Tim Tells One

In my several "bull sessions" with my oldest sister Sue and my brother Tim in which we'd described our weird experiences (with Sue's always "taking the cake"), Tim had generally been a listener. However, as he got a little older, and, unfortunately, after his drinking problem had developed, he had gotten more experience behind him and had a little bit of data to share with us about his own experiences "from the crypt."

One story Tim told apparently dates back to about 1981, when he was a salesman at one of the big chain furniture stores that used to be located down on Seventh Street in downtown Little Rock. At the time he told it to me, I was on a vacation trip to North Little Rock, where my parents lived. I'd flown up from Houston, where I was working at the Texas Medical Center and Hermann Hospital.

We were discussing one of my favorite topics, local ghost stories and assorted tales, when Tim finally spoke on the subject.

"I was working at one of the warehouses down on Rebsamen Park sometimes when I sold for [I can't recall the name of the store]. I went there to check their stock in order to determine whether I'd need to put in special orders at the main warehouse for furniture items I'd sold for delivery or whether they were available there at the local warehouse [on Rebsamen].

"I spoke with a couple of the guys that worked there on evening while they were on a break. They indicated that there was a light in the warehouse that occasionally would be found on after it had been turned off, and vice versa. They were about to leave for the evening, and I was going to stay a few more minutes to make sure I knew which warehouse to contact for delivery of my big ticket delivery sales.

"It wasn't the first time I'd been there by any means--about the dozenth. So I knew my way around the back areas and the guys knew they could trust me to lock up and so forth. But that night, they told me something that I'd thought I might have noticed myself already--how the back hall light was always on when one went back there to check on things. When they told me about the on light, I mentioned that I knew which one and that I'd seen it myself."

"What light was this?" I asked.

"It's a little bare bulb that hangs down a long string rope, from the ceiling in the very back of the stockroom. It's only used occasionally, when we're way in the back and have to have light. It's used in the daytime or nighttime, since it's always dark way back there."

"Hmmm...sounds pretty weird," my mother and I said.

"Well, that night, being conscious that someone else had noticed it being on, I felt a little eerier when I went way back there. I almost asked one of the guys to stay a few more minutes while I went back there. I made a point to shoot straight back there while they were still getting their gear together before they left in the truck.

"I got back to the area in back where the light was. I saw that it was on. I did my check, and got back up front in time to speak to the guys before they left.

"I asked them if they had left the light on."

Tim said that they then had paused and looked at each other.

"There's been nobody back there but us all day. No other sales people or managers have been in since yesterday. We just were back there, just before you got there, and we made it a point to turn that light off. And it's on again?!"

"That's right--on again," Tim had said.

"Well, that was that night. The very next night, I was back, to fill out another delivery book and check the stock to see what would go out, if anything had come it that could be delivered from that location. The guys were there, and met me with that knowing look of someone who's got a shared knowledge about something."

"They said that this time they'd wait for me to come up from the back, to see the state of the light. This time, they said, they had deliberately left it turned off, and had stood there and noted the time, that they were the last to leave, that no one else would be there."

"They had waited for me to get there and stayed a few extra minutes. Now, they wanted to see how much truth there was to the rumor they'd heard. They said that, upon asking around about that light, they got the impression from locals to Rebsamen that someone had died in the area some years before. It seemed to involve a light or a traffic light. It was some kind of an unexpected or sudden death.

"Anyway, with that chilling thought in my mind, I headed back to the back, with those two in tow. On first arriving, we noted that the light was back on. I did my check, and we tore out of there, turning of that light and heading to the front door and office at a fast walk."

However, once they got back up there, curiosity got the better of Tim.

"Let's go back in about five minutes and see if it's back on," Tim said.

They two men looked at each other again and then agreed.

Back they went, past rows of furniture into the increasing darkness of the very back of the huge warehouse. But as they edged past the lamps, toward the very back, it seemed to be getting lighter again.

They moved past the last firewall and there, in the very back, was that bare light bulb--on.

"It was one truly a spine-chilling moment," Tim said.

I can truthfully say that, by that point, my spine was chilled, too. I knew I wouldn't have time to visit the place on that particular vacation trip, but I asked Tim to help me plan to visit it on my next trip up. I wanted to see that place for myself. He said sure, we'd do it next time.

By the time of my next visit, Tim had go "off the wagon." He was no longer present. He came back a few days before I had to leave for Houston again, and the circumstances weren't pleasant, since he'd been out of work and had lost his car. Events never allowed us to visit that warehouse together. Now that he's gone, it's just one more thing that I regret about his dying.

However, perhaps there is a ray of hope in that little ghost story. Perhaps the existence of such a ghost portends something for all of us as to life after death. And maybe, like my experiences of the days immediately after Tim's death may indicate, it is an indicator that Tim himself has survived bodily death.

As a result, Tim's little ghost story that used to chill my blood, now warms my heart.

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