Dearly Departed to Nearly Departed
Prequel Fic to the 1989 Eric Idle Sitcom)
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story is based on an old Eric Idle show called
Nearly Departed. The show lasted for only four episodes in 1989. The
basic plot of the show was that Grant and Claire were a husband and
wife who had been killed in a freak accident in a rockslide. They come
back to haunt their house and eventually a family moves in which
irritates Grant. In the first show they are already dead so this story
starts before the show began, when Grant and Claire are alive...
Grant groaned as he heard the alarm clock beeping in his ear. He sighed
as he looked at the clock...
"6 a.m.? Already?" He moaned.
"Oh Grant, Quit being such a baby. Just get up and get it over with."
Grant rolled over and stared at his wife, Claire who was lying beside
him. She winked at him and flashed him a smile that made his heart
melt. He felt he could do anything for her. Even tolerating her cousin
Evan for a weekend. Evan had made no secret of his dislike for Grant,
feeling Claire should have married a nice American instead of...in
Evan's words..."A pompous stuck up brit!". The other thing that drove
him crazy was Evan's frugalness. The man would live off water and
turnips if he didn't have a family to support.
Thank God, Claire was nothing like the rest of her family. He reached
over and stroked her blonde curly hair as she smiled at him...
"Do we really have to go?" He asked hopefully.
Claire sighed deeply as she began to stroke his blonde curls in
"Honey, I know how you feel about my family. But we only have these
family reunions once a year and cousin Evan is the one hosting it.
Please, can't you at least keep your comments to yourself for one
weekend? Then, we can come home and not have to see him for another
Grant widened his eyes in shock...
"My comments? What about Evan's comments? At least I know when to keep
my mouth shut!"
Claire raised her eyebrow in disbelief causing Grant to sigh...
"Okay, Maybe I don't keep my mouth shut all the time, but Evan starts
it!" He said with a pout.
Claire chuckled and rose from the bed. She began to get ready and
smiled as she heard Grant reluctantly get out of bed and do the same....
Grant went to the closet and pulled out a pair of black pants and a
light blue shirt with a gray sweater vest. Laying them on the bed, he
walked into the adjoining bathroom and stripped off his boxer shorts.
He turned on the shower, closed the shower curtain, and sighed as the
hot water hit his body. He began to lather himself up with soap. He
wished it was Monday morning and it was all over and done with...
He looked over as Claire peeked her head around the corner of the
"Room for two?" she asked demurely.
Grant grinned and stepped back allowing Claire to step into the bathtub
in front of him. They wrapped their arms around each other's necks and
began to passionately kiss one another as the water cascaded down their
"Honey, Let's not go. Let's go to Lake Michigan instead. I'd rather be
there than in Colorado with your family. We won't get to have moments
like this when we're under Evan's roof..." He said stroking her back
Claire sighed as she laid her head against Grant's chest...
"Honey, I'm sorry. I wish I could say no but everyone is expecting us,
they'll be mad if we don't go. Especially my parents..."
"They'll be mad if YOU don't go, you mean..."Grant said bitterly.
Claire kissed him on the cheek...
"You aren't as disliked as you think you are, dear!"
She heard Grant snort softly and decided to drop it. Secretly, she was
reluctant to go too. She knew that Evan really wanted her to come to
Colorado alone, but she would have none of it. She had been married to
Grant for two years now. They were just going to have to accept
With a sigh, she pulled apart from Grant and heard him moan in protest.
She knew if she didn't make a move, they would never get out of the
shower. Silently, they both toweled off , brushed their teeth and fixed
their hair. After they were finished, Grant began to dress as Claire
went through her side of the closet trying to decide what to wear. By
the time she had finally decided on a lavender colored dress, Grant had
dressed and was sitting on the bed pulling on his socks and shoes with
a frown. As he finished, he watched her appreciatively as she finished
dressing and got a sheer purple head scarf out of her dresser. He
walked to her and kissed her on the cheek...
"You're a vision, love!" He said in her ear...
Claire giggled and pinched his butt...
"You aren't bad yourself!"
Grant gave her a little squeeze around the middle and escorted her
downstairs. He thanked God he would have Claire with him through the
weekend. She would keep him sane at least....
Grant stretched his back as he drove. It had been almost 15 hours now
and he and Claire had been taking turns driving in order to reach
Evan's house in time. Claire had started out driving while Grant caught
a quick nap and then after about 8 hours, she had roused him and after
he took the wheel she went to sleep beside him. Now she was beginning
to wake up....
"Where are we?" she said as she yawned and blinked her eyes.
"Um...I think we just passed the state line into Colorado." Grant said
trying to think.
"Good, I'm getting tired of being in this car."
"I'm not..." Grant muttered.
Claire squeezed his hand affectionately. Grant smiled at her and
As they drove, the road began to run up into the hills. Grant pursed
his lips as he slowed the car. He always hated driving along the hilly
roads with the steep drop-offs. He navigated slowly around the curves
as the car climbed ever higher into the hills...
After about ten minutes, they began to level off a bit and start down.
Grant was glad. He was nervous being up so high. He wondered why they
didn't just make tunnels through the hills instead of having to drive
up and down them. He glanced over at Claire who was reading a book.
Grant smiled knowing that she was trying to keep her mind off how high
they were too....
Suddenly, Grant noticed a small yellow sign just off to the side of the
road. He quickly read it...
BEWARE OF FALLING ROCKS
"Look at that, Claire." He said pointing to it.
Claire raised her head and read the sign and looked over at Grant...
"Yes? What about it?" she said in confusion.
"Do you ever really think any rocks have fallen, Claire?" Grant mused
as he drove along.
"I don't know, honey. Apparently someone thinks they might." Claire
said closing the book and putting it on her lap. "We are up in the
hills, you know."
"Heh, Don't remind me." Grant laughed. "I doubt if any rocks have ever
fallen, Claire. They probably just put it there to scare..."
Suddenly, Grant and Claire heard a low rumbling sound. Grant looked out
the window at the side of the road, confused. Suddenly he heard Claire
scream. He jerked his head around and saw her staring with a terrified
expression out the windshield. Grant followed his gaze and his eyes
widened in horror as he saw several large boulders falling towards the
car. Grant's mouth hung open in shock and he screamed out...
Grant stumbled from the wreckage and dusted himself off. He wished he
had kept his big mouth shut. How was he to know though that the rocks
really did fall. He had drove on hills dozens of times and seen those
signs and nothing ever happened. He looked over and saw Claire walking
towards him, her hand on her head....
"Are you hurt?" he asked, worried.
Claire shook her head...
"I...I don't think so." she said softly.
She looked over at the car, which was now hidden under a mass of huge
"How did we get out, Grant? I can't even see the car anymore." she
asked in confusion.
Grant looked at the boulders...
"I...I don't know. I don't even remember leaving the car, do you?" He
asked as he looked at her.
Claire shook her head...
"Maybe, it was the shock of the impact." she said. "We were probably
too dazed to remember getting out."
Suddenly they turned as they saw a small blue compact coming up the
road. They saw a man in the front seat. They watched as he stopped the
car in front of them and got out to look at the boulders...
"Oh, Thank God!" Grant sighed. "Hi, I'm Grant Pritchard and this is my
wife, Claire. We've been in an accident as you can see and we..."
He watched as the man walked straight past them without looking in
Grant and Claire stared at each other in shock...
"Grant, he just completely ignored us!" Claire said.
Grant frowned deeply and advanced towards the man who was now staring
at the boulders, confused.
"Excuse me, Sir? I don't think you heard us. Our car is underneath this
rubble and we are in need of a ride! We need to get to a phone because
we are expected....Are you listening to me? Hello?"
Grant folded his arms and leaned up against the boulder the man was
staring at. He stared hard at his face waiting for the man to answer
him. Instead, the man ignored him and began to move all around the
boulders muttering to himself. Grant followed him getting angrier by
"Jesus, Now I'm gonna have to go all the way back and around..." The
man muttered to himself.
"Well, at least you have a car to go back with." Grant said
sarcastically behind him.
As the man continued to look at the boulders, Grant lost all patience
and running up behind him, began to tap him hard on the shoulder...
"Try to ignore this, asshole!" He yelled in his ear.
Suddenly the man stopped and gasped...
"Aha, I finally got through to you did I, maybe now you'll listen to.
.." Grant stopped in mid sentence and followed the man's gaze. The man
was staring at a small gap between two boulders, his face as white as a
"Oh, dear God!" The man said as he quickly passed Grant and ran back to
Grant stared after him, completely confused now. He inched over to the
gap and looked in. His eyes widened and his mouth dropped...
In the remains of the passenger side of the car was Claire's bloodied
and lifeless hand dangling out the window...
"The lord is my shepard, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in
The priest solemnly read from the bible as Claire's family huddled
around the tent that had been set up in Resurrection Cemetery. Before
them, two white, closed caskets were arranged side by side over the
spots where they would be interred. As various family members wept,
Grant and Claire stood just outside the throng, unnoticed...
After the man had run back to his car, he had driven back down the hill
as fast as he could without falling off the sides, leaving Grant the
unenviable task of explaining to Claire what had happened. He had
comforted Claire as she wept in his arms watching as an endless parade
of firemen, policemen, EMT's, reporters and Claire's family came to the
site. It had taken them almost three hours to slowly get a crane, big
enough to move the boulders, to come slowly up the hill and get enough
of the boulders off to reach the car. When they finally broke through
and used the jaws of life, even Grant had to turn away to avoid looking
at the bloody, crushed remains of him and Claire...
And now they were here, three days later, back in Chicago... The
majority of the mourners were from Claire's side...Most of Grant's
family were still in England and only a couple of cousins and a niece
decided to make the trip over. His mother and father were too broken up
to come, sending only a huge bouquet of flowers in their place... The
cousins and the niece had been pushed to the back of the throng, much
to Grant's chagrin. Not even his relatives were welcomed among them...
The thing that infuriated Grant the most was that Evan had been
assigned to take care of the arrangements and true to form, he found
the cheapest plots he could...right next to the freeway...
"Gee Claire, the sounds of rush hour traffic make the service much more
moving, don't you think?" He asked her sarcastically.
Claire bit her lip, trying to refrain from saying anything. She, too,
was angry at the spot Evan had chosen but she also realized nothing
could be done now...
"You think if they tried the Halleluiah Chorus, the commuters would
honk their horns and join in?" Grant asked dryly as he gestured behind
Claire elbowed Grant hard in the ribs and gave him a warning glare...
"Shut up, Grant. You're embarrassing me in front of my relatives!" she
Grant raised an eyebrow and a bemused expression crossed his face...
"Um...Claire...News flash! No one can hear us or see us!" He said
trying not to laugh." See, I'll show you!"
He hopped up on a tombstone and began to wave his arms...
"HEY!! OVER HERE!! TWO DEAD PEOPLE OVER HERE!! HEY, MORONS! LOOK!"
He gave a smug grin as no one heard them. He jumped down off the
tombstone and walked back around it to Claire...
"See?" He said. "No one can hear us.... Of course, that could also be
because there's a great, big, bloody, FREEWAY directly behind me...but
I doubt it."
Claire rolled her eyes...
"Sometimes, I worry about you, Grant." she said.
After a half hour, the service ended and the assorted relatives hugged
one another as they cried. Except for Grant's relatives, who had
gathered together and were talking amongst themselves. As the crowd
parted, Grant and Claire went up to look at the caskets and the
tombstone that Evan had picked out. Thankfully, he had managed to get a
decent tombstone. It was one of the double tombstones for married
couples. Grant and Claire's names were engraved side by side and
between them was the graphic of two wedding rings and the date they
"Gee, I'm surprised he got that." Grant said gesturing to the
tombstone. "I figured he'd just use magic marker, write our names on a
two by four and pound it into the ground!"
"Oh, ha ha!" Claire said. "He's not that bad, Grant and you know it!"
As a way of response, Grant turned and pointed at the traffic on the
freeway and after a minute looked back at Claire...
"How much did he have to spend on these plots, Claire? Two bucks each?
I bet he hated shelling out the dough! He might as well have just put
our bodies in a shoebox and lobbed it into Lake Michigan. It's not like
we wouldn't have been able to fit in the shoebox anyway, seeing as how
we came out about two feet tall after they pulled us from the wreckage."
"Well, Grant. We are gonna go back to our house after all this. So I
wouldn't worry about it!" Claire said
"Thank God for small favors!" Grant muttered.
He turned his attention to the writing on the gravestone...
"I bet it pissed off your family that they had to put Pritchard after
your name, too. I bet they would have preferred to have it read Grant
Pritchard and Claire Douglas....And down here under our wedding date,
in an itty-bitty parenthesis, they would have put... "But we don't
accept this date!" and right along the back of the tombstone in big
bold letters, they should have put..."We wanted her to marry a nice
"They wouldn't think of it, Grant.."
Suddenly, Claire's Grandparents walked towards the tombstone...Grant
and Claire stepped to the side and watched them as they stared at their
"I told you they should have had her last name not his." The
grandmother whispered to the grandfather.
The grandfather shook his head...
"I don't understand why she didn't marry a nice American boy!"
Grant looked over at Claire's shocked expression and raised his
eyebrows as he pointed at them. She opened her mouth to speak when her
grandmother began again...
"I've never liked the English. They are nothing but stuck up losers."
"I agree with you dear, Why if it wasn't for the Americans coming in
when we did in W-W 2, their lazy asses would have been history!"
"Oh no! Here we go!" Grant spoke up.
Before Claire could stop him, he went around to the back of the
tombstone and knelt down with his arms resting on the tombstone. He
stared up at the grandfather who continued to stare at his
"So...How many British arses did you save exactly?" Grant began in a
conversational tone. "When you were over there, did you fight alongside
British regiments in the thick of battle? Or did you prefer to wait
until our regiment was all but annihilated, and then rush in at the
last moment and pull the last Englishman to safety, saying..."Thank God
we Americans saved you. You would have been lost without us!"
"Grant!" Claire said, shocked.
"What is it dear? I'm over here talking to Captain America!" he said
with mock sweetness.
"Get back over here!" Claire said pointing to her side.
"Are you kidding? I'm loving this, dear! I get to be as rude as I want
to your bigoted family and they'll never know! Personally, I'm
beginning to like being dead. It means I can get things off my chest
that I've been wanting to say for so long and I don't have to put up
with your asinine family reunions either. If there is a heaven, this
must be it!"
He watched as Claire stomped away. Sighing deeply, he began to follow
"Claire, C'mon. You must see for yourself now, how they are. You know
they never liked me. What's the harm in saying things they're not able
to hear. It makes me feel better, but if it upsets you, I'll stop..."
Claire shook her head sadly. Grant came up and held her in his arms...
"No hon., you're right. I never realized just how much animosity there
was towards you. I can't believe Evan did this to us, and I can't
believe my grandparents would say such hateful things like that. I'm
sorry hon., for making you go through all those visits with them..."
She looked over and gestured to Grant's relatives.
"Look at them, hon. They came all this way and it's almost like they
are as invisible as we are...It just makes my blood boil to see them
and you treated like that!"
Grant sighed and held her close....
"At least we went at the same time dear. We have each other and no one
can take that away."
As rush hour traffic honked by them, they shared a passionate kiss.
Reluctantly they broke apart as they saw Evan walk back to his car...
"We might as well catch a ride back with him. He's going to the house
to sort out our stuff." Claire said.
She turned and noticed Grant was gone. She looked around and saw him
walking towards her grandparents...
"Be with you in moment, dear. I got a couple of pruny arses here that
need kicking!" he said as Claire rushed after him...
Finally they had the house to themselves...
Evan had come in and gone through the house, just packing up most of
the stuff without bothering to see what he had put in the boxes. It
pained Grant and Claire to see their treasured possessions and
furniture carted away but, apart from swiping some of their clothes
when no one was looking, there was nothing they could do about it...
All that was left after they were done were a few boxes, some old
furniture no one wanted and a mattress.
Determined to make the best of it, they took the few remaining items
and tried to make a comfortable living space. It actually was pretty
easy for them...Since they were dead, they had no need for food, water
and they didn't need to go to the bathroom. Every morning, Grant would
sneak over to the neighbors and get their morning paper off their porch
so they could keep up with the news. They perused it quickly and always
put it back before anyone suspected. The only thing Grant really missed
was the TV and the radio. But he did have Claire at least. They spent
hours lying on the battered mattress talking and reminiscing...
It was nice to be able to pass the day not doing anything. Grant had
been an English professor at Purdue University in Indiana and he had
loathed it. Having to teach kids who really only viewed the class as
mandatory was not enjoyable to him. He had been on two weeks vacation
when the accident happened. He wondered if the kids even noticed he had
gone. Half the time he was trying to teach, they seemed to be asleep
If he went unnoticed at Purdue, It was not the case where they lived.
The accident was big, big news all over Chicago and especially in their
little neighborhood. It had been classified as a freak accident and the
Colorado police force and a team of geologists were investigating and
trying to make sure the road was safe for others to drive on...Not that
it did any good for them now...
It had also made headlines for several days after the accident. Grant
and Claire had seen the paper, printed a day after the accident,
sticking out of the neighbor's trashcan, one morning. They fished it
out and took it back to their house as a memento, even though it was a
bit macabre wanting to keep it. They settled down to read through the
paper together and as painful as it was to read the headline...
PROFESSOR AND WIFE PERISH IN ROCKSLIDE
It was made more painful for Grant to see the picture underneath the
headline. Whoever had supplied the picture to the newspaper had given
them one that was unflattering to him...In the pic, Claire was near
Grant's left shoulder looking as beautiful as always with her gorgeous
smile. Grant however had his head titled to his right side and was
wearing a completely goofy grin on his face. He looked like he was
drunk. Grant didn't know who had supplied the pic to the paper, but he
bet his afterlife, the person lived in Colorado and had a four-letter
name that started with the letter E. Despite that, they tried to
continue on as usual and live out their afterlife in peace...
Two months had passed since the accident, but when you're dead with
nothing much to do, every day seems like the same until you are unaware
of what day or month or even year it is...
Grant was trying not to become that way. He made sure to get the paper
every morning so he could get the date. He knew it was silly, but he
didn't want to lose all sense of time. Still, two months flew by
without much excitement...until one night...
With winter coming and sunset coming earlier and earlier, Grant and
Claire found themselves retiring earlier and earlier as well. Most of
it was because...A) No TV, Books or Radio and more importantly... B) no
electricity and no lights. Not wanting to stumble around in the dark,
bored out of his mind. Grant lay down with Claire on the battered
mattress and after they talked and cuddled, they would usually fall
That night had been no different than the rest. Grant had fallen asleep
with Claire resting on his chest and his arm protectively around
her.... Suddenly...Grant heard a banging downstairs. He jerked his head
up and saw that Claire had been jolted awake as well. They both froze
listening for the sound. Just when they thought they had been hearing
things...the banging came again...
For a moment, Grant wondered if it was a burglar or a murderer or
someone escaping from prison looking for a place to hide out. Then...he
thought about it and realized it really didn't matter to them. They
were both dead.
It's not like they could kill them. And they couldn't see them or hear
them as well. He debated just going back to sleep and letting whoever
it was go
about their business. But then he thought about it...If the person was
dangerous, he still could pose a threat to everyone else in the
neighborhood and although he wasn't too fond of his neighbors. He
preferred them alive and out of his hair. He imagined the person going
rampage, killing half the neighborhood and all the ghosts of his
neighbors moving into the house. The thought of gossiping neighbors
spread all over his house was enough to stir him into action...
He rose intending to investigate the source of the banging. Behind him,
Claire became hysterical...
"Where are you going, Grant?" she whispered. "They might have a gun!"
Grant paused and turned slowly to stare at Claire, who was genuinely
frightened for him...
"Oh no, Claire, do you think if he shot me, the bullet hole would
wrinkle my ectoplasm?" He asked with a wink.
Claire stared at him and then lowered her head, embarrassed...
"I keep forgetting..." she muttered.
"So do I, dear. Don't feel bad!" He said lovingly. "Would you like to
come with me, since we'll be invisible to them anyway?" He asked.
Claire nodded and got up. Grant walked out of the bedroom with Claire
following. They came out on the second floor landing and walked
downstairs scanning around for any sign of intruders. Grant paused and
nudged Clair pointing to the front door hanging open across the room...
"Now we know what that banging noise was." He said to her.
Claire nodded in agreement. They continued the rest of the way
downstairs and stood in the empty living room. They looked all around
but couldn't see anything or anybody...
"Maybe the wind blew it open?" Claire suggested.
"I don't think so, Claire. It doesn't look like it's that windy
tonight." Grant said staring out the door.
Suddenly they both heard voices coming from the kitchen. Turning to
their right, they both walked into the kitchen and came upon three
boys...all of them around the ages of 13 and 14. All of them were
looking around and giggling...
"Get a load of this wallpaper...What a geek!" the tallest boy said.
"I know, the man had crappy taste! That's for sure." the shortest one
Grant folded his arms over his chest...
"Wow, Claire, not only are these kids burglars...they're interior
decorators as well!" he said dryly.
"Who are they?" Claire said behind him.
"Not sure, I think I've seen the tallest one around the neighborhood
I'm not sure about these other two. Probably his little toadies or
"Now what, Josh?" The shortest one said to the tallest one.
"I'm not sure, Andy." Josh replied to the shortest one. "There's
here to steal that's for sure."
Grant's eyes narrowed...
"Nothing that anyone but a dead British geek would want anyway."
Josh said giggling. "The man had no class, that's for sure!"
"And you're idea of class would probably be Playboys and porno tapes, I
bet!" Grant said stepping in front of him. "I bet you have a huge stack
of them on your bedside table...right under that huge stolen traffic
sign hanging on the wall..."
"Well, guys" The other boy said to his friends. "The least we can do is
trash the place. The neighborhood would thank us for demolishing this
"Good idea, Randy!" Josh said. "It's not like the geek is using it
Grant stepped in between Josh and Randy and bent down to look Josh
straight in the face...
"Hello, My name is Geek also known as The Geek and Dead British Geek.
Nice to meet you. You are in my house and if you know what's good for
you, you and your little juvenile delinquent pals will leave us and our
house in peace...Otherwise, I might have to cram all of your arses up
my fireplace and then you'll have to explain to your parents just how
you got there!"
He stood up and took a look at Randy who was snickering beside him. He
looked him up and down and snorted. "Randy's the perfect name for you.
You look like a horny little bastard."
He looked back over at Josh who was beckoning the others...
"Well, let's a get a move on. We want to get it trashed before the sun
comes up." He said moving out of the kitchen.
Grant followed him...
"Lay your grubby hands on anything in this house and I'll poke your
little eyes out. Then you won't have to worry about the sun ever
again!" he threatened Josh as he eyed the living room.
Claire followed the other two boys who were now casing the living room
"Grant, what are we gonna do?" she asked.
Grant looked around and smiled when he noticed one of their old brass
cooking pots lying in the shadow of the staircase. He looked back to
the boys who were walking to the corner of the room intending to rip up
the carpet. Winking at Claire, he walked over to the pot and picked it
up. He waited until all the boys were turned away from him and then he
smacked the pot against the metal railing of the staircase and quickly
He snickered as all three of the boys jumped up, screaming in terror.
They spun around and looked frantically around the room trying to find
the source of the noise. Grant watched them with glee and whistled to
himself. The boys continued to look around the room and then, calming
down, they decided to resume ripping up the carpet. Grant picked up the
pot and banged it twice against the railing before dropping it again...
The three boys spun around again, terror etched on their faces. This
time they moved out away from the corner, searching all around... One
of them moved near Grant. He looked up at Claire who was giggling on
the other side of the room. As the boy passed right by Grant, he
quickly grabbed his hair and pulled as hard as he could...
The boy screamed in pain and looked up as he held his head. Grant bent
over and looked him right in the eyes as he continued to look right
past him to the ceiling...
"Having second thoughts, are we? Wasn't such a good idea coming in a
haunted house, now was it?" Grant said with a smug grin.
By this time, the other boys had caught up to the boy who was still
his head and looking up...
"What...what happened, Andy?" Josh asked.
"I don't know! Something pulled my hair." He said trying to keep the
out of his voice.
"Oh, that's your hair? I thought you stuck a porcupine on your head...
"Grant said as he stared at Andy's spiked hairdo. "I was only trying to
pull it off for you. Porcupine's can be dangerous, you know!"
"I don't see anything!" Josh said as he looked up.
Grant looked in Josh's ear...
"Wow, that's amazing! I can't see anything either. In fact, I can see
out the other side...Amazing!"
He stood up and looked at Randy who was watching his friends...
"You're last name isn't Git, is it?" He asked him. He looked at the
"Well, this has been the most fun I've had in two months. As much as I
hate to end it, Claire and I would like to get some sleep. So......"
Grant picked up the pot and held it in front of the stunned boys. He
wiggled it back and forth as they stared at the floating pot,
they watched, Grant began to walk away with the pot as their eyes
He reached Claire and suddenly doubled back running right for the
"Booga booga!" he screamed at them, even though he knew they couldn't
The three boys let out one tremendous scream as they saw the floating
pot flying towards their heads. The sight of it was enough to make them
all piss their pants and they ran out the open door as Grant and Claire
howled with laughter...
"Ah, Claire...We need to do that more often!" Grant said as they walked
back up to the bedroom.
Grant stepped out onto the porch and stretched. It had been 4 months
since they had had their little night visitors and nothing else
eventful had happened. Grant had tried to fix the door the day after
they had kicked it in but found to his frustration that they had
completely kicked the door off of one of the hinges and it lay open at
an angle. Grant had considered going to the hardware store and get the
items to repair it, but decided against it, he couldn't pay for it and
he didn't want to give the clerk a heart attack when he saw a hinge and
screws just floating along in the air and out the door of the store.
Grant and Claire just had to be content with pushing the
door back as best they could and being careful when going in and out...
Grant yawned as he walked off the porch for a quick morning walk. He
chuckled as he saw one of his neighbors on the other side of the
street. The neighbor was walking along slowly until he reached the
house. Suddenly, he sped up quickly, until he cleared the shadow of the
house, and then he let out a sigh of relief and resumed his normal
pace...Grant laughed. Everyone had been doing this since the night the
boys visited... He suspected they let everyone in the neighborhood know
just what had happened that night...
He walked along the sidewalk enjoying the morning sunshine and the fact
that he could walk along in complete privacy without any hateful
neighbors glaring at him or avoiding him or trying to stop him so they
could give him
some meaningless gossip. As he turned around the block, he suddenly
came upon the three boys. They were all in a huddle together. Curious,
Grant came up behind them and bent over slightly to hear them...
"Have you tried going in that house anymore?" Andy asked in a hushed
"Are you insane, Andy? After that night? I wouldn't get anywhere near
that place!" Randy said staring at Andy with wide eyes.
Grant chuckled to himself. He was glad he was able to teach these
Hooligans a little lesson about breaking and entering a ghost's house...
"Do you think that geek is haunting the house?" Andy asked his friends.
"Are you kidding? That wuss couldn't haunt a roach motel, let alone a
house" Josh said. "My dad thinks it might be a demon or an evil spirit
The other two boys stared at Josh....
"You told your dad we went in the house?" Randy asked in disbelief.
"No, you moron! I just told him I got tripped outside the house one
day!" Josh said
"My dad thinks that new family ougtha go get an exorcist before they
move in too!" Josh said.
Grant blinked and stared at Josh...He couldn't have heard that
right...A family moving into...his...house?
"I hope they are better than the geek and his wife was!" Andy said
giggling Grant narrowed his eyes and moved around behind Andy.
Insulting him was one thing, but insulting Claire was something he
wasn't prepared to tolerate...
"Nah, she wasn't like him." Josh said. "She was pretty cool. My dad
she just made a bad choice when she married that loser."
"And your dad was Prince Charming, I'm sure." Grant said dryly as he
looked over at Josh.
"My dad said it was a shame she got crushed with him, she would have
made a good lay!" Josh said as he snickered into his hand.
Grant raised his eyebrow and frowned at Josh who was now giggling with
the others. He calmly walked around the others and stood behind Josh.
As Josh continued to snicker, Grant grabbed his pants and gave a sharp
pull. He stood back and took in the sight of Josh, who was now standing
on the sidewalk with his pants and his underwear down around his ankles
and a beet red face. The other two had been laughing so hard that they
had not seen when his pants and underpants came down, so now they
stared in shock as Josh hunched down trying to pull his pants back up.
Behind him, Grant continued on his way, whistling to himself as Josh
and the others looked around for the culprit....
Grant continued to walk around the block without any incident. As he
turned back toward his house, he saw Claire out on the porch
frantically searching for him. As she spotted Grant, she began to wave
him over. Grant picked up the pace and hurried the last few feet to the
"What's wrong, dear?" He asked.
Claire pointed inside the house. Grant looked at her and slipped
through the slightly opened door. He stopped as he saw a heavyset man
staring around at the interior of the house. Josh words about new
people moving into his house came back to him...Surely, it wasn't this
"What do you think, love bucket?" He called out.
Grant turned in surprise as a woman came out of the kitchen and walked
over to the man...
"I think it's nice, but it's gonna need some work, hon." She said
putting her arm around his back.
Grant jumped as he felt someone at his elbow. He turned and looked down
at Claire who was looking up at him fearfully...
"Who are these people, Grant?" she asked
"Um, I think they're moving in." Grant said softly
"Moving in? What's gonna happen to us?" Claire asked.
"I don't know dear. Maybe they could turn the house into a tourist
attraction and we can scare kiddies and old ladies while they rake in
the dough." Grant said dryly
Suddenly, Grant and Claire both jumped as a elderly white haired
gentleman opened the door and looked at it....
"Are you sure you want to move in here?" he asked examining the door.
"You'll have to spend a fortune just to get it back in shape."
"It won't take that much, dad" The woman said kissing him on the cheek.
"Mike's had a lot of plumbing jobs lately, so we can afford it!"
"PLUMBER!" Grant spat out the word." You mean I'm gonna have to spend
eternity with a plumber?"
"Oh hon., I'm sure they're nice." Claire said trying to be optimistic.
"I don't care! It's my house! I did not buy this house for 125,000
dollars only to have Ralph Kramden take it over from me!" He said
staring at Mike, who was examining the paneling. "I don't care if I am
a ghost, we have rights too! I..."
He was looking down at Claire as he was talking and he suddenly noticed
the grandfather was staring his way. Grant could swear though that he
was not only staring in his direction, he was also staring AT him. He
had also gone quiet as if he had heard every word he had said. Claire
noticed his odd expression and turned and looked at the grandfather.
Grant felt her jump back in shock and he realized that she was getting
the same impression as he was....
For a moment, Grant considered speaking to him and then thought better
about it. No one else could see or hear them, why would one old man be
any different. He gathered that the man was staring across the room at
something and whatever he was staring at happened to be in the line of
sight of Grant's head. He squeezed Claire, who looked back up at him,
and pointed to the kitchen. Together they walked off leaving the old
man at the
door. As soon as the got to the kitchen, they looked back and noticed
that the man had gone out onto the porch. They looked at each other
wondering if what they had thought they seen was real...
Grant was about to tear his hair out in frustration. It had only been a
month with the Dooley's and he was thinking about recreating the movie,
Poltergeist, for them. There was an old tree in the backyard like the
one in the movie. All he needed was a sinister looking clown doll and
he'd be set.
He imagined tricking the Dooley's son, Derek, into watching the TV with
static on and sucking him into it....
The TV and the radio were the only things that Grant welcomed from the
The father, Mike, was boorish, and lazy. His idea of a romantic evening
was to sit on the couch with his wife Liz, munch Doritos and sip beer
while he watched the Chicago Bulls play. His usual topic of
conversation revolved around toilets and how to clean them. He was glad
he didn't eat anymore, because he was pretty sure he would throw up
after hearing Mike's dinnertime conversations about mucking out
stopped-up grease balls, shit and assorted other gross things. He was
amazed the other
family members could sit there and eat their dinners as if he was just
talking about flowers and bunnies. He figured this had been going on
for a long time and they had gotten used to it.
That said, He couldn't understand what his wife saw in him. Liz seemed
to be the only decent one out of the whole lot. She was a lot like
Claire and she seemed to be a bit more cultured than her husband.
Much to Grant's delight, she had brought along a collection of record
albums consisting mostly of Mozart, Beethoven and a few assorted
Operas, in addition to some Beatles, Monkees, and Simon and Garfunkle.
When they were remodeling the house, she would often play her albums
and Grant and Claire would sit on the top step and just enjoy the music
wafting through the house. With all her good points, Grant couldn't
understand why she picked Mike. He figured it must be true love...or
she was heavily into plumbers...
Then there was Derek. Grant disliked him intensely. His mind had been
made up about him the moment he saw him smuggle Playboys into the guest
bedroom, which was now his room, and hide them under his bed. Grant
figured if he hadn't already done it, he would soon be hanging out with
Josh, Andy, and Randy. He pictured them sitting on the floor of Derek's
bedroom giggling at the dirty pictures in the porn magazines, while
they told stories, about the British geek, to the newcomer. Derek also
spent countless hours hogging the phone while he chatted about sports,
girls and TV to his friends. Grant tried to listen in on one
conversation, but had to stop when he kept nodding off from boredom....
One other thing that Grant hated was the fact that he and Claire had
been pushed from their bedroom and into the den...It had happened the
night the Dooley's had spent in the house...
The Dooley's had taken away the battered mattress and put it in the
dumpster, much to Grant's chagrin. It wasn't much, but it had been
their bed for 6 months and it had been better than the hard floor. In
it's place they had brought in an enormous King-sized bed. Grant
couldn't understand why they needed it. Liz and Mike didn't even take
up half of it when they slept....
Seeing an opportunity, and not wanting to relinquish the bedroom to the
Dooley's entirely, Grant and Claire decided to sleep on the unused side
of the bed. But they soon realized what a big mistake that was...
It had been that first night. Grant and Claire prepared for bed on the
far side of the bedroom while Mike and Liz got undressed and ready in
the adjoining bathroom. Grant and Claire finished before they did and
quickly got into the bed flattening themselves as best they could so
they wouldn't raise any suspicions that they were there. Mike and Liz
finished and walked
around to their side of the bed giggling and kissing each other,
completely unaware of Grant and Claire's side of the bed. Mike got in
first and slid over stopping a few inches from Grant's side. Liz
followed and she lay her head on Mike's chest as they continued to
kiss. Grant turned slightly to avoid seeing them, and began to kiss
Claire, concentrating on her instead. After about an hour, Mike and Liz
finally fell asleep and Grant and Claire followed not long after....
About two hours later, Grant was jerked awake by a tremendous sound
coming from the other side of the bed. He looked over to see Mike in a
sleep and snoring loudly...
Grant stared at Mike in wonder. He had never heard anyone snore so
loudly in his whole life. He looked over at Claire and saw that she was
awake now too and staring at the ceiling, trying desperately to ignore
the noise. Claire looked over at Grant and they both looked at Mike who
was continuing to snore. They both leaned up and looked over Mike to
Liz, who to their surprise, was sleeping peacefully beside him. Grant
looked at Claire...
"Is she deaf or something?" He asked her.
Claire shrugged, too amazed to say anything...
Grant sighed and rolled over onto his other side. He propped himself up
on his elbow and looked down at Mike who was snoring below him....
"Hey, Hungry Hungry Hippo, could you keep it down? The vibrations from
your snoring is gonna cause the house to cave in. My wife and I have
already been buried under rubble once in our lifetimes...we don't feel
going through it again!
"Oh bloody hell!" Grant cursed as he flopped back down beside Claire...
"Well, dear. What do you expect? He wouldn't be able to hear you, even
if he wasn't snoring." Claire said.
"Well, then. Maybe this will shut him up!" Grant said as he elbowed
Mike hard in the ribs.
He gritted his teeth as Mike's only response was to turn his back to
Grant and continue to snore.
"Dear God, What did I ever do to you to get this snoring mass of flesh
to move into my house?" Grant said looking up at the ceiling. "Couldn't
at least sent us to Heaven...even being flayed alive in Hell would have
been paradise compared to Godzilla over here!"
He looked over as he saw Claire getting out of bed and putting on her
"Where are you going?" He asked
"Follow me and see" Claire said tightening the belt on her robe...
Grant stared at her for a moment...
"You aren't considering going up to the attic to sleep, are you?" Grant
said "I'm not gonna sleep in a filthy attic while Frankenstein and his
Claire walked to the door of the bedroom and looked back....
"Coming, Grant?" she asked him.
Grant sighed deeply and reluctantly rose from the bed. Giving one last
hateful look towards Mike's back, he followed Claire out of the room
and down the hall. He paused only once at Derek's room and peeked in....
"How do they do it?" He asked as he noticed Derek was fast asleep as
Claire motioned for him to follow. They walked to the end of the hall
and went into the den. Claire looked back at Grant and pointed towards
Grant looked at her with his mouth open...
"You must be joking!" He said.
Claire remained silent, She jabbed her finger at the couch and gave him
a stern look...
"Claire! It's our bedroom!" Grant protested weakly.
"Then go back and sleep with the Dooley's, Grant. I'm staying here."
Grant stared at her as she raised her eyebrow, challenging him. He
sighed as he knew she meant business and reluctantly went to the couch
and lay down. Claire undid the robe and slipped it off onto the floor.
She lay down
gently on top of Grant and he put his arm around her....
"Now don't you think this is better than sleeping with all that noise
beside you?" she asked him as she played with his curls. "You know, a
month ago, there was nothing, and now we get to have music and lights
and books and you get to have a TV. Don't you think you could tolerate
his snoring for all that?"
"Well..." Grant said softly. "I guess it is nice having something more
an old mattress in the house. It would be even nicer if the family
didn't come with it."
Claire kissed his cheek...
"Well, look at it this way. At least they're not my relatives..."
Grants eyes widened in horror at that statement....
"I guess you're right Claire." He said. "I'll take anyone over your
cousin Evan, even that snoring behemoth down the hall!"
As he kissed Claire, another massive snore rang out. Grant looked at
"Do you think maybe we could pour some Draino in his mouth, though.
Sounds like he's got a huge clog in there that needs to be eliminated."
Claire giggled as she lay her head on his chest and closed her eyes....
"Oh Grant, with you around...the afterlife will never be dull!"