A Writer's Extreme Creativity Challenge: Write a story a day, in May. That's it: http://storyaday.org/. Thanks to Ian Mayor for the words 'erotic discount warehouse'. Oh dear. Better get on with it then...
#12 : Ghost
Michelle James had been sent here by the very pierced boy behind the counter in Sven’s Bazaar. He had been quite helpful once she had got his attention.
She had been sure (well, her husband had been sure - he had done all of the shopping, before she had... he had been... he had died) that if anywhere could meet their needs it would have been Sven’s.
The boy admitted sympathetically, that no, they couldn't help: Sven’s was more or less mainstream these days. Being close to the centre of town, under a Tory government, a store selling a (relatively speaking) vanilla selection of toys, whips, plugs and restraints had no further need to stock the obscure.
The boy had been certain that the place she needed, on an industrial estate on the edge of town, was the ‘Erotic Discount Warehouse’, or as it was more prominently labelled ‘Unit 23, Clarkson Industrial Estate. Despite it’s nondescript exterior and title, Unit 23, he was assured, contained the widest stock of what might be described as Esoteric Erotica, and was the wholesaler and distribution point for the entire North England.
Michelle parked her car and pushed open the discretely labeled door. The warehouse was quite large on the inside, five aisles of coloured boxes, stacked on shelves up to the ceiling. The place wasn’t as empty as she’d expected, a number of individuals and couples were milling about, making notes of the code names with the pencils and note paper provided by the entrance. Salespeople were stacking shelves and engaging in enthusiastic conversation with anyone they could corner.
Michelle picked up a catalogue looked vaguely and somewhat uncomprendingly at the various products on offer. Some of which she recognised.
“Can I help at all Miss?” asked an amiable assistant, who had ambled up on Michelle’s blindside.
“I uh....” said Michelle “Do you have any, ah... any... toys for ghosts?”
The assistant looked at Michelle and nodded sagely.
“You see, it's quite delicate. My husband... died last year, and, well, we can’t... but... he thought...” said Michelle
“Can you see your husband Miss?” asked the assistant.
“You don’t believe me?” said Michelle.
“I do Miss! the customer is always right, after all, and you can rely on our discretion in this and all matters. I am merely trying to ascertain the approximate density and quantity of ectoplasm which may be required by the gentleman in question sir. A product that failed to make contact and passed straight through would be simply no use whatsoever. As you are already no doubt painlessly aware”
“I... ok” said Michelle “the ropes didn’t work”
“I see. Well, our ropes and straps and handcuffs have been specially treated. Your requirements are considerably more common that you may imagine. Would the undead gentleman in question be capable of visiting our establishment sir? For some quick, and quite painless tests?”
“No, he can’t go..”
“Beyond the confines of the family home, of course.” said the assistant.
“No, I’m afraid, I, we, we didn’t... well, he... we... strayed” said Michelle
“Say no more miss, say no more - this explains the haunting of course” said the assistant “Well, our lives are nothing if not interesting, and a shared love of pottery often fails to cut the mustard"
"If, miss, If I have deduced the details of this somewhat delicate matter correctly, and I believe I have, we have a wide range of products on offer which will, I am sure, meet his, and indeed your, corrective requirements.”