Nick stood in the mirror with a satisfied look on his face. His eyes were still red, but the coffee and hot shower had done wonders for his appearance. Probably no one would even notice he was hung over today. “So what now?”
What do you mean?
“I mean, am I just stuck with you all the time now, like an annoying relative that shows up needing a place to crash for the night and ends up staying for weeks…” Nick glanced at the other reflection in the mirror and frowned when he realized that even though they shared the same DNA, Ghost Nick still looked better than him. Maybe people would notice. “Do I really look this bad all the time?”
Yeah, dude. You feel like crap too. You just don’t realize it cause you never actually feel good.
“Huh.” Nick continued to analyze the differences between him and his angel self who was apparently in a lot better shape. “I kind of look like shit, don’t I?”
Don’t worry. We’ll get you looking every bit as beautiful as me in no time.
“Which reminds me of my first question. Are you the stray dog I found on my doorstep and now have to adopt, or what?”
That’s between you and the boss-man. I’m here until you have your life in order, and your life isn’t in order until he says it is.
You have no idea.
“Bite me, asshole. My life’s not so bad.”
That’s what you think. You didn’t have to watch it on fast-forward with God giving the MST commentary for you. It’s kind of like the looking like crap thing. You just don’t realize how messed up you are, cause you’ve never had it together.
Nick looked himself over again, and hadn’t realized that his head was pounding until he realized his hand had been rubbing his temples through this whole conversation. He really did look and feel like one giant perma-hangover. And if Ghost Nick was right about that, then he couldn’t be too far off about his life being shit either. “Fuck,” he said again, this time with a really big sigh.
Relax, Nicky, you’ve got me now. We’re gonna fix it. And I’m telling you, we could have some fun.
“Right.” Nick wasn’t nearly as optimistic. “Send a screw up to fix a screw up. Makes perfect sense. And what the fuck is with you calling me Nicky? You know how much I hate that!”
Yeah, but it’s kind of hard not to, I totally understand why the guys do it all the time now.
“Fine, Nicky. How do you like it?”
Well I’ve got to call you something. We can’t both be Nick; it’s too confusing.
“I already thought of that. You’re Ghost Nick.”
Ghost-Nick? That’s pretty Lame-Nick.
“You can always stick with Nicky.”
But I’m not even a ghost!
“Whatever, you’re Ghost Nick until we think of a name for whatever it is you are.”
Fine, I’ll be Ghost Nick, for now, if you get moving. We can’t be late to sound check my first day on the job. That’s not going to inspire a whole lot of confidence with the big guy.
“Sound check, right.” Nick had been so caught up in this insanity, that he’d almost forgotten the real world still existed, and that he was a part of it. He grabbed his room key and then held the door open for Ghost Nick. “After you.” He shut the door behind him and then paused after only a step. “Wait a sec. How is this going to work? We can’t just show up to sound check as the fucking Doublemint Twins.”
Don’t worry. No one can see me.
“I can sure as hell see you.”
That’s cause I’m letting you see me.
Hello? Ghost Nick said sarcastically, and pointed at himself. Guardian Angel? Divine powers? I can show myself to, or hide from whoever I want.
“First of all,” Nick said, matching the sarcasm, and pointing his finger at Ghost Nick, “Guardian Poser. And second of all, so not fair that you get super powers. I wish I could hide from whoever I wanted.”
That comment spawned a discussion about comic books and which was better, DC or Marvel, and since Nick was excited to finally have someone to talk comics with for once, not to mention they shared the same opinion on basically everything, Nick’s spirits had been lifted quite a bit by the time he reached the venue. He was even starting to like the idea of having himself around. That is, until they reached craft services.
Nick walked up to the buffet table with his eyes set on a can of Redbull. “Breakfast of champions,” he laughed as he popped open the can.
Ghost Nick smiled at the comment, but snapped his fingers as Nick put the can to his lips, and turned the energy drink into something a little healthier. He burst into a fit of laughter when Nick nearly spit the surprise drink out through his nose.
“What is this shit?” Nick yelled when he was through coughing.
V8 Juice – the real breakfast of champions. Drink up Nick, it’s good for you.
“What the fuck?”
No more Redbull. It's nasty stuff. I met a guy in angel training who got cancer from it. Seriously. Drink the vegetables.
“I have a hangover, dude! I need the boost.”
Ghost Nick sighed and snapped his fingers again. Better?
Suddenly Nick’s headache was gone, and he felt as if he’d just had the best night’s sleep of his life. “Whoa,” he laughed, his mood escalating to great. “Thanks.”
Welcome, but no more freebies. From now on, it’s less alcohol and caffeine, and more fruits and vegetables.
“And this is supposed to make my life better?” Nick grumbled, but Ghost Nick noticed that he still finished off his juice and grabbed a banana.
Once Nick had a banana and some cottage cheese in his stomach, he was actually feeling a lot less grumpy, and decided to open his mind a little. “Ok,” he said, “so this saving me from myself thing, how do we do that? What’s so wrong with me anyway?”
Ghost Nick threw an arm over Nick’s shoulder and dragged him away from the buffet table when he reached for a pastry. The big guy has a whole list.
“A whole fucking list?”
Trust me, you don’t want to hear it. But basically, it comes down to making better choices. Everything from what you eat, to how you treat your friends, to who you date.
“You’re not going to fucking ground me from the sex too!”
Oh, and that’s another thing. We have to work on the language. No more swearing.
“Jesus, you sound like my mother!”
Nick felt a serge of pain rip quickly through his body as if he he’d been wearing a shock collar and just stepped over the fence. “Ow!” he yelled angrily “What the-”
Ghost Nick cut him off before he could use the F word again. And definitely no taking the lord’s name in vain. God’s kind of sensitive to that one. Nick glared at his new enforcer, but Ghost Nick shrugged defensively. Hey man, I’m having trouble with that one too. Stings, doesn’t it?
“It sucks dude! That’s what is does. No more drinking, no more junk food. No more sex??? If that’s heaven I’d rather go to hell.”
When Ghost Nick laughed, Nick got angry again. “How is it that you’re ok with this anyway? Are you basically me? Shouldn’t you be pissed about this too?”
Dying changes a man.
“You didn’t die.”
Ghost Nick frowned, Nick had him there. I was judged, though, he eventually defended himself. Met my maker and all that. But even more than that, we aren’t exactly the same, because I’ve been touched by the finger of God. I’m still physically human, but I’m also divine. It feels kind of weird. Like God’s version of Xanax. Divinity mellows you out a lot, and it makes you see things a little differently. But don’t worry too much Nick; it won’t be so bad, you’ll see.
“Easy for you to say, Mr. Divine,” Nick grumbled and then stomped out of the room hoping for two seconds of peace, yelling as he left, “Divine my ass!”
When Nick stormed out of the room and into the hallway, he plowed into Howie, knocking the smaller man clean on his butt. “Hey, Nick!” Howie greeted, somewhat startled.
“Sorry, D.” Nick reached out a hand and helped Howie to his feet.
“Everything ok?” Howie asked glancing into the empty room Nick just came barreling out of. “I heard you yelling.”
“Oh! No, I was just talking to myse-” Nick panicked for a moment and then corrected himself. “My friend.”
Howie raised a brow, questioning Nick’s lie as much as his odd behavior. “What friend?” he asked glancing into the empty room Nick had just stormed out of.
Nick searched for an answer, but could think of nothing. There was no one around, and in all the craziness of his morning, he’d walked out the door without his cell phone. He opened his mouth to snap at Howie to mind his own fucking business, but before he got the words out he felt a sudden bulge in his pocket. With a breath of relief he pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and waved it factiously in Howie’s face.
“Ok,” Howie said, throwing his hands up to surrender his scrutiny. He watched his band mate with curiosity, and then laughed again. “Was it a woman?”
Nick wished it was a woman. “No.”
“Was it Brian?” Howie giggled.
“No!” Nick snapped becoming more annoyed than he already was. “It was just…”
My friend, Nick.
“My friend, Nick.” Nick repeated automatically.
“Nick?” Howie repeated, confused. “I didn’t know you knew another Nick. Nick who?”
The Divine, Ghost Nick snickered.
“The Divine?” Nick repeated dryly.
“Nick… The Divine?” Howie questioned, now looking at Nick as if he were completely insane.
“Bastard!” Nick hissed.
“Your friend’s name is Nick the divine bastard?”
Nick glared at the nuisance who looked just like him, angry as hell to see the amused look on his face, and then pulled himself together. “My friend’s name is Nick… Divine,” He explained to Howie, trying his best to look and sound sane. “And he is a bastard. That’s what I was trying to say.”
“Nicky, are you sure you’re feeling ok?”
“Doth mine eyes deceive me?” Brian teased, interrupting Howie and Nick and throwing his arm over Nick’s shoulder. “Nicky is on time for once?”
This morning had been too crazy, and too frustrating, and Nick could no longer take it. “Fuck off, Brian!” he roared and then stomped off to have a cigarette.
Shit! Nick Divine hissed when he realized just how upset he’d made his little charge. OW! Ok, I’m sorry! No swearing, I know. Ow! Ok, I know, I know. I’m going to fix it.