A Graveyard Smash

I was working in the lab, late one night

When my eyes beheld an eerie sight

For my monster from his slab, began to rise

And suddenly to my surprise

He did the mash, he did the monster mash

The monster mash, it was a graveyard smash

He did the mash, it caught on in a flash

He did the mash, he did the monster mash

Hassan leans forward, gurning so hard I can’t be sure his jaw isn’t dislocated. “Did I tell you about my graveyard smash?”

Emily rolls her eyes. It’s Friday night, and the three of us have gone to The Owl for a drink. We only realised why everyone else was in fancy dress when the loop of cheesy Halloween songs began. A poster on the wall mentions a £50 prize for best monster costume, and we seem to be the only people who aren’t dressed for it. If anyone asks, I’m determined to claim it’s a political commentary about humanity.

“I was at this party the other day,” continues Hassan, ignoring my sister’s look of derision. “Left with this Welsh girl. Seren or Siren or Saran or something like that. Proper Welsh. From the Valleys, English as a second language type Welsh. Bit too nationalistic for my liking, but we were pretty coked up, so it wasn’t intolerable.”

“I thought you’re a socialist?” asks Emily.

“Yeah. Why?”

“How does cocaine line up with your internationalist views? Do you know how many innocent Columbians died to get that powder to you?”

“Someone’s been watching too much Narcos,” I say. “Besides, aren’t you high right now?”

“Yeah, but not cocaine.”

“Of course. I’m sure that ecstasy is much more ethically sourced.”

She glares at me, but Hassan continues his story before she can respond.

“So anyway, this party was opposite the church. Our Lady of Sorrows, you know the one.”

I nod. Only too well.

“We cut through the graveyard and there’s this little bench under the oak tree. The one you had the breakdown on. We sit down and she gets a joint out of her bum bag.”

“Who wears a bum bag these days?” asks Emily.

“Get with the times, Emily,” I say. “They’re peak fashion.”

“We light up, and she starts telling me about how her ex fronts this Welsh language band. They’re playing at Radicals this week and I should totally go with her. So, I start making out with her, y’know, just to shut her up really. But things get a little heated, and then she gets down on her knees in between my legs.”

“Ew!” Emily pulls a face. “I didn’t think you were actually going to tell us all about your hook up.” She shakes her head. “Right there in the graveyard? Men are gross.”

“Hey, she initiated that all by herself. What was I gonna do, stop her?”

“Has he told you his theory?” I ask. “Go on, tell her your theory.”

“Stop encouraging him, Harry.”

Hassan leans forward conspiratorially. “Everyone thinks guys are more dirty minded than girls, right? Well, I reckon it’s the opposite. Centuries of oppression from Abrahamic religions has forced them to repress their sexuality until it’s this little dark ball of perversion. Normally you all hide it really well, but every now and then it bursts out and you find yourself giving head to a stranger six feet above a corpse.”

“Remind me why we hang out with you?” asks Emily.

“Oh! I’ve just remembered why I was telling you the story.”

“You mean it wasn’t just to show off about some girl gnoshing you next to a tombstone?” I ask.

“No. Well, partly. I saw your mum.”

My smile vanishes. Emily maintains her steady look of disgust.

“What do you mean you saw our mum?” I ask.

“I looked up and saw your mum. She was kinda see through and glowy and I couldn’t see much of a face, but I’m pretty sure it was your parent’s grave she was floating over.”

“Pretty sure or definite?”

“I recognised it from the funeral.”

“Did it have their names on it?”

“Oh yeah. That too.” He smacks his lips. “I’m thirsty. Another round?” He gets up and wanders off to the bar.

Emily looks at me urgently and places a hand on my arm. “Harry. Don’t.”

“I have to.”

“He’s talking crap.”

“I need to make sure.”

“Hassan hasn’t been sober for more than five minutes his entire life. It wasn’t our mother’s fucking ghost voyeuring him. It was probably just a plastic carrier bag floating in the wind.”

I shake my head. “If he did actually see her, it means…”

Emily sighs. “It means you aren’t hallucinating.”

I nod. “Exactly.”

She leans back in her seat, defeated. “At least wait until the morning. Go when you’re sober.”

“I’ll ask dad what he thinks.”

She frowns but doesn’t disagree. We’ve had that argument too many times already.

I look at you, your pocket-sized ghost sitting on my shoulder. “What do you think dad?”