Wraith Ladies Who Lunch
by Sean Patrick Travers
Rocket Surgery Books
Some people believe death is a blacked-out oblivion, but what fun is that? Thus, we live in world were ghosts and were wolves and mutant sprits are real and everywhere, at leasing in literature and film. This zippy short story (100 pages, give or take a preface) creates a post mortems system as interesting as any I’ve run across. Ancient Egyptian spirit Tasenetnethor is still attached to her mummy which now lives in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. If some object is clearly identified with her, she remains in a shadow world where she can visit restaurants, place orders, but not eat anything or leave a tip. It’s the ultimate weight loss program – she’s down to zero grams of any sort of fat. Tasenetnethor meets at the Cheesecake Factory with Victorian spirit Christabel quarterly, and the wait staff is getting annoyed by the table of two elegant women who never eat or pay, but they still soldier on. Today they meet a newly dead commoner. While Tasenetnethor is two plus millennia, Christabel a still perky 100-something, Jack is a relative new comer, only dead a few months but still amazed he’s making the circuit. Set part in the real LA bustle, they party in their own world, they make an interesting pair as he explains his problem: Vengeful ex-wife turned his ashes into a diamond (I guess you can do that today) and now he’s bound to an unfashionable part of town for all eternity. A total SoCal problem if you ask me. Tasenetnethor has some baggage as well, it’s an old lover who remains over powering in this modern mortuary. Cooperation saves the day for Jack, leaving only the older women to carry on to the next story.
Light and breezy, this story belongs on a beach bag or a travel kit. You can stop and start as you will, and these ladies will hold still as long as you need them to as you travel, sun bathe or shop. Author Travers has a half dozen books under his belt, and his story telling mixes just enough weird with the right amount of modern self-reference to keep you entangled. My favorite line: “That remark stalled the conversation more effectively than an unmuffled fart.” Who knew the undead had gas? In paper back or electronic, this is a fun 100 pages.