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The woman of indeterminate age pointed at the sign over the davenport. “Dead! See, it must be a dead celebrity. Otherwise, the company would have a different name.”

“You said Carey Grant was taken.” The twenty something female seemed to have no other facial expression than bored.

The woman nodded. “Because it is true. Halloween is our busiest time. Mr. Grant is booked three, ah, four years in advance. I could put you down for 2019.”

“Not Hugh Grant?”

“Not dead!” The woman frowned as evil an expression as she had.


The woman shook her aged head. “He doesn’t speak English. Not modern English. You wouldn’t understand him. He’s no fun anyway. I know.”

“Hitler!” The girl giggled but still looked bored.

“Asocial. He doesn’t like parties.” The woman’s laugh sounded more than evil. “Except the Nazi party. Ha! And the English thing again.”

The girl’s face reddened. “They have sex and stuff?” She giggled. “Girl friend wanted to know.”

“Ghosts. Unsubstantial. Put it together.”

“What together?” The girl looked confused but it wasn’t much different from bored.

The woman sighed painfully, more a rasp. “No.”

“This is a joke, right? I’m being punked.” The girl looked up at the ceiling.

“You came to us.”


“Right.” The woman creaked as she stood up. Surprisingly, it didn’t change her height. “I would like to start a dead customer service.” She muttered to herself and then louder. “Fatty Arbuckle is always asking me to set something up.”

“Who?” The girl frowned looking up from her phone. “He’s really fat? Ugh. Jeffrey Dahmer! Yes, Dahmer. Perfect for Frank’s Serial Killers party. Yes, I’ll go to Frank’s.”

The woman laughed evilly. “Yes, perfect for you. Done. I’ll just go call him up.” Perfect, she had lied about the unsubstantial part.


Michael W. Clark a biologist and writer with nineteen short stories published.  Most recently his stories have appeared in Lost Souls, Surprising Stories, Trembles, 69 Flavors of Paranoia, Morpheus Tales, Imaginarum out of U.C, Berkeley, Dark Edifice, Death Throes and Black Heart Magazine.


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