Let me tell you a story about a guy named Joe. Joe was the last surviving member of his family. His parents passed away many years ago, and his brother passed away within the past two years. Joe did not seem lonely at all. He was quite content to live by himself and rarely had any visitors. Often he would be in his home for days without any contact with the outside world.
When Joe went out, he would visit the local donut shop and converse with a few old friends. He often talked about how rich he was. But people misinterpreted what he meant. One day, he told his friend, Ralph, that the riches he was talking about were not temporal goods. Ralph did not believe him. The rumors about Joe being rich were widespread. People heard that he had a wall safe. As these rumors spread from person to person, the story become more and more exaggerated until some people said he kept $500,000 in thousand dollar bills in that safe. Ralph believed the rumors and made plans with his friend Frank.
The road was pitch black. The only light was the light of the half moon and a living room light in the house across the street. Joe’s house was dark. Only a night light was illuminated.
Ralph walked around the side of Joe’s house and removed a window cutter and a suction cup from his tool box.
Joe did not hear the window cutter cutting a large hole in his living room window or the suction cup used to pull the window out. He was in his second floor bedroom. He was viewing videos of his family. He was laughing and talking even though no one was present in the room.
Ralph peered in the window. There was nothing unusual about the room. The wall to wall carpeting looked new and was clean. The couch sat in against the far wall. A beautiful coffee table was on the far side of the room. An ash tray on the coffee table contained three cigarette butts. A pack of cigarettes and a cigarette lighter lay beside the ash tray. A shot glass and a bottle of liquor lay next to the cigarette lighter. The couch was behind the coffee table. Two pillows were on the couch. On the wall above the couch was a framed picture of Elvis Presley with a guitar in his hand and a microphone in front of him.
Ralph climbed in and walked slowly and quietly to the front door. He was wearing gloves. He remembered that the front door squeaked. He removed a small container of oil and a cloth from his tool box. He dabbed the oil on the hinges. Then he unlocked and opened the door.
Ralph’s accomplice, Frank, entered the living room. Ralph gently closed the door and proceeded to the far end of the coffee table. He removed the shot glass from the table and placed it on the floor. Then they moved the table to the center of the room.
Ralph and Frank removed the pillows from the couch and stood up on top of the couch. They worked together to remove the framed picture from the wall and gently lean it against the same wall near the floor. Then Frank got back on the couch and inspected the lock on the wall safe. He picked the lock with a pin and opened the safe. Frank searched through the papers in the safe. He uttered a four letter word and said, “It’s not here!”
Frank closed and locked the safe. Then they hung the picture on the wall. That’s when they heard footsteps. The sound appeared to be coming from the kitchen. They withdrew their guns and slowly approached the kitchen entrance. As they reached the kitchen entrance, they saw the back door. It was closed. The kitchen table was surrounded by four chairs. A box of donuts and two cups of hot steaming coffee were on the table. Beside each cup was a napkin. They heard the sound of someone shutting the refrigerator door.
Ralph and Frank looked at each other. They stood perfectly still and silent. No sounds came from the kitchen for the next few minutes. Frank peered into the kitchen. He pointed his gun at the refrigerator only to find no one was there. Where could the person be? Inside the refrigerator? He opened the refrigerator door. There was nothing inside except a quart of milk, some cold cuts and a loaf of bread.
Ralph was perplexed. “I don’t get it.”
Frank put his gun away. “Lets get out of here.”
As they came back into the living room, Ralph spotted a shadow moving across the window he had cut a hole in. Ralph pointed his gun toward the window, but Frank grabbed Ralph’s arm and pointed to the front door.
Someone was knocking at the door. Ralph fired his gun three times, leaving two bullet holes in the front door. The front door opened. Nobody was there. The porch light went on. The kitchen radio started blasting music.
The third bullet hit Frank. Frank fell to the floor with blood seeping out of his shoulder.
A neighbor heard the gunshots and called the police.
Ralph saw depressions in the shape of the shoe appear and disappear on the wall to wall carpeting. Then he heard a soft taunting voice, “The coffee and donuts are waiting for you. Come and have some.”
Ralph fired his gun in the direction of the footsteps. He felt something grab his arm, but he did not see anyone. Something was pulling him toward the kitchen.
“Let me go!” Ralph yelled as he flailed his free arm. His arm was released.
Ralph was perspiring. His hands were shaking. His face was pale. He dropped his gun. It didn’t make any sound when it hit the plush carpet.
In the bedroom, Joe was laughing as he watched his favorite video. He mumbled something about how wonderful it was to live with his deceased family members.
Between the bed and the wall there was a blank outlet cover with two screws holding it to an outlet box. It was about twelve inches above the floor, but it did not contain an electrical outlet. It did not contain any money either. It contained something much more valuable. It contained all Joe’s memories of the good times he and his family had on a single electronic chip. This chip provided the medium of communication between Joe and his deceased family. And every time Joe watched the videos, the spirits of his deceased family would roam the house.
Joe heard sirens as the police car pulled up in front of the house. He turned off the monitor and walked down the stairs. He walked across the living room and opened the front door. The police entered and placed Ralph and Frank under arrest. Frank was sent to the hospital for a few days. Then the police sent Frank and Ralph for psychiatric evaluation after hearing their mumbling about ghosts.