I like the fact that they call me the Ghost. I know it's a pun, because I’m a ghost artist. But it is also how they see me. I’ve met them all, they just don’t know it. It's a game I play.
John N. thinks I’m a weird programmer guy trying to make self-morphing digital comics.
Paul D. thought I was an artist looking for a break. I drew some awful stuff just to see how he would respond. He’s a good guy. He walked that edge of encouraging me and not lying to me. He had no idea that I’ve been drawing the books he thinks that his partner is drawing. Maybe the magician girl will set him straight. Maybe he doesn’t know she’s living under an alias.
Diana thinks I’m a graphic artist who uses her as a model and wants to date her. I haven’t figured the dating thing out, yet. How do you do that without letting anybody know who you are? Meeting her was a little more elaborate. I needed a studio, so I went to a commercial photographer whose business was drying up in the recession and I rented his place for the day. Acted like it was mine. I met her at a nearby coffee shop and then took a complicated route to the office, hoping she’d never be able to find it again if she came looking. It was a wonderful day.
One time, and only once, did Tinfoil blogger try to find out who I was. He said he’d heard vague rumors about the Ghost. He started hunting me down. Had a website where he tried to put together clues as to who I was. He tried to guess my location by backgrounds, he tried to track my relations by contact points. I didn’t quite know what to do about it, so I decided to start hunting him. Funny thing was that even though he was trying to keep himself anonymous, he kept tipping himself. It was kind of fun to turn my own process backwards. It was like I said, ‘okay, I’ll hunt him by pretending that I’m hunting myself.
Of course, I busted him. Turned out he was one of my clients playing detective. Drew some stuff into the story, wrote some extra dialogue that only he would understand. He got the message and stopped looking. His blog went down and he and I shared a secret laugh over it. At least I assume he did.
Yeah. The central mystery of my life started out when I was born. What is out there? What is talking to me? To whom do I owe my inspiration? Where do my visions come from? It’s funny how when I write my own story, it reads like bad comic book writing… Overblown. Overstated. Overly poetic. Overly dramatic.
Or is it? Maybe it’s just honest. When you see your life as a cosmic epic powered by unknown energies and unfathomable intelligences, how do you write it any other way? Maybe society pressures us to be understated because it fears that everything would come spinning apart if we faced the overarching realities.
The most fascinating places in my life are places I’ve never been to. That bow and arrow, the mysterious winged thing with the world in its chest? A radar dish? Where’s the bar with the trap door? Where’s the sunken submarine? What waterfall hides a secret door? Why is there an ancient mausoleum on the top floor of a skyscraper? The shrine surrounded by quicksand?
Some of the most fascinating people are those who I met in my visions before they presented themselves. The dead girl with the glyphs written all over her… The guy walking around with mortal wounds… The girl with the cyber eyes…
The strange thing about my life is that I don’t know where it ends. Most people figure that, barring some catastrophe, it is going to be in a bed surrounded by their loved ones. I don’t have loved ones and I doubt that I will. Then again, there are surprises around every corner.
The trick about living like a nomad is that you can not appear to be a nomad. Whatever environment you find yourself in, it must appear that it was your environment yesterday and it will be your environment tomorrow. When I move into a temporary apartment, I spend hundreds of dollars making it look lived in. When I move to a new city, I buy new clothes to fit that city. When I move, I sell what I can, donate the rest to charity and leave with a backpack on my back. When I reach my new destination, it all starts over again. My one Achilles tendon is that sometimes I collect souvenirs. I’ll pick up a rock somewhere. When I do, I write the name and place and I send it to my one anchor in the world, and that is a storage facility in a western state. I have been there one time. I was in disguise. I paid ten years in advance. I carry the key in a chain around my neck.
How do I know when to move? I can’t say. I hear footsteps. I don’t know whose they are or why I hear them.
I just hear them.