Inversion Trawler – September 2008

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Our spirit guide, Murgatroid, actually exists. The universe is totally different then it was before.

Aunt Leona often tells us how she was an extra in the early 1980s film Footloose but had almost all her scenes cut from the final version. She’ll say, “I even had a line that I shouted at Kevin Bacon at the old Hi-Spot restaurant in Provo. I had to shout it like 19 times, and they still cut it!” She always tells us that Sara Jessica Parker borrowed her hair clip and never gave it back.

Even though the only bit of Leona that made it into the movie was a quick glimpse of the back of her hair-do in a lunchroom scene, Aunty L. will hold a Footloose party every year in which everybody sings along and dances, sort of a more dweeby version of the Rocky Horror experience. And after all, it was through her Footloose adventure that she met the producer who took her to Hollywood and launched her career as a TV shop-from-yoursofa clothing and jewelry model.

Oom and I attended the most recent of these parties. Oom sang along and danced, while I caught myself grinding my teeth. At one point Oom jumped up and announced “Oh, I gotta pee” and skipped off to the bathroom. We could hear him still singing and dancing around. Suddenly he went silent and after about five seconds he let out a scream––that sounded like the caterwaul of a fighting cat––followed by his flying return to the TV room where we were all sitting. He leaped over the sofa, crash landed into the TV stand, and scurried into a small space between the love seat and the wall. He looked straight at Aunt Leona and screamed, “There’s a see-through flapper in there!”

We all just stared at him and it took a few moments for all of us to process what Oom had just done and said. Leona was first, squealing out, “Murgatroid! Really? Is she in my bathroom?” She launched herself off her perch and to her bathroom in a single bound. Leona ripped back the shower curtain and called out, “Where? Where is she?” I froze at the door. Sitting on the toilet, lid down, was a semi transparent woman in elegant 1920s fashion watching bemused as Leona flurried around the bathroom. The woman looked at me, smiled and said, “I have never once called myself or even considered myself a Flapper. I am, or was, an independent and modern woman. For my time anyway.” Then she laughed a warm, intelligent laugh and motioned towards Leona who was almost crawling into the vanity beneath her sink and calling out, “Where, Oom?”

Oom wouldn’t reply and I just stayed frozen and staring at this ghost. Murgatroid turned back towards me and said, “So anyway, hello Boudica, I’m Murgatroid. I liked your band––disgusting name, but I get the point. Well done.” Like Oom, I couldn’t reply. Murgatroid continued, “Don’t worry. I let Oomingmak do his business in private. I waited until he was washing his hands before I came in and introduced myself.” She chuckled, “I tried to break the ice with some small talk about that silly film, but he whirled around and looked at me in horror. I thought I’d offended him…he does seem to like it so. Then he just let out that peculiar noise and was gone in a flash. I hope he doesn’t hate me. So, this is the deal. I know Leona let you know about me. Alfredo, her spirit guide and I are on friendly terms and socialize to an extent. I’m not actually an official spirit guide so I don’t have to follow the spirit guide rules. Having said that, I must assure you that I will always respect your privacy. I will never lurk about invisible and I will never appear unasked for, unless it’s an issue of some urgency.”

At this point, I realized that Aunt Leona had gone silent. She’d finally paused long enough to see that I was staring intently at the toilet. Everybody at the party (except for Oom) was now surrounding me, crammed into the bathroom doorframe, and also staring at the toilet. Murgatroid nodded in their direction and said, “They don’t see me. I’m letting only you and Oom see and hear me for the moment. For being invisible, it seems I’ve caused quite a scene. Maybe I’d better go for now and meet up with you two at a more convenient time. Ta Ta.” With that, Murgatroid vanished.