'The Haunted Pan' by Phil Olsen
Image - 'Response to The Haunted Pan' by Low Coney (2016). Analogue collage from found imagery.
- So, have you had any paranormal experiences in this house?
- Nope, I've not heard a peep from the ghosts in the three years I've lived here. I do have a haunted pan though.
- A haunted pan?
- Yeah, it's a glass pan that was here when I moved in. I clean it after use and it comes up sparkling, completely clear. But then it dries filthy.
- Hmmm, perhaps that is more to do with your cleaning abilities than any cuisine spectres?
- I know what you're thinking...
- Of course you know what I'm thinking, I just told you what I'm thinking. I'm thinking your domestic skills leave a lot to be desired.
- But wait, there's more. Every time I cook food in the pan, it comes out as a fancy Victorian meal with all the trimmings. No matter what I cook. I usually only throw together a simple spag bol, but when I pour it out of the glass pan I get pheasant with all kinds of trimmings. Plus when I'm done eating the pan's olden days meal, my stomach can walk through walls.
- Your stomach can?
- Just your stomach?
- Yeah, that's the snag. I can jut my belly out and press it through any door or wall, but the rest of me stays solid and gets blocked. So I've experimented with it a little and I've tried occasionally pouring the food all over me. Rubbing it in my hair, you know? I had it all planned out... I had a mouthful of unswallowed guinea fowl, two fists of sage & onion stuffing, and my cardigan pockets were loaded with carrot & parsnip mash.
- No joy though?
- The opposite of joy. I'd taken a bit of a run up... You can probably make out where I hit the wall... Just doesn't come clean. Or rather it does wipe clean quite easily, but then it dries dirty again.
- Like the pan.
- Exactly like the pan. It's a shame really, 'cause I would have only ever used the power it gave me for good, you know?
- There'd be quite a lot of preparation involved before you could go to the rescue of someone who'd, say, locked themselves out of their flat though, wouldn't there? I mean with the whole having to cook a meal and then all the subsequent distributing of the food about your person... They could probably get a locksmith out in less time.
- Hey, maybe that's it! Maybe the food still has to be piping hot throughout when it comes into contact with the wall. Maybe I'm just taking too long...
- And all these clothes piled on the table and the Welsh dresser... Looks like you've attempted it a few times. I take it the food washes clean out, but then comes back encrusted into the fabric when the clothes dry?
- Pretty much... Say... You guys aren't really from Most Haunted, are you?
- No, Mr Sammons, we're not really from Most Haunted. We're from Social Services.
- Yeah well, fuck you, you fuckers, I'm gonna run through that wall right now and then you'll see...
- Shall I put the hob on for you?
- It probably won't work in front of you... The Victorian meal thing, I mean.
- No, Mr Sammons, I imagine it probably won't.
Phil Olsen is currently studying for a Masters in Creative Writing at The University of Manchester’s Centre for New Writing. Phil has been appointed guest blogger at Bluecoat during their Short Story Writing Course starting 6 January 2012 until 1 June.