Jun 13, 2010 | Dynjandi, Iceland
Jun 13, 2010

We were there on the beach in the morning. All day we passed from fjord to fjord, filled with breaching whales, psychedelic rocks, and rusting jungle gyms. In the evening on the isthmus, shin pads kissed in the alleyway, lawn chairs marched to the beat of the laundry, a red flag waved a warning, and alien pods got fresh paint, because you have to look good for the end of it all.

We walked into the old yellow house and heard a woman gagging. She was old, alone, and red in the face, sitting by herself in the corner, looking strange and serene.

"How is the food?" I said.

"Oh," she said, too slowly. "It is excellent." The cold light was hitting her face and she looked alien too, like the pod. "I am eating mink whale, and it is very easy to chew." She stared at me without smiling until I looked away.

Another woman appeared behind the counter. "Can I offer you something?" she said.

"Can I see a menu?" I said.

"Yes," she said, handing me one.

I opened it, and said, "Do you have any ghosts?"

"What?" she said.

"Do you have any ghosts here?" I said.

"Yes, we have one," she said directly, as all Icelanders speak.

"What is it like?" I said, tilting my head.

"It is in this room and over there in that one. It blows out candles, turns on and off lights, moves things. I try not to think about it," she said.

"Is it a man or a woman?" I said.

"It is a man."

"How often do you see him?"

"Oh, very often. Several times a day."

"Are you joking?" I said.

She laughed and then her face got straight. "No, I am not."

"So, what does it look like?" I said. "Does it have a white glow?"

"No, it is black."

"Black like squid ink?"

"Yes, like that. He is black and he is wearing a suit."

I turned around.