We have two ghosts at work. They haunt the men’s and women’s toilets. We never see them but we know they’re there because they keep making the taps, which have sensors to make them go on and off, go on and off.
Our office is built on land that, as far as we know, has never been built on before. It has not been built over any graveyards either, so we could not work out how we had come to be haunted. That set Sharon to thinking. She always likes to know exactly what is going on so she’s done some mental research and come up with this sad story.
Once upon a time, probably at the end of the Nineteenth Century there was a little shepherd boy and a little shepherdess. The shepherd boy was called Will and the shepherdess was called Ethel and they tended the sheep in the fields just north of Preston, Lancashire.
One day, their paths crossed. One of Will’s lambs had strayed away from the flock and he went to look for it. He hunted over hill and dale and then eventually found it in a field. Coincidentally, Ethel had lost one of her sheep and she had gone looking for it too. She had also hunted over hill and dale and she also eventually found it in a field. The very same field as Will’s lamb.
So they met and fell in love instantly. Will was very good-looking and Ethel fell for him immediately. Ethel was not very good-looking at all but Will was short sighted and didn’t have any glasses so it didn’t matter. Ethel was just a blur but she was a very sweet natured blur and knew a bit about sheep and lambs so it was love at first partial sight.
They often used to meet up at dinner and sit down in a field eating their sandwiches together, holding hands and comparing notes on strayed lambs, shears and shepherds crooks. One day, they were sat together, chewing thoughtfully on a lamb sandwich and discussing the price of fish when a meteorite fell to earth and hit them both on the head. It killed them instantly, which was a bit of a surprise to them and they simply did not realise they were dead.
So, for years, they went about their shepherdly business, looking for strayed lambs, eating sandwiches and discussing the best place to buy shears, oblivious to the fact they were dead. They did get a bit confused at times because after a while, there were no sheep for them to tend and after a little while longer, there were dairy cows in the fields but Will and Ethel were not the brightest shepherds around and thought the sheep would come back.
In the end, some workmen came and built a large building in their special field and one day, Will and Ethel woke up and found themselves in this building. It was a very strange place for them. It had three tiny rooms in a larger room and each room had a large china bowl in it with water in the bottom. In the bigger room were other, strangely shaped, china bowls with metal tubes hanging over them.
Once Ethel put her hand, rather gingerly, near one of the tubes and to her amazement and delight, water came out of the tube. Excitely, she ran to Will, through the wall to the other room, and showed him. He was delighted too and they spent many weeks happily making the water go on and off.
After a while, they got a bit bored of this and had a go at flushing the toilets. This game was best when there was somebody sat on it. Will and Ethel never really cottoned on to the fact that they were dead or ghosts and, if anything, they thought the strangely dressed people sat on the toilets were ghosts. They were not afraid; they were childish, so this game amused them no end.
Eventually, they did get tired of this but not until after they had scared quite a few people witless and they (the people, not Will and Ethel) had been signed off for several months with stress. Will and Ethel, of course, had never heard of stress; there was no such thing in the late Victorian era but they did feel a bit sorry for their victims and so they decided to move out of the toilets and into the offices.
The offices became their favourite play area. There were these strange machines that had writing and pictures on them. Will was illiterate and so could not read any of the writing and the pictures were not interesting but Ethel could read a bit and so would tell him wonderful stories of strange shepherds and shepherdesses who lived in weird buildings, never discussed the price of fish and ate ham sandwiches. She also found she could change the stories a bit by pressing buttons on one of the stranger looking boxes. This caused much consternation amongst the ghosts, which was highly amusing to Will and Ethel, especially when some of them accused others of altering their notes and letters and had spectacular arguments with each other.
Eventually, the strange machines lost their appeal for Will and Ethel and one day they decided to leave the building and try to find some sheep again because sheep were what they knew best. They walked through the wall hand in hand and then set off to look for some fields. Before they found a field, they saw a woman with a rather strange shaped sheep on a lead (actually it was a poodle but Will was shortsighted and Ethel was a bit stupid so they didn’t realise). They then spent the next 8 years following the poodle around but they’re no longer haunting our toilets so we don’t care.
P.S. All the bits from when they start flushing the toilets haven’t happened yet but Sharon is convinced they will.
The End again.
This is Ristagno Compostio. He is the 100 metres record holder in the small and obscure southern European Principality of Hangovia. He smashed the national record by 5 seconds 2 years ago at a national competition when he ran the distance in 19.73 seconds. There was some controversy at the time because the timekeeper was thought to have accidentally started his stopwatch some 3 seconds after the race had been started (he had been asleep and was startled into action by the sound of the starting pistol). The same race was also marred by a tragedy because the starter had accidentally left some live ammunition in his starting pistol and had shot one of the racers, Sfortunato Perdente, dead.
Ristagno’s victory was complete, though, because he won the race by a good 20 metres and breaking the national record was the icing on the cake for him. He was later to dedicate the race to Sfortunato, as he believed his death had probably distracted the other runners a bit.
Ristagno was born in the suburbs of Hangovia’s main city, Berzase, in 1978. When he was small he would frequently run errands for his mother, Guardaroba. She would send him off to collect small mushrooms of a certain colour, which she would dry and sell to tourists in Berzase’s main square. As he got older, she would send him farther afield, looking for herbs, which she would dry and sell to tourists in Berzase’s main square.
They never had a great deal of money, despite his mother’s entrepreneurial spirit, and he had no knowledge of his father. When he started working as a clerical assistant in the National Bank, he was unable to afford the bus and so ran into work and back again at night. This proved a solid foundation for the training that would eventually lead to his pre-eminence in his country’s sporting pantheon.
Ristagno is a modest man and I am sure that if he were to read this article, he would ask for a picture of his opponents from two years ago to be included. I was lucky enough to find a picture of his competitors on that fateful day, taken by one of Hangovia’s most respected photographers, Benzino Stoviglie. So, here they are, from left to right Pasticcino Torta, Porka Grasso, Panino Crema, Culo del Lardo and, last but not least, Grande Mangiatore.