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Columns | "A Balloon In Cactus"

Ghosts, Ghouls, Goblins,
and other G Spots

by Maggie Van Ostrand
Maggie Van Ostrand
On Halloween I usually conjure up run-of-the-mill ghosts, ghouls, and goblins to scare little kids away so I don't have to share my candy with them. This year, I've decided to actually contact a dead celebrity instead, to find out how they're enjoying their afterlife life. I figured G for Ghost, and double that for good luck.

I chose the ghost of Greta Garbo, elusive in life but, since being deceased, I figured she'd be helpless to resist my invitation if I used what I learned in the hallowed halls of Carnac's Conjuring Class. Knowing Greta Garbo had never been interviewed by Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters or Charlie Rose, this would be the scoop of an afterlifetime. By supersecret methods, I texted the Spirit World's Dead Celebs with Double G Initials Dept. Due to a glitch in their system, instead of Greta Garbo, something went wrong and I ended up with Pedro Gonzales-Gonzales.
Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez
Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez

GG: I am the ghost of Pedro Gonzales-Gonzales, a guy so nice, they named me twice.

Me: How do you do?

GG: How do I do? I am dead. How do you think I do?

Me: No offense. It's just that hearing you is a surprise since I was aiming for Greta Garbo.

GG: Good luck with that. Nobody up here ever sees her. The only way we know she's around is the trail of cigarette smoke.

Me: Smoking is allowed there?

GG: Every vice is allowed here. That's why it's heaven.

Me: I hate to sound snobbish but I'm not sure you'll be a hit on Halloween. These days, a lot of people won't know who you are.

GG: Story of my life. I'm only a Ghost Second Class. Callers like you always try to reach First Class, like Thomas Jefferson or Marilyn Monroe, or Elvis. You think you're the first to try Garbo? She won't even take a call from Oprah. You received me instead because you probably used the same people who designed the Obamacare website. Cheer up, I'm not totally unknown. I acted with the most famous of all celebrities -- John Wayne. We did a bunch of movies together like Hondo, Chisum, and Rio Bravo, and he kept me on his payroll until he died. My Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is right next to his. I'm so proud it's my star they stand on when they take pictures of his star.

Before that, I was a little famous already for making Groucho laugh when he asked me "If we got together as an act, what would it be called?" I said "It would be Gonzales-Gonzales and Marx." Then Groucho looked at the audience and said, "Do you believe that? Two men in the act, and I get third billing!"

Me: Well, Wayne and Groucho are good cred and you do have the right initials. I only wish you were scarier.

GG: I never played anything scarier than bandits. If only I could land a part today on The Walking Dead, I'd be on easy street. Talk about authenticity! But my agent's even deader than I am. I will tell you a secret even TMZ doesn't have. My real name is not Pedro Gonzales-Gonzales. My real name is Ramiro Gonzales-Gonzales. There. I told the truth and I feel better now. Still dead, but better.

Me: You've convinced me, so will you come to my Halloween Party as an apparition and voiceover?

GG: Sorry, I can't. Epcot has me under dead-or-alive contract at Disney World.

Me: Another body blow. No Garbo, not even a ghostly Gonzalez-Gonzalez. Well, maybe we can get together another time. I think I'll just go to the Halloween Party as Ted Cruz. It might not do much for the kids, but it sure will scare the adults.


© Maggie Van Ostrand,
October 25, 2013 column
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