You whistle as you walk to your car, excited to listen to your new, free music. You’ve burned a collection of rarities by 90’s alt-rock band Blind Melon to a CD-R because you’re stuck in 2002, and now it’s time to go cruising.
You buckle in (for safety!) before reaching to insert the disc into the CD player. Before you can push the CD into the slot, the disc flies violently out of your hand as if it had been slapped and sails out your open driver window, settling at the base of a nearby crepe myrtle.
After you watch the disc come to rest, you begin turn your attention back to the CD player when you realize with no small degree of alarm that there is a shimmering, blue, transparent man sitting in your passenger seat. If that wasn’t bad enough, he appears to be giving you the finger. The ethereally cerulean being appears to be in his late twenties and has long, flowing hair. Tracks of white powder sprout from underneath his nostrils.
Because you are not twelve years old, you recognize the man. “No. Shannon Hoon? It can’t be. You- you’re-“ you stutter.
The man speaks. “Dead? You are not wrong.”
“H-how?” you ask, your voice a coarse whisper.
“I was summoned back to this place by a man named Ulrich. He used his dark power to bind my spirit to his service. Now I wander the earth, foiling those who would enjoy the fruits of music artist’s labors without due payment.”
“So…you’re like…a vengeful ghost?”
“Were you listening? I don’t give a shit, I’m dead. I’m just doing what Lars told me. ‘Yes, master.’ That kind of crap. Anyway, buy the album or whatever. My old band mates gotta eat, dude. They’re not exactly playing arenas, you know.”
“Music piracy is a victimless crime,” you say smugly. “I wasn’t going to buy it anyway.”
The ghost’s pale eyes go dark black, and his once blue hue quickly gives way to a deep, fiery red. He seems upset.
“Having your heart stopped by the ghost of a nineties rock star is a suspectless crime, asshole,” he says matter-of-factly, “and you were going to die anyway. Buy the album.”
Terrified, you nod vigorously.
“I’m needed elsewhere, some loser is torrenting Good Charlotte in Boise. Gross. If you’re gonna steal, at least steal something good, right?”
You stare motionlessly at the still-ablaze ghost.
“Anyway, stay off the blow, dude. That shit’ll get ya. Later.” He fades out of existence and you are alone in the car.
You start the car and turn on talk radio.