Chapter 1 Life Isn't Fair

Martha began transferring cookies into tins for the bake sale. She stopped when she realized there were at least twelve cookies unaccounted for, aside from all those she had put aside for the family, all of which had already been eaten. She stood there, arms crossed, thinking. Then she called, "Captain Gregg?"

He materialized and snatched a cookie. She attempted to slap his wrist, but of course her hand simply slipped through. She grabbed the cookie instead then, yanking it from his grip. He grabbed another cookie and immediately dematerialized and then rematerialized across the kitchen, stuffing the whole cookie in his mouth with an evil grin.

"Hungry ghost, eh? You've got to stop chowing down the baked goods or you'll lose that fine physique. It makes no difference to me, but I bet Carolynn would mind."

Crumbs in his beard, he looked a bit like an overgrown kid to Martha. He swallowed and smugly told her, "Hungry ghost whose physique is unchanging."

"You really are annoying, Captain. Go ahead, rub salt in the wound. I just look at a cookie and I gain weight."

"Martha, I seem to recall you doing more than simply looking at five cookies last night."

"Well, it was less than you had! Life isn't fair."

"Neither is death. If you really want to lose weight, I'm willing to assist you."

"What sort of assistance are we talking about?"

"We could go for a brisk walk along the shore after meals. Perhaps cutting your rations would also help."

"Forget it. Here I am talking to a ghost who sounds like a doctor."

"What sort of assistance did you think I could provide?"

"You make things fly through the air; you make things appear and disappear. I was just hoping for more useful powers."

"How about if I implant a suggestion in your mind that you're not hungry?"

"Meddle with my mind? Forget the whole thing. And while you're at it, put back those cookies that just disappeared. We're already short, and I need to get these to the school."

He harumphed, took two cookies out of his coat pocket, and put them back in the tin. "You realize this is my galley."

"Just like you realize you're taking food meant for charity. Why not make up for some missing cookies by getting the car keys for me from Carolynn?"

"Deprive you of the exercise of walking upstairs? For your own sake, no." He dematerialized.

"If he weren't a ghost, I swear I'd kill him."