George, Al and Mike became good friends over a short period of time in Glens Falls, New York. Each had different backgrounds and interests. Office clerk, hospital laboratory and youth center director. Their points of origin were Long Island, Manhattan, and a small suburb of Glens Falls. Old wooden radios, playing his guitar and basketball diversified the three buddies. What they did have in common was patronizing the downtown watering hole known as “Orsini’s”. Midnight skinny dipping trips to the Hudson River, just one block away would occur often during the summer months. Each had towels stacked behind the bar. The glasses of beer would sit in place awaiting their quick return. The cold water and cold night air would always guarantee it!

           It was at Orsini’s that the three friends had decided to rent a house together to allow each to save money for something they desired. They found a big three-bedroom house sixteen miles from Glens Falls in the farm country. Inexpensive, quiet, but, sixteen miles . . .

George was from Manhattan and had arrived in Glens Falls on a Greyhound bus. Until he had taken this first post-college job, he had never driven a car. Upon his move to this northern New York state town, George understood that a car would be mandatory. He

went to a driving school, and his saved money would help to make payments on his recently acquired, used Toyota.

           George differed from Mike and Al in one significant way. He, himself, had not experienced winter driving.

           They became housemates in September, and it would be about six weeks before the snows of winter would begin. And, begin they did!

           As the snows were making their entry, George was still struggling with operating the clutch in his prized Toyota. Although the house had a big, wide driveway, a ditch ran alongside the dirt road to allow for water drainage on rainy days. Yes, the nasty ditch!  

           On many occasions, Mike or Al, or both, would have to connect a chain to the Toyota to pull it out of the ditch.

           It was a tough winter for George! Neither Mike nor Al realized just how tough it was!

           The long winter went on and on. In northern New York, every winter just goes on and on. The snow just kept falling, and the ground height kept rising higher and higher. On each side of the driveway, the snowbank rose still higher as new snow was shoveled upon it. Toward the end of the long winter, tightly compressed snow becomes almost like a rock. The weight of the three cars over time would encourage this to develop.

           The three young men enjoyed the living arrangement that they had chosen. Al would play his guitar often in his room, Mike would play with his radios in his room, and George would continually watch basketball games in his room.

           The three of them did save money. An important early life lesson had been learned. The sum total of efforts of three would equal four. Synergy.

           However, the opposite was also becoming apparent in a very subtle manner as the winter progressed. Only one of the three knew what was going on, but all three acted baffled. Certain things would go missing!

           Yes, it was true that in rural, far upstate New York, doors were never locked. But, who would come into an isolated, rural house and make off with the small bathroom rug? One by one, many of the large kitchen utensils would disappear. Small pots, an ice tray, a roll of paper towels, a Kleenex box, the sink strainer, the bathroom plunger, spice bottles, broom, bathtub mat, couch pillow, snow shovel, dish rack . . .

           It was obvious we had a poltergeist. But, where did it all go? We all noticed a trend as the winter persevered. The disappearances seemed more likely to occur during snowstorms. But why? There were no strange boot prints leading into the house. Wouldn’t a poltergeist just move things around? We had numerous items simply gone!

           “Say, Al, may I use your bath towel?” Mike asked. “Both of mine are gone!”

           “Sure, go ahead. It was clean when I last used it.”

           “Some of the dishes are gone, George,” Mike said, “What use would they be to a ghost?”

           “Mike, have you seen the . . . ? I can’t find it anywhere,” Al remarked.

           Two more days passed. On the second day, the snow just kept coming down. Twenty-three inches. Mike couldn’t make it home from work at the hospital and had to walk to a friend’s house for a night on the couch.

           They couldn’t get to work or get home from work. Oddly, the poltergeist seemed to be stuck, as well! For a few days nothing went missing!

  So, what the . . . ?

           Then the Mexican blanket with the U. S. dollar bills design was now gone off the couch, as Mike noticed when he was able to get back home.

           George had often looked at the couch blanket and regretted having spilled grape juice on it. Not much, but the eye in the pyramid on one of the four corner dollar bills had become somewhat stained purple. Nonetheless, it was still a great blanket! It was cleaned and who would care, anyway? If only blankets could talk?

           April 1 was fool’s day. A great day, because it signified just four more weeks until


May, when the snow would stop falling and actually start melting. The land would thaw! The lay of the land would change from white to greens and browns.


           The last thing to go missing was the mop from the kitchen closet. Really, a mop?

           Mike had called the landlords on a few occasions, but the Clausen’s denied any known existence of a ghost. But, then, of course they would!

           As with all winters, people are eager to feel the winds of spring. This year would be no different. As May unraveled, the snowbanks lining the driveway began to shrink. All the ground was wet without a cloud in the sky. Occasional claps of thunder might be heard as well. Not a storm, but rather the ice jams breaking up in the nearby Hudson River.

           Al was walking out to his car when he spotted the purple eye of the couch blanket staring at him at the top of the shrinking snowbank. Frozen, and sticking straight up. No longer soft and on the couch. But, found!

           “Hey Mike!’ Al yelled. “Come out and see this.”

           “It’s the couch blanket,” Mike exclaimed. “Over there. Look, Al, that’s the handle of a pot!”

           On the next day, the edge of the bathroom rug made it’s appearance.

           “George couldn’t get the car going using the clutch on the snow. He must have used all the missing items to stuff under the tires for traction. He never fessed up during the whole time. Kept a straight face throughout!” Al said with a shake of his head.

           “Some poltergeist we had,” Mike said with disappointment.

           The following two weeks George returned to Manhattan to spend time with his family. During this time, Mike and Al were amazed at all of the objects that would appear scattered in the driveway beneath the melting snow. Each new day was more interesting than the previous day.

           “There’s the square griddle,” Al said to Mike as he peered out of a front window. On one occasion, a passing neighbor stopped his car and knocked on the door.

  “When is your garage sale going to start?” he asked.

           “Mike, we can fly with this! We can have the last laugh! George always gets home Last from his youth center job. Each day we pick up anything we spot in the driveway and hide it in the garage. George never goes in the garage. We’ll continue to build up the poltergeist theory. We can set him up. Payback! Then, let’s clean up the driveway before George gets back from Manhattan. Ok?”

           “Yeah!” Mike agreed enthusiastically.

           In July, there was a big party at the Orsini’s bar on a Saturday night. Everyone had to take a turn a telling a story. Arrangements were made with Mr. Orsini. Mike and Al purposely volunteered to speak early. When it then became time for George’s turn, Mr. Orsini began his role.

           “Say, George. We all want to hear about the ghost. The poltergeist. Al and Mike didn’t mention it, so you must tell us all about it.”

           Everyone clapped.

           George complied with the request. He felt that not doing so might incur suspicion.

           Mike and Al enjoyed the display. Occasional giggles and laughs were a communication to George that he had been found out. George wondered as he talked about the missing items that in spring never showed themselves in the driveway.

           When George was done, he went to his table and sat down with Mike and Al.

           Mike and Al laughed. So did George.

           “I’ll get the next round,” George finally was able to say!

























April 04, 2020 00:52

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