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The Salting and Canning of Benevolence D: 06/03/08
The third story in the June issue of FSF is "The Salting and Canning of Benevolence D" by Al Michaud. It is a satisfying and silly ghost story, or as Professor Stebbins calls it, "a ghost infestation."
Usually ghost stories deal either with hauntings or possessions. I've never heard of an infestation before but I like the concept. With a haunting, a ghost gets attached to a place and continues to haunt it until it can find closure. In possessions, a ghost or spirit takes over a human host. With an infestation, a ghost follows a person around but doesn't possess the person. That's what happens with Clem Clowder after he takes a trip to the dentist.
The ghost in question is the Silent Woman. To solve the mystery of her infestation, Clem, Dunky and Professor Stebbins must unravel her past. It's here that the story goes from being a better than average ghost story to being a humorous and truly memorable one. I really enjoyed the history that Michaud creates for the Silent Woman and the way in which the different factions try to use her for their own purposes.
I'll admit that I figured out the why behind the infestation in the first page of the forty page story but I still had fun following Clem and Dunky as they learned the reason behind the infestation. This story doesn't rely on a drawn out punchline to work. It's funny and entertaining all the way through.