Illustration: Craig Secrist
Having attempted to interview Aunt Leona’s spirit guide, Alfredo, it was natural that we’d want to interview our own guiding ghost, Murgatroid.
Murgatroid is not a typical spirit guide. Oom and I did not summon her, she attached herself to us. Because she was a suicide, Murgatroid is disqualified from being an official guide in the Genuine Guild of Guides. Instead she has joined a new movement of loosely organized guerilla guides who follow few rules and guide at their leisure. It’s all very DIY.
For my part, I’m still not wholly at ease with the idea of having a spirit wafting about and giving me advice. I’m not sure I even believe in spirits. Oom and I have both seen her and have had seemingly intelligent conversation with her, but for all I know we could be experiencing a joint hallucination––probably caused by a miasma or nasty vapor from the lake.
We decided to conjure up Murgatroid in Oom’s bedroom and conduct the interview there. To our surprise, we found Murgatroid in the room waiting for us. She was elaborately dressed in slinky black with a huge feather headdress. As we shuffled through the doorframe, she feigned surprise and said, “Oh! I was just doing a bit of dusting.” She then bent her head down and waved the headdress over the dresser like a feather duster, breaking into girlie laughs. Oom made a weird noise in his throat. I probably did too. Murgatroid turned back to us, sat down on the corner of the bed, winked and said, “Alright, I’m ready.”
Still standing at the door beside Oom––who was bug eyed and frozen––I started, “Ok…um…Where are you from originally? Oh, and what is your full name?”
Murgatroid: “I’m Murgatroid McGillicutty and I lived most of my life in Savannah, Georgia.
Boo: So, why did you off yourself?
Murgatroid (shifting a bit): Well, at times I could be a very silly girl and work myself up into all sorts of irrational states. I suppose it was partially the times, the mid 1920s. Everything had to be enormous and over the top––every emotion, every gesture. Life was like a constant cocktail party full of thespians who never stop acting and are always trying to out-do everybody else. I was utterly in love with Rudolf Valentino, and I was convinced it was only a matter of time until our two paths came together and joined into one. We would love for eternity and fate would be satisfied. Then he up and croaked! Just imagine the depths of absurd emotion I flung myself into. I knew that Rudy had immersed himself in the Great Salt Lake, and I believed the lake would be the conduit through which Rudy and I would come together. I traveled by train to Salt Lake City and out to the resort that used to be at the lake. I had planned to swim out a way and drown myself. Well, that lake seems to be only three feet deep and is so salty a person cannot sink. Oh, I was annoyed to be sure. I tried to hold my head under the water for the longest time. Suddenly it dawned on me how silly I was being. I laughed inadvertently, sucking in gallons of salt water and brine shrimp. That finished me. I felt so silly––it was probably a good thing Rudy wasn’t on the other side to greet me.
Boo: What’s the other side like?
M: Oh, it’s absolute hell! I can’t get a good mint julep, and my hair goes frizzy like you wouldn’t believe. I went through the light initially, and I’ll occasionally pop through every now and then to visit friends, but it is really a great disappointment. What beckons from the other side of the legendary bright light is a vast but rather depressing games room. It isn’t hell, purgatory or limbo either. It is the Great Reward. The holiest of holy are disporting themselves in there. Saint what’s-her-name with the droopy eye is there engrossed in an eternal game of BINGO––of course she always wins, but I ask you, would you want to be eternally winning games of BINGO? Oh, and the décor hasn’t been updated since September 1985. I prefer to spend my time in your environment.
Oom finally regained his power of speech and blurted out, “Who does your costumes?”
M: “Oh, this old thing? Ha ha ha. Cumorah Hill-deGarde would tell you it was knitted by Satan in Hell. Ha ha ha ha ha… hey Boo, you should start a clothing line with that title––Knitted by Satan in Hell. The wasp ladies––they make clothes to die for, pun intended. They also supply me with various fright costumes for my other hobby of haunting the Gateway mall. Oh those poor night security people, I should do something nice for them.