Ruby

My house is over 100 years old, and sometimes the lights in my mom’s office flicker and the floorboards creak. She’s convinced the house is haunted by the guy who built it. His name is George Something—it’s on the plaque by the door.

One day, my mother found a small tube of hemorrhoid cream on the floor beside her bed. Nobody could explain where it came from—or at least nobody admitted to it during dinner. But I guess nobody likes discussing their hemorrhoids while they eat.

We forgot about it soon afterwards, until the next night at dinner. My mom solemnly said that she needed to say something. My dad shook his head and mouthed, “Don’t scare them.” My mom mouthed back, “OK” and said, “Never mind.” Uh, OK. That’s not worrisome. Thanks, parents.

After dinner, my mom told me that the Preparation H had reappeared in the same spot the next morning. She believed it was a ghost. She was freaked out. I sort of was, too, because I have a history of being scared of stuff like that ever since my sixth grade teacher spent an hour telling us about how ghosts are scientifically probable and showing us YouTube videos of Michael Jackson’s ghost.

Later that night, my dad, laughing, told me that he had put the Preparation H next to her bed again after taking it from the garbage. He swore me to secrecy. He planned to do it with toothpaste later that night.

He went to sleep early and placed the tube in the same spot that she had found the hemorrhoid cream. My mom noticed it and said, “What the..?!” He pretended to be asleep and didn’t mention it the next day. Neither did she.

No one mentioned anything for about a week, so my father asked my mother if her “ghost friend” was gone now. She confessed that the “ghost” had visited her again and that she was too freaked out to tell anyone. My dad asked her if she found the hemorrhoid cream.

“No, it was toothpaste,” she said.

“Where was it?”

“In the same spot, next to the bed.”

“Oh, you mean where I left it?” my father asked with a smile.

“You donkey orifice!” my mom yelled, punching him.

He said it was his biggest accomplishment, ever.

Now, my dad did do it the last two times, but how the hemorrhoid cream got there in the first place remains a mystery. Personally, I think it’s George Something punishing us for too much wallpaper. ♦