Just joining us? You may want to start from the beginning.
JD put the finishing touches on the camera position in the parlor, and inspected his work. Walking back around the folding table he'd set up the day before, he watched the monitors glowing gray and bluish in the waning daylight. The parlor's lavish decorations and doily-laden surfaces were reflected in crystal detail on the LCD screens, the glint of nickel and pewter winking back at him. This time, the camera was in the opposite corner from where he'd set it up the night before. A clear shot of the corner where the silhouette had vanished last night was in center view, as were all the windows of the room. The wall adjacent to the door was hung from its richly varnished and shiny picture rail with meticulously matted and framed black-and-white portraits of the homeowners and family members, each one done in the Victorian fashion. Even the sharpness of the photographs, the expressions on the faces of the subjects, and the costuming were shown in the tiny screens. If not for the technology in the room, it could have been a 19th century room. The hanging "gas lamp" chandelier was just high enough not to obscure the camera's view as the tearless cornea stared into the richly floral-patterned wallpaper.
Dillon had his feet crossed and propped up on the table and was absently scratching at the stubble on the underside of his chin. He looked into the monitors and sighed.
"Looks jus' like yesterday, dude," he said solemnly. "Boring."
"Yep, nice and boring," JD said brightly, adjusting the recording devices taping the display. After rewinding and watching himself come into the camera's view, staring at the monitors, and adjusting the recording devices, the tape snapped to "snow" and static.
"Recording will be all set. I've got a good supply of tapes. I have a hand-held video camera this time. And plenty of batteries for the flashlights. I'm all set, I think."
"What about voices, dude?"
"I have a digital recorder," he said, remembering he'd brought it. He pulled it out of a duffle bag between his seat and Dillon's, and switched it on. "Testing, one, two, three, testing," he said clearly. Then he hit the rewind button and then played his voice intoning back to him. "Perfect."
"Does that thing work at a distance?" Dillon said, brows knitting over his eyes. "You might not get too close, y'know?"
"Good point," JD said, only slightly surprised. He turned the device on again and tossed it to Dillon, who jumped as it flew at him and caught it sitting upright quickly. "Dude! Whatcha doin'??"
JD walked around the table to the windows, facing away from Dillon. Staring into the slowing browning yard, littered with dead leaves and twigs, he carefully spoke softly.
"Testing, one, two, three ... testing."
He came back to Dillon and took the device out of his hands. Rewind, then play. He heard his voice distinctly, but softly, counting the test tones off.
"Yes, it works at a distance. Good thinking, Dill."
"Yeah, natch, dude. I'm so a good thinker an' stuff."
"Now we hope the events of last night were indeed a recording of past events and will play back again tonight."
"There isn't much else we can do, unfortunately."
"Because I have no idea -- no one does -- how, or if, this recording mechanism works. I have no clue how it was triggered last night, or if it will be again tonight. Last night was a very, very cold snap. Tonight's weather is going to be considerably warmer. If the sudden cold was the catalyst for the playback, tonight may not be a repeat."
"Aw, man," Dillon said disappointed. "You tellin' me ghosts watch the friggin' weather, man??"
"No, of course not. Why would a ghost be concerned about the weather?"
"You just said it wasn't gonna be cold enough."
"To replay the recording."
"For the ghost t'come out."
"It wasn't a ghost. It was a recording."
"It was a ghost."
"How do you know?"
"How d'ya know it wasn't?"
"Are we going to have this conversation every time we come here?"
"How many times we comin'?"
"I'll be coming until I have an answer for the homeowners. You'll be coming until you so irritate me I kill you."
"I'll so haunt'cha if ya do."
"I can deal with that."
"So how come y'know it's not a ghost?"
"Because there are no such things as ghosts. We've had this talk, Dillon."
"Yeah, butcha can't gimme a good reason for believin' that, dude."
"My belief to the contrary is theological."
"Based on Second Corinthians 5:8, an' that don' say what ya said it did, dude. So you got nothin'."
"I still don't have a Bible."
"So I can't show you all the references to spirits not being permitted to roam around randomly."
"Ya can't think o' one? Not one?"
"Umm ... okay, how about the parable of Lazarus and the rich man?"
"There ain't no parable like that."
"Yes there is."
"No, there ain't."
"Is too. Jesus told the parable of the rich man and the poor beggar that lived outside his house, Lazarus. When Lazarus died, he went to rest in the arms of Abraham. When the rich man died, he awoke in Sheol. He begged for a drop of water to cool his tongue, but never got it. Then he begged to have a chance to warn his brothers that they had to change. But ..."
"... But ol' man Abe said no, 'cause they already had ol' Mo' an' the prophets an' didn't listen t'them, so they ain't gonna listen t'NObody, and go cry yourself a river an' shit. Yeah, I know. An' that ain't a parable."
"It's so not a parable, dude."
"What are you talking about?"
"I'm talkin' 'bout the story of Lazarus an' the rich dude -- JEEZ, JD, ain'tcha listenin'??"
"Yes, I'm listening, but you're speaking your usual foolishness and I'm lost."
"DUDE, it's like this -- inna parable, the story's kinda ... I dunno -- generic, I guess. It ain't got names an' places an' real people in it, y'know? Now, this story you're talkin' 'bout, Jesus gives the dude's name -- Lazarus -- an' it wasn't Sheol, dumbass, it was hades. An' y'know what else, dude? That ol' rich dude didn't ask to go to his brothers -- he asked that Lazarus go. It's all in Luke 16, studly ... look it up."
"Uh ... well, there you see that Abraham tells the rich man that his brothers wouldn't receive a warning from the dead."
"I see that this guy who was a screw-up his whole life didn't get his wish is what I see, dude. I so don' see nothin' 'bout no ghosts there."
JD drew a long, deep breath and let it out slowly. "Okay. Then I guess I need time to look this up."
"Yeah, I bet you do," Dillon said, and propped his feet back up on the table. "I bet you sure as heck do, huh."
"Don't get too cocky," JD said snidely, "you're just lucky I don't have a Bible with me or I'd ream you."
Dillon chuckled. "Yeah ... whatever, dude. What-the-hell-ever."
JD shook his head. He'd underestimated his friend again. He was beginning to think there was much more to Dillon than met the eye. He felt he'd known that at one time, but somehow, let it slip away. Now, he was too busy being right to recognize when he was wrong.
"So anyways," Dillon said dryly, "when's Wen comin'?"
"She's most likely going to be here later, as she was last night," JD said, the sound of her name sending an electric thrill through him. "She might take a brief nap before coming; she usually does."
"Yeah? How d'ya know that?"
"Because I asked her, that's how," JD said sternly.
"Good boy. 'Bout time y'started showin' some damned interest in her. She's smart, she's cool, an' she's hot. She's got it all, an' whadda you got? Nothin' but 'tude, dude. Did I mention she's hot?"
"Yes, as if I needed you to remind me. And I have more than attitude to offer in a relationship, thank you."
"Yeah? Have you 'L-worded' her back?"
"Did ya tell 'er ya love 'er, dumbass. Didja?"
"Well ... I -- the opportunity hasn't exactly been ..."
"You're a frickin' weeny, dude," Dillon cut him off, shaking his head slowly. "You better decide what the hell you're doin' with her, dude, or she is SO gonna blow you off for a guy with a bigger set o' cajones."
"I just haven't had the chance, that's all," JD said defensively. "Besides, I don't know if ..."
"What? Y'don't know if ya love 'er or not? Gimme a break, dickhead. You do. It's all over you, man. Every time she comes around, you're a mess. Every time she speaks, y'damn near jump. Every time she laughs, no matter what else you're doin', you smile. Tell me you don' love that chick, dude. You're fulla crap."
JD was contemplating his shoes very carefully. "I ... I just meant that I ... aw, hell. I don't know what I mean."
Dillon screwed his mouth up into a disappointed frown and shook his head. "Mm-mm-mm, dude. Just ... just mm-mm-mm. That's it."
"I don't see you doing any better with women, frankly."
"I get more ass'na toilet seat."
"Really? When is that?"
"Uh ... you know ... when ... well, you ain't around, that's for sure."
"Uh-huh, I see. And where are you meeting these women? At the 'He Who Dies with the Least Brains Wins' conventions you attend?"
"Dude. Ouch, man."
"I do awright with chicks, dude."
"I can see by how they beat down the door to reach you."
"I'm just inna dry spell's all, dude, I'll be cool. Yeah. Definitely, I'll be cool."
"Well, until and unless you are, I suggest you keep your mind on the Biblical matters and let me handle my relationship with Wendy. I don't recall asking for your input anyway, Dr. Phil. Or Dr. DILL, I guess I should say."
"Now, if that ain't a cool name for a TV show, what the hell is?"
"The Dr. Dill Show, man. It's gonna be huge."
"You have to be a doctor of something first."
"I guess. What about Dr. Who?"
"No, Dr. WHO, dipstick."
JD closed his eyes and shook his head. "I mean, who are you talking about?"
"I'm talkin' about Dr. Who, dork-ass. Jeez, JD, are you sure you're gonna be able to do your stuff t'night, dude? You can't even have a decent convo, here."
"I've never had one with you in the room."
"See? You're gettin' all hostile an' shit again, dude. You so need to chill-lax."
"Chill-lax. You know -- chill out, relax ... chill-lax. It's a word that means ..."
"I think I get the general gist, thank you ... you can save what I'm sure is an incredibly interesting education on your vernacular for another time."
"I don' have no vernereal nothin', dude. I get checked twice a year."
"That's ... that's more about you than I wanted to know."
"So, what now?"
"For the recording to do what it does."
"When's that gonna happen?"
"I don't know."
JD turned and looked at Dillon seriously. "Because no one knows how predictable ghosts are, okay?"
"So it's a ghost? It's really a ghost?" Dillon leaned forward, eyes widening, excited and perky for the first time all day.
"No, I'm just screwing with you," JD leaned back in his chair. "All we can do is wait and see if the events of last night are repeated ... much like the statement I've just made."
"Never mind. Watch the monitors."
"Okay. When do we eat?"