We like to make up those kinds of store names, like “Blue Jeans Etc” and “Beverages and More”, only ours are even more stupid, if you can believe that, like “Pickles & Stuff” or “Bottlecaps Galore!”. But on the subject of ghosts, I was happy to see one of my “ghost stories” garner a genuine five star review on Amazon. “Hidden HIghway” has been neck and neck in a race for worst overall rating with “Fissure Monroe”, averaging somewhere around 1.8 on Goodreads, so seeing a 5 was a bit of a shock, but a pleasant one. And here it is:
Roland and Josefa’s Ghostly Gossip Session May 22, 2013
Tom Lichtenberg has written a ghost story with imagination and quirkiness, the approach being two people smoking/drinking/eating and they gossip among themselves about the strange characters that inhabit their world of a motel. Just like the great gossip sessions you’ve attended, the flow of the book runs the same. Imagine someone telling you the characters in a soap opera, the who’s who and the what’s they done. It’s going to get complicated and under the hand of Lichtenberg, the story becomes fun with the revelations of the definite characters and the strange interrelationships. This motel is located in nowhere where nowhere people go to live, strive, and die. The nefarious activities that thrive around this end of nowhere is a ghost house supervised by the ghost witch Eugenia & the television watching and donut eating ghost Sweets. The vicious and jealous Henry watching over his hungry and horny wife Henrietta. The pimp. Potions. Hybrids. The situation is crazy and chaotic, all presented in the great gossip session of Roland and Josefa, employees at a motel found at the edge of nowhere. Hidden Highway is loads of fun with each section of gossip leading to the next and before you know it, you have a complete story, not overly long and enticing you with its charm when the world threatens to overwhelm you. As of the time of this review, the price is FREE. Consider this an invitation to Hidden Highway.
Hidden Highway is a spin-off (personal fan fiction, if you will!) of Secret Sidewalk. It follows the failed cult leader, Sharad LeMaster, as he flees from his cult members and hides away as a night clerk in a most obscure motel in the middle of Nowhere, Northern California. This attempt is foiled when a very dead witch lures him into her haunted house by tempting him with his favorite donut-loving, reality-TV-watching ghost, Beauregaard Sweet.
I’ve tiptoed around two other ghost stories. There was “The Ghost with the Really Big Tits” (included in The Mortal Hole collection) and now Jimmy Cruise, Last Chance, a sort of “dark romance”, featuring some rare adult content (rare from me, that is). My ghosts aren’t much at haunting. If they haunt at all, it’s done awkwardly and ineffectively. Usually they just hang around, bored and bewildered. The whole “ghost” idea has always struck me as too stupid for words, as ridiculous as believing in astrology or tarot cards. Ignorance can be strength, but only in an age of ignorance. It’s taking quite some time, but the movement begun (in Europe at least) with the Enlightenment is slowly but surely dragging our species out of its mental torpor. It’s too bad I won’t live to see this effort fully completed, but then again, who will?