You lose your credit card

… and call the company, but no one answers—and that hissing noise? The Japanese girl ghost. You say “Hello?” three times. Then she hangs up. You shiver … What’s that? A replacement card. In your wallet.

You’re on a date

… and trying too hard. You drop a knife, and there she is, underneath a table—pale arms, red dress, long black hair covering her face. You jump back. Your date says that you look like you’ve seen a ghost. You try to laugh, but can’t. Your date thinks you’re a complicated man, a man haunted by a dark, interesting past. And you are. You are haunted by your past—also by the ghost of a Japanese schoolgirl.

You’re at the gym

… and slacking. You think you’ll do 15 minutes on the treadmill, then call it a day. But you look up and the spooky Japanese ghost is on CNN complaining about broken borders and how no one cares about the middle class. You run for a full half-hour, fueled by righteous indignation.

You’re at home

… and it’s late, you’re tired, and none of the light bulbs you’ve just replaced are working right: they flicker, they cast shadows that look like people or birds or household appliances. You’re in bed, the TV tuned to static because you were so angry about the war on the middle class that you canceled your cable, and you’re looking at the ceiling. The Japanese ghost crawls from one corner to the next. Her hair still covers her face. She moves in bizarre, halting steps, crawling to every lamp in your house and adjusting every bulb until the bedroom is bathed in a soothing glow. You sleep and forget to turn off the lights. The spooky Japanese ghost does it for you, then vanishes, never to appear again. Years later, you’re walking down the street and spot a small distant figure in a red dress, and you run to her and—never mind, it’s someone else. She’s gone, you miss her, but ghosts move on: They can’t hang around all day. They’ve got things to do.