Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ghost Taxi with Joanna Foreman

A man drowns heading for freedom in America, but his ghost is trapped. Washed up on the beach, the ghost is an illegal alien, not allowed to cross the street into Miami. A homeless man and a vacationing tourist search for his wife so the ghost can possess her.

Joanna!! How are you? Well my love, I have been officially frightened this week by the great stories! I know you are bringing just another beaut to the screen. So tell me about Ghost Taxi Sweetie. 

I was inspired to write “Ghost Taxi” after a frightening experience on South Beach, Miami. On a very dark beach at five o’clock in the morning, I’d planned to capture a few sunrise photographs. In the early blackness I stumbled onto a soft, warm human being! The poor homeless fellow grunted and rolled over and I vaulted across the dunes to my hotel and slid back into bed. The following year, Gianni Versace was murdered on Ocean Drive in plain view, right in front of his mansion. The mansion seemed the perfect place for my story’s happy ending, and a real-life photographer I’d met while dining on Ocean Drive with my fiancé became a vital character. Ricardo had drowned in his attempt to escape to America and his spirit was trapped with many others on the beach due to their illegal status. As more abnormal creatures came to life and wrote their version of the story, I sipped hot coffee and watched as they took over my keyboard. The closer it got to Halloween, the more determined they all were to find a ghost taxi for Ricardo so he could cross the street into Miami and enjoy freedom at last. 

Joanna, why do you always bring me my favorite goodies? Excerpts....all the good stuff. *sigh* Love, love, love. 

People think I’m psychic, but they’re wrong. Psychics foretell the future with crystal balls; they read tarot cards and are privy to secret lives in mysterious ways. I don’t do any of that fancy stuff. I merely feel the energy of people around me—even the dead ones. I’m more of what is known as a sensitive. I see dead people. Really! Thus, I wasn’t the least bit surprised when I nearly tripped over a ghost on South Beach. I mean, it wasn’t the first time and it probably wouldn’t be the last. Spirits have never been afraid of me and I’m usually not fearful of them.

I’d slept at the renowned Breakwater Hotel on Ocean Drive and set my alarm clock for a glimpse of the Miami sunrise. Jumped into my sweats, grabbed my camera and trudged across the darkened dunes where the remaining sliver of moonlight illuminated the outline of an enchanting Art Deco lifeguard station. A stack of folded, white lounge chairs leaned against the shack. I stopped a couple feet short of the chairs to adjust the settings on my camera, but I couldn’t see a thing. Why am I out here so early? Sunrise wasn’t scheduled for at least another hour, I figured, as dark as it was. But I hadn’t wanted to miss it, so there I stood.

Then came the noise—a throaty snarl, perhaps the deep growl of the undead? I wondered. A cold breeze swished in with the tide across the beach. The growl came again, echoing the original sinister sound, only softer. Another thought occurred to me: What was I doing on Miami Beach all by myself in the friggin’ dark? Stupid and dangerous—I might be raped . . . or killed, my body dragged out to sea—never to be found. I could see the headlines now. My fiancé would think I’d run off with a wealthy Italian fashion designer. I thought of Gianni Versace—murdered right in front of his mansion on Ocean Drive after his morning walk a few years ago.

When I turned to head back to the safety of the hotel, I stepped on a soft object. The homeless! Of course, they sleep out here! The form of a man rose to his feet and ran farther down the beach.

I called out to him, “Hey! I’m sorry, Mister. I didn’t see you in the dark.” He stopped abruptly and angled his face toward me. We made eye contact, but in place of eyes, his sockets were so empty the neon lights from Ocean Drive hotels shimmered through the void. I gasped and stood frozen, watched him as he took off running again.

 Anything else you would like to share? Where I can find your stories? **hightails it to the nearest internet**

Quixote Press published Joanna Foreman’s ghost story collection, Ghosts of Interstate-65 in 2008. Spellbound-2011 and Paranormal Dreams, both by Melange Books, contain the stories Ghost Taxi and Lady of the Wigwam. Vicarious Christmas will be published by Melange Books on December 1 in the anthology, Warm Christmas Wishes. Joanna’s short fiction and slice-of-life vignettes can be found in five annual anthologies of the Southern Indiana Writers Group, of which she is a member. 

Joanna has completed one novel and is currently writing a memoir.


Tara Fox Hall said...

Loved the story, Joanna :) Best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving!

Na said...

I am very thankful for the chance to read these stories in Spellbound. Thank you Tara ^^ who gave me the wonderful news this morning. I'm already preparing myself for a good scare. Even though I have never encountered a ghost, I would like to think my first encounter would be with a friendly Casper-like one. Not one with a "snarl" or "deep growl"! Thank you for the post Joanna!


Mila Ramos said...

Joanna I can't wait for your memoir! Loved the story! Please keep writing!

Jenny Twist said...

Great post, Joanna. I loved how you got the idea, and the story is excellent - beautifully written.