Frank haunted the supermarket aisles. He had a lovely time—much better than when he’d worked there when he was alive. He hung off trolleys so they steered wonky. He knocked bottles of maple syrup off the shelves. He rolled tins of baked beans under people’s feet.
Frank sometimes got lonely, though. The only person who could see him was Sue, his old boss, and she always said:
‘Frank! Behave yourself,’
‘Stop that right now!’
So she wasn't very good company at all.
One day, Sue saw Frank behaving extremely badly indeed. He was wrestling a jar of olives from the deli girl. No one else could see him. They just saw the girl screaming as she waved the jar around. A crowd of customers had gathered to watch. Some were taking photos.
Then the jar rose by itself, hovered in the air and went flying across the deli to smash on the bench. The deli girl fainted. A huge Swiss cheese rose next. It wobbled up into the air and hung there like a holey UFO.
The customers all ran out of the shop.
‘A ghost!’ they shouted.
‘Frank!’ snapped Sue. ‘Put that down!’
‘There’s a monster!’ Frank whimpered, holding the cheese high. ‘I’m trying to squash it.’
‘Rubbish!’ said Sue with her hands on her hips. ‘Monsters don't exist. Now tell me what's really going on here.’
‘I felt it last night,’ said Frank in a low voice. ‘A horrible monster with cold feet ran over my face. Today I saw it sitting on the ham. It’s hiding behind the meat slicer.’
Frank pointed, dropping the cheese which bounced off the deli girl and rolled away.
Sue peered behind the meat slicer. She could see something that looked like a dirty tea towel. She picked up some tongs to fish it out. The tea towel trembled and sat up.
‘Ugh! It’s a rat,’ cried Sue, jumping back. The rat fled from behind the slicer and ran up her arm and onto her head. It was a ghost rat with glowing red eyes and a flat head where a trolley had run over it.
‘Get it off!’ screamed Sue, running in circles. ‘I hate rats!’
‘A rat! Awesome!’ said Frank and he plucked it off Sue’s head.
‘Get rid of it!’ cried Sue. ‘It’s filthy!’ She was shaking all over and frantically wiping her hair with her apron. The ghost rat had left a snail-trail of slime.
But Frank didn’t get rid of the rat. He liked it. He stroked its fur and sang it a little song. Soon it sat up and groomed its whiskers, turning its squashed head to the side to look at him.
After that, Frank wasn’t lonely anymore. He called the rat Gooey and trained him to run down the backs of people’s shirts. They had a great time together.
As for Sue, she hated rats so much, she had to take a long holiday. She never came back.
Zoë Disher is a writer living in Newcastle where she gets up extraordinarily early to write before the kids are awake. Visit Zoe's website to find out more.
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