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THE MiSERY OF AGE
© WRiTER oN THe MoON
It is Ghostbusters Night
His mind was bursting with abstract ingredients. Alan wanted to stop growing up. When asked by his friends, he bragged about having pubic hair even though he really didn't. Tonight all he wanted was to stop the clock or make it go backwards. To stop developing, retaining the innocence and the ignorance of everything that was happening around him.
"I've had it Javi. I just can't take my parents anymore!"
Javier looked at him, trying to disguise his expression. A pause and Alan continued.
"It's all a lie! If they don't want to tell me the truth then they can just screw it. I'm gonna be an irresponsible son. I don't give a shit!"
"You can be so melodramatic when you want to be. You have the manual, your Dad gave it to you! He probably wants you to read it. I don't want to insist but that's probably why he gave it to you. It says very clearly, Manual for Cleaning Ghosts."
Alan ignored Javier even though he was aware the manual sat on his bedside table. He picked up the TV remote and switched it on, hiding any fragment of emotion. Javier asked him what he was going to watch as he chatted on his phone.
Alan opened the search menu, "I'm going to see if Ghostbusters is available On Demand."
"One about ghosts? Oh man, you're going to kill me"
He typed in the G, the H, the O, the S, the T and when he hit the B it auto completed the name and he was informed that it was available in the library.
"Bingo, dude. Let's see another flick my grandmother loved."
He hit the enter button and the movie began. One of the two majestic marble lions in front of the New York public Library filled the screen and remained in the background from that moment on. Javier walked over to the table by the bed and grabbed the manual as if some one wanted to take it from him.
"I'm going to read this, I don't feel like watching another ancient movie."
"Do whatever you want to."
Javier scanned the book. Once again he came across a bunch of illustrations and imprecise instructions. At the beginning there was a text. He read it outloud as he was incapable of reading to himself.
The work of a cleaner is of vital importance.
Alan pushed the pause button, leaving the library frozen on the screen at minute 3:44 into the film, interrupting Javier's reading.
"Could you read silently? I can't hear the TV. All I can hear is: the work of a bloody cleaner...! Understand idiot?"
"Oh come on! You know I can't read silently!"
"Then lower your voice."
He hit the play button and turned up the sound. Javier lowered his voice and kept reading.
In any society, all of the pieces have a function. All ghosts and spirits will arrive woven and, despite the state they are in, must be cleaned.
In this process clean water should be used, but if there are extremely dirty ones, any kind of natural soap will do.
The specter, in its original state, will be woven into a heterogeneous fabric.
Meaning, the fabric the cleaner will be handling is the thread produced by a soul that has been spun then transformed into a woven fabric.
The size of this piece of fabric will depend on the deceased and the life he or she has lived.
The weavers will be in charge of delivering this cloth after spinning the soul into thread and weaving it.
Wash them once by hand and only with water. The spirit will appear to be clean. Don't let them fool you. Put them out to dry in a designated area. If the water wasn't enough (the natural process) then use soap.
If it still isn't clean and the filth reappears once its dry,
it must be washed as many times as it takes until it is clean.
Avoid conversations or any contact with them!
Remember: Clean spirits, hang out to dry......
Abruptly he stopped reading.
"And?" asked Alan, who had turned down the volume of the TV, drawn to the words that Javier was reading.
"Weren't you watching Ghostbusters?"
"Touché!" It doesn't matter, we can watch it later. So, what else does it say?"
"Nothing? Here, let me see it!" and he took the book out of Javier's hands and started reading. He was right, the sentence wasn't finished because the page was torn off. "Bloody mysteries!"
"Look, Coralie texted me." he exclaimed gleefully with his cell in his hand.
"Coralie? What for?"
"She says she's bored and if we can get together tomorrow."
"Where does she want us to meet her?"
"She says if we can meet at the Blaise it would be perfect." Sexual attraction or curiosity hadn't awoken in Alan yet.
He did have some strange feelings sometimes, strange sensations, but he ignored them, knowing they would only bring problems. Javier on the other hand, seemed to be obsessed with the female sex. He had fallen in love a number of times already this year. Coralie was the latest love on his long and never ending list. He had written her a letter and put it in her mailbox after walking forty-five minutes to her house and another forty-five minutes back home. When he returned Alan spent twenty minutes laughing at him because he had ended the letter with; I love you. signed anonymous.
And then, right below, he wrote; Javier.
"How many guys are there in the world that are named Javier?" he said in his defense.
"Here in Bristol?" replied Alan.
"Please, please, please man! Let's go see her. Please, I'm begging you, I'm on my knees!"
"If my dad or somebody can take us then it's OK by me." said Alan.
"If they can't take us we could go on the bus."
"That's true. Duh!," Alan said, hitting himself on the forehead with the palm of his hand, as if he were an idiot. "Let's do it."
"Thanks! I owe you one," Javier said, giving him a kiss on the forehead, overwhelmed with emotion.
"Naw, I'm just returning the favor you did for me when you came downstairs with me that night, Even?"
"I want to disconnect with all this shit going on. Want to watch the flick?"
"From the beginning please."
Alan rewound and started again. When he saw the lions at the library Javier observed, "I bet those lions are under water by now."
"It could be although the city isn't completely submerged."
They flopped down on the floor with four pillows and met doctor Peter Venkman, played by some guy called Bill Murray and the same woman that was in the Alien trilogy but whose name they could not remember. After all, the grandmother from Chinchón, the one that sacrificed a fragment of her life to teach Alan what was a radio cassette player, a walkman, a discman and even a gramophone, had good taste in movies.