Late this afternoon two ladies were in the shop and after I had bagged their treasures, one asked if we had any books on the ghosts of York. I told her that we didn't at the moment, and then started to tell her about the imp that lives in Clark Alley (it runs right behind the shop) and a few other stories, and about how local author Leo Motter had told us all about them during last summer's "Horrible Saturday" celebration, and...
And then she said, "And of course you have one here."
She stopped me cold with that one. At first I thought she was joking, but she was absolutely serious.
"We have a ghost?"
"You're kidding me, right?"
"No, you've got one," said the other one.
I just blinked and looked from one to the other. They weren't kidding. My mouth, I am sure, was hanging open.
"He's friendly. He likes it here. He is very comfortable."
"It's a 'him'?," I asked.
"Well, I am not sure. That wasn't clear. But I know it is here because he brought me over to the section I was looking for."
These were two intelligent, well-read women, and they were telling me matter-of-factly that we have a ghost. And a ghost who knows his way around the store well enough to help customers find books, no less. But to these two ladies, this entity's presence was no more surprising than the color of our ceiling (white) or the composition of our counter (wood).
"You must be mistaken," I said. "The building isn't that old. "
"Oh that doesn't make any difference," I was assured. "It may have come in with a book or a video."
"It doesn't make any difference" the first one said. "It likes it here."
"And it will protect you," the second one said.
Protect me? Protect me from what? Now there was a question I didn't want answered.
"But I don't want a ghost," I said as they were walking out the door. "I really don't!"
I had no idea that we had a ghost. No one has ever mentioned it before...not that there's any reason why it would come up in conversation. ("How 'bout them Eagles? Nice day, isn't it? How's your ghost?")
I don't believe in ghosts. And I certainly don't believe that we have one who moonlights as a tour guide to The York Emporium.
But I will admit that when I did my final walk-thru tonight, and again right after I turned out the lights, I did take a quick look back over my shoulder.