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Tom Neenan: The incident at the Half Moon Inn (A Fringe ghost story)

By | Published on Friday 22 August 2014

As we head into this final weekend of Fringe madness, how about we sit back, relax for a few minutes, and share some ghost stories?

Tom Neenan

Tom Neenan, with his show ‘The Haunting At Lopham House’, is going first…

Edinburgh 2010, Harvey Dash swaggered onto the street having just smashed a gig at the back of a Japanese restaurant. He had torn the roof off the place, but it was their fault for making it out of paper in the first place.

He was meeting his friend Charlie Duke just round the corner in Edinburgh’s oldest pub The Half Moon, although it reads more like a Full Moon. It was a typical Edinburgh pub – in that it was in Edinburgh and it was a pub. Outside men were smoking pipes, which was an improvement on playing them.

Harvey entered. Looking round the bar he quickly spotted his friend Charlie. He was sitting in the corner looking morose and staring at flyers for ‘Late ‘n’ Live’. He was downing a pint of Amstell – one of the pub’s many real ales named after famous comedians.

“You okay, mate?” asked Harvey.

Charlie sighed.

“You’re such an amazing comedian”, said Charlie. “I wish I could be more like you. Smashing every gig like comedy eggs. I just did a slot at Late ‘n’ Live. My first gag got a good laugh, but then I just completely died. There was nothing I could do”.

“You’re an amazing comedian”, replied Harvey. You just need to…”

…But Harvey was interrupted. An old wizened man had approached and was looming over them. His eyes were bloodshot and his clothes as battered as a Scottish Mars Bar cliché. He held out a bony, pale hand to Charlie. “Come with me, my boy. And you will get everything you wish for” he said, his voice as gravelly as a posh woman’s drive.

“Go away old man” said Harvey, but Charlie just stood up, took the old man’s hand and slowly walked out of the pub, leaving his pile of flyers behind.

Harvey was perplexed.

“Mate, come back”, he shouted, watching helplessly as Charlie and the old man left the pub.

Harvey was getting up to follow them when his phone rang.

“Hello, is this Harvey Dash?” asked the voice on the other end of the line.

“Yeah”, Harvey replied.

“I’ve got some bad news. Your friend, Charlie Duke was on at ‘Late ‘n’ Live’ tonight, I’m afraid to say that he came on stage and did his first gag, which got a good laugh, but then… He just completely… Died. There was nothing we could do. The ambulance just left. I’m sorry for you loss”.

Harvey didn’t say anything.

He just hung up the phone and stared at the pile of Charlie’s flyers in front of him on the table. Harvey never spoke of what happened that day. But he would never forget it. The day his friend was simultaneously dead AND standing right in front of him. He was deceased AND living. He was…

Late ‘n’ Live.

‘Tom Neenan: The Haunting At Lopham House’ was performed at the Pleasance Courtyard at Edinburgh Festival 2014.

Photo: Idil Sukan