On Nydia Brandstatt

Before I met her, she was something of a ghost. I would sometimes get mail to my department at work addressed to her, but I, in my position as the center of the company’s neural network, knew that no one by her name worked there. So I shrugged and disposed of it. But then one day, my co-workers kept telling me, “she’s back. She’s come back.” Not only did my ghost come to work with me, she transferred right into my department.

Here are the ways in which she was a spook: Often muttered just outside of my hearing range and when I said “what” she said “nothing” or nothing at all. Had an addiction to warmth- and life-giving substances like coffee. (That’s where the list ends. With coffee.) Was fascinated with horror stories, which I think must have reminded her of her home circle of hell, where everyone bleeds coffee when you cut them open. Took precisely no crap from terrible customers, because, as an ephemeral being, she was immune to threats of physical harm on this mortal plane. Also, because our boss liked her.

Eventually, she grew tired of haunting my department and floated on to someplace else. Sometimes I still get her mail.

When I grew up, I turned out just like her.

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