Craig said we should go visit some ghost towns in our great state. He said it exactly this way: “in our great state.” His ambition was to have a woman in every ghost town we visited, until the newspapers in the heat of passion labeled him the Ghost Town Rapist, as opposed to what they call him now, which is just plain cruel. My ambition was to drink in every ghost town, to stand in the places dead people have stood and look out their windows, stage fake gunfights in their courtyards and fall in love with the pictures they’ve left of themselves. He pictured a scenario going wrong between us, and I shook my head determinedly.
“You will be too busy raping, and I will be too busy drinking whiskey, and falling in love with dead gangsters and coal miners. We’ll be alright.”
“I can’t rape all the time, and I can’t always count on stockholm syndrome when I want to be wanted back just a little.”
I explained to him my problem, the reasons I just can’t empathize (“it is all about the longing”) and he seemed curious enough to move on from it.
“Are you expecting something like the movie Ghost? Only with considerably more s&m?” he asked.
“Patrick Swayze was a pussy. The kind of men I’d love would have no time to come back from the afterlife to come and save me. They’ve got better things to do, however devoted.”
“I never actually saw it. I just was hoping for a bit of ghost-fuckin.”
We stand in a line in Vishnu, IL and wave our arms around behind each other. Our friends think this looks retarded and so do I but we’re all willing to humor him. After all, he’s put up with us so far.
In Horace, we have to trespass. We are busted and Craig is cavity-searched because of all of us, he is the most obviously stoned. When they ask us where the drugs have gone, we tell them that we didn’t need them and we were simply smoking ghosts. I tell them I’ve fired nugs from here to Bridgeport to Madison and ain’t nothing ever got me high as this. They threaten to get us with possession.
“Of a ghost?” I ask.
You’d be surprised to find what is illegal. In Horace, we were already on someone else’s land (my argument about being Indian didn’t fly well) and according to the police who searched us, the ghosts in our pockets could be considered stealing.
“And you look awfully familiar,” the closest cop said to Craig.
It was a good thing they hadn’t searched our car. I’d convinced him to wear one of those long thin masks that bandits wore, tied in back and a bit gay-looking, like a swashbuckler. At the time the whole thing had been for kitsch. Now we were all relieved a bit, and I made it a point to brag about it later.
“This is the worst vacation ever,” my brother said.
“It could be a lot worse,” I said. “We’re going to have to stop in Peoria.”