One day, in the middle of the summer semester of 2016, I started to believe that the concept of being “dead” had some fluidity to it. It started when my boss, Lena, called out to me when I was passing by her office, and then she proceeded to inform me that the new academic management system had suffered yet another glitch. Initially, my nerves were riled because, historically speaking, computers have always had a seething animosity towards me. I have experienced more middle finger blue screen moments than I care to admit, and there was that rather embarrassing moment when I went to remove my jump drive and part of the metal piece decided that it was going to stay shacked up in the port. My students found it to be hilarious, and the guy from IT looked at me like I was The She-Hulk of Professors. However, when she further elaborated I could tell by the intense look on her face, as she stared into the soft light of her computer screen, that this was nesting somewhere between strange and infuriating.
“The new system has decided to grant you, and few other lucky professors, a divorce,” she paused to look back at her screen and squinted like she was searching beyond the bits and the bytes for some sense of logic behind this glitch. Before I could wrangle my thoughts into a professional sounding response, she quickly spun her chair to face me.
“This thing has reverted you back to your maiden name, and no one can tell me why or when it will be fixed.” I let my bladder cringe for me when I finally grasped that my father’s name had repositioned itself somehow in my life. She turned back to the computer and continued her deus ex machina-like standoff.
“Wait until I tell my husband the bad news. Is there anything I can do to help?” I forced myself to ask/laugh. I had to divert the stress from urinary system, before I pissed all over myself.
“I’ll let you know. Just keep checking your e-mail. I am going to CC you into every e-mail I send about this.” And she let me go to further contemplate my current phantasm/patriarchal condrum. When I married my husband I was euphoric at the thought of getting rid of maiden name. I was the only one in the lines at the Social Security office and the DMV who was actually glad to be there. It felt symbolic and counter-normative, since according to The Daily Mail, one in every three brides in their 20s now opt to keep their maiden name. And the amount of women keeping their names increases as the age bracket does. My thinking was that this title trade in would help me move on from my father’s suicide, his extramarital affairs, and his all-around miasma of misfortune. Reflecting back on it, my move to take two steps backwards in the feminist scrabble game is extremely ironic.
When my mother told my father in 1984 that she was keeping her own name, she not only received severe criticism from him, but major backlash from the rest of his genetic brood. They called her every synonym for “selfish” that they could think of. Decades later, as my father came to grips with the fact that he was the last person who would have the name in his dwindling family branch, he began to panic. He had the audacity to ask me if I would keep mine when I got married one icy night, while during a visit to see him in New Jersey for Christmas. Thoughts of my mother crying through the years of his unyielding infidelity and the legend worthy reaction of his family towards her choice of nomenclature pushed my level of snarky to nuclear PMS levels.
“Are you freaking kidding me? After all the flack you and your family gave mom, you’ll be lucky if I even consider keeping my first name, which you forced mom to give me, when she wanted to name me ‘Noel’ to symbolize my Christmas Eve birth. You were such an insensitive and sexist Scrooge!” I could tell by his eyes that the ghosts of Christmas past were molesting his heart muscles.
“Aw, but you’re the modern educated woman, plus your mom did it to honor her dad. Come on, do you want to see our name disappear?” He half pleaded/half joked. I let my silence be the definitive answer. Then, my little cousin, who was enthralled in texting, looked up like a busted trash diving raccoon and viciously hissed,
“It’s a stupid name! Leave her alone. I don’t want it either!” My aunt, who was driving, sighed,
“I tried to get, Nina, to hyphenate her last name or put it in as another middle name, but she wanted nothing to do with it, as well. It looks like you’re the last one.” She leaned over and patted my father on the shoulder.
“Yeah, guess so,” he laughed softly. I looked over at my cousin and whispered,
“Whatever,” she muttered turning her attention back to her phone.
When Lena told me that his name was back this whole scene played out repeatedly, as I taught that day and called out my female students’ names during roll. On the way home, I recalled the plot to some tawdry, old B movie I saw one Halloween of a ghost killer that could possess machines. Also, I remembered how on numerous ghost hunting shows spirits were really fond of manipulating electrical based equipment. I laughed wildly at these thoughts as my stereo decided, once again, not to play my Johnny Cash CD. I needed to hear “A Boy Named Sue” in the worst way that day.
The resurgence of my father’s surname I took as an extremely ominous sign. It also happened the week of Father’s Day, and when I was scheduled to meet a new psychiatrist.
“At least, I’ll have something to talk about with him,” I laughed quietly.
Now, I have spent enough time in therapy and studying abnormal psychology to know what “magical thinking” is, but sometimes simple synchronistic thinking in linking events is the only thing keeping a person on guard. I mean if you want to get technical all religion is based on it, and is it not meant to keep us aware of our actions in the eyes of ever “watchful” and “wrathful” God? A positive side effect is good behavior and a nice level of situational awareness. From that point on, I was very aware, and I thanked The Great Spaghetti Monster accordingly when things got even worse that week.
A few days before Father’s Day, I couldn’t watch TV without bumping into any of those depressing commercials featuring corny fathers and sappy kids, so I went on Facebook to quash my reclusive guilt and pretend like I was actually interacting with people. At the top of the page, there was a list of names that this social media Mecca recommended that I be “friends” with. On it was a face I had not seen, since my father’s funeral.
His mistress always liked to dress in the same grotesquely bright colors as my father whenever they were representing “Team No Conscious.” The reason I am going with the caustic quotation marks here is because that was the name of his equally neon colored speed boat and that was just what he liked to call people who constantly went on boat rides with him. There she was, wearing one of his carrot colored “team” shirts that always reminded me of that gross, orange Triaminic he would give me when he wanted me to go asleep and not be a nocturnal nuisance.
The fact that she still had that picture up on her Facebook page repulsed me, but before I could close the window, I saw a hand reaching across her shoulder cut out by the frame. It was like it was reaching beyond her, the boat, and that moment. I knew it was his, and I wondered who or what he was reaching for.
The next day, I drove through the thick mat of Miami traffic to see my new psychiatrist. I had been seeing a very nice lady for over year, and it felt like it was just two friends talking, except there was a monetary and a medication exchange as we parted instead of the traditional hug. Unfortunately, I caught her just as she was getting ready to retire. I was nervous about meeting my new doctor and tried to pass the time by counting just how many venereal disease billboards there were along the throbbing highway of a population who just never seems to do anything safe, including neglecting to use a blinker or wrapping it up. The total was seven by the way.
I found the last spot in the hospital parking lot, and I was the last patient of the day. On top of that, I think I was the last thing he expected to see walk through his door. The other patients in the waiting room, I have always felt, were more severe cases than I, and I had no right to be there asking for help. Outwardly, I often look calm, except when I am with my students because a dash of crazy is necessary to keep them conscious, but other than that, my Mickey Mouse happy mask is usually on full blast. I wanted to acclimate right into the stream of conversation I had been accustomed to, but he wanted to know about my personal history, and worse, my family history. I decided to do it band-aide style, so we could talk about other things, like the portentous name change. However, the moment I told him about my father’s short birthday weekend stopover in a mental health facility, and then his suicide back at the office, I saw his eyes widened and brows furrow; he wanted to know more.
I couldn’t stop my brain from yelling timber and my family tree came plummeting out of my mouth, rancid roots and all. I told him about how my great-grandmother died alone in a mental institution, my uncle who died performing the cliché maneuver of suicide by cliff, my grandfather who was schizophrenic and in and out of institutions and half-way homes his whole life, and, of course for the grand finale, this was not on just one side of my father’s branches; these saturnine Sicilian and Roman characters fell from both sides of my paternal parentage. Genetically speaking, my father and I were made of shrapnel and landmines.
I had forgotten that look people give you when they learn one of your parents committed suicide. It had been a long time, since I last saw it. There’s always some motion of the lips and eyebrows, and if the person truly was not expecting it, there may be even a little fluctuation in color pallor. Oh, and of course the gasp. My previous psychiatrist was a pro at covering her shock. I don’t even remember her flinching. I find that older women are better at hiding their instinctual disgust. The last time I saw that look was when I told my urologist, after he asked for my family history as part of an in depth waiting room survey. He flushed, cringed, and gasped when he read it out loud, which is the complete verb response trifecta reaction. I almost applauded.
The rest of my first secession with my new psychiatrist was nothing but my incessant and unexplainable need to spew flashback diarrhea and anger that I had thought had been flushed out years ago. By the end, he suggested that I go back to psychotherapy and continue to see him. On the way home, I laughed about it. His face, my father’s face, and my face all trapped in the same rearview mirror.
“It seems you have some unresolved issues,” I mimicked in the mirror. During my first round of therapy, immediately following my father’s death, I had to read a book called Silent Grief. In it were many case studies and personal stories of people dealing with the suicide of a family member or loved one. A lot of them found themselves reliving it, no matter how much time had passed. I stopped reading it after that point had been made abundantly clear. When I got home I slipped into a chardonnay coma and just let Father’s Day pass over me. Think of that eerie, green smoke in The Ten Commandments. It slid its way through my day and my imagination. At one point, I even debated looking at a picture of him. I threw up, before I could have a chance to fully digest that seemingly toxic idea.
The next day, my husband came home early from work and told me he had been laid off. At that moment, an imaginary Doc Brown jumped out from behind my trash bin and screamed,
“Great Scott!” And then, proceeded to drag me into his DeLorean hiding behind the UPS truck down the street. Flashback with the Flux Capacitor to the early 2000s when all my father would do was tell me that my future husband would never hold down a job and his race would always be a burden, like it really was 1955.
“That’s some pretty, heavy stuff, Doc.” I sighed. Then, I punched this racist manifestation and screamed,
“But that butthead didn’t know him then and he doesn’t know him now, and considering how many marriage and work related boo boos he made during his time with a pulse, he doesn’t get to swing the definitive gavel on this one. For Christ’s sake, he was about to go to white collar prison for tax issues, before he died.” And that was my eighty-eight mile per hour gigawatt jolt back to the present. I snatched my husband up in the largest hug a woman of my short Sicilian stature can ever hope to possibly give a six foot black guy.
“It will be okay!” I screamed, almost deafening him.
“Yes, it will, but are you okay?” He said, muffing his ears. But I wasn’t yelling at him. I was yelling at the front door that had slowly nudged its way open and into our entryway conversation.
That night, our septic tank backed up into our house, and while I was shifting through years of my own shit, I couldn’t help but let my thinking get a little magical. Was this my punishment for using the money from his life insurance policy to purchase our first home? Now, my mother is always quick to remind me how many mortgages and loans he cosigned and helped pay for. In addition, to the numerous editions and free home renovations, and just large quantities of cash, in general, my father doled out over the decades to other members of his gene pool. She always tells me he would have wanted me to have a house and not be shackled up with a mortgage.
But, I was the only one that ever pointed out his flaws, didn’t buy any of his crap for wholesale prices, and when I saw a chance to deliver a guilt bomb about my mother, I drew smiley faces on emotional bundles of C4 and chucked them at his crotch . My first psychotherapist believed that I did all those things because I was the only who cared enough to tell him the truth and not French kiss his ass. I wasn’t afraid to call him on all his “isms” from sex to race. I had no qualms over pointing out his wrongs, but was that really right? He would always laugh it off and never try to get in a verbal scuffle with me.
This all made me start to wonder about certain statistics I researched for my undergraduate ghost pieces. According to a poll done by CBS, 48% of Americans believe in ghosts and 22% believe they have actually seen one or felt their presence. Now, I didn’t understand back then why they lumped those last two categories together. I remember pondering the possibility of feeling a ghost and laughing.
At that moment, covered in both emotional and physical shit, I started to understand it. I was convinced I was feeling his presence, and I wondered if the statistic dealing with the actual sightings counted dreams. I continued to get even more depressed with tsunami size splashes of suspicion, because something happened to me recently that hadn’t happened, since I got back from my father’s funeral. I had, what I have termed, a “waking dream.” The first time it happened, I woke up to see a solid, black figure standing at the edge of my futon. There were no distinguishable features, and I tried to blink it away, but it wouldn’t move. I screamed and my mother came running into my room, and once she walked in, and then through it, the humanoid mass dissipated. I didn’t stop screaming until my mother wrestled me into her arms. I told her what happened and my mother, in her usual saccharine and spiritual fashion, hypothesized that it was just my father’s spirit dropping by for one last dramatic adieu.
Now, my father loved to live in and through truisms like making “dramatic entrances” and being “fashionably late.” Combine that with his macabre obsessions with his funeral and after-life plans this impromptu visit would make sense. He would often share with me his want of a disco themed party, after he was way down and dirty for real, and he was torn between an animal and a woman for reincarnation preferences. Catch that debate in my essay “Cats and Drag Queens” in the August 2015 edition of The Gravel.
However, this would be way too dramatic and ghoulish even for him. Unless, he was angry with me, which brings me back to my second experience with waking dreams. A few nights prior to my septic tank’s tantrum, I woke up, at least I thought I did, to find a skull sized spider on the ceiling. It was black with bright swirls of neon orange in the body. The feet had bright, orange balls on them. Its eyes were that same abhorrent and citrine hue. I screamed and my husband woke up and grabbed me.
“There’s a big spider!” I cried frantically pointing up at it. It slowly moseyed its way towards our curtains.
“What? There’s nothing there,” he yelled, holding me, watching that area, and shining his phone upward. I kept screaming, until he jumped up and turned on the light. With that, it slowly faded into the burgundy fibers.
“It’s gone,” I gasped.
“I told you there was nothing there from the start, sweetie,” he said, grabbing me and forcing me to look into his eyes. I made him spray Raid around the bed, before I even considered going back to sleep. Being married has taught me all about compromises. Something my father saw as a sign of weakness, and I have always been determined to be better than him in my adventures in matrimony. The single version of me would have stayed up all night searching for it, while sporadically writing insomnia fueled poetry about it.
Why orange? I thought, while reminiscing and dumping another bucket of septic tank vomit outside. I knew why. It just felt appropriate to at least pretend to be flabbergasted. I remembered the color of his boat and the nautical attire from the Facebook picture. I think he always liked the idea of going so fast that spontaneous combustion was actually a possibility. A Fireball shot rolling across dark sea froth into a cinnamon stained sunset.
I told my new psychiatrist about it the next time we met, and he provided me with a medication adjustment and his sincerest apologies in 60 minutes or less. Which felt like how much time passed, before the next shoe dropped out of orbit into the muck and mire of my husband’s professional path. He got another job in management come October but lost all feeling in his upper right leg. When the other managers saw that he was limping, they fired him, under thin guise of,
“It’s just not working out, plus you were late on the first day.” No one had told my husband that the parking situation near this beachside restaurant would be beyond his novice navigation, and they waited for two weeks to bring this blunder to his attention. He told me he would often catch whispers of concern and constant staring. Meanwhile, the odd sensation in his leg continued and spread all over his thigh, and also, became very painful. After reading several new paranormal websites and blogs, I discovered that people have reported tingling, numbness, and pain when encountering the deceased. However, it all depends on the person’s mental and physical health, but the symptoms of having an encounter with an entity, according to The Spiritual Science Research Foundation, also include a bad taste in your mouth, rashes, eye irritation, headaches, miscarriages, fidgeting, nausea, loss of appetite, and, of course, the classic feeling of being touched. The symptoms for full blown possession are even worse, but since my father was racist, I couldn’t picture him wanting to reside in someone with no pasty, white privileges attached. I never told my husband or new psychiatric squad about this fear and new research. And even though my husband was diagnosed with a Herniated Disc, I still suspected something a little more magical than coincidental, and things were about to get a little more of the former.
At the end of the fall semester, the usual wrap-up procedures were stressing me out, to the point, I started crying and sniggering all at the same time on my way home from work. It was then I noticed I was coming up on a place called the Reiki Therapy Center. I had always wondered about it and drove by it every day. My car was at a dead stop in their parking lot, before I even had time to talk myself out of it with the promise of ice cream.
I went inside wearing my cat eye shades and pretended to buy some purifying sage, which I had read enough occult articles to know that this earthy scent repels negative entities. An older woman approached me. I immediately stiffened, perhaps sensing that she was sensing that something was off.
“You know sunglasses can’t hide everything, my dear. You look like you need a hug,” she said, and before my borderline OCD could vehemently refuse, I was wrapped up in a hug and my glasses were off. She smelled like Florida Water and damp tea leaves. She took me to a back room where I basically told a stranger my entire family/medical history. And then I asked her a very grave question,
“Do you believe in ghosts?” The answer was a firm yes, so frim, I could feel my father’s snide laughter reverberating in every vertebra of my body. Of course she does, this place is nothing but a hippy dippy funny farm. I imagined him whispering under the imaginary squalls of laughter that ruffled behind my already wet eyelids.
“Why don’t you come to our Reiki circle tonight? Maybe we can help you.” I agreed, and before I could zombie shuffle my way out of there, she loaded me up with a necklace and bracelet made of black stones that supposedly would absorb some of the negativity that mental disorders naturally radiate.
Later that night, I returned. I tried to talk myself out of it, but my husband brought up a very real point when I asked him to weigh in,
“What could it hurt?” He asked, while gently escorting me to my car. I could hear his words on a loop, as I sat in a circle with other people suffering from a wide variety of mental and physical afflictions, and I felt ashamed, again, for not being able to deal with my own psychological tedium. One lady was bravely fighting breast cancer and another gentleman was just trying to find something else besides a needle to keep his clock spinning. Just as I was about to bow out, we were all instructed to gaze at the large, pink stone in the center of the room, and then the sounds of a brook interlaced with flute music slowly faded in.
After I closed my eyes, I was walked through a series of spiritual divorce proceedings. We were told to picture a person underwater that we needed to forgive. I saw my father, home improvement company shirt and all, swimming towards me. I told my tear ducts in the car ride over that they were to be vacuumed sealed tight. That didn’t last long. As soon as he got closer to me, I could see his infamous strident grin, but he lacked eyes. They were dark holes that leaked ribbons of squirmy and wormy black light that circled his whole body. I could feel hands on my shoulders and the word “forgive” was whispered low and slow into my ears, and by God, I really did try.
I really don’t recall anything after that. It wasn’t until I got home, and my husband asked me about it, did I realize where in the world of Carmen Sandiego I had just been.
“Oh yeah, we all hugged… and then I came home,” I said, curling up in his lap on the couch. I couldn’t explain to him anything else, and he understood without me verbalizing it. He only had one more question to ask,
“Did it help?”
“Maybe,” I said, before falling asleep in his arms. And for a little awhile, I was surprised to find that I really didn’t have any taxing thoughts about the rebirth of my maiden name. In fact, I was even brave enough to dig up one of his pictures and put it on an office shelf.
After two months, and on the day of our third wedding anniversary, Lena stopped me in the hallway and said,
“Congrats, Professor Fulton! You are officially remarried in the eyes of the new system.”
“Thanks…” I said, awkwardly remembering just what all the fuss was about. Even though I had walked my wedding certificate down to the registration office, I had somehow blocked that event out emotionally speaking. This moment was like waking up on the day of his funeral all over again.
“Hopefully, they’ll be no more problems,” she said, returning to her office.
“Yeah…me too.” I said to the now vacant space. Later that day, I was on my way to my creative writing class when my path was barricaded by a large, pink coffin on a silver gurney. I looked around and started to panic. I remembered my research.
According to the website, Healing Haunted Houses, ghosts are not limited to attaching themselves to houses and objects. Sometimes they can be attached to people. Especially, if the deceased departed from this world suddenly and with unresolved issues. It was with this very thought that I started to panic because there was no one around to validate what was in front of me.
“Um, hello?” Silence. To add to it, it was storming out. I could hear the digestive rumblings of a higher power that now seemed to have an affinity for “jokes.” Okay, I’m just going to pretend to not see this and get to my next class. I thought, as I inched myself along the wall to avoid touching it.
“Oh, my God! I am so sorry,” a voice cried out. I turned to see a student in a black dress scurrying towards me.
“I’m in the mortuary program, and when it rains, we sometimes use this hallway to move the coffins to class. I just wanted to pee, before my exam.” I laughed, perhaps a little too loudly. It was her turn to jump a little. I cut our conversation short with a wave that doubled for my apology and a goodbye forever. I continued to laugh my way into the elevator where I desperately tried to regain some semblance of composure.
When I reached my class I remembered the creative nonfiction activity I had planned. Oh, Irony, you gussied up fat whore, did Dad put this idea in my head or was it you? You crafty, crafty literary/cruel life element, you! I thought, as I organized my teaching materials. I suddenly became aware that my students were waiting for me to begin.
“Good morning, all. Let’s get weird!” They were used to my shenanigans, so my declaration was not alarming.
“Today you will be writing an I-Below Essay.”
“How below?” One of my students asked.
“Oh, about six feet or so.” They all laughed, but I didn’t.
“You’ll will take one of these paranormal/occult research topics and infuse it with creativity.” They all looked eagerly at each other. I passed out topics that ranged from elusive cryptids to bleeding sacramental statues. One of my more entertaining students got the history surrounding Ouija boards. Lilly, was a very quiet student for a vast majority of the semester, except she would say the most refreshingly random things and then go back to mute for a few days. For example, some of her more epic pronouncements included how awesome the concept of erotic cupcakes would be and how cool dolphin afterbirth is. On this day, she squealed at the thought of texting the dead.
She was so excited, that she actually ordered one on Amazon during class. She even incorporated the ratings and feedback into her creative treatment of the topic. She read off some of the lame ones, like the sappy afterlife hook-ups and the terrifyingly boring duds. This, of course, led to the other students making up more comical reviews. My favorite was,
“This game is awesome, but I haven’t seen my cat in a few days.” I was laughing to stop from crying because I promised myself back in graduate school that I would never let my students see my cry. I would lock that shit up, until I packed my shit up, and called it day. As she researched and continued to write, a sad thought trickled into my brain. Please God, don’t give my father any ideas. The last thing I need is for him to talk to any of my students. What would he tell her? That I was lackluster book worm and a straight A-hole in college. That I was a selfish bitch for never accepting the fact that he was just one of those guys that couldn’t be “tied down” to one woman. And that I supposedly dated and married a black man to “spite” him. What would he say? What could he say?
Then, I remembered my father’s stance on ghost communication. All through college he would hassle me about watching TV shows that featured teams of plucky individuals trying to prove that ghosts were real and they could, occasionally, be documented and communicated with.
“These guys are con-artists,” he would laugh, at the then young Zak Bagans, from Ghost Adventures.
“I bet you these assholes got that little Spirit Box of theirs pre-programed to say things that are topical to wherever they are. You don’t believe in this garbage, do you?”
“First of all, that is not a Spirit Box. That is an Ovilus. A Spirit Box is an adjustable frequency sweep device with ‘white noise’ distributed between frequency steps. An Ovilus is a device that monitors changes in the environment, which in turn, according to theory, may produce the proper words within the device’s built-in dictionary. Second of all, when I watch these shows, I get great ideas for my writing, and whether I believe them or not, is my business. Plus, you believe in heaven and reincarnation, but not this?” My father had stopped listening to me at that point and watched Zak, the team leader, heatedly try to provoke a ghost into possibly pushing him down a staircase. To be truthful, back then, I only really half-believed.
“Man, if ghosts are real and can communicate and interact with us, this jackass deserves to get pushed down some steps!” He laughed. This memory left me to wonder, if he would even try to contact Lilly using the Ouija board at all. He would probably write off the whole thing as nonsense, before even trying to move the planchette.
Before I could ponder this new theory further, Mary, another gung-ho/lovable wierdo, approached my desk seeking feedback on her creative study of the Sasquatch. She was weaving sarcasm and humor into the history of American based sightings. This distraction lasted long enough for the hour to end. I quickly packed up and went home. When I got there my husband asked me how my day was, and I, the proclaimed “wordsmith” of my family, couldn’t even begin to wrangle the write verbs and adjectives into a somewhat believable plot. I collapsed into his arms and just cried.
“I got your name back,” I finally howled into his shoulder, after a half hour of just sobbing. I confessed to him that part of me thought it would come with a change in our fortune. And when this day arrived, he would have a job again and maybe I wouldn’t be feeling so Looney Tuney. He sighed and said,
“This isn’t one of your fiction pieces, babe. Watch me get a job during a shit storm or at least on a boring day.” I nodded and just continued to cry well into the evening.
What I didn’t tell him, is that sometime around midnight, which has been believed to be the hour where ghosts are the most powerful and can cross back and forward between our world and wherever they end up i.e. “The Witching Hour,” I reached a profound realization while writing a poem about the day’s events, which would later level up into this essay. My father will always find a way back to me. I think this attachment works two ways: I love it and I hate it. I must write about it and give him a place where he can continue to exist and to make people laugh and cry at the same time. I miss him, and I am also relieved to no longer have to deal with his dysfunctionality on this physical plain. I am relieved to finally be able to admit these things to myself and my readers. I have no idea how this will affect me going forward. Hopefully, as long as I have my husband and support system of friends and family, and continue to see my doctors, I can learn to balance it all out in the ink, ectoplasm, and tears in the years to come. At least, I hope so.
 Written by Johnny Cash and Shel Silverstein and recorded in 1969. In it, A boy named Sue expresses his severe disdain for his name and resents his father for giving it to him
 It is a small, usually heart-shaped flat piece of wood equipped with two wheeled castors used to vacillate communication between the dead and the living on the Ouija board.
About the writer:
Christina Fulton graduated from Florida Atlantic University with her MFA in fiction. She is currently teaching at Miami Dade College North. Her creative nonfiction pieces “Spiderman and The Old Man,” “Manahawkin Vice,” and “Do You Remember?” have been in The Scarlet Leaf Review, The Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, and The Route Seven Review.
Image: “Untitled” photograph by Liz Taylor. Taylor is a graphic designer and visual artist. She loves combining handmade and digital techniques to create her work. @iamliztaylor