December 12th, 2000


The Ouija Board

I saw my friend Star today. We haven't seen each other since the summer - I've missed her like crazy. We're best friends, tighter than Ricky Martin's leather pants.
"Star, how are you?" I asked.

"I am well." she replied, smiling. She's got blonde curly hair, which falls halfway down her back. Her skin is well-tanned, even in December. She has a swimmer's build, yet she is an actress. "What are you doing, Sam?"

"Right now, I'm writing, mostly. Sometimes I draw."

"You mean you always draw. You only write when the picture is a blur."

"Something like that."

For the hour we talked, I of my life and she of hers. When her mother drove by to take her back to Gilroy, she handed me half the broken pointer of an Ouija board. "Sam," she said, "Take your stories and spin our tale. The tale of this plancette. If I am pleased, then the next time we are together we will move on." Then away her mom drove in their yellow Beetle.

The Tale of the Plancette

It was October, a warm autumn day. I was only six years old, in kindergarten. I was happy. I was going to see Star today. My best friend.
My babysitter picked me up after my morning class and took me home. Star was waiting. The babysitter had brought a friend with her, a pale girl with big red curls on her head. They were giggling.
"We're going to have a seance!" she told Star and I.
"What is that?" Star asked. Even as a child, she used strictly proper English. Her mother raised her that way.
"That's when we call up dead ghosts." Red-Curls replied.
They turned the lights out in our house, and drew the drapes so that all would be dark. They lit black candles and red candles and burned incense so thickly it stung my throat and hurt my eyes. They took an old Ouija board, with a wooden plancette, and placed it on a low table, candles still burning.
"Spirits, hear us, and obey!" Red-Curls shouted, closing her eyes and placing her hand on the plancette. The babysitter told Star and I to do the same. We did not truly understand what was happening, but because we were eager to please we did anyway.
The phone rang, and babysitter went to get it instead of putting her hands on the plancette. "It's George!" she shouted a moment later, and she and Red-Curls abandoned their game and locked themselves in her room.
This left Star and I alone with the mysterious Ouija board. I reached out cautiously, and placed my hand upon the wood. Star followed suit. I felt a crackling beneath my skin, and I looked at Star. Her eyes were closed, her face screwed up in concentration. The plancette began to move. I was so startled I lifted my hands off and moved away. Star opened her eyes, and watched the wooden arrow move under her fingertips. She leapt back, terrified. The plancette continued to move.
Neither of us were touching it. I grabbed Star; she grabbed me. We didn't dare let go, but continued to watch the circular movement. Around and around the board the plancette went. "Is it supposed to do that?" Star breathed.
"Noo..." I whispered, "I'm scared."
"Me, too."
After an eternity, it seemed, though it may have been a few seconds, it finally stopped. It stood still in the middle of the board. Then a crack ran down the middle, and the two halves split from each other. One piece stayed on the board, the other falling off and hitting the floor.
At that moment, a monsterous earthquake struck. The first and only one I've ever been in that caused the floor to lift and the ceiling to dive low one second, and fly into the sky as the ground sunk into itself the next. The walls trembled, and fury poured out of everything.
Star and I could not control ourselves. We were mere children, after all. We cried and screamed and sobbed in terror, clinging to each other as desperate as a man to a life preserver. The candles fell over, some flames disappearing while others spread onto the Ouija board.
After sixteen seconds, the nightmare was over. Fire raged on the table, the Ouija board going up in flames. Red-Curls and the babysitter were downstairs with us again, holding us and doing their best to comfort us (but as they were not even as old as I am now, they were just as scared as we) and put out the fire.
No one but me saw Star slip one of the pieces of the plancette into her pocket.
Eventually the fire was flushed away, the candles hidden, and the burnt game thrown into the trash can. My parents came and took me home, and the day ended. The day became a week, a month, a year, a lifetime.
I hadn't thought about that day in ages. But looking back, I know that was the day Star and I resonated. So consumed by mutual terror that a part of us is always with the other. I know always what she is doing, and she never needs to ask what I am thinking.

I hope she is pleased. I imagine she will let me know soon.