on the driver's side opened the door and looked at Daniel. "You aren't going to give us any trouble are you?"

"Hell no." Said Daniel as he carefully got out of the minivan. "If you remember, I was going to leave when my wife went psycho and grabbed the keys."

The cop patted him down efficiently, finding nothing. "Let's see some ID," the cop said. Daniel promptly dug out his wallet and handed the officer his driver's license. "If you can get my keys away from her, I'll get the hell out of here and back home where I belong. You can take her crazy ass to jail."

The cop ran Daniel's name through the computer, it came back clean. "OK, We are going to cut you loose. Your wife is being placed under arrest for assault on a police officer and resisting arrest."

"Good," Daniel said. "By the time she gets out, I'll have started divorce proceedings back home."

The cops handed Daniel the keys to the minivan, he handed them her purse, then drove off. The cops had to pepper spray Eileen before they could get her into their cruiser. Beth had watched all the fuss with a vindictive glee.

She found Bob in the kitchen with a tall glass of bourbon. He drained it and then dumped the rest of the bottle down the drain. "I'm not a drunk, and I am not going to become one." He said to Beth. "Not over her. She's just not worth it."

Beth walked with Bob upstairs and helped him into bed. They lay close together, taking comfort in each other's arms. When Bob sat down with Beth for breakfast the next morning, he found himself feeding them both by reflex. The thought made him smile.

"Stay close to home." Bob told her. "Or if you need to. Come to me at work. But no going back to Nebraska until I go with you. OK?"

"I'm not going anywhere without you." Beth promised fervently.

Bob finished breakfast and collected a goodbye kiss before heading out to work. On the way to the plant, Bob stopped at a Wal-mart and bought a coffee pot and some coffee, he also grabbed a couple of coffee cups and a small frame for the Polaroid picture of Beth and himself that he had tucked into his pocket that morning.

At the plant, Bob signed in, then took his stuff up to his office. Pam had been thorough. There was a CD/radio on the table against one wall, and there was a brand new computer on his desk.

Bob set up the coffee pot and the mugs on the table with the radio. He put the coffee and the creamer and sugar cubes and spoons beside the coffee pot, then had to call Pam in to tell him where to go get some water for the coffee.

At last squared away, Bob called Ms. Vitelli and asked her to come down to his office. It was time he started earning his $30 grand.

Beth popped in about mid afternoon, phasing right through the wall. She stayed just long enough for a reassuring kiss and hug, then she went back home to wait for him.

At the end of the day, Bob stopped at Pam's desk. "Call personnel for me and tell them to make the assignment permanent. That is, if you are comfortable working with me."

"Thank you." Pam said, and she picked up the phone to call Donnelly's office.

Bob was whistling as he signed out and headed for his car. He saw the new ID sticker on the bumper and leaned down for a closer look. All in order.

Bob kept the good mood all the way home. Closing the door behind him, he caught Beth up in a big bear hug. "And how was your day my love?" he asked with a twinkle in his eye.

"Well, I wish you would have left the TV on, but I ghosted over and watched the neighbors TV." Beth replied with a grin. "Other than that, I had a good day. How about you?"

"Fantastic." Bob said. "The job's a breeze, and I have you to come home to. What else could I possibly need?"

Beth just smiled and stepped back. "Turn on the radio please." she said. Bob walked over to the stereo and turned it on. It was already set to the classic rock he liked to listen to.

Beth sat him down in his easy chair. Then she started swaying with the music, raising her arms and dancing sinuously. As she stepped and twirled and writhed, her clothing fuzzed, faded, and was gone one piece at a time. When she was nude, she moved closer, dancing for him, putting all of her love and passion into her dance. Bob's mouth was dry and he was sweating slightly. He was breathing a little bit harder and he had a raging erection. "My god," he croaked, "Where did you learn to dance like that?"

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