One day, the ghost showed up.
I didn’t know where he came from. Perhaps he followed me home from the cinema?
He wore a shapeless white smock. When we got home, he took the smock off. If you’ve never seen underneath a ghost’s smock before, it can be quite disconcerting.
He had six eyes, arranged in two columns on either side of his face. He had a thousand arms that waved in the air, like tentacles.
He didn’t say anything. He just sat there, moping. I could tell he wanted attention, though.
Learning about your ghost
I didn’t know anything about how to care for a ghost, so I did some research.
I went to the library and looked up all the books on ghosts. They weren’t very helpful. Literary ghosts are nothing like the real thing.
I spoke to my uncle, who worked on a ghost farm in Tasmania when he was a young man.
“Don’t give him too much to eat,” he said. “He’ll become dependent on you, and will forget how to feed himself.”
I tried to follow my uncle’s advice, but my ghost just looked so sad all the time that I couldn’t help myself. If I had any boiled eggs left over from breakfast, I would give him one.
But ghosts can get very hungry.
Nights can be tricky
Sometimes at night when I lay in my bed, he would howl so loud I thought he would wake the neighbors. But when I asked them the next day, they said they hadn’t heard a thing.
How do you make a ghost keep quiet at night? Well, what I’ve learned is you need to keep him busy during the day. Make sure he gets plenty of exercise.
You need to take him for lots of walks. Walking is very good for ghosts.
Be gentle with your ghost
I’ve also learned you have to be very gentle with a ghost. It doesn’t work to get angry and shout at him. That just makes him nastier.
And no matter how much he begs, don’t let him drink alcohol. It makes him mean, and he’s always very grumpy the next day, which is no fun to be around.
You need to keep your ghost busy.
Train him by giving him rewards when he’s quiet. The more he learns to sit quietly by himself, the better behaved he’ll be.
It’s a lot of working looking after a ghost, but the trick is to make friends with him.
Love your ghost
If you accept him and love him for who he is, he will reward you.
Sometimes he whispers stories to me from ghostland.
This is very helpful if you’re a science fiction writer, which I am.