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Home » Stories, True and Otherwise

The Famous Ghost Monologues, No. 1c: Mary Katherine Tomiczek

Submitted by on March 1, 2004 – 8:24 AMNo Comment

My grandfather had an expression he used to use, he used to take us into town on Saturdays and let us pick out candy while he got his papers and tobacco, and when we took too long to make up our minds Grandpa used to say, “Hurry up now, before the devil climbs on your wagon.” I didn’t know what one had to do with the other, but it sounded like it meant no candy if I didn’t hurry up, so I’d hurry up, but I never got around to asking him what that meant.

One night in ’71 I’m on Crestview Drive, right where that little access road crosses it, and a guy slows down to pick me up, and when I get into the car he says, “Well, you don’t look like the devil,” and you have to understand, that’s a strange way to greet a girl you’re giving a ride to, but on the other hand, I’d probably heard stranger ways that week already, and this was back before they all started asking me what I thought about the designated hitter, so I just smiled my little smile and shivered my little shiver, because that’s how it was done.

The guy explained about the devil, how he’ll wait at a crossroads at night, and if you don’t know which turn to take and you stop too long, a nice man will appear to tell you the way, but he’ll say it so you don’t understand, quite, and then he’ll say that he knows how to get there and he’s going that way himself, so if you wouldn’t mind letting him ride with you…and you tell him to hop in, it’s so nice of him to help you out, but of course it’s the devil.

So that explained that. Mostly. I don’t see why the devil doesn’t have his own car, and I walked through hundreds of intersections in my time and all I saw was trash on the shoulder, but the point is, what we do, it isn’t new. Anywhere it gets dark at night, they’ve got a story about us and a name, the vanishing hitchhiker or the phantom traveler, “Resurrection Mary” or “White Mary,” the girl on the southbound train, the girl on the courthouse bus, the girl on the corner. The devil. But it isn’t new. Mary Charles did it before me, and Mary Therese does it now, and when Mary Therese’s parents die, another girl will do it, and another girl is doing it over in Somerset County, and another girl down the shore, and one in Maine and one in Finland. And so on.

You don’t hear as much about us as you used to, anymore, just like you don’t hear as much about the devil, but we haven’t gone anywhere. Nobody drives a wagon anymore but that doesn’t mean the devil can’t still climb.

My name is Mary Kate Tomiczek. I died in a car accident February 13, 1965.

March 1, 2004



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