Dead, Too...
by ff_b

Alex considered the spirit sitting on his living room sofa watching America's Funniest Videos, and wondered what he had done to deserve its presence. While he appreciated that the entity had kept him from getting roughed up and probably killed on the subway, he wondered how he was going to afford the damn thing...besides, his wife was almost certainly going to kill him!

For something that was dead, this fox or whatever it had been could certainly put away the chocolate chip cookies. Alex watched in resignation as a semi-translucent paw dipped into a bag of Chips Ahoy, and floated the cookie to its black void of a mouth at which point the treat dematerialized. Two empty bags at the feet of the spirit bore silent testimony to its appetite.

"Do you even really eat the cookies?," asked Alex of the spirit with some annoyance. "Couldn't you just imagine that you're eating a cookie, being as how you're dead and all?- -And where exactly does the cookie go when you eat it?-You don't even have a stomach!"

The spirit could be heard munching quietly as he considered his answer, which came telepathically from inside Alex's head. "Well, it just wouldn't be the same if I didn't eat the cookie...I'd lose out on all that flavor, texture, and crunchiness. And as I'm a trans-dimensional being, the cookie when I eat it simply goes to all of the different places that I'm at, past, present, and future!"

"I had to ask!," sighed Alex, rolling his eyes. "Well, you at least understand that you're eating me out of house and home, don't 'ya?," he appealed.

"Oh, so that's what all the complaining's about!," deduced the spirit, having an "aha" moment. "I can compensate you for your expenses!- -Tell you what, why don't you throw something you don't need into my sarcophagus?"

"What do you mean?," replied Alex.

"Just whatever you've got lying around at hand," answered the spectral guest. He gestured with a paw to a basket of fruit visible in the kitchen. "Why don't you put an apple or a banana in there, and check it out in the morning?"

"Alright then, I will!," agreed Alex, deciding to humor the spirit. He picked up an apple and placed it into the ebony box in which resided the mummified mortal remains of the cookie-eating entity on his couch, entreating the spirit as he did so to dematerialize so that his wife, soon to return from work, wouldn't see him.

"Not to worry!," reassured the dark-cloaked figure, speaking only within Alex's mind. "I only appear to whom I choose, so she won't even know that I'm here!-Now don't bother me, I want to watch music videos on your big-screen plasma TV!"

A short time afterwards, Alex's wife Drusilla came storming into their apartment, complaining about her day, plopping herself down on a chair, and asking Alex why the hell he didn't have dinner ready. She bitched about the chocolate chip cookie wrappers on the floor, but as the spirit foretold failed to discern his presence on the couch. She then changed the television channel to the Home Shopping Network, and demanded that Alex clean up the mess.

"I don't know why I tolerate you, you loser!," declared Drusilla.

"So you're pussy-whipped, I see!," commented the dead fox.

Alex waved his hands frantically at the fox to keep quiet, but the spirit reassured him that his wife couldn't see him any more than she could hear him. Sighing in frustration at being unable to view his videos but not wishing to make a scene, the fox dematerialized to even Alex's sight, becoming a mist which vanished inside the ebony box Alex had tucked under the bed.

After he had dutifully made dinner and pretended to listen to Drusilla's blathering and complaining for several hours, Alex retired to bed. The following morning was Saturday, and as his wife slept in Alex quietly checked the contents of the ebony box. Inside was of course the mumified fox, but the apple appeared to have been transformed into gold!

The dead fox's spirit appeared to Alex, yawning and stretching. "So, whadya think?," he grinned.

"What is this, some kinda trick?," asked Alex.

"Oh ye of little faith!," exclaimed the fox theatrically. "No, it's gold, you doorknob!- -But don't take my word for it!-Take it to a jewelry store!," he suggested. "Now, are the cartoons on?"

So as Drusilla continued to snore loudly, Alex wrote her a note and left the house, skeptical but taking the golden apple with him. Minutes later, a jeweler marveled at the apple, assured Alex that the item was indeed 24 karat gold, and offered to buy it for a princely sum, which he eagerly accepted.

In the days to come, Alex with the spirit's full approval continued to put other common articles into the fox's sarcophagus, finding each the following morning had been transformed into solid gold. All was going well and good, with Alex continuing to sell the articles and making plans to quit his horrendous job. Unfortunately, Drusilla found the sarcophagus under the bed one day, screamed about the mummified fox corpse that it contained, and demanded that it be thrown out immediately.

"I'll take care of things, Lovey," Alex assured Drusilla. "First thing in the morning!"

After Drusilla has gone to bed that night, Alex conferred with the dead fox. "I suppose you're sending me back to the old curiosity shop," sighed the fox spirit, appearing darker than usual.

"Don't be so sure of that!," countered Alex. "I've got a better idea!"

"Oh, I'll bet you do!," grinned the fox, conspiratorially. "Just remember, though, you thought of it yourself!"

As Drusilla slept that night, Alex quietly slipped her one foot into the ebony sarcophagus. He then went to bed, and slept better than he had in months.

The next morning, Alex arose early, feeling as bright and cheerful as the day which greeted him. He hummed a sprightly tune as he went out to get himself a nice breakfast.

The solid statue which resided in his bed wouldn't care, you see, for Alex's bitch of a wife was finally worth her weight in gold...