Abigail Timberlake Washburn would rather be anywhere else on a muggy Charleston summer evening -- even putting in extra hours at her antiques shop -- than at a seance. But her best friend, "Calamity Jane," thinks a spirit -- or "Apparition American," as ectoplasmically-correct Abby puts it -- lurks in the eighteenth-century Georgian mansion, complete with priceless, seventeenth-century Portuguese kitchen tiles, that C.J. just bought as a fixer-upper. Luckily, Abby's mama located a psychic in the yellow pages -- a certain Madame Woo-Woo -- and, together with a motley group of feisty retirees known as the "Heavenly Hustlers," they all get down to give an unwanted spook the heave-ho. But, for all her extrasensory abilities, the Madame didn't foresee that she, herself, would be forced over to the other side prematurely. Suddenly Abby fears there's more than a specter haunting C.J. And they'd better exorcise a flesh-and-blood killer fast before the recently departed Woo-Woo gets company.
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March 25, 2003
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Excerpt from Tiles and Tribulations by Tamar Myers
My best friend., C.J., is deathly afraid of Apparition Americans. Unfortunately, her not-so-new house on Rutledge Avenue has at least one very vocal semitransparent resident. I told C.J. to expect spirit lingerers when buying a two-hundred-year-old Charleston mansion, but no, the big gal wouldn't listen.
Since I had warned her, I didn't feel it was my responsibility to attend the silly seance she had planned. It's not that I don't believe in Apparition Americans -- I do. My own house is haunted, in fact. But mine is a benign presence who contents himself with jangling a bunch of keys and pacing up and down my long, narrow upstairs hallway. C.J.'s unwelcome tenant, on the other hand, wails like the banshee she might well be, and once she even touched C.J. with hands as cold as Popsicles.
So intimidating is C.J.'s spirit, that my friend has had a devil of a time getting a contractor to do some necessary remodeling. Three burly men have quit in the time it takes to change a light bulb, much less re-vamp a nineteen forties style kitchen. But the really strange thing is that, since the last workman ran off the job -- leaving his tool belt behind -- the ghost has taken on the remodeling job herself. I know this sounds bizarre, but C.J. swears it's true. She claims she comes home from work and finds wallboard replaced, paint scraped, tiles caulked, you name it. So far the repairs are remarkably like the ones C.J. wanted the contractor to do, although this has done nothing to ameliorate C.J.'s terror.