The ghost in the machine room


Call me Ishmael. Well, you don't have to call me that, but it's a lot easier to deal with than "Maximilian Torricelli", which is something of a mouthful in any living language, and anyway I'm no longer living, at least not in any sense of the word that would pass muster with your HMO's keep-the-costs-down committee.

How it happened isn't that important. I always figured it was my own fault anyway. Suffice it to say, the combination of questionable karma and my personal malaise left me here in some Pacific Rim hellhole stuck in a so-called "clean room". And I don't see any way out, either; the same methods that keep the dust and microcrud out of the equipment keep my enfeebled ectoplasm from flying the coop.

The problem is, they can't, or won't, even open the damned door. I mean, it's not like I'm some sort of scary creature; I admit to being kind of scuzzy, to use one of their favorite words, but it's nothing to be afraid of, really. Bunch of superstitious peasants, the lot of them.

The only hope I have now is that someone from the home office will force his way into this sanitary tomb and set me free. But fat chance of that. Once they open up the place, it's no longer clean, and it's no longer worth anything to them.