Excerpt of Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
(Page 3 of 4)
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My stepfather was a lifelong spiritualist, and I believe he is only
here to teach my daughter that death is not the end. But she is eleven
and needs a normal life and to sleep in her own room, not in mine. The
only thing I can think is to try and find Pop another home, and the world
is full of people who want to believe in the afterlife. Well, I have your
proof right here.
I will sell my stepfathers ghost to the highest bidder. Of course a
soul cannot really be sold, but I believe he will come to your home and
abide with you if you put out the welcome mat. As I said, when he died,
he was with us temporarily and had no place to call his own, so I am sure
he would go to where he was wanted. Do not think this is a stunt or a
practical joke and that I will take your money and send you nothing. The
winning bidder will have something solid to show for their investment.
I will send you his Sunday suit. I believe if his spirit is attached to
anything, it has to be that.
It is a very nice old-fashioned suit made by Great Western Tailoring.
It has a fine silver pinstripe, blah-blah, satin lining, blah-blah. . . .
Danny stopped reading and pointed at the screen. Check out the measurements,
Chief. Its just your size. High bid is eighty bucks. If you
want to own a ghost, looks like he could be yours for a hundred.
Lets buy it, Jude said.
Seriously? Put in a bid for a hundred dollars?
Jude narrowed his eyes, peering at something on the screen, just below
the item description, a button that said YOURS NOW: $1,000. And
beneath that: Click to Buy and End Auction Immediately! He put his finger
on it, tapping the glass.
Lets just make it a grand and seal the deal, he said.
Danny rotated in his chair. He grinned and raised his eyebrows.
Danny had high, arched, Jack Nicholson eyebrows, which he used to
great effect. Maybe he expected an explanation, but Jude wasnt sure he
couldve explained, even to himself, why it seemed reasonable to pay a
thousand dollars for an old suit that probably wasnt worth a fifth of that.
Later he thought it might be good publicity: Judas Coyne buys a poltergeist.
The fans ate up stories like that. But that was later. Right then, in
the moment, he just knew he wanted to be the one who bought the
Jude started on, thinking he would head upstairs to see if Georgia
was dressed yet. He had told her to put on her clothes half an hour ago
but expected to find her still in bed. He had the sense she planned to
stay there until she got the fight she was looking for. Shed be sitting in
her underwear, carefully painting her toenails black. Or shed have her
laptop open, surfing Goth accessories, looking for the perfect stud to
poke through her tongue, like she needed any more goddam . . . And
then the thought of surfing the Web caused Jude to hold up, wondering
something. He glanced back at Danny.
Howd you come across that anyway? he asked, nodding at the
We got an e-mail about it.
From the auction site. They sent us an e-mail that said We notice
youve bought items like this before and thought youd be interested.
Weve bought items like this before?
Occult items, I assume.
Ive never bought anything off that site.
Maybe you did and just dont remember. Maybe I bought something
Jude said, Fuckin acid. I had a good memory once. I was in the
chess club in junior high.
You were? Thats a hell of a thought.
The foregoing is excerpted from Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022