THE FIRST HELLO
It was lunchtime in my kitchen. Innocent of anything untoward, I hummed cheerfully as I assembled the ingredients for a sandwich. Not owning a great musical voice, I make it a point to only hum in private … but then I thought I was alone.
My mother told me to never play with my food, but she didn’t say I couldn’t have a conversation with it. Anyway, I didn’t start it. The first ghost was a timid fellow (or girl) who whimpered hello just as I was about to cover him or her with lettuce.
“Hello,” I said startled, a lettuce leaf poised in the air.
“Turn the page… I mean slice,” he or she said. “There are a few of us in here.”
So I did… Picasso and Pikachu were there.
“Pika pika,” Pikachu chuckled. Picasso shouted Hola Senora with a flamboyant air.
Suddenly, a bold new voice interrupted him. “Pardon me,” it said. “I be wishin’ to speak.”
The next slice revealed a pirate.
“I ‘ave no memory of me name,” he said.
“Do you remember how you came by that hole in your face,” I asked.
“Aaaarh. I don’t likes to talk about it, laddie,” he replied. “Sorry, I meant to say, lady. It be a musket ball… under not so friendly fire, if ye gets me drift. Pirates are notoriously rotten shots ye ken, and cutthroat te boot.”
“Who’s that hiding behind you?”
“That be my friend, Roger. He be a shy one. He’s no fashed to show his face. No sudden moves, Missus.”
Two huge eye holes ogled me.
“Hello Roger,” I said.
“Please don’t eat me, Missus,” came a muffled voice.
“No worries,” I said. “I make it a point never to eat food that talks to me.”
He got a little bolder. “I used to be much jollier,” he whimpered.
Suddenly, he looked more together… (p.s. … I did the nose)
“Thanky,” he said. “Ye smells very nice. Like flowers, ye ken.”
“It’s Chanel no. 5,” I said. “Me daughter, Sarah, gave it to me for Christmas.”
“Mmmn, lemony. Sorry, Missus. I be stinkin’ of sour milk.”
“Better than smelling like a pirate,” I commented.
“Me full name be Jolly Roger,” he said. “I be from Switzerland.”
“Well, shiver me timbers,” I said in a formal genteel manner which made him laugh. “There aren’t many Swiss pirates.” Thus encouraged, I gave him a mouth.
“Aaarh, that be right handsome, that be. Thanky, missus. How did ye knows what I looked like? ‘Ave we met afore?”
“I took a wild guess,” I said. “Besides, I’ve seen your flag.”
“But, if ye don’t mind me sayin’,” he boomed, “you’ll need te practise yer pirate voice if ye wants to command fear and respect.”
“I’m okay, thanks.”
“I think I’m goin’ te change me name to Monteray Jack,” he said. “I’ve mellowed since I be eaten, I ‘ave.”
“I hear Monteray’s a nice place.”
“Aaarh,” he agreed. “And there taint be so much chocolate thar.”
“Are there a lot of chocolate ghosts in Switzerland?”
“Too many if ye ask me.”
“Well, now I’m hungry for chocolate, but all I have is bread and cheese.”
“No problem,” the ghosts called out in unison.
There were five gentle popping sounds. The cheese was exorcised.
I made sure they were gone, made a lettuce sandwich, and hastened to the nearest store for a Toblerone bar.