NOTE: I wanted to use the first part of Avenging Dreams, but I was afraid that our distributors would ban the book. Patrick describes a sexual dream that is out of this world!
"Shit, Greg. I?ve seen street pizza that looked better than you."
"Thanks, Ed. Your concern is duly noted." I stared into my glass of Jim Beam; my fifth double in the past half an hour but would it be enough?
Ed O?Banion set his purse on the bar and took the stool next to me. Today he was dressed in a conservative blue business suit, white blouse and dark panty hose, getting ready to cruise the business/cocktail lounge circuit later, I assumed. "Whatís going on? Haven?t seen you in a few weeks. New assignment?"
Ed knows I do work for spirits. Not liquor, the ethereal kind. I forced a laugh. "Try plural. One wants me to nail her old boyfriend. One wants me to find her dog. One wants me to track down his long-lost daughter and beg for forgiveness. All petty fucking bullshit. They won?t get out of my dreams!"
Ed knew the details and understood my predicament. He took a sip from his margarita. "Spirits are people, too."
"Yeah. Idiotic, thoughtless pains in the ass. This has got to stop!" A few of the other patrons in Bambiís turned our way as I slammed my fist on the bar, then quickly reconsidered when I glared at them. "They won?t let me sleep, they won?t let me dream, they just keep fucking with me." I finished my Beam in one swallow, ordered another. "Ed, you gotta get me another psychic. I have to contact these fucks." I paused. "Or teach me how."
"Won?t help, Greg. Believe me, I know." Ed is a psychic, one of the best. He hates it. "Just because they can contact you doesn?t mean you can contact them. Gotta be born with it; the talent, I mean. I can teach you the rituals but they?re as helpful as the IRS. There is only one thing you can do."
"Get drunk until I pass out?"
"Nope. You gotta go back."
I drummed my fingers on the steering wheel of my Mustang, waiting for the light. My lack of sleep combined with the Beam should have made me comatose; Edís words had me as wired as the phone company. You gotta go back. I had been to the other side once, the result of a motorcycle accident. After "dying," I spent several months in a coma. It was the reason they could reach me; once you?ve been there, the door is always slightly ajar. Thatís what Ed claimed. And I had no reason not to believe him. Not when my dreams were continually interrupted by angry spirits demanding I avenge them.
The first time had been hell, the second nearly as bad. But those occasions only involved one spirit. Now there was a horde of the fucks, calling me like long-distance phone reps for meaningless bullshit.
The car horn interrupted my rumination; the light had changed. I automatically flipped the other driver off as I roared through the intersection. You gotta go back, Greg Alamos. And how the fuck was I going to do that?
I finished typing and hit "send." My message was now dancing along the Internet to some woman in Arkansas. She would be surprised when she read it, she had not heard from her father in over twenty years-probably didn?t care to. Probably didn?t know he was dead. But at least one spirit client would be satisfied.
Finding her had not been that much of a problem. But I didn?t want to hear back from her, so I deleted that screen name and password with my service provider before logging off. Then I rubbed my eyes and sighed; if only reaching the spirit world was this easy. I chugged more coffee and glanced at the clock. Ed told me to meet at his home at seven o?clock; he had a plan to solve my immediate problem. But I had three hours to kill. A nap would be nice...and impossible. I still had two "clients" screaming at me every time I drifted off. My first two assignments had been from spirits who wished vengeance on their murders and I could appreciate their motives, if not their alarming lack of manners. But just to get back at a former boyfriend? Find a lost puppy? "Spirits are people all right," I muttered as I turned on my TV. I quickly became terminally bored watching a panel of frustrated housewives complain about their sex lives on Oprah. Or was it Sally? After two hours, the faces and bitching became indistinguishable. So I wasn?t in the best frame of mind when I drove to Edís.
There was another man there when I arrived. He was dressed in a lab coat and scattered around Edís living room was a gurney, oxygen tank and mask, some portable monitoring equipment and other medical paraphernalia. Ed greeted me perfunctorily. "The good doctor here has agreed to assist us," he nodded toward the stranger, who frowned yet said nothing.
"I thank you." I smiled at him. It wasn?t returned, which told me the man was not here by choice. I glanced at Ed. "Later," he said. "For now, take off your shirt and pants and lie down. We both want to get this over in a hurry."
"What do you plan to do?" I asked as I began unzipping.
"Take you to the other side." Ed grinned. "Kill you, basically. If we?re lucky, we?ll bring you back."
The cold I felt was from more than the gurney. "And then what? What do I do?"
"Your spirit will have to negotiate with them. Do whatever it is you need to do."
"And how do I do that?"