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3 & Z

by Edd Vick

To celebrate our first anniversary, each of us here at the Cabal has come up with a story beginning with a line kindly provided to us by the illustrious Jay Lake. Click the link at the bottom of the page to see how Alex, Dan and have handled the challenge, and come back tomorrow to see what Kat Beyer comes up with...

Zoli liked to hang around psychiatrists' waiting rooms to hit on the low self-esteem chicks. Being a ghost, he rarely got a reply, but he lived for the few he got.

'Lived' being relative.

First was Lily. He hovered behind Doctor Frost, reading that Lily had been raised by a mother that wanted her to be a model. Lily could not be thin enough, graceful enough, blah blah blah. Zoli rolled his ectoplasmic eyes.

She came out to the waiting room and stepped up to the receptionist's window. Zoli made his move. He flew in front of her and said, "Hey, baby. Rub that lamp some more, because wish number one just came true!"

Lily screamed, clutched her chest, and fell, her soul flitting upward where Zoli could not follow. "Massive heart trauma," said the EMT. "Never seen a heart tear itself up that badly."

The next 312 women he hit on walked right through him.

Then came Dekanawida. Zoli poked his head through Doctor Yough's chest to peer at his notes. Awful handwriting. Something about sexual abuse from her father, something about multiple sex partners, something about sabotaging her own successes.

She walked out of the doctor's office to find Zoli waiting. "Hey sweetie," he said. "If you give me the time of day I'll give you the time of your life!"

Dekanawida stumbled back, tripped over a magazine stand, and cracked her skull open on a water cooler. DOA. Very DOA, maybe even VVDOA.

And Zoli got it. He totally understood. When a chick saw him, it meant she was about to croak. You'd almost think he was a jinx or something.

He couldn't keep away. Something about haunting psychiatrists seemed just so right. Another thousand or so women passed through him.

Third, and last to be honest, was Melissa. When Zoli first saw her, it was like a bolt of lightning stabbed him right through his impalpable heart. He'd mimed lov before, but he knew the real thing when it hit him. He stayed in Doctor TenDening's waiting room, suddenly not willing to intrude. He wanted to leave, he really ought to beat it, but he just couldn't.

When she emerged, there he was. "Um," he said. "Er, hello."

She didn't scream. She didn't jump away. Unfortunately, what she did do was turn around and walk back into the psychiatrist's office.

She committed herself to the asylum that very night. Zoli happily followed.

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