405. Ghost Town
New York City can be a terrifying place.
- Just a coffee and a muffin, please. - That'll be $7.50.
But nothing is more frightening in the prospect running into an ex before you leave and have your morning coffee.
- Miranda. - You made me burned my tongue!
I've got to work on that. Sorry. You look great. How you doing?
Good. You know, boring. What's new with you?
I guess that means you didn't get the invitation yet.
- No. Invitation to what? - I'm finally doing it. I'm opening up my own bar.
Steve, you're kidding! That's...
That's scary, right? And as soon as next Saturday. I'd really love it if you would come. You remember Jessica?
- Yes, sure. Of course, yes. - You'll come, right? Next Saturday? - We'd love to see you there.
She "we'd" him. Right in front of me.
I'm still asleep. How can you have had an emotional mini-drama already?
No way I'm going to his opening, right? Do you think I should go?
Let me think for a second.
What really pisses me off is it was my idea. I am the one who told him to open his own bar at the first place. But do I get any credit?
I'm guessing not.
Of course not. It's infuriating! Why can’t he be so ambitious when he was with me?
Maybe you inspired him. Maybe he named the bar Miranda's or Hobbes Nob.
He named the bar Scout, Carrie, after his dog. I'm not going to that.
You have to go. You guys are friends now. That's what friends do.
You're my friend. That means you have to go with me?
Of course. Absolutely. That's what friends are for.
- Forget it. I'm not going. - To what?
- What is it? - Steve Brady and...Aidan Shaw!
How did this happen? Why are they even friends?
According to Steve's girlfriend, Jessica, who answered his phone when he was in shower this morning...
I love how you say Jessica like allegedly that's her name.
- Aidan is Steve's silent partner. - Why didn't I get an invitation?
- You can have mine because I'm not going. - Carrie, come on. It's a big party. Probably you won't see him.
It is not a party. It's a parade of our failed relationships. Next you're gonna tell me that my junior prom date is the barback.
I think it's good Aidan invited you. It means he wants to be friends.
I don't know what it means. I just know I don’t wanna find about the party.
- It means I forgive you, please come. - Nice try. Not going. - I'll go.
Thank you. You see, Samantha's my friend. I'm going with Samantha and her lesbian lover, and I am proud.
Let's not invite Maria. I could use a night away from the old ball and chain.
Don’t tell me you're in a Sapphic slump!
All we ever do is lie around, take baths together and talk about feelings.
I think they call that a relationship.
I don't know how you people do it. All that emotional chow-chow. It’s exhausting.
- Don't you just hate that? - Women.
That night Samantha was determined to get Maria out of the tub and out on the town.
I don’t see why are we out in this crowd, with all this smoke, when we could be home relaxing together?
I just thought it would be fun to take our relationship out on dry land for a change. That’s all. Besides, what's the fun of getting clean if you can't get dirty first?
Samantha jones. What's it gonna be? The usual?
Brian makes the most dangerous Mojitos in the city.
Two Mojitos coming up. On the house.
- Fun place, huh? - Hey, gorgeous.
Sean Sullivan! What are you doing in town?
Business. Just a few weeks. What are you doing Saturday?
- Saturday? - We have plans for Saturday.
How about a late run? I'll call you.
What is this late run?
Doesn't translate. I didn't know we had plans on Saturday. I already promise the girls I'm going with them.
- Should I come? I'm a girl. - No, sweetie. I know. Since you don't really like to go out, I just thought...
Here you go, ladies. Enjoy. I get off at 4:00.
Samantha had to face her past and Charlotte was facing her future. Now that Trey had no problem getting hard in the bedroom, she saw no reason why their bed should be.
Bunny, hi. What are you doing here?
When Trey told me you two were buying a new bed, I insisted he let me help. I picked the one he has now, didn't you know? It's Chippendale.
No. Where is Trey?
Still at the hospital, I expect. Don't fret. We'll find a mattress to fit the frame.
We were hoping to find a bed that was a little bigger and less hard.
My dear, I'm a firm believer in firm mattresses. Look. The perfect dust ruffle. Five-pleat, gusseted duster with a foot drop. I have one just like it.
Actually, Bunny, most of the newer beds don't even need dust ruffles.
My dear child, you cannot not have a dust ruffle. It's unsightly. This is divine. Nice and firm.
Hello, my darling girls. Sorry I'm late. I see you've started without me, mother.
You must get in and feel this. It's sublime.
Hello. This is comfy, isn't it? Charlotte, you really must try this.
- I was thinking more... - For heaven's sake get in.
- This is heaven. - I'm sorry, this is just way too...
- Firm? All righty. Something softer. - Something with a dust ruffle. Trey.
Whatever you say, Mother. You know best.
You hear it too, Fatty?
- I think I might have a ghost. - I think I might have to hear that again.
There were weird noises last night right above me. The cat heard it, too.
If the cat heard it... That's not a ghost. That's some weird neighbour's nocturnal, what have you.
That's what I thought at first, but this morning the super let me in upstairs and there's no one living there. The place is completely empty. I know it sounds crazy, but last night I could feel it.
- Did the cat feel it too? - The hairs on the back of my neck all stood up.
My grandmother had a ghost. Finally she had to tell it to leave.
That's exactly what you’re supposed to do. Confront the ghost, acknowledge its presense, release it.
- How do you happen to know that? - Everybody knows that.
The thing I don’t understand is why now? I've been living there for two years.
When I lived alone, I felt scared all the time. Now I'm back with Trey, I feel safe.
What do you say? I have a ghost because I'm single? That's discrimination.
New York is definitely haunted. Old lovers, ex boyfriends, anyone you have unresolved issues with you are bound to run into again and again until you resolve them. My relationship with Aidan was long dead, but with one invitation he was suddenly a presence in my life again. Or had he been there all along? Like the chair he made that I could never bring myself to sell. When a relationship dies, do we ever really give up the ghost? Or are we forever haunted by the spirits of relationships past?
- Why did you not introduce me to that Sean? - He's nobody. Just a guy I used to fuck.
- And the bartender man? - He's nobody. Just a guy I used to fuck.
Why have you not told these nobody that you are with somebody now?
What am I supposed to say? "Hi, this is my lesbian lover. PS, I'm done with dick?"
- Who said anything about dick? I was talking about our relationship. - Of course you were.
Do you miss the dick? Is that what this is all about? It's OK to tell me. We should talk about this.
- OK. I'll talk. How many men have you been with? - How many women have you been with?
- 12. You've been with more than 12 men? - Why are we even talking about this?
Why are you so afraid to talk? Always pulling away.
I'm not pulling away. I'm trying to get closer.
Not like that. Not with sex. I cannot just turn it on and off. After all, I'm not a man.
You know what? I think I'm clean now.
That night, Charlotte found herself haunted by dust ruffles, ducks and Bunny.
Your mother decorated this entire apartment, didn’t she?
Mother does all our houses.
- I should have known. Plaid and the mallards. - You don't like them?
No. It's like living in the museum of natural ugliness! Trey, if we're really serious about making a fresh start with our marriage and making this our home, it should reflect our taste, shouldn't it?
- I have no taste, clearly. - Then my taste for us.
Mother spent a lot of time and money on this place.
I understand, but I am your wife. Maybe I should have a chat with her?
Let me talk to her. It might go easier. Tomorrow, when she comes over for brunch, I will sit her down and say that this is simply not our/your taste. The animals have got to go.
But the next morning...
Up and at them, George McFadden. It's daylight in the swamp!
Trey was in no condition to talk to anyone.
- Hello, Mother. - Darling, what's the matter? Are you ill? Let Mother... - Sore throat.
Charlotte, telephone my house and tell Geneva to bring over some broth. And my overnight case. I know you have a busy week at the gallery. I might as well stay in the guest room until Trey's recovered. What's this mallard doing here? He lives in the study.
Since I wasn't going to risk an awkward public confrontation at Aidan’s opening, I wanted to at least make a gesture, some small way of saying thank you for inviting me, for being braver than I could have been and for at least suggesting that we can be friends.
There was no sign of him, but he was everywhere. In the mahogany bar, the wood floors, the carved ceiling. The whole place looked and felt just like Aidan.
- What are you doing here? - I was just in the neighborhood. I couldn't resist a sneak preview.
Did Miranda come with you?
No, no. I'm not going to be able to come to the opening so I just wanted to thank Aidan for inviting me. It's a mulberry bush. Because the bar's on...
Mulberry Street. Carrie, that's really sweet. Only...Aidan didn't exactly invite you. I did.
I thought Miranda might feel more comfortable if she knew you’re gonna be here. So…
- So Aidan didn't invite me? - No, not exactly, but... - I've got to go.
That night, I wasn't the only one who was haunted. One phone call later…
Does the ghost like Oreos?
At this point I'm hoping there is a ghost, otherwise I'm insane.
You say that like it's either/or proposition.
I know. I’m sorry for making you come over. I just needed another person here, you know, ‘cause the cat's an unreliable witness.
Don’t worry about that. I checked the haunted-house clause of the best-friend contract. You're completely covered.
Meanwhile, across the park, Charlotte, haunted by Bunny decision to spend the night, couldn't sleep either.
Bunny! What are you doing?
I remembered I had some Vicks in my bag. It's the best thing for a cold.
I already gave him some Nyquil.
Nyquil doesn't cure anything. Except consciousness.
- Don’t you think I Should do that? - I've done it since he was a child.
But I am his wife. If anyone does it, it should be me.
Not on his tummy. You're trying to break up the phlegm. Let me… you don't know what you're doing.
You're being very inappropriate. Bunny, I'm sorry, but this just isn't going to work. Trey and I are back together. This is our house. We will redecorate it as we see fit. No more plaid, no more duck decoys. From now on, there can only be one lady of the house.
I've been in his house far longer than you, my dear. And unlike you, I never left. Believe me. The decoys may come and go, but I'm going to be here forever.
Samantha, you home? Come on, baby, open up. It's me, Sean.
Sean, what are you doing here? It's 2 o'clock in the morning.
- Let's fuck. - How did you even get in?
- Your security code's the same. How about it? Can I come in? - Sean, you can't be here.
I got hard just walking up your stairs. You got another guy in here or something?
No. Not another guy, no. I'm Maria. Samantha's girlfriend.
Good for you. That's... Maybe I could come in and you two could make me a sandwich something.
I don't think tonight's going to be good for us.
- Come on. I'm only in town for... - I'm sorry.
- Get away from the door, motherfucker, before I call the cops! - OK, good night.
With that, Maria released Samantha's ghost, and confronted Samantha.
You let men come to your door like this in the middle of the night?
Let it go. It's all in the past.
No, it's not in the past. It's serving us drinks, it's on the answer machine, it’s at your door in the middle of the night.
This might become a shock to you, but I used to have sex with men.
This man was here for nothing but sex.
Yse, which I used to enjoy and haven't had much of since I got into this relationship.
You call this a relationship?
It's tedious, the sex is dwindling, so from what I've heard, yes.
If you have something to say to me...
I have nothing to say to you. I am fresh out of things to say to you. All we ever do is talk, talk, talk. The talking in our relationship has replaced the fucking in our fucking relationship! I don't want talk! I want passion, I want fireworks!
Do you want fireworks? I'll show you fireworks! That's fireworks!
What are you doing? Stop it! Stop! My plates!
These are not your plates! You don't even cook! You want a little firework? Another little one?
I didn't even leave a card. He won't know what the plant is supposed to mean. It's like I plant-bombed him.
- How did the bar look? - Like Aidan. It's amazing.
- Good for Steve. - That's convincing.
I know. I'm trying to be happy for him. He's got his own bar, his own life, his own Jessica. And I'm still here. You know? In the same apartment, doing the same job, living the same life.
You have something no one else has. A ghost.
You have a ghost. You have two.
At least Big's a friendly ghost. Aidan, on the other hand... I'm just afraid the way I treated him will haunt me the rest of my life. There's nothing I can do about it.
- Sure there is. Come to the party! - He didn't invite me.
Steve's a good guy. He wouldn't invite you if it wasn't OK with Aidan.
Do you ever think that you might still have feelings for Steve?
God, no. Why? Do you? For Aidan?
No. I don't know. I don't think so. I don't know. Thank you.
I left Miranda's early and got some sleep. In light of day, it felt like all my ghosts had disappeared and I saw the world exactly as it was.
A few days later, Trey felt better too. So did Charlotte, especially since Bunny had moved out of the guest room and back into her own apartment.
Up and at them, George McFad... I brought some muf... Oh, dear. I just brought... I brought muffins for breakfast.
Charlotte didn't know whether it was their making love or their making love on a bed without a dust ruffle that had offended Bunny, but either way their sex-orcism ensured Bunny never haunted their home again unless expressly invited.
While downtown, a dearly departed spirit suddenly reappeared.
- It's been two days. I was worried. You didn't even call. - Neither did you.
- I brought you a gift. - Better be dishes. - Open it.
Maria made one last effort to give Samantha what she thought she needed.
You bought me a strap-on?
Samantha was touched. Since she couldn't bring herself to admit she was incapable of being in a relationship she simply said…
I guess we could give it a try.
That night, despite all my fears and reservations, I let Miranda and Samantha talk me into going to the opening of Scout.
Who are all these attractive people?
We're looking for Aidan, ladies, eyes akimbo. That's it. Stealth. What you doing there, sister? Get your groove on. Doing the robot?
- I threw my back out. - How?
Fucking Maria with a strap-on. She fucked me, I fucked her. All that fucking and talking. I have no idea men work so hard!
How does a strap-on work exactly? Is it belted?
Could we not have the strap-on conversation right now? This night is hard enough as it is.
- How does it work? - What did I say?
- It doesn't. Maria and I broke up. - Sweetie, I'm sorry.
Did the strap-on break the relationship's back? Or just yours?
- Maria thinks I have intimacy issues. - She's crazy!
I tried. I really did. But I am not a relationship person. I told her from the start, didn't i?
- Absolutely. - You most certainly did.
I did. Then she got to fall in love with me. What the fuck! I need a drink. Is it bad to have a Martini with a muscle relaxant or bad in good way?
I don't know. Are you operating machinery this evening?
Never again. Where's the bar in this bar?
Miranda was right. When you see a ghost, you just know it. You can feel it. The hairs on your neck stand up.
That was it? That's all I get? I don't even know what that was.
- I don't even know who that was. Was that Aidan? - Does he look better or have I been with a woman too long?
All right. That's enough. I'm going home. I don't even know why I came.
Because I begged you to. Let me buy you ladies a free drink. I'll meet you at the bar.
You came! I'm so glad. So, what do you think?
I think... I think you did good.
Really? You mean it? 'Cause I never would've done this, if it wasn't for you.
What are you talking about? I didn't do anything.
Are you kidding me? This whole thing was your idea. You always told me I should start my own bar. I never forgot. I just never thought that I could. So… thanks.
You did good.
Just like that, Miranda gave up the ghost.
Come on, let's get you drunk.
An hour later, since my ghost hadn't reappeared, I decided to sneak out the side door for some cake and a smoke.
- You're not seriously smoking that, are you? - Is that all you could carry, Carrie?
- Now I can't eat my cake. - Sure you can. Here.
- You got your fingers all in it. It's my cake! - So now you want your cake?
- I never not wanted it. - OK, lady. You take the cake.
- You cut your hair. - You have frosting on your lip.
Hey, partner. It's time for our toast.
- I thought you were the silent partner. - Glad you came. Good to see you, Carrie.
Good to see you, too.
I had confronted my ghost. I had accepted and released him. But now I was more haunted than ever. Because what I felt out there was no ghost. It was real.