We passed upon the stair, we spoke of was and when /
Although I wasn't there, he said I was his friend /
Which came as some surprise I spoke into his eyes /
"I thought you died alone, a long long time ago"
"Oh no, not me /
I never lost control /
You're face to face /
With The Man Who Sold The World"
He spoke over the sound of laughter and the sports games pumped loudly through television speakers.
Angel turned back to the bar, glass in hand. The apparition beside him smiled a satisfied grin.
"Come on now-- keep up like that, 'might think you don't like me."
Angel dropped the empty glass in place on the bar, with all the other empty glasses. They stood in a long, shakily arranged row.
"And what a tragedy that would be."
He spun the glass in front of him around with his finger. The condensation left arching patterns of droplets across the polished wood of the bar. He turned back, nodding heavily at the shape beside him, watching him with a smirking and sarcastically raised eyebrow.
"Must be frustrating. Not being able to touch anything."
"Right. What's it to you?"
"Well, since you took all the time to come annoy me-again. Still, really. Always."
"Well, because of that, maybe I should buy you a drink," Angel said, "Watch you try to concentrate enough to pick it up."
"You know, you're really more fun when you're silent and miserable. Maybe you should-"
Angel slammed his arms down on the bar. The glasses jumped.
"Why are you even *here*?"
The ghost masked his surprise, leaning back and smiling.
"Where else could I go? Found it's a mite more fun to haunt the un-living than sit and stare at the office walls all night. Did you know that your night janitors have tentacles coming out of-"
"Nonono. I mean why are you *here*-- you're not even real," Angel responded, pushing the barstool on which the apparition appeared to sit. It spun around slightly, and the ghost spun with it. The ghost began to realize Angel's voice was slurred.
"Wait-- are you *drunk*?"
"I push the chair, you go all spinny. Why don't you fall through the floor, or the foundations-"
"What are you yammering about? You're not exactly--"
"--The center of the earth's core."
"I know you used to handle liquor better than-"
"Really. Why would you be here-of all places."
Angel shook his head before continuing.
"It really pisses me off."
Another shove to the stool, and the ghost went spinning again. It reached to stay itself in the bar, and its hand slid clear through. It scowled.
A waitress stopped and squinted at the hand, sliding through the wood, and shook her head quizzically. She headed for the bathroom to adjust her contact lenses.
"Really think you should be stopping that now."
Angel shrugged. The stool slowed to a stop. A resounding cheer rose up as a goal was scored on the screens above.
The ghost reached out, eyes firm, touching the rim of the glass nearest to him. It whispered softly against the wood, teetering toward Angel.
"I just don't know how you keep standing. There's nothing-- there's nothing beneath you-or nothing above what's beneath you. If there was a you, I mean. Or something."
"Angel," it said firmly.
"Not like we'd remember," Angel continued, softly, staring into the wood in front of him, "No one remembers."
"It's not for me, of course. I didn't want to do it. But it's better- really. For him."
The face beside him narrowed its eyes.
"Of course it is- but the others. There's nothing beneath-or nothing above what's beneath. there are gaps. Big, gaping holes. And it's hollow."
"Angel, I don't have the least bleeding clue what you're talking about."
Angel stood, staring vacantly over the ghost's head over the crowd.
"No, you wouldn't. No one would. Except Eve-"
"What did you do?"
"Sold it out."
Angel turned, headed for the door. The ghost ran after.
"Angel, what did you do?"
Angel chucked and spread his arms.
"I sold it all out," he said, pushing the doors open and walking out into the night.
I laughed and shook his hand, and made my way back home /
I searched for form and land, for years and years I roamed /
I gazed a gazely stare at all the millions here /
We must have died alone, a long long time ago
Who knows? not me /
We never lost control /
You're face to face /
With the Man who Sold the World