“You’ve got to be kidding. A union for ghosts; I don’t believe it, and a closed shop union to boot? Get out of here.
“No, I don’t mean ‘Get out of here.’ It’s an American expression for ‘I find it difficult to duplicate the intention or statement you are conveying to me.’
“Jesus Christ, to use another expression I’ve picked up from the many streaming programs that litter the airwaves, you must be familiar with these ‘low class’ expletives to express disbelief. However, to get back to the original point, you’ve got to be kidding, a ‘closed shop’ union for ghosts? What if I dismiss this compulsory ‘invitation’ to join?”
“It’s not actually compulsory, but we do strongly advise you to join as there are certain privileges to membership. Anyway, C9371008IHURRGELDLTWDYM, we go through this performance every time you get here. You are always stroppy and wanting to ‘kick against the pricks’ as the ‘book’ says. I knew you were coming through here again as you have a special notification tag that warns us of the recalcitrant individuals that need special handling when they come through. So I’ve found the best way to bring you to your senses is to advise you that we have the option of placing you wherever we like in your next body; that usually brings you to your senses.
“You may not remember, but we thought we would teach you a lesson by sending you to a ‘Hilly-Billy’ region in a previous lifetime but that kind of backfired on us, I admit. The union, to put it delicately, between father and daughter, your mother and father, instead of exacerbating a detrimental mutation across the boards, resulted in you being a musical genius. However, your family was so poor that you had to express your creativity by beating out rhythms on stones using pieces of wood. I guess it’s a pity no one of your community appreciated it.
“Unless you, to use another expression you may be familiar with, ‘knuckle down,’ we may give you a taste of being born into a devout Taliban family that think praying only five times a day is grossly sinful to their idea of divinity. You’ll have calluses on your knees like leather soles by the time you are five years old.”
“Look, whatever your name is, I hope it is not as long as the one I have, unless, to use another of these expressions that have been around a long time, ‘pulling my leg.’ I’m not being cantankerous out of pique, but are you sure I have to join a union? But, if my option is as you threatened, I find myself warming to the prospect of shouting in unison with a bunch of fellow union devotees for whatever. Where do I sign?”
“That’s more like it, C9, to give you your nickname. Now, you possibly, with your proverbial lack of memory, will not know that recent arrivals to our domain need to support the up to six-year-old kids on Halloween night. You’ll smile sweetly at them and say soothing things so they don’t grow up fearing us. It’s a new project of trying to meld our two different states of existence into an eventual greater understanding between us.
“This was a Union resolution passed about the same time as the ubiquitous internet and gaming came into vogue. Children now are usually much more ‘worldly-wise’ than they used to be over the last few millennia, and up to six years of age will happily converse with us. Of course, they rapidly forget us after this age, but they seem to be less fearful of us later on.”
“What do I call you? Guide, or Union leader, that seems a little too impersonal?”
“My friends call me U15. That is, my close friends, and actually I don’t mind you calling me by this appellation as I’ve coaxed you into memory quite a few times over the millenia.”
“Well, thank you, U15, I guess my lifetimes in a body have insulated me to the delicacy of an intimate U15 monniker. However, I’m honoured you class me into your assembly as a friend. Now, what are you expecting me, or I should say, what would you like me to do, specifically on Halloween night? Should I make ‘woo woo’ noises for the children, or just engage the young ones in conversation? Of course, with a more limited vocabulary.”
“Well, C9, it’s really a being there and holding their hands, jaunt. Make no mistake, they’ll feel your insubstantial hand as a tingling which they’ll find very pleasant. Often they’ll prattle away to you and generally be ignored by the older members who have long before blocked out any cognisance of your presence. It’ll be a fun time for you.
"Now, I’m going to be rather generous with you for your next lifetime, you get to choose. Into which country would you like to be born, West or East? Of course, there’s the South? Australia gets pretty hot, destined to get even hotter over the next century. Then there’s New Zealand, always a good haven for a quieter life. Sheep shagging is down to manageable proportions now that wool is out of favour with everyone. You may have to watch out for randy shepherds that have lost their flocks in the back-country. Just go to sleep fully dressed with the sleeping bag zipped up tight.” U15 said with a laugh.
“Thank you, U15, perhaps we’ll leave New Zealand out of the picture. The Scandinavian countries don’t have very many sheep do they, and I won’t have to worry about destitute shepherds there, will I?”
U15 laughed and laughed. “You’ll have no worries there, it’s reindeer herdsmen you have to be on guard about. Kids don’t believe in Santa Claus as much, so correspondingly less reindeer are bred. No, no, I’m kidding you, by the time the herders have reached maturity, half their dicks have frozen off due to the cold so they don’t have enough to get it up.” Once again U15 burst into laughter. “Okay, okay, enough of the foolery, although I did enjoy it. Before I graduated to here, I had a few lifetimes as a German, not much frivolity there, but I always get to my appointments on time.”
“Do you know, U15, I’d like an un-serious life next time. Can you send me to Italy? Apart from the Mafia, they know how to have fun. During WW2 in England when they mistakenly chose the wrong side to play with, the so-called prisoners used to go to the movies and sit with the ordinary movie goer? Nobody worried. They certainly didn’t want to escape, they’d never had it as good in wartime.”
“Okay, C9, do you want to go as a guy or a girl?”
“I think I’ll stick to being a guy, if I have the choice. I’ll wait until there’s more of an uprising by women to get equal rights with the males. I think the only thing they have going for them at present is multiple orgasms, that is, if they can get their partners to stay long enough. However, male robots with artificial intelligence will I’m sure have the stamina to ‘go all the way’ in the future. Women will be walking around with permanent smiles on their faces. Perhaps I’ll have a look at a few lives as a member of the fairer sex, then. So, I guess I’m off to the good ol’ USofA, they are about the only ones that take Halloween seriously now?”
“Yes, C9, buckle up and it’s off to Texas for you. The religious right there listens to the Pope and his unadorned loving decree with its consequent larger families and corrective mass shootings to try to keep the population down a trifle. Happy Woo Wooing.”