Free Spirit

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Paranormal Romance

He wants to navigate the Political Highway…she wants to take the steering wheel. Does it matter that she’s no longer alive? Preston moves into a new home only to find that he is not alone...though is new "Housemate" is the ghost of a 22-year-old quasi-hippie who died in 1968. Preston is a high-flyer/Young Republican and Jane...his ethereal companion...was a card-carrying progressive and true embodiment of her time. Just how will this unlikely pairing fair as they move forward with their...eh...lives?

FREE SPIRIT

A Working Sitcom "Pitch"

LOGLINE: He wants to navigate the Political Highway…she wants to take the steering wheel. Does it matter that she’s no longer alive?

SYNOPSIS

Preston is fresh from a major career step, acting as a key political advisor to a victorious State Senator. (Ohio, Minnesota or Pennsylvania) He is now on the Senator’s staff and ready to start climbing the ladder. His first step is to buy and move into his first real house as opposed to an apartment. He purchases an older home that has been shuttered up for 30 years, feeling it is a bargain and just needs a little work.

Preston, with help from his best friend and political ally, begins the process of moving in. He soon discovers that his first home is haunted by the ghost of a 20-something quasi-hippie female who died in the house in 1968. Aside from him being alive and her being dead they are also quite opposite in many other ways as well. Jane is a left-of-center free-spirit while Preston is a certified Young Republican of 2021.

Preston doesn’t want to give up on his new home OR his political future and Jane, though she is loathe to admit it, is happy to no longer be alone after 30 years of being shuttered up. To that end they agree to put their differences aside and coexist as harmoniously as possible…an agreement which is constantly being put to the test when it comes to ideology, personality, Preston’s ambitions, the gulf between the living and the dead and Jane’s limited knowledge of the present state of the US and the world.

Preston is focused on keeping his career on the rails and turning his new home into a make-shift political HQ. Jane sees it as her mission to loosen Preston up and moderate his views. Preston’s tunnel vision and Jane’s idealistic zeal, mix in a humorous and lighthearted way, or rather, like oil and water.

PRINCIPLE CHARACTERS

Main Protagonist:  Preston Schmidt.  Age 28. Young Republican, political advisor/strategist to a newly elected State Senator. This is his “big chance” for advancement to a political career of his own. He knows the rules but often feels like a race horse whose gate stays closed. Preston has just moved into a home of his own for the first time after years of mostly apartments. He wants to do everything he can to start on his road to political office but is still somewhat naïve about the entire process.

He espouses basic, non-populist, Republican ideals; Individualism, small government, fiscal responsibility, strong defense, family/proper values, living clean and love of country. However, he often finds himself facing instances when these ideals are put “on hold” for short term gains by other party members; part of his learning “The Game.” He is constantly and humorously reminded that he is a beginner in the game and others who have been there longer, and are older, hold much more influence than he does. He wants to break through this glass ceiling but in a politically safe manner. Straddling the political fence.

Preston is also learning the joys of being a new homeowner. He is not inept; basic cleaning, laundry and cooking are nothing new to him but some things such as plumbing, wiring, pest control and physical repairs are not his strong suit. He tends to know the theory about how something is to be done but he is not so graceful in action.

Preston is not a zealot or an extremist and remains humorously lovable, often through his minor missteps and his somewhat limited knowledge of “hardball” in the world of government as opposed to just politics.

Preston too is startled by Jane’s initial appearance, though this is tempered by a “conversation” held before it is revealed that she is a ghost. His mind is never really “closed” to anything, mostly a political trait that has spilled over into his everyday life, a political desire to engage and please. This can, however, cause him to wade into circumstances where he probably should have trusted his first instincts. Preston’s fear is also tempered by the fact that he instinctively sees that Jane’s ethereal presence could possibly be of some benefit although his intentions in this vein are always benign, harmless or out of real concern.  

Preston is single. His family lives in a neighboring state, one that is often at odds with his either politically or in competition of some kind. His new home is larger than one would expect for a single man as it doubles as his political base camp. He has little interest in raising a family, his career is always first.

 

Secondary Protagonist/Light Antagonist: Jane Parkinson.  Age 22. Former “quasi-hippie” and very much a product of the 1960s left-of-center ideals, now a sentient ghost who inhabits Preston’s new home, her old home. Jane died, accidentally, in the house in on Friday November 1st 1968. She is every bit the idealist of that era but also quite intelligent. She was in her final year of college at the time and also had an active interest in politics on the left side of the spectrum. Jane was no radical or extremist, just very passionate. She was still living at home with her mother, father and younger brother at the time and was looking forward to her first chance to vote on November 5th, but was cheated out of this by her accident less than a week prior. Her powerful, prideful sense of being cheated has bound her to her old home for at least a century, a time period she continues to count down. She is a free-spirit about most things though her education tempers this. She is not above playing small pranks or “poking the bear” to get things moving the way she wants them to.

Jane is never afraid to, with the best intentions, interfere in matters that are not her own. She feels it is her “mission” as a dedicated Liberal to gently guide Preston more towards her way of thinking but in a friendly or sneaky way. Jane is often a stumbling block for Preston’s ambitions, either purposely or accidently placing him in difficult positions concerning both his career and his personal life.

Jane has been trapped in her former home since 1968 and for the last 30 years she has been cut off from everyone and everything as her home was boarded up and could not be sold until Preston purchased it at a fire-sale price.

Jane is impulsive and never afraid to speak her mind in an amusing and often over-the-top manner. Rules mean little to her other than those she can’t control, I.E. her spiritual limitations. She also has been alone for 30 years now and is glad to have a new “houseguest” (As she initially sees things) even though she is often at odds with Preston, his rigid manner of living, his political views and his career as a whole. Jane sees this, however, as a small price to pay for not being shuttered up on her own again…a feeling she tries very hard to hide from Preston.

Things post-1990 are now completely foreign to Jane and her knowledge is primarily drawn from 1946-1968. Jane mostly kept to herself between 1968 and 1979, remaining in the loft which once served as her bedroom. It was never used again and gradually reverted to attic/storage space. After her parents and brother moved out in 1979 Jane became very bitter and possessive about the house, not really wanting anyone else to occupy it and doing her best to frighten away each new set of occupants as quickly as possible.

Jane’s bitterness eventually lead to her being left alone in the home after word about it being haunted spread and no one else moved in until Preston. During this time Jane gradually mellowed and grew lonely. While her bitterness may have abated her protectiveness remains and her ideals/opinions are now heighted as a result of being pent up for so long.

Events and other major changes between 1968-1990 Jane knows only as an occasional “observer” via radio or television snippets and often her notions about them are off the mark or only correct in a partial sense. I.E. she would see chance to see Ronald Regan on television during the 80s and still think it was a “Late Movie” or learn something about what a microwave is and still see it as something akin to “The Bomb” because of radiation fears, or still expect the Mets to be a hapless, bumbling team…even though she had a strong crush on Mets pitcher, Tom Seaver. Now, everything from 1990 through today is a completely new experience…both good and bad.  

She knows nothing of how the social climate and political landscapes have changed. She only partially understands the shifting of technology from the “Hope” of the 60s to the “Gloom” of the modern, over-saturated tech environment. She marvels at the advancements but never quite grasps all of their importance and implications. I.E. the old idea of “Two-Way Television” once joked about as “not how it works” now being commonplace. She is NOT tech-savvy at all beyond 1968 standards, though she tries very hard to be, so nearly every day is now both a trying, new learning curve while simultaneously a cause for amazement. She now desperately wants to learn, socialize and “join-in” on modern tech norms and most of life in general. However, she is quite clumsy and naïve’ about the uses of most electronic devices and their possible implications if misused. As a ghost her interaction with modern technologies are limited.

With a new “houseguest” Jane is now able to move out and about for periods of time in an incorporeal state as long as she is in close proximity to Preston…or on her own for shorter periods. Depending on her proximity to Preston she can also manifest corporeally and appear as a living human being to others for periods of time, periods which almost always seem to come to an end at inopportune times.  

As Preston is the new, rightful owner of her former home Jane is, often to her consternation, somewhat at his mercy when it comes to just how much “freedom” she can have outside of her regular parameters. Within the house her limitations are far fewer. Within the house she can move about for as long as she wants incorporeally and for long periods corporeally, even when she is alone.

 

Preston’s Friend/Cheerleader:  Cedric Baldwin. African-American, Baptist, well educated and conventional. He is with Preston from the outset and has been helping him along for most of his life. He is there to help Preston move into his new home, he gave his support in a big way during the recent campaign and he genuinely feels Preston is destined for a successful career in politics. His feelings are genuine but the idea of his own advancement through Preston’s advancement is not lost on him. His motto: “With you at the wheel and me as crew chief we can do anything.” 

He is also a Young Republican though general strategy is more his talent and passion. His actual title is something akin to a glorified secretary though this puts him in an advantageous position when it comes to knowledge of political intrigues and upcoming events. He is often the conveyor of “secret” information to Preston, information he was not necessarily meant to hear but which may prove useful.  I.E. he gets word about an upcoming fundraiser dinner, its location and REAL purpose and this allows Preston to plan accordingly.

He is, at least to begin with, the only other person who knows about Jane. He reacts in a wildly comic way when they first meet…he runs out of sight.  Jane: “Where’s he going”?  Preston: “Knowing him, probably to get a cross and holy water.”  Cedric promptly runs back in, cross and water vial in hand, then begins flinging the water at Jane while attempting a very loud verbal exorcism.

He is not as comfortable with ghosts and the like as Preston and is prone to be scared or alarmed at anything even the slightest bit out of the ordinary. Ghostlike happenings always take him by surprise and he has difficulty hiding his reactions. He muddles through but always to the detriment of his nerves.

 

Preston’s Boss/Senator Howard Mitchell:  Howard is a seasoned politician, a Republican in his late 50s who took John on as a major player in his campaign as a high-risk that paid off. Somewhat pompous yet still loveable. He is now very proud of Preston and sees a great future for him…though not until his own is over. He views himself as a kind of mentor to Preston, showing him how politics works in reality, sometimes shattering some of Preston’s preconceived notions. He makes little effort to hide his own desires to keep the power he has gained but does so in a quasi-sincere way. He is not above flip-flopping if need be or taking an unusual position on a key issue if it will work in his favor.

Through all of this he is not “corrupt” just advantageous and realistic. He’s played the game before and knows the rules…but also realizes that his own time will eventually end. His treatment of Preston is akin to grooming; Both walking him through the paces while at the same time allowing him to learn some hard lessons on his own. He occasionally “arranges” for these lessons to show Preston the ropes in a realistic but controlled way. His actions are never done out of malice or with evil intentions…or at least HE doesn’t think so.

Although well versed and experienced he is prone to his own foibles, getting into tight spots and relying on Preston, Cedric, Seymour…and perhaps even Jane…to help extricate him. His gratitude is always expressed, though suitably muted.

 

Occasional Antagonist:  Seymour Humphrey. Personal Assistant to Preston’s Boss, Senator Mitchell.  Overly ambitions to a fault. Not afraid to make life miserable or as difficult as possible for Preston. He uses the guise of a pure bureaucrat as cover for outright manipulation and desire for advancement. He also tries to keep Preston at arm’s length from Senator Mitchell, though usually without success. Mostly just an annoyance. Often brings the brunt of bad luck upon himself as a result of his schemes but is too politically connected to be let go.

 

Preston’s House: A house that is larger than one single man would need; Suitable for gatherings, parties and other social events. Not ancient but upper middle-class. Built in the early 1950s or at least post-1950. Two stories, converted attic/loft and basement. It has been boarded up and unoccupied since 1990. It turns out this was because of consistent reports of “Paranormal Activity” by many of the previous owners. These previous owners are all now long gone though some of them continued to spin “ghost stories” about their time in the house via blogs and other online sources. Jane’s parents and younger brother remained in the home until 1979. From then until 1990 owners came and went frequently as Jane was not as welcoming to them as she was with her family.

Now, in the present day, most of the past rumors and talk of paranormal activity have faded, hence a renewed desire to get the house back on the market. Preston purchased the house at what is often described as a “Fire Sale” price or less than ¼ of what a comparable house in the area would cost. As a result he is able to purchase it outright with no mortgage. Thus, the house is now 100% his…as are its shortcomings.

Preston saw the home as an amazing bargain that just needs some minor TLC to be something special, befitting his personal goals and expectations; Perfect for hosting political and social events, strategy meetings and even small conferences. Preston views the home as his secondary “goal” first fixing then keeping it up and using it as his own political HQ. Despite having been “upgraded” in the late 80s and recently patched up, the home almost seems to fight back, usually at just the wrong moment.

Example: Preston has spent a tremendous amount of time and effort planning and prepping for a “Dinner and Drinks” evening with some very influential people. Just as the guests begin to arrive a previously overlooked section of aluminum wiring starts to give out, threatening to leave everyone in the dark. The lights blink a couple of times and Preston gets incredibly antsy. Jane, while keeping out of sight, discovers the wiring issue. More out of a desire to save her childhood home (Or so she would claim) Jane wedges her spiritual form into the crawlspace where the wiring is located and, using only her hands, pulls the fraying sections together, enduring shocks and jolts which only a ghost could bear. She jerry rigs the wire to hold until the evening’s events are over…then promptly pulls them apart, deliberately leaving the original issue for Preston to fix.

 The home is often an antagonist itself, especially early on, testing Preston’s abilities and patience almost as much as Jane…who finds Preston’s missteps in this regard amusing and oddly “equalizing” as the house is one of the few things she knows more about than he does. It is obvious from the start that Jane has more knowledge about how to care for and maintain a house than Preston. She is, however, pleased to see her old home being put back in shape and made “livable” again. She therefore utilizes her spiritual abilities to help out at times. I.E. looking through walls, around tight corners, through clogged pipes, threading cables through cramped spots or even touching a wire to see if it is “alive” since she can’t die twice. She attempts to give decorative advice but ultimately relents and leaves this up to Preston, save for a few small touches.

NOTE: Making the house clean and livable should take no more than 5 episodes max. Other domestic and structural issues, plumbing, wiring, leaks and so on can creep up later as hindrances to Preston’s desire to host events or entertain guests at his home. Preston is not a “handyman” and this should be made evident.

Preston’s Character Arc: In the Pilot Preston should aim just to settle in and get ready to embark on his new journey…eventually with Jane along for the ride in a strange way. Preston must make peace with Jane and endear himself to her enough to earn her trust and ease her bitterness. He needs to prove that he is not displeased at her presence and would honestly like for her to remain. He also must agree to be pragmatic about his own beliefs, fears, and opinions.

Preston wants to prove that he is far from averse to Jane’s presence. Therefore, his first “attack” in fixing up his new home is to renovate Jane’s old loft conversion bedroom in the attic area and have it fully decorated with period and political-appropriate ephemera; Record player with records he knows she would like, 1968 era radio (Invisibly augmented by an array of modern components so that programming Jane would find appealing can be delivered to her.), portable TV set (Also specially rigged to be compatible with more modern components such as internet access and streaming services aimed at 60s entertainment), rotary telephone beside her bed, Eugene McCarthy and similar posters on the wall, both paint and wallpaper trim in appropriately psychedelic colors, 1968 catalogs along with other period magazines and books, and most importantly a new guitar…Jane having badly missed her old one since 1968. This is done as a surprise and Jane is thoroughly grateful to the point of tears…and then song.

Jane’s playing and singing has a powerful effect on Preston, helping to further mellow his demeanor and increase his appreciation for Jane’s personality.

Jane’s Character arc: In the Pilot Jane should gradually reconcile herself to her new position after initially being upset by it and making half-hearted attempts at scaring Preston. She too must resign herself to some change, make the best of it, and be happy she is no longer alone. Her refurbished bedroom strikes a VERY deep, emotional chord and solidifies her view of Preston as a genuinely good…if ideologically misguided…person. Having a large, important piece of her life restored neutralizes much of her bitterness and scorn, giving her back some of her pre-idealistic and “living” personality.

Jane must also try to come to terms with the evolutions that have occurred within her own political and ideological spectrum, a process that is often fraught with humorous stumbling blocks. I.E. Jane alters one of Preston’s written speeches to include stronger language on racial equality; however, she does not realize that terms such as “Negro” are now arcane. The end result is a speech that is full of liberal enthusiasm and positive thoughts but poisoned by politically incorrect verbiage.

Mutual Character arc/Problem & Resolution: Preston and Jane must each agree (By the end of the Pilot) to go on as roommates (The situation MUST be plutonic), be adult about things, make the best of what they have and try to be friends…of a very unique sort. Reaching this compromise that both can live with is the goal they seek and the problem which must be overcome. The fact that each of them secretly feels a small sense of happiness at how things have played out is something they will later try to hide from one another… but is also a strong, underlying and motivating force.

NOTE: The Mutual Character Arc is key to setting up the foundation upon which the series is built. It will focus primarily on the interactions and reactions between Preston, Jane, Cedric, Senator Mitchell and other characters. The problems they all face, and cause for one another, and their resolutions are the driving force. Nostalgia and historical references are secondary.

PERKS

Set in the present this is a series which can easily stay fresh with little or no need of overly elaborate sets or on-location filming though this option is always open.

 

The formulas employed are tried and proven effective in previously successful series.

 

The inclusion of a “Paranormal” element opens up far more possibilities than a series solely

based in 100% reality. Disbelief can be more easily suspended.

 

The differences in time periods, 1968 and 2021, allow for a wide range of nostalgic humor, references, styles and even light satire concerning the idiosyncrasies of each.

 

The inclusion of a political element allows for a wide range of light, current satirical plotlines which can, if desired, be contrasted with similar situations from 1968.

 

The narrow focus of the series would allow for a 3 or 4 camera LIVE setup most of the time.

 

The inclusion of a time element and a character from another time allows for the occasional use of “Flashback” or “Dream” sequences without greatly diverging from the overall flow.

 

The use of both current and past references should appeal to a larger age range.

 

There is a small to medium opening for the inclusion of material which can be described as “educational.” Events of the previous 53+ years are mostly new to Jane so she will try to learn all she can. Younger viewers can learn with her, mistakes and all, without being forced into a classroom setting.

 

Ghosts can do “funny things” that human beings just can’t do. More to work with. Time and space are not nearly as restricted.

 

While rooted in Comedy the possibility for more serious or emotionally charged material is left open. I.E. Jane now feeling like a fish out of water, seeing her former ideals warped and changed over time. A political issue, debate, or policy change of some kind which forces Preston into a genuine battle with his principals. Perhaps Preston’s boss goes through a real battle with alcoholism? Jane must confront and accept the fact that her world, and her own family, have moved on and in some cases passed on. Adjusting to this causes real emotional strain at times for her. Usually this is comedic in nature but can be played as more serious.

 

Rating/Content is flexible owing to the wide spectrum of possible scenarios. It could be toned down to a “Family” show, kept as a middle-of-the road “Prime Time” sitcom for a 13+ audience, or even given more of an “Edge” to direct it more towards an audience of 17+. NOTE: The latter would allow for a wider array of topics and situations but would mean sacrificing much of the “naïve’” humor.

 

Nearly endless room for growth on both a long and short-term basis owing to the ever-changing nature of politics, society as a whole, and current events. The LIVE nature would allow for the inclusion of more topical themes.

 

The room and range for character growth in particular are both wide, once again given the present-day setting and the changes occurring in the real world.

 

The characters, being set in the real, present world, would be more endearing to the audience as the opportunity to relate to their situations is greater. Jane would be very endearing as what many people would like to think and do if they could.

 

The paranormal and light fantasy elements permit viewers who are engaged with the real world characters an opportunity to “escape” their present troubles vicariously through Jane and her antics, allowing for a flight of fantasy while keeping one foot in reality.

 

The overall theme is centered on PEOPLE, their interactions, issues and confrontations and not an overly-serious or dire set of circumstances.

 

 

SERIES OUTLINE

 

PILOT: “The Free Spirit”The election is over. Preston Schmidt’s boss, State Senator Howard Mitchell has won and Preston is suddenly a high flyer. Along with his long-time friend, Cedric, Preston enters his newly purchased home full of enthusiasm and ready to begin two new phases in his life. He and Cedric chat about how things came about. Cedric is skeptical about the house Preston has purchased, about it having been unoccupied for 30 years and old rumors of it being haunted. Preston continuously defends his actions as a smart investment in his political future. It will not only be his home but his political launching pad and headquarters.

 

While Preston and Cedric talk and joke about their upcoming careers Jane Parkinson, in an incorporeal form, occasionally pokes her head into the room. She alternately frowns and scowls at what she hears. Cedric leaves and Preston begins to relax on a sleeping bag, looking about the vacant room and imagining what it could be. As he is falling asleep Jane “speaks” to him without appearing. While only half-awake Preston converses with Jane who does her best to dissuade Preston from staying in his new home.

 

When asked how he would cope with the ghosts of possibly dozens of people Preston, still not fully awake, mumbles something about getting permission to use the names from their tombstones. Jane’s frustration grows.

 

Preston eventually wakes up but continues to converse with the “unseen” Jane, thinking she must be hidden somewhere in the house and speaking to him through the vents. Unnerved that her attempts at spooking Preston are not working Jane tries to increase the malevolence of her taunts, reminding Preston that the house was supposed to be haunted and confirming it for him, claiming that she knows of it firsthand.

 

Jane’s words are neither frightening nor intimidating and Preston, rather than being afraid, is intrigued. He slowly figures out what is going on, recalling the rumors of the house being haunted. Though noticeably affected by what he has discovered his “political” instincts and well-honed people skills convince him to continue conversing with Jane just as he would any other constituent. He shows no signs of fear and makes it clear he has no intention of leaving…joking that no, true, “fiscally minded” Republican could abandon such an incredible bargain. Jane seethes. Eventually, Preston catches Jane in a verbal trap, reveals that he has deduced what she is, and that she might as well show herself so they can engage in a “diplomatic discussion”.

 

Jane, exhausted, frustrated and beaten, appears. She and Preston talk. Jane explains who she is, why she is still there and why she no longer has any desire to continue the farce of scaring people away. She has become lonely and it is a heavy blow to her pride to admit it. She also is still bitter about what has happened to her and continues to urge, though very unconvincingly, Preston to just leave as she would be better off alone. Preston is too astute a politician to believe a word of it. He senses Jane’s badly camouflaged sadness and tries his best, through humor and cautious levity, to make it clear to her that he has no problem with her being there. Jane is understandably dubious but curious about Preston’s unexpected reactions.

 

Cedric shows up again. Before he can enter Jane assumes a corporeal form so she will appear as a living human being. Cedric is confused and wonders who Jane is and why she is dressed like a flower child. After some futile conversation Jane reverts to her incorporeal, semi-transparent state. Cedric flips out, runs out of the house, and returns a few seconds later brandishing a cross and a bottle of holy water. Preston interjects and tries to calm him down but Cedric begins flinging the water at Jane and attempting a verbal exorcism. Jane, unhurt but thoroughly rebuked, verbally expresses her renewed distrust and vanishes through the ceiling.

 

Preston, annoyed at having his masterful diplomacy ruined, threatens to have Cedric excommunicated from the Republican Party for showing lack of tact and respect to a “Constituent”. Cedric, in turn, says he thinks Preston has flipped.

 

That night, Preston manages to coax Jane back into view and renews his efforts to convince her that he has no intentions of leaving, but also no aversion at all to her presence. He does his best to convince her that he would actually be honored if she would stay and take advantage of what his ownership of the house would mean for her; new freedoms, the ability to leave the house for short times as either a spirit or a human, spruced-up surroundings, and so on. He even offers to find a “friend” to act as her surrogate in future elections, casting votes for whomever she chooses.

 

Jane listens cordially, but her bitterness at what she has endured is obviously powerful. She feels he still does not REALLY understand her situation, her ideals and her distrust.

 

Preston, searching for a chink in her false-front, reminds her that she has been alone for 30 years, a ghost for 53, but that her unintended Purgatory is now over. He plays on her obvious emotional aversion to, again, being left alone. He assures her that will never happen again and tries to make her understand that he is not a right-wing-crackpot or an evil person.

 

Gradually, Jane seems persuaded, though Preston is left with the nagging feeling that he has still not entirely convinced her. He openly poses the question, asking what he can do to convince her. He attempts to interject levity by stating that he would draw the line at hallucinogens.

 

Jane, cynically, states that she will only believe what he is saying when, or if, she is truly CONVINCED that he understands her plight, her ideals, promises to reassess his OWN ideals and, most important of all, somehow make it crystal clear that he has no intentions of leaving. She woefully laments that she KNOWS these are impossible demands, pouts, and meekly promises to just keep out of Preston’s way.

 

Preston, moved by Jane’s story and words, vows to bring her out of her melancholy and convince her that he is sincere. He begins an in-depth research mission to learn as much as he can about Jane, her family, her life, her death, her personality and, most importantly, her ideals. During his searching he stumbles upon a hidden niche in the converted attic/loft area and finds a small stack of color photographs. The photos show a very different Jane than her spiritual form. A happy, light-hearted, enthusiastic young lady, full of the liberal zeal and idealism of 1968. Most importantly, he finds several photos of Jane in her bedroom…which once occupied the converted attic/loft. The full weight of just what Jane feels she has lost dawns on Preston.

 

Preston hatches a plan to earn Jane’s trust by giving something back to her which she has lost, her own bedroom. Preston next dives deep into the decorative styles, furnishings and popular culture of the late 1960s. He compares the photos of Jane’s bedroom to old catalogs, newspaper ads, yearbooks…etc. seeking out any visual and written source which could aid his plan. Preston, with great difficulty, convinces Cedric and some of their friends from the campaign, to help. He urges them to patronize every local antique store, emporium, estate sale and flea market…as well as every possible online source…to find and obtain the items and materials he needs.

 

Preston reminds Cedric about his great-uncle who was once a DJ in Cleveland from 1967-1968 and that he was so psyched about being on the radio that he kept the air checks of nearly every minute he was on. Preston says those tapes might be very useful in his plans. Cedric is more confused than ever but tells Preston that his uncle digitized the tapes LONG ago and they are his to do with as he pleased.

 

Cedric, still convinced Preston has flipped, asks why he doesn’t just buy Jane a car. Un-rattled, Preston says that he shopped around some 1968/69 adverts, just couldn’t decide between a Datsun or a Chevelle, eventually succumbed to “Dodge Fever” and gave up. Preston explains “Dodge Fever”. Cedric recommends psychoanalysis.

 

Eventually Preston has all he needs. He finally convinces Jane to join him and venture out of the house for the first time in decades. While they are out Cedric and other individuals who are “politically indebted” to Preston and Senator Mitchell transform the dusty, vacant attic/loft into a bedroom perfectly suited to a 22-year-old female college student from October 1968.

 

Preston coaxes the still-dubious-Jane up to the loft. Her entire demeanor is transformed when she sees what Preston has done. For the first time she smiles, laughs, and stares about with wide, gleeful eyes. She admires the “period” radio, TV and record player. Preston explains how they are now specially rigged up to make her feel even more at home.

 

When Jane spots a six-string guitar leaning against the bed’s headboard she is moved even further. She admits that she has missed her own guitar more than anything else. Music was very important to her, a form of escape and inspiration, something VERY near and dear to her body and soul.

 

Preston explains the photos he found and that the guitar seemed to be almost omnipresent in them. He says that he too plays and asks if she thinks she still can. Jane is hesitant but ultimately takes the guitar, sits down on her new bed, picks a few chords, and flows easily into a slow, moving, folk song. Preston, himself deeply affected by what he is seeing and hearing, is forced to sit down. Jane flows seamlessly through the song as Preston gazes on in awe, his own demeanor appearing to soften.

 

As Jane plays the final chords she is overcome with joy, beaming and crying at the same time. Preston applauds, Jane jokingly bows. She and Preston meet in the center of the room. Jane sincerely admits that she was wrong, assures Preston that she trusts him…in spite of the fact that he is an “Establishment Republican.” They each chuckle, accept the outcome, and agree that they are now, officially, roommates. Jane takes Preston into an enthusiastic embrace and spins him round on the spot, repeatedly thanking him for essentially setting her free. Preston acknowledges her gratefulness but jokingly cautions that she must be careful as he has his “conservative” reputation to think about. Jane releases Preston from her embrace, assumes a comically “proper” stance, complete with a posh expression, and declares that she wouldn’t think of it.

 

Preston asks Jane if she knows “Ballad of the Green Berets.” Jane playfully slugs him in the shoulder and gestures towards the Eugene McCarthy poster on the wall. Preston says he doubts he would sound as good. Jane shoves him playfully with open palms.

 

Jane: Now say good night Dick.

 

Preston: Goodnight Dick?

 

Jane: Good night.

 

EPISODE 2: “Welcome to the Old Neighborhood”Preston’s furniture and other personal effects begin to arrive, along with all of the new accoutrements which will make his new home what it will be. Some constituents who owe Preston a few political favors handle the heavy lifting and toting. Jane, remaining invisible, marvels at some of the electronics and minimalist furniture as it is brought in and put into place. She causes a bit of a headache and a few awkward moments for Preston by eagerly peppering him with repeated questions about just what is what. Several times Preston accidentally answers Jane aloud and the others present either misinterpret the meaning or stop and stare at him.

 

Several of Preston’s new neighbors drop by to welcome him. Jane, continuing to remain invisible, recognizes a few of them as people she knew in life, their children and grandchildren…each with their own back stories, good and bad. Finally seeing tangible evidence of just how much time has passed at first depresses Jane, especially when she sees that one of her childhood friends, now in her late 60s, grew up to be the polar opposite of what she had once been.

 

To Jane’s displeasure her old neighborhood, once a solidly blue-collar Democratic enclave, has now turned a complete 180. She learns this is largely due to the fact that many of the same families from 1968 ARE still there…but now 53 years older.

 

In an effort to lift her spirits (Play on the word) Jane attempts to interject decorating ideas for the rest of the home, voicing opinions about what should go where. Preston prevails upon her to stick to her bedroom and leave the rest of the home to him, with a few small exceptions.

 

A neighborhood youth, a 13-year-old boy named Noah, also drops by. Noah, the grandchild of a family whom Jane was not particularly fond of, knows about the home’s past reputation of being haunted and is eager to poke around. He too peppers Preston with questions as the moving is going on. He quickly becomes a thorn in Preston’s side and a general annoyance to Jane, who is forced to keep out of sight and curtail any physical or verbal interactions. Eventually Noah’s persistence gets the better of both Preston and Jane. Preston, after some debate, turns Jane loose to frighten him away…for now.

 

Senator Mitchell drops by to see how Preston is settling in. The two engage in light political banter concerning the upcoming legislative session and Preston’s role. Jane, still keeping out of sight, is not pleased at what she hears and causes the home’s interior to be flooded with “Protest” type music. Preston must explain this as some kind of electrical fluke, assuring Senator Mitchell that he has not “Flip-flopped” or joined a commune.

 

EPISODE 3: “Don’t Blow a Fuse”Preston continues to work out some of the kinks in his new home, including plumbing and wiring. It becomes obvious that far more work is needed than Preston anticipated, though he remains determined to conquer each issue himself. Jane’s persistent warnings about some of the home’s previous quirks go unheeded. Cedric and even Senator Mitchell warn Preston that the inner workings of older homes are not something he should take lightly and all urge him to spend the needed money on professionals. Preston, determined to be fiscally responsible…and preserve his pride…is unmoved. The idea of being a “Handyman” has thoroughly gone to his head.

 

Later, an old fuse box, which Jane warned often seemed to have a mind of its own, lives up to its reputation. It sparks several times and forces Preston to concede that he will need to invest in a circuit breaker and have it professionally installed to avoid a possible fire. The day ends with Preston thoroughly exhausted and also frazzled over multiple phone calls concerning issues about Senator Mitchell’s office and its “unacceptable” location within the capitol complex.

 

Preston puts the circuit breaker issue off and falls asleep. That night a small fire breaks out when a temporarily overloaded plug shorts. Jane, awake and brooding over Preston ignoring her advice and his attitude in general, discovers the fire and wakes Preston up. Roused from a deep sleep Preston practically flips out, goes into hysterics, nearly kills himself going down the steps, and then wages a brief, messy battle with a fire extinguisher...only to find that the small fire has already smoldered out.

 

Jane, all the while, hovers about and does her best to calm Preston down, assuring him the fire is small and not spreading. She can’t help but snicker at seeing Preston’s ego being dropped several pegs. While Jane keeps her calm, Preston discovers that he is not infallible when it comes to certain things and that he should have listened to Jane earlier.

 

Preston, thoroughly humbled and emotionally impressed at Jane’s devotion to her former home and his safety, vows to pay more attention to her input when it comes to domestic affairs…though he makes certain to claim “Foreign Affairs” as his purview.

 

EPISODE 4: “Hey There Party Girl”Senator Howard Mitchell is formally sworn into office and Inauguration Day for the new Republican Governor is fast approaching. Still impressed with Preston’s performance during the campaign Senator Mitchell puts Preston in charge of his own, personal swaray in honor of both occasions. Seymour Humphrey, who also works in Senator Mitchell’s office, learns about the party and tries to think of ways he could torpedo it and shift the blame to Preston.

 

Jane too learns about the party and fumes, first about the general political views of both Preston and Senator Mitchell, and then at not being invited to attend the party herself after her long isolation. Jane has intentions of inserting herself into the mix and working her magic in an attempt to sway some opinions…and puncture some egos.

 

Preston, instinctively sensing Jane’s motivations, is reluctant to agree, both because Jane is a ghost and because her eagerness to reassert her own political ideologies has been growing stronger of late. Preston tries to convince Jane that she would be hopelessly out of place and that it would be difficult to explain just WHO she was. When Jane threatens to show up anyway and interfere in a ghostly manner, Preston gives in, though he stresses it is only because he feels sorry for Jane’s extreme case of cabin fever.

 

Jane, in the corporeal guise of an “old friend” accompanies Preston to Senator Mitchell’s home and is finally introduced to the many people with whom he works, including Seymour Humphrey, who is making his OWN attempts to sabotage the evening and make Preston look bad. Cedric is alarmed to see Jane at the Party in her corporeal state and dressed in modern, formal attire. He questions Preston’s sanity, and is only calmed down after a stiff drink…of ginger ale. Cedric, regaining his composure, thanks Preston for remembering he is a Baptist.

 

Although everyone seems to like her and find her personality both intriguing and refreshing, Jane’s idealistic indignation grows with each conversation and she struggles to maintain her corporeal form…eventually losing the battle. She only JUST manages to retreat to a cloakroom with doors at each end before her temporary human form fades back to a spiritual one. In a parting shot, Jane, again stuck in her incorporeal form, spikes each punch bowl with liberal amounts of gin. The party soon grows more rowdy. Wild and sometimes even progressive opinions are suddenly voiced. Cedric and Preston avoid the spiked drinks and do what damage control they can…but not before several politically unflattering opinions are spoken aloud. Fortunately, most of the guests are left with powerful, unintended hangovers and retain little memory of the night’s events.

 

Jane later acknowledges to Preston that the doses of alcohol were, indeed, VERY “Liberal.” Preston can’t help but laugh and accept Jane’s well-played move…one he suggests she employ at a Democratic gathering in the future. Jane pokes fun at Preston, stating he would have to GO to one first. Preston concedes.

 

Preston is hard pressed to explain Jane’s disappearance. He skillfully manages to turn the tables and shifts the probable blame to Seymour, who had been in charge of procuring and inspecting the alcohol, thus neutralizing the situation. Preston and Jane agree that any of her future “appearances” are to be explained by the same “old friend” ploy.

 

EPISODE 5: “Electric Nightmares”The restoration to Preston’s new home is almost entirely complete. Senator Mitchell reminds Preston that he must soon assume his regular duties and move into his office near the State Capitol. Jane realizes that Preston will soon be gone for 8 to 9 hours each day and bemoans the fact, wondering what she is to do while he is gone. In keeping with the “Roommate” agreement, Preston and Jane divvy up the various household duties for which each will be responsible. Jane agrees but is not entirely pleased with the apportionment. She feels she is being cast more as a maid rather than a friend and roommate. She also is still unhappy at the prospect of, again, being left alone in the house for so long each day.

 

Preston suggests that she begin trying to acquaint herself with some of the “new” advances in technology apart from those camouflaged in her bedroom, especially his computer, entertainment system and video games. Jane is eager to learn about the new technologies, especially ones which will allow her to communicate with other people outside of the house, but she puts her pride aside and laments that most of it is well beyond her 1968 knowledge. Preston buoys her confidence and supplies her with what instruction manuals and “How To” books he can cobble together. Jane vows to learn them as if her life…or afterlife…depended on it.

 

The next morning Preston leaves for his first official day in his new position. Jane remains behind and quickly completes her part of the household duties. She then turns to the computer and proceeds to make just about every possible mistake along the way.She eventually manages to get online and stumbles across a social media site. Eager to converse she creates a humorous profile but then becomes engaged in a text chat with an unknown man who turns out to have amorous intentions. Jane, thoroughly revolted at whatever the man types for her, attempts to cut the chat short but loses her corporeal form mid-sentence, leaving her virtual admirer with the entirely WRONG impression. His subsequent replies move Jane to deeper revulsion. She frantically tries to type and turn the computer off but her hands go right through it. Growing more revolted by the second she yells out for it to just “Shut Down”. The voice-activation feature kicks in and the monitor goes blank.

 

Jane, relieved that the more-than-awkward conversation is over, openly bemoans that the world has not exactly turned out how she envisioned it.

 

Following Jane’s day of frustration Preston, amused at Jane’s reaction to modern openness and freedom, agrees to spend the necessary time to help her ease more gently into the 21st century. He deletes her social media profile before any damage is done. They each ponder just how Jane should proceed, and how she should explain who, and what, she is. Preston suggests they could tell people she is his private secretary. Jane says THAT will happen over her “Live body.”

 

EPISODE 6:“Minority Whipped”Senator Mitchell is picked to deliver an important speech to a largely black audience of small business owners. It is to be the first, major speech of his current term and an important opportunity for the party to strengthen its acceptance among middle-class minorities. Cedric, himself African American and well in the loop, gets wind of the upcoming speech and lets Preston know about it. Preston, also seeing this as an opportunity too good to miss, carefully plots his actions and conversations for the day, ensuring that Senator Mitchell will again pick him to craft the important speech.

 

Seymour Humphrey is thoroughly nauseated by Preston’s actions and does his best to persuade Mitchell to change his mind. Mitchell is unmoved but does assign Seymour to join forces with Preston and Cedric, whom Preston recruited, to ensure that the speech is well-crafted.

 

Cedric and Seymour join Preston at his home and, after an irritating evening of debate, changes and revisions, finally complete the speech. Jane, keeping out of sight, listens in on the “skull session”, and often seethes at the approach being taken. She is especially irked that so much emphasis is placed on political gain and not on the human issues of race. Jane waits until Preston is asleep before logging into his computer and inserting some language of her own into the speech.

 

The next morning Preston oversleeps. Pressed for time he saves the speech to a jump drive without re-reading it and is then forced to make a mad dash to the location where Senator Mitchell is to deliver his speech. Time is so short that the speech file is loaded into a teleprompter, again, without any review. Senator Mitchell is annoyed but relieved that the speech is ready. The crowd arrives; Mitchell takes the podium, and begins to read the speech as it rolls on the teleprompter. He becomes so wrapped up in his own performance that he fails to notice the use of the words “Negro”, “Colored” and “Ghetto”. Preston and Cedric, however, seem to sink into the floor a little further with each word. Seymour is confused but merely smirks, thinking this will certainly be the end of Preston’s career. A Tweet goes out which seems to spell certain doom for Mitchell.

 

The crowd, comprised mostly of black business owners in their 60s, 70s and 80s, murmurs a bit at the obvious moments but does not express anger or revulsion. They applaud in a normal fashion at the conclusion of the speech. Mitchell, still totally unaware of what has happened, smiles, acknowledges the applause, and leaves the podium to mingle with those gathered. Preston and Cedric are still too stunned to move.

 

Remarkably, the reaction from the gathered crowd is positive. Mitchell, however, goes briefly green when several members of crowd make reference to the speech’s language, its VERY positive message, and the importance of substance over labels. Some comment that it reminded them, pleasantly, of speeches they recalled from their younger days. Mitchell continues to smile and navigate his way through the situation. Tweets, Snapchats, Instagrams and other social media posts pop up, this time painting Mitchell in a positive light.

 

Mitchell, having no idea what has happened, thanks Preston, Cedric and Seymour for their work…but not-so-calmly hints that taking such chances might not be a good idea in the future. Seymour is again upset that Preston has escaped unscathed. Preston vows to politely explain the situation to Jane…and then install multiple passwords on all of his computer applications.

 

EPISODE 7:“A Night at the Movies”Her “Internet Privileges” temporarily revoked, Jane is again growing restless. She is not UN-happy, just still very eager to, somehow, someway, socialize in the modern world. Preston tries his best to assure her that she isn’t missing as much as she thinks and that 1968 was probably more exciting than the present day. Jane is having none of it and begs Preston to figure out some way she can leave the house in a corporeal state for more than just 20 or 30 minutes. Preston suggests a Republican fundraiser…Jane hits him with a pillow.

 

His own long working hours beginning to take their toll Preston relents and suggests something simple, a movie, and he just happens to know the perfect one. A new political/spy drama, set in 1967 and 1968, has just opened. Jane is gleeful, both at the subject matter and the prospect of getting out and about.

 

Early in the day Jane takes time to pick out some suitable clothing that bridges the gap between “retro” and “modern”. The result makes Jane look even lovelier than usual. Preston jokingly warns her to avoid getting pinched in a certain place…she hits him in that certain place with another pillow. Preston acknowledges that she got the location correct.

 

In the theatre all is going well. The movie is playing, Jane and Preston are eating popcorn and the crowd is none-the-wiser that a ghost is amongst them. Gradually, however, the contents of the movie begin to irritate Jane. She is not pleased at how 1967 and 1968 are being portrayed, in particular those in her age group. A round of cheesy, “hippie-speak” prompts Jane to exalt in shock and disgust, resulting in a chorus of shushes.Jane lowers her voice but protests that that was not the way things were. Preston tries to calm her down and reminds her it’s only a movie…but the 60s stereotypes continue. Finally, a derogatory line is spoken about Senators McGovern and McCarthy and their “treasonous” actions. Jane’s eyes swell and her fists clench. Sensing this, Preston stands up and edges Jane towards the aisle.

 

Just as they reach the aisle a moment of darkness in the film occurs. When light returns Jane is gone, leaving only her glove in Preston’s hand. Preston tries not to panic but knows that no good can come from this. An instant later, loud, indignant but indistinct shouting comes from the projection booth. Other loud noises suggesting a temper-tantrum follow. The image on the screen begins to flicker and pixilate before finally freezing.

 

Preston hurriedly exits the theater and enters the lobby. A moment later Jane calmly emerges from the Ladies’ room, once again corporeal, and calmly brushing her hair back. She has a look of quiet satisfaction on her face. Preston is ready to burst but Jane explains that she was invisible when she “did what she had to do” and that no one was hurt…but the projector would need replacing. Just then, a frazzled looking man, the projector operator, stumbles out of another door, looking white as a sheet. He mumbles something about “Spooks…and not the CIA kind” before staggering away.

 

Preston threatens to ring Jane’s bedroom with salt. Jane says that wouldn’t work because she’s not Catholic. Preston whispers something in Jane’s ear. Jane’s eyes again swell. She hangs her head and they slowly walk out of the theatre.

 

EPISODE 8: “Little Brother.”In Senator Mitchell’s office Preston and the rest of the staff are working on a new round of radio, television and internet ads. Cedric, still new to politics as a whole, has been charged with finding free footage online which can be used. While searching around several video upload sites he comes across one titled “Hippy Chick at Protest…Commie Activist.” Cedric eagerly clicks the link and is obviously shocked and scared by whatever he sees. He switches off his monitor and calls for Preston. Cedric shows Preston the video clip. He too is shocked.

 

The video is a good, digital transfer of what was an 8mm home movie. On the screen a group of young protesters carrying anti-war signs move around the State Capitol grounds. Jane appears and remains the center of attention for most of the video. Her actions and attire VERY much reflect the stereotypical vision of the 60s. Preston takes the mouse from Cedric and checks the name of the uploader. He then looks at other videos uploaded by the same person. All show Jane in 60s-esque settings and have similar, unflattering titles.

 

Preston and Cedric debate what to do, ultimately deciding that Jane has to be told as she may be the only one who might know the person who uploaded the material. When shone the video Jane is also horrified, but mostly at the titles. She is angry that they seem to paint her actions in a comedic and frivolous light. She also is VERY upset that someone is making money off of her images and actions. Preston interjects that the video ALSO might prove to be a problem if Jane is recognized.

Jane remembers the films but says her parents took them and that they left the house with them in 1979. Preston again examines the name of the uploader. He searches around online and makes a disquieting discovery…the “uploader” is Jane’s younger brother, Peter, whom Preston learns still lives nearby. Jane is understandably shocked when she learns this. She reveals that she and her brother, 12 years her junior, never got along very well but that THIS was more than she thought possible.

 

Preston reveals that he knows where Peter lives. Jane makes an instant and momentous decision; she must confront Peter in person, or, in-ghost. Preston and Cedric argue against it but Jane’s mind is made up. Preston takes Jane to the residence listed as Peter’s. Jane, wearing a large pair of dark glasses and her hair up, knocks on the door and is greeted by Peter, now an opportunistic, free-lance videographer in his early 60s. After some brief, inane conversation, Jane removes her glasses and allows her hair to fall. Peter nearly faints. Jane allows her form to become incorporeal. Peter is at first shocked and scared…but then moved. Unexpectedly he rushes towards Jane and tries to hug her but she is still incorporeal.

 

Jane manifests and Peter completes his hug. Jane, taken aback by his brotherly reaction but still angry, demands that Peter remove the videos, which he does. Peter promises to return all of the family’s original 8mm films to Jane. Jane explains the situation to Peter who, in turn, recounts his own, difficult life, after 1979. Jane, mostly convinced of his own troubled past, swears Peter to secrecy but does allow that he need not be a stranger as they are still, technically, family. Peter asks about a horror movie deal…Jane hits him with her purse…but then laughs.

 

NOTE: Peter Parkinson can now be a regular, recurring character.

 

EPISODE 9: “The Ghost Hunter”Noah, the nosy “Ghost Hunting” boy from the neighborhood is back and he has a new arsenal of electronic weapons designed to seek out and detect the paranormal. Noah doesn’t hold back, he makes it clear to Preston that he KNOWS his home is haunted, he’s read the accounts of previous owners, and that he intends to prove it. Preston, mostly unfazed, reminds him of what happened the last time he tried. Preston almost taunts him, never denying there is a ghost in his home, but essentially daring Noah to try and prove anything…especially from the outside.

 

Noah vows to inspect the inside. Preston reminds him of the punishment for trespassing. Noah, equally unfazed, reminds Preston that trespassing is impossible if a door is unlocked. This time Preston is a little shaken…and Noah can see it.

 

Preston warns Jane about their 13-year-old “problem” and cautions her to only leave the home thru the front door in a corporeal form in the event of an ABSOLUTE emergency…like Election Day. Jane, amused but getting the message, promises to comply. For the next few days both Jane and Preston observe Noah skulking about on the sidewalk in front of the home and just beyond the fence in the backyard. Each time he is holding some new, electronic gadget. Jane is amused and actually impressed by his persistence and having a mind open to the idea of ghosts and spirits. She jokes that in 1968 someone acting as he was would have been considered crazy. Preston, lamenting that change is not always a good thing, remains worried. He rationalizes that he and Jane need to better “legitimize” their living arrangement…or at least invent a story to explain it.

 

Jane, finding the answer childishly simple, states that she is just Preston’s tenant/friend who lives in a one-room converted attic/loft. Preston agrees. Jane adds that they might as well give Noah his “chance” at their home on their terms rather than by accident. Preston senses a plan in Jane’s suggestion. Jane doesn’t deny it.

 

Preston confronts Noah on the sidewalk and tells him that if he is so sure the house is haunted he might as well try and prove it. Noah jumps at the chance. A short time later he shows up with a cardboard box filled with his “ghost hunting” gear. Jane, in corporeal form, greats him at the door, introduces herself as Preston’s tenant, and lets him in. Jane, again, is actually impressed at Noah’s intelligence, methodic nature and “conspiracy theory” mind. He eagerly explains to her what he thinks, what he is going to do, how his going to do it and what he expects to find. Jane, playfully feigning deep interest, asks if she can help.

 

Noah agrees. Jane then proceeds to lead Preston on, innocently putting him on the trail of one “clue” after another…each of which turn out to have simple, rational explanations. A dripping faucet, a paperclip in the vent, a drafty crack in one of the floorboards and a silver wear drawer that rattles when cars over a certain size drive by. Noah becomes discouraged and Jane genuinely feels sorry for him. She conjures up a few simple and ambiguous “occurrences”. Noah’s appetite is whetted. Jane plays along and asks if she’s safe in the house. Noah assures her that the “entity” is harmless and probably even friendly. Jane smiles, secretly complimented at what she has heard. Noah leaves but promises he’ll be back to help and investigate further.

 

Jane, pleased with her performance as a “2021 human being” fills Preston in on the day’s events. They then begin to plot what to do when Noah returns. Jane suggests lunch. Preston suggests a switch.

 

EPISODE 10: “Crisis”Senator Howard Mitchell’s office is facing a serious dilemma. One of their former campaign workers, now a well-respected advisor in the Senator’s office, has been accused of criminal wrongdoing during the campaign. Frank Newbery, a good friend of both Preston and Cedric, is alleged by a campaign worker for the other candidate of working both sides of the donation circuit…and even pocketing some of it himself. No one else in the office is in danger but the allegations are serious enough to put Frank’s position in serious jeopardy.

 

The accuser claims to have documentation to prove his claims, but he refuses to reveal it until guarantees of his own safety are made.

 

Preston, fully convinced of Frank’s innocence, smells a rat. His instincts tell him that the accuser is blowing smoke, that there are no damning documents, and that the whole affair is just a smear/revenge ploy…but a good one. Preston knows the accuser as well; they went to the same college. He knows the man is smart, cunning and well-versed in the ancient art of “Political Intelligence”…though he still maintains that the very phrase is an oxymoron.

 

Now, Preston is faced with a dilemma of his own. He knows without doubt that if he could just get into the accuser’s office and search certain files he could find what he needs to both clear Frank and turn the tables on the accuser. Preston knows that Jane would have no trouble in carrying out such a mission…but asking her to do so might ruin their friendship forever.

 

Preston approaches Jane with great caution and full candor. He explains what has happened, swears that his good friend is being framed by an opportunistic politician, and that she COULD help make all the difference…but that the choice must be hers. Jane is, at first, horrified at the very notion. The “opposition” candidate was a Democrat. Preston then drops the bombshell…so is his friend, the ONLY Democrat in Senator Mitchell’s group, which is what makes him such a valuable…and respected…member. Preston then reveals what he knows of the accuser’s own past.Far worse.

 

Jane mulls it over and agrees, with one caveat; her “mission” is to find whatever she can find, even if it turns out to implicate rather than exonerate Frank. Preston agrees and jokes that they are now about to commit their own brand of “Watergate.” Jane, a ghost in 1973 and 74, only vaguely recalls hearing the phrase on television, yet it still does not register as a compliment. She adds that she refuses to be compared to “whoever Gordon Liddy was.” Preston suggests Martha Mitchell. Jane threatens Preston with her own brand of “bugs”.

 

In a scene straight out of a bad spy movie Preston and Jane plan and execute their “infiltration” of the accuser’s office. Simply, Preston tells Jane where to go and what to look for. He drives her to the accuser’s office and parks on the side opposite the main doors. Jane, taking care to wear a wig, glasses and a “Spy” type overcoat, goes in as a ghost, manifests in the accuser’s office, conducts her search, finds what she is looking for, and prepares to return to an incorporeal state….just as a security guard opens the office door. Jane is caught with a very strange look on her face, like a child with her hand in the cookie jar.

 

The guard takes Jane into custody, places a pair of handcuffs on her and radios for backup. Jane thinks fast. She pretends to “confess” and offer the guard a chance at real fame. She lies and says that her “accomplice”, the real “brains” of the operation, is located in a certain place…about as far away from Preston as possible…but that he’d better move quick as her “accomplice” has been ordered to “bug out” after a certain amount of time.

 

Flushed with visions of fame, the guard latches Jane to a nearby pipe, radios again for someone to report to his present location, and then takes off. Jane wastes no time. She becomes incorporeal, allowing the handcuffs to fall away, utilizes all of her energy to pick up the papers while remaining invisible, hovers down through four solid levels, removes her wig, glasses and overcoat, tosses them in the nearest trash can, and flies back to Preston.

The news the following morning is comical. The guard who “captured” and then “lost” Jane has been dismissed and recommended for psychiatric evaluation given his description of the events. The accuser, when he learned of the intrusion, flew off into such a tirade that he gave his deception away during a television interview. The papers Jane obtained, left by her and Preston on Senator Mitchell’s doorstep, seal things up. The news reports that the State Democratic Party has now been shaken by its own scandal and is reeling as a result. Preston does his best to console Jane after this last bit is read.

 

EPISODE 11:“The Missed Miracle Mets”.Spring training is about to start. It is announced that Senator Mitchell is to stand beside the new Governor when he throws out the first pitch on Opening Day. The Senator gives each member of his staff two tickets. Preston later agrees to take Jane along with him. Jane reveals that during the 1960s she rooted heavily for the hapless New York Mets…and had a serious crush on Tom Seaver. Preston openly laments that had Jane lived one more year she would have witnessed the “Miracle Mets of 1969.” He soon wishes he had said nothing.

 

Jane’s feelings of having been cruelly cheated by life, which had almost entirely subsided, flare up to twice what they were before. She again rants about having missed out on her first chance to vote and NOW at having been cheated out of seeing her favorite team…and crush…win the World Series. Preston tries to ease her anger by reminding her that she can watch all five games on her special television set, listen to every radio broadcast on her special radio, and even watch the official films of the entire 1969 season on their large television. He even offers to buy her an autographed set of baseball cards commemorating the 1969 team. Nothing works. Jane, her indignation in full bloom, demands that she be taken to Opening Day in New York where she can meet the surviving members of the team and see a real game for the first time in 53 years.

 

Preston is again between a rock and a hard place; who does he disappoint, Jane or Senator Mitchell? Jane simplifies the matter by asking him who could do more “damage” to his life and career if “She” were angered. Harnessing every bit of his political charm Preston convinces Senator Mitchell that he simply can’t avoid a previous engagement on Opening Day. Subtle hints that a woman is involved are enough to sway Senator Mitchell.

 

Jane and Preston travel to New York for Opening Day. Jane is upset to see that Shea Stadium is gone but more than a little giddy when she visits the Mets’ Hall of Fame and Museum at the new stadium. To the wonder and delight of many other patrons Jane vividly and humorously recalls some of the antics of the early Mets teams. She manages to attract a fairly large crowd. To many, including former team members, it almost sounds like she had been there yet her age leaves them all confounded.

 

Jane, eagerly engaging with the crowd of like-minded fans, begins to sing the original Mets theme song. The crowd around her loves it and joins in. Jane, fully taken by the moment, moves and gesticulates with the jingle’s rhythm.The entire crowd applauds when she finishes.

 

Preston becomes worried that Jane’s free spirited attitude and attention is going to give her secret away. Instead, the former players and current management conclude that she is obviously the biggest “young” Mets fan ever. She and Preston are subsequently given the VIP treatment including free refreshments, a visit to the team locker room, front row seats along the first base line, and a large photo of the 1969 team…autographed by every player. Jane is in 7th heaven; Preston is afraid they are headed elsewhere.

 

During the game, Preston and Jane are seated beside (Insert Famous 1969 player here, ideally Nolan Ryan or Jerry Koosman). Jane again impresses him with her warehouse of knowledge…almost to the point of embarrassment on certain facts that he would just as soon forget. Unfortunately, the television cameras pay special attention to the row where Jane and Preston are seated and Seymour later shows video of them at the game to Senator Mitchell. Preston is afraid he is in deep trouble but Senator Mitchell instead congratulates him on his ingenuity and good taste in women.

 

Jane’s feelings of being cheated are extinguished again. The autographed poster, along with another “memorial” poster to Tom Seaver, soon grace a wall in Jane’s bedroom. Preston, meanwhile, frets over how he can continue to explain Jane’s presence, who she is and why she is always around. More and more people know “her” but not who “she” is.

 

EPISODE 12:“Subterranean Spirits”.Although pleased with how his new home has turned out, Preston is feeling hemmed in and plagued by a desire to have a space of his own, apart from the areas he keeps up in furtherance of his career. Jane, pleased with the living arrangements Preston created for her, suggests that he do the same thing for himself…in the basement. Preston recalls the articles and catalogs he read while researching the décor for Jane’s bedroom and remembers that he was drawn to the depictions of basements being refurbished into Recreation Rooms.

 

Preston reviews the many catalogs, home guides and hobby booklets from 1968 and decides that is the way to go. The layout and décor are suitably “conservative” in their basic form yet adaptable to modern conveniences as well. He plans a room with wood-paneled walls, track lighting, a built-in bar, fireplace extension, and many other “manly” things from the era. There is just one problem, the old basement has terrible drainage and is prone to standing water. New pipes, drains and a sump pump will need to be installed. This means breaking through the foundation.

 

Preston’s desire to be a “Handyman” returns and he obtains the materials needed to begin the process. He rents a pneumatic drill and, much to Jane and Cedric’s amazement, pierces the foundation with no trouble. However, that same night, Preston is plagued by an unnerving series of paranormal incidents. He at first suspects Jane and leaves his room to scold her…only to meet her in the upstairs hallway and learn that she too was plagued by the same phenomenon. Jane, for the first time, is scared. She knows next to nothing about “other” types of hauntings and ghosts but feels certain that Preston’s work in the basement has stirred something up, something older and stronger. Her suggestion on how to resolve the matter is unexpected; she recommends that Preston enlist the local “Ghost Hunter”, Noah, to investigate things.

 

Preston is at first more than reluctant, however, another night of even more bizarre occurrences changes his mind. As they seemed to have bonded last time, Preston suggests that Jane lure Noah back for another on-site investigation. Jane has little trouble convincing Noah to come back and look into things. Toting all of his electronic gadgetry Noah returns to Preston’s home and pokes around in the basement. His equipment goes crazy, registering readings that are off the scale. He declares that THESE spirits are not the same one or ones he detected before and that they are not quite so benign but seem to have an ax to grind. Noah searches around online and unearths some curious facts about the neighborhood during the early 20th century, facts which all but confirm just what and who has been disturbed.

 

The land, during the 1910s and 1920s was home to a small “village” of modest dwellings which housed workers from a nearby factory, blue-collar, union minded workers. Jane makes contact with one of the spirits during the day while Preston is at work. The spirit tells Jane that many of the workers who died on site have bonded together into their own “union” and do not take kindly to Preston’s less-than-progressive ideas about labor.This explains why they never made their presence known during the time Jane’s family, or any of the subsequent owners, occupied the house. Jane, swelled with amusement at the revelations, confronts Preston with the news.

 

Preston is forced to again swallow his pride and meet with one of the other ghosts, Jonathan Kirkpatrick, in a “bargaining session.” Preston, in return for no further hauntings, promises to take a somewhat more moderate stance on labor relations. Exuding the same sincerity he imparted to Jane, Preston convinces the 1910s era spirit of his honesty and promises to use “union labor” for his basement renovations. Jonathan, the head “union representative”, agrees.

 

Jane interjects and offers that Preston will ALSO take a much firmer stand on things like ecology, gun control and industrial pollution. Jonathan, from a time LONG before Jane’s, looks at her with a puzzled expression before declaring that she is “strange.” Preston chuckles, realizing that he is dealing with what would later be called a “Reagan Democrat.” He seizes the moment and promises other things…things that he knows will appeal to the other spirits but be anathema to Jane. He proposes defense contracts, more and bigger factories along with a greater emphasis on “Buying American.” Jonathan is more than pleased and declares that they now have a binding and mutual contract and that Preston may call on him if needed but he and the others will otherwise be totally silent. Jonathan’s spirit departs.

 

Jane, though miffed that her more progressive ideas were rebuked, is overjoyed at Preston’s willingness to be flexible with his convictions. Preston on the other hand is worried at just how he is to go about turning Senator Mitchell into the “Worker’s Friend.” Jane suggests an AFL-CIO membership. Preston assures her this would mean his OWN expulsion from the Republican party. She jokingly repeats the suggestion.

 

EPISODE 13:“Jane Parkinson; Ghost Hostess”.Once the basement is fully renovated Preston decides it is time for him to host a modest party of his own for former campaign workers, their families, and some other mid-level local party representatives…along with a few perspective “financial backers.” Knowing ahead of time that Jane’s initial reaction is likely to be less-than-enthusiastic, Preston breaks the news to her in a manner designed to appear flattering. Jane plays along at first but soon makes her obvious displeasure…but reluctant acceptance…known. Hoping to keep her occupied and feeling useful Preston suggests that Jane oversee the planning, theme and activities for the evening. He even gives his own begrudging consent for her to “host” and feel free to speak her mind as she sees fit…within reason.

 

Jane, doing her best to show that she too can be flexible and tolerant, agrees and sets about planning an evening which will equally straddle 1968 and 2021 in every way. Colors are to be bright and vibrant…but not psychedelic. Music is to be from the 1960s…but more “Ferente & Teicher” rather than “Peter, Paul and Mary.”Martinis and wine are to be served…but frozen daiquiris and Rob Roys will not be absent. Jane promises to wear a suitable evening dress but insists that it will still be flower-print. Feeling it is the best deal he can hope to negotiate without causing a war Preston also agrees.

 

Jane enlists Cedric to help her in obtaining the necessary materials and get the house ready for the guests. Cedric, still leery of Jane’s ethereal nature, is not very sure-footed while decorating, causing almost as much trouble as Preston would have expected from Jane. Gradually Jane convinces Cedric that she is not the Devil incarnate and they eventually get things together. Jane dawns her “compromise” evening dress and greats the guests as they arrive, sticking to the cover-story that she is a long-time, childhood friend of Preston’s. She drops a line or two about them having been “spirited” members of the debate team…on opposite sides.

 

All starts off well, however, just as the time to begin the evening’s festivities is approaching Jane smells something odd in the air. Her ghost senses guide her to a crawlspace on the second floor where she finds an old, overlooked section of aluminum wiring smoldering and on the verge of giving out. Seconds after her discovery the lights in the house blink several times and then stabilize. Jane, caught between her promise to help with the party and her desire to protect her old home, wages a brief battle with both sides of her nature. Another round of flickering. Preston and Cedric do their best to remain calm and attribute the issue to neighborhood construction. Inwardly, they are panicking.

 

Jane makes up her mind, becomes incorporeal, and levitates her body length-wise into the cramped crawlspace before assuming a very uncomfortable corporeal state. Knowing that she can’t die twice Jane grips each end of the wire with one hand. The shock to her body is evident and comical. Wincing and jolting in pain she pulls the frayed ends of the wire together, removes a large metal pin from her dress and presses it into place, just enough to keep the current flowing. Jane releases the pin and the surging of electricity through her body abates, causing her to flicker in and out her corporeal state. Jane is, effectively, “drained.”

 

Her dress singed, her faced blackened and her other pieces of metallic jewelry seared solid black, Jane manages to extricate herself from the crawlspace and immediately retreats to the safety of her bedroom. Irritated at what she has gone through she cleans her face and hands, dawns a FAR more adventurous dress, pins a “Peace” button to it, and then confidently makes her way back down to the party.

 

Preston and Cedric are dumbfounded at Jane’s change of styles but the rest of the guests find her new appearance both amusing and appropriate for someone with her personality. Jane spends the rest of the evening artfully mingling and missing no opportunity to politely drop bits and pieces of her differing ideology. She does, however, continue the duties expected of an attentive hostess. The guests later depart, thoroughly pleased with both Jane and the evening in general.

 

Once everyone is gone Preston begins to berate Jane, demanding to know why she suddenly shifted gears and again turned into a grown-up flower child. Jane does not stand for this. Frustrated and obviously haggard at what she has been through during the evening she loudly fills Preston in on what happened, what she did, how she saved his evening, his home and possibly his life and how he can now deal with the problem himself. Jane vanishes. Seconds later all power in the house goes out. Jane reappears and hands Preston two small sections of aluminum wiring, congratulating him on another opportunity to show just what an excellent “Handyman” he can be.

 

Preston, again humbled and thoroughly beaten, thanks Jane for her loyalty and actions…then dials the local Electrical Union on his cell phone.

 

EPISODE 14: “Don’t Eat the Brown Pills”Preston, again, has said more about events after Jane’s death than he should have. During a “jam session” with her and Cedric he makes an offhand remark about Woodstock and how Jane would have fit in perfectly. Jane’s indignation again swells as she is not only miffed at having missed out on Woodstock but at having not attended a single concert since 1967 and that she is overdue. Having learned his lesson Preston sympathizes and pretends to agree. To pacify her further he promises to “fix” the problem at some point.

 

Unknown to Preston a music festival with a 60s era theme is scheduled to take place not far away in a week. He and Jane learn of this one morning while the local news in on. Preston nearly chokes on a piece of toast as the announcement is made. Jane, more than overjoyed, jumps up and down in glee, hugs Preston, and thanks him for having made his “promise.” Preston is obviously not pleased but takes some solace in the fact that the concert is not a modern one and will likely NOT attract a wild or politically active crowd. He reasserts that he will keep his promise.

 

Jane, like a child the week before Christmas, begins planning for the event. She goes back and forth about how she will dress and what she will take. Preston is displeased when she makes it clear the HE too will have to “dress the part” and look like someone from 1968. Dreading the whole thing he mournfully suggests Spiro Agnew. Jane pretends to strangle him with her love beads. Jane takes some pity and selects attire that is a “compromise”…period-appropriate but not counter-culture. Preston insists on a tie and instantly regrets it when Jane produces a wild, wide, multicolored ascot with large Peace emblems. Preston agrees and then vows to keep his mouth shut.

 

Preston and Jane attend the festival. The crowd is composed of people from their late 20s to early 70s. The atmosphere is more like a carnival rather than a rock concert. Jane seems happier than ever. Preston looks and feels like a fish WAY out of water. Jane easily engages total strangers in conversation and bursts of song. Preston constantly takes a few steps back, at one point deliberately speaking Spanish when an overly-flirtatious “hippie” woman in her 60s tries to engage him in conversation.

 

Preston endures and eventually suggests that he get something to eat before the main concert starts. Jane accompanies him to a makeshift concession stand table. Jane comments that it will take up a lot of energy but that she CAN drink at times. Preston cautions no alcohol. Jane, insulted at the idea, orders a large ice tea and reminds Preston that…somewhat to her displeasure…no alcohol or drugs are permitted. Preston leaves the table to get his food and Jane’s drink. Another concert goer bumps into Preston on his way back to the table, accidentally dropping a brown capsule into Jane’s tea. Preston does not notice this.

 

Jane drinks her tea without a care. At first, nothing happens. A short time later Preston and Jane are walking towards the seating area for the concert stage. Jane takes a misstep and nearly falls. Preston catches her and is concerned. Jane waves off his concerns, stating that she is just a little tired from remaining corporeal for so long but that it will pass once they sit down. Her voice, however, is noticeably different, higher in pitch and laced with more giggles.

 

The effects of the pill begin to manifest. Jane becomes noticeably more “happy”, flirtatious, and outspoken. Preston has trouble keeping her “reeled in”. When the music starts Jane begins to dance about, humming and “wooing” the entire time. Preston tries to grab her but most of the crowd rises up at the same time and Jane slips away. Preston is knocked backwards and it takes him a few seconds to regain his composure.

 

He searches around for Jane, having a number of comical interactions along the way. The crowd suddenly begins to roar in laughter and applause. Preston instinctively turns towards the stage. To his horror, Jane has joined the band on the stage, dancing around and greeting each member in a very friendly manner. The flashing lights are also causing Jane to slip in and out of her corporeal form with each change of color.

 

Preston panics, makes a mad and haphazard dash through the crowd, climbs onto the stage and takes hold of Jane. She is still in an obvious daze and tries to great him in an overly-friendly manner as well…just before going limp into his arms. Preston smiles in embarrassment, hurriedly says his apologies to the band and the crowd, and pulls Jane backstage. Both the band and crowd applaud as he does so. Jane slips into an incorporeal state just as she and Preston are out of sight. Trying to look as normal as possible Preston guides Jane away and back to the car.

 

Later, Jane is lying in her bed with a pillow wrapped around her ears and a thermometer in her mouth. Preston is standing nearby with a pot of boiling “something”. Preston glances at the thermometer and notes that it reads 58.5. Jane mumbles “normal.” Preston jokingly remarks that he didn’t know ghosts could get hangovers…from drugs OR alcohol. Jane spits out the thermometer and loudly protests that she didn’t take anything. Her scream inflames her pain. She grips the pillow on each side of her head, groans, and leans back. Jane says she has a confession to make, something that no “card-carrying” activist from 1968 should admit; she has never taken an elicit substance in her life and has…or had…no intensions of starting in the after-life. Preston believes her. He says he deduced that her tea must have been laced with something as he saw a bit on the news about similar things happening to other people at the festival. He states that he is just glad she’s ok and not in jail as posting bail might have proven problematic.Jane, realizing the seriousness of what he said, vows never to make such a fool of herself again. Preston says he’ll believe it when he sees it.

 

EPISODE 15:“What’s in a Name?”Preston concludes that it is too dangerous for Jane to continue interacting with non-ghosts without some basic safety measures such as a name and some kind of identification. Jane at first suggests she just use her real name. Preston laments that even though she only lived from 1946 until 1968 her vital statistics were likely still in many systems…not to mention written for all to see on her headstone. Jane suggests just shortening her name to “Jane Parks.” Preston agrees but still laments that in the modern age just having a name and even a fake identification card isn’t enough. He hates the idea, but he feels he will need to hire someone to create a credible fake identity for her, one that will hold up under at least moderate scrutiny.

 

Jane understands but is saddened by the idea of having to give up who she is and was. Preston

consoles her, reminding her that it will be little more than a game, that she will always be who she is, but that it’s necessity if she is to continue with any kind of social life. He reminds her that had she been arrested and taken to jail after the incident at the music festival claiming to be a 75-year-old flower child who had been dead for 53 years might not have gone over too well…and that any other information she were to give could be proven fake in an instant. Jane relents but insists on picking her new vital statistics and having a say in her fake “back story”.

 

Preston seeks out another old “friend” from the campaign; a person whom he knows is MORE than connected when it comes to background checks, identifying frauds, and planting political “dirt.” Preston invents a plausible story to explain Jane and promises some small political favors in return for a solid new identity. The man agrees, brushing the request off as child’s play.

 

Jane has it in mind to craft a colorful new life story for herself, however her lack of knowledge of the years between 1968 and 2021 cause most of her ideological balloons to burst. Preston patiently guides her to something realistic, noting that anything TOO flamboyant might cause people to look too closely. Jane picks her mother’s birthday, her brother’s middle name, a birth location where earlier generations of her family lived, a high school from her mother’s hometown and a modest college on the other side of the country. Jane decides she wants to increase her age to 25. Preston is hesitant about the age but Jane reminds him that as she is technically 75 it’s not much of a stretch. Preston jokes that her personality would make 15 a more believable choice. Jane takes a glass of water from Preston and pours it on his head before giggling like a schoolgirl. Preston dryly comments that his point has been proven.

 

Preston takes Jane’s “new life” to his friend who promises to begin sneaking it into various computer systems at once. He advises Preston that he will need a current photograph of Jane for a driver’s license and a slightly older photo for a college ID. Later, Preston and Cedric rig up a modest photo studio in Preston’s living room. Jane dawns modern attire and sits down to have her ID photos taken. Preston, using a good digital SLR, takes a series of photos and then reviews them. Jane’s face and hair are not in any of them. He and Cedric think the issue over. Jane appeared on television easily enough…why not now? Cedric deduces that television cameras already existed in 1968 but cameras like Preston’s didn’t and that they may have to take her picture on film.

 

Jane reminds Preston that among his other “presents” he also bought her a good quality 35mm camera and that it is in the drawer beside her bed. Preston sends Cedric out for film and Jane retrieves the camera. Cedric is gone for a while, having had trouble finding a store that still carried film. Preston loads Jane’s camera, sets her back down and takes three photos. Jane changes her attire, readjusts her hair and puts on a pair of glasses. Preston takes another 3 pictures. He comments that there are still 18 frames left. Jane suddenly appears eager, jumps up, retrieves her camera and declares that she’ll take care of it.

 

For the rest of the night and into the following day Jane totes her camera around to various photogenic locations, obviously pleased at again doing something she loved doing in life. She returns the film to Preston who locates the sole remaining 1-hour Photomat in the area and has the pictures developed. A few days later a plain, brown package arrives at Preston’s home. Inside are Jane’s new “papers”, essentially, her new “life”. She is happy with the results…until she scans down one piece of paper and sees that she has been registered as a Republican. Jane fumes. Preston laughs, welcomes her aboard and offers her a typing job in Senator Mitchell’s office. Jane smiles, asks Preston to wait where he is for just a moment, leaves the room and quickly returns with a pitcher of water. Preston, comically resigned to his fate, stands still and closes his eyes. Jane, still grinning, pushes herself up against him, yells “Sock it to Me.” and drenches them both.

 

EPISODE 16: “Puppy Love”Noah, the local 13-year-old “Ghost Hunter” has been spending an increasing amount of time at Preston’s house. Jane is happy at having someone else to talk to and finds Noah’s enthusiasm something to be commended. Preston is not so pleased, fearful that Noah has something up his sleeve and could blow Jane’s cover. Jane tries to calm his fears, stating that his gadgets don’t seem to notice her when she is corporeal and that the only other entities he is sensing must be his “Union Buddies” from 1913. Preston is not amused.

 

Preston pays a visit to Noah’s home only to discover that his mother and father are even bigger conspiracy theorists than he is. His father writes for several off-beat publications and his mother is a licensed palm reader and fortune teller. Preston is polite and manages to ingratiate himself using his political tact. Noah’s parents promise to curtail his visits for a while, noting enthusiastically that he has been picking up stronger “readings” elsewhere in the neighborhood anyway. Not certain what to make of this Preston thanks them and departs on good terms.

 

Jane pouts, upset that her one occasional visitor, aside from Cedric, whom she considers a friend will not be around as much. Preston promises it is not permanent, just long enough to give him and Jane some space. Jane replies that she has all the “space” she needs and would prefer a friend. Preston offers to introduce her to a new, ultra-conservative 23-year-old who just joined the Senator’s staff. Jane says she’d rather date a jackass…pun intended. Preston comments she can then take her pick of ALL politicians. Jane again pouts.

 

The following day a mysterious, pink envelope is found, having been slipped through the mail chute on the front door as opposed to being put in the mailbox near the street. Curiously, it is addressed to Jane. Preston comments that it must be more of her new fake identification papers. Jane opens the envelope and finds a lightly-romantic card inside. Some additional words have been added in pen and it is signed “Your Secret Admirer.”Preston, thinking Jane has done it herself, remarks that the “Secret Admirer” line is very out of date. Jane turns on him. Insulted, she declares that SHE didn’t write or send the card and asks if it’s too much to believe that someone she has met thus far might actually find her attractive. Preston backs off, takes the card and carefully examines the writing.

 

He notes that the handwriting is neat but unpolished, obviously written slowly by someone choosing their words carefully. He thinks for a moment and then comments that only SO many people actually know about the old letter chute as the screen door hides it from view. It must be someone who has been INSIDE the house. He and Jane mull over the names of various people who showed up on moving-in day and attended the recent party. There are just too many possible suspects. They agree they’ll have to wait for more evidence.

 

The next morning another pink envelope is found in the same general location. It is much like the previous one; no return address, no names, carrying a lightly romantic message and signed “Your Secret…and Lonely Admirer.” A note, pinned to the inside with a flower button, says “Look on porch.” Preston urges caution, that it might be a bomb. Jane bops his nose and looks on the front porch. She finds a glass vase full of flowers. Preston, still urging caution, takes the vase and motions for Jane to follow him into the kitchen.

 

Preston carefully places the vase in the sink, makes a remark about bomb threats against some other Senators, and turns on the water. As he is talking Preston pulls the smaller florist’s card away from the flowers but it offers no clues. He then spots a smaller, business-type card down amongst the stems, apparently dropped in by accident. He removes the card, reads it, and begins to laugh uncontrollably. Jane is confused and demands to know what is going on. Preston mumbles something about “older women” and everything being explained. Jane presses him again. Preston reads some of the words on the card; “Lakeview Paranormal Investigation Conference 2020.” Jane grasps the meaning at once.

 

Preston continues to laugh but Jane appears both worried and sad. Preston composes himself and says that it makes perfect sense as Noah is at “that age” where he is just discovering girls but still in need of a “mother figure.” Preston is a little shocked when Jane agrees. She states that it HAD been weighing on her mind that, in addition to other things, she had also been denied any chance of having a family of her own and that she had, perhaps, been unknowingly treating Noah too much like a son. Preston, now obviously ashamed at his antics, sits down beside Jane and puts as arm around her shoulder. He assures her she would have made a wonderful mother but that Noah’s present intentions were a little more serious.

 

Jane smiles, remarks that it IS still very flattering, but that she’ll have to straighten Noah out as delicately as possible, very soon, otherwise it may leave a lasting, negative impact on him. Preston, again interjecting levity, remarks that it WOULD be rather difficult to tell mom and dad that you were 13 and dating a 75-year-old ghost…though the child psychiatrists would have a field day with it.

 

Doing her best to remember what it was like to actually be admired by someone Jane calls Noah’s home. She tactfully advises him to go someplace where he can’t be heard before explaining that she is MORE than flattered but that what he wants is just impossible. Noah replies that he already has job offering from several paranormal investigation agencies and by the time he is 18 he could easily provide for both of them. Jane is amused but simply repeats that it’s just not possible. She says it will be impossible to remain friends if he continues, and she very sweetly states that she want to stay friends…and help him catch as many ghosts as possible.

 

This does the trick. Noah’s mind instantly shifts gears and he begins to tell Jane about everything he’s been finding around the neighborhood. Jane listens attentively, obviously pleased with how she handled things. Later that evening Preston asks Jane if she’d ever had to give any other admirers the “brush-off” before. She again finds the question insulting and states that she certainly did, many times. Preston asks if it was because they refused to help her put flowers in gun barrels. Jane, for the first time, doesn’t take the bait. She replies that she can see why Preston would be seeking her advice on this matter, as it was obviously something HE was unfamiliar with.

 

EPISODE 17:“Long Time no See-Thru” Out of the blue Preston gets a very strange phone call from his older sister, Maureen, who lives in the same town but on the opposite end. Preston is surprised by the call as he and Maureen have not been on the best of terms. Maureen, talking in a low whisper as though she were either scared or paranoid, tells Preston that she has a problem and that he is the only one she trusts enough to confide in. Preston, thoroughly confused, presses her. Maureen advises that she moved into a new house on a neighboring street the previous month, and she is now CONVINCED that she is either losing her mind or that her house is haunted.

 

Preston can barely keep from laughing. Maureen can apparently sense this and is not pleased. Preston apologizes, tells Maureen that wasn’t what he was laughing about, and asks her to describe what’s been happening. As she recounts her experiences Preston’s expression grows more and more “knowing”. He recognizes the “symptoms” as the same things Jane is capable of. Preston assures Maureen that he thinks he can do something about it. He gets Maureen’s new address and promises to be right over.

 

Preston fills Jane in on his sister’s call and predicament. Jane agrees that it sounds like someone, or something, in the same position she is in. Preston asks if she would, in her incorporeal state, accompany him to Maureen’s house and see if she can pick up on anything. Jane suggests that would be more in Noah’s line of work. Preston flatly refuses, reminding Jane that his ardor is still cooling, and boldly asserts that he has always believed she knew more about other ghosts and hauntings than she let on. Jane concedes that her knowledge is not vast but also not blank. She agrees to go with Preston and asks where they are going. Preston reads the address and Jane appears mildly surprised. She comments it’s a coincidence as an old friend of hers used to live there. Preston replies that is good as she might know the place better than Maureen. Jane confirms this is true and that she was in the house many times.

 

Preston and Jane drive to Maureen’s home. Jane remains incorporeal and follows Preston into the home, being careful to edge around the door and other pieces of furniture as she moves. Maureen again goes over what has been happening, indicates that she hears most things on the second floor and thinks the sounds are coming from the attic. Both Preston and Jane each smile and try not to chuckle. Preston says he’ll check it out straight away but that she’d best stay downstairs. Maureen protests that she wants to go too. Preston suddenly turns far more forceful in his tone, declares that Maureen always has to debate him but that this time he knew what he was doing…and she didn’t.

 

Jane, still invisible in Maureen, is shaken by Preston’s outburst. Preston discreetly motions for Jane to follow him and they go up to the second floor. Jane quietly asks what that was all about. Preston just mumbles “Sibling rivalry.” He and Jane reach the door to the stairs which lead up to the attic. Jane, still looking a bit nervous, hesitates. Preston urges her on, reminding her that she’s already dead and that Ghost-to-Ghost conversations are no longer considered Long Distance. Unimpressed Jane opens the door and slowly hovers up the steps into a dark, dingy but spacious attic/loft…not unlike her own.

 

Jane calls out calmly, asking if anyone is present. No answer. Jane calls out again, stating her name, and again asking if anyone is there. A soft and surprised female voice calls out from somewhere. “Jane”?Jane is surprised by this reaction but confirms that’s who is calling out and asks to whom she is speaking. The figure of a girl in her early 20s manifests a few feet in front of Jane. Her attire is not dissimilar to that which Jane usually wears.

 

Jane, very startled by the girl’s appearance, sinks through the floor up to her chest. The other ghost girl turns incorporeal, stoops down, and helps Jane back up to the floor level. Jane stares at the girl in wonderment and manages to utter the name “Jackie”? The girl smiles, almost playfully, and reminds her that it’s “Just Jack” as she was always one of the “Tomboys.” Jane is still in a near state of shock at seeing an old friend. She asks what Jackie is doing in the attic of her old home to which Jackie replies that she could ask the same thing of Jane. Jane laments that that would be a little hard to explain. Jackie, who obviously knows Jane’s quirks well, sees through her ploy and boldly states that Jane is obviously a ghost. Jane acknowledges this and asks Jackie how she knew. Jackie, amused that the answer is not coming to Jane more easily, replies that she obviously is a ghost too. Jane mumbles that the neighborhood is more haunted than she thought.

 

Jackie says she remembers Jane’s accident, that it was a terrible time for everyone and especially difficult for her. She then adds that she, unfortunately, was not long in following her. Jane is shocked but Jackie quickly calms her fears. Jackie says she died in her sleep of Carbon Monoxide poisoning in January of 1969. She had been engaged at the time and was eagerly looking forward to her wedding, perhaps too eagerly. Jane picks up the narrative, stating that she obviously felt cheated by life and her punishment was a 100 year spiritual lease on her old home. Jackie corrects her, stating it was 75 years, but aside from that, yes. Jane wonders out loud just how many other friends of theirs who had dreams and desires unwittingly signed the same lease.

 

Jackie replies that she has no idea as she too has been stuck in the same place for almost as long. She further states that she occasionally had a little fun with the “whole haunting gig”, got a few laughs out of it, but that she has mainly tried to be helpful while not being obtrusive…but is not very good at the latter part. Jackie then seems to change gears. She states that the new owner is the worst one yet and that she is actually enjoying giving her more than a few frights.

 

Jane smiles uncomfortably and advises Jackie that’s actually why she is there. Jane lays out her whole story for Jackie. Jackie says that she is on Preston’s side, that Maureen is often unbearable, even when she is alone; that she is always sad, depressed, complaining, yelling at people on the phone, and the things she says during paranormal “episodes” can’t be repeated by anyone who still considers themselves a lady. A look of comprehension crosses Jane’s face. She declares that she thinks she may know the answer but will need some time to work on it. Jane begs Jackie to curtail her haunting until she can check out her ideas. Jackie readily agrees, stating it’s great to be talking and “plotting” with her again. Jane humorously asks that they kindly not review that last part. Jane slowly sinks back down the steps and emerges into the hallway. She advises Preston that everything will stop but that she will need to explain things to him back at home.

 

Preston assures his sister that everything will be fine. He and Jane then return home where Jane fills him in on all that she has learned. Preston too comments that the neighborhood seems to be full of ghosts…then wonders aloud how many of them would still vote. Jane is not amused, says the matter is serious and that he knows it. Preston lowers his head in acknowledgment. He admits that he and his sister didn’t grow up on the best of terms…that Jane should be able to comprehend this…and have essentially been living under a “Truce” for the last 7 years. Preston says he didn’t approve of the direction Maureen took in life and vice versa and that their stubbornness had lead to a hopeless impasse. Jane explains that, according to Jackie, the rift has done serious damage to Maureen and is continuing to do so.

 

Jane explains as best she can about “negative vibes” and how they seem to affect her and therefore how they must affect Jackie. Maureen’s condition is affecting Jackie negatively too and that the only way she can alleviate the discomfort is through the little tricks that ghosts are known to play. Jane confirms that she too had to do the same thing once when a used-car salesman live in the home. Preston jokes that he, as a politician, should be keeping her in agony. Jane explains that Preston’s actions after they first met eliminated this as a problem…but for Maureen it is different. Jane assures Preston that what Maureen is really hoping for is reconciliation, that she too is lonely, that Preston can just as easily do for his sister as he did for her. Jane concludes by reminding Preston how lucky he is that he hasn’t actually LOST his family. Preston smiles, takes the point, but jokes that he doubts Jane would feel the same way if he saw Maureen’s voting record.

Preston, again, accepts Jane’s explanation and vows to act immediately. Jane adds that Preston can tell his sister about her if he thinks it might help; that she and her own “Houseguest” aren’t dangerous and she is certain Jackie would be ok with it. Preston mulls this idea over and ultimately declares they should take things one step at a time as the shock of him mending fences with her might be too much to follow up with news of double-hauntings.

 

Preston calls his sister and asks if he can come back over. She eagerly agrees. Preston leaves and drives back to his sister’s home where he declares that it’s time to burry whatever hatchets they may still be wielding. Maureen is elated and wastes no time in hugging her little brother. Up in the attic Jane and Jackie are listening in through a vent and are all smiles and giggles. Jackie states that it’s ALMOST like playing match-maker again. Jane again politely requests that they not discuss that particular topic…for now.

 

NOTE: Maureen and Jackie can now be regular, recurring characters.

 

EPISODE 18: SEASON FINALE: “Spirit of the Wildcat”During another “Ghost Hunting” expedition in Preston’s home, Noah is growing concerned over readings he is getting in the basement. He explains to Jane that they are fluctuating most of the time but, every now and then, they seem to spike. Jane asks Noah just what that means. Noah says he can’t be 100% certain but it COULD mean that something else was trying break through from somewhere. He adds that the readings were not UN-like the ones he got the first time he was in the basement; not quite as strong but more erratic, perhaps indicating just one, VERY angry entity as opposed to several mildly-miffed ones.

 

Later that evening Jane fills Preston in on Noah’s latest findings. Preston remains skeptical, noting that Noah is only 13-years-old and that he comes from a family where fear and paranoia are probably served at each meal. Jane reminds him of his accuracy thus far. Preston is brought down a peg. Jane suggests Preston call a “Union Meeting” with the spirits of the factory workers and see if they know anything. Preston flatly declines, stating he had about as much interest in attending a union meeting as he did a séance’.

 

That night, while Preston and Jane are asleep, a loud roaring noise echoes up from the basement followed by what sounds like a low, sonic boom. Preston and Jane are both roused. In the basement the spiritual form of one of the factory worker ghosts rises up through the floor, a comically maniacal look on his face. The entity rubs its hands together and declares that the time has finally come. He reaches into his pocket, pulls out a stereotypical “Little round bomb” then floats up through the ceiling, into the living room, and then out the front bay window, shattering it as he does.

 

Preston again nearly kills himself getting down the steps and mutters to himself something about getting a board fixed. Jane follows suit, levitating her way gracefully over each step. Preston declares grumpily that she is a “show off”. Jane sees the window and points it out to Preston. Preston urges Jane back upstairs, warning that there may be a burglar in the house. Jane, however, points out the glass and pieces of window frame are on the outside of the house. Preston pauses, mentally acknowledging the wisdom of Jane’s words.

 

A low, familiar voice calls out from behind Jane and Preston, lamenting that it fears they have a problem. Preston and Jane turn around and see Jonathan Kirkpatrick, the head “union representative” of the factory ghosts, hovering halfway into the living room floor. Jonathan continues, stating an “old problem” was rearing its ugly head…again. Preston, now more than a little annoyed, asks just what that means. Jonathan advises that he and Jane join him and some “others” downstairs for an emergency meeting.

 

Preston, totally flabbergasted, looks to the heavens and wonders aloud “Why me?” He laments that he’s paid his dues…not union dues but life’s dues…and only ever asked for a quiet, calm, successful career in public service…and instead he had become the de-facto “Management Representative” to a union comprised of ghosts from the 1900s. Jane hurriedly tells Preston to quit moaning and go get dressed. Preston climbs the steps slowly; his head hung low and still mumbling.

 

Later, Preston, Jane and Jonathan join 6 other factory spirits, all seated around the billiard table in the basement. Jonathan declares there’s no time for formalities or niceties and he’ll get right to the point. A rogue member of the union, an agitating troublemaker named Arthur McCleary, has broken through, vowing to wage his own “Wildcat Strike.” Preston asks what felines had to do with this. Jonathan explains that Arthur had been a border-lined revolutionary and that the years of purgatory had turned him into a full-blown Nihilist. Preston asks what the river had to do with this.

 

One of the other spirits speaks up and explains that a Nihilist seeks industrial and social action through violent means. Preston, still not fully awake, says that he and Jane’s friends should get along like peas in a pod. Jane slugs Preston in the shoulder, finally waking him up. Preston, smarting from Jane’s blow, advises he is awake and has heard everything but has no idea what HE can do; that he has no idea how to catch or exterminate an angry ghost…that he had enough trouble with his own…who was tame. Another slug from Jane. Preston rubs his arm and states that Jane knew what he meant.

 

Jonathan says the situation is serious; that Arthur’s pent up anger makes him strong, able to remain in a corporeal state for long periods of time and therefore able to converse with, hurt or even kill living human beings…which he has done in the past. Preston asks why this character is still in purgatory and not the “Other place.” Jonathan says that’s too complicated to explain but has to do with a VERY old contract with a VERY powerful boss. Preston says he thinks he’ll shut up.

 

Jonathan says that Arthur must be found and dealt with as he is capable of just about anything. Preston asks just where this guy was likely to go. Jonathan says that he would probably disguise himself comically but well enough to blend in, worm his way into the office of a non-labor politician by feigning patronage and then…boom, bang, crack…or at least one of them.

 

Preston turns white. He knows that a large, prominent portrait of Senator Mitchell is hanging beside the fireplace in the living room. He states this out loud. Jane replies that she told him she didn’t like that thing where it was. Preston reminds her that her idea was the laundry room. Jane points out that, with hindsight, her little witticism might have been a stroke of genius.

 

Jonathan implores Preston and Jane to focus on the problem at hand, that there will be time enough to resolve marital disputes later. Preston and Jane reply in unison “Marital”? Jonathan retracts, apologizes, but offers that they each do a convincing impression. Preston, eager to change the subject, repeats that his boss, Senator Mitchell, must be Arthur’s target as he would be the only one he could know by name and sight. Jonathan agrees and suggests they formulate some kind of plan, that Arthur is too prideful and arrogant to strike in an incorporeal state, that he’ll want to be in human form when he does whatever he intends to do. Preston asks if he can be hurt or stunned while corporeal. Jane interjects, saying she can answer that easily enough, and the answer is yes; while in a corporeal form she is temporarily subject to almost every human weakness except death itself.

 

Preston smashes a fist into the palm of his opposite hand and declares that they should meet Arthur on his own terms…and beat him in the same way. Jonathan asks what Preston is talking about. Preston advises Jane to tell the others what electricity does to a ghost in corporeal form.

 

The next day Jane accompanies Preston to Senator Mitchell’s office. Preston advises the others that Jane will be helping him with a few projects as an outside contractor. All nod or mumble in acknowledgment. Jane and Preston slip inside Preston’s office and shut the door behind them. Preston heaves his briefcase up onto his desk then opens it. Inside are two VERY powerful stun guns. Preston explains they’re the same kind security uses and certain staff members are permitted to carry them following the recent bomb threats. He assures Jane that it’s not like a real gun and should just knock their target out for several minutes. He reminds her of the rest of the plan; that Jonathan and the other spirits will be nearby, incorporeal, and ready to whisk Arthur away as soon as he is down. Preston reminds Jane that she is the key to the plan as she can remain in the outside hallway all day but he can’t. Jane is obviously very nervous and uncomfortable holding anything even resembling a firearm.

 

Preston comforts her, reassures her she can’t do anyone any serious harm and that the worst they would have is a 5-alarm hangover when they wake up. He reminds her that there is only 1 corridor which leads directly to Senator Mitchell’s office so if Arthur is going to approach while corporeal he will HAVE to go through there, a perfect bottle neck. Jane comments she never knew Preston was a military strategist…but was, oddly enough, actually glad that he was.

 

Preston declares it’s time to move. Jane exits Preston’s office in her corporeal state, the stun gun in her purse. Preston, who is authorized to carry one, has his on his belt. Cedric, again alarmed at seeing Jane, asks what’s going on. Preston fills him in as best he can and tells him that if things goes wrong to get the Senator out of his office by the window if necessary.

 

Seymour, having overheard, starts to sneak away in fear. Preston calls him out, advising that if he’s as loyal as claims he’ll stay and help protect the Senator. Seymour keeps sneaking away. Preston huffs in frustration and declares Seymour a “Benedict Arnold”. Seymour voices the difference between treason and self-preservation just as he enters his office and closes the door.

 

Jane leaves the office. As soon as she enters the small corridor and is alone she becomes incorporeal. She doesn’t have to wait long. Arthur, now dressed in a gaudy, stereotypical “Capitalist” suit ambles through the door at the other end of the corridor. Jane easily makes him, backs up into a corner, grabs the stun gun while keeping it in her purse, then raises her purse into a firing stance. Arthur continues to walk straight ahead, an unlit cigar clenched between his teeth. He is unable to see Jane. Just as Jane prepares to remove the stun gun the door at the other end of the corridor opens and a security guard rushes in, shouting at Arthur to stop.

 

Arthur, showing no fear at all, stops and turns to face the guard. He pompously asks if anything is wrong. Jane struggles to hold her aim as Arthur and the guard converse. The guard says something about signing in. Arthur says that won’t be necessary, as the Senator is expecting him, they have a “highly explosive” matter to discuss. Jane winces. She continues to hold her aim as Arthur and the Guard chatter. Just as the guard appears to be on the verge of getting serious Preston comes through the same door as Jane. Jane yells towards the guard, telling him to duck.

 

Preston catches on instantly and pulls his stun gun from his belt. Jane finally lets her purse drop. The two fire together. The guard leaps towards the door he came through and makes a run for it. The many prongs of each weapon have scored direct hits on a very confused looking Arthur. An instant later the current flows. Arthur Jumps and pulsates comically, eyes wide, teeth chattering and his corporeal form flashing on and off. After several seconds of current Jane and Preston release their triggers. Arthur is thoroughly stunned, singed, and his cigar is now alight.

 

An instant later the spirits of the other factory workers levitate up through the floor, take hold of Arthur’s petrified body, and descend with it, leaving only the cigar behind. Jane, still shaking a little, lowers her gun, assumes corporeal form, walks up to where Arthur had been standing and steps on the smoldering cigar, extinguishing it. She mutters something about a “bad habit.”The security guard reappears. Preston rushes up to him, boldly advises him that this never happened, he saw nothing, if anything DID happen the Senator’s own folks took care of it and it must have been a misunderstanding. Preston closes by asking if that’s confusing enough. The guard, still shaken, weakly nods in agreement. Preston gestures for him to get out of the corridor and he leaves.

 

Preston turns to Jane with an enormous grin. Jane tries to reciprocate but only gets so far. Preston applauds once, congratulating Jane and comparing her to Honey West. Jane chuckles with what strength she has before muttering “Grow up Double-O Seven.”

 

SEASON TWO

EPISODE 1: “The Beat Goes Down.”After completing another successful jam session with Preston and Cedric, Jane is swelled with enthusiasm. She exalts that they sound fantastic and that more people should be able to hear their music. Preston and Cedric are thoroughly complimented but don’t see how any additional exposure would be possible. 1. Because their rhythm guitarist and clarinet player is a ghost and 2. Because most of the 1960s songs they typically play are copyrighted until well beyond Jane’s purgatory.

 

Jane is not deterred. She brushes the reasons aside and again declares that it would be a shame and waste for their obvious musical chemistry to be confined to one room and their own ears. Preston, in a slight break of character, agrees and admits that he too thinks they indeed “make beautiful music together.” Jane pretends to gag. Preston, however, also laments that he just doesn’t see many ways around their 2 stumbling blocks. He jokingly states that they could always go incognito…and online.Again, Preston wishes he had left his argument by the side of the road as Jane is instantly enthused.

 

Preston, attempting to defuse the situation, concedes that they could easily disguise themselves but that copyright infringement is more difficult to hide. Jane declares that she knows just the song to get them around that issue. Preston hangs his head, now lamenting that he doesn’t think his career could survive him being recognized playing and singing a protest or anti-war song from the 60s. Jane grins before asserting that the song is neither anti-war nor protest though it is from the 60s. Preston moans mournfully before Jane declares “The 1860s.” Jane explains that the song is called “Cruel War”, was in the public domain even when she was still alive and was enjoying a renaissance in the years preceding her death.

 

Preston admits defeat and agrees to participate. Cedric politely…or cowardly…declines and offers to run the technical side of things. A small section of Preston’s living room is quickly transformed into a makeshift 60s-esque stage, complete with flowery pillows and colorful rugs. Jane dawns a long, auburn wig and a dress that somewhat disguises her figure. Preston dawns a quasi “mod” suit with a sharp collar and a pencil thin tie as well as a blonde wig and thick horn rimmed glasses. Once all is in place the pair renders their own version of “Cruel War” while Cedric mans the mixing table.

 

Preston wastes no time in shedding his costume, taking solace only in the fact that his own disguise is so complete that the chances of him being recognized by anyone are slim. Jane advises that her opportunistic brother would be the perfect one to do whatever is needed to make their performance viewable. Preston is hesitant but ultimately relents, hoping he can now keep as much distance between himself and their new “music video” as possible. He does, however, insist on a suitable cover name for their little act. Jane has the perfect title, “Starlight & Starbright.” Now it’s Preston’s turn to feign gagging. Jane assures him no real names will be used and she’ll threaten to cast a spell on her brother if he tries anything sneaky.

 

Preston e-mails the video to Peter Parkinson and Jane calls him up to fill him in on what is to be done. It takes Jane some time to talk Peter out of another case of get-rich-quick-itis but he eventually agrees to work some video and audio magic and then simply upload the performance to a video sharing site. By the next evening the video is up. Jane and Preston gather round the downstairs computer to watch. Both are actually impressed with the work done by Peter, giving the video a genuine “period” look and feel, complete with film scratches and lens flares. Preston even comments that they do, indeed, sound pretty good. Jane is overjoyed and notes enthusiastically that nearly a hundred people have already viewed the video.

 

The next day, however, things quickly begin to take various turns for the worse. Preston arrives at work and finds Cedric in a near panic. Cedric explains that somehow, someway, their little throwaway flight-of-fantasy has gone viral. Overnight the views have swelled from a mere 100 to well over 500,000 and were now pushing the million mark. Preston, although taken aback by the news, is not freaked out. He asks if either he or Jane have been recognized and Cedric says they have not. Preston assures Cedric that things will die down as soon as the fickle public finds another one-hit-wonder to fawn over.

 

Things, however, do NOT die down. The number of views continues to grow and multiply with many viewers commenting that they want to know just WHO the performers are and how they can send them their congratulations and best wishes. Preston keeps an eye on the growing numbers but remains confident that his disguise to too thick to be pierced.

 

That evening, however, things get worse. Preston returns home to a gleeful Jane who has gotten word of their new-found fame. Preston plays along but tries to go on with his usual routine. A knock at the front door soon brings forth a problem that neither Jane nor Preston had considered. Preston answers the door and comes face to face with a woman in her early 70s…a woman who immediately asks where Jane is.

 

Preston, his political reflexes kicking in, plays dumb and simply replies that no one named Jane lives there anymore. The woman is unmoved and declares that she just saw one of her, supposedly deceased, childhood friends on the internet not looking a day older than the last time she had seen her. Jane, in an invisible state, hovers down from her attic bedroom and watches with both fear and sadness. Cupping her hands over her mouth she sobs “Oh no, Susan.”

 

Preston parries as best he can, acknowledging that she must be referring to the online video. Susan nearly pounces and forces her way inside, declaring that she knows something is going on and she doesn’t find it remotely funny. She forcefully advise Preston that she and Jane were very close friends, that news of Jane’s death was a deep, personal shock for her…and that if she were still alive then she certainly wanted to know what was going on.

 

Preston fumbles for words. Thinking as fast as his well-trained mind will let him he admits that he knows what Susan is talking about but that she is mistaken about Jane. Preston says that he obviously knows WHO Jane is, or was, as he was now living in her old home. Hovering nearby and still invisible Jane continues to watch nervously.

 

Preston says that he, himself, did not produce the video she had seen but that he knew who the performers were…and that he HAD selected the woman in the video because she bore such a strong resemblance to Jane, whose picture he had chanced to see many times. Susan demands to know just WHO the woman is but Preston says that for legal reasons he can’t reveal her name, that she had been in disguise and wished to remain anonymous. Preston does offer that the video was actually produced by Jane’s brother, Peter. Susan cringes. Preston, sensing his opening, declares that she obviously knows him by reputation…but that this time his intentions were actually well placed and that the video was his way of paying a kind of tribute to his sister.

 

Susan’s immediate anger is arrested but she demands to hear this from Peter himself. Jane, badly shaken, nearly becomes visible and only just manages to hover back to the second floor in time. Preston assures Susan that Peter will be able to put her mind at ease. Susan, only partially satisfied, departs. As soon as she is gone Preston rushes upstairs and meets a comically frantic Jane in the hallway. Preston, not angry but eager to shore up their cover story, tells Jane that she must get in touch with Peter ASAP, fill him in on what has happened and feed HIM the cover story so he can ease the obvious anger and fear of Jane’s old friend.

 

Jane readily agrees but at the same time seems sad. She says it felt good to have her and Preston’s talent recognized by so many…and for someone whom she hadn’t seen or heard from in over 53 years to recognize her so easily. Jane openly wishes there were some way around another cover-up. Preston says that unless Jane wanted the house to be flooded by hundreds of grown-up Noahs there was not.

 

Jane, begrudgingly, again contacts her brother and fills him in on what has happened and what he has to do. He too agrees, though very reluctantly, as he knows he is now seeing yet another potential road-to-riches being permanently closed to all traffic. The next day Susan pays Peter a visit. Peter plays his part to perfection, assuring Jane’s old friend that the woman in the video was NOT actually Jane but a performer who had been chosen because she DID bear such a striking resemblance to her. Peter shows Susan the raw video given to him by Preston. This does the trick and Susan, though somewhat saddened, is convinced.

 

Preston at first insists on removing the entire video. Jane is displeased and asks both he and Peter if there is no other way. Peter gets an idea. He alters the video’s description and closing few seconds, adding lines at the end which read “In Memoriam: Jane Parkinson, 1946 – 1968. Her Spirit is Forever Free.” Jane again breaks into tears and hugs her brother tightly. Preston relents, stating that the memorial message SHOULD deter any further confusion.

 

Jane later confides in Preston that she was still finding it hard to grapple with the fact that the world, including her family and friends, had moved on and she hadn’t. Again harnessing his political skills Preston does his best to convince Jane that she needs to look more towards the future rather than her past…though he humorously concedes that is easier said than done in her unique situation. Preston quips that he knows Jane would dearly love to gather her old friends together and let them all mope over her fountain-of-youth appearance. Jane, taking the joke but feigning resentment, boldly declares she would never think of doing such a thing to her friends…though she had considered it for some of her enemies.

 

EPISODE 2:“Green-Eyed Jane.”Preston has met a girl. After nearly a decade of single-minded dedication to his career and political ideologies, Preston has met a girl. Her name is Shirley Renee’ Florence, another Young Republican who worked on the campaign for another successful State politician though at a level somewhat below Senator Mitchell. Preston is happy almost to the point of visible bliss, a fact which has not gone unnoticed by Jane…though she fears the reason is something more sinister…like an upcoming fundraiser for the NRA with free target practice.

 

Although happy Preston is unsure just how Jane will react to what he, at least, considers a joyful turn of events. He knows Jane is somewhat at his mercy when it comes to her ability to “go walk-about” either in her spiritual or human form and that increased absences on his part might not be welcomed with open arms. He therefore does his best to mention Shirley as little as possible. His best, however, quickly proves to not be enough.

 

One day while Preston is out Shirley calls his home and Jane answer the phone. Shirley is a bit surprised to hear a female voice on the other end. Jane is a little irked to hear that Preston’s “girlfriend” is calling to confirm dinner at his house the following evening. Not liking what she hears but still determined to show that she can be flexible, Jane, swallowing nearly every bit of pride she can spare…and some that she can’t…verbally introduces herself as Preston’s housekeeper and says that as far as she knows their dinner date is still on. Convinced, Shirley thanks Jane and hangs up. Mentally, Jane curses Shirley and expresses her displeasure by shattering Preston’s cordless phone against the nearest wall.

 

As expected, Preston is not pleased. He politely but firmly reprimands Jane for her childishness, reminds her that she does not have a monopoly on his life or time, and assures her that Shirley is wonderful person whom he is certain Jane would like if she would only give her half a chance. Jane is far from convinced, declaring that she has personal insight into the female mind…in case he hadn’t noticed she happened to be one…and that Preston may be setting himself up for either an enormous letdown or potentially something worse.

 

Preston, eager to keep the discussion light and free of acrimony, assures Jane that he had, indeed, noted that she was a female but that she need not worry about Shirley being anything other than a nice, friendly girl whom he liked and who just happened to like him. Jane, therefore, should squelch her little green-eyed monster and just try to be happy for him. Jane makes a comment about the Romans cheering the Christians as they were thrown in the lions. Not taking the bait, Preston declares that Shirley is more like a sweet little tabby cat…especially when she is in his lap. Jane fumes and threatens to find a bulldog.

 

Although leery of Jane’s jealousy and knowing fully what she is capable of, Preston is determined to not let fear of Jane’s childishness ruin his social life. To that end he prepares the dining room and living room for his date…frequently checking to see if Jane is lurking under the chairs or behind the couch.

 

Shirley arrives at Preston’s house the following evening. Preston, giddy almost to the point of nausea, greets her at the door with a warm hug and kiss. Jane, lurking nearby in an incorporeal state, playfully sticks one finger down her throat and then submerges.

 

Preston says that dinner is just about ready and, in a humorous and overly-formal manner, guides Shirley to the dining room table. Again with exaggerated motions he pulls her chair out for her and she takes a seat. Jane, still incorporeal, remerges through the floor. Preston calls out that dinner will be right out and refers to Shirley as “sweetheart.” Jane winces and declares quietly to herself that she may, indeed, actually be sick. Shirley answers back, referring to Preston as “darling.” Jane says she is now certain and pretends to vomit.

 

Moments later Shirley’s cell phone rings. She pulls the phone out of her purse and checks the screen before calling out to Preston that she needs to take the call but that it will only take a minute or two. Preston, intent on being the consummate “gentleman romantic” says she can take her time as “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Jane comically grabs at her chest before pretending to rollover dead.

 

Her amusement is short-lived as she overhears Shirley talking on her phone in the living room. Shirley, in a whispered tone, says that she will be have what they need soon as her date is obviously a hopelessly naïve’ romantic. She makes a comment about a computer password before pulling a slip of paper out of her purse, reading over it, and then quickly tucking it back inside. Jane, having taken note of all of this, is now both wide-eyed and ticked off.

 

Preston calls out that dinner is served. Shirley cuts her call short, reassumes her harmless demeanor, and returns to the table. Jane, keeping just her head and shoulders above floor level, moves like a shark from the living room back to the dining room where Preston has just returned to the table. Jane wastes no time. Using all of her energy and concentration she reaches up and into Shirley’s purse, carefully removing the sheet of paper she had been reading while at the same time remaining incorporeal. With Preston and Shirley none the wiser Jane again makes like a shark and “swims” out of the dining room, back through the living room, and then quickly up through the ceiling until she reaches the safety of her bedroom.

 

Jane examines the sheet of paper and appears almost as amused as angry. The paper, in almost TOO MUCH detail, outlines Shirley’s plan to obtain politically sensitive information from Preston’s computer. Jane, obviously proud at her discovery…as well as again being right while Preston was wrong…grins evilly, tucks the incriminating sheet of paper into her ethereal dress, and hovers back down to the dining room.

 

Jane, while remaining incorporeal, begins her slow but steady attack. She first grips one leg of Shirley’s chair and give it three sharp tugs.Shirley jolts, frightened at what happened but still not wanting to blow her cover. Jane doesn’t give up, little by little she increases the strength and frequency of her “attack”. Preston, catching on to what is happening but powerless to stop it, does his best to carry on a conversation, though his strength and will wither a little more with each new incident.

 

Jane finally unleashes her final assault. She slowly hovers up behind Shirley. Still incorporeal, Jane again uses all of her strength, cups her hands over Shirley’s right ear, and in a menacingly Russian whispers “I know what you’re planning. (Shirley goes rigid with fear) If you value your life…comrade…you will withdraw…NOW!!!” Jane then grips the back of Shirley’s chair with both hands and shakes it far more violently than before. Shirley screams in terror, grabs her purse and dashes to the front door. Just before making a run for it she calls out “You win!” and then takes off into the night on foot.

 

Preston is stunned. He allows his head to slowly sink until it is resting on the dining room table. Jane doesn’t give him time to protest her actions. Before she even manifests she calls out to him, doing her best to quickly and succinctly explain what has happened. Jane then returns to a corporeal form and lays the incriminating sheet of paper on the table for Preston to see. After reading what is written Preston nearly turns green with embarrassment. He thanks Jane for once again playing “Master Spy” and pulling his fat out of the fire.

 

Preston sighs and laments that he supposes he is just not cut out for love or romance. Jane, not believing it for an instant, walks over and hugs him from behind. She reminds him that love comes and goes but that a real friend is something permanent. Preston is moved, but in an effort to keep the moment from turning mushy he quips “That’s good…do you know where I can find one”?Preston’s dinner soon transitions from his plate to the top of his head, quickly followed by his glass of wine.

 

EPISODE 3: “Duel Residency”Jane, still down in the dumps at not being able to reveal her identity to her old, surviving friends, has, somewhat to Preston’s relief, taken to spending more and more time with her old friend Jackie...who is also a ghost. This too, however, proves to be less than ideal as Jane and Jackie’s spiritual limitations allow them to spend no more than an hour or so “out and about” while Preston and Maureen are not in reasonably close proximity.

 

Feeling she is killing two birds with one stone Jane repeatedly urges Preston to visit Maureen, so that she can call on Jackie for more than just an hour. This arrangement, however, is not proving to be so successful as Preston and Maureen’s old sibling rivalry has, again, started to rear its ugly head.

 

Preston, again, feels trapped. He wants Jane to be happy and able to visit with Jackie, however, he fears that the increased time he is spending with his sister is beginning to wear both of their nerves a little thin and cut into their own personal and social lives. Jane has a perfect suggestion. She explains that she is partially bound to Preston as he is the owner of her old home and that the same holds true for Jackie and Maureen. The answer therefore is very simple; Preston and Maureen need to become joint owners of their respective homes and then both she and Jackie will both “belong” to each house and owner equally.

 

While simple to Jane the suggestion is anathema to Preston. He strongly declares that he worked very hard and very long just become a homeowner himself and that the idea of giving half it away to his sister, no matter how much he loves her, is asking a bit much. He adds, almost as an aside, that he doesn’t even know if it is legal.

 

Jane is not pleased and accuses Preston of being uncaring and unsympathetic to her situation. Preston, himself incensed, reminds Jane that were it not for him SHE would still be hovering around a dark, empty home with no extracurricular freedom at all. Jane grows even more indignant and says that Preston his taking advantage of his position and her vulnerability just so he can maintain some form of control over her. Preston, half in anger and half in jest, loudly concedes that he LONG ago gave up on any notions that he could control her as she was obviously bent on getting her own way no matter what his feelings.

 

Jane and Preston’s disagreement gradually descends into an all out fight. Jane eventually reaches her own point of breaking and wildly declares, without stopping to even think, that she might just as well “break her bonds” and return to being a non-presence as she obviously no longer meant anything to Preston. Riled up and not really thinking either Preston declares that would suit him just fine as he may actually be able to remember what a normal life was like.Jane, in full-blown anger, grits her teeth, loudly seethes and then vanishes.

 

As the hours turn into days both Preston and Jane gradually cool off. They each then come to realize that rather than feeling better as a result of their self-imposed isolations, they instead feel lousy…and genuinely dislike the return of the hole that each had filled in the life of the other. Jane is once again lonely and bitter; Preston once again stuck in his rigid daily routine of mostly work and no play

 

Preston gives in first. A few days after their fight he walks up to Jane’s bedroom and, even though he can’t see her, declares that he is genuinely sorry for the things he said. He tells Jane that he misses her, that the house feels empty without her...and he does too. He promises to speak to Maureen and do what he can for her and Jackie. Having been present but invisible the entire time Jane manifests, sitting cross-legged on her bed with her own head drooped low. She thanks Preston for his forthrightness and says that she could not have described her mutual feelings any better and that she too is sorry for blowing her cork.

 

Preston opens his arms and Jane rushes into them. Preston asks “Friends”? Jane’s reply is equally succinct; “Friends.”

 

The next day Preston approaches Maureen. He explains that as neither of them are married and each own their homes outright he feels it would be a good idea to each take half-ownership of the other’s property. That way if one of them were to die unexpectedly then the other would have the ability to keep the others property within the family. Maureen readily agrees. One week later she and Preston each legally own 50% of the other’s home and property.

To solidify the event for Jane, Preston designs and assembles a set of duel “Passports”, one for Jane and one for Jackie, declaring that each of them are now officially “Duel Residents” of one another’s respective domains and each may now cross the border at any time, for any reason, and for as long as desired. Jane beams when she sees them and can’t resist another big hug and kiss on the cheek. She declares that she will somehow find a way of adequately thanking Preston for his kindness. Preston attempts to politely dissuade her, fearing that her idea of a big “Thank You” may be hazardous to both his health and career.

 

EPISODE 4: “Séance What?”While Preston helps Senator Mitchell prepare a speech for the local AFL-CIO Jane and Jackie ponder whether or not Maureen could handle learning that she shares her home with a ghost. Jackie says that Maureen is much improved since she and Preston mended their fences though she still retains a mostly closed mind and a fierce “Establishment” mentality.

 

Preston returns home one evening, flush with pride at Senator Mitchell’s performance in front of what could well have been a hostile audience. He comments to Jane that John Kirkpatrick, the head of the newly christened “Local Brotherhood of Ethereal Watchdogs # 1”, should be proud of his success. Jane, having very mixed feelings about Kirkpatrick and his industrial minded spirits, does her best to shift the conversation to Jackie and Maureen. Preston says he just doesn’t think his sister is ready to face the fact that she shares her home with the ghost of another former flower child of the 1960s. He quips that it may tend to upset her digestion. Translation, he doesn’t think she could “swallow it.” Preston chuckles and Jane flashes him a disapproving look.

 

Preston himself shifts the conversation, says that it’s time for the evening news and he wants to see how Senator Mitchell’s speech is being portrayed. Jane, again rebuked, humorously remarks that Preston can “go plant a tree.” Preston turns on the television set and flops down on the living room couch. Jane, assuming a semi-corporeal form, hovers into the living room just as the news is starting. The story about Senator Mitchell leads, however, less than a minute into the report the entire house suddenly shudders. Preston and Jane each steady themselves, obviously shaken by what has just happened. Moments later the ethereal form of Jonathon Kirkpatrick slowly hovers up through the floor.

 

Preston, apparently fearing that Kirkpatrick somehow disapproved of his actions that day and has come to voice his displeasure, greets him with a half-hearted “Hello again.” Jonathon states that their old “problem”, the spirit of nihilist Arthur McCleary, is getting worse rather than better. Preston suggests McCleary be reassigned to haunt a salt mine. Jane recommends a weekend communing with nature. Jonathon replies that he is serious, so much so that he fears the time has come to “remove” McCleary permanently for the good of all concerned.

 

Jane, apparently grasping the meaning of Jonathon’s words, inhales in astonishment. Preston, completely in the dark, asks if Jonathon is reconsidering his “salt mine” idea. Jonathon then states that McCleary needs to be persuaded, by force if need be, to move on to the next plain of existence. In short, he needs to cease being a ghost and pass to the other side. Preston, still confused, asks “The other side of what”? Jane, still taken aback by the discussion, replies “Death.” Jonathon nods in agreement. Preston inquires just how they go about convincing a ghost to abandon its cozy lodgings and trade them in for something else. “A retirement party and a gold watch”? Jonathon says that in their time the primary means of communication between Preston’s plain and the ethereal plain was through a séance.

 

Jane asks if there is not some other way to calm McCleary’s anger. The home again shudders violently. Jonathon says they are all lucky that the other spirits have been able to keep him in check for as long as they have and that they have simply run out of options. If McCleary is not removed then his actions may actually nullify the “agreement” that permits them all to remain earth-bound and exert some influence over modern labor issues. Preston, himself grasping the meaning of this, remarks that could mean that Jonathon and the other members could all, potentially, be removed and replaced by modern and more progressive spirits…maybe even environmentalists. Jane ponders the idea. Preston vows to help out at all costs.

 

Not knowing where else to turn Preston contacts Noah’s mother, a licensed fortune teller, and asks if she has any experience with such things. Noah’s mother, who Preston then learns is named Anastasia Borowski…short for Anne Brown…advises that she is well versed in helping troubled sprits move on to the next plain and would be more than happy to help…for her usual fee of course. She advises Preston that in addition to herself she will need at least 5 others to be present when she works her magic.

 

Preston quietly and cautiously asks if all of those present must also be “human.” Anne chuckles knowingly, as though she fully understands Preston’s question, and replies that they….hypothetically…need not be.

 

Preston, himself, sensing a unique opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, convinces his sister Maureen to attend. When Jane inquires why Preston explains that he can think of no better way to edge his sister towards becoming a believer in ghosts and, at the same time, convincing her that the ghost sharing her home is not only harmless but benevolent. Preston then asserts that she and Jackie must therefore be present in their corporeal forms as well. Jane, less than enthusiastic about the idea, remarks that they still need a fifth. Preston says “no thanks, I’m trying to cut down.”

 

Preston, with some difficulty, convinces Cedric to attend the séance as well, thus giving him the needed number of persons.

 

The night of the séance Preston, Jackie and Jane assemble in the dining room first. Jane and Jackie have assumed their corporeal forms and are attired in more modern clothing. Cedric arrives next, a very large crucifix hung around his neck. Jane politely introduces Cedric to Jackie, then playfully adds that Jackie need not be afraid as Cedric is certainly NOT prejudiced…at least about most things. Cedric figures out what she is getting at and turns slightly green before weakly shaking Jackie’s hand. Jane and Jackie each giggle at one another. Cedric groans and quietly sits down.

 

Maureen arrives next. Preston ushers her into the dining room and nonchalantly introduces her to Jane, Jackie and Cedric.Maureen remains civil though her skeptical demeanor at the events planned for the evening is very much evident. Jackie now appears somewhat less playful than she had been towards Cedric. She politely shakes Maureen’s hand but never seems able to make direct eye contact…something that Maureen does not fail to notice. Jane greats Maureen, remarks that she and Preston are friends from the “Campaign Trail” and that Jackie is her friend, merely attending to fill the quota of five persons.

 

A short time later Anne arrives, attired in a very formal and very shiny dress that only JUST manages to remain within the bounds of what one might consider “normal.” After another round of greetings she removes a stereotypical crystal ball from her purse and places it in the center of the dining room table. Anne asks Preston to turn off every light expect one lone, dim, incandescent lamp mounted to the wall. She then takes a seat and motions for everyone else to sit to both her right and left. Jane and Jackie take the seats to her left. Preston and Maureen take the seats to her right. Cedric, still feeling VERY out of place, takes a seat directly opposite Anne…essentially as far away from her as he can get. Anne advises everyone present to turn their cell phones off, noting that most pre-2000 era spirits find them both offensive and annoying. Preston, Maureen and Cedric comply. Maureen appears somewhat curious to see that neither Jane nor Jackie responded in any way to her request.

 

Almost as though trying to ease the tension Anne chuckles lightly and declares that it is now time to make a VERY long distance telephone call. Preston, Jackie and Jane laugh in response. Maureen scowls, Cedric merely swallows and appears as though he is silently and nervously praying. Anne suddenly comments to him that that is not necessary as “He” typically opts to leave matters such as these in her hands. Cedric makes a very high-pitched sort of grunt.

 

Anne instructs everyone around the table to “assume the position.” She, Jane, Jackie and Preston automatically link hands. Maureen and Cedric at first do not get the meaning of Anne’s latest attempt at humor but eventually catch on and link hands with the persons on their left and right. “Who are we kicking out again?” Anne again quips. Preston, thoroughly enjoying her down-to-earth methods, sates “Arthur McCleary.” “Just when did HIS battery run down?” Anne asks. “Oh, around 1912 or so, give or take. Poor guy, I gather a steel girder punched his clock for the last time.” Preston replies. “Ah, bad labor relations. Got it. Better hang on folks they tend to be a little on the wild side.” Anne again replies as though she were merely repeating a recipe.

 

Anne tenses her hands and jolts her arms, indicating that everyone around the table should tighten their grip. She then closes her eyes, leans her head back slightly and…for the first time…assumes a deep, serious tone as she calls out Arthur’s name. Anne, however, quickly follows THIS up with “Come on Arthur…or rather, I’ll wager, Artruro…the whistle’s blowing, whether you like it or not is quitn’ time. Time to pay your last dues and move on.”

 

Maureen appears on the verge of breaking the chain and rising up in frustration. Just as she gets ready to speak, however, the low, humorously maniacal laugh of Arthur McCleary echoes around the room. Cedric goes stiff with terror but hangs on. Jackie and Maureen are shaken. Preston and Jane keep their cool. Anne again verbally prods at Arthur in a tongue-and-cheek way, stating that everyone else is tired too and also want to get home to a warm meal so the quicker he resigns himself to what he has to do the better. The room shudders and the lone light bulb flickers. Arthur’s spirit fades in, hovering a few feet above the dining room table.

 

Cedric’s eyes bulge and he remains frozen stiff. Maureen stares, open-mouthed and wide eyed, up at the newly arrived spirit. She appears both in awe and frightened at the same time. Anne is totally unfazed and continues to speak to Arthur as if he were an annoying coworker. Arthur simply rolls around in a circle and then points his index fingers at Jane and Preston, mimicking the firing of a gun. “Lucky shots, both of you.” Arthur taunts. He then propels himself down from his hovering perch and directly through Anne, leaving behind a thin layer of ectoplasm in his wake. Maureen’s jaw drops. Cedric continues to whimper. Anne simply purses her lips and spits some the gewy material out of her mouth.

 

“Gesundheit.” Anne says, still totally unafraid. “Now then…since you obviously have bad cold it is MORE than high time for you to be getting on your way.”

 

Arthur again seethes with anger, his semi-transparent form turning red as he does. As he grumbles and shakes his fist the house again begins to shudder and rumble. Maureen is again frightened and pushes up close to Preston.Jackie on the other hand has gown agitated. She abruptly breaks the circle, stands up and turns to face Arthur’s ghost. She verbally chastises him, saying that he is a complete and utter embarrassment to his own kind and that it is ghosts like him who give other ghosts…like herself…a bad name. Maureen’s jaw again drops at this revelation.

 

Jackie fades to a semi-transparent state and continues to berate Arthur, claiming that he and those like him have made her after-life miserable, that he should be ashamed of himself for what his actions have done to others, and that if he has a single shred of decency left in what remains of his body he would concede and move on to the next plain, now. Jackie’s words, along with the revelation that she too is a ghost, dents Arthur’s angry and bitter façade. His malicious smile fades away and is gradually replaced by a somewhat sad and forlorn expression. He then slowly begins to fade out before disappearing entirely. A massive crash of thunder. The house again shudders and is then momentarily filled with a blinding white light…then silence.

 

“Well, bout time.” Anne quips as she relinquishes her grip on the hands she had been holding. “Stubborn little man wasn’t he? Must have been bucking for overtime.”

 

Jackie remains standing. Maureen slowly rises from her own chair and cautiously approaches Jackie with a shocked yet compassionate look on her face. She addresses Jackie, stating that she is certain she knows her from someplace. Jackie hangs her head and admits who she is, and that she had occasionally appeared to Maureen during the brief moments between sleep and wakefulness. Maureen is not angered but at the same time appears uncertain at just HOW to respond. Jane casts Preston a look as if to say “Should I”?Anne answers before Preston can, stating that she might as well as secrets only lead to confusion…and alimony.

Preston nods. Jane rises up and softly addresses Maureen, telling her that she has nothing to be afraid of. While Maureen looks on Jane, herself, slips into a state of semi-transparency. Jane re-introduces herself, stating that, as odd as it sounds, she is to Preston what Jackie is to her. Maureen again is a little dumbstruck but does not appear afraid. Anne stands up and hastily excuses herself, stating that she always skips past the “mushy parts.” She plops her crystal ball back into her purse, assures Preston she has known all along and will continue with her silence…as long as her bill is paid…and then departs.

 

Cedric mumbles “Still a Baptist, still a Baptist.” while remaining dead still. Maureen suddenly smiles, humorously declares that she isn’t (a Baptist) and that she feels a gathering of new friends calls for a bottle of wine…or three. Both Jane and Jackie return her smile but politely reply; Jane “Sorry, I don’t drink.”Jackie “I can’t unless it’s Kosher.” Preston grins and then advises everyone to remain where they are. He exits and quickly returns carrying a large bottle of Maneschivitz.Jackie “Oh, well in THAT case.”Jane “I guess I can make an exception.”Preston“Welcome to Preston Schmidt’s Theological Seminary…and wine bar.”

 

Much later that night, after everyone has left, Jane finally asks Preston how he could have been so certain that Jackie would react as she did. Preston says he had no doubt that any friend of Jane’s would not sit still for Arthur’s actions and would, even if unconsciously, seize the opportunity to justify her right to as happy an after-life as possible. In short, he knew any friend of hers would stand up for what was right…and for someone she cared for.

 

Jane remarks that the stars must be out of sync as Preston was sounding dangerously like a genuine romantic. Preston scoffs, stating he simply felt Jackie’s motivations were in keeping with his own firm notions of law and order and that the sight of an ex-flower child putting an industrial nihilist in his place was something he would not dare miss. Jane doesn’t buy it and playfully accuses Preston of having a secret crush on Jackie. Preston chuckles and says it would simply never work out. Jane continues to tease and states that Preston was only brushing her off because she was Jewish. Preston feigns having been insulted before firmly declaring “Some of my best friends are…”. Jane quickly interjects. “No, you’re supposed to say ‘funny, she doesn’t look Jewish.’ You can’t get anything right.”

 

EPISODE 5:“Block…and Tackle…Party.”The residents of Preston’s neighborhood are planning a large block party to welcome the coming of Springtime and warmer weather. Jane is understandably eager to attend and continue in her efforts at coming to terms with the passage of time. Preston, on the other hand, is not quite so enthused. In fact, he is virtually at the point of exhaustion from an unusually heavy two weeks of work, the result of a seemingly endless series of speeches, personal appearances and strategy meetings. Senator Mitchell, he tells Jane, somehow got it into his head that he was a 12 cylinder engine with an endless supply of high octane fuel. Either that or he was trying to drive him to drink.

 

Jane is sympathetic but urges Preston to take part, stating that block parties are not occasions for increasing but for REDUCING stress and bad vibes. Preston says his stress and vibes would be better drained away by a quiet day of fishing. Jane scoffs, accusing Preston of merely wanting to go out and play in his newly purchased boat. Having learned a thing or two about strategy since she met Preston, Jane changes her attack and reminds Preston that such a gathering would be a perfect opportunity to build a few political bridges…nearby bridges that may prove advantageous down the road.

 

Preston finds this point harder to counter. Jane continues to press. Preston suggests a compromise; he and Jane can spend half of the day fishing…and the other half back at the block party, frying their catches for their neighbors and winning their hearts and minds through their stomachs. Jane agrees but at the same time reminds Preston that, no matter how much she always enjoyed the relaxation, it has been a LONG time since she has been fishing. Preston suggests that they visit a local sporting goods store and outfit Jane with some new tackle and fishing attire.

 

At the sporting goods store Jane behaves more like a child in a candy shop, marveling at the new rods and reels…not to mention the electronic fish finders and realistic, yet artificial, bait. Preston, feeling things are finally going his way, makes certain to steer Jane well clear of the hunting and firearms department. Jane slowly catches on and playfully chastises Preston, reminding him that while she was never a huge fan of hunting she never hated it. She takes the opportunity to remind Preston that many of her “Friends” who took to getting back to nature had to provide for themselves in some way, and that squirrel and rabbit hunting were a good way to keep food on the table. Preston comments that he doesn’t think he’ll ever, entirely, figure Jane out. Jane replies that she does her best.

 

Jane picks out a new rod, reel, tackle set, low cut plaid shirt, olive drab vest, slouch cap covered in hooks, and a well fitting pair of dungaree type shorts. Preston mumbles something about the cover of “Field and Stream”…or perhaps the centerfold. Jane hits him with her slouch cap, managing to hook Preston with no fewer than 4 of its attached hooks.

 

The day of the fishing excursion and block party arrives. Jane and Preston are up before the sun and on the road just as it is rising. Preston drives Jane to a favorite spot of his when he was a kid, a secluded lake about 90 minutes away. Jane thoroughly enjoys the drive through the mostly unspoiled countryside. She remarks that she wishes more of America had retained the same look.

 

Upon arriving at the lake Preston maneuvers his car so that the attached trailer and boat are pointing down a short, rustic ramp leading into the water. The boat, however, resists sliding smoothly off the trailer. Preston gets out and surveys the situation, commenting that he must have forgotten to grease the runners. He climbs onto the trailer and begins trying to kick his new boat loose. Mid-kick the boat suddenly brakes inertia and begins to slide down towards the water. Preston, unable to regain his balance, grabs hold of the boat’s bow and is swiftly dragged down until the upper part of his body is resting in the water at the lake’s edge. Jane laughs almost uncontrollably. Preston lifts up his head, spits out a few sprigs of underwater vegetation, and remarks that he fails to see the humor. Jane suggests a mirror.

 

Despite the bad start Preston manages to edge the boat along until it is floating free. He ties off the bow, secures the trailer, and parks his car in the adjacent public lot. He and Jane remove their poles and tackle before returning to the boat. After loading their tackle Preston unwinds the rope securing the boat to the launching area, climbs inside and motions for Jane to follow. Once she is aboard Preston engages the electric ignition on the outboard motor and begins to slowly maneuver the boat away from the launch. He doesn’t make it very far. After about 50 feet the bow of the boat snags on a barely submerged sandbar and grinds to a halt, jolting Preston and the rest of boat’s contents forward. Jane again giggles and remarks that the trip was quite short.

 

Undaunted, Preston reverses the motor, allowing the boat to float backwards for a few seconds, swivels the motor hard to the left before again reversing the motor which then proceeds to propel the boat forward at a smooth and steady pace. Preston smiles with obvious pride at his accomplishment. Jane applauds lightly, prompting Preston to take a comical bow. His movement causes the motor’s propeller to sink deeper in to the water and increases its revs. Jane senses what is coming and grips the sides. The boat then lurches ahead causing Preston to slump forward, face flat, against the bottom of the boat.

 

Despite his pain and embarrassment Preston manages to laugh at his own missteps. He then smoothly guides the boat across the lake’s glassy surface and towards a small cove on the opposite side. All the while Jane is leaning back and taking in the tranquil surroundings. She even begrudgingly admits that Preston’s idea was a good one after all. Preston makes an offhand remark about Satan having a sudden need for central heating. Jane playfully kicks at his legs and tells him not to spoil the nearest thing to Utopia she has known in over 53 years.

 

Upon reaching the small cove on the opposite side of the lake Preston swivels and then stops the motor, bringing the boat into a graceful spin and stop. Preston declares this to be the best spot he ever knew for rainbow trout and VERY large bass. Jane comically salutes before rising up and taking her fishing pole in hand. She and Preston bait their respective hooks and cast them on opposite sides of the boat. Each then settles down and gets comfortable. Over the next two hours their luck is good, catching 12 good sized fish between them. Preston, now in the most relaxed mood we have ever seen him, jokingly asks Jane if she is a vegetarian. She replies “Reformed, we’re aloud to eat fish and lobsters on Saturdays, and holidays, every second Tuesday, Mothers and Fathers Day, Arbor Day, Eugene McCarthy’s Birthday…” Preston interjects “What about Election Days?”Jane smiles and replies “Only if we first marinate it in cooking sherry.”

 

Jane and Preston continue to fish and chit chat throughout the early morning. Little by littlepeople arrive and join them in their morning relaxation, some along the shoreline and more in other small fishing boats. All goes well until one pair of men show up in a boat that has an annoyingly loud and shrill motor. The pair run the boat back and forth along the lake, trolling their lines behind them. Jane and Preston grumble but try to remain, as much as they can, in their own little bubble. Gradually however, the antics of the two men in the other boat grow more and more intolerable. Jane is particularly incensed when she notices that they have discarded their lines and appear to be doing nothing more than joyriding. The noise and constant wake from their antics soon make any further fishing impossible.

 

In disgust, Preston flings down his fishing rod and wishes aloud that he could wrap his thickest fishing line around their propellers. Jane’s eyes light up. Preston catches sight of this and quickly back peddles, telling Jane he should instead try to speak with them first. Jane grumbles that she has a few choice words for them and where they can put their motor. Preston keeps his calm and maneuvers his boat out to where he is within waving and talking distance. After some difficulty Preston manages to get the men’s attention. It quickly becomes evident that both are three sheets to the wind and have no intention of being reasonable. Instead, they fire up their large motor and drench both Preston and Jane in a shower of prop wash. Jane is ready to explode but Preston, a somewhat out of place grin on his face, motions for her to hold back. To her horror Preston seems to again change gears, begins to laugh along with the men and then bids them a hearty goodbye…and good luck. The men, with total insincerity, do likewise.

 

Preston continues to grin oddly as he again maneuvers the boat back to the cove. During this time the men again being to speed their boat up the lake and then back, throwing it into wild power spins at each end. Preston brings his boat to a halt. Jane is completely bewildered and accuses Preston of having taken leave of his senses. Preston continues to grin, chuckles, calmly sits own, hands Jane a large, thick reel of fishing line and then, with comically false calm, says “Get’em.”

 

Jane beams in both a childlike and devilish manner. She slips into a completely incorporeal state, carefully climbs over the edge of the boat, submerges, and begins to slowly glide…underwater…towards the area which the other boat is traversing. A few movements later the boat speeds across the lake even faster than before. Suddenly its engine squeals in protest. The boat instantly swings sideways, plowing its port side into the water. Both of its occupants are subsequently launched and fly a good hundred feet before impacting the surface of the lake. They each then proceed to skip, roll and bounce along the lake’s surface before finally loosening momentum, momentarily sinking, and then bobbing up to the surface amid a string of epithets and wild splashing. Preston erupts in laughter. Everyone else around the lake breaks into wild, spontaneous applause.

 

Seconds later Jane reappears inside Preston’s boat, dry as a bone and showing no signs of having committed an act of sabotage. Preston slaps the side of the boat before declaring “Direct hit amidships. Target neutralized.” Jane smiles and bows before replying “Aye, thank ye Capn’…shall we see’em to Davy Jones’ locker now?”

 

Preston shakes his head and gestures towards the men who are, slowly but surely, dog paddling back to their boat. Preston declares that he’ll land the final harpoon himself. He takes out his cell phone and calls Park Security. A few minutes later the men pilot their boat back to the launch only to be met by two waiting police cars, their lights flashing. Preston and Jane look on in subdued joy as both men are given breathalyzers and other intoxication tests before being put in cuffs and driven away.

 

Preston leans forward and firmly pats Jane twice on the shoulder. Preston comments that Jane has struck a successful blow against noise pollution. Jane, both proud and eminently complemented, pats Preston’s hand before declaring “All in a day’s work…now, time for shore leave.” Preston takes the hint and begins slowly piloting the boat back to the launch.

 

Several hours later the neighborhood block party is in full swing. Preston has set up a large grill on the sidewalk in front of his home and is contentedly frying the day’s catch. His sister Maureen is present, along with Jackie, Noah, his parents and just about all of Preston’s closest neighbors. Jane, again in somewhat more modern attire, is once more having the time of her after-life, gleefully relating the day’s events to Maureen and Jackie, as well as anyone else who cares to listen. Noah joins Preston near the grill. Preston is a little leery at first, unsure if his mother has, indeed, kept her promise not to reveal what she now knows about Jane and Jackie.

 

However, it quickly becomes evident that Noah is none-the-wiser and is only interested in dinner…and having another opportunity to investigate Preston’s home. Preston, in a thoroughly relaxed and welcoming frame of mind, declares that any time is fine with him and he is certain Jane would be MORE than willing to continue helping. Noah is overjoyed at this, thanks Preston profusely, and then runs off in the direction of Jane, Jackie and his mother.

 

The sun slowly begins to set and the festivities are soon awash in a bright, orange hue more akin to a mid-summer’s evening. Music begins to fill the air from various sources. Jane, fully caught up in the joy of the moment, approaches Preston and boldly declares that they should personally contribute to the evening’s music. Preston is playfully shocked and remarks that that would give away the secrecy of their online “group” for certain. Jane is not concerned and says that Preston shouldn’t be either as there is no way either of them would be recognized out of their online costumes. She adds that Preston should not be ashamed of his God-given talent and that this is the perfect venue to put it on display without fear of backlash against his career. Resuming her previous strategy, she adds that she can’t think of ANYTHING that potential voters love more than a good song and dance.

 

Preston, knowing he is beaten before he even starts, gives in. He calls Cedric, tells him what is going on, assures him he has not lost his mind, asks if he can have his drum set over in 15 minutes, again assures him he has not lost his mind, tells him to dress well for the occasion, assures him he is in perfect control of his faculties, promises him there is enough food and drink around to make it WELL worth his while, assures him that he is not drunk and that he had better get moving or else the sun would set first.

 

Preston enlists Noah’s mother to watch over the grill while he and Jane retrieve their guitars and set up a makeshift “stage” on the front lawn. As they begin tuning up Cedric arrives. Still hesitant he parks his car near Preston’s home and, very slowly, begins removing his drum set from the trunk. Jane is having none of it. She gleefully dashes over to Cedric and greats him with a large, spinning hug. “Not cold as ice, am I”? Cedric, as hard as he tries, can’t hold back a grin of his own. Jane happily urges him on, reminding him that the sun is setting fast and that if he doesn’t get a move on they will lose the perfect, orange light.

 

Jackie sees what is going on and helps both Cedric and Jackie in toting the drum set onto Preston’s lawn. Jane and Jackie laugh almost uncontrollably, eager for what they know is coming. Moments later everything is in place. Jane, Cedric and Preston converse briefly, trying to decide what number to play. Preston holds fast that they CAN’T play “Cruel War” as, among other things, it would ruin any chance Jane’s little brother might have of gaining even a measure of fame. Jane, still swelled with enthusiasm, is grateful for Preston’s concern and remarks that the entire day and evening have been nothing short of magic…something she is coming to believe in. Cedric snaps his fingers, declaring that Jane is brilliant and that that song would be perfect.

 

Jane at first doesn’t get it, but a moment later it dawns on her. She agrees entirely, as does Preston. Jackie, standing nearby, concurs…and sheepishly asks if she can join them. She is warmly welcomed into the fold. Cedric lays down the rhythm, Preston and Jane raise their guitars and take their places behind two microphones. Jackie steps in beside Jane so that she can use her microphone. Preston strikes the first chord and the quartet launch into “Do You Believe in Magic.”

 

The reaction is instantaneous. Most of those present gravitate towards the music and before the song is even half complete Preston’s front lawn is surrounded by nearly a hundred of his neighbors and their friends. The applause at the song’s conclusion is enormous.

 

Preston smiles and bows…but then feels his cell phone vibrating. He instinctively checks it and is momentarily worried to see the name “Senator Mitchell.” Preston gulps in fear…but takes the call. Senator Mitchell tells Preston that he just saw and heard the most curious thing on his computer. Preston’s heart sinks and he barely manages to ask him what. Senator Mitchell replies that he just saw his most trusted and well-respected advisor regaling a large audience with a musical number. The Senator’s tone is flat and hard to read. Preston begins to feel he may soon be standing in line at the unemployment office.

 

Senator Mitchell then adds; “And, had I known he was even remotely capable of such a thing…I would have given him a raise and put his talents to use a LONG time ago.”

 

Preston’s eyes go wide in disbelief. Senator Mitchell himself laughs wildly, concedes that he just succeeded in putting one thoroughly over on Preston, and congratulates him on his obviously well-refined public relations skills.Preston is incapable of anything other than a meek “Thank you.” Senator Mitchell ends the call by telling Preston to remember to “Always leave them smiling.” Preston again cracks a smile of his own, looks over at Jane, Jackie and Cedric who, so caught up in the crowd’s reaction, have yet to even notice he is on the phone.

 

“I don’t think that will be a problem.” Preston says to himself with quiet pride before moving forward and joining in the revelry with the others.

 

EPISODE 6: “Get a Job!”Although recent events have continued to reinforce Jane’s zeal for her afterlife, she is still concerned that she is not REALLY making any real contribution, either to her own future or to her and Preston’s living arrangement. Preston does his best to convince Jane that she needn’t be worried as his own salary is MORE than enough to sustain them. Jane is unconvinced and remarks that she doesn’t enjoy feeling like a sponge, no matter how little her presence matters in the financial scheme of things. Jane makes it plain; she wants to get SOME kind of job. She quickly adds that she has been reading about the current trend of “working from home” and asks why she too can’t take part. Preston reminds her about what happened the last few times she tried to take on the computer.

 

Jane says she remembers but has since been doing her utmost to learn her way around. She adds that Maureen had told her about how many people were supplementing their regular income simply by taking to YouTube and talking for hours about whatever topic they were well versed in. Jane says she was NEARLY a college graduate and certainly has some insights that people must find interesting.

 

Preston quickly moves to compromise, stating that creating a Vlog was OUT of the question…but that some other form of online earnings may be within logical reach. Preston asks Jane if she has any tangible skills other than music. Jane huffs and reminds Preston that she was a trained natural photographer, and that some of her photos had been feature in both her college and local newspaper. Preston says there may be something there but urges her to do her homework on the matter before taking any firm steps…like spending two thousand dollars on a new, or old, camera.


Submitted: October 15, 2021

© Copyright 2021 sean p mccracken. All rights reserved.

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